Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the history of Main Street Plaza, the Brodie Awards, and Mormon Alumni Association Books!! I have just made a guest appearance on the always-entertaining “Mormon Happy Hour” Podcast. With host Colleen, in addition to discussing my LDS-interest projects, we did a fun send-up/smack-down of all of the new policies of the new head of the CoJCoL-dS — check it out!!
So, another General Conference has come and gone, and this one had some interesting announcements. The worst item right out of the gate was from Dallin Oaks, who explained that LGBTQ advocacy comes from Satan.
This change is confusing and contradictory, plus it’s annoying because now there is no good adjective to describe LDS-interest or LDS-related things like Mormon literature or Mormon news, etc.!! What if you want to talk about your “Modar” or your lingering connection to your former faith? Sure you can say “LDS” (as I just did), but apparently they don’t want people using that one either.
Then the big procedural change was that Sunday services will be cut from three hours to two. I guess that’s a step in the right direction…? So they’re not wasting so much of the members’ time with pointless non-issues like the above…?
As an alternate strategy, they might consider trying to make their services interesting and engaging… Maybe talk about issues that really matter, like our impending climate change catastrophe…? Or at least make the meetings almost as interesting as you might expect after watching the infomercial.
Another gem from conference was when President Nelson said that women should take a 10-day fast from social media. Not everybody, just women. Coincidentally during the time leading up to an important US election.
If you’d like to hear even more analysis of this crazy conference, tune into Mormon Happy Hour’s smackdown or this series by Mormon Women Speak. (Yikes, another couple of victories for Satan by those podcasters and their evil desire to give their podcasts clear and concise names.)
There have been a lot of great podcast discussions lately such as this treatment of the changes in church policy on contraceptives and oral sex within marriage. And I enjoyed Radio Free Mormon’s illustration of how the leaders of the CoJCoL-dS are gaslighting the members by pretending like they never treated the growth of the church as the inevitable proof of the church’s rightness.
In film, there’s a new piece about Jane and Emma that looks really interesting.
I recently updated the Mormon Alumni Association Books website to highlight an award won by Mormon Erotica — have a look!
- Encouraged others to vote opposed to Church leaders.
- Organized more than one public “action” that expressed opposition to the Church or its leaders.
I guess it isn’t that much of a surprise — although it is a bit of a disappointment. Once again the leaders of the CoJCoL-dS have demonstrated that their own authority, respect, and prestige pass above all else. Rather than revisit this terrible, abusive policy of arranging sexually-charged interviews with minors, they shoot the messenger because he embarrasses them. Once again the leaders try to solve the problem by getting the critic to shut up — because from their perspective the only real problem is the damage to the church’s image. As I said in my Sunstone panel on criticism:
I argue that shielding the CoJCoL-dS from all criticism — including criticism from strongly interested insiders — does more harm that allowing criticism to be aired and discussed.
The other recent news story out of Mormondom is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is going to finally completely shed the nickname “Mormon”. It looks like this will be one of Russel M. Nelson’s signature issues as president — good thing he has some really important issues regarding the church’s image to worry about!
It seems like they’ve been doing this bizarre dance of embracing and rejecting the term “Mormon” my whole life — will it stick this time?
Well, let’s look at the style guide from the now-ironically-named “Mormon Newsroom.” They don’t want people using the terms “LDS Church” or “Mormon Church” anymore — now when you don’t want to type out the entirety of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” you are supposed to shorten it to “the Church” or the “Church of Jesus Christ.” Or a new one that combines cryptic with unruly: the “restored Church of Jesus Christ.”
In other words, anything that is clear, concise, and would actually help a lay person to know who you’re talking about is verboten. That’s a brilliant plan — good thing the prophets, seers, and revelators have the hotline to God to get such great ideas. Bonus points for all of the persecution that the Latter-day-Saints-formerly-known-as-Mormons get to feel when nobody goes along with this nonsensical request.
At least they stopped insisting that people shouldn’t use the term “Mormon” for other offshoots of the same religious tradition, which is nice, though they do request that whenever people talk about modern polygamist groups they specifically mention that the groups are not affiliated with the CoJCoL-dS — good luck with that one.
Will someone stick a fork in this church? I think it’s done.
I’m sorry to be flippant about it — it’s sad for me to see this organization that has been such a big part of my life so fully embracing villainy. Lately, while thinking about Sam Young’s situation, the following song from my youth bubbled up and lodged itself in my brain:
Shall the youth of Zion falter
In defending truth and right?
While the enemy assaileth,
Shall we shrink or shun the fight? No!
True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God’s command,
Soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.
I found I still have an emotional connection with this song (among others) after all these years. And in retrospect, it upsets me a bit to have been brought up on this. It starts with defending truth and right — which merits universal agreement — but then associates that noble goal with a bunch of stuff that doesn’t necessarily jibe with truth and right.
First, “the enemy assaileth?” — real-world problems are more complex than finding the bad guy and fighting him. This polarizing view is what leads the church to think they’re doing right by fighting Sam Young rather than bringing him into a real discussion. Fighting “the enemy” is just so much easier than introspection.
Then there’s the part about being true to the faith — which, in this case, can be interpreted as the organization or faith community. This is basically saying that challenging the church means being disloyal to your parents and to all those martyrs.
And being completely true “to God’s command”…? That is a terrible idea. Because acts that are good don’t need God to command them. They are justified by their good effects. “God’s command” only gets trotted out to justify things that can’t be justified on their own merits — often because those things are bad, like the closed-door adult/child interview policy.
So, yeah, I’m not happy to have an emotional connection with singing the praises of blind loyalty as being good and right — connecting that with being a part of my family and of the community of my youth. And I’m not the only one — just read this recent tale of how children are taught.
To you, Sam Young, and so many others: My you continue to defend truth and right by challenging all that other baggage.
To wrap up the last couple of items, the CoJCoL-dS is apparently working to prevent legalization of medical cannabis because of course they are. And check out this awesome review of Donna Banta’s novel Mormon Erotica!
OK — it was a few weeks ago now — but I think the most interesting recent bit of Mormon news was the hoax apology from the CoJCoL-dS (apologizing for the CoJCoL-dS’s history of racism), actually written by Jonathan Streeter.
The go-to analysis of it is by Zandra Vranes of Sistas in Zion — her reaction is powerful and moving. I won’t try to analyze it myself (since others have analyzed it well), but I’ll say I think it was a huge mistake when Streeter decided to trick people into thinking the apology was real. As the Infants pointed out, it’s very good as satire — but now it would be insensitive to discuss its merits as satire after all the damage that was done. At least Streeter offered a real apology.
There have been some really amazing transition stories recently, such as Tanner’s exit story, and Leah Elliott’s piece “In the Language of My Former People”, which I really liked — I related with it so well that I’m thinking of writing my own commentary on it.
Bishop Bill’s experience had a cool twist:
Do you remember the very first item about the church that you had to “put on the shelf”? The first thing you learned that didn’t have a good answer, and caused you some cognitive dissonance, so you just put it away to think about another day?
I remember mine, because it was already literally on a shelf
Alex had a pleasant discussion with his believing sister:
She didn’t understand how, when the armies of Coriantumr and Shiz were destroying each other, nobody on either side loved their families enough to flee from the violence. She introduced the absurdity of Ether into the conversation, not me. It was a fruitful debate and I think I did a decent job of demonstrating that my disgust for church doctrines is an entirely separate issue to how I feel about the average Mormon, so she was curious rather than offended.
Then there’s this inspiring tale from Lynette:
Over the years, I’d developed strong defenses to cope with things like polygamy and general sexism and and anti-gay sentiments and dubious historical claims and so on and so forth. But I didn’t have any kind of defense against the experience of finding happiness somewhere else.
In other discussion topics, Andrew Hackman answered the question: “Why do you not address liberal belief? Why do you only go after ‘the easy targets'”? — and he recounted some experiences with Evangelical services. No Man Knows My Herstory podcast discussed LGBTQ Mormons in history. BCC wrote some criticisms of using religion to justify separating children from their parents. Zelph on the Shelf covered Joseph Smith’s ability to translate ancient records such as the Kinderhook Plates and the Book of Abraham. Steve Wells explained the Masterpiece Cakeshop and Leviticus 20:13, and Knotty discussed the cake case as well.
Also, there are some interesting new books coming out: A Peculiar Transition: 6 Steps to Turn Mormon Faith Crisis into Spiritual Healing and Growth, by Wendi Jade Jensen, and Johnny Townsend’s new book The Moat Around Zion!!
There are so many amazing LDS-interest podcasts these days — I’m really looking forward to the day I can cut back my hours and listen to them all! This morning I took the time to listen to a couple of them: Radio Free Mormon has been doing a cloak-and-dagger series about trying to get access to the Joseph Bishop BYU police report — I can’t wait to hear how it ends! And the No Man Knows my Herstory podcast has some excellent discussion of the despicable concept of “non-consensual immorality” — with some analysis of why the CoJCoL-dS is incapable of stating that rape is actually worse than consensual premarital sex (or even stating that the victim of a sexual assault isn’t guilty).
Additionally the Mormon Happy Hour Podcast is celebrating the lifting of the priesthood/temple ban with some discussion of Mormon Sex Myths. And the Infants on Thrones are doing a very cool listener essay series. I’d like to submit one myself as soon as I have two minutes to rub together, but I guess it will be for next year’s contest. Laura Root has been doing a series of “Ask a Mormon Lesbian” podcasts. And one of our local Brodie-winning bloggers did a Mormon Stories interview!
Another site you might want to check out is Stuff You Missed in Sunday School — a collection of stuff that gets taught at church, but that perhaps the CoJCoL-dS might not want outsiders noticing too much. It turns out that Sacrament Meeting can be quite a mixed bag!
MormonHistoryGuy made a very good point about dismissing Brigham Young’s racism as “everybody was doing it back then” — plus some more background on the priesthood/temple ban. And Zo-ma-rah shared some great insights on the connection between culture and doctrine.
Sam Young and the Protect the Children movement ask you to mark your calendars for action on National Children’s Day, June 10th. And as a fellow religious minority, I hop Mormons can follow this recommendation to stand with Muslims as they fight against bigotry.
Knotty has some interesting commentary on Mormon parenting:
Now… let’s ponder this for just a minute. I can understand delaying entrance into school for developmental reasons. Since these young people are triplets, it’s possible that they were small and/or immature for their ages. However, the article states that their parents specifically decided not to start their children in school at the usual age because they knew, even when the boys were young children, that they absolutely would be going on missions.
In books, check out this Kirkus Review of Johnny Townsend’s book “The Last Days Linger.”
Looks like it’s Mothers’ Day, and the angst has already begun! Good luck to you all, and happy reading!
It’s a lazy, sunny Sunday, and since I just got back from a long nature-walk with my family, it’s time for some relaxing fun. Let’s analyze the good and bad advice in this latest doozy from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints: Sister Oaks’s Experience Dating an Apostle (+ 7 Dating Insights).
Right off the bat, I have a problem with the premise (which echoes a harmful message that women receive in LDS culture): a woman’s success is based on her husband’s status. If you’re a woman, there is nothing you can do yourself that comes close to the achievement of being the arm-candy of some really important dude. And BTW, I don’t just mean that this devalues women’s career accomplishments — I mean it also devalues their accomplishments as homemakers:
You can create the most loving, healthy, conducive-to-growth environment possible for your family, but if your husband is a blue-collar worker who never even made Bishop (or worse — he’s a non-member), then Mormons are not going to look up to you and ask your advice like they do successful Mrs. Apostle.
So she starts by quitting her lucrative job that she’s very good at. I’m actually not going to debate that part — it can very well happen that despite being successful at your job, you can get tired of it and want to try something else while you still can. And since she didn’t have debts or dependents, why not? (Though it’s a little odd that she then turned down a dream job at a competing firm.) Kudos to her at least for not saying that it was because she didn’t want to die an old maid.
But this bit kind of jumped out:
This meeting with a General Authority was extremely unusual for me. My exposure to General Authorities had been minimal, and I liked it that way. I had the utmost respect for them. I revered them, but I also understood the line of priesthood jurisdiction and felt confident that my home teachers and my bishop were sufficient to bless my life.
In other words, all of you plebeian ordinary members need to remember that there are layers of hierarchy between you and the really important people. So just because I became successful through my Mormon-royalty connections, don’t try it yourself.
Looking back, I would never have planned to meet an Apostle of the Lord and his daughter dressed so casually.
Um, why not? Oh, right, because they’re more important than everyone else.
On to dating insight #3: “Take Time to Develop a Good Friendship”. This one is actually pretty reasonable, and directly contradicts the terrible advice Mormon young people often get (namely to try to be married within a year of finishing your mission, and any two faithful Mormons can make a marriage work, so just marry the first available person you meet at BYU).
Time is a dear friend also—it mellows us and matures us. My wish for other singles is that they enjoy each and every day of their life.
Yes, Mormon young people — read that bit. Enjoy your life as a single person. Seize the day! Gain life experiences. Don’t sit around fretting about the fact that you aren’t married. And take marriage seriously by not just jumping into it when you’re not ready yet.
Don’t listen to this next bit, though:
Now that I am married, I do not feel that I have graduated to a higher plane. I do know that I feel more complete.
What does that even mean? I’m going to interpret it as “I don’t want to say that getting married is the most important thing a woman can do with her life (because I don’t want to hurt single women’s feelings), but… it is.”
Then comes the most popular pull quote from the article:
When I look back on my single life, my only regrets are that I spent too much time worrying about my future and too little time in the kitchen. I would do anything to be able to make better dinner rolls.
I don’t want to waste too much time on that one since it makes even less sense than the quote above it.
Then she gives a tip in which she has a friend act as a character witness for her — which was made possible by the fact that she’d done good work for her ward in various callings over the years. I’m not sure why she calls that one “Do Your Homework”. I would call it “Enrich your life with interests and experiences that build friendships and make you an interesting person.”
That’s reasonable advice that will help you to lead a full and happy life whether you marry or remain single. It’s certainly better than encouraging single women to spend all their time obsessing about getting married by, say, having them do wedding-dress fashion shows from the age of 12…
Then comes the real winner:
To help facilitate a successful dating relationship, it is usually wise to allow the man to be the initiator, no matter what age you are.
What the…? What does age have to do with it?
Is she saying “No matter how old and desperate you are, don’t try to rush your man.”..? Or is she saying “Even if you have been a fully-independent adult for thirty years, remember that the man is the adult in the relationship.”..?
She goes on to say:
If he makes the effort to contact you, arranges to see you, and takes care of the details, you can be fairly certain that he wants to be with you and has some idea of the basics. In addition, it is an interesting truth that the more self-initiated and independent effort a man puts into building a relationship with a woman, the more he comes to value her.
My issue with this is the gender imbalance. This absolutely goes both ways — or it should. I guess in Mormon-land of course a woman would value her husband, how could she not?
And this next bit is, I think, the worst part:
During my early acquaintance with my husband, I allowed him to make all the phone calls and appointments and contacts because I felt those were his prerogative until I knew him well. That entailed more than a few nail bites as I waited for him to call me. A confident woman does not need constant reassurance.
A confident, self-respecting woman does not sit by the phone, biting her nails waiting for a dude to call her. If she wants to talk to him, she picks up the phone and calls him or texts him herself because she knows that her own time is as valuable as his.
Sister Oaks’s tip here is excellent advice if for some reason you want to be with a man who wants his wife to be a total doormat. If, OTOH, you have a bit of self-respect and you want a husband who sees you as a full-fledged adult human being, I would replace that whole section with an improved section called “Don’t be a doormat.”
It’s disappointing, too, because all of that earlier good stuff about enriching your life with independent interests and friendships is suddenly right out the window if an apostle comes knocking at your door.
I also take issue with her naming that section “Don’t Smother or Pester”. “Don’t smother or pester” would be good advice — if that were actually the topic of the section. But with that title, the section advises women not to call their man at all or make any attempt to contact him. I guess that when a woman calls a man, that’s smothering and pestering (unlike when a man calls a woman)…? This title reinforces the misogynistic belief that there’s nothing more annoying to a man than a woman talking.
The last two bits are par for the course of Mormon dating advice. “Maintain the Lord’s Standards” (a.k.a. don’t have sex) is easy to say if you’re an elderly couple. It’s far more problematic for young people since it’s hard to treat the marriage commitment with the gravity it deserves if it’s placed right where it will be trampled by raging young libidos. And the part about feeling peace when you pray about the relationship — I’m not sure that’s really a good way to pick a spouse. YMMV. It’s nice that they like gardening together though.
And then there’s the eternal Mormon closer: “Anything less will be inadequate eternally.”
Well, I hope you’ll enjoy eternally sharing your husband with Sister Oaks #1…
In our last episode, we were too distracted by scandal to take much note of General Conference, but apparently there was a bit of a surprise! Since people were not happy to see three apostleships all going to white guys from Utah (in 2015), this time the CoJCoL-dS decided to try to make an effort to add some actual diversity to their (all male) top brass. One of the new apostles is even in an interracial marriage — which shouldn’t be a big deal, except that the CoJCoL-dS officially discouraged interracial marriage until quite recently.
The really exciting conference tidbit was that someone shouted “Stop Protecting Sexual Predators!” during the conference! Mormon Happy Hour Podcast interviewed the girl who did it.
On that note, the follow-up on the Joseph Bishop scandal continues:
- Cari and Kelsae of No Man Knows My Herstory podcasted their reactions to the events of the scandal and also discussed non-consensual immorality,
- Radio Free Mormon has more coverage of the cover-up,
- Ann described becoming an advocate for victims,
- The Exponent posted more #MormonMeToo stories,
- Stephen March outlined strategies for reducing abuse,
- And tangentially related: women are systematically excluded and ignored for roles that require special skills and training,
And Lynette asks:
To put it baldly: how is it that church leaders who are said to have special gifts of spiritual discernment get duped by predators?
I can think of a very simple answer to that one — you’ll have to read her piece if you’d like to know whether she accepts the obvious solution.
Walter Van Beek wrote a good discussion of Mormonism’s lack of a public wedding ritual, and explained the central problem:
What aggravates the situation, at least for couples of ‘mixed provenance’, is that in the USA the Church does not give couples the choice to marry civilly first; if they opt to do so, they have to wait for a year before being allowed to the temple; outside the USA this is not the case.
When civil weddings are performed by bishops in the USA, they are discouraged from rendering the ceremony too much ‘like a wedding’: no wedding march, no walk through the isle, no exchange of rings. The Church not only has no wedding ritual, but leaders prevent the members from fabricating one themselves.
In my view this is a problem that will not go away, since at its basis lies exactly this missing ritual: it is the absence of a wedding ritual that creates the quandary.
Then there was this tragic tale of a fun community tradition that the CoJCoL-dS latched onto like a parasite — and ultimately ruined.
Since the CoJCoL-dS appears to be contracting, let’s visit the world of the formerly-Mormon!
Sara will be chronicling her post-Mormon journey. Dad’s Primal Scream is still working on reclaiming honesty. Zelph’s Samantha Shelley explained five things she wishes she’d known before leaving Mormonism, as well as a fun exmo gift guide. And check out this profile of NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Hey folks — apologies for the salacious title, but wow — the latest from Mormon Leaks is quite a shocker! Audio of an interview in which a former president of the MTC admits to having a special basement office for very special interviews with Sister Missionaries who report to him!
Check out these responses:
- The Exponent has done a whole #MormonMeToo movement — in which women recount personal stories of receiving unwanted sexual advances and explicit discussions from their leaders, often in the context of “worthiness” interviews.
- The Mormon Therapist posted one as well.
- The Mormon Happy Hour Podcast provided tough discussion or two.
- The Infants on Thrones have done some podcasts on the subject, featuring Matt Long — who, through his experience as a Sex Crimes Prosecutor has some expertise on how to keep kids safe.
- Mormon Discussions posted a list of really eye-opening questions — and a podcast full of discussion — about the cover-up.
- And, hey, maybe always having exclusively men in positions of power over women is a big part of the cause of the problem…? And the whole idea of “worthiness interviews” is another big part.
“It sends a message to that individual person, but to everyone else, that if you come forward we are going to dig through your past we’re going to dig through your experiences who you are your very identity,” Bitton said.
It’s natural to be outraged when hearing of the church’s response, but their actions are hardly surprising. Further punishing rape victims for being harlots hasn’t even gone out of style yet in mainstream society.
As I discussed recently, the CoJCoL-dS uses polarization as a standard strategy. Those who were molested (and those who believe them) mistrust the church’s claims of having a trustworthy leadership hierarchy with the “power of discernment” — so the CoJCoL-dS throws them out violently and casts them as villains. That’s what retains the confidence of their target audience: the people who think the CoJCoL-dS is perfect, hence anyone who claims to have been harmed by it must be the minions of Satan, working to tear down the church. If that polarization tears your family apart, then T.S. for your family, as far as the church is concerned.
OK, well, let’s not get carried away — they did make some improvements.
And don’t miss this article in the Children’s Friend, explaining to young girls that if it seems unfair that they don’t get to pass the sacrament like their brothers, they should just put that worry “on the back-burner”. It’s just so gross — particularly this helpful explanation:
Mom said I could ask Dad for a blessing, and he blessed me to not feel too nervous. I feel a little better now. Dad told me that giving a blessing is an act of service for someone else, just like everything else we do with the priesthood. He said that when he needs a blessing, he asks our home teachers. I’d never thought about it that way.
Of course Dad can’t ask Mom to perform this act of service for him (because penis), so he has to ask some random male neighbors to do it. Gosh, that makes me feel so much better about this whole thing…
Plus another sad family story about not meeting expectations:
In his office, my dad has a frame on the wall containing a picture of each of my sisters. My picture is not in this frame.
When my second oldest sister went on her mission, she happened to send home a picture of herself standing on a street with her bag slung over one shoulder. Someone in the family realized that this photo had striking similarities with a picture my oldest sister had taken on her mission. The background was from a different country and the outfits were slightly different, but the poses and the facial expressions were nearly identical. A plan was quickly hatched for my youngest sister to pose the same way at some point during her mission and for me to follow suit a few years later, completing an amusing but meaningful set for my parents to frame. My dad went so far as to get the frame and arrange the portraits so that there were two empty spaces. It wasn’t long until the third space was filled. And I knew that the bottom right-hand corner was reserved for me.
In announcements: the Sunstone fiction contest is coming up — submission guidelines here.
Good luck with the heavy dose of reading this time! Oh, and Happy Easter! 😀
Hi everyone — I am taking advantage of this long Easter weekend to move this blog to a new server. So there may be some intermittent problems. If you notice any weird behavoir, please comment so I will know what to fix.
There’s been quite the explosion of Mormon news this past fortnight, so I hope I will have time to do SiOB today or tomorrow (Monday). I already have my link list ready — stay tuned!
April Young Bennett performed a fascinating experiment on what happens when you merely point out how few women speak at LDS General Conference — particularly daring to include some controversial musings:
“Wouldn’t it be strange if we had a whole session of #LDSconf without a single male speaker?” I asked Twitter after the Saturday afternoon session, which had included six male speakers and zero female speakers.
“Considering that would mean no talks by the priesthood leadership, yes. Yes it would be weird. Or, it’s be Women’s session.” answered one man. He was right on his first point; in our church, it is considered mandatory to hear from the priesthood (i.e., men) but women’s perspectives are thought of as unnecessary or optional. He was wrong on the second point: a man speaks at every Women’s Session. In fact, usually the male speaker at Women’s Session receives more speaking time than any of the female speakers.
It turns out that the fundamental irrelevance of women is a bit of a recurring theme in Mormonism:
How many active, full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders does it take to form a ward? No, it’s not a lightbulb joke.
15 — to fully staff a bishopric with clerk and secretary, high Priests group leadership, Elders quorum presidency, young men presidency and a ward mission leader.
How many active, full-tithe-paying Relief Society sisters does it take to form a ward? Well, technically none.
Of course, the CoCJoL-dS’s more hard-core cousins are also not so keen on seeing women in leadership positions:
“It has come to a point where I have to choose between my religion and participation in city government, and I choose my religion,” he wrote in his letter dated Jan. 25. “My religion teaches me that I should not follow a woman for a leader in a public or family capacity.”
Given religion’s terrible record with recognizing women as full-fledged humans, wouldn’t it be awesome if the atheist movement were doing a great job of providing a clear alternative? That’s the future I’m trying to work towards, but for the moment, it’s more like this:
TJ Kirk AKA the “Amazing Atheist” has been around for over a decade, and he’s been this repugnant since he first popped up. He has over 100,000 followers on Twitter. He has a million subscribers on YouTube.
You want to defend the skeptical and atheist community? We’re going to have to face up the fact that the popularity and persistence of terrible people who wave the banner of atheism has already compromised us, and realize that when some of our ‘heroes’ go further and commit sexual harassment, that doesn’t mean that they’re exceptional, but are perhaps more representative than we like to admit. At the very least, we have to recognize that being a misogynistic scumbag does not disqualify you from claiming to be an “amazing” atheist.
Sam Young has turned his petition movement (against adults giving children sexually-themed “worthiness” interviews) into a non-profit. Also, you may know that one of the Infants on Thrones has worked as a sex crimes prosecutor — he shared some insights on how to best protect children and help victims of abuse and trauma heal.
Jacob Baker gave some interesting insights about the CoJCoL-dS gaslighting people on their choice of identity:
Elder Oaks’ recent talk about not “labeling” oneself gay is a case in point. You are not “gay;” at most you have certain “homosexual predilections” that must and can be contained and, if possible, re-purposed. Deciding that this is your identity is the “real sin.” Being okay with being gay, loving yourself as a gay person, wanting others to love you as a gay person, that’s problematic because you are actually not a “gay person,” you are a child of a God who would never task any of his children with the impossibility of eternal, ontological homosexuality, thereby preventing them entirely from being connected to the Great Chain of Exaltation.
And, as I’ve said before, this isn’t a case of the church trying to free us from the limitations of labels in general since they clearly don’t have a problem with me identifying as a “mom” and probably don’t have a problem with me identifying as a “software engineer” — but when it comes to people wanting to embrace identities the church doesn’t like (like gay), they’re like:
Other Mormon-related discussions include how Mormons are like fundamentalists, do blessings of healing work?, how Mormon apologetic tactics have improved, BYUI is of one of the most terrifying universities imaginable, and what does it mean to teach doctrine, and how is it different from what people were doing in Gospel Doctrine class before?
Folks — thanks for your patience (if there’s anyone left still reading this…). I hope that my little bi-weekly roundup of the most interesting Mo-related news and discussion is interesting and entertaining to you. As I’ve probably explained, the reason the content has been a little lean for the past six months is that six months ago I was promoted to CTO, and, naturally, I had to increase my hours at work. I am hoping to get the IT department into a state where I can cut my hours back down and still do this job effectively, but I’m not there yet. Maybe by this summer I’ll be able to have a day per week for projects like this blog and MAA Books — not to mention getting back to drawing my comic book (and in my fantasy universe I also do a podcast 😉 ).
Happy reading and have a great week!