Monday, August 30, 2010

Everybody's Weird

I love my dad, and my stepmom and I have become really close.

A big reason why: we don't discuss religion. Much. And this after a few years of passive-aggressive hatred for my conversion to the church (ie: "yes we'll be at the temple for your wedding" NOT).

Sometimes the subject would pop up, like around the 4th of July when stepmom would be working in a fireworks booth to raise money for their church/youth program and would ask Eric and me if our church did the same thing.

We were grateful for this sliver of interest and thought they were so cute. The LDS church needing fundraisers? psssh, we have tithing.

Speaking of, we also would discuss tithing. Tithing was never a thing back when I went to their church--just your standard offering plate--but yanno with their non-cookie cutter denomination things are always changing (so sad!) and they began to tithe and we began to hear and even swap tithing testimonials. Then my dad began to worry about me once I began to question the veracity of the principle.

Then there was the time she told me the story of how she and my dad were hard up for cash and this woman approached them at church, mentioned something about being "impressed" to give them a check, and did.

(waaaait a minute, i thought. those sorts of things can only happen in OUR church)

Other than that, though, very little talking went on. It's even more rare now that they've seen the title to a more private blog I have on livejournal that includes the word "agnostic."

Straight to hell!

Anyway I hear stuff. And I had my own experiences.

Like the time I was taken to the cemetery and told to accept Christ now while I could because I could die at any time and my unsaved 11 year old ass would be sent straight to hell.

(no worries, tho. i was saved, like, five times)

Or the time I and maybe two other kids were consigned to a small, dark, hot closet (aka "hell") while the rest of the youth group went to a large, bright room with cookies. (didja know heaven will totes have cookies? yeah i would hope so, but it also better have cake. chocolate.)

I think the idea of that particular exercise was to impress upon us that death would come randomly (two kids acted as angels of death and took us to either room "randomly") and so we needed to be ready and accept Christ now.

I was also told that if god, being all-knowing and all, told me I was going to hell I was going to hell and there was nothing I could do about it so don't even try (seriously). And if I was going to heaven, nothing I would do would change that because god said i was going to heaven. So, either way, PARTY UP, BITCHES.

Or the number of times the pastor would talk about satan. Once he said "he could be in the back of this chapel" (so of course I looked) or how, in the middle of prayer, he'd start talking to satan. One particularly funny time he began shouting "SATAN YOU'RE A LIAR! LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!"

I shit you not. Eric and I were there for my nephew's dedication (same thing as a blessing, only it involves just the pastor) and we almost peed our pants.

So a few months ago my sister, still in her teens, tells me more stories. Like how her pastor told her that she kept her under water just a smidge longer during her baptism to rid her of the "extra sin."

Or how she's called a slut/whore.

And the weird way she's regarded when she doesn't fall into tongue-hysterics (tongues weren't a thing when I went there, either. missed out on the fun, I guess)

Or confided in me that she's tried and tried but just doesn't get this whole prayer thing.


I had no idea how literally they take the Bible. And until I read Koda's blog, I didn't know how literally the LDS take it (srsly? official LDS stance is that the Earth is 6000 years old? i never knew that) Does the church also stand against the idea theory of evolution?

I mean, I know with the whole Kolob thing the LDS religion is straight up weird (not to mention most everything else), but I don't know. I also recognize that it's not all weird. Just mostly. 99%. Even active, faithful members have to recognize that. Even if it is in the back of their mind.

Kolob, 6000 years old, oils, temple clothes, tongues--I mean, seriously. If I ever step back and think "yanno, maybe" this shizz slaps me back into reality.

I can rationalize some fact into fiction (sorry, "faith") but there's too much that is fundamental that I cannot anymore.

(though i will say, church ought to be more like what kiley experienced. i might even go to something like that.)

And yet I continue to think that there's something to this ghost/paranormal business...

Oh well.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Just discovered an Islamic Center in one of my favorite cities JUST AN HOUR AWAY and, and a--gasp!--mosque in my own town...3000 short miles away from WTC.


Have these people no sensitivities whatsoever? I mean, we totally felt the effects of the 9/11 attack over here, too.

I dunno about you, but I feel stabbed. Stabbed!

Friday, August 27, 2010

What I Believe

A commenter suggested a few posts ago that my hesitance to send in my resignation letter might have something to do with a (however minute) belief in the supposed truth of the church.

It might have--okay, it did--at first. But that hesitance to stop going to church was born out of fear that it might be true. And I've never believed in doing things out of fear--dates way back to when I attended my dad's assembly of god church. They loved striking fear into you. It was a good motivator. The end, they say, justified the means. So I stopped going.

Part of what drew me to the LDS church was the lack of fear-inducement. At least I didn't see any then, and I still believe it's not nearly as bad as I've seen or experienced.

I have said a few times why I hesitate, but I'll say it again: I don't like letting go of comfortable, familiar things. I don't like disappointing people who I love and who have been nothing but good to me. This is not the same demand for independence as what joining was. If anything, I have been resistant for this level of independence. If I leave the church, I'll lose its best people. So far so good, but I have lost one that matters. And that in the beginning of my disaffection.

I set a standard for myself in my first year of membership. I was a "golden convert." My patriarchal blessing said my family would chill out and, I thought, maybe join. It said I would bring many people into the church. I had told my best friend and my roomie that I never saw myself leaving. I was committed. I belonged. People thought I was a member before I joined. I would trust in god. He knew better. I believed that much.

But ultimately I joined the church because i "knew" it was true. I had read the Book of Mormon before joining. I had prayed. I had even been to the temple, gone to church, etc. I had a friend who met with me at a pizza joint semi-regularly to talk with me about the gospel (he was a recent RM in my English 1A class and /swoon! i had a crush--but i was determined to not join because of him. and i'm proud to say i didn't)

It's hard to just decide one day that it's all bunk after hearing time and time again that it's not and even preaching that certain things are not of or are against god. Knee-length skirts/shorts. Coffee. Caffeine (Eric and I switched positions on this a few times). Tea. Keeping the Sabbath "holy."

I was a pain in the ass for my family on many of these points. I freely admit that. After all, I was right, even if it seemed wrong or weird or nonsensical. God's ways are mysterious.

See, I had decided the summer before I met Squeaky that I needed to find a church and also began reading the Bible again--from the beginning. I would read certain passages and think "Gah, that's just wrong..."

and then,

"But if it's what God says, then who am I to argue?"

It was a measure of my maturity, I thought. I was 18.

So that gives you an idea of my mental mindset. If it's right, it's right and who the hell am I to question? I know nothing!

Throw in Squeaky and you have some serious evidence that I should consider this church. So I did.

Once I had my experiences and various so-called confirmations of the LDS church, I allowed everything else to fall into place. I didn't get the coffee/tea thing, but whatever, I thought. Doesn't matter. And besides, Joe Smith was right about tobacco before they knew it was bad (right?), so maybe there is something about coffee and tea that science doesn't yet realize is really really bad for you.

That deep-seated belief--the fact--that we don't know everything today is the main reason I consider myself agnostic.

The more I realized I knew nothing the more I realized we know nothing. I learned that those in positions of "divinely appointed authority" were just as messed up in their thinking as anyone. Anyone under direct guidance of a good, loving, fair god would never condone slavery (Brigham Young), would never say such awful things about the African-American race, suggest the Native Americans needed to be white, say gay people needed to marry straight or have electroshock therapy and later soften it to "just be celibate."

A loving god would demand equality of his people and never stray from that, no matter what society at large thought at the time.

A benevolent god period would never change his mind to suit the whims of his people if the following is to be believed (and it is, I hear it so often in the LDS church at least): "Same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever" right?

I don't just see this thread in the LDS church. I see it in all Christian churches.

I still pray sometimes when I'm especially scared. I don't know who I'm praying to, but I do. I do it out of hope that there is someone there watching out for me. I am thankful when bad things don't happen to me or my own. It feels incredibly selfish ("thanks for saving my kid instead of those other kids"), but I do pray.

It might be waning, but I have a hope in a god. I have a hope in the afterlife and in seeing my family. If there is a god, I have a hope he/she/it will know my heart and judge me based on that. I do not believe that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Whatever hell is.

If there is a god and he/she/it is willing to toss me aside because I'm not good enough, I don't want shit to do with god anyway. Nobody needs to be told they're not good enough, especially when they spend their lives doing nothing but trying to be good.

That said, if there is nothing but this, I am even more thankful for what I do have. I realize I have to embrace it now because one day I won't have it. They won't have me. If there's nothing after this life, it won't matter anyway. I'll be gone. Eventually my husband and kids will be gone. Such is the way of things.

(I don't know how to tell my kids this, though. I don't want them to be scared.)

I think of it like this: I don't remember jack from before I was born. I figure death will be the same kind of nothingness.

Yet sometimes I can't help but feel eternal. I don't know if it's because I just am or because I've been taught all my life that I am.

I don't believe. I don't have a "sure knowledge." We can't know everything. I'm not entirely convinced we can know anything. My agnosticism may turn into atheism. It may remain. I may become a theist or whatever. I don't know.

But anyway, if I have any hope or faith--if that hope or faith isn't in god--it's in that everything will work out.

This lack of belief gives me motivation to make the most of this life. To chase my dreams. To be more. To love my family more. To make a legacy. To have faith in myself. Things I never felt motivated to do or be as a believer. I was told time and again that god loved me, but it didn't really feel like it. I was put in a box. And as a parent (remember, we're told God is our Father and loves us as one), I've no plans to micromanage my kids or to place conditions on my love for them. No plans to ever let them think they're unworthy of me. That's not love. That's tyranny.

This life is a gift. It doesn't matter from what or whom, it just is.

I'll let the rest figure itself out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Non-LDS Conversion Stories: Sound Familiar?

In the interest of space, I'm only going to provide links. I'm going to also assume many here know the basic storyline of an LDS conversion. They're often quite similar, but here's mine:

1) grew up going to a bunch of churches, something seemed out of place. didn't believe in many doctrines and strongly questioned others.

2) met a bunch of LDS people in high school who were a bit weird, but sticky sweet nice. one became a good friend of mine (my friend George Cole -- you may have seen him in this semi-viral picture--dude on the right)

3) after graduation, decided that something was missing and I wanted religion but nothing struck me as very true. i saw mainstream christians as rather hypocritical.

4) met an LDS girl who became my bestie in college. she invited me to church and I went despite the strong opposition of my family who began to inundate me with anti-propaganda. didn't work--too much stuff at institute resonated with me.

6) felt "the spirit" and enjoyed the unconditional friendship of other LDS people. they were rather excited and wanted me to meet with the missionaries ALL THE TIME but I was determined to do this on my own schedule, to do it because it was what i really believed and not to please someone else.

7) went on a temple trip with the institute group and was overwhelmed by the "spirit" there, even though I was only outside

8) met with a set of missionaries. older couple. a little out of their heads, but nice. called me their "golden convert"

9) had a spiritual experience. asked to pick a possible baptism date but didn't tell anyone about it. Later my missionaries would suggest the same date. hello, confirmation

10) baptized and felt happy (for the first bit, at least). many spiritual experiences.

So, with that and perhaps your own story in mind:

Catholic conversion story (one of many)

Islam conversion story (it's a long one, but basically she'd been through a ton of Christian religions, went atheist and even wiccan and finally found the truth in Islam)

Atheist to Christian (a bit short, but you'll recognize the pattern)

Judaism conversion story (the last one is the best. Jewish conversion stories seem to be a bit different, but not altogether foreign to others)

Christian to Wicca (wiccan conversion stories were harder to find, but the same threads of "what i always knew/believed" is there. what is interesting about the wiccan stories is how they all say "it's what's best for me" and I have to respect that. it's not about a universal truth, but an individual one.)

Then there're these excerpts from Mormon Testimony: People of all faiths have similar testimonies of their own religions

I know this observation is hardly original, but still rather interesting, yeah?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stupid Member Memes

You know, the "gotcha" stuff they like to throw at you. Feel free to add your own, complete with comeback. If you can't come up with one for whatever reason, I'm sure someone around here can help.

To investigators, out of fear they may seek "anti" sources:

You wouldn't go to a Ford dealership to learn about your Chevy, would you?

(Confession: I totally bought this one.)

Not necessarily, but let me screw with this meme a bit: if I wanted to buy a Ford it might be worth my while to check with someone who had experience with that brand to figure out if it was something I really wanted to buy. In fact, people do this all the time. "How's your Kia?" they ask us all the time. And we tell them.

If we like the person asking, we're even honest ;)

But seriously, would you buy a car without checking into it--what issues generally arise from it, if people are satisfied, its resale value, accident/safety reports, etc? Gas mileage? And let's not forget price, for that matter (*cough*tithing*cough*)--cost/benefit.

So you know, I just might go to a Ford guy to learn a little about Chevy (it wouldn't be "my" Chevy--who the hell buys something this expensive without learning about it first?...oh). Maybe the Ford guy has some inside info I don't have--but of course I'd double or triple check with some independent research. After all, all Chevy is going to do is tell me how awesome it is and, oops, happen to neglect a few of the not-so-nice things. Because they want me to buy their cars.

It's the same sentiment as checking out new restaurants or hotels. You're not just going to talk with the particular hotel or restaurant, are you? They won't tell you what sucks about it. But people who've stayed or dined there will, and it helps to know if anything unseemly goes on. Don't want to contract food poisoning after all (but the restaurant said they followed health codes!)

To anyone claiming to know a truth contradictory to LDS doctrine: (especially those along the lines of "the church isn't true.")

You can tell me the sky is green all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that it's blue.

Yeah, heard this one before. Directly. And I used to think it was epic AWESOME.

All I have to say is this: the sky is kinda green right before a tornado. And then it's gray during a storm. Mostly white sometimes. Black at night (kinda polka-dotted, really. stars and all). Then you have to consider that the sky ain't blue everywhere on Earth at the same time.

Purple, then!


We could get a little trickier and discuss hues and shades. Mixtures of colors. But that'd probably just make their head hurt.

I can't seem to think of others at the moment, but I'm positive more exist. Help?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Letter Pros and Cons

So I haven't made it any secret that writing the letter of resignation is a def possibility in my future. It wasn't until I was able to say that publicly that I seriously considered it, and it wasn't until the Church's official response to Judge Walker's ruling on Prop 8 that I decided it was probably getting to be time.

For me, it's a matter of disingenuousness.

That's not a word, but work with me here, people.

Though we began some serious questioning even back in 2005, I think (right after April conference, if you'd believe it), we didn't get active about it until three years later. In 2005, however, I went to renew my temple recommend. It was always such a pain in the ass thing to do as it was with our schedules, but with the nagging questions and impressions it made it that much harder to do. But we did. It was the last time we would.

I have always had this thing of being honest to a fault, so when my bishop asked me the questions I was pretty honest. I dunno about 100% intellectually honest, but I did my best.

...until we hit the "Do you believe/know/whatever that Joseph Smith blah blah blah?"

I told him I wasn't sure about that anymore. He told me I should watch more BYU-TV and gave me my recommend. I didn't bother telling the stake president about my issues after that. Whatever, yeah?

Besides, I was pretty pissed for being dismissed like that. I was in tears because I was so scared the church wasn't true and I get this. BYU-TV, are you fucking serious?

The temple became interesting after that.

Anyway, fast forward to 2008ish and we're in a new ward. It's after Prop 8. I had my last blog up. I wasn't looking to leave but I could see it coming. My bishop knew nothing of this--or maybe he did. Not sure now. The timing is all blurry. This may or may not have been after I had my pointless "Tell me please why I should vote yes" talk with my bish. That was a fun talk. Srsly. Also good PR for me. I could tell people I not only prayed about it but I cleared it with my bishop.

Which is stupid.

But I did. I wanted him to give me one good reason to vote, and he didn't. I walked out more sure than ever to vote no.

I have to give the guy credit, though. He didn't say I was apostate for voting no when teh prophet said otherwise.

But I digress. Either before or after that, I was called to be a 5th Sunday Relief Society teacher. Or 4th. Whichever one has me teaching from General Conference talks. Doesn't matter, I had to teach.

I love teaching. I always have whenever I've been given the opportunity to. I'm not always good about it, but when I relax I like to think I've a talent. So I accepted the calling even while knowing I may not be able to stand behind the things I'd have to teach--I mean, if I had to teach something akin to "Mother's Who Know," I'd bust a vein. And I'm only slightly exaggerating.

If only I knew of the blogosphere back when that hack of a talk happened, I would've been better off. Felt very alone in my hatred for that talk.

Right. Tangent.

So my first talk comes and I do my best to make it (a) something I could swallow, (b) not cliche and (c) something edible for the women while also being a bit, if only a drop, fringe.

I succeeded.

The second talk came and I really, really struggled. I don't remember which talk it was based off of, but it had something to do with activity or sustaining or something stupid like that. I did my thing and it wasn't as good as my first lesson.

I couldn't take it anymore. I felt like my skin was crawling. I called my bishop and asked to be released. Of course he wanted to know why, and with my "honest to a fault" crap, I told him. I outed myself. He wanted to visit with me, but the appointment was made unknowingly on Back to School night and--sorry, bish, my kid comes first.

We never rescheduled. He never said a word to me. The Relief Society President came to me on two Sundays wanting to help me. It didn't seem to me that she knew I was looking to become inactive because she said something about knowing my life was too crazy for this shizz, so she offered to have me be on the less demanding (?) enrichment committee.

I gave it thought over the hour of RS but only because I didn't want to disappoint this woman (I hate disappointing anybody), but in the end I knew I couldn't do it. Not with a clear conscience. Besides, I didn't want to be in church anymore. I knew the anchor of a calling would only drag me further to the bottom. Besides, church bugged the fuck out of me. So I told her no. And it was weird, mostly for her. The look on her face--No?

It's foreign, I know. Maybe I should've tried speaking louder, slower, or in sign language. Though I think I did shake my head as well.

We moved soon thereafter, and that's when we decided we were done. It took us a few weeks to decide finally that we wouldn't even go once (because then you REALLY attract attention), but we did decide.

So now we're looking at the resignation letter, and I'm met with the same feelings. I can't help but feel that, if we stay, we are expressing passive support of the church and its doings. We are counted among the membership even though we don't go and don't believe. We retain the title for whatever intents and purposes, LDS/Mormon. We also, however, get the benefits whatever they may be. If any. We never liked using them anyways.

Just as I didn't feel right teaching lessons to these women I couldn't stand behind (even though I thought I could help them think about things differently), I don't feel right staying in a church I cannot stand by.

So I spoke with Eric last night about it, and he brought up an interesting point. There have been benefits of our lazy membership within the church. It's called getting a job.

The community here is saturated with LDS people. They're literally everywhere. And Eric is sure a few someones gave him a good reference. The parents of LDS kids want their kids in his classes--and they're good kids.

Like it or not, people do associate positive things with members of the church. And here, the idea that the church was so involved in supporting Prop 8 wasn't an issue. Everyone else here supported Prop 8, too.

So he's worried about what may happen once we officially remove our records from the active church files (they never really destroy yr records). And it's a real concern. While he's one of the only teachers at his school with a single subject credential in math, he isn't tenured yet. Next year. And that may not even matter. Every year the budget is cut so that they have to lay off a ton of teachers. We got the initial pink slip this past year before he was "rehired"

And we figure he gave two years of his life to this church plus I-don't-want-to-know how much money and time, so what the hell.

But I don't know. As his initial worry about his family and friends' reactions went away, I think this one will too. Maybe after he's tenured. But then I have to wonder about myself when I'm ready to get a job.

It's incredibly selfish, I'll give you that, but it's practical. I guess. I'm just not so sure we should give that much weight to this theory that being and growing up LDS helped him get the awesome teaching job.

What say you?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fear and the "Ground Zero Mosque"

I think by now the fact is known that it is not the Muslim people but Al-Qaeda who hijacked and then crashed our planes into WTC. That it is the Muslim people and not Al-Qaeda who wishes to build a mosque near Ground Zero. But people continue to argue and it is completely beyond me. They wish to equate the two and challenge the Islamic religion to do a litany of things to prove their religion is a peaceful one.

It's stupid. And much like those who cannot lay off the whole "Obama is a Muslim" card, this, too, is a political ploy. It, too, is lame and irrelevant. Too many American people--conservatives and tea baggers in particular--seem to be too goddamn lazy to actually look a the facts, a little thing we call a Constitution, their own values and morals or the compassion that's spoken of in their Bible to see that THIS ISN'T AN ISSUE. It's a distraction. There are more important things we need to be focusing on, and we're allowing idiots to turn too many heads for lesser and even nonsensical things.

That said, I know there are good American people out there who believe this is a huge issue with all their hearts. I get that. My father is one of them. But I think it's a matter of lack of knowledge or at least biased knowledge, the likes of which creates fear.

They say this is the Muslim people doing what they do, erecting a mosque at a place of victory over their enemies. But I say again: The Muslim people aren't responsible for 9/11.

A quote I like:

It doesn’t make sense, for example, that Islam would mark a victory over Americans at Ground Zero unless Muslims were terrorists celebrating a terrorist victory at Ground Zero. The word “Islam” has been preceded by the word “radical” so regularly in American media and conversation over the past decade, that “radical” no longer refers to an extremist subset of Islamic adherents, it instead qualifies the entire religion. - Political Labeling and the Ground Zero Mosque

But No Mosque at The World Trade Center Site insists, "If anything, it's a signal to them that they conquered the enemy and are planting their metaphorical flag in triumph."

I wasn't aware they had any sort of victory over us. Have we raised our little white flag? Have we given up? Are we still afraid? Are we under Sharia law? Are women required to wear burkas? Have they taken over our government and our Constitution and killing people here who don't swear loyalty to their religion?

But at least the Right has given up on the idea that building this mosque isn't the Muslim people's "right" to do. When that idea failed, the Right recanted and then worked to appeal to the sensitivity of "peace seeking Muslims" (gotta give 'em credit for acknowledging they exist, though the cynic in me senses a smidge of condescension). The same people--the Right--who laugh at our bleeding hearts are now pleading for "sensitivity."

That might not matter or be particularly relevant, but it makes me giggle.

But it's not about sensitivity or healing or any of that. The Christian people have a long history with the Muslim people. They are at odds, vying to fulfill prophecies and fighting to be right.

But the Right is afraid. And I think it goes beyond that--I think they're also afraid they'll be the minority in either the religious or ethnic sense. Afraid their values are under any more attack than they've ever been--even though our values have changed and for the better. We're a country of peoples who are told that if we are persecuted it is because we are righteous, not at all because we are wrong. They speak of sensitivity but they've little sensitivity to speak of themselves.

It's about being right, and they're too concerned with being right to consider even for a moment they may be wrong, even if just a little.

They don't know how hypocritical they are:

But for the near term, Wednesday night’s meeting indicated that the questions of neighborhood residents may take some time to answer.

Among them: “Is Sharia law better than democracy in your view?” “How do you feel about the role of women in society?” “What are your views on Israel?” “Can you point to any single statement in the Koran that you would consider to be incorrect?”

- Paul Vitello, New York Times "Heated Opposition to a Proposed Mosque"

I would ask these people if their Bible is better than democracy (how many laws are based on what the Bible teaches? slavery? homosexuality?), how they feel about the role of women in society, their views on Israel (a subject I am admittedly ignorant of), and if they can point to any single statement in the Bible that they would consider incorrect.

And truly, though our Constitution (6th article, I believe) calls for no religious litmus test for political office, there is an informal one. Hell be to the person who doesn't believe in the Christian god and runs for office. We want them to swear loyalty or we refuse to vote them in because we are scared of what unbelievers or those of other faiths may do. We may not physically kill those who refuse to swear loyalty to the Christian god, but we have our own methods.

They're scared--which is fine, totally forgivable. The unforgivable part is that they are so concerned with being right they make no effort to learn about these people and their religion. There's no reason to because they are convinced they are right. Further, it's easier to be angry and scared. Better to be threatened and persecuted. It makes them feel powerful. It makes them feel right.

And the scariest part is that there doesn't seem to be much we can do or say to quell these fears because they refuse to listen. If we yell, they yell louder. If we speak calmly and rationally, they dismiss us or fight back with more emotional rhetoric meant to make us cower.

It sounds a hell of a lot like the Church in far too many ways.

They work by fear. They may purport to not, claim to discourage fear, but ultimately they work by striking fear into their peoples' hearts, questioning loyalties. "If you're not with us, you're against us." "If you allow this to happen, the world will fall apart." They call you "anti-American"--an insult, indeed.

Fear is an easy emotion to feel, to spread--especially for those who don't know any better for whatever reason. This is why education is so incredibly important, and I don't see a lot of education in much of religion (note the qualifier "a lot"). The problem is that this brand of neurotic fear quickly spreads and becomes a disease. It has created the worst of atrocities. But we refuse to learn.

It's one thing to be scared of something legitimate--somebody sneaks into your home while you're there. You're Jewish and the Nazis are looking for you. But this, the Muslim people wanting to erect a mosque in Lower Manhattan? I've no reason at this moment to be scared of them. Anymore than we had reason to be frightened and suspicious of Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor. Or the black people we enslaved by way of divide and conquer so we, the white people, could remain in power.

So these people want the Muslim people--those wishing to erect this mosque in particular--to jump through hoops to prove themselves. These people are treating the Muslims as outsiders instead of as Americans. But it wouldn't matter even if the Muslim people acquiesced, they would ask for more and then more, forgetting the idea that we shouldn't judge or fear a larger group for a few wild cards.

I would think all religions and unbelievers have their wild cards. Communities. Families.

We seem to prefer guilty until proven innocent these days. It makes us feel safer and in control, but it places us at odds with what Christ taught. We're putting justice before mercy.

These who claim to love our country and how it is set up don't seem to trust it enough to protect its people.

So we're scared. And it's not just with the Muslim people (though consider the past between Christians and Muslims). We have an innate need to be in power here--open up a history book and read about how this country began. What we did to have this great land of ours. It's not pretty, and we still haven't really learned that it's wrong. It's as if we need to learn this lesson over and over and over again. First with the Spanish, then with the Native Americans, the African people. Even the Mexican people. We enslave them ultimately because we want power. Because we are scared. Too prideful to be compassionate. To help. To understand.

There is no true power in this brand of fear. Just barbarianism.

Still, they puff up their feathers and tell these Muslim people that they --the so-called "Christian Nation"--are boss and that they need to answer to us. They create campy "six degrees" lists to link the imam of this particular mosque to terrorists--but like Jon Stewart illustrated, you can do that with most anyone including Rupert Murdoch.

Something smells of hypocrite here, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Question

I have three kids--the oldest is in the second grade, the youngest is in preschool.

I'm trying to take one class this semester. One. Basic biology. It's three hours a week of lecture and three hours a week of lab...and yet I've not encountered such a difficult task for such a little thing in quite a long time.

So my question to y'all is:

1) Is God trying to tell me that I shouldn't take this class because teh prophets have said I need to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen until my kids are grown and out of the house, or

2) Is Satan trying to keep me from doing what is right, or

3) Is it none of the above but a simple illustration of the fact that sometimes you just gotta go through hell to get what you want.

Just thought I'd throw that out there ;)

It's not personal, it's business

Something I'm learning:

I don't have a grudge or a hatred or severe disappointment (etc) toward individual members of the church, per se. I get where they're coming from and understand that they are a product of--for lack of a better word, and i know it's a sticky one--brainwashing. They've been told all their lives or, in the convert's case, many years what is what to the point they cannot see anything else. The church could come out right now and declare something obviously immoral or obviously ridiculous and they will still have members who will bow their heads and say yes.

For me, it was being told the answer to my prayer wasn't as good as the answer the prophet got. WTF?

I know what these people have been told. I know people love to be right (i do). I know people like to feel like martyrs for a righteous cause. They like to feel better than others. To judge and criticise. Religion feeds and caters to all of this, no matter what Jesus or whomever else may teach.

Of course not every follower of any religion is this way, but I'm not loathe to submit that the majority are.

And yes, I've had some serious problems with self-righteous and self-effacing members who get up on their highest horse to tell me that I'm wrong and in how many ways. Their favorite saying seems to be that "you can tell me the sky is green all you want, but it doesn't change that it's blue"

(which is a ridiculous saying)

Or they like to tell me that I'm going to hell, breaking certain covenants (or all of them), going against teh prophet of god, ignoring what i deep down know to be true, etc. etc. etc.


So while I've had issue with certain members and will probably continue to have issue with certain members (can't avoid this and let's face it, though their judgments may bother me less now it can still be fucking annoying), my biggest beef is with the church that pulls these good people's strings. The church that puts words in these people's mouths. The church that lies and manipulates and ignores fact in order to press its own agenda, justifying the means to the end.

And it's made me think a lot. My last blog became a means for me to find my courage to unofficially leave the church. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I did find that courage. I think I started this blog to work to and find the courage to resign because it just seems stupid and disingenuous to remain an official member of a church I cannot stand.

And it hurts for me to say I can't stand it. It was there for me when I did need something like it the most. I do think--though I hate to say it--that I did need to join. But I don't think I ever believed in the purported literal history of the Book of Mormon. I might've thought it was a divinely inspired book, but hardly history. The church catered to some very important needs for the first four years (and that might be generous), but beyond that it broke me down.

Yet in leaving I'm finding a confidence I haven't had, I think, ever. So maybe it's good that way.

But it's not about the individual people. I may feel sorry for them much like they may feel sorry for me, but it's not my place to really say so. They think I'm unhappy just like I think they may not be as happy as they're told they are. But I'm not above thinking some of them are truly happier in the church.

I just can't stand by much longer and be a part of this. I don't know what it'll mean for this blog once I resign, but I'll discuss those thoughts later.

It's all very complicated, my feelings toward the members--but they're humans, too, with needs and whatnot. The church is, for some, all they know. For others it was a saving grace (like for me). For others, they can't fathom anything else.

The church does that. It has progressed and evolved in such a way as to guarantee its growth. They convince the people they speak for God and are thus always right. They tell them if they don't listen, certain things will happen. They say "nonono, we don't pull our members' strings. but we do expect loyalty." They then ensure they are their members' world so leaving is the most frightening prospect of all. So they stay and pay and obey.

And let's not forget their studious PR department that tells them and the rest of the world that they're not really robots.

It makes perfect business sense, and as I was once a girl who bought it all I can't blame current members for believing. I can be annoyed to all hell, but it's probably a projection of my own embarrassment of ever being that way.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hi, I'm Marishia and I'm a Homosexual Mormon

I saw this one coming, too.

But not quite like this.

Go read the article at

See, my problem is not so much with this homosexual member of the church who chooses to deny herself EVERYTHING related to having an inkling of a romantic life (this particular paragraph is heart-wrenching:

I have now come to understand and accept my homosexuality as one of my crosses to bear in this life which will help strengthen my faith in Christ and will teach me to be obedient to my loving and merciful Heavenly Father. I know that if I continue to be obedient to my Father in Heaven that one day he will bless me with the righteous desires of my heart to marry a good man in the temple and to have a forever family of my own.)

but it is the perpetuation of the teaching--the myth--that those who leave are:

1) Forever bitter
2) Unhappy
3) Into drugs and alcohol and other unhealthy things to help deal with the depression
4) Merely suppressing that which they know to be true

But I'll be fair. She didn't say these things happened simply because she left (although it did happen after she left), but because she was trying to get over her depression over being a lesbian.

Now who encouraged that?

But don't worry. Now she knows it's just a "physical defect."

I know.

And it does bother me to say I'm sad for someone who is in the church because it pisses me off when people say they're sad for me for leaving, but this?

It's horrible.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Oh god, I'm dying, people.


Sarah Palin Supports Dr. Laura via Twitter: "Don't retreat...reload!"

It's so fucking funny and SO SAD AND SCARY at the same time.

I can only laugh because if i give myself one second to consider how petrifying and STUPID this is, I will never get to sleep tonight.

(Confused? See previous post's comments)

Dr. Laura, go to hell

So I grew up on Dr. Laura and Rush Limbaugh and all of that. My stepdad lurved these people. I never took it upon myself to listen to them on my own until, oooooh, seven years ago? Maybe eight?

I was a default conservative (didn't understand what it meant, but the "tough love/family values" crap got to me). I came from a proud conservative family. From a proud conservative part of the state. I was raised on these values. Taught that everyone who was on welfare was a lazy sumuvabitch and panhandlers were only looking for drug or booze money.


Later I joined a very conservative church. To make everyone happy, I voted yes on Prop 22 (Prop 8's predecessor) in 2000. I was 18, new in the church, and looking to make my mom happy regarding something about the church. I certainly don't recall much, but I knew the church was against gay marriage. And so was my mom. WIN. I don't think I had any thoughts beyond that.

But anyway.

Now I'm not a total conservative hater. I can see where they're coming from, even if it is often lame. Hell, I lived it. And I do think we need both conservative and liberal people in the world. I just happen to think we need more liberals at this time ;)

So I went through a little Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura phase. I thought Rush was hilarious. Totally over the top. Nobody can be that bad. It was like listening to a caricature. I also thought it was funny when he would play "dude looks like a lady" whenever Hillary Clinton popped up.

Funny shit, right?

I bought into his (and Dr. Laura's) crap about feminism. I thought feminists were kidding themselves a little bit--lookit the girls vying for male positions. Do they want to be male?

I'm not proud, but there it is.

Then there was Dr. Laura. I thought she was pretty spot on. I loved it when she went apeshit on some of her "idiotic" callers.

YES! Be a good girl, not a slut. Don't "shack up"--why buy the cow when the milk is for free?


Then, and especially, there was her tirade about how ALL men were ignored and treated badly by their feminazi girlfriends and other women.

I bought it. As Eric and I were having some issues, I thought perhaps it was my fault. And I'll admit I still have those lingering thoughts that it was all me. That something was wrong with me.

But maybe I'll get into that later. Maybe. It's a little personal and while I can be rather open, I do have my boundaries.

So Dr. Laura starts promoting her book "Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands."

Apparently "Proper Care and Feeding for Wives" was unnecessary because husbands always treat their wives like queens. All good husbands, at least. And if he's not a good husband it's obvs his wife's fault for not feeding him sandwiches, greeting him at the door with a kiss at the end of the day and then giving him a good fuck.

At least she had enough sense to be against abusive husbands. I'll give her that.

Anyway, genuinely good husbands do treat their wives well, but not all the time, right? Especially young husbands. We all screw up, wives and husbands. But women moreso because of those damned feminists. Hence the no need for the Proper Care and Feeding of Wives.

I thought I was treating my husband badly, so I wanted this book to help set me straight.

I mentioned this to my husband. I wanted to be a good wife. So he buys it for me for Christmas. I was happy to have the book, but extremely embarrassed that he stepped into a bookstore and bought the damn thing. I didn't want him to look like a man who needed to set his wife straight. I worried he thought I was a bad wife. That said, he did it because I'd said I wanted it. It wasn't because he--well, I hope it wasn't because he felt I needed it. That's something I'm still afraid of. Even if he swore up and down it wasn't. Which is what he has done.

Maybe. He tells me now that it used to bother him when I wouldn't act like the wife the church had promised him growing up. He likes it now, but admits it used to bug him lots. Though he never exerted his church-given authority that I can remember (maybe except for the time that he--very kindly--suggested that he choose whom to pray in our home). He's angry he ever felt the right and need to be the priesthood presiding member in our relationship. I mean, I covenanted to "hearken" unto him as he "hearkened" unto God, right? He was the man. The ultimate authority. He knew my new name and would be the one to take me to the Celestial Kingdom. The Man.

So I got this Proper Care book and immediately began to read it. It said men were simple. They only wanted/needed sandwiches and sex, and that I should put out whenever he wanted it to make him feel good.

Now Eric wanted sex all the time and I didn't. And he did say it was a matter of validating him, but it's sex, you know? It's still personal, even if you're married to your best friend. It's still my body. My feelings. So this was an issue.

(oh dangit, I forgot: my body is his and his body is mine)

And not that there isn't something to be said about putting out when you're not totally into it sometimes --sometimes you get into it as you go. I have also learned that good sex is fantastic for getting rid of tension headaches. No aspirin required, girls. Just a good lay.

But all the time? It's cute and fun as newly weds, but goddamn. Gotta sleep sometime. And after kids? When he works full time and goes to school full time? Dream on.

So anyway, Dr. Laura's book added some serious unnecessary guilt into my life. What's worse is I allowed it. I allowed her to validate my feelings that I was a bad wife. A disappointment.

Bad Lisa! Go mop the floor and look pretty for your hard working husband! MAKE HIM SANDWICHES! Then get nekkid and make sure he gets off good, no matter how you feel about it. It's your duty as his wife. And if you do your job (with a smile) he'll then treat you right. As it should be.

Reminds me of some so-called gospel principles. I'll have to explore that later.

So it is with great peace of mind that I can say fuck off, Dr. Laura.

After a while, and I don't remember why exactly, I stopped listening to her. I told Eric that the book made me feel like shit and that I didn't like that he bought it and that I wanted to throw it away. It took me a while to actually do it, though. Guilt and all. I'm good at that.

I don't remember when I stopped listening to this radio station, but I'd largely forgotten about her. Felt a lot better.

Then I hear about her racist rant on her radio show this past week. She went crazy over this woman who was involved in an interracial marriage and was dealing with racist in-laws.

Dr. Laura told her that she should have a sense of humor about it and that if she couldn't, she shouldn't have married outside her race. And why can't she say the n-word when black people say it all the time? TOTALLY UNFAIR!

But that's not all. And I'm not even talking about the repetition (11x) of the n-word. That was the least of her problems, given the context.

So now Dr. Laura has announced the end of her radio show...

"to regain her first amendment rights."

That, right there, is enough reason to disregard everything she's ever said. If she can't understand that her rights were never taken away and that the right to freedom of speech isn't exclusive to her, then...well.

I don't think I need to say much more than that.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home Teachers

So my LDS friend down the street just told me that her husband is now one of our home teachers.

This LDS friend is a good friend of mine. Got a bit of a sailor's mouth herself and is really very understanding and accepting of my family's inactivity. Even gave me a hug and told me she had seen how hard leaving could be since her uncle had been through the process.

So it's not a big deal at all that her husband is our home teacher. But he didn't want to approach us himself b/c he didn't want to make us uncomfortable, so he asked his wife to talk with me.

It's weird what my initial reaction was. It isn't exactly like I hadn't thought of this before--but it mostly regarded my visiting teachers. This is a little different. This is a friend of ours.

...and his 23 year old RM newly married super-TBM companion.


So she asked if we were okay with having them stop by. "They don't have to talk church," she said, "But it's totally no pressure if you don't want them to come."

I told her we didn't want to talk church. Especially with a zealous young RM newly wed in the home. I'd be too tempted to mess with his head.

On the one hand, I figure we're still members on record. On the one hand I empathize that they have a duty to accomplish.

But I also know that I have zero duty to accept them into my home. Who the fuck is going to put us under any obligation to receive our home teachers? And if they did, I'd send in my resignation letter right that minute.

And I also know that nobody is going to rebuke them if they aren't received into our home. As long as they try, right?

I told my friend it'd be totes cool if she accompanied her husband and they just came over for a visit. But, of course, this isn't kosher for home teachers.

I haven't spoken with Eric about this yet, but I already know what he'll say (maybe not, he just said "I don't care") And I'm not really sure what made me hesitate at ALL about this. Maybe because it was my good friend's husband who we get along with rather well, a guy who respects our position on the church to whatever end they're aware of.

Still, I don't want them to come by. Not under that guise.

She also said "you know if you need anything you can call us anyway." Which is true, but it made me wonder about what would happen if we were no longer official members. I'm 99.9999% sure my friend is above shunning us if that's what we did, but isn't the social support structure a large comfort in the church?

I would never use the church like that--I had a hard enough time using them while we were active, even when our daughter was in the NICU and underwent surgery--but it's nice to know they're there.

It's lame, I know, and I'm quickly getting over it, but those were my thoughts.

On the other hand, regarding my visiting teachers, I would have to tell them "no" as well. I honestly cannot remember one visiting teacher I was excited to invite into my house. They'd let their three or four very young kids run rampant and screw up my house. The topic would also always be about or related to motherhood. Or the kicker: one put me under severe mental torture by reviewing the god-awful "Mother's Who Know" bullshit. I thought I was the only girl in the world who couldn't STAND that talk when it came out. I endured a lot with family members fawning over that thing, biting my tongue until it nearly came off.

I think--I know--that any thought of actually letting them come is one of pity. Because I should. Because I don't want to offend them. They're just doing what they're supposed to do. They're good people, why the hell not.

And I think being honest with myself, knowing that I really don't want them here as our home teachers despite one being a friend, says something about where I'm going and where I am now. I'm learning I don't need them anymore, not like that. Especially when I think about the priesthood authority being part of it, that they're supposed to get to know us and take care of us and let the bishop know anything he "ought" to know. It's crap.

But I find it strangely comforting, even knowing the church really is like a too-involved parent--but I'm almost 30 fucking years old, you know? Time to grow up.

It's getting close to the time to cut the cord.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rebel? Huh?


I should've seen it coming. I was *thisclose* but didn't really put my finger on it.

So I pierced my eyebrow and feel GREAT about it. Fantastic, really. I love it. I hope I can keep it even while I'm looking for a job in a few years (if I still feel the same about it then, of course).

I've talked about getting something pierced for a long time now. I always knew I wanted my eyebrow, but something seemed obnoxious about it at the time. For various reasons.

My first concern, about a year ago, was that it would seem desperate. Hello? You're in yr late twenties. A mama. Married. Laaaaaaaaaaaaame.

So I focused more on getting a tat, something else I've been talking about for years too. My big speed bump was always the whole "oh but how will it look when I'm 80" schpeal, but then someone said "everything else on you will be wrinkly too" and yeah. It will. And if it's a good enough tat with a good enough meaning, it will still be awesome.

But my heart wasn't in the tat, anyways. Not really. I wasn't even sure what I'd get or where I'd put it. Now I know, but it can wait.

Anyway, then I worried about family and how I'd deal with them etc. etc. You shouldn't care what other people think but we all have people whose opinion we care about.

I was done with that this time, especially after my previous post. I still care, but this isn't about them no matter what they may want to believe. Because people will think whatever they want to think. Period.

Then came the car ride. We had to go on an hour long trip to find a reputable studio, and I began wondering how other people would receive me. Other moms. My kids' teachers. And so on.

Eric told me it was okay, it didn't matter. It would work out. They'd get over it.

I was nervous getting this thing. The studio couldn't have been better, though. The girl answered all my questions, talked me through the process--very cool. Clean. I've had shots that hurt worse than this. But I left in a bit of a shock. I wasn't really sure I liked the bar they put in--thought it was too big. I wanted something more subtle. Otherwise, though, it was great.

I'm over it now. I love it.

So I went home and promptly posted a picture on facebook. Some didn't realize what was different at first, others complimented me, others--weeeell.

"My 22 year old would approve."

Now I like the lady who posted this, but seriously: what the fuck? I almost and probably should've wrote "yr 22 year old has awesome taste." I chose instead to ignore it.

And Eric says I'm always looking for a fight. Psssssh.

Someone else, and knowing her I think it was just in jest as she's a bit fringe-LDS, wrote something about me being a rebel now.

Gawd. I hadn't really considered that yet.

Here's the thing--and I'm not defending what I did or apologizing for it, just talking about it:

If I was doing this simply because I wanted to give a big "fuck you" to the church, I would've just stuck with the multiple earrings. Or the nose ring. Things I didn't really want but would've done just because I could and it would shock the hell out of people.


I have wanted to do this for years and was tired of being afraid and living in regret for worrying about other fucking people. Or how I was "supposed" to look.

This is not a matter of compulsion (though mania does help and I needed that push). Eric has been encouraging me to do it for months. I've wanted it for longer. I've given myself a lot of time to get used to what it'll mean both pro and con. And I feel better having it. A better sense of control and confidence.

I know some people are going to roll their eyes or dismiss me or not trust me simply because I have a bit of metal in the face, though that feels ridiculous to write. Maybe I'm being over dramatic and nobody will give a shit.

But some will. My dad--oh god, my dad, my evangelical daddy--hates it. I didn't even consider him until I saw him today. My FIL will hate it. Yeah people in the church won't get it, but I didn't do it to spite them specifically. Or at all.

It is a fun side effect, though.

No matter what they'll take it that way, no matter what I say. And I hatehatehate it when people mistake my motivations for doing certain things and there's not a goddamn thing I can do about it. Like the fact that some will think I'm just being rebellious. Like I'm 16 years old.

But whatever.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to get just a little satisfaction from this, the way members (or others) will react, but they weren't my core motivation. I'd be lying if I said I totally didn't care what my family thinks or what other people may think.

Here's the rub: if I cared that much about any of this, I wouldn't have gotten it.

This is for me. I'm getting a taste of freedom and a more genuine sense of self and it feels *awesome*

Friday, August 13, 2010


I swear this constant posting thing won't last forever. Especially this weekend, probably. It's my birthday (hellooo 29) and my dad will have the kids and I'll be out with my husband doing stuff.

Including quite possibly getting something pierced.

No, not that. Geez.

Here're the options:

1) I have, since I was about 16, wanted to get my eyebrow pierced. Of course being a member of the church, I would never dare defile my body in such a way, but as an apostate I am free--nay, obligated--to do so. It won't last but a few years as I don't imagine schools smile down on teachers with eyebrow piercings, but I want--need?--to get this out of my system.

However, Eric isn't so hep on the idea.

Eric likes option #2:
2) The nose stud. Not a ring, a stud. I love studs--but I love them so much more on darker skinned women. I, on the other hand, am quite certainly a white girl. I have either won or tied on every single contest i've had with other white girls. Sunglasses req'd white.

So I dunno. And I'm unsure if I have the nose for it. But Eric is allll for it. Even thinks I may get away with it once I am ready to look for a job. Just not something I've ever really considered for more than a few seconds.

The problem with both options:
Family. His family, to be more specific. They're pretty to the letter about things. To the spirit too, but to the letter as well. And I love them. I struck gold when I got my in-laws, and I worry as it is being the kind of person that I am that they're a bit iffy about me anyways. I don't question that they love me, but we are absolutely a different sort of folk in a lot of ways. Example: They're non-confrontational. I like a good debate. I'm a bit irreverent (always have been, even in my Molly days), they're...not. At least not in the same way.

I dunno, people. I'm pushing it with my shorts, y'know? Last night we were discussing how BYU fashion standards have tightened since MIL's day and she mentioned that it just looks better anyway to wear longer shorts. I don't think she meant to direct this at me, but man.

So I worry the nose or eyebrow will scream at them and they'll think less of me.

Should I care? Maybe not. But I do. I shouldn't.

That said, I've wanted to do this for nearly fifteen years. I've regretted most of this time not doing it. I don't want to continue regretting something just because somebody might not approve. Screw that.

That said, the wuss in me prefers #3:

3) Multiple ear piercings, including the upper ear that I hear hurts like a motherfucker to pierce. But I've given birth to three kids. I'm not afraid of pain.

Con: it would be the coward's way out, the compromise. Even though the church frowns on multiple earrings, it's just the ear. Also I'd likely regret spending the money on something I'm only slightly interested in doing. We're not exactly rolling in it. It would be cool, but not so genuine.

Eric doesn't want me to do #3. Eric wants me to be bad.

It's kind of sexy, really.

So what was I talking about again?

Belonging. Right.

So here's the thing. I don't belong. I didn't belong as a kid outside the church. I just didn't. I did, however, belong as a YSA--but I wasn't YSA for long. I joined the church at 18 and married my RM husband at 20 because that's what good Mormons do (yanno, because premarital sex is a sin next to murder--god i wish we would've just did it already). Enter kids--onetwothree. Just like that. My oldest was 2 1/2 when I had my youngest. I was pregnant within a few weeks of our marriage. Wasn't even 21. My friends were doing the same, but they were pretty much doing what was expected of a good Mormon wife. I did my best, but I grew up on Roseanne, you know? Sewing and mending and cleaning (well, i like a clean house) and all that Donna Reed/June Cleaver bullshit wasn't my bag.

Despite how much I wanted to, I just didn't belong. Trying quite literally gave me migraines. I'm almost positive it encouraged the onset of my bipolar (it does run in the family, but still)

And besides, not belonging in the church is a symptom that something is wrong with you. The leaders hand out the maps in all their talks and firesides, you just gotta follow. If you can't, well, you're not faithful enough. Or trying hard enough. Praying enough. Something.

Am I wrong?

Then there's the anxiety. I worry myself to death about things. Did then, do now. Also bipolar. That makes life and relationships tons of fun, too.

It's a bit isolating.

I'm fighting to find people outside the church who I can connect with. So far I've met a few good women but they're wary of me. A lot of women everywhere are wary of me for some reason.

Maybe it's because I'm trying too fucking hard to belong.

I know, in my head at least, that the best and most respected people are the most honest and true-to-self people. People who do what they want because it's what they really want despite what others say or think. People who don't do or say things just because it might appeal to someone else. I love people like that.

I have to give myself some credit though. I am going back to school before my kids are grown with the intention to actually use my degree and work full-time (commence vigorous disapproving finger One class next semester, full time after that (if the California budget will allow me to even get in). And socially, I have some hope of meeting new people at school, but I suspect most of them will be 18-25 years old and single. And it does pose a problem. A few.

Believe it or not I am trying to be concise here and stick to one topic. The piercing--I don't belong in the church. I don't yet belong anywhere outside the church. I may as well just get something pierced like I've wanted to for years and have a smidge of respect for myself. I can then welcome in the people who don't even notice. I would especially welcome those who like me because of it, because it is an expression of who I am, what I feel like inside. Have always felt like.

Maybe I can make my own place and welcome those who want to come in.

From Glenn Beck's Mouth to God's Ears

...or perhaps the church's ears? he is, after all, the unofficial Mormon prophet.

Thank you, Faithful Dissident. I died giggling just reading the title.

This is fantastic. I still think Beck is an idiot of epic proportions, but like I heard someone say once: this only proves that a broken clock can be right twice a day.

Still, let's give the man some credit where it's due, yeah?

(and no, this isn't The Onion. i checked.)

Drum roll, please.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Of Leaving My Tribe

I just now read a post from Urban Koda over at Koda Think Tank entitled "Looking Back." In the post, he speaks of not understanding fellow apostates (such as myself) who struggle with leaving because they feel that the church is and will always be their "tribe," that in some ways they don't foresee disassociating completely with the Mormon title.

I've written a lot about having those feelings lately. To be honest, a large part of me hopes that'll change. Another part of me doesn't want them to change. And I envy Koda's feelings of detachment to a degree.

The thing for me is, the church was the first place I ever felt truly and genuinely welcomed. Not by the leaders--they bugged me with their fawning--but by people my own age. I had friends who didn't grow up with me (small town, anyone?). It was amazing. And they were so nice. They didn't make fun of me for being so straightedge. I actually got out of the house for the first time ever. These were people I trusted, and I needed them to help me cut the cord from my mama, from my family.

In the church I was praised for being right. It appealed to my inner martyr. I found mother figures, father figures, sisters, brothers, etc. People who carved a place for themselves into my heart forever. People I am terrified of disappointing. People whose respect and love I am terrified of losing.

But so far so good. Eric's family has been pretty amazing. His father has been good, though he likes to make snide comments, once telling us that instead of shopping on a Sunday we should've been in church. And his father hates Eric's beard. Can't go without saying something derogatory. Eric laughs. He began this beard because he wasn't teaching, it was summer. Now he thinks he'll keep it, both to spite his father and to prove to his family that guys with beards aren't scary. Besides, he likes it.

His mother has hardly changed since our kids ratted us out. Even complimented my legs one day when I wore--gasp--shorts.

I felt like I found a home when I joined the church. I found a family in a few ways--literal and figurative. Leaving feels like I'm leaving them. A part of myself. I don't do well with leaving comfortable, familiar places. Places that comforted me and validated me. Tradition and structure.

It's hard to reject that totally. The church did a lot of good for me. It hindered me loads, but it did lots of good for me.

This place outside the church is unfamiliar (as an adult), lonely, and a little scary for me. So I waver. Even though I discovered after becoming a "young married" that I have nothing in common with 99% of the women in the church, I can't help but feel I'm losing something. Even though I guess I'm really not. Fake friendships, maybe? Obligatory people who are willing to "serve" because they feel they should? People so intent on looking perfect they seem inhuman?

I dunno.

When I joined the church, being Mormon became everything about me. And now I don't know how to be an adult who isn't Mormon. I didn't associate with non-members with, like, one exception. It was everything I was--and not to be overly dramatic, but how do you fully disassociate with your bones, you know? your blood?

Further I had people at my back when I joined and my family was fighting against it. I know I have Eric now, and you gotta know I'll take him without hesitation, but it's hard still. I don't know where I belong anymore. How to fit in. How to act.

So this shit is scary. And awkward.

But it should be good. Even if it is a bit of a trial by fire. I'm willing, just hesitant.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


So there's a thread on Feminist Mormon Housewives right now about patriarchy in the church. fmhLisa was quite the sport and took an assignment from Sunstone asking her to defend it despite her strong feminist beliefs.

I know. I don't think I would. I probably could because I love this kind of stuff and believe that in order to assert a certain point you need to understand the other side and concede a few points, but DAMN.

And of course the conversation attracted a few people who either misunderstood what Lisa was doing or took the opportunity to state that, believe it or not, the concept of patriarchy is a righteous one. And the debate over the word "preside" commenced and tons of rationalization as well.

SO. Let's talk rationalization as it applies to religion.

Let's forget for now the teaching that a man presides over his wife and family and focus more on LDS church structure. A man (sorry, sorry, worthy priesthood holder) presides over the congregation. He can be in positions of leadership that require him to perform ordinances (blessings, callings, etc) and exclusive revelations for the ward, stake, or church.

The problem is that women cannot have the priesthood and thus cannot be placed in these positions of absolute authority simply because she is a woman. Women cannot be bishops, stake presidents, etc. They can reach the level of Relief Society President, but even then she has to "okay" many of her decisions with her "priesthood leader" (read: man) and let him chaperone her events such as RS Conference. This, even though she's a grown woman and is privy to much of what the ward is dealing with, the direction it wants to go, etc. She cannot up and call someone to be her counselor, a teacher, secretary, etc without checking in with the 1st counselor, I believe, in the bishopric.

Who is a man. By definition.

And yet the Elder's Quorum President, a male, can do pretty much whatever he finds necessary for his organization. Independently.

Often the common end rationalization for this, beyond the bullshit gender role/Proclamation explanation, is that "we don't always understand God's ways."

Close your eyes, bow your heads, and say yes.

It's frustrating when a man rationalizes this because it comes across strongly as him validating the idea that he knows better. It's especially frustrating when woman rationalizes her way out of the equality issue because it should be so obvious.

Go to and check out any number of women's "Hi, I'm ___ and I'm a Mormon" profiles and you will find exactly what I'm talking about. Under "Frequently Asked Questions." Because if a woman feels equal and says she's equal, then she's obvs equal.


I refuse to believe that, deep down, most of the women in the church really, really, really believe this. Or maybe they do and it's just me and a few other women. But I do think this includes members who, once upon a time, felt the sting of the official answer but waved it away because it's just easier. Because members aren't supposed to question the church. It's bad.

Next you'll seethe church publish a gay or lesbian's profile saying that they're totes fine remaining celibate (read: no kissing or hand holding or dating, for god's sake) for the rest of their life and are further okay with opposing civil gay marriage because GOD SAID SO.

Hi, I'm ___ and I'm gay and I'm Mormon.

They're out there. I've read their blogs. It's mind-boggling, but I guess I can understand it. They want to be righteous. They want to be worthy. And moral. To respect Christ and his atonement. To be strong. All of this and more because they are told that once they die the homosexual demon writhing within them will go away and then they will finally be truly fulfilled and happy.

It becomes an exercise in masochism. I'd say it's incredibly sad, but whatever, right? I hate it when people say they're sad for me because I no longer believe, so I can't really in good conscience be sad for people who do believe.


Rationalization also happens with the issue of polygamy. "We stopped practicing that years ago," you'll hear EVERYONE IN THE CHURCH SAY. But it's misleading. Perhaps the church doesn't practice it, but it's still doctrine. It's still something that, apparently, can happen in the heavens.

D&C 132, people. Still in the canon. Ask the leaders, too, about that last part (be sure to listen closely, because they may mumble). I last heard it at the Sacramento California Temple open house, which was only a few years ago.

Never mind that every girl (and guy, too, I suppose) who understands this still have to deal with the reality of it. What the doctrine--what God--is asking of them and others. Anyone who takes a few honest moments to consider ever having to really deal with polygamy knows it is abhorrent.

(and yes, I know there are people out there who are totally kosher with the idea, but most who i've ran into and read about aren't.)

And so on and so forth.

I think this kind of rationalization of doctrine and whatnot happens everywhere--both as a believer and as a non-believer. Some shit just don't make sense, and whether it's because it genuinely doesn't make sense or it's stuff that contradicts what is so deeply ingrained doesn't matter.

As a Protestant--as a Christian, period--I rationalized the Bible. Didn't buy the doctrine of the Trinity.

I rationalized a lot of shit as a Mormon. I agreed with a lot of it, but I rationalized more than my fair share as well. And I know a lot of active members who have done and continue to do the same.

And as a girl considering the possibility of the nonexistence of a god or Christ, I find myself often looking for reasons to believe. Or not to believe. I think in my core I do believe, at least in a god, but the rest? Not so sure.

Whatever I do believe isn't wholly found in any book of scripture. That I know.

So I find myself trying to decide what is honest from what is fear or what has been beaten into my head so much that I just, yanno, believe.

It seems to me that most of us are cafeteria whatevers, and it makes me wonder if I or anyone can ever be 100% sure of anything no matter how we try to convince ourselves or others otherwise. Especially in churches that demand our 100% acceptance of official doctrine. Including Christianity.

That I'm pretty sure about.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Introduction of a Heretic

So I'm back. Couldn't stay away, I guess.

(dunno what I'm talking about? catch up on the tabs up there)

I stopped my last blog because I'd had enough of bitching about the church and its doctrines and doing whatever I could to convince someone, anyone, to take off their rose colored glasses and stop being so goddamn blind (willing or not) or at least so goddamn closed-minded.

It doesn't work.

Well, not for the most part.

Even if you're just trying to convince them that the world ain't black and white.

But this time I'm not here to convince anyone of anything--period. This is just me doing my best to make sense of mental chaos in the hopes that others will join the discussion (and not try to convince me I'm wrong--not because I think I'm right, but because I don't care to debate whether I'm right or wrong).

I haven't been to church--well, not to my own ward--in a little over a year. I go through periods where I don't care about this. I go through periods where I think I'm just fine being one of teh inactives. Times where I'm quite comfortable stating there might not be a god and that Christ may not be divine or even real, for that matter.

But then there are times when I really do care. Nobody has really made any effort to contact us since going completely inactive, which, while somewhat nice is also a little offensive.

There are also times when I don't want to be inactive. I want to resign. The most recent time being this past month with the overturning of Prop 8 and the church's misleading reaction of the judge who overruled the will of people who voted not once but twice to "keep marriage traditional." Seriously, guys? There are so many lawyers in the church to make this reaction un-be-fucking-lievable. They know how the system works, but they want what they want no matter how they can get it. The end justifies the means. They lied. They think their members are stupid. They don't want them to know the truth, that although the system worked as it should they didn't get the outcome they wanted. No. By saying what they did they encouraged the sentiment shared by many of their conservative members that this was the action of an activist judge turning our country into a dictatorship. The world is coming to an end. Dwindling in sin and unbelief. Proof that Satan rules this world and WE MUST STAND FIRM ON WHAT IS RIGHT.

And yet, frustratingly, there are times I want to go back.

There are also times when I can't, for whatever reason, be comfortable with the idea of the nonexistence of a god and moreso about Christ. I imagine this is largely because I grew up with this teaching. Brimstone and fire and the like.

These are the times I forget. These are the times I'm ruled by emotion. I want to be ruled not necessarily by logic, but honesty and peace. Not easy.

But I know I may never totally shed the Christian or Mormon from me. It's a recovery effort. If I am a believer in god, it is a belief not satisfied by any religion I've come across. Though I feel most at home in an LDS chapel, it is not because of the doctrine. It is not because I believe it to be true. I can, however, honestly say I reject the Bible and the Book of Mormon as a whole, though I do love some of their teachings.

But it's hard to remember these things. It's hard to feel so alone and uncertain. It's hard to remember that strong commitment and belief in The True Church was a big reason I was initially interested in my husband--hotness and incredible, otherworldly connection aside. While his confident disbelief or rather non-belief is certainly no dealbreaker, it puts us on different pages and I'm so not used to that. It's rather scary.

It's also difficult to be surrounded by people who, while kind, can't understand and feel I am destined to something less than they are. That I'm immoral, have sub-par values, that I'm not strong enough. People who might feel the need to stay away from me because I refuse to get in line with them like a good god-fearing girl should. Because it might be contagious.

It's difficult to convince myself that it's okay to feel whatever I feel, even if that feeling is anger.

It's difficult to convince myself that I'm moral enough, worthy enough, and good enough for any god that might have created me and put me here.

And that pisses me off.