Sunday in Outer Blogness: Survey says edition!
This week’s Mormon news item is one where I can give the CoJCoL-dS some real praise! Setting a good example for drought behavoir, they let the temple lawn go brown. You can probably guess what happened next…
Perhaps you’ve heard about the new Pew Study on American religious trends, showing the shrinkage of Christianity. The whole thing provides an amusing example of the problems with journalism with an ideological spin. It looks like the CoJCoL-dS peaked with Gen-X, but the faithful Mormons are quick to point out that they have the most kids and among the lowest rates of cohabitation — which isn’t necessarily something to be proud of:
People will say that you donâ€™t have to work at it when you live with someone like when youâ€™re married. The flip side is that when youâ€™re not married, you donâ€™t get the bullshit pressure to work at something you should walk away from. Yep, Iâ€™m speaking from experience.
My personal favorite bit of LDS news is that they’re planning to make a film of Saturday’s Warrior!! Now, if you’ve been following this blog for a long time, you might know that playing “Emily” in a stake production of Saturday’s Warrior (in 1979) was the high point of my Mormon experience, and I’m not a fan of the video version (see my novella set during a production of Saturday’s Warrior). I’m curious to see what they’ll do about Saturday’s Warrior’s biggest problem (which is that it’s so painfully dated). It would be cool if they would do it as a straight-up period piece set in the 70’s, but… that’s a bit of a problem for an organization that keeps ending up on the wrong side of history. (Imagine if someone had written a rousing musical romp about a Mormon family valiantly fighting agains gay marriage in the 2000’s — that would play really well in 2040…)
But that’s not all this past week’s Mormon news-and-discussion cycle has to offer!!
The best allegory involved a sharp-toothed snail. Would you like to know more about Mormonism’s connections with masonry and Solomon’s Temple? Or where the family proclamation came from? Or perhaps you’d like to read about the dangers of exact obedience, apologymnastics, or predictions on who will be the next prophet. Or the importance of loving and valuing all families not just some.
In the department of “why we don’t want to go back”, there’s this gem:
At any rate, her point was that even though what “the world” called manners may be hoity toity, we sometimes needed to humor “the world” for the sake of appearances, and, of course, the opportunity to spread the Gospel.
Somehow – and I can’t quite figure this out – but in one hour, what might have been a fun stay at a plush hotel had turned into a deployment to a war zone.
Andrew Hackman had a discussion with that intriguing beast, the Jack-Mormon who still believes:
The “ya gotta believe something” line is a refrain I often hear from nominal believers. For all practical purposes my bus driver doesn’t believe. If he believed his faith he would be doing what his faith wants him to do: attend church, study his scriptures, tithe, seek converts, etc. He does none of that, yet he still “believes”. Why is that?
In scripture study, believers are still trying to figure out what Jesus meant when he said to sell all your possessions and give everything to the poor. The non-believers are less confused by parables. Corbin Volluz gave an overview of how the Book of Mormon preaches a theology of salvation by grace alone, and LDS Anarchist conjectured that Nephi and Sam were identical twins. And — while the Hugo award embarrassment continues — are those stories really as bad as this stuff?
Much like Moroni’s stratagems, this relies on the enemy making some really bad calls. First, the reason the Lamanites come out of the city is because they’re worried Helaman will cut off their supplies. That seems silly considering Helaman is parked next to the wilderness, which is on the wrong side of the city to stop any deliveries. Second, despite having vastly superior numbers, the Lamanites still feel the need to send like ninety-five percent of their goons out to fight Helaman’s little band of brothers. Third, when Helaman immediately retreats directly into the wilderness, the Lamanites don’t smell a trap. Fourth, once the Lamanites finally think they’re being tricked, they don’t instantly remember that they left the city poorly guarded and consider that maybe that was the trick, so they settle down for the evening instead of double-quicking it back to Manti.
That’s some fantastic strategic planning, Helaman. I couldn’t be prouder if you’d outfoxed a piece of driftwood.
In life journeys, Kiley is moving on again:
The truth is that Louisiana was the place of my rebirth. It is the place where I had the space to leave behind harmful beliefs. It is the place where I finally shed sadness and depression. It is the place where I was able to come out and begin living a real and authentic life. In some ways this makes Louisiana my true home. It feels more like home than Utah does now because anytime I return to Utah the old Mormon Kiley sort of shows her face again. Being in old familiar places and spaces brings back old thought patterns and habits. I am glad that the jobs Leigh applied for in Salt Lake did not come through. It would not have been healthy for me. So despite its issues Louisiana has meant freedom to me.
In books and literature, it’s time to submit your entries to the Sunstone Fiction Contest!! And Mormon-watching Sociologist Ryan Cragun has out a new book on How to Defeat Religion in 10 Easy Steps: A Toolkit for Secular Activists.
And for Mormon-related folks who aren’t writing about Mormonism at all, we have Froggieâ€™s Pineapple Mango Red Chili Pepper Salsa and stuff you didn’t know about Nice & Easy Golden Blonde 104.
There’s a lot of fun stuff in this batch — enjoy!!