Sunday in Outer Blogness: Back to school edition!
Sadly, Summer is on the wane — it’s time for the fun of seminary with some changes to the curriculum! Even better — Free BYU announced that BYU is starting to relax its “leave Mormonism and get expelled” policy:
While bishops can still refuse or revoke an ecclesiastical endorsement for any reason, they’re no longer involved in what happens thereafter. School officials no longer “freely communicate with” a student’s “present and former ecclesiastical leaders” when the student applies for an exception to the endorsement requirement (unless the student asks them to); in fact, they don’t even review the bishop’s decision to withdraw or deny the endorsement. Of course this affords greater respect and protection for the personal information that students disclose in confidence to their trusted (or once-trusted, as the case may be) spiritual advisors. It also serves to reduce the influence that lay clergy members have over students’ academic and professional careers and should enhance the consistency of the decisions made regarding student retention as well as the extent to which these decisions remain within the confines of accreditation standards.
Whoa, hold up there. You can’t just drop some earth-shattering miracle into the middle of a sentence like it’s no big thing and then steamroll on through a list of names that we’ll never need to remember.
I mean, sure, if Nephi raised his brother from the dead, that’s awesome. It bears mentioning. In fact, that kind of faith-promoting story should have its own chapter. Maybe they could have made space for it on the gold plates by skipping an Isaiah chapter or two.
And here’s some seasonal excitement — this election season could finally be the one that puts Mormons on the political map!!
The fact that some early Utah polls had Clinton ahead of Trump caught the attention of the entire political class. Both Democrats and Libertarians started campaigning heavily in Utah, and Republicans, worried that they might lose in the reddest state in the Union, had to follow suit. If this goes on for a few election cycles, people might start talking about “the Mormon vote” the way that they talk about “the Catholic vote” today: something contested, or at least contestable, that needs to be carefully cultivated and taken seriously. If Hillary Clinton becomes the first Democrat in three generations to win the presidential vote in Utah, both parties will have to re-examine their current electoral calculus, which for the last fifty years has been, “ignore Mormons and focus on swing voters.”
In LDS-interest news, Misty Snow — the first trans-woman nominated for senate by one of the major political parties — is running in Utah! FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs has given the law the slip, and his lawyer argued that he might have been raptured. And the new laws agains religious proselytizing in Russia have led to at least one LDS missionary deportation.
At the ages of six and seven, I really internalized the teaching that children who died before the age of accountability would be guaranteed exaltation. I also didn’t learn too much (i.e., anything) about grace, and it was pretty clear to me that that was likely my only shot, since as soon as I was baptized and became responsible for my sins, I was sure to sin up such a storm that I would never be able to keep track of and repent of them all. Considering these facts, I mused a fair amount about suicide. I wasn’t particularly depressed; I was just thinking through things logically. I never made anything like a concrete plan, but I often turned the idea over in my mind, and wished that I could come up with a way to make it happen. It seemed perfectly in line with what I was learning at church: better to suffer a small pain now and have happiness later than avoid pain now and have sadness later.
1. Informal blessings, i.e. healing blessings, father’s blessings, even baby blessings and dedications of houses, chapels, and temples
2. Formal ordinances, i.e. baptisms, sacrament
3. Church governance, i.e. bishops, stake presidents, and the ability (apparently) to preside over most mixed-sex organizations
I hope that the common practice of LDS bishops grilling kids on masturbation in closed-door interviews will stop, not to mention other questionable training for girls. (And, in case that stuff isn’t bad enough, the CoJCoL-dS has to get in one last jab when a woman leaves.)
In life journeys, continuing to care about Mormonism after leaving the CoJCoL-dS is a valid and healthy option — though one’s feelings often mellow a bit and you might feel freer to explore your feelings and find inspiration in new places. Also the leaving process could be made more friendly. They might consider not kicking so many people out. OTOH, if you’re looking for a good reason to leave Mormonism, some pick-up artists have identified Mormon women as good targets (because of LDS ladies’ submissiveness). And check out this powerful painting!
Now that Summer’s over, I hope to get my schedule back on track. I hope you’ve had a lovely season as well — but if not, at least have a good week, and happy reading! 😀