Sunday in Outer Blogness: Julie Rowe Edition!

Whatever happened to that old-time LDS religion that was always on about how the end of the world is nigh? Probably some members like the newer, calmer CoJCoL-dS, but others are clearly unsatisfied with the weak porridge (and deletions) that the correlated corporate church serves up — they want the exciting stuff back:

among the “established” families, there seemed to be a high percentage of “doomsday preppers” with extreme right-wing views. Pretty much every sacrament meeting included at least one person warning of impending calamity and railing against the “New World Order,” the UN, and so on. Bo Gritz bumper stickers were common, and I was grilled more than a few times as to why I didn’t support his candidacy and instead supported one of the fake parties that were in on the conspiracy.

Enter Julie Rowe and her “preppers”! If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, this podcast gives a good overview. She’s starting to show up on the mainstream’s radar, and the CoJCoL-dS itself is starting to take action. Will she be the next on the excommunication block?

Compare that to the exciting stuff the members get from the official leaders. For example, Elder Bednar’s talk blaming parents for their childrens’ disaffection is still earning criticism:

Weak Gospel Teaching

• Teaching that a pint of cream might be solely responsible for someone leaving the Church.
• Having the same Sunday School lessons on a rotating 4-year cycle for over 30 years and expecting a different result.

At least some Mormons are responding to the Syrian refugee crisis (well, the members, that is).

The Mormon apologists recently got some bad news: BYU “destroyed” the scholarly study of Book of Mormon as ancient history (due to lack of good scholarship — did BYU do something right?). This development seems to be connected with poor Bill Hamblin getting his ass handed to him by Philip Jenkins. So I guess they’re going back to trying to rebut the CES letter and writing snarky book reviews.

Those observing the CoJCoL-dS have some interesting new stuff to offer! Glenn (of Infants on Thrones fame) is starting a side project early Mormon audio. Thinker of Thoughts created a Mormon Meme Translator. The brand-new blog Zelph on the Shelf has offered responses to “44 Reasons the Church is True” and is Changing the Narrative About ExMormons (among many other things). And Mithryn is continuing his 40 talks in 40 days.

In philosophy, Mormon Hurt analysed whether faith is a virtue.

In books, Kirkus has posted a review of Johnny Townsend’s latest book. Also Woman at the Well has written three book reviews: Brigham’s Destroying Angel, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, and Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape.

In life journeys, Aerin contemplated what she misses about being married, Kiley is feeling unprepared, Kevin Barney wrote about the film “Transmormon”, Puck Saint described life as a queer Mormon, Uomo Nuovo is sending more pretty pictures from Italy, and both Prairie Nymph and Kevin Dudley shared some adventures in parenting:

We knew she was trying to figure out what it meant. She “dated” a couple of kids from school. Both boys and girls. The guidance she received from us was, “Only do what you are comfortable with.” We also advised her to take things slow. Don’t rush to commitment. Don’t limit yourself to dating just one person. Some of our advice was well received and some of it has been ignored. At the end of the day, we are observers. Our only role is to preserve her ability to consent.

Leia described receiving a very startling revelation:

I plopped down on the couch and she told me that my dad wasn’t my real dad, that my brothers were only half brothers, that she was raped and that is how I came to be, and that I had older half siblings, but she wasn’t sure. I stared blankly at her for a short while, then she said that I couldn’t tell my brothers because they didn’t know.

And Myrtle Joy explained how God ended:

“No, Yahweh, I WILL NOT KILL MY SON.

“No, I will not do as you command, and take the life of that which is more precious than my own breath. No, I will not plunge a knife into my son’s body, spilling his blood on the ground. No, I will not offer him as a burnt sacrifice to your incredible hubris.

“No, God. I will not kill my son.”

That day, sitting in that class, I knew I was done with that god. A god who could ask such a thing is a god not worthy of my devotion. He is a god I will not obey, a god I cannot love. I do not want to return to such a god, and I do not want to become such a god.

In fun, we have some new hymn parodies, some hilariously awkward missionary moments from the New Testament, and finally evidence that prayer works!!

Folks, I’m really sorry about the lateness of this exciting episode! Basically, my husband came home yesterday (been at a conference for a week) — and this coincided with a long weekend (today’s a holiday here in Switzerland!) — making it too easy for me to say “Meh, I’ll do it in the morning…” Have fun with this batch!

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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!!

18 thoughts on “Sunday in Outer Blogness: Julie Rowe Edition!

  1. Regarding a statement issued to CES personnel about Sister Rowe, Chruch spokesman Doug Anderson said: “The internal memo does not constitute an official Church statement but serves as a routine reminder to teachers from Seminaries and Institutes of Religion of their responsibility to teach from the scriptures and church leaders,” Andersen said. “People who read her books should recognize that they are personal accounts and do not necessarily reflect church doctrine.”

    Now along with confusion as to what constitutes doctrine as opposed to folklore we now have “official statements” as opposed to “reminders,” which apparently are “non-official.”

    Rather than applying the principle that when the prophet speaks the thinking has been done, we, once again, have a case that the thinking wasn’t done, before the speaking occurred.

  2. @1 lol, so true. It’s interesting how many ambiguous categories and levels of authoritativeness the CoJCoL-dS can invent to classify its statements.

  3. @3 Well, you know how it works: “The church is perfect but the members aren’t.” Ergo, if people leave the church, it must be the members’ fault.

  4. Re: Parker’s comment @1 and this statement from this link from Wheat and Tares:

    • Having the same Sunday School lessons on a rotating 4-year cycle for over 30 years and expecting a different result.

    It occurs to me that one thing the church is trying to do (whether intentionally or not) is to shrink and restrict its theology. It’s not trying to create a philosophy that is expansive and has room for speculation and debate and argument. It wants a very narrow, very focused, very correlated, very controlled and therefore very controllable set of beliefs.

    Unfortunately, such a set of beliefs is also very boring—and bears little resemblance to pre-correlation Mormonism. As long as this is the approach the church takes, it will spend its time playing Whack-a-mole with embarrassing beliefs that used to be considered doctrines attributable to God’s divine but now must be reclassified as something else and blamed on someone else. And more and more people will leave because they experience the church as a frustrating, boring, restrictive, infuriating obligation instead of something that brings them joy and possibility. If the church actually made people happy, it wouldn’t be so hard to get them to stay.

    Someone should tell Elder Bednar that.

  5. p.s. Apropos of nothing but my own frustration, would you consider using the “open links in a new window” function on SiOB? I know that you can end up with a lot of open windows that way, but it also means that you don’t lose track of the original post here on MSP. Sometimes you follow a link and it takes forever to get back to the post you were trying to read in the first place, and it’s also hard to determine where you were in the post and what links you have and haven’t read. I sometimes don’t make it through the whole post because I so dislike clicking forward and back. I much prefer getting a new window that I can close when I’m done.

  6. @5 Exactly. As bad as the bad stuff is, at least it was something. You can’t just keep replacing something with nothing. Many people will be left fundamentally unsatisfied — without necessarily even perceiving the lack. And continuously blaming people for not being satisfied with empty filler doesn’t solve the problem.

    I think this is a big part of why we’re seeing people leaving in all directions, including the preppers.

    @6 Good point, I’ll try and do that next time.

  7. @8 Yes, I think it’s working now. I think the problem was the choice between RSS and atom. I may have picked one that wasn’t working with Feedly, but the other one seems to work.

  8. And continuously blaming people for not being satisfied with empty filler doesn’t solve the problem.

    No. The only thing that accomplishes is deflecting blame from the leaders. It’s shocking how many members are willing to help with that effort, exonerating and excusing them no matter what they’ve done. (“Joseph was threatened by an angel with a sword so he HAD to marry all those women! What did you expect him to do?!”) But of course, the refusal of so many members to hold their leaders accountable and the refusal of the leaders to be accountable–and the ridiculous stories that have to be concocted to make all that happen–are all just one more thing that irredeemably tarnishes the church’s standing as a moral authority

    When the church that has frustrated and irritated you for decades ceases to be a credible moral authority, well, you have to be really loyal and invested to stay.

  9. It really is astounding, at least to me, that the church issues an “unofficial reminder” to CES personnel not to use Julie Rowe’s material, or teach it in their classes, because it isn’t doctrinal. But they don’t issue the same “reminder” to the general membership. In the meantime according to SLTrib reports the emergency preparedness vendors can’t keep their shelves stocked. So Sister Rowe is having a huge influence, but the leadership basically ignores her. However, if someone should question this level of leadership and wonder where the inspiration is, such as Rock Waterman, they get excommunicated.

    As Holly said the level of investment required to accept this kind of response from Church leadership is in of itself incomprehensible.

  10. @11

    In the meantime according to SLTrib reports the emergency preparedness vendors can’t keep their shelves stocked.

    It’s the Whack-a-mole thing. Many of us remember when “food storage” was called a “two-year’s supply” and everyone was commanded to have one of all essentials–food, water, toilet paper, clothing, batteries, etc. Rowe’s narrative fits right in with a previous official church narrative many members experienced firsthand before it was quietly and gradually replaced with something less weird and cultish and extreme. So to have it pop up now–well,the groundwork for a complete disavowal like the one the church issued regarding race hasn’t been laid. While Rowe’s specificity about when shit will start to happen is not what was preached over every pulpit, a blanket disavowal won’t work because other elements are just too similar to what so many average Mormons accepted as truth because it was taught as truth by the church only 40 years ago.

  11. I remember my epiphany about the food (and other items) storage thing. As Holly noted it was preached heavily and one of the things that I often heard preached was, “The Brethren have been telling us for 50 years to stock our pantries and be prepared, and if you aren’t ready when the time comes you have no excuse, and you will be held accountable for ignoring the Brethren.” It occurred to me on one of those occasions that any thoughtful responsible person knew to make some preparations, and you could even find advice of this type (savings, some food storage, etc.) by various government and educational institutions. You really didn’t need a prophet to say don’t live from day to day. What you need a prophet for is to tell you the when and what of future events. That is the significance of OT story of Joseph. If he had said, you know we really ought to stock pile some grain because we might need it some day, then people would have simply yawned, and Joseph’s story would never had made it into the Hebrew Bible.

  12. @12 That is so true. Preparing for the last days has always been one of the central (and interesting) unique practices of Mormonism. You can’t teach it to people as critically important for decades and then just hope nobody will notice when you phase it out.

    @13 It’s funny how reported past prophecies of past events are so much more accurate than prophecies about stuff that really hasn’t happened yet.

  13. @15: OMG. That prepper article is something else. I was especially struck by this:

    Although I am definitely more “on the fence” than my husband is about these visions, the fact that they have inspired us to follow the counsel of our leaders does make me wonder if there may be some truth to them.

    That’s some logic: “the fact that we take these ideas seriously makes me think there’s a real reason to take them seriously.”

    OK….

  14. @16 I think in that case she’s essentially saying, “As long as the vision-promoters are encouraging us to Follow the Prophetâ„¢, they can’t be all wrong.” That’s really the bottom line for the CoJCoL-dS.

    I think their calculation is that the preppers are not only really willing to invest everything in religion, but they’re also not annoying the church with pesky, annoying, doubtey questions about church history. So the church might as well embrace them. I think they’re really playing with fire, though.

  15. they’re also not annoying the church with pesky, annoying, doubtey questions about church history.

    Good point. It’s true: they’re too focused on a murky, alarming, dangerous future to worry about a murky, alarming, dangerous past.

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