Sunday in Outer Blogness: Mixed-messages edition!
What happens when you devote your life to following authority — and then that authority announces that your hard-lined authoritarian approach isn’t the right way to go? This is the sound of brains exploding. Of course only the Catholics have this problem — the CoJCoL-dS has found a clever way to avoid this problem, by broadcasting all potentially-controversial statements through the maybe-authority-maybe-not LDS Newsroom.
A number of interesting LDS faith journeys this past week touched on mixed or problematic messages from the CoJCoL-dS. Dave made some great points about the “covenant-22” faithful Mormons are required to make. B. Very Chill grieved as though she had died when she stopped believing in Mormonism, until she realized that the qualities the church was selling her were in her from the start. Leia is mostly over Mormonism, but some little things keep coming back. 0YeFair1 started started on the path to disbelief when an LDS bishop received a “revelation” that was disasterously wrong. Donna Banta had an epiphany about the church’s message that those who leave are unhappy, and kbrady34 told a story about the different degrees of glory that Mormons experience.
Nate explained why it’s problematic to view sex as sacred, and prairienymph explained how LDS teachings about “purity” made her feel like her body didn’t belong to her:
I saw it as a shell that was owned by god and would later be owned by a husband. I was responsible for following the rules that I thought these two owners would expect of me.
Jen discussed the CoJCoL-dS’s tactic of just pretending like its mistakes don’t exist (instead of dealing with them), Bronlo shared a personal story about how the church’s lies of omission come back to bite it on the butt, and Heather has continued her exit story with a compelling reason why that’s the wrong way to go:
Iâ€™ve also heard people say, â€˜Go ahead and research, but only focus on the good parts, only read things that make you feel goodâ€™ Iâ€™m sorry that model of thinking doesnâ€™t fly for me. I am a nurse and when I assess a patient (or a problem), I try to look at the whole picture to the best of my ability. If my patient has an infected wound on their foot, Iâ€™m not going to just not look at it because thereâ€™s pus and blood. I would be doing my patient a great disservice if I didnâ€™t look at a problem because it doesnâ€™t look pretty or considering the pain it is causing him/her doesnâ€™t make me feel good. I could also be fired from my job, and I should be if I were so negligent to ignore signs or symptoms that indicated a problem. If I ignored the infected wound it would only become worse and can lead to bigger problems.
Brad Carmack cleared up some misconceptions about students (like this guy) getting expelled from BYU for unbelief.
The famous Orson Whitney quote that Mormons would produce Miltons and Shakespeares got some exposure in the spotlight of the New York Times — it’s the natural lead-in for the age old question of why the Mormons haven’t produced serious literature like the Jews. Several bloggers have responded. I’ve written about it myself long ago, and this simple graphic sums up a lot of the problem. But I think probably the best take on the question is Johnny Townsend’s discussion in the December 2010 issue of Sunstone:
Mormon literature can never be a mature art form til LDS writers focus on the humanity of our position instead of on our â€˜chosenâ€™ status. If our literature is going to resonate on a larger scale, the truthfulness of the Church, or lack thereof, canâ€™t be a relevant topic.
I love these quotes by LDS authors in the NYT article:
Realist literature for adults often includes aspects of adult life like sex and drinking, and the convention is to describe them without judgment, without moralizing.
I believe that most writers who are LDS are by default labeled as â€˜young adultâ€™ writers because graphic sex scenes, graphic violence and swearing are omitted from their writing â€” even if the material is for a more mature audience.
Reading that, I feel like the lack of introspection is a far more glaring problem that the lack of naughty words. And since when does Mormon literature omit graphic violence? (See that book whose new film brought this question into the news cycle, not to mention the Book of Mormon)
Speaking of books, Emily Pearson has a new one out, and Steve Wells is promoting a new audiobook version of Drunk with Blood: God’s Killings in the Bible.
Let’s wrap up with a few amusing short takes: Mormon memes (I’m a sucker for Minecraft references), some bloggers have shared photos of their lives, see what a great year it’s been for marriage equality, and Mormon411 has finally resigned from the CoJCoL-dS! Congrats!
And this week’s champion mixed message (of the “I’m not a racist, but…” variety) has been reinvented as a hilarious poem!! Have a great week!
| ~And since when does Mormon literature omit graphic violence?~ |
A lot of the more conservative folks I know seem to think violence is okay but sex…no, no, no.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard good, ‘moral’ folks say something like: “It’s rated ‘R’ but it’s just because of the violence… there’s no sex…”
For some reason it was the ‘sex’ in a book or a movie that made it bad.
I guess Mormon leaders are trying to avoid getting caught lying or refuting earlier doctrine-so now doctrine is becoming a moving target.
@1 Exactly! The funny thing is that a wrote a post on exactly that point here a few years ago: Rated R â€œjust for violenceâ€.
@2 Yes, I think so. Or perhaps they don’t want to make it obvious that on many doctrinal points they disagree among themselves. They want to create the illusion that they have definitive answers to doctrinal questions, they just won’t tell you what they are. That avoids all of the quibbles over contradictions and consistency, etc.