Sunday in Outer Blogness: Still not over edition!

For yet another week the CoJCoL-dS hasn’t done anything quite scandalous enough to overshadow the dumpster fire that the White House has become. Mormons are among the people swept up in this catastrophe. Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz came home to quite a crowd:

I am generally a fan of the civility-and-building-bridges approach to life, and I know that sometimes no amount of civility and bridge-building is going to, for example, set slaves free. Sometimes an angry protest is vital. Sometimes gentle diplomacy makes miracles. Logic and history show us that the great human-rights triumphs of history have been achieved by using both methods.

You too can join in the fun with your own representative! Or contribute to the Exponent’s Environmental Issue.

And it looks like the ladies are getting restless! The women of the Exponent are joining the “Persisterhood” and the girls of the Infants smacked-down that Relief-Society-vs-Women’s-March articles and memes.

As the CoJCoL-dS has decided to hitch its wagon to American patriotism, some Mormons are starting to feel the way so many others of us outside the US feel:

I was worried about my boy. He left our home and our country as the youngest missionary in my family’s sixty-years history with the Church to go to a foreign nation. It’s a place with an unstable government led by an authoritarian madman elected by a mob that sees themselves as beset by outsiders and their leader as justified in violating international treaties, denying residents’ rights, taunting foreign governments, and doing nothing as the sick poor suffer and die. My missionary wrote home about culture shock, glossing over it in his mass emails, telling me “no, but really” in our private letters. What could I do but remind him to thank God for his Canadian passport? Then six weeks into his mission, his time at the Provo Missionary Training Center was over and he could move on, leave the surreality of Donald Trump’s post-truth America, to serve his mission in countries we’re more comfortable with right now: Romania and Moldova.

At least the Book of Mormon still has some odd theology and Mormonism can inspire good comics.

It’s time to step back and appreciate our own life journeys! Things like lessons learned from quilting and binary numbers, a pilgrimage, and an unconventional proposal. And if you’d like to join thousands of others on an interactive map of where we’ve gone after leaving the CoJCoL-dS (and why we left), check out “Why I left”!

In other random fun, let’s learn about shitgibbons!

Here’s to surviving another week!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Carry on edition!

The 2016 awards season has just wrapped up — please see this post to congratulate this year’s Brodie winners! Also note that the Wheat & Tares blog has posted their 2016 award winners here.

It’s hard to talk about any kind of current events these days, given the tsunami of insanity coming out of Washington D.C… I guess insanity is not really the right word (see this discussion of the problems with armchair psychoanalysing Trump), but I am having trouble coming up with replacements for words like “nuts” and “crazy”, etc. Does anyone know a good word for something that is royally messed-up in a bizarre and irrational way — without jumping to slurs about mental illness…?

There was one Mormon-related news story bundled in this week’s Trumpocalypse: apparently Trump wants to end the law that makes churches choose between their tax-exempt status and endorsing specific political candidates. Since Trump rode in on a wave of Evangelical Christians, it probably seems like a good idea to him, but it might do him more harm than good if liberal denominations were allowed to openly organize resistance to him. But the big question for us is whether the CoJCoL-dS would change its policy of pretending to be politically neutral.

Another connection was the fact that maybe Mormons shouldn’t encourage discrimination against Muslimsa fellow religious minority with quite a few points in common with Mormons. Also some Mormon women have been posting opposition to the Women’s March with some weird passive-aggressive meme about the awesomeness of the Relief Society, but sadly:

They lose their buildings, and they lose their magazines. The church takes ownership of the hospitals and co-opts their conferences. Before you know it, instead of having their own meetings and their own budget and their own agenda, they are meeting in a three-hour block of church that is presided over by men who grant them meager budgets and approve/dictate their agendas. No longer do women even run this organization on their own. Can it be called a women’s organization if women do not own it?

It is referred to as an auxiliary. It is supplementary to the organization to which it belongs. Can it even be called a women’s organization when it is just an auxiliary to a larger one that is run entirely by men?

And here’s another kicker. In 1971, all adult women in the church became members of Relief Society. You can have been baptized at the age of 8, stopped attending church at the age of 13, and five years later when you turn 18, your name gets moved from the Young Women rolls to the Relief Society rolls. Can you boast the numbers of an organization that has no opt-in or opt-out procedure? Can you boast the numbers of an organization that has no control of its own membership rolls?

One other Mormon news item was that the Air Force ROTC will be moved from BYU to UVU because the new director refused to agree to abstain from coffee — a big item on the BYU “Honor Code”.

To close with some fun, here’s a comic about a Mormon family and the CoCJoL-dS sent out a letter to local leaders containing a mysterious puzzle! Have a good week and take care!

Time to Vote for the 2016 Brodie Awards!!!

Polls will remain open until Friday, February 3, 2017 at 10am (Switzerland time). Good luck to everyone!

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Brodies 2016: Best New Blog/Channel/Podcast

Brodies 2016: Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast

Brodies 2016: Best Scripture Study Blog/Channel/Podcast

Brodies 2016: Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast

Brodies 2016: Best LDS-Church-Info Site

Brodies 2016: Best LDS-interest Discussion Forum

Brodies 2016: Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor

Brodies 2016: Best faithful-perspective Mormon Blog or Podcast

Awards for Individual Works:

Brodies 2016: Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction)

Brodies 2016: Best LDS-Interest Book (General non-fiction)

Brodies 2016: Best LDS-Interest Book (Narrative non-fiction)

Brodies 2016: Best LDS-Interest Song

Brodies 2016: Best Poem

Brodies 2016: Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image

Brodies 2016: Best Mormon-Themed Meme

Brodies 2016: Best Post Title

Brodies 2016: Funniest Humor Piece

Brodies 2016: Funniest Parody

Brodies 2016: Best Metaphor/Analogy/Allegory

Brodies 2016: Best From the Pulpit Sermon

Brodies 2016: Most Poignant Personal Story

Brodies 2016: Best Exit Story

Brodies 2016: Best Original Research Regarding Mormonism

Brodies 2016: Best Leak or Personal Recording

Brodies 2016: Best LDS Church Watch Piece

Brodies 2016: Best Response to Apologetics

Brodies 2016: Best LDS-Culture Piece

Brodies 2016: Best History Piece

Brodies 2016: Best Scripture Study Piece

Brodies 2016: Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS

Brodies 2016: Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion

Brodies 2016: Best Podcast Episode

Brodies 2016: Best Short Media Presentation

Have fun, and may the best content of 2016 win!! 😀

Congratulations to X-Mormon of the Year 2016: Jeremy Runnells!!

jeremy Jeremy Runnells is the author of the famous CES Letter — a clear, readable overview of the major critical issues with the CoJCoL-dS. In early 2016, Jeremy was called in for a disciplinary hearing, but when the church leaders refused to answer any of his questions, he presented his resignation and “excommunicated the church.”

Congratulations Jeremy for making the biggest X-Mormon splash in 2016!!

Note: The Brodies nominations are still open until Thursday, January 19, 2017. To see the results of the X-Mormon of the Year voting, the poll is here.

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Mourning in America edition!

Folks, I wish I had some good news for you. Unfortunately, we’re screwed. The fact that Mormons voted overwhelmingly for Trump was a particularly cruel disappointment, especially for their fellow religious minorities.

I’m not really sure what’s in store for our species, for our future, but I guess after a bit of self-care to recover our strength, we’ll get up and think of something.

Can we make sense of what happened? Can we heal this rift?

The problem is that hate won. This was a victory for bigoted violence and intimidation. Many friends are saying that only love can beat hate, but I’d rather stand by the disenfranchised than go make friends with the folks who don’t have a big problem with white supremacists.

That said, some liberal Mormons are doing an impressive job of explaining the sadness and reaching out:

So here we are, it’s three days after General Conference, Korihor is the prophet, and you’re scrambling. How could this have happened? This is the guy who said, “Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers.” This is the guy who spent years “leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms—telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.” But it’s no mistake, it’s no April Fool’s joke — it’s real.

I guess life goes on. A visit from the mishies brought back some memories. Madteaparty42’s exit story explained one of the big keys to why people leave the CoJCoL-dS. Plus there was an interesting article on Mormon and Jewish dating demographics, and I stumbled upon two fun new LDS-interest comics!

Good luck to us all — we’ll need it!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: It’s not over till it’s over edition!!

After last week’s high note on US/Utah politics, things are getting muddy again, with Trump triggering PTSD in assault victims, and the news that Utah’s own dark horse (or rather white horse) candidate may actually win in Utah (I guess that’s better than Trump…?)

I think Adam Lee makes a very important point about the election coverage:

We know they’re out there – Clinton got almost 17 million votes in the primaries, more than any other candidate of either party. But to judge by the scanty media coverage, you’d think they were some impersonal force like weather or tides, rather than tens of millions of human beings who presumably have reasons for choosing as they did.

By comparison, rivers of ink have been spilled describing, interviewing, and psychoanalyzing Trump voters, whether sympathetically or critically or some mixture of both.

Remember that mental illness is not to be taken lightly, particularly at this time of year.

In media, Brooke and Casey (of Expert Textperts) have started an awesome new podcast — check it out! And songs in Tyler Glenn’s new album Excommunication are being hailed as our new anthems!

In other LDS news, BYU’s Big 12 bid was rejected, largely due to issues with treatment of those who are different. Also, they can’t seem to stop blaming the victims of their famously boring meetings.

In discussions, how about that dress code? And gravy train? Polygamy and feminism…? And agency and abortion?

BCC has been posting a cool series on helping girls stay in school:

But in all honesty, I didn’t plan on “using” my degree, so I never purposefully thought about a career path in college. I chose those majors because I thought they would be conducive to being a SAHM, and a good “back up career” if I HAD to work. My senior year at BYU, I worked at my aunt’s law firm in Sal Lake City as a legal assistant, and enjoyed the job. Shortly after I graduated I landed a job at a law firm in Provo as a full time legal assistant/file clerk, and soon trained as a paralegal.

In life journeys, aenonemoss recounted a heart-wrenching story of what happens when a 15-year-old LDS girl gets pregnant and is sent away “to live with relatives” to hide it. Dad’s Prima Scream’s daughter is not so keen on church, and ViolaLeDuc is saying goodbye on a beautiful high note:

Nine years ago marriage was something different. It was part of check list to get into heaven. I had to find the right person that would follow the commandments with me. We would live together for eternity….. etc, etc, etc, etc.

Today I am getting married because of a deeper connection I have with my fiancée. I cherish every moment I have with her because this life is all I have. I am living for the now. People tend to think that just because I don’t belief in god(s) my life must be full of less love, but I am finding it to be just the opposite.

Folks, I hope you had a chance to check out Donna Banta’s review of Bearing Witness — I recently got my copy and had a blast re-reading it! Full disclosure: I wrote one of the essays in it, but I can tell you that my essay is not the only reason this fantastic book is worth a read! In case you run out of great stuff to read. 😀

Till next week!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: News is bad news edition!

I was kind of planning to call this one the “no news is good news” edition — since apparently the worst scandal of this week for the CoJCoL-dS was missionaries baptizing kids without their parents’ consent. Then I logged into Facebook one last time before beginning, and saw everyone posting the breaking news of the largest mass shooting in US history. Americans and their guns. I guess we’ll hear more about that story in the coming week.

There were a lot of great podcasts this past week, including an interview with Judith Freeman, one with John Dehlin, God-Awful Movies review of Saturday’s Warrior, Irreligiosophy on Mother Teresa, plus WMS recommended a podcast from the Orthodox Jewish community that perhaps we can relate to!

The rape discussion continues! Runtu suggested a simple new symbol for BYU alums to express their disappointment with their alma mater. Julie M. Smith argued that the New Testament Gospels condemn rape culture.

In other discussion topics, Zina of Zelph described the ways religion is not beautiful and told an amusing tale about Bednar, and Mithryn demonstrated that Hugh Nibley was an apostate.

In church history, did you know that Joseph Smith was convicted of assault? And that Lorenzo Snow’s polygamy is perhaps more shocking than Joseph Smith’s? And this story about poisoning?

In church-watch, the CoJCoL-dS is moving towards having seminary students master doctrine instead of scripture. Maybe we’ll finally get to learn what is doctrine and what isn’t!

We can still study the scriptures, though. For example, the Book of Mormon clarifies (modifies?) one of JC’s central messages:

The implication, at least the way I’m reading it, is that God will ensure that his chosen leaders will have adequate food, shelter, and raiment. Everybody else is on their own, at least in the Nephite world.

Why would the Book of Mormon make this change, narrowing a beautiful promise from the Son of God to encompass not everyone but only a select few? Could this implication that apostles needs and worries are of greater importance than the common man’s be one of the origins of the modern church’s hero-worship of its leaders?

In personal stories, we have careless mishies, more tragedy for the Adult Onset Atheist, and personal improvements for Alex.

So, my condolences to the victims and families of the most recent horror in the US. Maybe someday we can find the political will to put a stop to this. Until then, try to have a nice week. 😀

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Personal Journeys Edition!

This past week there wasn’t really any huge scandal or news item in the Mormosphere, but we had quite a lot of fascinating personal stories, especially regarding faith transitions! (Actually, there was one news item that was also a personal story: another Navajo is suing the CoJCoL-dS for sexual abuse while enrolled in the “Lamanite Indian Student Placement Program.”)

Abby Van Buren recounted her exit story from Mormonism, which included some pretty important points:

I see the priesthood like this. In the Mormon religion you need to be baptized, go through the temple to make ordinances with the Lord/God and to be married in the temple being sealed to your husband. All of these steps require the blessing of a priesthood holder, a man. So basically to go to heaven, a man has to let me.

I won’t get to heaven by simply loving others. I won’t get to heaven by being a compassionate person. I won’t go to heaven if I serve others. I can only get to heaven if a MAN blesses me and if a MAN tells me I am worthy and if a MAN wants to take me to the temple. See the issue here?

The Gay Mormon Southpaw is calling it quits too:

The change in policy was the final straw. It made me so angry. If I were closer to Utah, I would have likely participated in the mass resignation event. Even during my “break,” I hoped the church would somehow make nice with us Mohos. (or simply leave us alone.) But no, for every step forward, there were 10 steps back. The church ain’t true and they continue to treat gay people like crap lead gay members to suicide.

And, while there are obvious reasons why women and gay people might leave, there’s something to be said for those old-fashioned reason for apostasy: anger and wanting to sin.

Tophat reflected on what she lost when she chose to have a temple wedding:

Five years into my marriage and I realized I never had a wedding. My friends and family could not all attend my sealing. And I didn’t agree with all the promises in the sealing script. I felt cheated. I had not been told, “When you love someone so much you decide to commit to them, you’ll want to share that with all the people you love and care about. You’ll want to have a party and celebrate.” I had been told, “When you love someone and want to be with them forever, you need to sit through this ordinance and say ‘yes’ at the right time. The party and celebrating isn’t important.”

The aspiring Mormon Sex Goddess explained an interesting arrangement she has made with her husband:

While only tangentially related to polygamy, having some financial autonomy has helped me claim my sexual autonomy. As a stay-at-home mom with three children under age five, I’m financially dependent on my husband and sexual partner. This creates a vulnerability in our sexual relationship that I’m uncomfortable with. But I also want to stay at home with my kids while they’re young. As a resolution, we’ve agreed to separate bank accounts. I charge market rate for providing full-time childcare for three kids and we split the bills. For us, this clears a psychological space where sex and money can be separate.

Other slices of Mormon life: GoshDarnitalltoheck enjoyed a lovely social event with people of various beliefs getting along. A Mormon guy in an interracial marriage explained why he opposes same-sex marriage. Authentic Jena recounted coming out as lesbian. And Adult Onset Atheist posted a sad personal tale of falling in love with someone who is trans. (Note: Jeff Swift offered some positive discussion about how Mormons should address transgender issues.)

Yesterday was the day that some “Rainbow Mormons” — organized by Dr. Kristy Money — wore rainbows to church in solidarity with LGBT Mormons excluded by the infamous policy. I hope to see some tales in the coming week about how that went!

The rape issue at BYU is still unresolved. Hawkgrrrl mades some really good points about how the currently-in-the-news problem ties in with BYU’s culture of encouraging students to spy on each other, which has additional problems:

I’ve shared before my concern that Honor Code complaints can be a form of sexual harassment due to the culture of sexual repression and the stringent modesty guidelines for women, creating a hostile environment for female students in which they may be unfairly targeted by men whose attentions they find unwelcome. What does that look like? A whole lot like Mr. Collins from Pride & Prejudice but with the backing of an Honor Code Office when he is spurned.

Then there were some great discussion topics! Leah Marie Silverman analyzed what prayer is. Andrew S compared the grace/works debate with the relationship between talent and hard work. Russell Arben Fox argued that Mormons may be the ones to save the US from Trump.

That’s it for this week. Again, sorry it’s a little late. I had a lovely visit all afternoon with another ExMo family, and then my family had our traditional Sunday dinner (crèpes), and then it was between starting up my SiOB when it was already late or watching Monty Python with my husband and kids. The latter won. I’ve kind of decided that I’m going to stop apologizing for this. I’ve chosen Sundays for this little feature because Sunday is the day when I usually have time to do it — but occasionally that doesn’t quite work out, so I try to do it as early as possible Monday morning. Happy reading! 😀

Sunday in Outer Blogness: The best defense edition!

So, the CoJCoL-dS decided to decided to respond to its bad publicity situation bywait for it!shooting the messenger! As usual. Because a church that never apologizes because it’s always right can’t possibly need a little help. On the plus side, at least they’re making an attempt to get serious feedback on this issue.

Some argue that failing to send assault victims straight to the honor code office (to be investigated/punished themselves) would result in increased false accusations, but Julie M. Smith really, really nailed it on how to protect our boys from being falsely accused.

Speaking of help, the Exponent II is in the middle of a critical funding drive to archive data.

This week’s miracle — some LDS “sister missionaries” (i.e. missionaries, but female) are allowed to wear pants! (And mishies are now also allowed to protect themselves from the sun with hats and sunglasses!) Leona made a very good point about women’s work and a famous Bible story:

The work still needed doing. And if she’d sat at Your feet, it wouldn’t have gotten done. Her sin wasn’t in the doing, it was in complaining about Mary. But if she hadn’t complained out loud, she would have resented her still, and things might have festered, and that would have been bad. I know about quiet resentment. I know what it’s like to feel like I’m doing nearly all of the rowing. All women do. It’s not a happy feeling. And yes, Mary was doing something higher, better, more important. But Lord, for Heaven’s sake, Lord, Martha’s work still had to be done. Probably right then. There are many, many time-sensitive elements when it comes to housekeeping (particularly when you’re doing it with no indoor plumbing or refrigeration).

In other gender-and-sex, I really enjoyed this Mormon Expositor podcast about women and “sacralized sex”, and I’m planning to listen to this podcast interview with Affirmation president J G-W. Transgender folks — the Bible offers you little help.

In history, Steve Otteson found a historical parallel that may interest you!

In excommunications — now a regular feature! — a friend of Denver Snuffer got snuffed, and not just him:

Not only was Louis targeted for Church disciplinary actions, but his son, who had been serving an LDS mission, also was targeted and labeled an apostate and sent home (on April 22, 2016) dishonorably from his mission for being associated with his dad, even though his son did not endorse his father’s testimony nor has he read any of Snuffer’s books or participated in any activities associated with Snuffer.

And the procedure had a particularly Orwellian flavor:

Louis’s court statement is that the mission president called his son into his office on a Thursday and told his son he had a plane ticket for him to go home the very next day (on Friday). That means the Mission President (or his superior) had already decided to send Louis’s son home before even talking to him. And as you’ll read, there were ward members in his mission boundary that knew his son was going home before he even did.

[…]

The Stake President required that Louis sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) if he was to attend the council.

The news is pretty disturbing, so let’s go straight to personal stories. Chris Smith recounted speaking in tongues. And I posted a group portrait of the characters from my comic book! 😀

Have a great week, and good luck not getting X’d!!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Primaries edition!

Yes, US politics. I’d like to look away from it all, but Trump is courting Utah — and the response is making Mormons look good. Sadly, the whole Glenn Beck / Ted Cruz thing is having the opposite effect.

There was hardly any Mormon news to speak of. Perhaps this beautiful painting whose artist, unfortunately, seems not very interested in learning something from people’s reaction to his work.

This has been a big week for sex! Mormon Stories interviewed Kate Kelly regarding her Planned Parenthood activities (among other things), and also interviewed Alex Cooper (of “Saving Alex“) on reparative therapy. Natasha Helfer Parker’s Mormon Sex Info podcast is going strong. Mithryn discussed Mormons and porn.

On a related note, the CoJCoL-dS pretends to have the same chastity standards for homo & hetero, but it would be great if they’d be a little more honest. Speaking of double-standards, denying women the priesthood affects them in real ways. At least the Girl Scouts have some advantages over their opposite couterparts. On the flip side, Jared Jones recounted his experience as a Mormon stay-at-home-Dad:

The challenges of being a stay-at-home dad are somewhat magnified by the lens of cultural Mormonism. A strict interpretation of the Family: A Proclamation to the World, for example, could suggest I am failing in my patriarchal responsibilities. On the same Sunday I received positive comments (“Oh, that’s so great you’re home with the kids”), my wife received questions and criticism about her career choices (“Why would you do that do yourself?”).

In personal stories, William Law shared his exit story, the Debrief Society discussed trying to work with the local ward, and Joseph Broom shared his husband’s obituary — a beautiful example of embracing the life you have.

Yay, I succeeded in finishing SiOB on Sunday itself — as predicted! And yet I still got in a huge amount of work done on my comic book! A great weekend for me — I hope yours was good as well!