If it weren’t for the Internet, I probably wouldn’t have remembered that July 24th is Pioneer Day, commemorating the day Brigham Young uttered those famous words “This is the place” (or something like that). BiV asks what the holiday means to Mormons outside of Utah (growing up on the East coast and mid-west, I only remember celebrating it once, and that was when I was really little), though “Come, Come Ye Saints” melts the hearts of even the naughtiest exmos. Katya suggests an additional holiday honoring more recent converts since they’re pioneers of a different sort.
All of this remembering pioneer roots somehow got people thinking about polygamy. Specifically: Why should it be illegal? Is it in the women’s interest? Did it go both ways in Mormon history? Is it traditional marriage? How is it related to gay marriage? The most touching treatment I’ve seen is Dayna Patterson’s letters to her polygamous ancestors.
While the liberal end of blogspace seems to be softening on the polygamy question, the CoJCoL-dS hasn’t budged much on the question of women as full-fledged people. Many of you are familiar with the disturbing aspects of the temple ceremony, but did you know that the COB writes church materials in accordance with its [prescriptive rather than descriptive] belief that “Women … prefer to speak of their own feelings during discussions of scripture, history, or theology. To share feelings, not to think. Men, on the other hand, are said to be practical, occasionally occupied with fact and reason”? Meanwhile, the data shows that they’re teaching modesty to younger and younger girls. And Daniel has a great follow-up to the sexual purity post, discussing the metaphorical connotations of girls being made “impure” by sex.
Speaking of marginalized groups, Atheist Dad has written on an important topic: teaching our kids about how our privileged and subordinated identities helps us better understand how they impact our lives (with a link to Peggy McIntosh’s seminal essay White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack — if you’ve never read it, you should). Or learn more about “The Untold Story of Black Mormons” from a documentary recommended by Andrew’s mom — during an unexpected collision of spheres! McIntosh’s list has been adapted to straight privilege, and Tachyon Feathertail has some interesting thoughts about the same types of invisible privilege exercised by Christians (like this privilege). By crazy coincidence, Atheist Revolution claims atheism is not a choice, and Invictus Pilgrim argues the same about homosexuality. (Turns out that SWK was wrong about masturbating to straight porn causing homosexuality.)
Now the fun part: stories! Jill Mormon has posted the first two parts of her exit story. Curmudgeon experienced personal tragedy and explains how he likes to jog naked. (Curmudgeon’s anecdote is a great illustration of T. Feathertail’s observation, linked above.) Ain’t No Mo No Mo survived a fire and wonders which one — the fire or the survival — was the miracle. Runtu discovered a very sneaky closet apostate on mormon.org. Starfoxy shares a thought-provoking testimony meeting tale, Sharon Lindbloom read an amusing tale about Joseph Smith, and No Cool Name Tom recounts his adventures teaching Sunday School!