I learned an interesting thing this past week in the comments of Reddit: Apparently the General Authorities of the CoJCoL-dS are discouraged from keeping journals. Why? Well maybe this tale of one of Joseph Smith’s revelations getting edited before canonization may shed some light on it. In other news of of the church’s mania for avoiding a paper trail, one of the two sentences informing Denver Snuffer that his appeal was denied was the instruction that the local leaders were not to give him a hard-copy of the refusal letter.
Some argue that the church is simply trying to discourage the spread of speculative doctrines like the (folk?) doctrine about who can and can’t have sex in the afterlife or that stuff about where the “Lost 10 Tribes” are hiding or this particularly creative one about antediluvian cloning technology. But I contend that discouraging members from discussing theology openly at church encourages these speculations to flourish unchallenged through private conversation. It would be cool for the church to encourage interesting discussions of the “White Horse Prophecy”. David T reported that the CoJCoL-dS has started releasing essays on a handful of church issues, but is it too little, too late?
Speaking of church issues, the CoJCoL-dS has a completely different “Law of Chastity” for gay people (like one of the Zelophehad’s Daughters bloggers who recently came out). The sexism is objectively measurable as well as being sharply felt by kids despite some efforts to compensate. (Remember that sexism is a problem to be addressed outside of Mormonism as well.) Also math.
In personal stories, the tale of Heather’s journey continues with the story of her romance with her husband. Knotty recounted the time her MiL invited her husband’s ex to the family Thanksgiving Dinner. Therese told a fascinating and human story of an interview she once had with a former Nazi soldier. And the Anarchist Soccer Mom wrote a beautifully poignant piece on old wounds, and how Joni Hilton’s piece on “Liberal Mormons” reopened them:
I was out of practice, and the dress, with its slippery fabric, gave me fits. Unable to put the zipper in, I conceded partial defeat and modified the design for buttons. I cut myself more than once and bled spots of bright red blood onto the white fabric.
And I cried as I stitched the seams together. Because the truth is this: I did not want my daughter to get baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While I still consider myself culturally Mormon, I no longer identify with the church’s teachings, and I fear that they can be especially toxic for bright young girls.
But baptism is what my daughter wanted (and no eight year-old should face the sort of social stigma she would endure if she didn’t).
Many brilliant Mormon and post-Mormon bloggers have done a better job than I could of articulating my own existential angst at the thought of my daughter’s baptismal covenants. Sitting behind her (I was not permitted to sit beside her) was one of the most agonizing moments of my entire life. Talk about NOT feeling the Spirit! Still, I smiled through the ceremony, shook hands, and got through the day. Because that’s just what you do, and it wasn’t about me anyway.
I think the loss of community is probably the biggest loss when leaving religion. However — as Daniel argued in his review of the Sunday Assembly and as the above story illustrates — community isn’t always positive. It sometimes encourages a very real “small town mentality” in which grown-ups’ social experiences are dominated by petty rules enforced by junior-high style cliques. There’s something to be said for a vagabond’s education.
Outer Blogness saw some reminiscences this past week, including advice to one’s younger self, what happened 50 years ago, plus a reunion that wasn’t harmed by differences in faith. And the Bloggernacle is celebrating its 10th birthday!
In general issues, we have the scientific consensus on GMOs, the (im)possibility of overhauling the Constitution, and people who need healthcare,
And in fun stuff, Froggie has posted a number of recipes (somehow this isn’t how I pictured Butterbeer — maybe I should submit my own recipe). Sister Christensen gave some advice on making your prayers more powerful (and if it’s for something important — like football — you may need to take more drastic measures). And the Abbottsville Fourth Ward Relief Society Book Club has chosen some possible books for next month.
It’s been a fun week — happy reading!!