Sunday in Outer Blogness: The Spirit of Contention Edition!!!
This past week’s fare was made up of a lot of little stories (including a few rants) rather than one big story that went viral. The closest to a viral story was when Heather of Doves & Serpents noticed that the Ensign had printed a “Cleanflicks” version of an 1873 painting of the resurrection. This was commented on all over the web — my favorite version was found on ReubensCube attributed to Matsby:
Let’s move on to the contention!! There was a rumor that team Romney was planning to bring up Obama’s former pastor Rev. Wright, which many people pointed out was a bad idea because of the skeletons in Romney’s own religious closet. Counterpoint: Jettboy says “Bring it on!”.
In a similar vein, an Evangelical leader said that Evangelicals need to stop picking on little-known trivialities of Mormon thought, like the Plan of Salvation, and treat them as though they’re important to Mormons. Counterpoint: Evangelical blogger Tim says actually Exaltation is a core belief of Mormonism, even if Mormons may downplay it when talking to Evangelicals. Any faithful Mormons care to shed some light on which one is right? See also: Dave (LDS) says “Go Home, Christians”.
In other telling-it-like-it-is posts, Dad’s Primal Scream seems a tad disenchanted with gay culture, dyc4557 offers some improved LDS lingo (including Shamily and TEMPle Mirage), Stephanie is having feelings about her C-section, Angela describes the Kaboom that results from bringing up King Benjamin in a political discussion with right-wing Mormons, Chandelle takes on another food blogger, Johnny’s aunt feels some people deserve taxpayer-funded health care (but Johnny’s not among them), Dan doesn’t appreciate people praying for him, Paul Duane is not impressed with the SLC vice squad’s excuses for mishandling prostitutes, General J.C. Christian has uncovered new intelligence about Iran, and MCS thinks the comparison between Mormonism and Harvard Business School is an insult to Harvard Bushiness School.
Then there was a bit of a battle-of-the-sexes over teaching little girls that “hoochie mamas” are bad and over making straight guys watch “chick flicks”. Beatrice gives a clear explanation of how denying women the priesthood isn’t just about the right to perform ordinances, but is also about shutting women out of institutional decision making. Also, I found the best metaphor I’ve ever seen for explaining privilege to people who are allergic to the term “privilege”: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.
The funniest one of the lot, though, is BYU senior Alexie Bullock who says we should kill the term “homemaking” and replace it with domaign [pronounced Do-main]. She produced that word by combining doma, which means home, with ign, which is drawn from the end of design. Sounds like a great idea, but I wonder what her kids VerJean and Zeezrom think of it…
The gay marriage debate — which seemed like a done deal! — has flared up again with people converting to the anti-marriage-equality side and making the rounds of Facebook. Andrew S has also decided he’s no longer sure about gay marriage (though I suspect he’s just funning with us). Counterpoint: So Says Me is newly converted to marriage equality. President Paternoster explains the doctrinal roots of marriage, while Mraynes writes about her parents’ mixed-orientation marriage and her wish that they’d had more choices. Ren has posted enough times about how she’s not happy with the Mormon anti-marriage-equality stance that you might almost start to doubt her Mormon cred, until you read these warm pro-Mormon posts that illustrate what she means when she says she’s “not a single issue churchgoer”.
Speaking of the sanctity of marriage, Sulli wrote about the popular Mormon practice of marrying someone you’ve just met, and Diana followed up with some discussion about the stereotype of overweight/ugly/awkward/otherwise-non-marriage-material sister missionaries. Coincidentally, Apame also recounted the horrors of the Mormon marriage market from the perspective of someone who bought into it, and eventually won the game.
The other unexpected bone of contention this week was the Word of Wisdom. Mike S thinks it should be a real health code — watch out for those tempting pastries!! Alan Rock Waterman agrees, and lays out the argument for why medicinal marijuana is not against the WoW. IMHO, the most intriguing part of his argument is that he agrees with Leviticus that shrimp are an abomination — something I’ve never seen a Christian or Mormon argue. Interesting, yet it makes me a little leery about what else he might believe is ‘unclean’…
This week there have been some interesting lists of the top arguments against Mormonism, including one by a new blogger: Ben Morris. Postmormon girl is also new around these parts, and has started her blog off with some posts on A Moral System Free Of Religion, Testimony Meeting: Fake It ‘Til You Make It, and “The Church Is Perfect. People Arent.” And Why The Idea of Doctrinal Infallibility Is So Harmful To Members. Folks, please swing by and show these new bloggers some love!
Daniel followed up on Steve’s question (about the ethics of challenging people’s faith) with this interesting observation:
Don’t worry! The ex-Mormon power has a unique attribute: it only works on people who are ready for it. It leaves True Believers entirely unscathed. There is no way you can ‘harm’ anyone’s faith.
Daniel also had a very amusing Facebook dispute with the grammar police. (Note: Due to living in Australia, Daniel unfortunately had to decline an invitation to participate at Sunstone this Summer, however, perhaps you’ll be able to meet him at the Australian national gathering of former Mormons, organized by Mike Cable and Simon Southerton.)
Not all of the discussion was contentious, though. Some had good news, such as Juliane speaking at her commencement, Sean in a sweet picture with his boyfriend, Trey and Guy are finding schools with diversity for their daughters in largely-segregated DC, it’s OK for secular parents to favor quality over quantity, Roger Hansen’s favorite country was singled out for an honor, the Mayan calendar does not end in 2012, and Internet access is correlated with decline in LDS activity. And the folk art of Mormon scripture writing is going strong:
The astonishing thing is that Mormons have written more pseudepigraphal scripture in the past decade, based on the Book of Mormon, than we have currently for all of Christendom.
OK, so I don’t know how this happened, but it looks like I give you guys more links than usual this week. I hope you’ll have time to read at least a few of them, because there’s some really great stuff!! I’d like to wrap up by announcing some new books:
In the spirit of this round-up, Greta Christina has released her new book Why Are You Atheists So Angry? Contending that “poetry is not dead”, Angela plugged Jessica Bell’s book Fabric. And Donna Banta has announced her fabulous new book The Girls From Fourth Ward — which you’ll be hearing more about here soon, as it becomes available!