Sunday in Outer Blogness: More Relationships Edition!

It seems like we talked about this just last week! But I guess it’s only natural that finding ways to support and strengthen mixed-faith families is one of the central concerns of our community. (Not that shared faith makes marriage easy or anything.) Sometimes you have the joy of discovering that your friend made a similar faith journey, but you can’t usually count on it. Reaching across faith lines is hard, so it’s likely you’ll have some strained discussions ahead. Possibly involving your underwear. And how do you teach kids your values without seeing families as instruments and children as products?

Religion often focuses on sex, yet sexism is about powerwho gets a little, how it’s exercised, and how it gets abused.

Atheists put up a cool new billboard in Salt Lake City (not this one)! Congrats, and don’t forget to do some humanitarian work as well, not to mention your community responsibilities. In other news, there’s some disagreement over LDS church history and doctrine. Leaving the fold often leads to changing your look and fun new questions! So why not share your experience with others?

And let’s close with some cool Mormon material culture to remind you to contribute to Sunstone! Happy Sunday! šŸ˜€

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chanson

C. L. Hanson is the friendly American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! See "letters from a broad" and the novel ExMormon for further adventures!!

114 thoughts on “Sunday in Outer Blogness: More Relationships Edition!

  1. Tachyon @96 — I’ve been thinking about your comment, and I’m still not sure how to respond. I’d like to throw out some ideas — to open up discussion, not to claim I have the answers on this.

    My first gut reaction is that “emotionally abusive” isn’t precisely the measure we’re going for at MSP with respect to whether a comment is kosher or not. The thing is that a behavior that might be rightly called “abusive” in a personal or family relationship isn’t necessarily the same when coming from some random person on an Internet forum. Different sites have different styles, and we’re not going for an RfM-like atmosphere of “we’re in a delicate state of recovery, hence we can’t handle people disagreeing with us.” I especially don’t want this to be a place where people are protected from reading dissenting viewpoints.

    The measure I prefer is “is the comment civil and constructive (even if critical)?” We can discuss whether people’s comments on this thread have been civil, and what makes a discussion constructive.

  2. Seth @100

    Ive never been good with handling people who are sharing their emotional distress in a forum meant for debating the issues. Thats certainly true enough.

    Discussing the ways in which the church causes emotional distress, or how people react to that emotional distress, is not necessarily the same as sharing it.

    Peevishness and irritation are forms of emotional distress, and you’re certainly willing to share them.

    So perhaps you could look at the ways you use a conversation that isn’t even happening as an excuse for engaging in behavior you say you object to.

  3. I guess that isn’t a bad suggestion.

    If I’m going to comment here, it would probably help if I wasn’t always getting cranky about being the only one holding certain views.

  4. Found this link to an excommunication story yesterday. It’s fairly funny, and it’s true that this particular departure didn’t seem to make any difference to the church–largely because the men conducting the excommunication didn’t have enough sense or self-knowledge to understand the reasons for the former member’s departure, her explanation for it, or even what they were saying to her or each other. The prayers that open and close the trial are, as the writer points out, absolute nonsense. But the goal in those prayers was not to say something appropriate or sensible; the goal was to follow the script. The script decreed that the excommunicant was as exotic and inscrutable as a leprechaun, and how could it matter if something that far outside your realm of experience ups and quits your church? It could only matter if you were self-aware enough to realize that it’s downright weird to end an excommunication by saying to the person you’ve just exed, “It’s been a pleasure to meet you….”

    Paul Toscano’s comparison of his own excommunication to being raped by the care bears comes to mind here.

    So yeah. Exits don’t matter, according to the script. But the script is a fiction, and can’t explain any number of problems the church faces. And since Todd, Tom and Dieter et al can’t really see the problems, they’re very unlikely to stumble upon any effective solutions.

  5. just finished reading the new SiOB. Liked the link to Brent’s list of “worst talks ever” at Doves & Serpents. Noted this passage from BKP’s Talk to the All-Church Coordinating Council:

    Surely you have been anxiously watching the worldwide evaporation of values and standards from politics, government, society, entertainment, schools. Could you be serving in the Church without having turned to those pages in the revelations and to those statements of the prophets that speak of the last days? Could you, in working for the Church, not be conscious of or have ignored the warnings? Could you be blind to the drift that is taking place? Are you not conscious of the drift that is taking place in the Church? Could you believe other than it is critical that all of us work together and set aside personal interests and all face the same way?

    It is so easy to be turned about without realizing that it has happened to us. There are three areas where members of the Church, influenced by social and political unrest, are being caught up and led away. I chose these three because they have made major invasions into the membership of the Church. In each, the temptation is for us to turn about and face the wrong way, and it is hard to resist, for doing it seems so reasonable and right.

    The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals. Our local leaders must deal with all three of them with ever-increasing frequency. In each case, the members who are hurting have the conviction that the Church somehow is doing something wrong to members or that the Church is not doing enough for them. To illustrate, I will quote briefly from letters on each of those subjects. They are chosen from among many letters which have arrived in the last few weeks. These have arrived in just the last few days.

    You read something like that, and it’s pretty clear that exits DO matter to the church, quite a bit. They matter in that they can make both members and leaders think “that the Church somehow is doing something wrong to members or that the Church is not doing enough for them,” an absolute fallacy that must be countered, condemned and eradicated, for the church is never wrong.

  6. @104 Chanson:

    Very true! Safe spaces are needed for people in recovery, but this doesn’t have to be one of them. I would like to call out Seth’s attitude for what it is, though, and express my opinion that it’s characteristic of LDS culture to blame the victims and minimize their concerns. Viewed in that light, some of his posts seem a little less civil and more than a little less constructive.

    @106 Seth:

    You’re admitting why you feel defensive, then. *grin* I’m not trying to rub it in, I actually consider that a constructive and more self-aware response.

    If you’re here just to argue, nobody is going to try to stop you. But if you’re here to build bridges and repair relationships in a spirit of Christlike love, as your first post suggested, you’re going to have to first accept that your church has its victims. And that they’re justifiably upset with (or even afraid of) it.

  7. @100 Seth

    The emotional distress felt by those who’ve left the LDS church is one of “the issues,” and a discussion of the issues isn’t complete without taking into account their experiences.

    Admitting that you’re uncomfortable with that, as you did in #106, is a good first step to accepting and not negating the people who share it as part of the discussion. If this isn’t a “safe space” for those who have been abused by the LDS church, though, as Chanson explains in #104, it certainly isn’t for LDS church members either.

  8. Tachyon, I’ve always been quite open about the fact that my participation in interfaith dialogue and engagement with atheists and ex-Mormons and such is not primarily motivated by a desire to build bridges.

    I enjoy a bridge well enough I guess, but that’s not why I’m here.

    I’m here to define my own identity as a Mormon. That’s my first and foremost goal. Whether you get a connection with me, or feel some sort of catharsis, or even whether you convert back to the LDS Church is…. well… it’s not irrelevant to me. But it’s also not the primary goal.

    I’m here to figure out who I am. Not who you are.

    Obviously those motivations have some built-in drawbacks.

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