Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I also have certain things I very subtly and unconsciously desperately attempt to avoid.
Example: I don't talk about Christ much, and when I do, I talk about him in a way that doesn't recognize him as a divine character, fictional or real, a prophet, good man, whatever. I like the philosophies he embodies as a whatever, but that's where it ends. I don't necessarily equate the philosophy with the alleged philosopher.
I don't get this.
I'm afraid to make any certain conclusions about god, yes, but moreso about Christ. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I've never ever recognized him as God as my father does--even from childhood I never "got" the Trinity thing. And maybe it's that and also because I've been taught from day one that he's the dude that's gonna save me, and there's a part of me, that part of me that refuses to declare any truth, that wants to play on the safe side.
However, as a person who has "sought truth" both in joining and leaving the LDS church, I haven't looked for evidences against Christ. You won't see any evidence of me looking through the internet or books or speaking with many people about why they believe Christ is either not the son of god or simply never existed.
...except for once or twice regarding the Jewish perspective, but I assure you, my mind goes on half-power if it doesn't turn off completely. I was scared then because "it is only through Christ that you can be saved" but I don't know why I am scared now.
I think I'm reaching a point of comfort where I'll soon be able to walk into that scary closet and figure things out for myself. I just don't get what's so fucking scary about god or christ being fictional things. The Invention of Lying movie says it's a matter of comfort, and dammit. I want my blankie.
I am also still at the point where I know some incredibly smart people who have searched and scoured and still believe. There is that capacity--I just don't know if it's for truth or self-delusion/preservation because it is too scary to not believe.
I don't want to judge my critically thinking, compassionate believer friends because they believe. I don't ever want to. But I'm afraid I will if I find too much evidence to the contrary.
I don't entirely understand what it is to have strong friendships where there are strong disagreements with fundamental things. I've one friend right now who lives down the street. She is LDS but has a mouth on her. She's anti-social too. She's hilarious, and she's very compassionate about my disbelief and what it means to leave. But we both understand that we cannot discuss abortion or gay rights. Two very hot topics. This can be hard, because I feel strongly about both and feel largely silenced. She can go to church on a weekly basis or call up a friend and bitch.
But it's a maturity thing. I had to ask myself, and I'm sure she did too, if it was enough to not be friends. So far, it's not. I do hate those awkward moments, though.
I also know everyone has their limits. It may not be spiritual/religious limit for accepting or finding truth, but also political. I shut off my mind at times, and I've learned that's a HUGE red flag either that I am wrong, could be wrong, or simply don't understand enough. And I'm not always willing to check it out.
It may be an unwillingness to acknowledge a truth about a loved one. Eric has a family member who recently came out. He brings his boyfriend home and they play footsies in front of everyone but his grandmother insists on saying things like "aren't they nice friends?"
Or an unwillingness to admit a spouse is being unfaithful. Or abusive.
Or that a relationship/marriage might be in trouble.
That your son or daughter is dangerously into drugs or otherwise in trouble.
A refusal to fully admit to the truth of the entirety of your sexuality.
That a friend isn't really a good friend.
That something might piss you off but if it were the other way around, you'd totally act that way.
It goes on and on, and so I feel really uncomfortable ever talking about my capacity for accepting truth when in reality, I'm just as bad--if not worse. Just in different areas.
Monday, September 27, 2010
A recent study said regular facebook users are narcissistic and since this study I've heard people saying they would cut down on their FB time.
Dudes, just embrace it.
Anyway, you know those super annoying "likes," right? Some examples:
Dear Lord, please keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.
Not too bad. A twitch, but not too bad. FSM knows I've a rather undisciplined mouth at times and could use forgiving friends. But you know, ones I can actually see.
Our God is an AWESOME God! Like if you agree!
Uhm, thanks. That song is now stuck in my head (if you haven't heard it, it's pretty much that, repeated.)
If God is for us, who can be against us? Click like if you agree!
A bunch of people, actually.
Anyway, you get the point.
The thing is, I've never seen any that I'd actually like to press "like" on relating to agnosticism/atheism or liberalism. They don't exist that I can tell (also, i'm not big on clicking on these things. i've clicked on about two and then a third I didn't mean to click on because i'm an idiot)
So here are my suggestions:
Evolution is not a 'belief.' It is strong scientific theory. Open a book. Click like if you agree!
I stopped paying tithing and got this great job!
Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.
I believe everyone has the right to life after they are born.
Missionaries: People who leave their families for two years so they can harass and lie to yours!
If god has ever answered a prayer for you and then later contradicted himself, click like!
Freedom of speech goes both ways, asshat.
Crying doesn't mean you're weak. It means you've been listening to Glenn Beck too much.
If you think God's last name ought to be Dammit, click like!
When Satan comes knocking at your door, don't let him in unless he brought that six pack with him.
Jesus was a heretic bastard who questioned authority, socialized with the sinners, and threw some motherfuckers out of a temple. Who the hell are you talking about?
It's Christmas time! Time to be with family, to embrace hope, be happy and cozy and--oh yeah. Bitch like a 2 year old about having to share your holiday with the Jews and Blacks.
These are half-assed attempts at humor (though I am partial to that last one), but I couldn't wait. Especially after my last few posts.
Any others you'd like to recommend?
The other thing that caught my attention from my last post was the sentiment that purposefully wearing capris around my SIL made me feel a bit slimy and two-faced. And far, far too Molly.
This blog makes me feel two-faced.
Yesterday I talked about how I passive-aggressively "came out" to my sister. My shorts may not be micro-minis, but they're certainly not garment-friendly. I thought about waiting until my daughter turned eight next spring, but fuck, you know? Tired of wearing capris on purpose around her, around people I'm not ready to tell.
You have to understand, there are and have been people in my life that I consider my kryptonite. Few people.
SIL is probably the biggest one. She has her own history, enough worldly experience. And it isn't within my rights to discuss the details, but suffice it to say she's been through her share. She understands what it's like to go against the grain of the church, and if I had to hazard a guess for her current state of super-mormon-girl, I'd say it was because her oldest is about to turn 12 and she doesn't want him to make the same mistakes she made. So she's, perhaps, overcompensating. We all do to some degree.
That makes it easier to understand, but harder to digest. Because she was so awesome before. And you'd think that fucking up would give you better eyes later. She knows that being crazy only pushes kids closer to the edge (her husband levels her out, but still), but I think she's just really scared.
So she and I were buddies. Like I said, couldn't rip us apart. When she and her now husband FINALLY went on their first date, he complained that all she did was talk about how she missed me.
I had a friend. I had a good, loyal friend who liked me for who I was. I just don't make friends that easily. Granted, I didn't have the same awareness of myself then that I have now (suppressed a few things) and MAYBE wouldn't have told her, but she was the best best friend I'd ever had. We were equals. She trusted me with her secrets. We watched out for each other. That all changed when she became engaged and I, also, to her brother (matching me and her brother was her idea. just happened to work)
When Eric and I first really began to stop going to church so much and really became angry, there were few people I could even fathom telling. His father. His brother (who was on a mission and quite spiritual). My ex-roomie. The girl who introduced me to the church. But most of all, my SIL.
Everyone knows now except for her. At least, we haven't told her yet. The shorts were probably a dead giveaway along with every other clue we've given, but whatever. She just had a baby and it takes her a while to get over the crazy emotional hormones that follow, so we'd wait. It was the humane thing to do. That's what we told ourselves.
It was also because every time I spent some time with her I was beside myself, wanting to go back because I wanted her back. Because every time it was just me and her, it seemed like things were getting back, if only a little bit, to normal.
She is my kryptonite.
She believes in the best of people. She works herself to death in church and as a parent and wife. She wants to be the best person she can be. Sometimes she'll betray herself and express how angry it made her to not even be addressed when the bishop asked her husband how attached he was to his goatee because he was to be YM's president or whatever. She liked that goatee, and they didn't even bother asking what she thought. Even if it didn't matter what she thought. Which it doesn't.
When Prop 8 came around, she told me she wasn't sure. She was leaning toward no. She prayed and prayed and when President Monson sent out that goddamn letter she figured that was the answer to her prayer. That it should be the answer to all of our prayers.
She'd bear her testimony about that experience to me but wouldn't even give me the opportunity to hear me out. I had one too, and it was just as valid as hers. But it wasn't the right answer. It made her visibly uncomfortable (she'd drop her eyes, frowning) to hear me explain why I went against teh prophet.
"You know people are leaving the church over this," she warned me one afternoon during a rare occasion of confronting an issue without my provocation.
"I know," I replied. We hadn't decided yet, but I knew it was rather possible, if not probable.
And I love her and I respect her and, most of all, I miss her. AND I want her to see that though I may not believe anymore, though I may be apostate, I'm still a damn good person. And so is she.
So I am kind and respectful and largely the same person I used to be when I speak with her. I let her tell me about her scripture study, why she won't watch Breaking Dawn if it's rated R (though I would tell her why that's lame--just like I did when she was freaking out about going to Starbucks--what if her YW saw? they wouldn't know she was going for the hot chocolate!). I listen to her talk about how important her callings are and how she doesn't appreciate people making fun of her for that. I don't make fun of her. I have a hard time saying anything bad about her, and I hope to god that's not what it seems like I'm doing here. She's not a bad person. She's a scared person. She wants to be and do her best.
But she's lost herself. And I'm hoping she'll be like her mom and one day chill the fuck out because this isn't headed anywhere good.
I hate how she's changed and fully realize she probably feels the exact same way about me.
I listen though. I ask her about church.
And while I used to think god, why can't I just go back to church so we can be friends again and I can avoid this apostate crap I don't want to hurt her it would just be so much EASIER I'm getting over it now.
The more zealous she gets the more I realize she's not the girl I used to know. Like I said, she's in there somewhere, but I wonder now that she realizes we're no longer active if she'll crank up the righteous meter even more.
And, to get back to the original intent of this blog post, while I am getting to the point of refusing to wear capris for their comfort, I have to confront the fact that while I am kind and respectful and totally nice about their conversations with me about church, I come here and bitch.
Isn't that a little two faced?
I don't like to think I'm a bitch. If they saw this blog, that'd be the end of a lot of stuff. But both sides are part of who I am. I don't want to be a bitch to their face, so I take it here. I'd initially feel the need to apologize profusely if they ever saw this, but I've gotten better about that. I stand by this stuff, stuff they'd never see past. They'd just say "anti!!!." But hell, I'm scared for my ex-roomie to see this, though she knows--she's seen and read so much. And she's been so amazing. She's my sister. Always has been.
I've always felt a bit two-faced, though. Always looking to make the other guy more comfortable while I writhe in my own skin. And I want to protect SIL from being hurt. That doesn't seem very respectful, to assume someone can't handle the truth. But from what I've experienced, a lot of people just can't.
My stepmom the other day said I should be more open with my blog, remarking "eh, they'll have to get over it." But she, as a tongue-speaking evangelical holy roller Christian doesn't realize that she'd be offended by much of this, too. Just the "agnostic" thing would set her off. I couldn't tell her that it would offend her too. I don't know that she'd just "get over it." My insides can only take so much.
I don't want to lose people any more than I already have. I get it, that I'll separate the wheat from the chaff but it's easier said than done. I also know that often we make a big deal out of nothing.
But I just want to be me.
I know that's ridiculously cheesy, but shit. I'm 29 years old and still can't just figure out how to be me without feeling like the 16 year old girl I used to be who thought the world would have to get the fuck over it and deal with it. I know now with some years of maturity that there's a bit of catering to the masses, playing the game in order to get jobs, network, etc, but I find it so difficult. Maybe everyone does. Maybe I've been spoiled.
I mean, I will play the game, but it makes me feel dirty. And two-faced.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
So I didn't go to that party. Didn't want to. Looking at the pictures, I know I didn't want to. I have nothing against these people, but yet I feel I do for some reason. They're nice people, but they're not *my* people, you know?
And I would've been a bummer. I'm just not a karaoke girl.
There are, however, hot tub pictures. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) the dudes were in their swim shorts.
The host did get tossed into the pool. The picture showed a good garment shot--good to know who is temple-worthy and who is not.
So today was my kid's birthday party. My boy likes to have a lot of people around him. Born to two very unsociable parents, and he wants everyone around. It didn't work out for him this time, though. One kid was able to come, just one, so I made a last minute pleading call to my SIL, knowing I was asking her to come to a birthday party on Sunday. I knew if I were just a friend she would've said "sorry, it's Sunday" but since we're family, they all came over.
I was so glad.
But, y'know, it's 95 degrees outside today. Even inside, where's a cool 72, it's just too effing hot to wear pants, and I can't help but feel like a Molly in my capris--especially if I know I'm going to be around members. It just makes me feel two-faced. So, I thought, it's about time. I was going to wear my shorts in front of my rather zealous SIL.
Who didn't, btw, used to be quite this zealous. I miss my old friend. A lot.
So she comes inside and TOTALLY noticed the shorts. Her eyes widened. She looked at my shorts and immediately looked at my eyes.
Dear god. It was so much worse than when she saw the piercing, a reaction which admittedly wasn't bad at all--but I mean, wouldn't you think an eyebrow piercing would elicit a bigger reaction than SHORTS?
I know, I know. Garments, temple stuff, eternity, etc. I know.
But still. Shorts. It just pisses me off that they're considered immodest when they were quite reasonable.
She was cool the whole day, didn't say anything weird. I asked her how church was, yadayada. But there was awkwardness. At least I felt it. Especially when I joined her in the empty room while she finished nursing her baby. She didn't feel comfortable when it was just us, and I'm not really sure why. There's always the chance I'm overthinking it, but I like to think I know her fairly well. There was a time we couldn't go a day without hanging out. For weeks.
At one point I found myself covering my legs with a little pillow when I sat. It took me a while before I thought yanno, screw this. So I just let 'em out. They're thighs.
I mean, christ. Not like I had buttcheek fighting to get out.
It became progressively weirder as the day went along.
It didn't help that the other mom--not LDS--waxed on and on about how her children are her world and made brief but subtle remarks about how kids with working parents end up pains in the asses. That's a whole other post, but I had to get that out as a mama who hopes to soon work and who doesn't make her kids her entire world--at least not like she described it. That's what my mom did, and it didn't do shit for her. Or us.
Or SIL's comment about how it was so nice to see "real boys."
I hate what the church does to its members. I love her so much and yet I hear this correlated, Julie Beck, YW "girls are pink!" crap coming out of her mouth. I hate it hate it hate it.
I knew SIL made a bit of a sacrifice or whatever to come over today, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for her and her family to come. My son needed a good party, and that requires kids. Her kids and mine get along *so* well, and I almost cried I was so glad she agreed to come. She's very to the letter about her Sundays, moreso than she was some years ago when she suggested that we all get together for a picnic at the park. That was the time my husband said "No. It's the Sabbath." Oy. WTF?
Then there's the music she used to listen to. I even made a reference to it today and she totally dismissed me, ignored it. Like it never happened. Also, the movies she used to want to watch.
All gone. Poof.
I miss my friend. I know she's in there somewhere. I see her flicker in her eyes sometimes when it's just us and we talk. But then she's quickly chased away by comments like "I read my scriptures when..." and shit like that. So intent on being righteous that she's lost the personality I loved to be around.
I just miss her.
Friday, September 24, 2010
An excerpt from his article:
...No prophet has ever been perfect, and human error doesn't disqualify someone from receiving divine revelation. Most Latter-day Saints know this intellectually, but we still sometimes feel uncomfortable with discussing the shortcomings of revelators.
While true, something tells me that like his fellow members, dear Mr. Collins doesn't quite comprehend the extent of his beloved prophet's imperfections. I wonder how he'll react to the whole "Joseph is a philanderer who liked to fuck 15 year old girls behind his beloved wife Emma's back" chapter. Eric and I tried to swallow and digest it, but our insides just couldn't do it. It didn't chase us away completely, but it sure made us think about it and that's all it takes at first. Real gen-u-ine thought.
Also, a Sunstone symposium class (discussion? what do they call it?) circa 2009 debunked many of the feel-better apologetic myths surrounding Joseph's love for the wimminz...I mean, "celestial marriage."
Collins further writes,
The fact is, the information-saturated world in which we live simply doesn't afford the luxury of willful ignorance. At some point during our lifetimes, we will most likely be confronted with half-truths regarding our faith's history. And it's much better to understand the full context of the quote or event in question than to be blindsided by it.
In other words, censorship is bad for the soul.
Oh, Mr. Collins. I do hope you are true to your words and don't recoil at the first "ewww" you find in Bushmann's book, because you will find them. Truth, not everyone who reads this book flails into apostasy (at least not right away), but it does do a number to that brain of yrs. Because, as we well learn in childhood, ignoring it doesn't necessarily make it go away. And I can promise you, this shit won't go away. Once you've read the words, especially after initially admitting to admiring Bushmann's writing and technique, you'll always be able to recall them and they just might cause you doubt, that stuff you're not supposed to have. Which leads to more.
There is a reason members find it difficult and uncomfortable to discuss their leader's shortcomings. Especially this particular leader.
This should be interesting.
*Note: I have a difficult time calling Collins and other Mormon journalists "journalists" simply because it's an oxymormon--er, oxymoron. Especially when they write for the MormonTimes section of Deseret News. Regulated truth isn't journalism. Apologetics isn't journalism. McKay's livelihood depends on his loyalty and ability to rationalize church skeletons or at least appear as if he is to avoid losing his job and/or church discipline. Truth isn't always pretty, and lord knows the church doesn't like anything that isn't pretty. Either way, Collins seems more of an opinion writer than journalist. Which is fine. But "journalist"? Bitch, please.
If true journalism was accepted in the church, we wouldn't have had the September Six (not journalists, I understand, but people who sought after truth). We wouldn't have had Cary Crall's letter to BYU's Daily Universe censored.
Let's call a spade a spade, huh?
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I briefly skimmed the recent Evergreen talk (caution: talk will piss you off) where Bishop whatshisname said that we shouldn't use the terms "gay" "lesbian" or "homosexual" because "god doesn't think of [us] that way."
I'm going to leave the WTF silent and just assumed, here.
Anyway, you know that in the past the leaders "exhorted" their gay sheep to marry straight and all would be well. Not to mention the former subjection to electroshock therapy where--and I don't fucking GET this--showed the men gay pornography (i guess porn is only acceptable in this situation?) and then shocked the hell out of them as to teach them a righteous reaction to gay sex.
But now it's a matter of "just don't act gay." "it's not sin unless you fuck someone of your own gender"
(but in the dark corners they still say it's a matter of overcoming it)
So. With all of that in mind:
How many of the LDS leaders--I'm talking top leaders, here--do you think are closeted gay men? Who were? ARE?
I think there're probably a few, actually. Given what we've seen, they might be the most outspoken ones.
Spencer W. Kimball, perhaps? He of "if you rub one out you'll totally end up in a circle jerk with all your buddies and then have a big gay orgy" mentality?
All of that repression. All of that power.
Of course this is pure conjecture, but still:
What d'ya think?
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
See, I've had a pretty stressful week. It doesn't take much to make me crazy stressful, but this week has done it. And it won't end until Sunday, at which time it'll start all over again because I will have yet another test to study for.
But today I needed a little pick-me-up. Starbucks didn't really come through for me. Too bitter. Old, or something. Not my regular store.
But you know, I strived to do my homework. I really strived. Fervently. And throughout my day, I had Lady Gaga on the brain. Telephone to be exact. Love that song. Especially the stop callin' stop callin' I don't wanna think anymore part. Those lines, they speak to me.
So I drop my boy off at preschool and have an immediate run in with uncharacteristic traffic. Sure I run into stupid cars sometimes, but this time it was time and time again. And red lights. And the promise of many mergings ahead of me. Then a class with a dickhead prof. More trials! I would bear them gratefully. And I would be blessed for not flipping off or yelling at the guy in front of me going five miles an hour /groaaan.
Anyways, I never--repeat never--turn on the radio. This twenty minutes of my day is my only silent time three days a week. I'm not big on the radio. But I turned it on because...
I had an impression.
Yes! It was the stillest, smallest voice. It nudged me. A voice nudged me to try the radio today. In fact, I think it even impressed me to think I wonder if they will play me some Gaga. Maybe even Telephone.
So I turn on the radio. It was on the '90s station (since when did the 90s need their own station?!), but I somehow intuitively knew which channel to pick. Number five. 107.9.
I swear to you, Telephone was the next fucking song they played.
THE NEXT SONG!
So I turn 'er up and sing along, knowing I sound and look like a monkey while doing so. But OMG my prayers! I didn't even know I was saying them and they were answered!
I just had a wish, a little wish, a little hope in the middle of a stressful week and the LORD condescended to my little wish for a song. He cared so much about me (!!) that he was willing to ignore the starving African kids for a moment to bless me with some Gaga.
But then he poured me out some more blessings that I was almost not able to receive them because Lo! The next song came on and it was (drumroll)
Shit. You. Not.
I was in heaven, even the Celestial Kingdom.
It was so much better than my "lost my keys" story.
AND--AND--then the DJ guy was all "that was song number two! one more to go for free tickets to her concert at Arco [Arena] March 23rd!"
Suddenly, and for the first time in probably 10 years, I wanted to see a concert. I'd never before considered seeing Miss Gaga in concert. I could get a t-shirt!
And one more song!? For realsies? They played two in a row, and I wasn't quite at the college yet, maybe I'd hear number 3?
The next song began and it was one I wasn't familiar with. But that's okay, I thought, I don't know all of her songs. Maybe it was one of them. I kept this hope even through the dude who began the song. Maybe he was a collaborator? She did that, right? Beyonce, whoever that dude was on Poker Face, yanno.
But no. I listened to the whole fucking horrible song and it wasn't Gaga. Then the DJ guy came back and was all "you'll hear the third song sometime after 1 o'clock. Once you do, call in with the names of the three songs and you might win!"
Well, crap. Not that I had any inclination to call in, but I had class after 1 o'clock.
Still. I am blessed, for I heard Gaga on the radio today.
I cannot wait for Fast and Testimony Sunday.
I mean, I do do that. Often. But it doesn't mean I think all Mormons are Morons.
Not all of them.
To be fair, I think a lot of people are morons. Just some more than others. Especially a group of people who yap about humility and then get all up in my grille all "i'm so sad for you," "i can't talk to you anymore," "you should be in church" "oh i just got called to be super-duper-relief-society-president, but i don't know how! i mean, i'm so humble!" "non-members are good people, but they could be better with teh gospel!"
But what bothers me is that if a few of my "IRL" friends read that last post, they'd be hurt. It was funny but it was seemingly pointed and kind of anti. I guess. I don't want to hurt them, but dammit.
I'm going through a bit of a cycle at the moment. I'd explain but I'm not all that sure I'm comfortable doing that yet. Suffice it to say my emotions aren't where I'd like them to be. For the past two months I've been this fairly happy, take-over-the-world person and now I'm feeling overwhelmed, behind--depressed. For nothing. Well, there are reasons, but still. Not very good ones. Maybe it'll go away after this weekend. Doubt it, but maybe. I've got an arsenal I'm working on to make it go away.
This week kind of sucks. Just too much shit.
Maybe that tells you all you need to know. But it's worse than that. I just don't want to get all attention-whorish on you. Besides, I might talk about it later. I do feel it has something (not everything) to do with my loyalty during my time in the clink.
See? There I go again. Kinda like how much I laughed the first time I heard someone refer to the "crutch." I keep wanting to do that. Not because I think the church is a crutch (well...) but because it was funny. But I don't want to chase people away (hi, annalee). I don't know why that is. I mean, fuck. I warned you people in the beginning. I honest-to-god didn't care in the beginning. And now I do.
I guess I still wonder if my ex-roomie reads this. She has the proper paper-trail, but I don't know if she'd even give my last blog a look after a year of inactivity, yanno? So I don't know. She stuck with me through all of that, I suppose she still would. I'm just a bit more brazen here. A bit. Not as much as I want to be. And though I know now she knows, we barely talk about it. She respects me, and I shut up around her. Except for the time I--gasp--wore shorts above the knee (i know!) and a tank in her presence. Like, it showed my shoulders. And her husband was around.
The jokes, they make themselves. But they're kind of bitchy, especially considering how awesome she has been. So I need to be a nice girl. But I'm fucking tired of always being on my guard to be the nice girl. May as well stick that stick up my ass for reals.
Eric thought I should go totally anonymous on my new blog. I wanted to and I didn't want to. First, I didn't want to go through the bullshit that I would've had to go through just to create a new profile. I have one on wordpress and here and it's just annoying to fix.
Secondly, trust me, there's a lot I would say if I were faceless, just for cathartic's sake (?), but I don't like talking shit about the church and about religion anonymously. I'm not afraid of the church, just the people I love deciding I'm no longer a "good influence" for whatever reason.
Lookit the power the church still has over me. It has the power to take away the few friends I have left.
So in a protest I poke fun. And then, sometimes (rarely) I feel bad about it. Even though I started this thing all "y'all, you're gonna be offended if you're a member."
I worry too goddamn much.
Monday, September 20, 2010
So Dawn Embers just wrote of this fucked up article by a fucked up guy who has no fucking idea what he's talking about.
Have a punching bag nearby. You'll need it. Especially if you've read the books (I've only read Speak and I want to strangle this man)
That said, there is some humor to be had in this grown man's word choice. "Female parts."
(btw: "female parts" = her butt. yeah)
You know what pisses me off about this? The irony. This is a book about a young girl who was raped at a party and doesn't feel she has any power, even to tell her parents or her best friend about it. She has been rendered silent from her trauma.
Things that have happened to far too many young girls. (one is far too many)
I had a lesser thing happen to me that rendered me silent--which is what pissed me off about my friend's reaction to the book. She was pissed because the girl wouldn't speak. WHY DIDN'T SHE DO ANYTHING?
I swear, it makes me seethe.
These are the people who want to ban books like this. "Keep her quiet!" they say.
To make it worse (and I don't glory in pointing this out, but hell) this is a man telling her to keep quiet.
I've read Speak and nothing this man says about the storyline rings quite the same. I'll admit a certain inability to retain information when I read--but seriously. I'm looking. This shit ain't there. Not like he says it is.
He's also mad because the kids think the adults are losers. Uhm, does he remember being a teenager?
Also, it's not that graphic. It is shocking but in a way that it ought to be shocking. If it weren't shocking, something would be seriously, seriously wrong.
And besides, these stories need to be told.
I've read the book and you can bet your ass not only will my daughter read this book but so will my boys.
At the end of the book is a printed interview with the author, Laurie Halse Anderson. One of the questions is this:
Have any readers ever asked questions that shocked you?
I have gotten one question repeatedly from young men. These are guys who liked the book, but they are honestly confused. They ask me why Melinda was so upset about being raped.
The first dozen times I heard this, I was horrified. But I heard it over and over again. I realized that many young men are not being taught the impact that sexual assault has on a woman. They are inundated by sexual imagery in the media, and often come to the (incorrect) conclusion that having sex is not a big deal. This, no doubt, is why the numbers of sexual assaults is so high.
I am also shocked by adults who feel that rape is an inappropriate topic to discuss with teenagers. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 44 percent of rape victims are under the age of 18 and 46 percent of those victims are between the ages of 12-15. It makes adults uncomfortable to acknowledge this, but our inability to speak clearly and openly about sexual issues endangers our children. It is immoral not to discuss this with them.
I can't speak to Mrs. Anderson's conclusions necessarily, but that last paragraph grabs me by the throat. Especially coming from a church that tells its young women that (A) if they are raped it's probably their fault for dressing immodestly or otherwise "asking for it" and (B) they should rather die fighting for their "virtue" than be raped.
My boys will also read it because, as I neglected to add, this shit happens to them, too, and our macho-man society isn't exactly kind to them, either.
Yes, this is an important book. The tone is expertly geared to average young adults. It took me back to high school. The main character is a good kid. Awkward, normal teenage girl.
So they try to ban it.
Ignore it and it'll stop.
If you haven't read this book, please do. Don't be turned off by the YA classification. It's important, especially if you have kids. It's important if you deal with kids.
It's just a good book. And it needs to be supported. Buy it for a friend. A niece. A nephew. Someone. You can get it used for about two dollars, plus S&H.
Don't allow fucktards like this guy to ban it, to silence the 46% of girls aged 12-15 (the age of the main character is this book) and pretend shit like this doesn't happen.
Because, obvs, abstinence-only solves everything.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
No more of this unpoliced crap that goes on in church/religion discourse. it's ridiculous.
I need to do my part, and not in a passive-aggressive kind of manner, but in a respectful assertive manner.
If they don't like civilized discourse, then perhaps I'm better off without them.
Otherwise I'm going to kill myself in my frustration and anger, and that's no way to go.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
It's a bit hard on this side of the fence. Eric says it's because we're the ones who broke the rules.
After reading this blog post, I think that's kinda the case with anyone who feels the need to be polite.
Who broke the rules?
I broke the rules when I joined the church, especially coming from a WASPy family. My mom and stepdad, the parents I lived with most, never went to church. They tried the First Baptist church, but eventually my mom decided it wasn't for her and the pastor suggested my stepdad follow suit. He later told me he regretted following that advice. At least once after we stopped going there we tried another church, just once or twice, but that was it.
Didn't mean my mama wasn't vehemently against the LDS church. She didn't know much about it, but she grew up in an Assembly of God church and still believed in God and knew, just knew, the LDS church was a horrible place. Sex on the temple altar. You know. Chickens and multiple wives. Godmakers kinda stuff.
I'm loathe to call it "horrible" for some reason, but you know. Depends on the day and the moment. Not like it was all bad. Or is. Like I've said before: generally like/love the people, hate the institution and what it does to those good people.
But either way, mama hated it. My dad and stepmom hated it just as much, but their hatred was a quiet hatred. I was going to hell.
And it wasn't that big of a deal for me. Yes I was breaking the rulez but goddammit, it was about time I did. I figured I still believed in Christ, so what the crap is their problem?
This time it's a little different. I'm grown up. I have kids. I love the family who I'm "spiritually" breaking away from--like, I admire them. I wanted to be like them for a long, long time. I want my kids to be like them (aside from the LDS thing).
I mean, I like these people. I don't want to lose anyone (else). One of them, Eric's sister, used to be my best friend. I want her back, but I don't know if that's possible to the extent I both want and need anymore.
Also, this break is more extreme. When I became LDS I still believed in Christ, even though others said it wasn't the same one. This time I'm saying I don't know God exists and I just don't think about Christ enough to bother with him. That's a biting quite a bit off. That's not being saved.
I still don't get why someone saying "I don't believe in God" even if it is conditioned with a "necessarily" is so scary to people. I mean, there are times when I'm going through a more theist moment while discussing religion with a very atheist Eric and I get really scared.
I don't get it. It's stupid, really, but it's real.
So I get pissed off a lot when I have friends on facebook or in person go all Mormon or zealous Christian on me and post/say crap that just rubs me the wrong way. It's not that they say the stuff that makes me mad, it's the fact that I don't feel I have a place to express my views that are so contrary to theirs.
It's political, too. I have liberal friends on facebook, but they don't live here. Everyone who lives here is conservative and even tea baggerish. They say stuff like "The white male is the most discriminated person in the country right now." (hi, i was chomping my lip off to stay quiet and nice. sooo not the time to be profane and generally out of control like i am when caught off guard like that. what the fuck? for REALS)
Or when they post shit about that stupid doctor's stupid note to the White House about the patient with the gold tooth and nice cell phone with a (gasp!) RINGTONE who was on Medicare, I want to fucking SCREAM.
Much as I wanted to write my own little note or reply or something, I couldn't. At least not right away, because they would be hurt that I would dare challenge their views. I need to give it some time, I feel. I don't want to hurt them.
stupidstupid. I can't help but feel that is stupidstupid.
Because I need to be the nice girl. Always the nice girl.
I'm no longer Christian or conservative.
I broke the rules.
I have to sit back and listen to people say things and I have to smile and nod and allow them their opinion while my opinion has to remain tucked safely in the back of my mouth because god forbid I say anything that doesn't comply with their views. Stuff like "maybe the doctor saved the guy's life and not the priesthood blessing. Let's give a little credit, shall we?"
(Besides, I'm not against believing that a god could inspire the doctor and blahblahblah. Not yet. Still haven't given up completely. Most days. Still rationalizing.)
Or even "hey, have you considered this possibility--maybe the cell phone was a gift, and for god's sake, ringtones cost, like, three bucks a year. Maybe the guy was recently laid off. Maybe he deserves something nice because he works two jobs at minimum wage to support his family because he wasn't given the opportunities you were given. Maybe he just deserves health care despite his fucking gold tooth."
I need to be an example, even though the very idea makes me shiver inside. I need to prove to them that one can be virtually godless and liberal and still have a conscience. I don't want to feel that way, but I do.
I want to keep them in my life. I want their approval.
And I broke the rules.
Besides, can you imagine the conversation that would follow "hey let's give a bit of credit to the doc"? I already know how it would go, and I just don't have the energy for it, y'all. Pointless.
So I censor myself even though I've never much been a fan of it. You know. At all. Makes me feel slimy.
But y'know, friends before idealisms. Especially around here.
I wish I knew where I fit in that equation (me before friends and friends before idealisms?) and that I could find the courage to express it. It's just that I'm alone enough and don't need to isolate myself further. I'd like to think I don't need anyone, but I do. We all do.
Friday, September 17, 2010
In protest of censorship I suggest we all buy a book that has been banned and then read the motherfucker. And tell our friends all about it. Have our children read it if you so deem it "appropriate."
You can find which books have been banned or challenged in a variety of ways, but here are the best ways:
Visit the official Banned Books Week site for a short list. The top ten 2009 banned books list is there, but it's certainly not limited to those ten books.
Also, google anything you're interested in and add "banned." Chances are good it's at least been challenged.
People be hatin'
Really, anything good. Anything thought-provoking. We need to seek information, and a lot of it is contained in some very good, very entertaining, enlightening books.
John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Many will claim it is too profane, but the truth is that many are afraid of its political messages.
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, written in "1852 as an outcry against slavery after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act." Abraham Lincoln once remarked it was the trigger for the Civil War.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair--significant because of its attention to the abuses of the labor market, but was also important because it highlighted the conditions of meat and packing factories, dire health concerns for the public, etc.
But not all books are game changers like this. They don't have to be to be banned. The problem is not that parents don't want their children to read certain books--it's that they don't want anyone's children reading them.
And that's not their place.
It's the fear that is the problem. Harry Potter? Really? For witchcraft? Wha? Harry Potter had a much better message, and in the interest of space I will redirect you here, if you're interested.
There's also too much fear of stoking anti-American sentiments--you know, "some things that are true aren't useful." Or the idea that we shouldn't criticize something even if it's true.
I mean the Texas Board of Education is trying to wipe out anything anti-Christian or something seemingly anti-American from their history books. Arizona is trying to police classes to prevent anti-American sentiments and ethnic studies.
Our patriotism is being questioned because we dare to question and criticize. There are many who want to tell us what to believe, politically and spiritually. What the fuck ever happened to freedom?
They fear that their children will become interested and engage in behavior we'd rather they weren't or didn't--sex, drugs, denouncing Christ. And again, not just their children. Everyone's children. Gotta "protect" them all.
We need to question. We don't get better if we don't have discourse, and we don't have discourse if we censor anything.
Also, many of these books provide a raw peek into our sometimes very uncouth history. And if we don't know our history, especially the bad, we are likely to repeat it.
There are a few books I wouldn't recommend, necessarily, unless you're interested, in which case: have at. I won't judge. But here's my take on a few:
I don't recommend Twilight. It's not that she's Mormon. Honestly, it was the book that got me back to writing fiction. I dug the sexual tension--like a literary burlesque, but still. Sexual tension aside, it's shitty writing. It's lazy writing. Worst of all--and you'll know this if you've read The Host--it's formulaic writing. There's little imagination there. Girl got lucky with her dream.
I don't even care about the feminist-hate on the book. It's the writing I loathe. Mostly because I pick up on styles and accents lightning fast and this stuff stuck on me like skunk for a really long time. I'm still a little stinky.
Girls eat it up because that's exactly what they want. They want this unbelievably out-of-this-world romance. They want their soul mate. They want sex. They want the uber-sexy boyfriend who looks at nobody else, the boy every other girl wants. They like the damsel-in-distress thing. They want to be protected, even if it is too much.
Women eat it up...maybe because they want it too. I tend to think LDS women eat it up because it's acceptable softcore porn (for them). They want sex, too.
But whatev. Junk food reading. It's allowed.
I also kinda hated Catcher in the Rye. I finished it, but I don't get what the big deal is. It was lame.
But, y'know, didn't require a hell of a lot of thought. So, if you're looking for something easy...It's just not that engaging. Some really smart but lazy kid gets kicked out of school and makes his way home and his parents don't know he got kicked out...again. Nothing really happens. He bitches a lot, but that's it.
English is my love. I've ignored it lately, but I dream about it at night. You know. It's more an ideal these days than not, and nothing that good should be neglected like I've neglected it. I'm just angry because I feel neglected too. Also, I feel like the overworked dad whose never home long enough to do anything but acknowledge his kids before tucking them in bed. It requires brain energy, and I'm a zombie.
All that said, I think I might start Mockingjay tonight. It's an incredible series, Hunger Games, and I highly recommend it. Wouldn't surprise me if they tried to ban it, too.
So buy a banned book. Get it used--they can come really, really cheap for decent if not great quality.
Lemme know if and when you do. I'm thinking I'll either get Anne Frank's Diary (read), To Kill a Mockingbird (haven't read), or Fahrenheit 451 (read). Maybe A Wrinkle in Time. I haven't read that one yet, either. Forever by Judy Blume is also a strong contender.
I wish I had more cash.
If you still haven't read Harry Potter (gasp!) now would be a fantastic time to start.
So. I love the black background with white text, but I remember from before that this tends to hurt people's eyes.
But people, we have flames now!
Kind of festive, really.
Anyway, suggestions? I don't want to hurt yr eyes.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
My oldest, my daughter, picked out a best friend on, like, the second day of school last year. We found out shortly thereafter that this little friend was--yes--Mormon.
And so it would follow that this little girl's family is in the stake. My husband knows her daddy. Went to school with him. We'd both heard of her mom.
So sometime after learning this, I went over to her house to meet her mom and let the girls play. Her mom is an exceptionally nice lady--quintessential Molly Mormon super-mom, but exceptionally nice. I think she was the first person I told "hey I'm not going to church," and she basically said "oh."
She throws these parties. And by parties I mean karaoke, live music, tons of food, hot tub, etc. etc. etc. No kids allowed.
It's a sober adult party. Which is fine, but still--the hot tub thing kills me.
She's invited us to at least two of these parties so far--we couldn't make it to the last one .
But what I cannot figure out is her motives--and I know that sounds really paranoid, but I hear all these stories, you know? From other people? For the most part we've been left alone around here, which is both relieving and conducive to some paranoia. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I can't figure it out. I don't know what her other callings have been, but she's now the second counselor in the RS (she wrote this big note on facebook about it and--well, I'll spare you. you probably know what it said anyways) and she knows we're inactive.
Anyway, what I'm trying to figure out is this: are we invited because our daughters are friends, because we kinda-sorta know each other, or because we are inactive and need to be fellowshipped?
I honestly don't know if I want to go either way. Social obligation says "yes, go." I've no reason to say no unless this is an activation effort and we can't find babysitters. But there'll be SO MANY PEOPLE THERE THAT DRIVE ME NUTS. People that do not put me in the have-fun-be-social mood unless it just comes, which it does sometimes. It's not a question of alcohol. I don't need alcohol to have a good time. It's just...these aren't my people. One who is attending is my son's teacher, a woman I've decided I don't like after dealing with her. Nice lady, I guess, and we suspect she may be a member but...well. I had to talk with her about my kid getting hit by another kid in her class (at lunch) yesterday and she was all over the place, calling her friends who were outside the class while I was talking and being all "yeah [the other kid] has ADHD, you know..."
Then again, my kid's first grade teacher from last year is invited too. And I'm pretty sure she's not Mormon. Can't say for sure, but she doesn't register on my Mor-dar.
haha, Mor-dar. Mordor.
So she's prob inviting non-member friends as well. Which means this isn't necessarily a project thing where my husband and I are concerned. After all, she's an incredibly social girl. Like ridiculously. Part of me wants to be like her in that respect, but I'm learning that's just not my gig.
So what do y'all think?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
A friend on Facebook wrote this status the other day:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. - Francis Bellamy, as originally written in 1892
Knowing this guy's politics pretty well and resting assured he knows how I feel, I replied:
Wow. You really don't love your country.
A woman responded:
No but he loves all the freedom it brings him. (;
You gotta acknowledge god in order to love your country?
I was just joking.
She wasn't. And the terrifying/sad thing about it is that she's not alone.
I mean, seriously.
These sentiments presented and pushed by people like the unofficial prophet Glenn Beck and his fellow tea baggers just freak me the fuck out.
Turn back to god, they say. That'll save our country.
I don't want your god running my country. He's a fucking power-hungry, narcissistic, racist, hate-filled, misogynistic, privileged lunatic if you people are in any way representative.
It's nothing to laud, I can assure you that.
Lately I've been going through a bunch of emotions. We visited my MIL last night because, hi, last-minute, we had back to school night for my preschooler. Which is weird, because it's state preschool, but whatever. Seemed the biggest thing was to tell us to GTFU of the staff parking lot.
Anyway, MIL. Have I mentioned that I pretty much scored in the in-law department? I know I bitch on here about Mormon culture, but it didn't necessarily come from them (I knew them before I knew my husband). While I love my FIL, he's having a bit of a hard time with our inactivity and lets us know about every time we visit. MIL, however, hasn't flinched. Like, at all. I'm not itching to bring up the subject, but seriously: nothing has changed. She finally noticed my piercing yesterday and was like "oh! i hadn't seen that before. did it hurt?"
She, like my SIL/ex-bestie, was really nice about it but hardly "oooh that's SO COOL." It's okay with me. I'll take it. Better than the alternative. I'd be fine if they just ignored it completely.
Anyway, she doesn't testify to us. There's sufficient church-speak to be sure, but she isn't preaching like Eric's father tends to (once he actually told us "you should be in church."). And when I'm in her house and it's just us and she's talking about her new seminary teacher calling, it's fine. I have no problem with it.
I get a little irritated, just a smidge, when SIL talks about her callings and church but mostly because she just doesn't seem happy. All that obligation bullshit, and she's just trying so hard. And I want to shake her out of it. Sometimes it seems like she's talking to herself rather than to me, you know?
I say that not knowing her nearly as well as I used to, but knowing her as long as I have that's my observation. Eric shares it.
Anyway, after events like that I find I'm tired of talking church. Churchchurchchurch. It's the #1 reason I quit my last blog. It didn't deserve my energy nor did I care to give into its attention-whorisms.
But as many of you know, the Church has a tendency to find you. So I'm back. And it's not just church, it's religion. It's Christianity. It's the fact that my father--as great of a man that he is, and even a bit liberal I might add--is incredibly into his holy-roller church and semi-routinely sends me anti-Muslim emails under the guise of comedy. I'm about ready to send him an email to ask him to quit the shit. I'll accept his religious propaganda, but not the anti-Muslim ones. It's not right, and to be quite honest I'm surprised he can't see that. Based on our last conversation, he should know it's wrong. It's the Christian in him that gets in the way.
I mean, WTF?
And I wish I could talk about other subjects, but I find I largely can't. The truth is I don't have many interests. I have things I'm interested in being interested in, but that's where it ends. I have been online since I was fourteen. I love to write. I want to love to read--and I do--but I'm not like many of my friends. I go through phases. I read three books in one month this past summer, which may not seem like a lot to some (and may seem like too many to others), but for a mama of three with issues, it was a feat. The series was amazing, too, so I must give it credit there.
But still, I can't even bring myself to read Mockingjay. Mockingjay! I mean, what the hell is wrong with me?
I tried starting a YA/reading/writing blog, but as soon as church crept up on me again, I was re-lit and couldn't focus on the YA thing anymore. It surprised me to hear Eric applauding my return to the religious stuff. I write a post on the other blog periodically, but my heart just isn't into it. I've been writing stories and poetry since I was six, but I've been in such an epic RUT lately I've just given up.
I've been a SAHM for eight years. For the first, ooooh, five or six years I gave up on every other interest. Because that's what righteous women do. Interests can be bad. Devilish influences. Unless church approved, of course. And I'm extremely anti-social, though I want to not be. Just a little.
I am still interested in genealogy. Just not enough to do it. Mostly because I don't want my information hacked and my family members baptised in the church. Mostly on principle. Keep yr paws off my great-great-grandfather. Let the man rest.
So my heart is here, blogging. Where it's easy. But also because I did need some comfort, and where I was seeking it came up rather empty sometimes. Really, only post/ex-mormons can understand this stuff. And really, many times the experience of disaffection and leaving has to be fairly recent. If it's been 15 years since you left and you were a teen when you left, it's not as big of a deal now, you know?
I wish this wasn't a big deal. But it is. Then again, a lot of things are a big deal for me. At first, at least.
Though I do go through periods at which I cringe at taking on any "-Mormon" title. It's a little hard for me to even classify myself as Mormon-anything sometimes. I just don't want to tell people. It automatically makes for a(n) awkward moment(s). But at the same time, with the right community, it's an instant bond. Which is why I may attend a post-mormon gathering in San Francisco next month. It'd be a good chance to meet some people and get the hell out of dodge. It's only a matter of finances at this point.
I try to ignore the Mormon thing--the title, the church itself--but it comes back. Dunno why. Probably because it's my family and they lurve to talk about it. Like, constantly. Probably because the majority of my friends on facebook are LDS or Christian. Prop-fucking-8. Because it took up such a large chunk of my life--at least now it equals up to a 1/3 of my life. And religion/believing in god takes up 100% of my life. Either is a lot. Then, maybe it's also because we have so many fracking churches here, and not a one is at all progressive. If I had to guess, I'd say the United Methodists were the most. Y'know, with their women preachers and all.
Even then, though, I just don't want to talk about Jeeeezus and definitely not about how much I suck and how fucking awesome god is. Or to have to see the look on people's faces when I confess I don't believe in god, necessarily. Here it's acceptable to be inactive Christian waaaay before it's acceptable to be atheist--but I'm under the impression that that's pretty much the case in most places.
I need an outlet, damn it.
It's an uncontrollable need to talk about it. But when there's nobody to talk to, what do you do?
You blog and hope to the flying spaghetti monster people connect and want to talk back.
So thank you, those of you who comment. Really.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
First it was the call for answers to yet another member who asked the predictable bullshit question:
"If you don't like the church, why do you insist on talking about it?"
My answer was an exhausted, annoyed, and pissy "fuck off."
...Okay. I didn't quite say it like that, but it was the general sentiment. I don't know what the protocol is on swearing at MSP, and I tend to flirt with the line as it is.
But seriously, I'm tiiiiiiiiiired of those questions.
"Oh god! he's right! maybe I have a super-sekrit love with the church and a REAL TESTIMONY and i'm just hiding it behind all this hatred."
There is no satisfactory answer for these people, and I'm tired of trying to play the nice girl. I don't need to explain myself. I find they just want to corner me. It's a "gotcha" question, and a really lame one at that.
Then another guy came on later, an older guy--convert of 35 years, he said. The topic was Prop 8 and the letter to BYU's Daily Universe where the author argued members should just admit their only rationale for supporting the prop is because "the prophet hath said." As many of you know, the letter was quickly pulled (it offended the right people), but this MSP commenter had all sorts of vitriolic things to say regarding gay marriage and the homosexual community.
I about lost my shit. I wasn't going to at first, but then I read his comment again and couldn't help myself--but! i did make a very concerted effort to not lose my shit too much. MSP is not my house, y'know?
Arrogant, self-righteous ignorance of that degree pisses me off. And I am done being patient with assholes, so I let him know. I held back as much as possible, but I let him know.
I don't think he ever came back to even read the responses (at least he never responded again to my knowledge), but still.
A quick aside: I used to tell people, in an attempt to be conciliatory, that it was "cool" for them to believe gay marriage is wrong, but to at least be honest about their reasoning for being against it and to stop hiding behind ridiculous, baseless arguments. I refuse to say that anymore. There is no reason to be against gay marriage or to be homophobic in general, religious or otherwise. It would be like if I said "it's cool for you to be racist, just be honest about why you are."
No, no, no. It's JUST. WRONG.
Anyway. I have no patience for jerks/trolls/zealous Mormons anymore. None.
So the latest post at MSP is regarding Matthew 22:23-33 (30-33 here):
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
The question at MSP is: is the Mormon interpretation of this even logical given the scripture, or another instance of a concerted effort to match one instance of biblical scripture to LDS doctrine? Mainstream Christianity interprets this scripture as "nobody is married in heaven. period."
My first response was that I liked the Mormon interpretation, strained as it might be. I like the idea that my husband and I would be married (or at least together) in the afterlife, should there be one. It doesn't seem fair that we wouldn't be. That said, I don't believe that we need some sort of special wedding in order to make that so.
But as the discussion continued, I began to think: you know, I just don't give a shit anymore.
It all just makes my head hurt.
Monday, September 13, 2010
So I've been feeling like an ass lately. Been reading these really great posts from other bloggers. One in particular--don't remember who it was--mentioned how dumb it was for Mormons to not give their girls a middle name because it would later become their maiden name when they got married.
It's a tradition in my husband's family, so we just did the same for our daughter. I regret this now. Not because it's stupid so much, but because I never got to name any of my kids after my great-grandma. She's still around at 95, but she's slowing down. A lot. And I lovelovelove her name.
I haven't spoken with Eric about wanting to officially make that my daughter's middle name, but I'm certain he won't care. I just don't know how to go about it. I'm sure we could go to the county and find out, but I haven't a lot of time these days.
Besides, it's weird trying to explain to Abbie why she doesn't have a middle name yet. She doesn't really get it. And the obvious question now is "what if she doesn't get married?" You know?
Why do we expect people to get married? I suppose because many people do, but still. It's imposing upon her an expectation, and I don't want to "expect" my daughter to get married.
Besides being stupid in and of itself, there are more important things to expect, to teach her. Like being her own person. Staying true to herself. Think critically. Be the best she can possibly be. To be happy and strong, confident.
I cringe reading other posts that criticize these nuances of Mormon culture--in part because I think it's harmful if not abusive in some cases, but because I did that too. And I didn't even know it. I wasn't BIC, but ask anyone and they'd tell you (because they told me) that I sure as hell acted like it. When I joined, I embraced it all. Whatever doubts I had I dismissed as unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I often wondered, in the beginning, where the church had been all my life.
However, I am proud to say I never, ever, ever wanted to go to BYU. My best friend suggested we go to UVSC for a while, live in her grandparents' basement, and a part of me wanted to but I'm a wuss about moving more than an hour away and I don't know how serious she was about it either.
So many forks in the road in my life I wonder about. What if I would've sucked it up and gone to Texas to attend University with my best online friend back in the day. What if I would've gone to UVSC.
I want to think "What if I went to UC Santa Cruz like I wanted to throughout high school" but joining the church before I even could crushed all those dreams and the ones that came after. The English thing got set aside. Next I remember telling my institute director that I really felt that I should be a paralegal, and the look on his face told me quite clearly it was not acceptable. So I settled for the community college's glorified secretary program--I was very good at it, but it didn't make me happy. It just seemed more appropriate.
That said, I can't blame it all on the church. I think. I don't like anything hard or scary, so the excuses were welcome. Joining the church was neither hard nor scary. It was my way of finally rebelling against my family--sad, right?
I just wish I would've been more independently-minded. Something about the church took that all away from me.
There are a lot of things about the church I am grateful for. A few close friends, my new family, my kids. A home for a few years. But there are a lot more things that piss me off. Eric's the same way. And we both realize that had we gone a separate way out of high school (he regrets his mission), we probably would have never met--and I cannot begin to tell you the chemistry we had, the connection. But still, we wonder. And we're a little angry about it.
And I'm a little angry at myself for wanting so much to fit in, to embrace all the little traditions. I wanted so much to have a real, traditional LDS family. (Eric never did, btw)
At least I never learned to sew so I could make my own clothes. At least I finally--after a few years--realized the last thing I wanted to do was scrapbook. At least I finally realized saying "no" was okay. At least I finally came to terms with the fact that I could not physically or mentally handle the big family I wanted so much in the beginning. It's bad enough I have three. Maybe I'll tell that story later. It's a scary story to tell because, you know, I do love my youngest.
Anyway, I never felt right in Relief Society. I'm just not a girly-girl. I don't like doing "homemaking" things. Besides, everyone my age had callings elsewhere.
My friends and I called it "Menopause Society."
And at least I realized right away that, while largely no problem with the actual endowment ceremony, the initiatories CREEPED ME OUT and there was no fucking way I was going to wear my bra over my garment top. It was too, too weird.
And I know there's no use crying over spilt milk, but it still stings. In a lot of ways I wish I could've been slightly more rebellious and less Molly, but that's out of my system now. More and more I feel I'm getting my power back, and it feels good.
Still, I continue to learn that some of the things I did and said weren't just isolated, "me" incidents, but very much Mormon. And it's weird. And it does make me angry.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
2. We believe that men should be judged, punished and forgiven after a minimum of one year.
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved once they remove their egregious earrings.
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Prophet; second, Repentance when you don't exhibit faith in the Prophet; third, Doing everything the Prophet says so you can have the Holy Ghost; fourth, excommunication when you still don't want to do what the Prophet hath said.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, to lead, teach, or hand out programs at the beginning of Sacrament meeting.
6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, bureaucracy, patriarchy, and hierarchy.
7. We believe in Church approved prophecy, revelation, visions and healing.
8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is serves our purposes; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the better word of God, and that the Doctrine and Covenants and the Ensign are the best words of God.
9. We believe all that God has revealed unless the current Prophet says otherwise and we refuse to admit that He will eventually reveal things in accordance with the dictates of society so nobody can call us "racists," "bigots" or "sexist" anymore.
10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and that, as adoptees, we will be part of the restoration of the Ten Tribes (those of "dark skin" since 1978); that the "New Jerusalem" will be built in Independence, Missouri; that we are to influence government like we think Christ will do one day; and, that we don't have to worry about "global warming" because the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the leaders of the Church, and allow all men the same privilege by offering them free things and/or convincing them we're totes cool, then sending boys to their door to harass them until they agree to baptism.
12. We believe we must be subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, and obey, honor, and sustain the law. We also believe in being kinda sneaky about it.
13. We believe we are honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and do good to all men; indeed,
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Just as Eric opened the door to leave for the store, Abbie asked him where he was going.
"To hell," he said.
"To see the devil."
"Who's the devil?"
"God we're good parents!" he said.
He was jesting, but yeah, pretty much. That made my afternoon to discover my kids don't know who the devil is and that I could explain him away and tell my daughter he doesn't exist.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I also feel I should add that I am (or was) just as guilty of using these words and phrases and mean no personal or individual insult (unless you're a GA or a general asshole).
Just sayin--people don't generally know what they're saying or that what they're saying is absolutely empty of meaning. It's called "parroting."
Also, some of these phrases can be attributed to Christianity or other religions at large. See: lust.
As opposed to someone else? I don't understand this need to say "even."
"People who like to sound really pious, even the leadership of the church."
"For time and all eternity."
Really? For all eternity? Besides, why can't y'all just say "forever"?
"People who leave the church or become inactive do so because they've been offended."
Yeah, pretty much. But let's not automatically assume it's because Sister Smith hurt my feelings.
Seriously, if it were the people I would've left years ago.
"You can choose to not be offended."
True, true. Just like you can "choose" to not be offended by profanity, immodesty, things you find "inappropriate," people who desecrate your garments and give out super-sekrits, etc.
"I'm not a bigot. I have a gay friend!"
I understand you may not realize it, but yes you are and no you don't.
"We love those who are Same Sex Attracted."
You just think they're icky, immoral and unworthy of the same kind of socially-condoned happiness you have with your spouse. Tough love, baby! Tough love!
"Lust is a sin."
I am so sorry for your spouse. Sex must really suck.
"I'm totes not comparing gay marriage to these things, but it'd be like saying people naturally inclined to pedophilia should just go have sex with kids."
Obvs. And btw, thanks for the disclaimer. Without it I would've thought you were comparing the two. Phew.
"We believe in free-agency!"
If you count putting a gun to someone's head and telling them "you can do what i say or else," then yeah. I suppose you do preach "free-agency."
"We don't practice polygamy."
Eh, you kinda do. You're just super sneaky about it now. Viva loopholes!
"This church is too hard for some people." (ie: inactive/post/jack/non/ex-members)
No, it's just too stupid for some people. Or insulting. But hey, keep martyring it up huh? And if and when you do decide to leave, make sure to return and report on how fucking easy it is.
"We have over 13 million members!"
If you count the people who no longer believe, attend, are too afraid to resign, can't resign, etc. Sure. 13. Hey, you know, whatever makes you look better.
"I know the Book of Mormon is true."
I know the Book of Mormon isn't.
"We're living in the last days."
Christ's original apostles thought so, too.
"We teach that men and women are equal."
Again, this word does not mean what you think it means. Neither does "feminism." Or "autonomy/individualism" for that matter, but I digress.
"We should not seek to have women descend to the level of men" (and its variations)
First, if you have to tell women (and yourselves) how awesome they are SO OFTEN then one has to begin to think something is very, very wrong.
Who are you trying to convince?
"Joseph Smith was a young, unlearned boy. He couldn't have possibly written the Book of Mormon as complex as it is in the time he did."
Actually I think this is one of the more compelling evidences against the church, but keep telling yourself this. It does sound good.
"God's plan is one of happiness."
Care to tell me what that plan is, because I must've missed that memo. Or at least got the wrong one.
"I don't know where I'd be without the church/faith in God/Jesus Christ."
You'd be fine. I promise. It's a hell of an adjustment for some, but seriously. The world turns, you're still a good person, and if God really exists and loves you, you'll be fine.
"I can't afford to not pay tithing."
It's amazing what you can afford when you don't pay tithing if you're not an idiot about your spending. Besides, you could take that money to actually help the poor rather than build more church buildings.
"We believe families can be together forever!"
A lot of people do.
"We do not worship Joseph Smith."
Not sayin' you do (really), buuut:
Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah, Jesus anointed that prophet and seeeeeer...
(Trying to find video, pictures or transcripts from his 200th birthday celebration but I'm coming up short--people, that was one hell of a tribute for a dude you don't really worship, yeah?)
He also tends to be mentioned a bit more often than Jesus in talks, and if not more often then he is often placed alongside Jesus. It just gives off the wrong vibe, dudes.
"We do not believe the Prophet is infallible."
Except for when he is.
"Mormons are Christians!!!!!!"
Already knowing the prescribed answer to these questions, I insist on asking: Who cares? Why is this attribution so important to you?
"The Church is the same everywhere you go!"
It's not. Some wards are more extreme or laid back than others. Some bishops are chill, some are unbelievably and unnecessarily strict, others are dismissive assholes. But the general layout of the meetings, sure. This isn't, however, to suggest other churches are all willy-nilly about their meetings or that it fucking matters.
"If you can't feel the Spirit, it's probably you."
This transfer of blame from the church to the individual is rampant and just another way of saying "nonono, we're perfect. you're not."
"Endure to the end."
Don't you often mean "suffer to the end"? Awesome.
"Leave room for the Spirit!"
No thanks. He's kinda like an annoying parent this way--get the fuck out of my sex life, for instance. And goddamn it, let me dance flush with my guy. If the Spirit doesn't like it, the Spirit can leave.
"We must not do anything that offends the Spirit."
Can't he "choose" to not be offended?
"We encourage our investigators and our members to seek out and verify the truths of what they're being told."
But if you come to a different conclusion than what has been said by the prophet-almighty, then yr doin it wrong.
"The Book of Mormon is the most correct book on Earth!"
Then quit fucking with it!
"It's sacred, not secret."
At least admit it's both (though I tend to believe anymore that "sacred" means you know it's weird and don't want to be made fun of)
"I know (s)he left the church, but I know (s)he has a testimony."
Yes, a testimony that it's all a bunch of crap.
If you haven't, see also: Like Nails on a Chalkboard