Sunday in Outer Blogness:

This week Elder Holland has launched another attack on secularism (which drew some criticism). On the other hand, a speaker at the FairMormon Conference advised Mormons to “make secularism an ally rather than a bogeyman.” With the rise of Trump some faithful Mormons are finally getting the picture that their marriage to the religious right (political movement) is kind of ill-advised:

If any of the speculation about Trump’s long-run interests in competing with Fox turn out to be true, then—even if he loses the election—it could very well mean that we’ll see a rising media conglomerate drawing a bulls-eye on Mormonism from the right of the American political spectrum.

There have been some fantastic church-related discussions lately, such as
an insightful new perspective on counting your blessings, a history of BYU-Hawaii and The Proclamation, details of a bishop asking sexual questions to an 8-year-old as a part of the baptism process, more stories of missionaries coming home early, modesty creep, a great new use for General Conference, addressing homophobia through BYU football, and the shady dealings of Paul H. Dunnand others:

I write this post with not a little irritation that the Mormonism that currently presents is encumbered by an unfathomable immaturity in its organisational culture that draws a hard line in the sand, rejecting anything and anyone who might disrupt the ‘good’ members’ intractable confidence that the church is perfect and without accountability for any misdeed that occurs within its dominion. It has few checks in its systems that arrests its constant reproduction of the spiritually juvenile, organisationally infantile and obdurate cultural rule that all Mormons must protect the Church’s good name whether deserved or not. This is a dangerous nonsense and leads me to ask:

“What is a good name?” A good name is earned; it’s not coerced and bullied out of its adherents.

I think my favorite recent discussion, though, was this list of recommended changes to the CoJCoL-dS. I’ve seen lists of what the church can do to improve that are basically like “denounce Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and replace them with (Evangelical) Christian theology,” but this one is different — it’s a comprehensive list of simple policy changes that would make a huge improvement without compromising Mormonism’s unique character. The pervasive sexism is something that does harm and could be addressed (think Mormon Women’s Position and Organization Names and Titles) as well as transparency issues and other problems.

The new semester is starting, so it’s time to deconstruct this year’s scripture lessons! Plus check in with Jesus in the Book of Mormon (not to mention Corianton and Lucretia).

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Sunstone Fiction Contest!

In life journeys, Ben described coming out as a gay Mormon, and Natasha Helfer Parker explained why she stays Mormon:

And I get the question a lot. From my own. “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you just leave?” And from those outside, like this thread. “If it’s so harmful, why are you still in?” They are both valid questions. But I still have the belief that I have a right to Mormonism on my own terms. That I have the right to my beliefs and the many ways LDS doctrine is relevant in my life, to the many spiritual experiences I’ve had within this faith, and to the community I have served and been served by since my parents converted when I was five years old — even as I have the right to call out the harm I see and the ways I hope we can improve and change. It’s a journey after all. I have a right to stay or go… and I choose to stay.

In not-Mo-related, we have a poem about identity, using cannons as musical instruments and churches as armed camps, and other metamorphoses. Plus another one of my puppet shows.

Thanks to all for your patience with my irregular vacation posting schedule. Since it’s already mid-week, I think I’ll probably skip next Sunday and do another week-and-a-half SiOB the following week. I hope to see you then!


C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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