Sunday in Outer Blogness: More Relationships Edition!

Family Sunday in Outer Blogness

It seems like we talked about this just last week! But I guess it’s only natural that finding ways to support and strengthen mixed-faith families is one of the central concerns of our community. (Not that shared faith makes marriage easy or anything.) Sometimes you have the joy of discovering that your friend made a similar faith journey, but you can’t usually count on it. Reaching across faith lines is hard, so it’s likely you’ll have some strained discussions ahead. Possibly involving your underwear. And how do you teach kids your values without seeing families as instruments and children as products?

Religion often focuses on sex, yet sexism is about powerwho gets a little, how it’s exercised, and how it gets abused.

Atheists put up a cool new billboard in Salt Lake City (not this one)! Congrats, and don’t forget to do some humanitarian work as well, not to mention your community responsibilities. In other news, there’s some disagreement over LDS church history and doctrine. Leaving the fold often leads to changing your look and fun new questions! So why not share your experience with others?

And let’s close with some cool Mormon material culture to remind you to contribute to Sunstone! Happy Sunday! 😀

114 thoughts on “Sunday in Outer Blogness: More Relationships Edition!

  1. Seth probably doesn’t remember, but during the same period that he says a wife wouldn’t think of letting her husband or sons iron their shirts, missionaries were required to wear black ties. Who messed up and let that slip by?

  2. My father also tells me that in the 50s, companions were required to share a bed. He started his mission being told that it was absolutely necessary to share a bed with whatever companion he was assigned to, because it fostered closeness, and ended his mission absolutely forbidden ever to share a bed with his companion, because… well, just because.

  3. I have to say (as a non-LDS person) that the current missionary uniform is, well, off putting, to many non-LDS people. I’m not saying that missionaries look awful (some look wonderful), but that the dress code is terrible.

    To start, missionaries are usually far more dressed up than the people they’re interacting with, which makes people uncomfortable. We’d hardly call a person that wears a ball gown to the office respectable or respectful for being very formally dressed- we’d say its inappropriate to the situation.

    The style of clothing sometimes looks suitable for adults twice the age of the missionary wearing it (more a problem for men than women). This is a separate issue from ‘levels’ of formality; I’m referring to color, cut, fit and fabric. This is also discomforting- not because its its very dressy clothing in everyday situations, but because its ‘someone elses’ very dressy clothing on a young person. AKA ‘My mom picked it out’ syndrome.

    When the missionaries ask if there is ‘anything they can do’, its obvious they’d look ridiculous attempting anything remotely physically challenging. Many people wouldn’t ask a missionary if they’d get the step-stool out and bring the punch bowl down from the top shelf. Asking that question makes missionaries look insincere.

    On a more sensitive note, the traditional white shirt on male missionaries often does not help people’s curiosity about LDS garments.

    If clothing makes the first impression, when I look at LDS missionaries in the park or street tracting, it looks like they don’t belong. They don’t look like they’re making an effort to fit in with the local people or culture. They look like they’ve gotten lost on their way to an important church function. And if the LDS missionaries look like they don’t belong, doesn’t that point to the average non LDS person looking like they don’t belong in the LDS church…? However much the dress code strengthens the LDS/missionary group identity, it probably does raise two negative unconscious thoughts with potential converts: ‘these are strangers’, and, ‘will I have to adopt their dress code if I join?’

    Overall, the missionary uniform really needs an overhaul. People could say its about appearing mature, or unified, or powerful or attempting to appear authoritative- but it usually just looks very odd. It doesn’t look respectable. It looks clueless, or old fashioned at best. Its terrible PR.

    There’s nothing wrong with polos, button front dress shirts in a variety of colors, chinos, dress pants or dark wash jeans. Or women wearing pants. Or hats. Or shorts, or saris, if the climate dictates.

  4. Nah, outside the US, the uniform is an even better idea.

    The white sleeve shirt is pretty much universal anywhere. Believe me – the missionaries would stand out more trying to dress their own way in Japan than they do now – and not in a positive way. Same thing in South America, Tonga, Africa, just about anywhere in the third world actually. The polos would be highly out of place.

    Also keep in mind that one of the last priorities you have as a missionary is “blending in to the crowd so people don’t even notice you are there.”

  5. True, it’s their intention to stand out and be easy to spot (yet to be difficult to distinguish from one another as individuals). Still, the “no hats” thing doesn’t seem like a very well thought-out rule for people who have to spend a lot of time outdoors.

  6. My only issue is…short-sleeved button down shirts should be destroyed off the face of the planet. Maybe people disagree, but instead, why not just roll up the sleeves of a long-sleeve button down*.

    *There ARE ways of doing this without looking like a politician who’s trying to trick people into believing that he gets his hands dirty from helping the Common Man.

  7. I don’t know – seemed applicable in our case. Because we usually were “getting our hands dirty.” We did a lot of service on my mission – and the short sleeved shirts were the only way to go about things during the summer as far as we were concerned.

    Chanson, what hats would we wear? During the summer, most missionaries I knew wouldn’t wear them if you told them to. I served in a mission that was about as hot as Georgia in the summer. No way did I want or need a hat. During the winter – you did want one. I snagged a New York Yankees baseball cap. My zone leader didn’t like it much, but I didn’t see many alternatives. Honestly, it looked pretty bad (another example of how a 19 year old guy is going to screw up his wardrobe if left to his own devices).

    Did snag a stylish brown umbrella though that I was quite fond of…

  8. short-sleeved button down shirts should be destroyed off the face of the planet.

    Lol. They should be destroyed off the face of the planet because they’re tacky.

    Also keep in mind that one of the last priorities you have as a missionary is blending in to the crowd so people dont even notice you are there.

    I asked the missionaries at Temple Square why they’re all women, and one suggested that the various colors of their dresses is much more welcoming for foreigners than male missionaries’ drab attire. Of course this was an opinion, but I can definitely see how the appearance of male missionaries’ attire can be off-putting as it shouts correlation/corporation.

  9. Seth R. you actually added a baseball cap to the unbroken, Lord endorsed missionary uniform? My you are a free thinking radical. Next thing you know you won’t feel the need to defend every dot and tittle of the Church.

  10. Chanson, what hats would we wear?

    When my kids and I go somewhere during the summer, I wear a broad-brimmed hat and my kids wear baseball caps to protect us from the sun. During the winter, we wear warm hats to protect us from the cold. It’s perhaps a matter of personal preference, but it’s nice to be able to protect your head from the elements if you’re spending more than a few minutes outside.

    There exist hats that can go reasonably well with a business suit, though I know it’s not the current fashion.

  11. “Believe me the missionaries would stand out more trying to dress their own way in Japan than they do now and not in a positive way. Same thing in South America, Tonga, Africa, just about anywhere in the third world actually. The polos would be highly out of place.”

    Well, I don’t live in Japan, South America, Africa, Tonga or the developing world. The missionaries really stand out here. Not in a positive way. Its more a ‘They must make them wear that….’ sentiment.

    ” Also keep in mind that one of the last priorities you have as a missionary is blending in to the crowd so people dont even notice you are there. ”

    Seth, together this seems contradictory to me. Do you want the missionaries to look (somewhat) like the locals or not? I’ve outlined why (in my location) the dress code puts people off (overly formal/age inappropriate/ appearing inappropriate for helping others/obvious non-local). Noticeable for the wrong reasons is usually worse than blending in.

    Do you think the dress code actually gives that much in the way of positive attention to LDS missionary work? I suspect you’ve spoken to (numerous) people who came up to you because you were easily identifiable as a missionary, but never talked to (numerous) people who knew you were an LDS missionary from fifty yards away and avoided you. Please consider the negative associations many people have with uniforms/the corporate look, the negative feelings many people have toward missionaries, and the general association of the LDS and control/conformity (which the ‘I’m a Mormon’ ads try to dispel, but tens of thousands of missionaries reinforce with the dress code). I think the dress code really hurts the chances of a missionary getting to speak to most people beyond ‘hello’ . I’d guess that the Temple square (sister) missionaries get better reactions from the average passer-by because their dress code is less uniform than what the men wear.

    Or is there some other reason for wanting to stand out? (finding a companion in a crowd?)

  12. It’s one thing to argue that missionaries should wear a uniform for one of the standard reasons people wear them: so others know instantly what they are. It’s another to argue, as Seth does, that they should wear a uniform because they’re unable to dress themselves without looking ridiculous.

    People who are not competent to dress themselves respectably unless forced to adhere to a rigid uniform should not have the responsibility or privilege of sharing with others god’s one and only plan for happiness in this life and the next.

    re: sister missionaries–in case people missed it, here’s a news from story earlier this year about sister missionaries being encouraged to be less frumpy. The recent uniform for sisters–sober colors and no prints, among other things–wasn’t in place when I was a missionary, for which I am eternally grateful. I’m also glad that at some point someone realized it was a mistake. Sisters looked dowdy, and people actually feared that if the joined the church, they’d be expected to be equally as frumpy.

  13. Yeah Holly, well – you should have seen what the sisters were getting away with in the 90s. A good half of it was pretty bad. People who go out and live poor and devote themselves to the Lord tend to put looking presentable on the back burner. They’ve got other priorities. As a result, a lot of them end up looking like slobs.

    Parker, this entire conversation has been a bit ironic for me. Because I never have been a that much of a fan of all the “corporate theme” stuff people are bagging on here. It’s just I consider it trivial crap to be moaning about. You guys act like its the end of the world that missionaries have to wear shirts and ties instead of polo shirts.

    Well, I think there are very good reasons for having the uniform the way it is. Just like there were good reasons for having uniforms in the workplace as well – before everyone casual-Fridayed the national fashion sense to hell.

  14. Seth R, you need to go back and look at most of your responses. You dismiss most comments that you consider negative about the Church as being too trivial to even discuss, while being excessive in your defense of the Church’s position. You are the one who is saying the uniform ain’t broke–but you don’t seem to realize that the uniform changes over the years. So which version of the uniform ain’t broke, and are your going to protest when the inevitable changes occur, or will you jump to its defense, and call anyone’s questions, or observations “trivial crap?”

  15. You guys act like its the end of the world that missionaries have to wear shirts and ties instead of polo shirts.

    Who’s acting like it’s the end of the world? Looks to me like we’re having a conversation, and you’re at least as involved in it as anyone else.

    I can’t speak for others, but one of the reasons I like to spend my free time discussing Mormonism is because it’s more fun and less stressful than discussing real problems like the economy or the environment.

  16. Amen to that Chanson.

    Parker, I understand that the uniform changes. But I don’t think that’s relevant to the overall thrust of what I was saying in the first place. That’s why I didn’t bother to respond to all the fun back and forth you and Holly were having further up in the comments. It wasn’t really addressing anything I said to begin with.

  17. People who go out and live poor and devote themselves to the Lord tend to put looking presentable on the back burner. Theyve got other priorities. As a result, a lot of them end up looking like slobs.

    Really? I thought people who devoted themselves to the Lord just naturally embraced modesty, simplicity, cleanliness and respectability. That’s why appearance is such a good gauge of moral worthiness: people who love god are neat, clean, conservative and don’t get tattoos or multiple piercings, unlike those who don’t.

  18. Well, I guess everyone doesnt fit into those neat categories youve given them.

    I guess not either. perhaps you could pass that on to someone in charge, so that there are fewer sacrament talks about the unrighteousness of bare shoulders, multiple piercings and facial hair.

  19. Yet more issues I couldn’t give a flying fig about – one way or the other. We don’t have Sacrament Meeting talks on these issues to begin with – and if we did, I think it’s fine. Advocating for a dress standard for your group is acceptable. Being mean to people is not.

    But the two do not automatically go hand-in-hand. They don’t in my ward anyway.

  20. Advocating for a dress standard for your group is acceptable. Being mean to people is not.

    But the two do not automatically go hand-in-hand. They dont in my ward anyway.

    Are you so sure about that? Do you know how the losers and outsiders on the fringes of your ward feel about it? (Not saying you don’t don’t — I’m just wondering.)

  21. Having been on the short end of the stick to some degree or other within LDS society for most of my life, I have a bit of an idea.

    But I shouldn’t generalize my own experience to everyone else. People have a variety of situations.

  22. To add what I said about the sister missionaries at Temple Square, it wasn’t so much that the white shirt/black pants getup was broken on a single individual, but if you think about how many missionaries are at Temple Square (hundreds?), then it would definitely be off-putting, or even downright scary, for everyone representing the Church to be wearing the same thing. (Although, this doesn’t explain why Temple Square doesn’t have both female and male missionaries. Anyone know the real reason behind why Temple Square is all sisters?)

    American society has been inundated enough with Mormon missionaries that when people see two of them, they don’t think, “Oh, don’t those young men look clean, neat, and professional?” Instead, they think about how all the missionaries they’ve seen look the same: uniformity, politics, corporatism.

    I can see Seth’s point, though, about how the uniform might make sense overseas.

  23. Alan — I think you’ve answered your own question. The uniform (to make the guys easy to identify) makes sense where they’re rare, but the sister-missionary lack-of-uniform is more inviting in places where the mishies reach a certain density.

  24. Yes, but all women and no men? What about a 80%/20% mix or something? Once you get passed the logic about the attire, then it becomes a question about how the situation got resolved along gendered lines. Then again, I guess the Church’s same-sex spaces are part of its trademark.

  25. Alan, if I had to guess why it’s all women (and it isn’t – if you count the MANY senior couple missionaries on the campus), I would say it’s part of the whole hospitality thing. It’s why even today most tour guides at popular resorts tend to be pretty females. This used to be more true than it is today, but it still holds in many hospitality locations. People respond more positively to a pretty girl. Among some of my friends, we used to joke about how the prettiest girls went to Temple Square. But I have no idea if that’s just urban legend or has a basis in truth.

    Don’t forget that Temple Square remains one of the top tourist destinations in the United States. I’d say appearances matter a lot more there than they do in other missions, and for good legitimate reasons.

    And, for the record Alan – no you don’t speak for how all Americans view the LDS missionaries. Having spoken to some of these non-members, I can tell you that it’s much more of a mixed bag of reactions.

    The world, as it so happens, is more diverse in opinion than certain corners of the Internet.

  26. People respond more positively to a pretty girl.

    Are you referring to sex appeal? If so, that proves the Church is very hypocritical. If you’re referring to neoteny, then I’m torn about whether this is necessarily bad.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, in Japan, cuteness as a marketing tool is huge — whether referring to people or plush animals. But it applies to both women and men. Even in America, given that money doesn’t just flow through the hands of men, I think cute males would make for a good marketing strategy. =) (Although, admittedly I’m a bit biased on the matter.) However, this would require the Church to think differently about women’s roles (i.e., that advertising toward women is important).

  27. “in Japan, cuteness as a marketing tool is huge whether referring to people or plush animals.”

    That’s true.

    “But it applies to both women and men.”

    No Alan, it pretty much just applies to the women.

    As far as gender roles go – put Japan about 10 to 20 years behind the United States and you’ve got a fairly accurate picture.

  28. No Alan, it pretty much just applies to the women.

    I beg to differ.

    “The term kawaii [cute] used to be something that described women, or female attributes. Now women are more likely to use that to talk about men and what they’re wearing. As a result, more young men aspire to be cute.”

  29. I live five blocks from the temple. A few months ago at the grocery store I heard some guy chatting up a couple of elders while his wife looked on. He was recently home from being a mission president and was quizzing the elders about their work. They said they were assigned to Temple Square as part of a pilot program to see how having elders there worked. That was all I heard before I moved out of the aisle.

    And I have indeed seen a few elders there–not many, but a few.

    A friend who served his mission in a place with a temple that was also a major tourist attraction said that he thought single sisters and couples were assigned to visitors’ centers more often than single elders because couples and women would put up with the nearly intolerable tedium of standing around all day and waiting for people to come up and talk to them, while elders would not. He said that sisters who got to actually go out and work were envied by those stuck standing around all day.

    Seth @70:

    Yet more issues I couldnt give a flying fig about one way or the other.

    Your comments indicate otherwise. Your comments indicate that you care a great deal about personal grooming, especially if less attention to it is suggested as a viable alternative to the standard missionary uniform. Your comments indicate that you care a great deal that “everyone casual-Fridayed the national fashion sense to hell.”

    Seth @77:

    And, for the record Alan no you dont speak for how all Americans view the LDS missionaries.

    And, for the record Seth–no you don’t speak for how what all people did to our national fashion sense. Nor do you even necessarily have an accurate view of its current state.

    The world, as it so happens, is more diverse in opinion than certain corners of the Internet.

    You would do well to remember that yourself. A great many people find the LDS emphasis on conservative personal grooming as evidenced by the BYU dress code, the missionary uniform, and not just sacrament meeting but conference talks on the evils of unruly hair etc off-putting, shallow and misguided.

    Seth @70

    Advocating for a dress standard for your group is acceptable. Being mean to people is not.

    In fact, many people feel that the LDS penchant for judging people on the basis of their appearance is a way of being mean.

  30. chanson ~ I dont think her interpretation of the interchangeability of Christian sects is quite right (Ms. Jack, perhaps you can comment on that?)

    In case you missed it, Kristine delivered that talk on a panel along with myself and Kaimi Wenger. The point about Christian denominations being somewhat interchangeable was my own. I had mentioned that, when evangelicals get mad at their leaders over changes made or lack of changes made in their own denominations, they tend to just defect to other denominations or start new ones. That can’t be done in the LDS church.

    Re: Christofferson’s “ironing” story, we discussed this at MDB once. I was initially in the camp of, “That’s outrageous, couldn’t the men do their own damned ironing???” Harmony posted the following comment:

    If the lady in the story was anything like my momma, she would not have welcomed the husband’s help by taking over the task no matter what. His assistance in buying a new machine that would make her task easier, yes, and she would have thanked him repeatedly for his kindness… but him actually taking over the task, as some had suggested? No. At least, not my momma. I can’t speak for the lady in the story.

    When I was about 8, my mother managed to burn the bottoms of her feet so badly, she was ordered to stay in bed for 2 weeks. Daddy arranged for a neighbor girl to come in every day and do the cooking and housework. Momma was not a good patient. She had the neighbor girl set up the ironing board by the bed, so Momma could sit on the bed and still do the ironing.

    I don’t think men today (and some women) understand how important it used to be (before permanent press and tumbling dryers) for the clothes to be ironed “just so”. Going out in a wrinkled shirt and pants reflected badly on the “Queen of the House”, and my momma was no different from her peers. She’d have been ashamed, had Daddy ironed his own shirts. Heck, she even ironed the handkerchiefs he blew his nose in, the sheets, and the curtains. I suspect the lady in the story and my momma would have understood each other well.

    If you pay any attention to MDB at all, you would know that harmony is not the type of person to shy away from criticizing LDS leaders. So I was struck by the fact that she spoke in Christofferson’s defense on this.

    I think the fact that Christofferson didn’t think to mention that shows how out-of-touch he is with the present generation. But I don’t think it makes him misogynist. I seriously wish that the church would hire a very astute 20-or-30-something person to read these proofread these talks in advance and point out stuff like this.

  31. In case you missed it, Kristine delivered that talk on a panel along with myself and Kaimi Wenger. The point about Christian denominations being somewhat interchangeable was my own. I had mentioned that, when evangelicals get mad at their leaders over changes made or lack of changes made in their own denominations, they tend to just defect to other denominations or start new ones. That cant be done in the LDS church.

    I didn’t miss that she was talking about what you said. I simply wasn’t certain whether reporting your point accurately, which is why I asked for your comments.

    I think that Mormons sometimes misinterpret the Christian plethora of sects. To clarify what I mean by that, allow me to quote my own youthful views from my deconversion story:

    Naturally I believed that since Mormonism was the only true church, non-Mormons all know — deep down — that they’re still seeking and haven’t found the truth yet. Why would a loving God tell them anything else? The fact that all of the various flavors of mainstream Christianity accept each other as part of the same “body of Christ” confirmed this view — if the Presbyterians believed that one could be saved as a Baptist, and vice-versa, then they seemed to be acknowledging that they knew neither one had any ultimate truth that was vital to salvation.

    So I was curious as to whether Kristine’s report was passing through a similar sort of Mormon-interpretation filter.

  32. I seriously wish that the church would hire a very astute 20-or-30-something person to read these proofread these talks in advance and point out stuff like this.

    Or maybe they could even go crazy and have people of a variety of ages, backgrounds, and genders in the leadership. 😉

    Yes, the story naturally leads people to wonder: Why didn’t somebody from correlation clue this guy in that his story is at best anachronistic? And that question leads to the obvious follow-up question: Why am I listening to this guy at all?

  33. To recap Haglund’s point:

    Since Christians believe in the ultimate authority of the Bible (but not necessarily on how to interpret it), if you agree with everything your sect believes except for one tiny point, then it’s easy to find or found another sect that matches your beliefs more precisely. Whereas, members of the CoJCoL-dS believe that the ultimate authority is the CoJCoL-dS itself. So members can’t switch to an almost-identical alternate church without rejecting their core beliefs about where authority comes from.

    I essentially agree with that, though (as I was trying to say @15), I’d add a couple of caveats:

    1. People vary (even within the CoJCoL-dS) when it comes to which beliefs they consider most central and most important.

    2. People can believe that the true priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith (and believe that that priesthood authority is necessary for saving ordinances) without believing that the CoJCoL-dS holds a monopoly on that authority. That’s basically the vector by which the fundamentalist Mormon groups get most of their converts.

  34. Pardon me for talking to myself here — curse you, time zone difference!

    Haglund’s follow-up point is essentially the following: Since people stay or leave based on their belief in the authority of the CoJCoL-dS — not on agreement/disagreement with specific church policies or doctrines — leaving the church is not seen as a commentary on any particular policies or doctrines that might need improvement.

    To that I’d say yes and no.

    When your core belief is that the CoJCoL-dS is operating on instructions straight from God, yet you’re frequently confronted with things that make you go “The church is dead wrong on this one” — that motivates you to question your core belief (in the church’s authority), which often eventually leads you to the exit. So exiting the church may not be a direct commentary on church policies that need improvement, but it can be an indirect one.

    Then, to tie this thread of the discussion back in with the other one:

    When a man is granted a level of authority that women are explicitly excluded from, and he can stand up and use that mantle of authority to tell a story like that one for the instruction and edification of millions of people — whether it makes sense to call that “misogyny”, or whether it’s “over the top” to call it “misogyny” is question of semantics (and not a very interesting semantic question, IMHO).

    The point is (as I said back @3 — long thread, huh?) that — regardless of whether you can explain/defend/excuse the story — it’s the kind of talk that makes people go “WTF?” and, as such, it is a potential stepping-stone on people’s journey out of the church.

  35. @87: Sounds good to me.

    On top of which there’s also the proverbial straw that broke the testimony’s back, or the back of the ability to endure to the end, or whatever. Over and over you hear exit stories where people say things like, “I was able to convince myself it was all OK until the ERA thing/the September 6/Prop 8/ whatever.” People write letters to church leaders telling them they’re ending church attendance or having their name removed because of specific policies and doctrines. So if indeed Haglund is correct that the hierarchy adopts a view that such departures have nothing to do with the departees’ stated reasons for departing, the hierarchy is being more than a tad cavalier.

  36. Well it doesn’t help that a lot of ex-Mormon talk after leaving the Church takes on a very ad-hoc, “I’m just making up justifications for my earlier choice after the fact” sort of feeling. I do actually think it’s true that at least some of the gripes floating around out there had nothing to do with the actual exit event.

  37. @88 — Wow!!

    The survey published this week by the Oekonsult polling group showed 76 percent of Austrians queried supported Schueller and his colleagues. Some 85 percent said the Church should not do anything to drive away its reform-minded members.

    While the poll was not limited to Catholics, 70 percent of the respondents said the Church and its leaders were “a very important moral authority” for them. Some 66 percent said they liked Schoenborn personally.

    Schueller is now a parish priest and university chaplain in Vienna. If he is dismissed, 97 percent of those polled said, a “very large wave” of people leaving the Church would follow.

    Seth @90 — Ultimately, you can believe what you want about other people’s actions and motivations. It would appear that the CoJCoL-dS agrees with you on this, and — since they don’t believe the exiters’ issues are real — the CoJCoL-dS will continue not to address them. Meanwhile, the exodus accelerates…

  38. they dont believe the exiters issues are real

    departures have nothing to do with the departees stated reasons for departing

    At certain moments the leadership probably makes a calculation — “okay, some might leave over this matter, but those who remain will be all the stronger.” Thus, when the exits do occur, the leadership already knew they were coming. Even in instances that might seem a bit of a surprise, such as [I imagine] after Prop 8, the leadership soothes themselves by thinking that they weeded out the worst weeds on accident. I’m not sure that there’s ever been a mass exodus enough that the leadership has ever had to regret their decisions.

    If there’s a decade-long lull in conversion or an increase in deconversion after a century of huge growth, then they look at this more as a marketing and cohesion problem as opposed to looking at the theology or organizational structure. A rather gruesome analogy might be that they focus on bleeding gums when the liver is shot. Or even if they take their lactolose for the liver, they don’t stop drinking. The theology is dead-last for consideration. And there’s a good reason for this: look at what ending polygamy did. It created a situation in which a part of the scriptures are considered invalid, which puts a wrench in the whole hermeneutic system that never heals and you have to keep changing the bandages around (sorry to have gotten all medical in this comment).

  39. I don’t think Seth is entirely wrong, although the mechanism is different from the way he describes it. People indeed often have their last straws exactly as Holly said. Then, once the camel’s back breaks, all those other things that never seemed so heavy suddenly take on a new weight.

    So somebody might leave because of, say, Prop 8, but once they do, suddenly blacks and the priesthood, discrimination against women, polygamy, Joseph Smith’s character, the Book of Abraham, the mountain of evidence against the Book of Mormon’s historicity, and so on and so forth become important. (And in a lot of cases, most or all of those issues are new to the person who left because of something else.)

    So I think Seth is right that sometimes the issues a given person talks most about after leaving didn’t have much to do with their exit. But they aren’t “making up justifications,” they’re dealing with issues that are newly important to them.

  40. @94: Yeah.

    it’s like leaving an abusive romantic relationship. People often stay in them too long for all sorts of reasons that seem really important and sometimes ARE really important at the time: lack of viable options, wanting to stay married to the other parent of your children, fear of retaliation, pressure from other family, not wanting to be a failure, etc.

    And then something happens that finally makes it impossible to stay. So they do leave, and realize that life’s actually better when you’re not in an abusive relationship. And all those reasons you stayed seem inconsequential compared to all the reasons you should have left ages ago.

  41. Most divorces don’t involve serious abuse from either of the spouses – emotional or physical.

    And neither do a lot of exits from the LDS Church.

  42. @94 @95

    I was accused of trying to shut down the discussion for pointing this out earlier, but many (if not most) of Seth’s comments are subtly emotionally abusive.

    In this thread and the discussion on his first post, he repeatedly negates anyone who disagrees with him even on minor things, claiming that their qualms with the LDS church are either fabricated or exaggerated. And when he’s called out for believing mean or nonsensical things, or has the implications of something he said pointed out, he gets indignant and acts like it’s your fault somehow. Or minimizes any point that you made, without seriously considering it.

    I feel that this is immature and abusive behavior, and that it’s endemic to LDS culture.

  43. Holly, I guess you just didn’t realize that since “most divorces dont involve serious abuse from either of the spouses,” then obviously none do, and therefore, there is no such thing as emotional or spiritual abuse in the LDS Church.

  44. Who said that Parker.

    For example, I consider places like Molly Muses to be frankly – nuts.

    But I don’t really question her accounts of being treated badly by her Mormon parents and so forth. I see that as entirely possible. I even consider it likely that that stuff does happen.

  45. Having taken a bit more time to think about Tachyon’s comment, he’s not actually wrong. I’ve got my own share of personality defects. I’ve never been good with handling people who are sharing their emotional distress in a forum meant for debating the issues. That’s certainly true enough.

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