Sunday in Outer Blogness: Racial anniversary edition!

This past week, I kept seeing links to this article: On 37th anniversary of priesthood ban’s end, black Mormons say race issues still need attention. And I kept thinking, well duh — is there anyone who thinks otherwise? Obviously just sweeping it under the rug doesn’t suffice. (Note: Jane Manning James’s story got some attention at the annual Mormon History Association conference.)

Yep, racism’s alive and well, and if you want some evidence, just have a look at the Texas pool party incident that swept the Internet recently.

It was also a big week for scripture study! Steve Wells argued that the Bible encourages people to have sex with animals. Also capitalism. The Book of Mormon, OTOH, can offer you some interesting military strategy. If you find those tales a bit hard to swallow, remember one of the reasons historicity matters:

It definitely matters to me if the Book of Mormon is historical or not. If it’s not, there go the truth claims of the LDS church, along with its priesthood authority, the necessity for temples, tithing, and everything else the LDS church uniquely teaches or claims. If the Book of Mormon isn’t historical, to me it’s Christian fan fiction. It may teach of Christ, but it doesn’t mean Jesus himself authorized it, or that he approves of it.

In church discussion, Alex found the perfect visual metaphor for Mormonism. Hawkgrrl discussed some questionable values promoted by the CoJCoL-dS but rejected by everyone’s favorite Mormon columnist. The lds.net blog explained the ordinance of dedicating one’s home. How did Utah become a bizarre, blissful epicenter for get-rich-quick schemes? Analyzing the differences between John Dehlin and Alan Rock Waterman led Corbin Volluz to some ideas on what will get people excommunicated. Personally, I think it’s doing anything that helps believers notice how devoid of insight the correlated CoJCoL-dS is — like, say, holding a rogue “foyer Sunday School”. (Of course, there are worse things than being boring…)

Runtu highlighted a tale of an Evangelical missionary in the heart of the Morridor. Too bad for him that the CoJCoL-dS prepares its members for atheism:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints incessantly teaches its members that the prayer experience is the only way to “know” and thus implicitly teaches that all other evidence or rational means of seeking Truth is insufficient. By focusing on and relying fideistically on the prayer, the LDS Church makes its members into believers who are only a few spiritual impressions and a prayer from being agnostics.

In interfaith interactions, an encounter with a believer helped Emma appreciate why she left, and TommyMonsoon acted on some great advice on what to do when you get invited to (stand outside) a temple wedding.

In life stuff, David Twede is still mired in a custody battle involving his LDS-interest blogging. And we have new exit story from the atheist Mormon housewife:

My thirst for truth was unquenchable. I scoured the internet for any information on Mormon history I could find until 2 or 3 in the morning, night after night. Reading new things I never knew about the church before was exciting and exhilarating. Church history had always been boring to me in the past and I realized that is because I was never taught the real history. I found the real history fascinating. Which also made me feel guilty because the real history is not faith promoting. When I finally pulled myself from the computer and collapsed into bed, I’d cry and cry. I’d let out all the ugly emotions that were pent up inside me while I laid there in my bed alone.

In books, Knotty has reviewed some LDS-interest true crime.

Now it’s time for some fun images! Just check out these stock photos from LDS.org! Plus an interview with satirical artist Matt Page. (Is the plug-going-in-the-electric-socket really the best image for teaching about the male power of the Mormon priesthood?) Then take a look at these lovely images from Utah Pride! Then enjoy a musical interlude.

Even the not-Mormon-related discussion this week included beautiful imagery! Here‘s a haiku and some gorgeous family travels!

I’ve had a nice relaxing weekend enjoying all the fun stuff on the Internet (not to mention my other hobbies). Happy Sunday to you as well!

Sunday in Outer Blogness:

It’s been a slow week in Mormon news. The biggest item seems to be that you can now pay your tithing online (though you still can’t keep the amount confidential from your local leaders). Remember, tithing is basically the most important thing to do. Oh, and don’t criticize the leaders, especially not with funny memes.

Still no moral guidance from the prophet on complicated issues like race riots, but — to be fair — everyone knows the public would rather hear about lighter issues. OTOH, apparently the president of UVU has lent his name to a questionable amicus brief in the gay marriage case before the Supreme Court.

There’s a painting of Jane Manning in the new Payson Temple — which, presumably, is to highlight the CoJCoL-dS’s racial inclusiveness — but you’d think that if they had any sense, they’d realize that this is the last story they want to draw attention to:

So Jane was denied the same blessings given those of a paler complexion. However after these many requests she was eventually allowed to be sealed to Joseph as a servant in the next life. Think about that and look at how Joe viewed servants in the biblical sense in his own letter. Servants to these men were equivalent to slaves to their masters.

In a related case of please just stop embarrassing yourselves, BYU is publicizing a study showing that you can identify Mormons by their skin quality.

No news from FreeBYU, but enjoy this cartoon.

In this week’s gospel doctrine lesson we learn that Jesus’ own answer for why bad things happen to people who don’t deserve them is even worse than the usual apologetic excuses:

The disciples think that this misfortune is God’s retribution for sin. Well, thank goodness Jesus is going to put that notion out of their heads, right?

9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

WHAT

Think about that. For his entire life, this man has lived without sight, and for what? So he can sit there when Jesus comes along, get healed, and show everyone how great God is.

Plus there’s another copious batch of commandments. And Andrew Hackman learned some interesting things from a documentary about hell.

Thinker of Thoughts has been analyzing the accusations that the Mormon Expositor contained lies, Mormonism 101 posted some analysis of one of the first vision accounts, and Meg Stout is continuing her popular “My Joseph” speculative fiction series.

In life journeys, Mary Ellen Robertson is leaving Sunstone after many years of fantastic service — good luck on all your future endeavors. So Says Me faced the death of a loved one, and Kelsey S. also shared some thoughts about dealing with the death of a loved one when you don’t believe in an afterlife:

I can’t stand that they get to be so naive to think that after a person has died and been embalmed or cremated that the spirit that used to be their grandmother or their dog is up in the clouds waiting to see them again. That their soul and spirit lives on until you can go meet them in heaven and see their cool mansion and unlimited happiness. I think they believe in things that are unrealistic and childish. It’s like the thought of death has made them want to go back to when they were innocent children and run to daddy and ask why everything can’t be perfect and why they can’t be shielded like when they were young. I hate that I have to cry myself to sleep 60% of the time because I know that I will never see that person again, ever. All I have left is material possessions, memories, and pictures.

Holly (Domestic Dork) is dealing with more fallout from the life-advice she got as a young person in the CoJCoL-dS:

I do want to say that I don’t blame Adam personally for how things ended. His contributions to the breakdown of our relationship can be placed squarely on the church’s shoulders, as can mine. And let’s face it, two young adults, little more than kids, getting married within four months of meeting without any opportunity to explore intimate compatibility because they’ve been brainwashed to believe anything more than basic kissing is sinful, second only to murder, is a recipe for disaster.

In other church-related discussion, Diane Tingen has a new Hymn parody and the Exponent has been doing a series on Heavenly Mother’s Day.

In random stuff, Froggey posted some beautiful photos of doors. Adult Onset Atheist has been doing a a series of reviews of the Hugo Awards situation — very entertaining, making me feel tempted to get a membership so I could vote, but I don’t have time to read all the nominations myself.

For myself, I’ve had a rather eventful week, but nothing I can really report to the Internets. At least there’s always the fun and relaxing task of reading the news from Mormon-land online! Enjoy! 😀

** Edit: a must-read that was just mailed to me: Sean and Taylor respond to being called to a disciplinary council hearing over their marriage.