Sunday in Outer Blogness: The Return!

Sunday in Outer Blogness

Hi folks, I’m back!! When we last checked in with the church PR leaders, they were huffily, grudgingly sticking with the Boy Scouts as their youth program (and continuing their policy of ignoring girls).

On immigration the right-wingers also have the opportunity to be out-of-sync with a political position held by the CoJCoL-dS:

This is the Church’s position on immigration in the United States, which means that deporting all undocumented immigrants, and breaking up families in the process, is NOT the Church’s position on immigration in the United States. If you are a Latter-day Saint in the United States, and you favor deporting all undocumented immigrants who are already here, then you support something that the Church opposes. And if you do not believe that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work, then you oppose something that the Church supports.

Meanwhile, the CoJCoL-dS has gotten so boring that some of its more excitable members are forming a bit of a doomsday cult.

In further church watch, Nearing Kolob noticed a new reason for emphasizing obedience and BYU is having some new legal issues.

It looks like general conference talks are well on their way to being elevated to the level of scripture! (Which is great considering the quality of scripture.) Mithryn reported that a lot of members are taking a 40 day challenge to read 40 General Conference talks (or Ensign articles) in preparation for General Conference — and has decided to take the challenge! He’s already produced an impressive series of posts analysing conference talks.

In personal stuff, the atheist Mormon housewife experienced a miracle, J G-W answered charges of Stockholm Syndrome, Greasyslothy recounted being raped (and having an abortion), Monica is starting to date again, Uomo Nuovo is visiting Venice, Ren visited the Minnesota State Fair, Commander Zelph’s bishop helped him find a friend, and Chelsey Sidler-Lartey discussed mental illness (with strategies for choosing life).

In fact, the CoJCoL-dS has played the villain in a couple of mental health-related stories this past week: one that will make you angry, and one that is full of win:

However, we watched a clip of David Bednar addressing some general authority group talking about the demographic that most frequently leaves the church and he made a statement to the effect that if teenagers (the aforementioned group) leave the church it’s because of inadequate gospel teaching and living in the home. To me, this was nothing more than a serving of guilt-pie. But the kind that I’ve grown accustomed to ignoring.

But then I looked at my wife sitting next to me as she tried unsuccessfully to hold back tears of pain as she wrote a note to herself: “We said family prayer. We went to church. We did family home evening. We did weekly service projects during the summer and holiday season. We read scriptures, and my son left the church. WHAT ELSE CAN I DO? We taught him to think for himself. We taught him to ask questions and not accept easy answers to difficult questions. I taught him to use his agency. I would NEVER change that. Does he make choices that are different than the ones I might have chosen? Yes. But does that make those choices wrong? NO.”

Looking at my beloved suffer was more than I could bear, so I raised my hand.

In life journeys, both Donna Banta and this cartoonist addressed the eternal question of why ex-members won’t leave the CoJCoL-dS alone. Even when leaving is the best choice, it can be hard:

They say there are five stages of mourning: shock, denial, anger, depression and acceptance. For the young men and women leaving the ultra-Orthodox world behind, there is an enormous loss. It is easy for those outside to think that now you are free; your life so much better than when you were among the colorblind. But it is still an enormous loss. That loss carries everything we ever believed, and everyone who taught us to believe it: parents who loved us, teachers who educated us, siblings who played with us, cousins and classmates and former best friends. Our loss holds in it entire families. It holds our faith, innocence and belief.

And it is devastating.

Eventually, you meet others like you, emerging like shadows from the dark: a former classmate, a second cousin, the quiet girl from summer camp. You’ve seen them before, walking the streets of your city, but you could not tell back then that they were different from the others — that they pretended not to see colors, too.

In not-quite-Mormon news items, I’m sure you’ve heard about the government clerk refusing to follow the law w.r.t. same-sex marriage licenses. Well Runtu imagined what it would be like if it had happened at the DMV. And if you’re curious to know more about how drag works in relation to the transgender community, meli wrote a really interesting piece discussing the complexity of this issue. In other trans perspectives, an author (who is perhaps trans?) argued that “Bruce Jenner is a crossdresser, not transgendered.”

In fun, Runtu leaked the trump diaries and Hawkgrrl is gathering least-favorite hymns. Oh, and Sunstone is holding a comic-book contest.

And everyone, thanks for your patience — it has been a crazy week here at Main Street Plaza. Not only did I modify the SiOB schedule a bit, but we had that commenting problem, which is probably why the discussion on ProfXM’s Orson Scott Card post didn’t take off. Weirdly, in just the past couple of weeks I’ve started feeling curious to read “Ender’s Game.” Any opinions?

7 thoughts on “Sunday in Outer Blogness: The Return!

  1. Weirdly, in just the past couple of weeks I’ve started feeling curious to read “Ender’s Game.” Any opinions?

    I liked Ender’s Game, and even the first sequel (Speaker for the Dead), but just a few things: even from the first book there is this trope of “precocious genius kidz outthink dumb adultz”. Maybe that’s something that is more for the kids but I know a lot of people dislike that.

    I didn’t have too much of a problem with that, but when you read any sequels to Ender’s Game, it quickly picks up a “White Jesus I N S P A C E” trope. also, it is very obvious that OSC went on a Portuguese-speaking mission as he sets up Planet Brazil in book 2.

  2. @1 Thanks!

    @2 So many people have said that “Ender’s Game” and its first sequel are pretty good, but it’s downhill from there.

    Personally, I had little interest in the book when it was just “the book that makes people take that raging homophobe seriously” to me, but perversely, some famous reviews (which I referenced here) made me really curious to read it.

    Specifically, the claim is that Card has written a story in which the protagonist exacts horrifically brutal revenge upon his enemies — to the point of committing genocide against a foreign society — and yet the reader perceives the protagonist as good, heroic, and innocent. The same character who — told from a different perspective — would be a monstrous villain.

    I’m curious to see how/if he really pulled that off. I’m especially curious about how human nature can interpret evil acts differently when coming from a character they sympathize with.

  3. I have read all but one of OSC’s books, many of them several times, and I’ve directed three of his plays . . . and I’m gay. And he and I have talked about it and we’re still good friends. He has written many books, some brilliant, some all right, some so-so, and a couple that are terrible. But Ender’s Game, Speaker For the Dead, Xenocide, Ender’s Shadow, Enchantment, Past Watch are all excellent. Back in the late 70’s a friend at work asked me, “You know OSC, right? Is he gay?” I answered that from my experience, no he was not, “Why?” My college prof. colleague answered, “Because his books are so supportive of his gay characters, more than any other writer I’ve ever read.” But that was before his dark days with NOM. Incidentally, if you check the recently disclosed NOM donor lists, you’ll not see OSC’s name anywhere. He had been asked to write a book for them, which he never wrote. In addition, I have found him to be amazingly generous in times of need. I’m proud to say that he’s my friend. Oh yes, and he read the pertinent parts of “Latter Gay Saints.” So there’s more to him than perhaps meets the eye.

  4. @4 Did you see our earlier discussion on whether OSC is gay? It’s here.

    In a nutshell, people observed that his early works had gay themes (including perhaps a gay love story), and then he later wrote stories that argue for giving up your own sexuality for the good of society. (Not to mention that now he’s obsessed with homosexuality beyond what you’d expect from someone who doesn’t have a horse in this race.)

    Here’s a key conclusion of that discussion:

    A lot of people bring up the possibility that Card is a self-loathing homosexual as a kind of “gotcha” criticism of him. For me, that very real possibility actually makes his story more tragic and understandable.

    And I would add that — regardless of whether he’s gay or not — it’s absolutely tragic that someone so talented would choose to invest so much of his identity into becoming this crank; ranting that society’s failure to take his extremist views seriously must mean the end of freedom (see ProfXM’s post).

  5. @6 I hope that it’s clear from what I’ve said that I’m taking a nuanced view of Card and his work.

    More precisely, I was a teenage sci-fi reader back in the mid-80’s — when Enders’ Game was the rising star. And even though as a Mormon I was psyched to see a fellow Mormon be famous for anything — and even though it was recommended to me by a fellow teenage-Mormon-sci-fi fan — I didn’t bother to read it because when it was described to me, it didn’t sound interesting.

    In the intervening years, I’ve heard lots of people rave about it — but whether they liked it or not — nothing they said about its contents made it sound even remotely interesting or worth reading. The fact that its author was growing in renown as an outspoken homophobe was, if anything, a selling point. It made the book a bit of a curiosity.

    Until… I read this essay. Here’s a quote that gives a taste of the analysis that actually makes the book sound interesting:

    This, I fear, is the appeal of Ender’s Game: it models this scenario precisely and absolves the child of any doubt that his actions in response to such treatment are questionable. It offers revenge without guilt. If you ever as a child felt unloved, if you ever feared that at some level you might deserve any abuse you suffered, Ender’s story tells you that you do not. In your soul, you are good. You are specially gifted, and better than anyone else. Your mistreatment is the evidence of your gifts. You are morally superior. Your turn will come, and then you may severely punish others, yet remain blameless. You are the hero.

    I’m specifically curious about it because I was working on a story in which the protagonist is abused and bullied — I would like the reader to sympathize with him and maybe even desire to see the culprits punished in the story. It reminded me of the above criticism of Ender’s Game. And that made me curious to read it — to see an example of how it’s done.

    However, unlike OSC, I would not stack the deck to turn brutal revenge into an innocent thing that leaves no stain on the protagonist.

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