Sunday in Outer Blogness: **edited: forgot to add a title edition, lol

I guess it’s not Mormon news, but various Mormons had a lot to say about the recent racist violence in Charlottesvilleand about racism within Mormonism. Good for the CoJCoL-dS for specifically calling out racism — something Trump couldn’t bring himself to do.

I wish the atheist movement were doing a better job of stepping up to the platesadly, no.

The biggest Mormon story was that a General Authority got excommunicated. The CoJCoL-dS didn’t say what it was for, except to say that it was not apostasy. So let the speculation begin! (Both about what this dude did to get X’d and about why the CoJCoL-dS felt the need to tell us all that it wasn’t apostasy…)

On to discussion topics! We have some new takes on familiar topics like whether Joseph Smith had sex with his polyandrous and teen brides, how the CoJCoL-dS delegitimizes the stories of those whose experiences with the church were less than positive, the problem with faith-promoting stories, how to communicate across the Mo/exMo divide, the church taking credit but not blame, whether prayer works, and masturbation! Plus some modern topics like blaming the poor for poor health (as opposed to socialized health care) — looks like blaming is actually more biblical. There are also women’s issues like fat shaming, rites for girls in other faiths, gender essentialism, and being trained in which aspirations are allowed.

In history, there’s the ambiguity of the succession crisis, plus a follow-up!

In scripture study, the Book of Mormon teaches some questionable ideas about faith.

In life journeys, John Gustav-Wrathall explained why he stays in the CoJCoL-dS (despite having been excommunicated), myrtlejoy told the story of a transgender pioneer, the Narrator has taken off his (metaphorical) hats, and Adult-Onset Atheist lost a friend to intimate partner violence:

There are so many things that are happening in the world that some 63-year-old man bashing in the head of his middle aged girlfriend in an out-of-the way West Virginia home barely claws its way into local news. There is a family bereft of their flame-haired matriarch, and scores of people who have suddenly lost a good friend. Not just an acquaintance that is so cordial that they earn the title “friend”, but an honest-to-goodness good friend. She was a close friend of my younger sister.

And there were a whole lot of book reviews in Mormon land over the past few weeks! See these reviews of Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons, Days of Awe and Wonder, The Burning Point, Mother’s Milk, Illuminating Ladies, Tears We Cannot Stop, and Singing and Dancing to the Book of Mormon!

Happy reading!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Extreme Parenting Edition!

By now you’ve probably heard the story about the Mormon family who dumped their son in Bryce Canyon when he didn’t want to serve a mission — and about the BYUI professor who got fired for posting pro-LGBT remarks on Facebook.

By Common Consent’s new publishing house looks like it’s off to a great start! I wish them well, and hope MAA Books‘ publishing arm will be ready to roll soon. Other books discussed lately include The Burning Point, The Handmaid’s Tale, Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons, Days of Awe and Wonder, The Burning Point, and ABC’s of Science and Mormonism!

There have been some great discussions lately on apologetics and conspiracies, on gerrymandering, on what the priesthood is anyway, on how the disaffected are silenced and how to counterbalance the problem, and on garmies and porn shoulders.

Sam Young continues to shine the light on the church’s despicable practice of having untrained middle-aged me grill adolescents about masturbation in closed-door interviews. And Grouchy brings us more terrible news from Trumpland — the only worse disaster is climate change.

In life journeys, Myrtlejoy has posted a lovely story about her connection with her pioneer ancestors. Froggie is exploring mystery through photos. Uomo Nuovo has been on an epic bike tour. Kevin Barney recounted becoming a liberal-minded Mormon. And Chiroscuro recounted an adventure with black-and-white thinking:

Do you think I’m being extreme? I wish I were! President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Each of us has to face the matter — either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.” (May 2003 Ensign) And guess what? Church history is absolutely not the rosy whitewashed picture we were all taught.

Thanks for your patience, everyone! Sorry I’ve been doing such a terrible job of keeping up my posting here at MSP lately — the thing is that (in addition to extra stress from getting a new job) I have been desperate to finally finish drawing part 1 of my comic book. Well, I finally finished the last panel this morning — yay me!! I still have corrections to do, but I plan to be ready to print up some pre-prints in two weeks. This takes a lot of pressure off, and I’m hoping to have time to catch up on all my other projects in August.

BTW, another fun project I did IRL was to participate in an “Evening of Apostasy” panel hosted by the local freethinkers group here in Zurich. Here’s a write-up of it (warning: it’s in German).

I hope all your projects are going well too, and I hope to be back on track with my series on Mormon strategies next week — happy reading!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Baby steps edition!

Hard to believe, but it looks like the CoJCoL-dS may be moving on from the 1950’s to… the 1970’s I guess…? Female church employees are now allowed to wear pants (naturally, I’m more astonished to learn that they weren’t…) and the dudes can wear colored shirts!

The most baffling part was Elder Cook’s quote: “I would hope that Latter-day Saints would be at the forefront in creating an environment in the workplace that is more receptive and accommodating to both men and women.” I can’t even imagine what he thinks he meant by that. Is he crowing about being more progressive than the FLDS? Or maybe he hasn’t set foot in an ordinary workplace in 60 years…? Or maybe he meant “I would hope Latter-day Saints would be at the forefront — and it’s really disappointing to see how far we are from that aspiration.”

Also the Zion curtains are tumbling down and BYU is making progress on its rape problem! But the changes don’t seem to be coming fast enough to retain the Mormon Millennials.

But aside from all of that, the Mormon discussion this past fortnight was really dominated by the ripples of Savannah’s story.

In discussions, we have a new allegory, a discussion of the importance of diversity in Mormon literature, and a list of Mormon doctrines that have been jettisoned:

These are not peripheral Mormon doctrines. These teachings have been CORE to Mormon Doctrine since the beginning. You might argue that Joseph Smith and early church members literally fought, starved, bled, and (in some cases) died for these teachings. Plus, these teachings are encoded into our Articles of Faith, canonized scripture, and sacred temple ceremony.

What led to the changes? Social pressure – in every case. At the end of the day, the Mormon God seems to cave to social pressure, if the pressure is significant enough.

And so I am bewildered by the fact that so many educated, thoughtful, modern-day Mormons haven’t really noticed, let alone contemplated the implications of these core changes to Mormon doctrine…and instead remain devoted (with money, time, and reputation) to a church/religion that clearly is not what it claims to be…but more importantly…is becoming less and less of what it once was with every passing generation.

It reminds me a bit of my own recent post on the subject — which is part of a series that I will be continuing and wrapping up soon!

Naturally there’s been further commentary on the ongoing tragedy in the United States, and what can be done. Sadly, the atheist movement is currently in no condition to be of any help. The climate is also getting scarymaybe we can do something about that.

In personal journeys we have an image of reconstructing one’s faith, a journey through ex-Mormonism, rosé and remembrance, contrasting one’s current and former self, and a tale of a Mormon family trying to stop an interracial marriage.

In fun, Paul Bunyan and the Mormons, chocolate chip cookies, and a list of celebrities you perhaps didn’t know were ex-Mormons!

Next weekend I hope to get back on track with my series analysing the CoJCoL-dS — we’ll see how it goes. Have a great week and happy reading!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Savannah’s edition!

I imagine that by now you’ve all seen this viral video:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn’t have to continue to double down on its homophobia. Or its racist policies. Just look what the Southern Baptists did about their past racism:

WHEREAS, the roots of White Supremacy within a “Christian context” is based on the so-called “curse of Ham” theory once prominently taught by the SBC in the early years—echoing the belief that God through Noah ordained descendants of Africa to be subservient to Anglos—which provided the theological justification for slavery and segregation. The SBC officially renounces the “curse of Ham” theory in this Resolution; now be it therefore

RESOLVED, that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, AZ, June 13-14, 2017, denounces every form of “nationalism” that violates the biblical teachings with respect to race, justice, and ordered liberty; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we reject the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries of the so-called “Alt-Right” that seek to subvert our government, destabilize society, and infect our political system; and be finally

At least the CoJCoL-dS seems to like non-conformity under certain circumstances

Other personal stories of the week include a first trip to the temple, a magical road trip, daily life in an interfaith marriage, and other interfaith connection with family.

In church news, the European outposts are contracting. In discussion topics, Lynette covered the value of life, Andrew S wrote about invisible gods. See also beauty tips, and can the wording of the sacrament prayer change?

Wheat and Tares posted some intriguing articles including a temple mystery and an account of the days of Mark Hofmann.

In Book of Mormon study, we’re up to another part where Joseph Smith throws in a convenient prophecy. Plus what’s up with the iron rod? Alex also made the best of a bad review.

And the latest Trump drama is teaching lessons about sexual coercion.

After all of that, let’s cleanse the palate with a bit of Frog Eye Salad! See you next week!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Forget Mormonism edition!

Hey folks — I have at least one more article left in my series on what the CoJCoL-dS offers, but I’d like to save it for next week and just do a regular SiOB today. This is mostly because I finally got around to writing a post on my personal blog yesterday (nothing Mormonism-related, just international politics), and I can only compose so much new content in one weekend.

And I’m not the only one who was inspired to write about climate politics — check this out:

The problem with the “God will take care of it” sentiment is that it is the equivalent of never changing your child’s diaper because you know that God is even more capable of changing that diaper than you are—if it really becomes a problem, God will take care of it.

Actually, lots of Mormon-connection friends have also written about other random subjects, including more politics, historical research, third-culture kids, Memorial Day heroes, Memorial Day shaming, and motherhood.

Now let’s dig into the past week’s Mormon news! Like this Mormon mommy alt-right leader — and Mormonism’s continuing race problem. And don’t forget the homophobia problem:

I suspect that a measurable amount of the “at capacity” space will be occupied by the the new “hugging booths” that Mormons Building Bridges have introduced. MBB is an apologist organization that seeks to normalize the homophobia that is a structural component of LDS cultural theology. They insist on calling anything LGBQ (note the lack of a “T” here) by the acronym “SSA”, which stands for “Same Sex Attraction”. If allowed they can describe individuals who “suffer” from SSA who have married members of the opposite sex, raised families in the LDS church, and been monogamously in love with only their opposite-sex spouse.

John Dehlin is still facing questions about his organization’s finances:

But John and the Board have a long way to go to “come clean” about OSF finances. What he and they have not done is to answer specific questions about how John has potentially used his institutional power and position to influence not only how much he is compensated, but how others throughout the organization are compensated in comparison — including potential conflicts of interest with his wife and the compensation of people like Kristy Money…which is where this all started.

Fortunately the Book of Mormon is still full of delights:

Moroni has created the absolute worst abridgment in the history of abridgments. If he’s taking the salient points of doctrine from these records and carving them onto his own plates, why not keep it simple:

And it came to pass that the brother of Jared went forth unto a mount and did molten out of the rock sixteen small stones; and he did carry them to the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:

Look at that, I’ve cut the word count by roughly forty-five percent without breaking a sweat. I suppose, realistically, that the word counts might not be the same in Reformed Egyptian, but still, it sure seems like this prophet was making a lot more work for himself than necessary and laying down some truly awful prose in the process.

Also, this new Mormon stories collection looks interesting.

Happy reading!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: New exits edition!

A cool new blog appeared this past week, starting with a (perhaps familiar) story:

In many ways, nothing about me has changed and yet everything has. The thing is, I’ve really only changed in the same way every other person reading this changes—subtly and over time. None of us are the same people we were a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago; remaining unchanged in one way or another is impossible. We meet new people, we have new experiences, something sparks and suddenly—BAM! Lightning bolt; we’re forever changed. We go through these infinite, tiny changes during the course of our lives that are too subtle to be defined, and yet they define who we are in every way.

Moving away from the church the last few years has been freeing in ways that are difficult to convey to anyone who hasn’t been through a paradigm shift of this kind.

Welcome Rebekah — sounds like your journey is going well! Then I encountered another recent tale about understanding exmos (not quite sure whether it’s an exit or not):

Over the next couple of months I looked into what I had always believed were anti-Mormon lies. As it turns out, they weren’t lies. Almost none of the things I thought were lies were actually lies. Seriously, almost none. It was crazy. My natural response was to read the scriptures more, pray harder, fast, all that good stuff. The problem? Moroni’s promise didn’t work anymore.

And then there was a tale from a guy who is a faithful believer who can’t seem to squeeze any life out of the current meetings:

This ward (and I think the whole stake) has adopted a standard of always assigning Sacrament speakers to talk about a General Conference talk. The opening line of almost every talk (after the apology and joke section) is “The talk I’ve been assigned to talk on is …” To put it politely, this doesn’t make for the most engaging worship service.

I guess the biggest recent Mormon-land scandal was some questions arising about the finances of John Dehlin and the Mormon Stories Foundation. It looks like some people are not happy that a (perhaps surprisingly?) high proportion of the tax-deductible donations go to paying Dehlin and not to paying female content providers. It’s not totally clear to me what’s up, and the most baffling bit of all was Zelph’s satire about Dehlin eating a pet lizard…

In other mystery/humor, apparently a statue went missing,

Oh, and the Prophet is no longer well enough to attend church. If only there were a way for him to step down. (Weirdly reminds me of something I was saying just last week.)

In church culture, there was some discussion of the superficial bits: identifying the “temple-worthy” just by looking at them and excluding the tattooed from serving LDS missions. Plus more discussion of the problem with “porn addiction” and other sex hangups.

Gina Colvin wrote an interesting allegory of the CoJCoL-dS as McDonald’s, which is kind of apt except that, really, your family doesn’t care if you don’t like McDonald’s.

The official CoJCoL-dS magazines got some critiques this past fortnight! The New Era article on threats to religious freedom had some significant problems, and the Ensign apparently ran a piece that was a little mainsplainy:

Having a husband lecture his wife on being Christlike when he is sitting enjoying breakfast and she is cleaning up “messes she didn’t make” feels manipulative and self serving. Perhaps the actual situation wasn’t that way, but it’s not an unreasonable reading.

In non-Mormon-land other theocrats have their problems.

And let’s wrap up with some announcements: the feminist Mormon housewives are offering a single mom scholarship, there will be a Mormon Humanities Conference in May, and Mormon Arts Sunday will be June 11th.

Happy reading and have a great fortnight!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Done with scouts edition!

This past week the CoJCoL-dS has started decoupling its young men’s program from the Boy Scouts of America (and Canada)! They’re keeping the Cub Scouts and the beginning part of the Boy Scouting program (for now…), but for older teen boys (14+ in the US and Canada) the Boy Scouts will no longer be the official youth program. (Too bad — boys will no longer be earning these awesome merit badges!)

There’s been some speculation that it might be related to the BSA becoming more friendly to gay people. The official statement from President Newsroom is that it’s about the program not meeting the needs of the older boys. That may well be true, but I think it’s also likely that some bean-counter in the Church Office Building decided that they could save money by giving the boys a cheapo program like the one they offer the girls.

Dumping some scouting programs would be a good idea if they were replacing them with something interesting and exciting (and inclusive!), but it looks like the replacement will be more reading out of correlated manuals and bearing your testimony:

Instead, Young Men activities will focus on spiritual, social, physical and intellectual goals outlined by the Church.

It’s so funny — I was talking about just this sort of thing last week: the CoJCoL-dS scrapping anything and everything that provides a bit of variety and substance and replacing it with more correlated pablum. I know a lot of guys hated being required to participate in scouts, but there are probably plenty of other kids whose favorite memories of growing up Mormon were built through the scouting program. But, hey, why invest resources in things that will build good memories for young Mormons that will help them want to stay in Mormonism as adults — when instead you can save a few bucks…? It’s not like the CoJCoL-dS has a huge attrition problem or something….

At least LDS teens still get the privilege of having closed-door interviews in which they’re grilled about their masturbation habits (among other problematic messages about sexuality). Plus you can still build happy memories by making a game of strategies to survive the crushing boredom of LDS meetings!

In related news, it was Mother’s Day! With all the angst it brings. Including that charming LDS custom of telling all women that they’re mothers, whether they’re literally mothers or not:

What I do have complicated feelings about is people telling me that I am a mother. First of all, the insistence that, above all, I’m a mother, or even a potential mother, dismisses my actual life, skills, and service.

My kids didn’t get me anything, but, OTOH, I didn’t call my mom either, so I guess it all comes out even. Heavenly Mother got the usual shout-out. And Hawkgrrrl wrote some cheerful commentary on our current situation:

Given the timing of the new series and the AHCA, it’s an interesting time to be a woman. And by interesting, I mean welcome to dystopia.

Health care (or the gutting of what’s left of it in the US) has been a big topic of discussion — especially the disconnect between Trumpcare and the teachings of that Jesus guy the Republicans give so much lip service to. Meg Stout wrote some interesting commentary about the fact that US women are significantly more likely to die in childbirth than women in other developed nations. Interesting because she basically blamed the whole thing on abortion, and even if she had provided some evidence to back that up, that claim doesn’t even begin to address the question at hand about why the whole thing is more than twice as deadly in the US than it is elsewhere. Personally, I think it’s just that the US no longer really qualifies as a “developed country”…

In LDS church and culture, a BYU study found that belief in porn addiction (not the porn use itself) causes relationship problems, Lynette wrote a piece on how women are not encouraged to express desire (she does like some things about Mormonism though), Alex discussed the parallels between racism and sexism, and there was a charming personal story about mishies in the New York Times.

In fun, Adult Onset Atheist is cycling in the trail of the Mormon pioneers and Knotty posted some awesome Mormon films from the 80’s!

Happy reading!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: May Day edition!

Yay, Baring Witness got an honorable mention in the Association for Mormon Letters Awards! Rachel Whipple wrote about her anxieties as a contributor to the collection. As a contributor myself, I’m pretty happy about the award.

In Mormon news, Utah liquor laws have added a new twist, and Mormon History scholars filed a brief against Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

The Salt Lake Tribune just won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on how BYU’s Honor Code contributes to the problem of sexual assault. Hal Boyd wrote an opinion in the Deseret News claiming that the Honor Code may help prevent sexual assault, and Adam Lee offered a counterpoint.

In Mormon discussion, John C discussed why it’s easy for men not to see the worst of the church’s sexism, and Sam Brunson analysed how Trump’s proposed tax reforms will likely affect Mormons. (I think it seems rather optimistic of him to assume that Trump will still be president and we’ll all still be alive when tax time rolls around again…), and MyrtleJoy discussed the role of emotions in decision-making:

Feelings matter. I pay attention to my feelings, and I examine them closely for nuggets of truth. I trust my feelings, because they have often led me to good things. Like my beloved spouse, and my delightful child.

But, they do not verify truth.

In scripture study, Alex is up to the Tower of Babel part. In meta-scripture study, Mary Ann hasn’t given up on Book of Mormon archaeology, and Alan Rock Waterman has a clever new excuse for why the Bible quotes in the Book of Mormon come straight from the King James Bible.

I hope you’re enjoying my new series (analysing the CoCJoL-dS) as much as I am! Mette Ivie Harrison wrote a post on ways the CoJCoL-dS has changed within Gen-X’s lifetime, and I will definitely be discussing some of these points! Lynette also posted some doctrines that are getting de-emphasized.

In life journeys, Joseph Broom said goodbye to a friend, Steph’s marriage ended, Sam Young wrote some mishie erotica, Jen opened up about anxiety attacks, and Lynette expressed some frustration with members of the CoJCoL-dS:

Defenders Of The Faith: I beg of you, please stop saying “but men and women are different,” or “God is in charge of the church and doing things his way,” or “you just have to realize that the temple is all symbolic” in a tone that suggests you think these radical ideas have not occurred even once to the person raising the feminist critique. Because, surprise! I’ve actually heard assertions like these before. I’ve heard them a whole lot, in fact. I’ve heard them over the pulpit as well as in informal conversations for almost my whole life. Believe it or not, I’ve actually already read most of the talks that get quoted at me that are supposed to solve everything. Sometimes I feel that I’m being talked to as if I’d just come across an anti-Mormon pamphlet claiming that Mormon women are oppressed and had naively swallowed it whole, and I just need an enlightened Latter-day Saint who truly understands the gospel to clear up my misconceptions. But the reality is that I didn’t need to read even a single anti-Mormon pamphlet to notice the glaring reality that women don’t have equal opportunities in the church; I was actually asking questions about the disparity long before I knew what an anti-Mormon pamphlet even was (or, to challenge another assumption I sometimes encounter, before I went to college and was exposed to evil liberal professors who tried to brainwash me into becoming a feminist).

And let’s close with a poem/prayer by J.A. Carter-Winward.

Maybe one of these days I’ll succeed in getting back to posting on Sundays! Yesterday I actually spent most of the day wrestling some unruly, proprietarily-formatted data into a relational database (with a little time off to catch Pokémons). Thanks for your patience!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Easter Edition!

Did anyone listen to General Conference? I hear there wasn’t anything particularly scandalous this time, but it again highlighted the absence of women in positions of influence and authority. The doctrine of eternal gender roles is actually a little dodgy:

I have often said that the gender roles described in the Proclamation are unnecessary because either they are descriptive (meaning people naturally behave this way, so who cares) or prescriptive (meaning, people should behave this way, but if it’s not natural to them, they won’t anyway and you can’t make them).

There were a lot of fascinating discussions in blogland during the past fortnight, such as the problems with hiding information, Mormons using disinheritance as a threat to keep their descendants faithful, and how purity culture affects women:

We may, as a Western culture, look down on some Middle Eastern societies that drape their women in varied levels of physical covering- but many religious cultures in America entertain similar notions. The values that led Mike Pence to his conclusions about how to relate to the opposite sex, objectify and relegate women to a lower tier status as surely as any burka.

Plus the problem of “worthiness”:

A bit tangentially, I think the use of “worthiness” language about the temple is incredibly unfortunate in the way it gets applied in particular to non-members who are excluded from the weddings of their loved ones. Whatever you think about the theological issues at play, informing people that they won’t be allowed to attend, and then explaining that it’s because they’re not “worthy” to be there is—at least in my experience—pretty much a recipe for terribly hurt feelings and deeply negative impressions of the church.

Dave read a book on the dynamics of self-deception:

To fight these self-deceptive tendencies, we need to do just the opposite of what our biased information processing system pushes us to do: we need to seek information from sources with opposing views, check our memory against objective accounts of past events, be aware of our own biases, double-check our own motives, and critique our own constructed narratives. We are not the neutral, fair, and well-informed heroes that we think we are.

In news, The blog By Common Consent is starting up its own indie press! Also, apparently the CoJCoL-dS has opened a temple in Paris — and I’ll actually be in town during the time that it will be open for public tours (but I don’t think I’ll go see it).

In life journeys, FoxyJ contemplated some alternate lives she might have led, plus Froggie prepared a gorgeous pie, and the Sunday Pews posted a piece that is funny because it’s so true

I hope everyone is enjoying a lovely holiday weekend — I know I am! Let’s remember the reason for the season! Wait, which one? Maybe that story about Jesus…? He’s an interesting character. Like Paul Bunyan, it’s not entirely clear whether his legend was based on a real person or made up entirely, but the question (while interesting) is a little bit beside the point because all of the parts of the story that make it interesting and important — those parts are made up.

In closing I’d like to thank everyone for the comments and feedback on my short article from last weekend — more are coming up!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Reboot edition!

So, the first installment of my new rebooted version of SiOB is only a day late, so we’re off to a great start! you’d think that since the Pokémon Go servers have been rarely reachable this past weekend, I’d be more on the ball, but the thing is that I’ve really been on a roll with my comic book drawing. That and I found another one of those popular-book-deconstructions (this time it’s 50 Shades), and those things are like crack to me. Anyway, let’s get to the news!

Despite some progress, being gay is still a big problem for Mormons, given discrimination and rising suicide rates. Some, like Laura Root and Ben, are trying to make it work — despite the fact that the CoJCoL-dS has doubled-down on its gay marriage as “counterfeit” rhetoric. Dad’s Primal Scream has just launched a new resource website for gay dads (and he could use your help). He has a few of his own ideas on what makes an marriage counterfeit:

Counterfeit marriage…

Lie to a woman. Continue lying to yourself. Hide your feelings. Shield your thoughts. Do everything in your power to ignore the uncontrollable reactions that your body produces when particular men sit close, or casually touch your shoulder, or even make eye contact from across the room. Swallow the pain that you feel in isolation and fear. In fact…remain apart. Don’t associate too closely. Feelings might develop. Don’t touch another man. At least not in any way that could be meaningful. Dedicate all touch to your wife.

Pretend that it doesn’t hurt. Act as if you are excited and glad to be physical with her. The thoughts passing through your mind would hurt her immensely, so hide them completely. Don’t ever admit that you couldn’t function as a husband if you didn’t turn your thoughts to “dark and twisted fantasies.” If you encounter struggles in your physical relationship, and your sweet and trusting wife asks what is wrong, think through the panic and come up with something to say that might be believable as an explanation for your inability, on that particular night, to do those things that men are supposed to do spontaneously with the woman they love. Lie. Lie. Lie.

Then there was some entertainment in Mormon-online-discussion-land as John Dehlin posted a podcast which included some audio from a General Authority and a historian working for the CoJCoL-dS — but there was one little problem: they didn’t know they were being recorded nor did they consent to having their remarks published. Apparently this is legal, but JD ultimately decided it was not ethical, so he pulled the podcast from his website, which naturally made about ten times as many people want to hear it (like me! while drawing!) — and consequently the Infants on Thrones site crashed from all the people trying to download the still-available version there. Then Glen of the Infants cut the thing into three pieces which you can listen to here.

I found the above series a little more interesting than the Infants’ other recent leaked-info podcast, the one with the Mormon Leaks Guideline Responses to Common Questions. The most interesting thing about that leak (IMHO) is that it demonstrates that the maddeningly evasive/misleading responses you often hear from church leaders are in fact centrally-coordinated talking points — not just individuals choosing to “answer the question you should have asked” on their own. But actually listening to these official unofficial non-answers is kind of irritating. Just read Alex’s take on it (though the questions did apparently inspire Andrew S to write an interesting analysis of Mormonism’s relationship with the doctrine of trinity).

In other news, Denver Snuffer is now the prophet of a new schism in Mormonism!

In personal stories, Jana is celebrating her brand-new marriage, and Myrtlejoy is celebrating her mixed-faith marriage:

Really? I responded. None? You don’t regret marrying someone who started out Mormon, and ended up a happy agnostic atheist?

No, he said. I love the woman you have become as much as I loved the woman I married. More, even.

In life journeys, some Mormons brainstormed some ideas of what they’d take up as a replacement if they were to leave Mormonism and Froggie took some lovely photos of Fantasy Canyon, Utah!

Gina Colvin has some hesitations about teaching people that the Book of Mormon is historical:

Yet, holding on to the claim that the BOM is indeed an ancient record of Native American and Pasifika ancestry does violence to Indigenous knowledge. Contemporary scholarship is pointing to the impossibility of the culture described in The Book of Mormon and choosing to see yourself in Book of Mormon ancient identities is often done at the expense of the tribal and cultural identities offered up in the present.

In books, Nancy Ross wrote a new review of the Garden of Enid — in a nutshell she seems to think that Hales has some good ideas but that they’re maybe a bit too complex for the format of a series of one-page gags:

Hales talks about his purpose in the interview. He was interested in telling the story of the family who needs a lot of love and support from the ward as a way of showing the goodness of Mormonism. As someone who occupied that difficult space as a Young Woman, it looks a lot different from the way in which Hales portrayed it: full of guilt for being that-needy-family (there is a brief reference to this), full of remorse for not being able to fix unfixable problems with greater faith and obedience, full of experiencing other people’s well-intentioned ignorance about the limits of your situation, capped off with a healthy dose of Mormon rejection when you are unable to be loved out of your problems.

I hope you’ve found these discussion interesting! Next week — on to something new!