Congratulations 2018 Brodies Winners!!!

The results are in!!! Congrats to all the winners, and thanks to all who participated!!

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Best New Podcast: Marriage on a Tightrope

Best New Blog/Channel/Site: Unrigeteous Dominion

Best Podcast: Radio Free Mormon

Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast: The Drunk Mormon Podcast

Best Site of Images/Memes/Comics: Stuff You Missed in Sunday School

Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast: The Drunk Mormon Podcast

Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor: CosmoMormonMagazine

Awards for Individual Works:

Best LDS-Interest Book (fiction): Mormon Erotica, by Donna Banta

Best LDS-Interest Book (non-fiction): Educated, by Tara Westover

Best LDS-Interest Song: Theme song to “The Drunk Mormon Podcast”

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image: Mormon Deadpool images

Funniest Humor Piece: ShadowLeaks Discovers a Modest-Is-Hottest Proposal

Best Parody or Metaphor: ShadowLeaks™ Releases LDS Church’s Sacred Memos

Most Poignant Personal Story: McKenna Denson/Joseph Bishop interview

Best Life Journey Piece: Truth Seeking with Hans and Birgitta Mattsson

Best History Piece: My Book of Mormon ep 209 on the lost D&C Section 101 on monogamy

Best Activist Action or Movement Within Mormonism: Sam Young and Protect LDS Children

Best Leak or Personal Recording: McKenna Denson/Joseph Bishop interview

Best Watchdog Piece: Bill Reel, Mormon Discussions: Elder Holland, Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Best Discussion of Activism: Mormon Happy Hour’s two interviews with Lesley Butterfield: on Joseph Bishop and on UnrigheousDominion.org

Best Op-Ed: Open letter to LDS Patriarchy, by Lesley Butterfield

Best Film or Media Presentation: Believer

Best Scripture Study Piece: The Drunk Mormon Podcast: The Frickin’ Golden Plates!!

Best From the Pulpit Sermon: Thomas Shaffer

Best LDS-Culture Piece: The Drunk Mormon Podcast: We Know Who Bigfoot Is

Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS: Radio Free Mormon: General Conference Death March

Best Theological Discussion: Some Things that are Useful are Not True, by Alex

Best Discussion on Race: The Racism 101 podcast

Best Discussion on Polygamy and/or Sexual Abuse within Mormonism: Mormon Happy Hour: Mormon Sexual Trauma Dumpster Fire

Best Discussion on Gender and/or Orientation: Mormon Women Speak, featuring Mica McGriggs, PhD and the Hushed Ones Documentarians

Here‘s the list of all of the nominees and the results of the polls. And here are the button graphics for the winners — feel free to display these on your site:

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Thanks again for your participation!!

Time to vote for the 2018 Brodie Awards!!!

2018-Brodies-200px The polls are now ready!! A huge thanks to everyone who nominated and shared with us this fantastic crop of amazing content from 2018!!

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Best New Podcast

Best New Blog/Channel/Site

Best Podcast

Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best Site of Images/Memes/Comics

Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor

Awards for Individual Works:

Best LDS-Interest Book (fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Book (non-fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Song

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image

Funniest Humor Piece

Best Parody or Metaphor

Most Poignant Personal Story

Best Life Journey Piece

Best History Piece

Best Activist Action or Movement Within Mormonism

Best Leak or Personal Recording

Best Watchdog Piece

Best Discussion of Activism

Best Op-Ed

Best Film or Media Presentation

Best Scripture Study Piece

Best From the Pulpit Sermon

Best LDS-Culture Piece

Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS

Best Theological Discussion

Best Discussion on Race

Best Discussion on Polygamy and/or Sexual Abuse within Mormonism

Best Discussion on Gender and/or Orientation

The polls will remain open until Sunday, February 17, 2019 @ 10a.m. Switzerland time. Good luck to everyone!!!

Last call for Brodies Nominations!!

2018-Brodies-200px Thanks for all of the additional nominations!!! I am really sorry for losing so many nominations between the first and second nomination threads — there was this cute little button marked “older comments” which I somehow didn’t notice when I did my earlier roundup. I hope I have everything now — if you see any errors, please comment below (or you can email me: chanson dot exmormon at gmail dot com).

I have mostly finalized the categories — I have moved some nominations from one category to another in order to try to even out the categories a bit. In particular, I think the categories of “Best Blog Post” and “Best Podcast Episode” are just too general, so I have moved those nominations to more specific categories. If you would like me to move any nomination to a different category, please say so in the comments — but keep in mind that I need at least three nominations per category. I still might have to eliminate some categories, but I will try to move the affected nominations to other categories. (If one of your faves is in an incomplete category — feel free to nominate some competition! 😀 )

I will keep nominations open for one more week because of the confusion over the lost nominations. So you have until February 3, 2019 to add your nominations.

Here’s what we have so far:

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Best New Blog/Channel/Podcast/Site

Best Podcast

Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best Site of Images/Memes/Comics

Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor

Awards for Individual Works:

Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Book (non-fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Song

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image

Best Humor Piece or Parody

Best Metaphor/Analogy/Allegory

Most Poignant Personal Story

Best Life Journey Piece

Best History Piece

Best Activist/Activtist Movement Within Mormonism

Best Leak or Personal Recording

Best Watchdog Piece

Best Discussion of Activism

Best Op-Ed

Best Film or Media Presentation

Best Scripture Study Piece

Best From the Pulpit Sermon

  • Thomas Shaffer
  • This category needs two more nominations in order to go on to the voting phase

Best LDS-Culture Piece

Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS

Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion

Best Discussion on Race

Best Discussion on Polygamy and/or Sexual Abuse within Mormonism

Best Discussion on Gender or Orientation

The nomination guidelines are found here. I look forward to seeing the rest of the nominations!! 😀

Brodies 2018 – intermediate nomination roundup!

2018-Brodies-200px Thanks for all of the great nominations so far!! I haven’t added my own nominations yet, but I plan to do so this weekend, and then I’ll make the polls. So you have one more week (from this posting) to nominate and then two weeks to vote.

It would appear that the most hotly-contested race this year will be for “Best Podcast Episode” — with whole lists of episodes getting nominated per podcast!! It looks like people are maybe suggesting that each podcast should get its own category (eg. “Best Mormon Happy Hour Podcast Episode”, “Best Drunk Mormon Podcast Episode”). I could potentially do that if that’s what folks here want (feel free to discuss in the comments) — but I’d really prefer to keep the Brodies a little tiny bit competitive.

Here’s what I’d prefer to do: For each podcast, the podcaster can select (in the comments below) their best episode to go in the “Best Podcast Episode” category, and then we can move the others to the more specific categories based on the content (eg. humor, history, church watch, race/gender discussions, best title, etc.). Some of the specific categories haven’t gotten any nominations yet, but can still go to the voting phase if people nominate some pieces this week.

Here are the nominations so far:

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Best New Blog/Channel/Podcast This category could use some more nominations — note it is limited to blogs/channels/podcasts that first started posting during 2018 (or very late in 2017, eg. December).

Best Podcast

Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast

  • Drunk Mormon Podcast
  • This category needs two more nominations in order to go on to the voting phase

Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor

Other potential categories that could use nominations: Best LDS-Church-Info Site, Best LDS-interest Discussion Forum

Awards for Individual Works:

Best Podcast Episode

Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction)

  • Mormon Erotica, by Donna Banta
  • This category needs two more nominations, otherwise it will be merged with the “Best LDS-Interest Book (non-fiction)” category.

Best LDS-Interest Book (non-fiction)

  • Educated,
    by Tara Westover
  • This category needs two more nominations, otherwise it will be merged with the “Best LDS-Interest Book (fiction)” category.

Best LDS-Interest Song

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image

Funniest Humor Piece or Parody

Most Poignant Personal Story

Best Life Journey Piece

Best Activist/Activtist Movement Within Mormonism

Best Leak or Personal Recording

Best LDS Church Watch Piece

Best Op-Ed

Best Full-Length Media Presentation

Here are some potential categories that haven’t gotten nominations yet:

  • Best Post or Episode Title
  • Best Exit Story
  • Best Metaphor/Analogy/Allegory
  • Best Poem
  • Best From the Pulpit Sermon
  • Best Response to Apologetics
  • Best LDS-Culture Piece
  • Best History Piece
  • Best Scripture Study Piece
  • Best Discussion on Parenting
  • Best Discussion on Race/Gender/Orientation
  • Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS
  • Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion
  • Best Short Media Presentation
  • Best Book Review

For any category that has at least two nominations by January 27, 2019, I will either try to find an appropriate third nomination myself or I will merge it with another category so that reader nominations will not get lost. That said, it would be really nice if people who are following this could encourage their friends on social media to swing by and add their own nominations for the best LDS-interest content of 2018. 😀

Congratulations to X-Mormon of the year 2018: Sam Young!!!

sam_young Sam Young — a former Mormon Bishop — has spent the past few years shining the light on a shameful practice within the CoJCoL-dS: having untrained lay bishops give one-on-one, closed-door interviews with children and teens in which bishops are expected to ask the minors about their sexual experiences (chastity) and are allowed to ask for some pretty graphic and explicit details.

This is a problem that has been hidden in plain sight for decades. Those who were raised Mormon know about it. I’ve read TBM comments online explaining that the bishop sometimes needs to ask for graphic details in order to determine what type of repentance is required. And I guess the idea is that if the kid feels ashamed while being asked precisely what their hands and other body parts did, then that’s good — they should be ashamed.

The problem is that that sets up the perfect opportunity for abuse. Kids who think they deserve to feel ashamed certainly aren’t going to dare tell their parents about it, knowing the response is more likely to be “You did X?! You should be ashamed of yourself” rather than “X is a normal part of growing up, and this untrained middle-aged man had no business asking you about it.” Thanks to Sam Young for his tireless efforts to call attention to this practice that absolutely shouldn’t be treated as ordinary and acceptable.

Sam Young caught the public eye in 2016 by voting opposed in General Conference. Over the past few decades, this voting procedure in the CoJCoL-dS has morphed into just a “sustaining” vote (in which “no” votes are inappropriate). But Sam Young argued that according to the scriptures the church should be governed by common consent, hence the vote should be a real vote.

Since then he has been the primary organizer and driving force behind the Protect LDS Children organization. After hundreds marched with Protect LDS Children in protest of this policy and Sam Young went on a hunger strike, the CoJCoL-dS finally changed its policy — now allowing parents to sit in on the interviews.

Yay?

Well, yes, except that — in accordance with its usual M.O. — the CoJCoL-dS pretended that the change was a total coincidence that had nothing to do with the organization and demonstrations. In September of 2018, they thanked Sam Young by excommunicating him. Shame on the CoJCoL-dS, but a big thanks and round of applause to you, Sam Young — 2018’s “William Law X-Mormon of the Year”!!!

Please get your Brodies’ nominations in as soon as possible on the intermediate nominations roundup thread — anyone can nominate! You can see the results of the X-Mormon of the Year voting here.

Gerrymandered Out of Church

by Johnny Townsend

My mom had few friends in her life. As a kid, I watched her interact with neighbors just twice. My parents never hosted parties, never invited anyone over for dinner, rarely let my sister or me bring any of our own friends over. Once, on a visit back to Mom’s hometown in Mississippi, we ran into an old school friend of hers, and I watched, fascinated to see her so energized and happy. But after we returned to New Orleans, life returned to “normal.”

Then we converted to Mormonism, and suddenly, my mother had adult friends for the first time. Even as a self-absorbed child, I couldn’t help but notice how much happier having the new social network made both my parents.

Then our congregation—Jefferson Ward—split. We lived on the far outer edge of Metairie, a middle class suburb of New Orleans. To our immediate west lay Kenner, a town consisting largely of working class folks. Church leaders made the practical decision to loop our neighborhood into the Kenner Ward to provide the new congregation with more middle class men who could function as leaders.

All of Mom’s friends lived in what was now the Metairie Ward. LDS policy mandates that members attend the ward they have been assigned to. No shopping around for a different congregation is allowed. My mother, who lived only a few blocks from the friends she loved, was cut off from them almost completely.

Granted, there was no real reason these women couldn’t have continued socializing together outside of church. They all had their own cars. They had telephones. They could have met for lunch, gone to see a matinee. But an unfortunate aspect of Mormon friendship is how dependent it is on church. My mother may as well have moved out of state.

Now, I don’t know what other issues my mother may have had with Mormonism. She died of leukemia at the age of forty-three, a few months after I returned from my mission. We had very little time together as adults. It’s possible gerrymandering was her only “problem” with the Church, but it’s just as possible it was simply the final blow to her testimony.

My mother only attended church three more times in the remaining eight years of her life.

Mormons often say that those who “fall away” do so because they were “offended,” the implication being that members leave over trivial issues. But it isn’t trivial to discover that your best friends were never really your friends at all, just pleasant work acquaintances.

Mormons often speak rapturously about the benefits of LDS community. If it is really that great, then it is no small thing to rearrange random blocks of people. Even devout Mormon women aren’t Stepford Wives, interchangeable, with no personalities of their own.

My mom’s friends all came to her funeral. They pulled me aside and told me what a loss it was that she’d died so young.

They may indeed have felt loss, and I know I did, but even then, still a true believer, I knew that the person who’d suffered the greatest loss was the woman who’d died friendless.

It’s time to vote for William Law X-Mormon of the Year 2018!!!

X-Mormon-2018-300x223 Wow, we’ve got quite a list of X-Mormons to choose from in 2018!!


And here are the descriptions of the nominees:

The poll will remain open until Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Switzerland time. And may the X-Mormon who made the biggest splash in 2018 win!!

Collecting Nominations for the 2018 Brodie Awards!!

2018-Brodies-200px The nomination process for X-Mormon of the Year is underway — please be sure to get in your nominations before next weekend when the voting begins.

Now, it’s also time to start on the Brodie Awards!! The Brodie Awards are a fun little yearly activity intended to give some extra recognition and signal boost to the best LDS-interest content published/posted during the past year. This is your opportunity to review your favorite pieces, find out about great works you may have missed, and even promote your own work!

As usual, I will start by posting a list of suggested categories (from last year), but the precise list of award categories depends on your suggestions. Please feel free to browse the sidebar for ideas on award categories we’ve used in the past for ideas. Below the suggested categories, I will post the nomination guidelines.

Year-long awards for people and groups:

  • Best New Blog/Channel/Podcast
  • Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast
  • Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast
  • Best LDS-Church-Info Site
  • Best LDS-interest Discussion Forum
  • Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor

Awards for Individual Works:

  • Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction)
  • Best LDS-Interest Book (non-fiction)
  • Best LDS-Interest Song
  • Best Poem
  • Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image
  • Best Post Title
  • Funniest Humor Piece
  • Funniest Parody
  • Best Metaphor/Analogy/Allegory
  • Best From the Pulpit Sermon
  • Most Poignant Personal Story
  • Best Exit Story
  • Best Life Journey Piece
  • Best Activist/Activtist Movement Within Mormonism
  • Best Leak or Personal Recording
  • Best LDS Church Watch Piece
  • Best Response to Apologetics
  • Best LDS-Culture Piece
  • Best History Piece
  • Best Scripture Study Piece
  • Best Discussion on Parenting
  • Best Discussion on Orientation
  • Best Best Discussion on Gender
  • Best Discussion on Race
  • Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS
  • Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion
  • Best Podcast Episode
  • Best Short Media Presentation
  • Best Book Review

And here are the nomination guidelines:

  • Please nominate as many people, books, blogs, sites, podcasts, songs, articles, images, etc. as you want. However, please do not nominate more than two individual works by any one author/artist.
  • You are encouraged to nominate your own works. No one knows better than you do which pieces were your best. No more than two, though.
  • Please nominate works that first appeared during 2018.
  • Please try to nominate people and works that have some connection with Mormonism (eg. either the work touches on Mormonism, or the author is a current or former Mormon and/or is an active participant in our community).
  • A category must have at least three nominations in order to be included in the voting and awards phase.
  • You may suggest your own categories — however please do it as early as possible in the nominations process, to give others plenty of time to add nominations in your proposed categories.
  • Any other proposed changes to the categories or to the guidelines are welcome — feel free to discuss it in the comments.
  • The nominations will be open until mid-January, 2019, depending on my schedule. I will finalize the dates and categories and add my own nominations a few days before the nominations close and voting begins.

How to nominate: Just post your nominations as comment to this thread, but please include links to the works you nominate. If your nomination comment ends up in the spam filter, please email me (chanson dot exmormon at gmail dot com) and I will fish it out.

I can’t wait to review all of the best works from 2018!!!

Beware the False Gods of Capitalism: A Letter to My Son

“The gods of capitalism and the gods of Mormonism are nothing but different faces of the same lie. And I would have you serve neither.”

Adapted from a letter written to my fourteen-year-old son.

Dear Son,

A few weeks ago, I texted asking for ideas for Christmas gifts for you. You suggested over-the-ear headphones. You may have noticed that I didn’t get you those, and I want to tell you why. As your mother, I felt like this year, it was more important to give you something that you need, rather than something that you want. As someone who has known and loved you since before you were born, I want to share some lessons I have learned in life.

The first and most important lesson is this: the idea that anything or anyone in this world can be separated from anything else is an illusion. Think about it. Everything in the universe was once compacted into a space smaller than the head of a pin. And we are part of that universe, part of that stuff that went flying through space, coalescing, heating, compacting, exploding, spreading, compacting again, evolving, becoming, decaying, renewing, again and again. There are no closed systems in our world. Harm in one part of our world reverberates throughout the entire system.

The illusion of separation, the convenient lie that if I don’t see it, I neither affect nor am affected by it, is the cause of most of our world’s suffering, human and otherwise. There is a prevalent mindset in our society that we have the right to never be inconvenienced or made uncomfortable by someone else. This attitude is particularly prevalent among people who have never experienced poverty and its accompanying inconveniences and discomforts. But it is an illusion, and it is this illusion that you must shatter, because at its extreme, people who believe that they are entitled to never be inconvenienced or uncomfortable grow up to be Donald Trump.

As I’ve gotten older, I have become so much less patient with lies and illusions. I was raised in a religion of lies. My parents believed and taught me these lies. I grew up in a community where almost everyone around me believed in these lies. When I became an adult, I started to question what I’d been taught. I left those beliefs behind and started developing my own beliefs, my own ways of relating to the world. My parents still believe these lies, so much so that they are spending all of what little money they’ve managed to save throughout their lives on continuing the spread of these lies. Some people never wake up.

We live in a country and an economy built upon lies. You are taught these lies in school, and almost everyone around you believes them. These are some of those lies: “People generally get what they earn and deserve. Those who have money worked for it and deserve to have it. We live in a free market economy, and those who don’t have money could easily get some with just a little hard work. They have no one to blame but themselves. Having money is evidence of someone’s merit and goodness. Those who have money have earned it. Those who don’t have money must not have earned it and don’t deserve to be helped. We have a right to acquire and hoard as much as we want, without any obligation to help those who have less. After all, if we have it, that must mean that we earned it and deserve it, and that they didn’t earn it and don’t deserve it. We live in a free country, and that’s what freedom means: the right to accumulate money without limits, the right to look out for myself and only myself, the right to not have to care what happens to others, the right to not share, the right to be left alone.”

We Americans treasure and violently guard our supposed freedom-to-acquire more than any other liberty. The United States has been extracting wealth from the rest of the world with military force since before it was officially a country, beginning with the land theft and genocide of the Native Americans. We currently have 800 military bases outside of our own borders. No other nation even comes close to maintaining that kind of a global military presence. The closest runners up are Russia, Britain, and France, who each have less than ten bases outside their countries. Some historians argue that we are already in the midst of what later generations will look back on as World War III. We have been involved in dozens of global conflicts, continuously, since before you were born. Why are we engaged in this killing and destruction around the world? Are we protecting freedom? If we’re talking about the freedom of corporations to continue profiting, acquiring, and hoarding without limits, then yes. But if we’re talking about the freedom of ordinary people to live lives of dignity, to have available to them the resources of life to which they should be entitled as organisms of this planet, then our military serves the exact opposite purpose. I worry that the wars that have been smoldering mostly unnoticed for years now may soon erupt into a recognized and officially declared war. I worry that the draft may be reinstated. I worry that you and your younger brother may be called up, drafted, sent to the front lines to kill and be killed to protect corporate profits. I will not stand by idle and silent while that happens. That’s why Mom always goes on and on about this stuff. The gods of capitalism and the gods of Mormonism are nothing but different faces of the same lie. And I would have you serve neither.

Greed has become the ruling principle of our society. Me first. The term our culture uses to describe this phenomenon is “individualism.” Individualism is held up as something to be admired, but it is another name for the illusion of separateness. It is another lie. You appear to have succumb to this lie, and this is not surprising, nor is it your fault. It is what you have observed in the behavior of those around you, in your dad’s family and in your culture. It is what you have been taught, both explicitly and implicitly. And it is a difficult illusion to shatter, because it offers so much comfort. How convenient to be able to manipulate the world around you to never encounter anyone or anything unpleasant or inconvenient, and how appealing to believe that it is your right to do so. Most people do not wake from this illusion unless difficult life circumstances force them to confront the world as it really is. My hope is that you can begin to wake up before such a jolt hits you.

The antidote to greed is connection. It’s understanding and empathy. It’s recognizing that despite external appearances of difference, we truly are all part of the same whole. That we are all from the same stuff, All One, is scientific fact, not just some hippie-dippy fantasy. We, the human race, and we, the rest of life, energy, and matter on this planet. We all belong to and are responsible for each other. And so instead of a gadget to fortify your illusion of isolation, I got you a book by a woman from a culture different from your own. I didn’t expect you to be fascinated with it, and that’s alright. I am planting a seed for now.

You are an intelligent and sensitive young man. From the time you were little, you’ve had an open and loving heart. Some of that sweetness seems to have been clouded over recently with some of the distractions of teenagehood, electronic and otherwise. You’re trying out different identities, trying to figure out who you are, and I think some obscuring of your true self is normal. I know that at your core, that open, loving heart is still there. You perhaps haven’t had as many opportunities to develop your heart as your mind and body, but it is just as important; it is all part of the whole, and one part can’t function fully without the others. Practice caring for others. Practice opening and connecting. Practice developing your heart.

I love you. I want the best for you. No matter what, I’m always here for you.

Love,

Mom

 

Leah Elliott lives in North Carolina with her partner, children, and stepchildren.

Collecting nominations for X-Mormon of the Year 2018!!!

X-Mormon-2018-300x223 Hey folks — it’s that time of year again! Time to decide which X-Mormon made the biggest splash in 2018!!

Sorry to be getting started a little late this year — maybe it’s just that the likeliest candidate has never been more obvious. I’m not going to say who I’m thinking of, because I hope you have some other ideas to give this candidate some competition. 😀

I will just say that — as always — getting excommunicated during the year in question is not a requirement… but it doesn’t hurt!

Please post all your nominations below for the X-Mormon who made the biggest splash in 2018!! Thanks, and I look forward to your nominations!