Sunday in Outer Blogness: Goodbye to 2012 Edition!!

Guess what? The world didn’t end!!

So I guess it’s time to celebrate and reflect upon the old year that’s passed! To assess relationships and work and happiness. And now we’re ringing in the new with great resolutions as well as new blogging directions and new books and new jobs. Angela Felsted is launching a new copyediting business — which reminds me that I need to put some effort into getting Mormon Alumni Association Books off the ground, to try to attract talented people from our community to participate in this project with me. (Yes,I know the site is really ugly at the moment — what’s up there right now is just a place-holder that I threw together in about 20 minutes to be slightly better than the “testing” page I had up last week…)

And while I’m at it, I owe a little explanation to all of you and an apology to Robin Johnson who just posted a series here on his experiences as a twice-excommunicated gay man. I’m always happy to see new people contribute posts here at Main Street Plaza — but I should have given Robin more direction, and in particular, I should have encouraged him to spread out his posts over a few weeks (plus maybe helped out with the formatting). As it is, I think readers here were surprised and overwhelmed by the sudden un-blog-like quantity of posts, and that has kept people from reading and discussing them. So, I’m sorry for my flaky lack of oversight, and I hope this won’t discourage anyone from becoming a contributor here at Main Street Plaza. I promise to give new contributors more helpful direction in the future.

On the other hand, our awards are off to a great start!! Don’t forget to vote for X-Mormon of the Year and keep posting your nominations for the Brodies!! And read all of the comments pages to see the categories that have been added such as “Best Specialized Blog”, “Best Video”, and “Best Song or Album”. (To give you a taste of the specialized blogs, check out the latest ex-mo hymn and an infographic about my very favorite Mormon scripture, as mentioned in my novel.) For X-Mo of the Year, David Tweede is currently winning, and his latest post isn’t going to hurt his chances. It looks like the president of the CoJCoL-dS may be facing some real court time for international tax evasion!!

The UK collects income tax and payroll taxes. The following UK Tax document (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/worksheets/sa102m-notes.pdf) outlines what can and what cannot be excluded from “ministry” taxes and income. It lists “gifts and grants”, “stipends”, “Personal expenses paid for you, living accommodation, vouchers and credit cards”, and “Vicarage or manse expenses” among many other items in its 10 pages. The latter “Vicarage or manse expenses” is listed as utilities, home (manse) costs, gardening, etc. These are the very types of things listed by the MP Handbook as being reimbursed.

Also, you may want to vote for in the other guys’ Mormon of the Year Award — and look at the recognition that Troy Williams got!!

There was quite an interesting set of posts on women in religion this past week! As a part of fMh’s “Manuary”, Scott H told an entertaining tale about how the sexist training he received growing up was actually extremely unhelpful in his career in the real world:

I came by my prejudices honestly. My formative years were spent in church and at home, where the messages were clear: women were to be praised, adored, adulated, and even sometimes listened to. But men lead, and women follow, and if breakthrough inspiration comes, it will come from the guy in pants. Having never been in a hierarchical situation where women were given authority to lead, correct or castigate men, my brain was utterly unprepared to handle a situation in which women did have that authority.

While some get complaints that this sexist training is made up or exaggerated, here’s some real data to show you a bit about how it works. And the problem, really, goes all the way to the top.

There were a couple of posts about family relationships that really stood out for me this week. First Kiley’s wise assessment:

I do love them. They do love me. Love however just does not always conquer ingrained ideas… [...] It is popular to say that giving your family time and being patient with them will yield results of them coming around. Give them time, be who you are, and they will warm up to you… I think this is something that happens for some people but in no way is it a guarantee. Relationships take mutual effort and there really is no relationship when only one party is working at it. Coming to this realization that it may be as good as it gets is actually not that bad.

And second there’s Aerin’s discussion of how frustrating it is (for those of us who have lived the reality) to see fictionally-idealized super-harmonious giant families:

So I thought – this movie must be what people think growing up in a big family is like. It’s everyone working together, singing, watching out for one another. They get through their troubles together.

But that’s not what big families are like (at least, it wasn’t for my family). Is anyone really that naive?

It’s true that the Captain had a lot of money, and that definitely helps in large families.

Being in a large family is being raised to be competitive. You have to compete and out-shine to survive.

Then there were some great discussion topics this week!! Which is funnier: Mormons vs. Christians or gun advocates vs. reality? On the positive side, wine is good as is humanism. Plus some fun Mormon history and scripture, great moments in visiting-teaching, forward-thinking economics, God’s mysterious ways, and re-reading the classics.

And let’s wrap up with some fun stuff!! Seven Miracles That Made America Great and Brother Kermit Gets A Blessing.

Happy New Year 2013!!!

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11 Comments

  1. 1
    Badger says:

    I’ve been prevented by other demands from reading any of Robin’s posts yet, but I noticed them and their (at the time) total lack of comments in my newsreader. I can’t speak for Robin, of course, but it seems regrettable that he should write so much and receive so few comments in return.

    The problem I have as a reader and potential commenter now is that because the posts are numerous and some of them quite long, it will take time to catch up, and if I (hypothetically) leave a comment a few days from today on, let’s say Robin’s fifth post, it’s unlikely to get many responses because everyone else is probably in the same boat: behind in their reading, and a little confounded by having too many places to leave comments.

    A consolidated comment catch-up post might help with the second problem of too many places to comment, but it doesn’t synchronize backlogged readers. Speaking for myself, I would not mind seeing the same posts (or updated versions, with new formatting, very long posts broken up, etc.) re-issued at a slower pace over a period of time to promote discussion.

    All of this presumes, perhaps wrongly, that the present lack of discussion is unsatisfactory. If the best option is to leave things as they stand, I’ll just make my comments on Robin’s future posts.

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  2. 2

    Thanks for the shout out. Much appreciated, Chanson! I always like coming here on Sundays to see what’s new.

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  3. 3
    chanson says:

    Badger — That makes sense. Crazily enough, I haven’t had time to read them all myself, but I will. Then perhaps I can remedy the error by working with Robin to repost a more discussion-friendly version.

    Angela — no problem — I hope your new project goes well!

       1 likes

  4. 4
    Chris F. says:

    Badger – I could be wrong, but I get the impression that a lot of it was copied and pasted from his personal blog.

    I would recommend at least reading his first post. It was very long and often hard to read, but it is an awesome story of his life.

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  5. 5
    Kullervo says:

    I mean, why not just un-publish all but the first, and then schedule the rest to be published at reasonable intervals? Nothing is done that can’t be undone, and then nobody has to “catch up.” We can read them as they are re-published.

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  6. 6
    leftofcentre says:

    I watched a documentary about the Trapp Family Singers over the Christmas holidays. Apparently, the fictional family was far more harmonious than the real one. Christopher Plummer was far more strict and authoritarian than the real-life Capt. von Trapp, and Maria was quite a taskmaster who drove the singing career of the family forward, often at the expense of the children’s own wishes and needs. Their arrival in the United States was almost scuppered by Maria, who supposedly confessed they were hoping to overstay their visit, when interviewed in the immigration hall…
    Aerin’s possible suspicions that not all was as well or as accurately portrayed in Familie von Trappland, a la Rogers and Hammerstein, is confirmed through more recent interviews with surviving family members. Having been raised in a family with only one sibling who was significantly younger I often longed for a confidante and ‘The Sound of Music’ was a perennial favourite of mine, because I imagined that having loads of brothers or sisters meant more than one playmate from which to choose, rather than more with which to divide the finite resources of the family.

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  7. 7
    chanson says:

    @6 So true!!

    As I said on Aerin’s post, this is one point where I like “Saturday’s Warrior,” crazily enough. Since it was written by Mormons for Mormons, they (accurately) portray the seven kids with as much competition as cooperation. “Write what you know,” they say — and “The Sound of Music” seems like it was written by people who’ve never met anyone from a big family and consulted only their own fantasies when portraying what life as one kids in a big family is like…

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  8. 8
    Sophia says:

    It’s true. The Sound of Music is quite idyllic. I think it’s based off the play written by the family that lived it, but I can see how the parents might want to portray their family in the best possible light as well. ;-)

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  9. 9
    chanson says:

    @8 They wrote the source material for the drama themselves? That explains a bit…

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  10. 10
    Donna Banta says:

    chanson, thanks again for the shout out–and love the new Books link!!

       0 likes

  11. 11
    chanson says:

    @10 Thanks!!! It’s not exactly done, though — as you can probably tell. I’m planning to work on it this weekend.

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