Sunday in Outer Blogness: Conference Fallout Edition!

Did you get a chance to watch or listen to the latest General Conference? If not, you can get some of the highlights from Alex. Or listen to the Infants’ usual parody. (Or maybe listen to their ghost stories instead.)

Brooke W didn’t care for the message that everything is part of God’s divine plan:

The idea that God’s design includes every aspect of my life makes me uncomfortable. I don’t believe that God sent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, etc. as special tests for the people most affected by them. I don’t believe that people lose their jobs so God can see how well they handle running out of money. And I definitely don’t believe that my infertility is some grand test sent to me to make me a better person.

Some other messages were also questionable.

Perhaps the biggest discussion point this time was the re-iteration of gay people’s status in the CoJCoL-dS, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Their situation doesn’t change much. But it’s important to be aware of the damage such teachings can do to people’s lives:

We have a suicide youth crisis occurring in Utah… and to continue this cultural bias and unfortunate “tradition of our fathers” promoted as revealed doctrine from God is at best irresponsible… and in my eyes, has taken the following step towards knowing abuse. I am sure you have been alerted to the statistics we are currently dealing with as a people. I hold you responsible for this knowledge and yet choosing to continue in this direction.

Of course some people are just going to hate gay people….

Then, in a surprise move, Elder Ballard condemned racism, sexism, and nationalism! What could it mean?

In church history, here’s the tale of how the Quorum of the 12 got its power, and grindæl explained the origin of the baptism for the dead doctrine. And don’t miss these five myths about Mormons and money!

In US politics, the president is a vulgar man with a decrepit soul, the latest tragic shooting may help pass a bump fire ban, and are we still writing poems about players kneeling down?

In other church stuff, Hawkgrrrl enumerated the ways the church lost her, Michelle found imagery of the divine feminine, and Martin contemplated a Mormon sociopath.

Also, here’s another candidate for this year’s X-Mormon of the Year: Nobel Prize winner Kip Thorne.

In random life, Monica is setting of on a Tinder adventure, Joseph Broom spent a gay day in Berlin, So Says Me is not ashamed to be a fighter, Petra described what it’s like to be the only woman in the room, Sam Young recounted a strange dream, Tracy recounted a sad departure, Rosalynde is changing her perspective on housework, the Pearce family spent five weeks in Europe, and Froggey shared some beautiful photos of pumpkins and roses.

Have a great week!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: BYU Coke edition!

In my day, “caffeinated pop” was one of those sinful beverages that good Mormons avoided. Then it became a point of controversy, and then President Newsroom announced that there’s not actually any rule against it. And now Brigham Young University has finally started allowing the sale of Coke with caffeine on campus! Which, naturally, takes all of the fun out of it.

The other bit of Mo-news was that the CoJCoL-dS purchased the Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon from the Community of Christ for $35 million. Many were shocked, but I can’t bring myself to be remotely surprised that the richest branch of the Mormon tradition bought a valuable historical artifact from another branch in need of cash…

General Conference season is upon us, so it’s time for exciting activities like voting opposed! The first controversial development so far is that Joy D. Jones explicitly mentioned “Mother in Heaven”! Maybe talking about Heavenly Mother will one day be allowed again, like Coke.

There were some interesting scripture-study topics, including :

At no point does anybody say, “hey, we went from millions to less than a hundred, let’s stop and think about this.” At no point does someone say, “I’m getting out of here to live on my own before these animals destroy everyone.” At no point does anyone say, “Maybe the fact that we keep fainting from the loss of blood doesn’t bode well.” It’s just continuous fighting, with occasional breaks for sleeping and for fleeing to other made-up place names between battles. When did they have time to prepare and ingest food to fuel more fighting? How is it that one side didn’t win by attacking while the others slept?

None of this makes sense. None of this feels like the behavior of real people—although, admittedly, it would make one seriously badass action movie (Jason Statham IS…Coriantumr. Coming summer 2018). No one is this obsessed with victory or vengeance, but even if there are people like that, what are the odds that the last hundred or so warriors of a nation numbering in the millions would ALL be that kind of person?

But you know what’s even more ludicrous? After these millions of Jaredites have hacked each other to pieces, the last two combatants after every single other person has died are the two leaders of the armies. The final inning is a showdown between Shiz and Coriantumr.

Gimme a break.

Then there were a bunch of other interesting LDS-interest discussion topics:

As soon as a white Mormon man decides to ‘reimagine’ Eve as black, she is naked and up for auction.” Likewise, Bryndis Roberts, a Black convert to the church who practices law in Atlanta, told the Salt Lake Tribune that “this depiction with more of a focus on her breasts than her face is far too similar to pictures of black women on the auction block.”

But Richards did not listen.

In personal journeys, we have some literal ones and a poignant live journey:

There were so many things I didn’t know that day as I knelt at an altar and agreed to the LDS vows of a forever marriage. For example I would have been devastated to know that three close family members who were present at the ceremony would die too soon. My father would only live two more years because of pancreatic cancer, I would lose my brother-in-law to lymphoma five years later, and my grandmother a decade after that. I couldn’t foresee that I would move more than 15 times in those 25 years or that the wedding gift that I received that day, of a sewing machine from my mother, would become one of the very few possessions that would travel with me for each of those moves. And of course it was completely beyond my imagination that the eternal wedding vows I agreed to that day would, seventeen years later, be erased by the action of a stake president when he excommunicated my spouse from the LDS Church, or that a year after that I would file for a civil divorce.

See you in a fortnight!!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Disaster edition!

I hope all of you in Florida and Texas and other disaster-stricken regions are safe today! It is time to take climate change seriously. Runtu’s daughter and son-in-law’s home was flooded by Hurricane Harvey and they didn’t have flood insurance — he has set up a fund for them here.

Surrounding the hurricanes, prosperity-preacher Joel Osteen was shamed for not sheltering people, and a Texas professor got fired for making an insensitive remark.

Let’s have a look at this week’s Mormon discussion topics!

In life journeys, Brooke W recounted some adventures with fertility. Andrew Hackman’s son just turned 16. Paul Sunstone lost his mother. David Johnson shared some thoughts about the CoJCoL-dS and his mixed-faith marriage. Dad’s Primal Scream participated in a discussion of divorce and gay parenting. Ben came out to his new ward, and Alexis’s cousin had an unusual gay Mormon experience:

We were led to believe that he suffered with a mere lack of direction in his life which compelled him to spend hours at a time in front of the family’s living room television, thoroughly engaged with Food Network programming. Richard’s fascination with all things related to Bobby Flay did not escape the attention of his mother, who honestly believed she could change her son’s true nature to what it should have been according to LDS teachings by the simple act of cancelling her family’s cable TV connection.

And I could relate to Bethany Jane’s experience of not connecting with one of the central components of Mormonism:

It took me until my late twenties to realize that I am not a spiritual person. I don’t feel things in church or when I pray or when other people are. The only time I feel something is when music is involved and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the pioneer hymns of Mormonism. When you are not a spiritual person and frankly most religious things make you incredibly uncomfortable, it is virtually impossible to try and gain faith in things you feel nothing for and are super confused by. I deal primarily in logic and not feelings; religion is not logical. When I told my bishop that I was not a spiritual person he tried to assure me that isn’t true and of course I am; I do not see this as a fault but just how I was made.

This week’s Book of Mormon lesson was pretty fun:

And it came to pass that his high priest murdered him as he sat upon his throne.

Again!? I’m starting to think that if the FBI developed a time machine and used it to track American crime statistics back a few thousand years, they’d discover that about 80% of all homicides in this country prior to European invasion took place on either a throne or a judgment seat. It’s literally the most dangerous place for any character of the Book of Mormon to be at any given time.

Or maybe Joseph Smith just wasn’t that creative when it came to dreaming up scenarios for the assassination of government officials (luckily for Lilburn Boggs).

Then there was quite a lot of discussion about books:

Good luck to all, and happy reading!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Intolerance edition!

You may have noticed that there have been some racial tensions in the United States lately. Also the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has traditionally had some problems with racism (see this helpful infographic). And, yes, there’s racism in the Book of Mormon:

This scripture is important because it racializes skin color. That is, it was because of the dark skin, that we know the Lamanites were bad hombres. This as opposed to the idea that the Lamanites were sinful and thus they were cursed with a dark skin. Also note that the dark skin was a mark of marriage prohibition. This is racism 101. Let me provide an example to help better understand what I mean

“How do we know Blacks (insert negative stereotype) act that way?”

“Because their skin is black and black people always act that way.”

There is no way 2 Nephi 5:21-24 can be read metaphorically.

It turns out there’s a Mormon Mommy Blogger who is one of the leaders of the Alt-Right! To the church’s credit, President Newsroom explicitly called out white nationalists when the Nazi mommy interpreted their more ambiguous statement as being favorable to the alt-right. Next step maybe actually excommunicate her?

The Mormon Church has been making empty statements about racists not being proper Mormons since well before the Alt-Right groups became a thing. Individuals, like Ayla, have risen in popularity while the great authority of the Mormon Church has excommunicated people like Kate Kelly for suggesting that some women could be given the same magical “blessings” reserved for eight year old boys. This leads the outsider to think that, to the Mormon Church, respectfully discussing aspects of magical wacky-woo is much more egregious than openly espousing neo-fascist ideology.

For the average Mormon, some tips on standing against white supremacy from BCC and the Young Mormon Feminists. Dooce recently resigned from the CoJCoL-dS over the racism:

When I found out that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was going to sing at the inauguration of a self-professed sexual predator and unadulterated bigot, I submitted my name for removal. Here’s the PDF I have hanging over the laundry basket where I throw my dirty panties.

Trump’s flailing incompetence is fanning some very dangerous flames of hatred. In my analysis on my personal blog, though, I’ve found a possible ray of hope:

The critical point is that the Republicans in Congress are finally starting to turn on him. Trump doesn’t seem to understand that those Republicans in the House and Senate are currently the only people standing between him and jail. And he is just too. damn. stupid. to do a bare minimum of maintenance on those alliances that are so critical to his survival. Instead he has repeatedly demonstrated that teaming up with him is the fast track to finding yourself under a bus.

The CoJCoL-dS also has some problems with homosexuality, but some gay Mormons are making it work — sometimes in unusual ways. Specifically, this lesbian couple earned praise for getting divorced in order to be members in good standing!

In happier gay Mormon tales, Dad’s Primal Scream came up with a positive way to keep himself from being erased from his son’s life:

My e-mails have usually been full of the latest details about our family, me and his sisters. I always tried to include a healthy amount of humor. I’d send jokes or the latest memes because I know how somber and dreadfully serious everything can be on a mission.

But now that he’s coming back I’ve been dreading the same sort of snubbing at homecoming events that I experienced when he left.

So, I’ve decided that instead of feeling sorry for myself I am going to take my power back. I’ll be hosting my own welcome back party for him. I’m be inviting my gay and ex-Mormon friends and he can invited whomever he wants. The focus will be on our joy to have him back. That’s it. I’ve run it by him and he has agreed!! I’m very excited.

On to other LDS-interest news and discussion topics!

And Alexis posted a fascinating Mormon doctrinal riddle — comment on her blog if you know the answer!

What is the protocol concerning informing new spouses about old secret names? And what about if two husbands know a woman’s secret name? What if the original husband says he has moved on, but he really hasn’t, in an emotional sense, and he still knows his ex-wife’s secret name? What if he manages to get himself posited into the right place to bring his ex through the veil? The wife is unsuspecting and thinks it’s the right person bringing her through the veil, or whatever, and then VOILA! She gets through or across and sees that she has been facilitated into eternity by someone she wasn’t at all expecting to see there. What does she do then?

Or does she get a new secret name so that the old husband, in case he’s not on the up and up, doesn’t know her more current secret name?

Also don’t miss this new blog with travel tips from one exmo friend to another!

Wow, there was really a lot of fantastic discussion in blogspace this past fortnight! I hope you get a chance to check out some of these links despite my getting this out so late. Happy reading!

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!