Sunday in Outer Blogness: Finally something Mormon edition!

Last year it seemed like there was a new LDS-related scandal or news item almost every week, but it looks like “the Mormon Moment” is starting to fizzle. It seems the CoJCoL-dS can’t compete with the level of irrational/wacky/terrifying that’s coming out of the White House these days! But this past week, the CoJCoL-dS managed to swim up to the surface of the swamp with a handful of news items!

Thanks to MormonLeaks we got a view of the church leaders’ thoughts in the form of a powerpoint including an infographic on why people leave the CoJCoL-dS! Since it mentioned John Dehlin by name, he did a podcast explaining the whole thing in gory detail, in case you’re curious:

The most amusing part for me was when Dave resurrected his Mormon Inquiry blog to make the following remark:

That’s actually a pretty good list. While the graphic has prompted the usual griping from online LDS commentators, it is actually reassuring to know that LDS leaders are at least aware of the broad spectrum of challenges presently facing the Church and its membership. I wish there were a second graphic displaying a realistic action plan for each subcategory.

A realistic action plan for each subcategory?! Lolz. The plan for every subcategory is the same as it has always been: just tell the complainers/leavers that they’re unfaithful since (as far as the CoJCoL-dS is concerned) it’s a priori impossible that the members might have legitimate criticisms that the organization should listen to.

And there was this other kerfluffle in which a former Young Women’s general president gave a fireside with some questionable remarks about the women’s march:

“We were in a cab, and as I watched those women marching and yelling, and should I say, behaving anything but ladylike and using language that was very unbefitting of daughters of God,” Sister Dalton said. “As I watched all of that take place, my heart just sunk and I thought to myself, ‘What would happen if all those women were marching and calling to the world for a return to virtue?’”

Which drew some reactions:

Michelle Obama stood up for virtue. Beck stood up for sexual assault. So did Robert C. Oaks, a former member of the quorum of the Seventy who was a speaker at the rally. But as far as we know, Dalton didn’t have a problem with Julie Beck. Perhaps because she was ladylike as she supported violence against women?

And:

That she was offended by the language they were using, as if that were more important than their vocal refusal to countenance a president who has clearly engaged in other behaviors that I’m sure Sister Dalton would censure, like boasting that he could “grab” any woman he wanted “by the pussy.”

Somehow, it’s unfeminine and wrong for women to protest that, in fact, their pussies are not Trump’s for the grabbing. And to match his profanity in getting their message across.

Then there was anther mini-story Utah decided to further protect minors from seeing alcohol by adding the new “Zion moat” to its existing “Zion curtain” laws.

In personal stories, a gay dude unfortunately felt pressured to find a wife:

As soon as the door shut I started running to my car. As I ran I said to myself out loud, “What have I done? What have I done? What have I done?” I sat in my car and felt like garbage. I felt like I had just lied to her. That I had expressed something that I didn’t really feel. When I got home I told my roommates I had kissed her and they were all excited and I feigned excitement as well. The next day I was back at Emma’s house talking to her roommates before she got home. They told me that they had heard all about the kiss and how magical it was from Emma. They were so giddy about it, but the thought that kept running through my brain was, “She and I did not experience the same thing.”

In fun, I found a new Mormon satire site you might want to check out — here’s a sample: Newly Engaged Couple Feels Need to Teach Remaining YSAs About Marriage. Also Knotty posted some fun stuff about mishies and trolls.

And let’s close with some lovely pictures of the historic Cottonwood Paper Mill. Here’s to surviving another week!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Personal stories edition!

Here’s a charming little story of making a connection across cultural boundaries:

A moment later it spoke back in Chinese. His eyes widened. I showed him the button to press on my phone. He spoke into it, and a moment later it said “Yes, I am sad.”

“Why are you sad?” I asked. My phone translated.

“I lost my gloves during lunch,” my phone said aloud after he spoke to it.

Angela C revisited her mission, which brought back memories:

So in deciding to go on a mission, I felt like my identity was unsuitable anyway. I needed to be silent and milquetoast if I couldn’t be that pastel-wearing smile machine that seemed to be the desired stereotype. Since I was mostly pretend-dour in the MTC, my district didn’t really like me. They thought I was a killjoy (me! a killjoy!), and they would hum the Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch theme whenever I came in the room. My companion was cool and didn’t see me that way, but I silently let the elders think that, considering the loss of identity my necessary cross to bear.

Sam Young continues to vote his conscience:

I vote opposed in the expectation that this law will once again become the common law of church governance. I have made a temple covenant to obey the law of God. Consequently, I vote opposed in order to keep my sacred promise of obedience.

Sadly, in order to participate, you have to attend church which is boring and no fun — though you can liven it up with coloring books and comic books!

If you’re wondering whether you’re an exmo in Utah County, La has a helpful list for you. Jaxon Evans has created his own Christianity / Zen Buddhism fusion.

Does anybody understand how the forever families doctrine works? The Rational Faith bloggers have some thoughts on here-and-now marriage as well as on combining Mormonism with other identities like queer or Latino.

In scripture study, RT posted an analysis of Michael Austin’s application of Biblical canonical criticism techniques to the Book of Mormon.

Sorry I’m not feeling like posting about politics this week. I’m sure I’ll be back at it next week though — see you then!

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: Latter days edition!

As if our biosphere weren’t in enough trouble last year, having an incompetent clown waving nuclear threats around for all to use as they see fit isn’t a step in the right direction. Oh, and there’s a chunk of ice the size of Delaware about to slide into the ocean to melt. Can we Save Our Species? I hope so. Is it just me, or have others out there gone through all five stages of grief lately?

Well, that’s not a fun opening, I guess. Let’s get back to everyone’s favorite diversion! Has the CoJCoL-dS done anything interesting lately? Or sexy. Not really, but the Book of Mormon is always there for a few laughs.

The BYU rape discussion continues, as well as discussion of the church’s political neutrality, belief boundaries, commandments vs. social norms, and the wayback machine offers some surprises as well!

Here’s hoping things are better next 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!

Congratulations 2016 Brodie Award Winners!!

Here are the results:

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Best New Blog/Channel/Podcast: Mormon Censorship

Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast: Brother Jake

Best Scripture Study Blog/Channel/Podcast: My Book of Mormon Podcast

Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast: Naked Mormonism Podcast

Best LDS-Church-Info Site: MormonThink

Best LDS-interest Discussion Forum: r/exmormon/

Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor: u/fearlessfixxer

Best faithful-perspective Mormon Blog or Podcast: Wheat & Tares

Awards for Individual Works:

Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction): Invasion of the Spirit Snatchers, by Johnny Townsend

Best LDS-Interest Book (General non-fiction): The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men, by Carol Lynn Pearson

Best LDS-Interest Book (Narrative non-fiction): Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History, by
Gregory A. Prince

Best LDS-Interest Song: Trash, by Tyler Glenn

Best Poem: Junebug, by Leia

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image: Pat Bagley: on reporting rape at BYU

Best Mormon-Themed Meme: Where Will You Go? – Artistic Edition, by Steve Otteson

Best Post Title: Pussy Grabbernacle Choir Begins Telestial Outreach Tour, by Timothy McFoster

Funniest Humor Piece: Elder Holland Furious over Apostate Flapdoodles, by Mahonri Smith

Funniest Parody: Brother Joseph, by Brother Jake

Best Metaphor/Analogy/Allegory: Top 10 ways the church is like North Korea, by Mormon Expression Podcast

Best From the Pulpit Sermon: Tad Callister

Most Poignant Personal Story: Naked Mormonism Podcast – “CC – Norma” (after episode 41)

Best Exit Story: Tyler Glenn on Mormon Stories

Best Original Research Regarding Mormonism: Youth Suicide Rates and Mormon Religious Context: An Additional Empirical Analysis, by Benjamin Knoll

Best Leak or Personal Recording: Leaked conversation with the brethren and former Oregon Senator, Gordon Smith, by anonymous via Ryan McKnight

Best LDS Church Watch Piece: News of BYU Rape Policies are Triggering Me…, by Natasha Helfer Parker

Best Response to Apologetics: The Dominant Narrative Is Not True, by Bill Reel

Best LDS-Culture Piece: Challenging the “Addiction” Paradigm with Regard to Pornography, by Mormon Matters Podcast

Best History Piece: Mark Hoffman Series on Naked Mormonism Podcast (after Spec Ed 28)

Best Scripture Study Piece: 3 Nephi 19: In Which Jesus is Terrible at his Job, by Alex

Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS: Malcom Gladwell, Elder Holland and the Legitimacy of Authority, by James Patterson

Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion:Reflections on the New Zealand/Australia Special Conference: Finding Mormonism’s Thin Places, by Gina Colvin

Best Podcast Episode: Mormon Stories: 650-652, One Ordinary Family’s Extraordinary Mormon Transition

Best Short Media Presentation: Sidney Rigdon: Forgotten Hero of Mormonism, by Bryce Blankenagel, Seattle Sunstone

And here are this year’s award buttons! If you are a winner, please feel free to copy these graphics and display them on your site:

2016-Brodies-Black

2016-Brodies-White

If you would like to see the results of the voting, the completed polls (and the lists of nominees) are here.

Congratulations to 2016’s winners and to everyone who participated!!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: It can get worse edition!

Well, this has been one of the most horrifying weeks I have ever seen. Fortunately we have some lighter topics, like the Brodie Awards! You have until Thursday, February 2 to get your last votes in!

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s performance at the Trump inauguration got mixed reviews. Fortunately not all faithful Mormons are Trump voters — some were at the march and in the pews. Others advocate non-violence and support religious freedom for all. As Trump’s spokesperson treats us to a new euphemism for lying, Mormons are constructing their own moral leadership.

(Of course maybe the problem goes even higher.)

I imagine many of you have been having some interesting discussions on social media lately:

Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who skip the gym to make cupcakes for church activities. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are sleek and silky and frizz-free. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are passive aggressive.

Here’s another response to the Mormon women’s critique of the Women’s March:

You are calling your own sisters in this church rude, greedy, and vain. Do you HEAR yourselves? Many of you protested when your politically liberal sisters called you racist, sexist, and xenophobic for your Trump vote just a few months ago.

“We voted for his policies!” you cried, “it doesn’t mean we agree with EVERYTHING he said!”

“How can you call me these horrible things?!” you said. Well, now you know.

In Mormon news, the SCOTUS declined to hear the Kody Brown polygamy case. In Mormon culture two podcasts responded to a devotional about “worldly sex”, plus Zelph provided new evidence of Mormons’ love of queer culture! In life journeys, Monica is making peace with death. And in scripture study, we have an overview of the issues with the Book of Abraham, and some commentary on everyone’s favorite Bible fan-fic:

In the Bible, Jesus makes a vague reference to his ability to grant someone life until his Second Coming. In the Book of Mormon, he explicitly gives three people this supernatural longevity. That’s much awesomer than the Bible.

When the Three Nephites were cast into the earth (verse 20), “they did smite the earth with the word of God” and were “delivered out of the depths of the earth.” That makes them way awesomer than Joseph of Egypt.

The Three Nephites were thrice “cast into a furnace and received no harm” (verse 21). That makes them three times awesomer than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

But wait, there’s more! The Three Nephites were also, on two separate occasions, “cast into a den of wild beasts…and received no harm” (verse 22). This makes them each twice as awesome as Daniel.

That’s all for now — I wish you all a safe and pleasant week!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: We shall overcomb edition!

The voting for the Brodie Awards has begun!! Please go here to cast your votes. I know that there are quite a lot of nominations, but you have two weeks to vote — so I really hope you’ll take the opportunity to review these awesome nominations a few at a time, and vote for the ones you like best!! And check out this Mormon news year in review!

Mormon news was overshadowed this week by the reality of Trump getting sworn in as the new POTUS — and the overwhelming response from all over the world!! There are so many reasons to march:

I feel sad and afraid as I think about the future. What will happen to me and to people like me? I didn’t have anything life threatening, but what if I had? What if I do in the future? What if Todd does? What happens to the people who are “uninsurable” now?

And the work doesn’t stop there!

Of course there was a bit of a Mormon angle. After compromising their reputation by sending the MoTab choir to sing for Trump’s inaugural, the CoJCoL-dS was rewarded with the news that Trump’s pre-inaugural church service was given by a pastor who has called the CoJCoL-dS a cult. God I wish the church leadership would grow some self-respect and stop begging for a seat at the mean girls’ lunch table. It’s not going to happen. Let’s instead stand with our fellow minorities. Catch a clue!

Donald Trump, to me, is not someone that decent, God fearing, family loving, fiscally conservative people ought to be backing. To me, it doesn’t make any sense. Here’s a man dripping with riches, living in a fucking gold tower in New York City. Yes, he’s filthy rich, and Republicans like that. But did he get that way by being fiscally conservative? No.

Fortunately my feed is full of Mormons who have caught the clue:

And so, no thanks. Trump is not worthy of our respect in any way. I don’t support him and won’t support him. A transition of power to someone like him is cause for mourning, because it appears that the electors of this nation have chosen evil over good. I support those exercising their rights to demonstrate against Trump. I view all those performing for Trump as having tainted themselves and their reputations. In the case of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Piano Guys, the pain is particularly acute. Mormonism is small. Our reputations are linked in the eyes of the public. Now, Mormons have vocally and disproportionately identified their brand with Donald Trump. But I won’t normalize him or respect him until he demonstrates himself as worthy of respect. I don’t respect offices. And neither should you.

In other Mormon News, BYU is still working on the rape problem, and it’s a bit of a bumpy ride — just have a look at this open letter. Also, what’s up with those mountain letters…?

In life journeys, check out this new podcast! Also, Gina’s faith has irreversibly changed, GenX Gillian is healing, and Julie de Azevedo Hanks listed things to say and things not to say to a loved one who is leaving the church.

And let’s close with a poem, an allegory, and a tale of magic and the Eagle Forum. Good luck in the coming week, not to mention the coming few years…

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!! 😀

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Money money money edition!!

In case you missed it, Jeremy Runnells just won X-Mormon of the Year 2016, and the nominations for the Brodie Awards will continue until Thursday, January 19 — so get your final nominations in here! (Also note the Wheat & Tares blog is also collecting nominations for their yearly awards.)

Thanks to some new revelations on Mormon Leaks, we now know a little more about how modest those modest stipends for the leaders of the CoJCoL-dS really are (spoiler: not very). Naturally this led to some discussion over Mormonism’s claims of not having a paid ministry and a bit of anger a the church for telling poor people to pay tithing before necessities like rent and food. The church countered by claiming the salaries don’t come from tithing funds, whatever that is supposed to mean.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is still set on its shameful course, and the weak excuses aren’t fooling the international members.

Remember when M. Russell Ballard asked “If you choose to become inactive or to leave the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where will you go? What will you do?” Well, this new website gives you the opportunity to tell him! Check out this response from Dad’s Primal Scream. He also had some good news to report — a big mistake was averted.

In other life journeys, Monica is navigating divorce after kids, iGenIvy set a goal to enjoy the journey, and Paul Duane is out drinking with his Mormon family:

Many years ago, my own falling away became known to the family. This was ushered in one Christmas night as we were wrapping up a family party. My parents went home, my daughters returned to their mother’s house, leaving just the three of us kids together. Wine emerged from Camille’s cupboard. Glasses were poured, glasses were raised and we partook of the goodness of the grape together for the first time. Something shifted in a way that’s difficult to account for – it may suffice to say that we found ourselves three grown adults with things in common that only we could have. It’s like some kind of pretense disappeared and left us honest. I found new friendship in my brother and sister. From that day forward, I’ve enjoyed their companionship in a way that starts to give ironic legitimacy to the promises of the church.

In Mormon culture, Utah made international news by distributing sexist dating tips as part of an assignment in a public school.

In church history, Mithryn analysed the origins of the LDS.org Book of Abraham essay. In scripture study, Mormonism has some interesting theology:

Jesus mentions in verse 30 that no one from the generation he’s addressing will be “lost.” But he mourns the fourth generation in verse 32, because they will be “led away captive by him even as was the son of perdition.”

But if Jesus knows this, why didn’t he design his world and his generations in such a way that those people wouldn’t be led away? And if he couldn’t because doing so would defeat free agency, then are we really just souls in a vast generational lottery? If I’d been lucky enough to have been born in the second Nephite generation following Christ’s appearance, I’d never have turned apostate?

And now that Jesus has been publicly recorded saying that the fourth generation will be wicked, it has to happen, right? Because he can’t be wrong. But these people are supposed to be able to make their own choices. But isn’t it technically predetermined now because Jesus says he already knows what they’re going to do?

Speaking of theology, how about this theology of gay marriage within Mormonism:

So, if most people won’t be exalted, and heterosexual marriage is required only for exaltation, what’s wrong with gay marriage? Even if you accept the idea that gay people can’t be exalted, what’s wrong with people deciding they’re fine with being a ministering angel? It’s not that crazy of an aspiration – as far as I can tell, this is the goal of most Christians, right?

And have you gotten a look at the news lately? If you’re having trouble keeping your spirits up these days, at least we have the CoJCoL-dS to distract us from the really bad news out there! 😀