Sunday in Outer Blogness: Wrong Side of History Edition!

Sunday in Outer Blogness

There were two little tidbits of Mormon news this past week, and in both, the CoJCoL-dS couldn’t stop hamming up its role as villain.

First off, there was a case of a gay author whose book was dropped from publication because he wanted to mention his partner in a book bio. This, of course, is not directly the fault of the CoJCoL-dS, but rather (Utah-based-but-not-LDS-owned) publisher Cedar Fort apparently didn’t want to mess up the book’s chances of getting carried by church-owned bookstores. The good news is that LDS authors came together in support of the book despite the fact that the church’s Deseret News reported that 85% favor businesses having the right to discriminate against gay couples.

Then LDS Apostle M. Russel Ballard gave a devotional at BYU Education week on the separate role of women, offering such gems as: “Women, your input is welcome but you need to be careful to not assume a role that is not yours,” and explaining the women can’t have the priesthood (and corresponding leadership roles) because women have motherhood instead. (Note that when a leader of this level gives a talk, for believing members of the CoJCoL-dS it is almost like hearing it from God.) See Christy Clegg for a polite rebuttal. Many women feel a spiritual connection through beliefs in Heavenly Mother and the temple and don’t all thrive squeezed into the same role.

There was also some discussion of the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of adult male leaders having sexually invasive closed-door interviews with minors. Keep in mind the CoJC0L-dS’s official history of older, married leaders and their additional teen brides.

Since family and Mormonism can lead to sticky situations, Runtu shared some good advice from personal experience on maintaining good family relationships when you stop believing in the CoJCoL-dS:

If I am tempted to discuss my loss of belief with someone I care about, I ask myself two questions: 1) What do I hope to accomplish with this discussion? 2) What is the likely outcome of the discussion? If the answer to 1) is “I just want them to know the truth,” that’s not good enough. The second question comes into play: How likely is it that they are going to know and accept the truth because of your discussion? If it’s unlikely, why bother? In my view, it’s fine to share your feelings and knowledge with anyone you wish, but when it comes to loved ones, make sure you have a definite goal in mind and that your conversation is likely to achieve that goal.

The thing is that doubting is against the commandments, and a religious community (try living in South Jordan, or, worse, Rexburg) can create barriers to doubting no matter how obvious the questionability appears from outside the bubble.

(On that note, I learned a couple of new wacky religious fun facts: The eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon apparently didn’t even sign their own names, and dragons are mentioned in the Bible thirty-four times! Plus, take a gander at the changes made in the best conference talk you’ll never read, h/t.)

Finally letting go of religious beliefs can lead to a very positive reassessment of values. Allow me to quote a few from this week in Outer Blogness:

Without the eternal perspective I used to have, this life has become infinitely more precious to me. It is literally all I have. I want to make the most of it, and I can’t do that if I believe that my life is in someone else’s hands. I’ve taken back the control, and I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to make things happen. I may not get everything I try for, but I will die with the satisfaction of having tried. I will achieve things that I would have never done before, simply because I am taking charge of my life.

And:

One of the first things my wife mentioned when we “graduated” from religious belief is that she no longer had the overwhelming since of guilt that had been instilled in her from an early age. She and I can feel bad about our actions and can endeavor to be better spouses, parents, neighbors, friends and citizens without having to feel the crushing guilt of never being good enough. We can live our lives to the best of our ability and not have to worry if it was enough. We can do good things for the sake of doing good without having to make sure that we are getting “credit” from other people who need to see us being good. Most importantly, we can concentrate on the people who really matter in our lives and not have to spend so much time trying to impress the people we go to church with so they will think that we are doing the right things.

And:

I surprisingly feel more excitement for life. More awe & wonder at the beauty of the universe. My curiosity about the laws of the Cosmos have intensified beyond belief.

And:

When I lost my faith in religion and God, the love for my wife immediately rose to the top. An emotional realization hit me that she is my world, life, and purpose… I want to spend the rest of my existence celebrating, cherishing, fighting, working, lusting, loving and seeking after her, our happiness and our children’s happiness… Not because of a covenant I made in a temple, church or courthouse, but because I chose to be with her and with each new day, I choose again and again and again until my last breath escapes me. This is what my faith is in. It is in the love I possess and nurture every time we talk, fight or make love. This is who I am.

In fun and funny, the Expert Textperts have reviewed the new temple movie! The American dream has morphed into a sad joke. Donna Banta figured out how patriarchal blessings are composed, and gave her husband a new one! And check out the new graphic way of visualizing the contradictions in the Bible!

Some of you may have noticed that it’s actually Monday morning this lovely Sunday. I think I’m just a morning person, so whenever I schedule not to work on Monday, I’m tempted to go to bed early on Sunday and save SiOB for the next morning. I should seriously stick to doing it first thing in the morning on Sunday rather than waiting until evening when I don’t feel like doing it anymore. Because it’s fun to do this round-up, and I hope you folks out there in Outer Blogness are visiting some of these excellent articles!

6 thoughts on “Sunday in Outer Blogness: Wrong Side of History Edition!

  1. I always enjoy SiOB. I use it as my reading for the week. I actually looked for you Sunday morning and felt lost without you. :o) Thanks for taking the time to pull this all together every week.

  2. Thanks!! It’s fun to do, and even better if people are getting something out of it. 😀

    Regarding the Ballard talk: It looks like a bit of a smackdown for those liberals who were hoping to coax the CoJCoL-dS out of the 1850’s. Complete with the usual condescending attitude right in the title: “Women are essential to the Lord’s work” — one of those statements where the fact that they felt the need to say it is a bit of a red flag…

    Check out the side-by-side of Poelman’s talk too. It’s quite an old story, but pretty eye-opening the way Big Brother swapped out all of encouragement towards independence and replaced it with how much you need the church’s policies and programs…

  3. Anyone wanna play “favorite highlights from Ballard’s talk”?

    “Most everyone has family or friends who have been caught up in various, troubling contemporary social issues,” he said. “Arguing about the issues generally does not bring any resolution and, in fact, can create contention. There are some questions about the church’s position on sensitive issues that are hard to answer to anyone’s satisfaction. However, when we seek the Lord in prayer about how to feel and what to do in these situations, the impression comes: Do you believe in Jesus Christ and do you follow him and the Father?”

    Of course! Bringing up troubling issues with church policy does nothing but cause contention because the leaders don’t actually want to hear a single thing about your opinion on church policies. So bringing them up — and pointing out problematic consequences with the policies of the CoJCoL-dS — only makes more (otherwise complacent) people get upset about them.

    The real solution is for everyone who has a suggestion to simply go home and pray about it. Silently. And otherwise shut up completely about it. That way — even though the problematic consequences are still there — the problem is solved! As far as the church is concerned.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s church, and is governed by and through priesthood authority and priesthood keys. All men and women serve under the direction of those who have keys, but the priesthood power is available to all. This is how the Lord governs his church, he said.

    I’m sensing a bit of newspeak here with respect to the way authority and power might be available to “all” despite the fact that the governing is only done by those who have the right “keys” dangling between their legs. Is this talk some sort of “anti-Mormon literature”…? Cause it’s sure painting the CoCJoL-dS in a very bad light w.r.t. honest communication.

    It takes a man and a woman to create a family, and it takes men and women to carry out the work of the Lord in the church.

    And thus we see why gay marriage is such a threat. If a happy home can be run by two women (resp. two men) who are life-partners, then how can we prove that it’s crazy impossible for a woman to be bishop, etc. ?

  4. People who express doubts about the Church to higher ups have been told in the past something like, “That’s okay, just keep them to yourself.” They’re basically saying not to bring up troubling issues, because they don’t have answers.

  5. @5 So true, and it is one of the most frustrating aspects of current Mormon culture. The leadership basically seems to believe that whenever there is criticism, the problem is the criticism, and if they can get the critic to shut up, then the problem is solved. (I talked about this at Sunstone in 2012.)

    Even some fairly liberal Mormons sometimes suggest a model in which people who have issues with various policies should have private discussions with leaders or mentors until their issues are resolved — where the resolution is that the person is willing to stop worrying about the issue and talking about it to others.

    It’s maddening because it is exactly the way to ensure that no problems will ever be addressed and solved.

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