Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's Official.


Yeah. That letter.

This morning.

It's toned down quite a bit from my original letter, but I think it works rather nicely.

Member Records Division, LDS Church
50 E North Temple Room 1372
SLC, UT 84150-5310
Cc: President of [My] Stake.
Bishop of What-Would-Be-Our-Ward

This letter is to inform you of our resignation from the church. We expect our names to be permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church. Full names and birthdates are supplied below. The names and records of our children are also to be removed. They are: [kid #1] (her birthdate), [kid #2] (birthdate), and [kid #3] (birthdate). Our current address is [redacted].

We have considered this for a significant amount of time, resulting in disbelief in even basic tenets of the church. Recent events concerning Prop 8 and the words of certain senior leaders have compelled us to resign formally. We will not condone these actions, preaching, and behaviors by virtue of our membership and thus refuse official association with the church.

We understand you consider this a serious action and what you believe the consequences of resignation are. We are aware that the Church Handbook of Instructions says our resignation "cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings." We also understand that re-admittance is possible “by baptism only after a thorough interview."

We expect our resignations to be processed immediately, without any “waiting periods” and in full confidentiality and respect. After today the only contact we want from the church is a single letter of confirmation of our resignations, records and name removal. If a reason must be documented, “doctrinal issues” would be accurate.

Please also note that our bishop and stake president have been notified likewise.




Friday, July 8, 2011

Thoughts on a new blog

It's been a while, I know, but I'm reconsidering my blog and seriously considering beginning another one. This doesn't seem to be working for me anymore.

The thing is, if and when I begin a new blog I am sure I will alienate about 90% of you--if not more. I totally understand (empathize) where many ex-mormons come from and why they need to bash on the church as often as humanly possible, but I'm not there. I have my beefs for sure, but I'm definitely one of your more privileged members. I have not attended a ward which included bishops who knowingly protected emotionally, physically, sexually and spiritually abusive spouses and fathers, things like that. I've been told stupid things, but nothing criminal--just annoying. And the thing is, I've heard it in other churches as well.

Same shit, different chapel.

I joined a few months after I turned 18, so I've very little Young Women's experience. I was the secretary for a little while and did learn, to my surprise, that there are Good Little Mormon Girls who sneak out of their rooms at night to do Inappropriate and Unworthy Things. I thought this never happened, but even after I discovered it I assumed it was a isolated event, especially given the girls who were doing it. They came from messed up homes, homes I knew existed.

With all of the Catholic church's sexual abuse problems that went on (and yes I know, continue to go on), I one day told my in-laws how grateful I was to be in a church where that never happened. They were quiet when I expected a chorus of agreement, but that didn't bother me too much. About a week later a story popped up in our local newspaper of a priesthood-holding dentist in the area who would sedate his patients and then grope them.

Some years later I'd learn of a man in my stake, the husband of the YW president I served under, who physically beat the shit out of his wife and kids. I had interacted with this man before, in a chilling and specific incidence where he gave the YW a martial-arts lesson. He was a master in one of those practices.

Oh my god, right?

Still, this doesn't come close to the stories I've heard since leaving. If anything along these lines have occurred in my own stake, I don't know about them. Apart from a non-mormon man who worked for my stepdad groping me at the age of 14 (he reached behind the car seat to get a good feel of my leg while we took him home), I've never been sexually assaulted. And I am both grateful and oddly full of guilt for this. Well, let me clarify. "Guilt" may not be the right word--but I don't belong with the vast majority of other ex-Mormon women, a majority who seems to have experienced such atrocities, and in that way I feel like I am insulting them by considering myself a part of their group. Make sense? I feel like I can't relate to anyone. There is a level of privilege I have that I feel nobody else has--and this makes it difficult for me to bash the church along with them.

But this also means that I have had the privilege also to be around the church's best people. Yes they CAN BE incredibly annoying, but no more so than those I ran into at my dad's Assembly of God church, or the Catholic church or anywhere else. Or more so than I can be, for that matter. But I did join the LDS church and my membership lasted throughout what I consider to be my most formative years. I wish I could've just been left alone, but I remember how confused I was and so willing to go anywhere with anyone. Something happened to my good sense after high school. In a lot of ways, I could have done much, much worse than to join the church.

(and this is where I lose a lot of you)

I've developed a sense of pity for members. Not for the leadership, but for the members. And I'm tired of making fun of them so much. People like to do it--many for the catharsis, but others because it's just fun. And it is. But there are genuinely good people just saying what they've been raised to say and believe and think and do. They don't know any better. They genuinely believe it and there is little we can do to change them. There are few who we can convince, but for the most part the indoctrination is more powerful than our logic and rhetoric. This doesn't mean I should sit there and take it, and I won't, but this doesn't make them inherently bad people. We say they lack the ability to think critically, and in a lot of ways this may be true. It is true. In a lot of ways, however, this may just be a defensive mechanism. And beyond all of this, who am I to say I am any better than they are? What the fuck gives me that right? In this way I am no better than they are.

But I have a problem with just assuming EVERYONE knows it's not true deep down but continue to believe or play the part anyway because it's easier. It's really no better than the members or general faithful who tell non-believers that they know it's true deep down but continue to be apostates because it's easier.

While this may be true in some instances, there's a lot of hypocrisy in this line of thought.

I've struggled with a lot lately. I have my fake profile on facebook, and it can be a lot of fun. I like that it's a place where I can say things I can't say on my real profile, but it's not all about religion or belief or the lack thereof. I'm looking to get into a field of work that doesn't look kindly on those who are human beings. Besides that, it's a profession, and for whatever reason those in the public eye are considered unprofessional or a bad example if they use dirty words or have beliefs and/or politics different from that of the majority. I do have to be careful.

There are members who I cannot stand, but they differ no more from others who have political beliefs that just make my skin crawl. You don't have to be LDS to believe that homosexuals or queer folk in general are unnatural and deserve to be shoved into the back of the bus, if they're allowed on the bus at all--though I do wonder, is that a belief only the religious tend to ascribe to?

Also, I need to know I've other passions, another future ahead of me. I do not want to spend the next ten years of my life shaking my fist at the church and telling them to get the fuck off my lawn. They are there. They are my family, and a few of my closest friends. This is who they are. If I want their respect, I need to give them some of mine as well. If I want to be accepted for who I am or who I am becoming, I need to accept them as well. We will clash sometimes, but that's what people do.

And that's the other thing: I've grown to believe over the last decade (or perhaps all my life; I don't know) that friends never argue and agree on everything. This isn't true, but it's hard to fully realize. I understand why my friend Squeaky freaked out on me and refuses to talk with me. It's not because I don't believe anymore as much as she's in defensive mode. Not because I might convince her that she's wrong, but this is the safest place she's ever been in. I would never ask her or entice her to leave this.

But back to the other passions and pursuits. I have felt like a one-trick pony for such a long time. If it wasn't just being a mom, it was just being an angry ex-mormon. This is not me. I love English, I love to write, I love to read. I love sports. I want to learn other things. If I don't, my life will be shit. You don't need the church for your life to be shit. Church is not requisite for a shitty life any more than it is for a great and happy one.

I just want to be more. Religion is part of my interests. At the moment I'm reading a ridiculously gigantic survey on the English Reformation. People say things that piss me off--but it's more from a feminist standpoint more than a religious one, though religion does seem to feed misogyny rather well. But religion is who we all are, like it or not, partake in it or not. We can work for change, but we have to accept the fact that real change will take years, decades, centuries. If we can accept that, we can get started, and many of us have. I will say I'm unconvinced all religion is bad, and I know that's a naughty agnostic-atheist thing of me to say, but I'm as yet unconvinced.

There are those I avoid now because they are so offensive. I'm not saying they aren't or that we should tolerate it. For me, the point is that it's not all due to Mormonism but much of Christianity as a whole.  I can't say of other religions more than I presently know, but I imagine it's much the same there. And even there I hesitate, because I can't stand blanket statements. Too black and white.

I do believe people will be bitches no matter what. We're like people that way.

So, new blog coming--at least when I can figure out a title and hone down a focus a bit more, if I decide on a honed focus at all. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm justa girl

I've learned to avoid telling people I ever had anything to do with the church. You get a stigma. A lot of you will get that. I fear a particularly stinky kind for myself. You guys, my husband was born into the church. I chose it.

But because he was born into it, there are situations I can't get out of, attitudes I can't avoid. His family is pretty awesome with regard to our leaving, but there's one member who--try as he might!--can't let go entirely. Every now and again he has a comment. It usually doesn't bother me.

But the attitudinal issues--those bother me. The misogynistic crap is so subtle, but it's there and I've always felt it but I've always dismissed it because it's so subtle and, y'know, maybe I'm just being sensitive. I don't know if anyone outside the culture and at all unfamiliar with it would sense it as it's redressed in names like "values" and "virtue" and "faith" and "humility" and "modesty" so that even women don't see it.

We attended a little get-together at my FIL for my SIL's 8th grade graduation this past weekend. As my FIL and my husband are both teachers, they talk quite a bit about issues and general experiences. Now, I didn't necessarily grow up wanting to be an English teacher, but it has always been on my mind. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have tutored and enjoyed it so much. In high school I wanted to be a writer, but I was aware enough to know that wouldn't work as a day job so I considered being an editor or proofreader, working in the publishing industry.

For a long time post-church I told myself and anyone who would listen that I didn't think I could teach, that I didn't have the ability to handle the emotional and mental issues associated with it. Because I wouldn't let it go (I was waiting for someone to assure me I'd be fine--yay passive-aggression!), others simply shrugged and agreed--which made my insecurity worse. I had just spent the last decade being told ("encouraged") that I couldn't do what I wanted to do. It's been quite the process redefining myself. I'm getting there, but it's slow.

So I finally decided last summer that I was going back to school with purpose. The difference in my motivation is amazing. I finally believed I could do something and I've done all the annoying crap so far in order to do it. I took biology--biology. I've overcome a lot of fears just in the last year to keep going. Now I'm in summer school. I'm happier when I'm studying.

But not everyone is all that supportive. More than I thought are, but there are the cynics. They surrounded me yesterday.

"So you wanna be a teacher, huh?" a family member--also a teacher--said.


(insert loud laughter here)

It could be because the climate is so godawful right now that only an insane masochist would even entertain the thought, but I know this mindset. I know my husband used to have it. Kids, I could tell a few stories and they're all influenced by church doctrine and teachings regarding women--not girls! women--and their place. "I'd rather you wouldn't wear that." "Don't go on a walk by yourself."

I mean, girls.

So the laughter also stank of condescension and it didn't help that the conversation stopped there. They weren't interested. But, he did bring it up again later. "So what do you want to teach? Elementary?"

Because, as many of you know, women are best at teaching elementary if they're going to teach at all (really, if a mormon woman has to work, she can be a secretary or a teacher so I'm already playing into this). And let's not forget that just moments before I overheard a conversation regarding elementary school teachers--they're amazing people and a special brand and omg so glad they're there, but their university program doesn't demand as much of them.

He backed up pretty quickly after I scrunched up my face and...well.

Every time I was asked about school my responses were met with snideness. Even DILF (i'm struggling with this. he's uncomfortable with actual names but i grow tired of "my husband" and i think "DILF" is funny)--ANYWAY, DILF, who usually sets me straight when I'm being irrational--and god knows I can be when I'm angry and hurt--agreed that there were some major you're so cute *pet* now get in the kitchen overtones going on.

Seriously. I need some good returns for these stupid comments next time. When we got home I just wanted to ball up and cry and punch something.

I'm not doing this for them, to prove anything to them. If I was I wouldn't have come even this far. But, you know, it would be nice to have a bit of respect.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Another SIL on the way

I feel weird about this one. Not in a bad way, but in a "why the hell weren't you excited about the last one" kind of way.

The most recent SIL is nice enough. She's naive as all get-out, but she's nice. And we all know, I wonder very much about my BIL's actual feelings about it. Those feelings aren't at all alleviated by the numerous stories I've heard of things he said even on the day of the wedding. Something doesn't feel right.

But of course, I could totally be wrong. It's not like I know that BIL that well. He lives in friggin' Utah and I rarely see him. The signs, though. Anyway. I hope I'm wrong for their sakes.

This new girl is marrying the youngest boy in the family. I love this BIL--I love all of them, but this one has a special place in my heart. When I was in labor with my youngest, he gave up his bed for me. We lived in a town an hour away but I wasn't giving up my OB/GYN for anything. So when active labor began the day before Christmas, we made our trek to my MILs house to spend the night. For two awful, contraction-filled nights BIL gave up his bed. For three days BIL voluntarily and without any asking on my part took care of my kids. I never had to raise a finger. My SIL was amazing, too, but there was something special about BIL doing this. He also had to wake up every morning around 5am (if not sooner at least once) to my false alarms. He never complained.

My only regret about BIL is the boy he was when he returned home from his mission. Complete zeal, this boy. But we had all changed, the kind of change that just intensifies it all (if that makes sense). He was a believer before but now he was completely entrenched, quoting Spencer W. Kimball (?) and others regarding the evils of "socialism" and otherwise. It was, for me, disheartening. The boy who once played Grand Theft Auto (which, in an ironic way, bothered me back then). The boy who once watched South Park (again, ironic. how could he get away with watching that?). I missed that boy, but I loved him too. I've known him since he was a chubby little eleven-year-old boy. The eleven-year-old boy who, upon seeing my husband and I hold hands for the first time in his living room, lit up and ran upstairs to tell everyone. I hope I remember that forever.

This BIL has a special place in my heart. Sometimes, when it feels like a good time, I try to bring him back. Whether he likes it or not, he still laughs when we reference South Park.

I friended his fiancee on facebook last night, and she seems so goddamn sweet I can't hardly stand it. She's SO LITTLE (young!) but so sweet. Her friends are already calling her by her almost-new last name and it brings back so many fun memories. I'm excited to meet her and afraid I'll scare her off at the same time. I'm afraid I'll fall to the wayside. My in-laws are the most amazing people, but they're believers and we're not. It makes us the default black sheep, even if they still love us and treat us just as they always have. I've always been a bit of a black sheep--being a not-so-social girl in a Mormon world, whether you're a member or not--just makes you the weird one.

They're getting married in Idaho this September. I've never been to Idaho which makes the idea of going neat, but we're not exactly rolling in the dough at the moment so we're not sure we can make it anyway. There's hope, though. My husband may get a summer teaching job, and if he does we're definitely making the trip. And though we're pretty sure everyone--with the possible exception of the remaining BILs and SIL--knows we're no longer active, the prospect of sitting in the temple foyer while they get married is a hard one to swallow. Let's also toss in the idea that DH is working on the idea of resigning this summer. So, all I can think about is the embarrassment of the foyer (an interesting emotion, I think), and then the remembrance that I did the exact same thing to my own family. Karma is a bitch, kids. At least we'll be able to help the as-yet-endowed SIL with the loads of kids.

But I want to go. There are problems involved--days to take off, the aforementioned financial issues (there's also a planned Disneyland trip this November)--but this is something we'd like to attend.

There are just so many emotions involved here, but I'm happy for them.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Please Read: On Drowning

I read this last year and feel strongly that it bears annual repeating. This is one thing that scares the living CRAP out of me, for both myself and especially my kids. I've had a close call. It's nothing to mess around with.

Please read and share this post: Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

The most important bit to know is this: People (and children especially) who are drowning are not yelling and not splashing. They don't look like they're drowning--unless you know what to look for. 

And, as the article states, if your kids become quiet while swimming, get your ass over there and find out why.

Excerpt from the article:

There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC).(emphasis added)

Friday, May 27, 2011


Y'all know Lady Gaga, right? (This isn't about her, just using her as a template)

I read an article the other day having something to do with her--honestly I only remember the comments--and readers quickly fell into a debate on her sexuality and the genuineness thereof. (oh! here it is, but i'll give you the cliff's notes):

Commenter 1: Is she right in being such a strong advocate for the GBLTQ community? She's not gay. Commercialism at its finest. It pisses me off as a gay man.

Commenter 2: Dude, she's said she's bisexual on a number of occasions.

C1: Whatever. She's always hooking up with guys in her videos.

C3: Nuh-uh! Have you seen the "Love Game" video? She totally macks on a chick there.

C1: Doesn't make her bi.

C2: Who are you to decide whether or not she's bi? This is such a big problem for bisexuals. Can't be part of either community. Either with 'em or against 'em, jesus.

C4: She said she was attracted only physically to women, that she couldn't connect with them on an emotional level. She's not bi.

And on and on and on.

I felt C1's concerns during Prop 8. I kept arguing against the proposition and after a while felt like I shouldn't be doing it. I'm not gay. I'm married to a man. I have found women attractive before (wasn't about to say that yet, shh!). Still! I felt like I shouldn't be fighting their cause. I wondered if it wasn't my place. Maybe because I felt like a fake. Maybe because I was fighting against the church just as much as I was fighting against the proposition.

But beyond that: this issue of sexuality, bisexuality specifically. I've heard on a number of occasions that bisexuals are treated as if they can't have their cake and eat it too (a terrible phrase in this situation, really).

Is this a political issue? The gay community has a justifiable cynicism if not hatred toward the straight community. Is this a matter of Us vs. Them? Group mentality? And let's not blame only the gay community for this cynicism. Heterosexuals are constantly berating bisexuals as well for simply wanting to be rebellious or fake or whatever. Ask anyone. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

And let's for a minute consider the other argument brought up here. Gaga allegedly stated she was really only physically attracted to women but didn't feel she could feel an emotional attraction. It sounds odd, I guess, but I think most of us have at one point or ten felt a purely physical attraction to someone we otherwise found totally unattractive.

But Gaga is suddenly not bisexual to these people. Her alleged limited attraction to women negates her claim to bisexuality, and it makes me wonder what makes you bisexual and what, if anything, cancels that out--can you be a poseur if you're genuinely attracted in any way?

It's all bullshit, really. It's never anyone's right to decide how gay or straight someone else is. If you don't like someone fucking with your sexual identity, privilege, or rights, don't fuck with theirs. Period.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Faith in Self

I've a big, fat, ugly problem with the idea that one cannot be happy or blessed if God or Jesus isn't thrown into the mix.

Y'all, this idea is everywhere lately.

A very very very Christian friend of mine wrote, "I may not see myself as anyone worth much of anything, but Jesus loves me, cherishes me–who could ask for more?"

It reminded me of a local Methodist announcement board (y'know, those that they have outside the church with often quirky and "clever" sayings for all to see?). It said "In order to make God great, you have to be less."

I rolled my eyes at first, but an acquaintance said "truer words!" and mine eyes were opened.

This is the problem. Not humility! But the feeling that without god, I am worthless and with god, I am worthless. The same church had before advertised "If you follow yourself, you've a fool for a leader" or some shit like that.

Do you feel awesome about yourself yet?

Then--and I don't frequent this discussion board at all anymore because it just pisses me off--I ran into a blog post over at Feminist Mormon Housewives because someone I like wrote it. Nat discusses the YW value of faith and asks "how can we best put this into action?" She talks about faith being nothing if you've no faith in yourself. It's well worth the read but the comments...well, here's your cliff's notes:

"Where's the mention of the Atonement? Of Jesus Christ? Of our Heavenly Father? Faith in oneself is nothing without Jesus."


It made me so mad.

On a related note, there's the idea I've ran into all my life--Mormon and not--that if I just gave my anxiety to god he'd take it away.That I lacked faith if I couldn't or "wouldn't." Even my father, who knows how awful our condition is, gives some credence to this idea.

Dad, Dad, Dad.

He of all people ought to know better. I think he has an inkling, but we know how hard it is to deny lifelong teachings. You tell yourself that even though life is hard--nay, damn near impossible--now, it could be tragic if you changed anything.

But God doesn't take anxiety away. He adds to it.

Just because you walk away from God doesn't mean the anxiety and bullshit goes away with him. Not entirely. I've this sneaking suspicion that it's because God doesn't exist. It has nothing to do with God or his religions. It has everything to do with chemicals and constructs and how your brain is structured.You only have so much control, but you do have some control. I've learned this and am still learning this, and it has nothing to do with God.

Learning that you're worth it gives you faith. Denying your problems don't work. Trusting in God and not in yourself doesn't work. At all.

There's something amazing about the process of discovery of your own worth. That you, not God, can do it. That you, not God, did it. All because you believed in yourself. That's powerful. That's hope. That, y'all, is harder than belief in the divine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For parents.

Dudes. I haven't read the book, but I'm so plugging it.

Go the [expletive] to Sleep: A Salvo for Tired Parents --NPR

Excerpt below!

The owls fly forth from the treetops.
Through the air, they soar and they sweep.
A hot crimson rage fills my heart, love
For real, shut the [expletive] up and sleep.
The cubs and the lions are snoring,
Wrapped in a big snuggly heap.
You're cute as hell and smart as [expletive]
But why in the [expletive] won't you sleep?

Seriously. I've some pregnant friends and family right now who I'd love to give a copy to, but no one who would approve. Which is too bad.

Interestingly enough, it's funnier with the bleep.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Feminism and Atheism

I reconnected with an old friend of mine almost three years ago, and one of our first conversations brought up the concept of feminism.

"I have a hard time describing myself as a feminist," I said.

"But you sound like one. You believe like one." (paraphrase)

And I knew that, but it still bothered me to give myself that label. Not because I'm against labels (in fact I'm all for them, in a personal sense), but because I'm uncomfortable with the many negative connotations. It's one of those ideographs, words that make people stop thinking. That's not what I want.

Now I feel I'm unworthy of the label. I'm not activist enough. I'm not passionate enough. I'm not aware enough of misogyny in my life--aside from the church. I imagine that the more I involve myself in the outside world the more I'll feel it. However, I'm not expert enough to argue the cause very well.

But it's progressing. At the beginning of the semester, a class of mine was discussing Kate Chopin's short story, "The Story of an Hour." Because we had earlier discussed how the personal beliefs of the author can sometimes play a part in her work, I decided I'd bring up my observation that Chopin seemed feminist. My professor dismissed me.

"No. I've read excerpts where she professed a love for her husband. She doesn't hate men."

I picked up my jaw, but I said nothing.

I hated that I said nothing, but I said nothing.

And that is one reason I don't like to consider myself feminist. I'm hesitant to be "that girl." I am thinking about that, though--is it worse to remain quiet, or worse to chance annoying people enough that they'll completely avoid you and dismiss everything you say? I know one doesn't have to be a jerk to spark discussion of controversial topics. In fact, I've learned that changing minds is best done when you're assertive and confident--not aggressive and an asshat. But it's also a matter of venue.

Then there's the atheism.

I lean more this way, and I have for a while. I even changed my "religious views" on facebook to atheism for a little bit, but that was uncomfortable too. But "agnostic" didn't fit the bill either. It's set to "none" at the moment, but only because I don't fucking know.

And I would like to know. There's a peace and a power for me in being able to put a name to the feeling. I can't say I don't believe in god for some reason, and yet the logic of a god (specifically the christian god) doesn't pass the test for me. I'm not theist. I'm more atheist, but I can't say it out loud. I don't know why. Atheism doesn't mean I don't think there's a chance. I also know there are things we cannot explain, but there were things people couldn't explain years ago that science has now explained. Yet that doesn't mean science will ever explain everything. Is everything explainable?

So I don't know. I suppose "atheist" is the best classification. It's just very loaded, very negative. And that's a real problem--people should be able to be atheist without chasing others away in horror, just like Christians should be able to be Christians without other people shying away in horror.

For the record, I'm just as annoyed by militant athiests as I am militant christians.

These are strong terms, feminism and atheism. They mean different things to different people, and I tend to think I need to be all the way in, embrace it, before I call myself either one. As it is I run in with people who  think "feminist" equals "man hater" and atheism means "godless fucking asshole christian hater who arrogantly decides she knows everything." It just wears me out.

Because that's not what it means, but no matter how many times you calmly correct false perceptions, many people will never hear it. They don't want to. It makes things far too complicated. And even when I'm up for a debate, I'm not always prepared enough. I don't like debating unless I'm confident I'll win.

I wonder if a relabeling would be smart or even necessary--or if its just another way to dismiss important issues.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Santorum. And other things.

As soon as I can get my ass in gear I plan to post on my ever evolving views on what marriage ought to be. In other words, not what the LSD church teaches you it is. Perfect perfect must be perfect everything must be perfect and god forbid you ever disagree or argue or anything.

You get the fucking idea. I've done so much thinking about it. Eric and I get along and we're best friends in a lot of ways, but there are secrets--at least on my end.

I'm just...finals. I've so much re-reading to do, revising, self-quizzing, bullshit like that. Next Wednesday I'll be free. For the most part.

But for today, do me a favor. Allow me a moment of total immaturity. Today I will be 12-years-old. I was already told this was "old news" but I didn't know. Not until Jon Stewart told me! (I get my news from Jon Stewart)

Google "Santorum" for me. Or, I guess, lemme do it for you.

Not "Rick Santorum"--just "Santorum."

Yes, he's a Republican which makes it all the more giggly.

Doesn't help that his name rhymes with Dick.

Oh! Okay. Real quick. So I went to my daughter's class today to bring her class birthday cupcakes. While they're outside eating them, one particularly chatty and very chill little girl looks at me and says, "You're supposed to be in my church, aren't you? But you don't come."

"Nope," I said.

So fun to have little girls who inadvertently spread teh guilt. I'm not worried about myself, but the kids. Just what they need. "Uhm..." There are so many mormons at this school, in this city--she's been asked this question and variations on it so often this year. Her best friend asks too, especially once our names were read in what-would-be our new ward. "Why don't you come?"

You think she knows? No. Because we're not sure how to say "because it's all bullshit" without passing on the message that her family and friends are ridiculous.

Although one time I did lose it a little bit in a surprising fit of "because church [any church] makes mommy and daddy feel icky and unhappy and bad about ourselves." Which isn't the entire reason, but a big one.

Which leads me to our local Methodist church sign: In order to make God greater, you have to be less.


Friday, May 6, 2011


I'm so wired these days.


And spending money like we have it. Which, btw, we don't. But it's little things. Always little things.

Like a book! Y'all, I've been jonesing for this book for...ever and because I can never ever go to the store for "one thing" I found myself in the book department (because I live in a shitty city with NO BOOKSTORE) and found my book!

Not "Annie," though I do so much want to read that book. I do love me some controversy.

This one, Forever by Judy Blume, has it's own controversy. It's been on my mind for a long, long time. I've denied myself because I'm afraid of a few things:

1) I'm easily influenced by books, and I think this one might be too closely related to my story I've been working on forever that won't leave me the fuck alone.


2) Uhm. Jesus, I forgot. Well, I don't have the time for it right now. But #2 was something else.

It's a miracle if I've written anything semi-coherent. I think my mind gave up once I sent in that gigantic (for me) rhetorical analysis paper. Which I got an A on, thankyouverymuch.

I have so many blog topics on the brain right now and while I might have some time to write them, I don't feel like I can. While it may seem otherwise, I do care about writing a semi-decent post.

One and a half more weeks, kids.

I'm looking forward to summer. Not the heat--dear god, the heat--but, you know, chill time.

But I always idealize shit like this. I hope this summer is more fun.

Oh--my girl turns 8 next week. First--weird. Second, so far: nothing. Not since the "omg your sweet daughter of God is turning 8 let's get her dunked." Then again, the mass stake baptism kids day for her doesn't occur until the first Sunday next month, so we'll see. It seems the higher ups know where we stand. Our would-be-bishop awkwardly invited Eric and us to church back in April, and Eric said "y'know, that's prolly not going to happen" and the bish said "yeah, I figured."

I'm surrounded by these people and yet so many of them are so goddamn chill. We really hit the jackpot. It makes up for the crappy town. I'm just not feeling it.

Oh well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Self-righteousness is everywhere.


(also, i'm on a f-bomb spree. deal.)

I'm hearing it on both sides about this bin Laden thing. "We shoulld've tortured the motherfucker!" "Let's not take joy in death!"


It's in my sustainability class, too--twelve weeks into this thing and I'm finally hearing something other than OMG CAPITALISM SUCKS AND WE'RE RUINING THE EARTH!!!
Which, fine! you know? if it's true. And I'm not a big fan of our system, but a while of crazy-evangelical preaching that i'm killing my grandchildren gets a smidge old. STFU i can't hear in between your rantings.

Which, I would think anyone whose been through the religious grinder would understand. I want to hear both sides, and every fucking time I say that someone has to get all "well scientists have said..." and I don't fucking care. I WANT TO READ IT. I want to hear about it! If I can't or I'm somehow kept from it, I get really really suspicious. I begin to question. Too many people who ought to know better tell me I shouldn't, that it's bad because the thinking has been done for us.


I also become cynical when a professor pulls the ALL CAPS AND !!!! on me (literally, it's an online course).

I'm just tired. I can only do so fucking much. I want to be happy too, you know? This omg we're gonna die!! shit isn't good for a girl like me.

But it's a fine line, isn't it, between faith and evidence. There's only so much you can do.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Annie on my mind

Over the last few days I've read so many glowing reviews for Annie on My Mind that it's on my summer TBR list for sure. It's a coming-of-age tale of two girls whose friendship turns to love. Their relationship, for various reasons both predictable and not, is forbidden.

So I went to Goodreads to update my list and to read the reviews there. After all I'd heard of this book, these reviews surprised me. Tons (like 85) Barnes and Noble readers give the novel 4.5 stars. Goodreads gives this book about 3. So I'm reading and then, then, I hit this review.

You'll enjoy it. I did.

"Had to read for controversial/banned books lesson for YA lit. class. Review: Dated (1982) book about a girl in high school who falls in love with another girl. Aside from being confused about their sexual orientation, the girls are not very good at practicing restrain or self-control. Personally, a disturbing subject and more so because of the point of view.


...Wait for it...

I am forever grateful for my friends in BYU 32nd ward who were with me throughout the day helping me get through this book. It was a serious ordeal for me and their love and support was the only thing that got me to the end." -- Goodreads (emphasis added)

sigh. I'm happy she was able to "get through" her "serious ordeal." Later she says she wanted to read an LBGTQ book, so props to her. Still, "serious ordeal"? I hope she came out with a greater appreciation and less "ew, gross."

(can i also just say that I want to take a YA lit class? PLEASE?)

Anyway, on my TBR list. So many books are. I'm in a little over my head, but oh well. I always romanticize things in my head. Summer will be wonderful. I will stay within a really air conditioned home and read in a quiet room (HA!). I will do all these things. I forget how tired the heat makes me. Or how easily distracted I get.


(Because I posted on it yesterday...)
As for the bin Laden thing: I've heard so many different reactions. Mine, obviously, was one of "glee." We got the bastard! But I have appreciated hearing different perspectives. They made me think and continue to think. Still, as of this moment, I'm glad the asshole is gone.

And for right now, that's all I want to say.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We got the bastard!

Oh. Bring the 2012 elections on, bitches.

Osama bin Laden Dead, Obama to Reportedly Announce--Huffington Post 

and to y'all who are so damn cynical right now:

you are right
this isn't over
neither is the war
something might happen

just have a beer and enjoy the fucking moment. we don't have many happy moments in the news lately.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Secular Easter

For some reason this feels like our first secular Easter, which is weird because...well, it's just weird. And it's not our first. I don't quite know how to feel about it. People have been passing around pictures of Jesus in a bunny suit, holding a cadbury creme egg (/swoon) instead of a lamb--and, you know, I've laughed even though the point is hardly an original one. We all like to point out that hey, Easter is a pagan holiday. And it is. But somehow Christians have fanagled it to be one about Jesus--and considering the timing, I have to wonder if that's really all that fair. Passover and all, you know. It's not like Christmas for god's sake.

It is ridiculous to equate a really frightening looking bunny with the resurrection of Christ, but you know. Whatever.

I've been walking the atheist walk lately, generally unbothered by everything. Unimpressed. I'm writing my rhetorical analysis paper on retention in the church--24 pages long now--and happily feel nothing about it. The church, I mean. Once you get down to the nuts and bolts of something that isn't true you lose all feeling for it. I'm okay with that. I'm happy with that. I wonder if it's a for real, permanent thing now or if sometime in the future I'll go back to being pissed off enough to rant and rave on a semi-regular basis about it.

I'll just ride the wave, I guess.

But on holidays like this and, it seems, Easter especially I find myself wanting to watch the History channel shows about the life of Christ. I also curiously find myself really interested in shows discussing the Catholic church. I don't want to become Catholic, but I wouldn't be against attending a service or two--preferably in an older building. It's something how influential the Catholic church is, and I often wonder if it bothers the LDS church that the Pope is so revered by all. I learned last night that it was the Catholic church that made our new year begin on January 1st--apparently once upon a time it was sometime in late March.

And I love the music. Maybe it's a nostalgia thing. Maybe it's simply the music itself. But I like it.

There's something reassuring about religion, let's face it. When you get rid of...well, most everything, it's not so bad. Throw in the "you're a horrible person who doesn't deserve Christ's mercy but you're getting it anyway SO BE GRATEFUL, DAMMIT" and it's not so pretty, but when all is silent there's something comforting about it. As a budding constructionist I tend to believe it's just how we've been molded, but that doesn't really matter anyway.

So we're staying home today, away from the drama. I was told it was "okay" but that I needed to "get over it." Whatever. I need to stay home as my anxiety has been through the roof, through the roof, but being away from a crowded home of people who you both love and drive you insane does make the holiday different. Maybe that's what makes it feel secular.

I'm all for celebrating the beginning of Spring, the budding of flowers and the warming of the earth. New life, fertility, the impending and welcome end of a school year. But it is different, and I find that we're not really talking to the kids about it all. Religion, the meaning of a holiday. I'm not really sure how to, if we ought to. I think we ought to, considering the climate of the rest of the family and what they come in contact with. How to handle it. How to feel about it.

I'm still taking the temperature of a few things, but you know. It is what it is.

Happy Easter, everyone. <3

Friday, April 22, 2011

In the meantime...

Someone on my FB wall actually said she'd totally vote for Trump and a few people "liked" it. I think that's more obnoxious than saying you'd vote for Palin. Be disenchanted with Obama, fine, but for fuck's sake.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Boundaries. Want to know a funny thing about me setting boundaries? Joining the church was a way for me to do that with my mama.

Isn't it ironic.

it's been a long, long time since I've set boundaries with my dad and my stepmom. My mom is constantly pushing things, but with my dad it's been very chill over the past ten years or so. We just came to a "don't ask don't tell" kind of understanding, and my husband taught me how to love being at his house. I became friends with my stepmom. Things got weird when I became friends with my sister, though. Conflict of interest.

Setting boundaries with friends is a little trickier. They've mostly set them with me. You know, "I won't read this," "we can't talk anymore," "please don't say that," "prolly not a good idea to post that on my wall" etc etc etc. There are even the subtle ones between new people I meet. "Don't get me wrong, I'm Christian," they say. The claim is a strong one.

Or maybe it's just me, defensive. Assumptive. Gun shy.

I've let a lot of people be themselves around me. It hurts when I can't be myself around them. Then I ask myself what is the line there, too. In high school my big thing was being accepted for who I was. I went to drop off a job application in not-so-nice clothes. You don't like it? Go to hell.

I feel myself going back there, but it doesn't work. It barely works for a 16-year-old, it sure as hell won't work for an almost 30-year-old.

So I'm seeking the middle and finding it may not be that happy. That scares me. My husband finds it easy to be private. I'm fairly open--too open--with most things. Not everything, but too many things. I don't go looking for fights, and often I lack the courage to say much, but when I have it I don't back down. Piss me off enough and it doesn't really matter where we are. I don't say that to be all "fuck with me and i'll fuck you up" or "don't mess with my family, bitches," but it takes a lot for me to be aggressive. Not so much for me to piss other people off. That's a talent I seem to have. Seems to be the one way I know how to set boundaries. Probably not the best way, but it can be entertaining. And painful.

Everyone who has left the church--probably most any church--talks about boundaries between friends and acquaintances and leaders. I will say my husband is great at that. It takes me a bit longer. I'm there now, but it took a bit longer.

It's interesting, how members are so much quicker to set boundaries with others than former members are. I think it becomes easier the more confident one becomes with the decision to leave.

What's with the people pleasing?

We haven't talked to anyone in the church in a while--well, except when Eric attended priesthood session with his father. The guy who would be our bishop invited us to church "anytime." Eric thanked him and said it wouldn't happen. The bish was very respectful, apparently. "Yeah, I know."

He had to try. It's in his job description.

Eric made it painfully clear to his mama about where he stands at least. Atheist. Comfortable. She took it well at the moment, at least, but still asked if it would bother him that they would pray for us. Have at, cats. She asked if it bothered him that they talk church so much. Eh, you know, it's who they are.

They're good people.

The issue of boundaries seem to be more on my, non-LDS side of the family at the moment. Not saying this is the norm in the least--I couldn't say that with the stories I've heard, but it's my situation. It could change very soon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A revision of a vent

The story is so much more complicated than I can put into words.

I want to see my dad and I want to see my grandma and my sister.

The rest of them, at this point, can go to hell.

I don't want to spend Easter at this house. It's bad enough because it's the first holiday not at my grandma's and it's a small house and a ton of people and far too many of them are engaged in serious shit right now. I can hardly handle a happy, semi-functional home without breaking into a full-blown-anxiety-attack-complete-with-migraine. This?

Then there are the kids. Her kids. I don't want to hurt feelings, but someone has to stand up for these kids.

And it makes me physically ill to think of being around her. Moreso to think of being around her boyfriend who doesn't understand boundaries. It scares me to be around someone I want to rip into but, when I consider myself, I'm afraid I'll back out of it (ripping into her) at least a little. She's a fantastic actress, so fantastic that even when I know she's bullshitting I feel just a little sorry for her. Like I shouldn't. Like she deserves a 70 times 7th chance.

Y'all, I'm not above giving second or third chances, or even fourth. I've given her more. We all have. When she abandoned her kids out of nowhere to move from California to Oklahoma to be with her boyfriend WITH NO NOTICE, that was it.

 I don't know why. She's done so much worse.

I think I'm tired of the rollercoaster. I'm tired of the rhythm of phone calls and conversations: "she's coming home" to "she's in rehab" and "she's doing better, we're talking about her having the kids back by christmas" to little red flags that sound like "my friend from rehab is pregnant again, isn't that awesome?" to "she was late today" and "she didn't show up" to "she quit her job" to "she's dating again." Cue the phone calls saturated with tears and anger and why why why? When she shows back up at their door the kids regress.

My family doesn't mean to put it on my shoulders, but that's what happens. They trigger my loyalty. They trigger everything I've watched since I was 9-years-old. Twenty years, you guys. Years and years of drama. When she was 16 (no, more like 13-14) she took off to Canada to meet a guy she met on the Internet. My dad picked her up in Detroit. Ask my father about how much he loves Detroit.

Her boyfriend basically waterboarded my nephew to make him a "man." She allowed it.

When aforementioned boyfriend was finally deported back to Mexico, she did well for a long time. It's the men that bring her down, her choice in men. She had a job, was clean, was saving for an apartment. Then the cell phone bills became longer and longer with calls received from Mexico...then Los Angeles. She paid a coyote to smuggle him back in and all went to hell again.

Just a little of her history.

But don't worry, y'all. She made sure to smoke meth outside the apartment. For the kids.

My stepmom is unwilling to draw the line. She's her daughter, I get that, that's what I stood up for for so long. But the babies, y'all. The babies. My nephew has PTSD, my niece, fetal-alcohol. She smoke meth too while pregnant with my niece, if not my nephew as well. My nephew hoarded food because he was never fed. He has rage issues. My niece has various developmental disabilities. Thankfully she was too young to remember anything violent. I shiver to think what might have happened to her. I wouldn't put it out of the realm of possibility.

I hear their "mom" got her CNA in Oklahoma. Came home and tried to get a job at a nursing home, but you know those "child neglect" charges among the litany of other charges on your record can be a bitch.

I want to step in. I want to do something. Or not do something. But there's so much drama in the family right now. Then again, I know this cycle and I know this manipulation and I know that when we go everyone will pretend that everything is fine because that's just how we do things even though THIS TIME everyone knows what shit is going down. They can pretend because they can figure it's nobody's business, but everyone knows. Everyone knows.

I can't breathe in that air.

I just don't know how to tell my dad. My stepmom. I'd rather tell my dad, but she tends to cockblock my dad. Not on purpose, necessarily, but involuntarily? She suggests my husband go with my dad when they're helping with our yard and there's a dump run to be made. Girls and boys, girls and boys.

I need my dad.

I think he'd understand. I think he'd be severely disappointed--he's taking the direct brunt of it all. I don't want to hurt him. But I don't hant to be around this girl and I sure as hell don't want my kids in the general vicinity of her boyfriend.

Then there's my sister. They gripe about how she's not going to church or is questioning god. They gripe because she tried (and smokes) pot and is, you know, 17-years-old. She's fucked up once--community service. She has some scary ideas that are beyond me regarding her logic ("I want a baby!"). She needs a place to escape. She hasn't been here since December because I can't do it right now and I feel so terrible about it. Maybe next week.

I don't want to be a wuss and go. I don't want to overreact and not go, and hurt my dad my sister and my grandma. I want to make a statement, to ask a question: why do you keep allowing her back into those kids' lives? I can't stand by anymore.

Is that my place?
Where do you draw the line?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I don't get it.

The new movement (if you want to call it that) on Facebook is to send your panties to John Boehner for women's reproductive rights.

I guess I don't get the connection.

Then again, facebook movements aren't exactly known for their logic, especially given the fact that tossing your panties at a man is generally considered a bit of a, uhm, compliment. A expression of affection, shall we say.

Really girls? You want to do this?

Have at, I guess, but Johnny might take it as a gesture of approval.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Orgasm Girl

If you'll indulge me.

Last night I had to take my husband to the ER (everything's fine). As I'm sure you all know, the ER is a great place to people watch if you absolutely must be there. We took the hour trip to a nicer hospital so the pickings were a bit slim, but we still had a few great groups.

There was the group that seemed to be having a hell of a time, making jokes and laughing. I've been in this group before. Nothing helps an ER visit like joking like idiots, though I will say it does nothing to convince the triage nurse that your condition is at all an emergency. Even when it is.

Then we had Super Scary Guy in the wheelchair. Snce Eric was having cerebral issues and having random fits of blank staring, I advised him to take pains to not stare at SSG. He had already thought of it.

THEN, then there was Orgasm Girl.

It was horrible. I felt terrible. She walked in with her hand clasped to her heart. She looked awful as she sat right in front of us. It was uncomfortable, and not only because she was Orgasm Girl--though that didn't help. Poor thing just writhed and moaned for the next twenty minutes or so.

Writhed. And. Moaned.

Let's just say she needed to take it down an octave. And though I don't think they meant it like that, even the doctors referred to her as "The Screamer" for the duration of our stay.

It's also probably not all that encouraging that her boyfriend seemed completely unimpressed.

We got home at 4am. That makes it just short of a cool 24 hours since I last woke up. I don't think I fell asleep until 5, and then I had to wake up at 8:30 to call SIL who had my kids. I've been up since.

It was date night. Happy date night.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

my first screenshot

(awww. get it in now, y'all. you won't be saying that inna minute)

Also, trigger warning.

This was on my friend's wall. It's a link to a local story of an East Indian woman who was carjacked at 5:45am at our local grocery store, taken to another location, raped, and then driven back. The article mentioned that the woman didn't speak English, and the man who kidnapped and raped her didn't speak Punjabi.

Submitted to STFU Conservatives:

Forgive the crazy ass penmanship.

But seriously, the fuck?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Enough enough enough

If it weren't for a few things, I wouldn't have known this weekend was conference. If it weren't for a group I was a part of, I wouldn't have known jack shit about what they talked about. My husband did go to priesthood with his dad, but that's a tradition important to his dad. So I do know what they talked about there. My husband now intends to call his sister and tell her to keep on keepin' on. She's 21 and living life with no intention to get married. After yesterday and last night, the pressure might increase. We want her to know how much we respect/admire/envy her, and to keep it up.

So I left that facebook ex-mo group I was a part of. There was drama. So much drama.

Online drama isn't worth it.

And neither is focusing on this church.

The drama, at least, taught me that I'm learning to stand up and fight back. That's showing up more often lately. It also taught me to just leave. Enough.

School is teaching me this, too. Leaving the church is teaching me this. There's a bit of an identity crisis that continues, but it's promising, i guess? There's the athletic part of me that I'm regaining. There's the more feminine part of me I never had. There's the badass part. The merging is impossible.

It's also taught me that the less I focus on the church the better. I don't think it'll go away for quite some time, if ever, but I want to live my life without it. It was nice this weekend, not thinking about it. It's a beautiful day, not one to be stuck inside watching four hours of pious old men in suits, spiritually jacking off for me to wax righteous about.

We got donuts and took our kids to the park. They flew a kite for the first time (got it stuck in a tree) and my oldest boy made his first basketball shots.

Really, folks? Can you beat that? Why dwell on bullshit more than you have to?

So I'm weaning myself off as much as I can.

Friday, March 25, 2011


If it's true that inundating oneself with something (cigarettes, candy/junk food) often leads to a distaste and hatred for said thing, then I'm getting there.

I am so SICK of this church shit. The rough draft is due Monday--and it's a lot of work--and I've a linguistics test to study my ass off for, and I'm considering switching subjects.

Seriously. I don't know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thank you!

Thank you so much for your help, everyone. I think I'm good now.

Now, for a new (albeit brief) topic: I hear the newest trend is for the girls to complain about "feeling trapped" and wanting to work outside the home. And no, I clarified: not in the "pampered chef" or "scentsy" line of work.

Now I hardly believe every woman wants to get out and work, but /snort. Really?

I never would've guessed.

They should listen to their leaders.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Still looking.

Finding decent articles and first hand experiences from the church has been both frustrating and enlightening. The bullshit the church has said--amazing. I knew about most of it, of course, but my god.

Still looking for first hand experiences, mostly by way of these questions:

1) How long did it take you to say phrases like "if i left the church"?

2) How long did it take you to go less- or in-active? To "break your covenants"?

3) (to above questions) WHY: Specifics, plz, especially regarding any teachings, scriptures, doctrines, lessons, quotes, etc. that fucked with your emotions and kept your drive to stay. The more honest the better. Don't be afraid to say you were offended (because, really, I was offended by the church's treatment of me and others, of polygamy and their sins of omission, etc). If it was something else, lemme know.

4) What emotions did you go through during and following your disaffection?

5) What did other people say? Leaders, friends, ward members, family, etc. I'm considering comparing language before leaving and after--because, yes. There's a HUGE difference. If you received one letter from a friend before leaving and then a more vitriolic response from the same friend later, I'm all for seeing it.

Thank you so much for those of you who've entrusted me with your stories so far. It means a lot.

(and so far I've only received one, one, response from a TBM. But she didn't really grasp what I was asking for. She simply told me why she thinks the church is true, not what she thinks the consequences are of leaving. Oh well. I was happy to have someone respond. Sigh)

you can email me at


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Call for Interviews

I can't wait any longer, and as a friend of mine reminded me--I can always get into the other topic at a different time (likely during my credential courses). As I'm still passionate about LDS issues, focusing on this would likely make my life a lot easier.

SO. I'm still working on the questions, but I need to interview people regarding what it was or is like to doubt/struggle with beliefs/leave the church--officially or unofficially. I won't end up interviewing everyone who offers (I only need 5 primary sources), but I need to know what I'm working with here.

Please keep in mind, I'm looking for language RE: retention (the church's efforts to keep members in the church, especially preemptive efforts) and how it manipulates emotions and thoughts or skews logic--in any medium.

So, aside from interviews, here's what I'm looking for:

- You Tube videos about leaving the church and how the church made the process a pain in the ass, please let me know about it. I'm looking at the moment but if I can find better sources, it would really help. (This could also include specific "I am a Mormon" videos which mention at all why the church is teh best and leaving is scary scary or otherwise bad)

- A scanned copy of the "please stay, [non-apology apology]" pamphlet they send out.

- Stories from those who had to fight like hell to get out of the church (after sending the letter, the church tried to excommunicate them, or otherwise made the process linger--including visits from local leaders)

- Any great articles. I've already got Jeff Holland's piece of shit temper-tantrum talk from the last conference.

- Exit stories on your blog or anyone elses, specifically stories which mention difficulty in leaving because of church authority or other members' impassioned pleas that you review your faith, your testimony, and your history. Members who implore that you repent. Doubts you had and what made you stay despite those doubts.

- Emails or letters you wouldn't mind sharing from stake/ward members, friends or family who freaked out when you left, etc.

- If you are an active member and you're reading this, a letter/comment/whatever telling me why you think leaving the church is a bad idea.

- Blog posts or comments of/from faithful members denouncing doubt, your anger, etc. A post admonishing people to "focus on the good," or talking about how "the church is perfect, but the people aren't." I'm looking for language, here, reasons leaving is not a good idea.

- Pictures, advertisements, etc.

- Anything else you think would help. 

Also, I know there are sites out there notorious for their super-anti stance, like The Mormon Curtain and otherwise. I don't doubt the veracity of these sites so much, but I need something that most people would respect, including members. Evidences where the emotions are there, but not insane. Does that make sense? I'd just rather avoid shit akin to "Godmakers," ya dig?

Thank you so much. I appreciate it a lot.

**I asked a few of my super-faithful friends for help, too (including one of my VTs). Think they'll be into it? We'll see. I figure they might fear I'll go apeshit on my project about how lame the church is OR they'll figure it's a great missionary moment. Who knows. I hope they respond. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Retention via Obedience

You'll probably hear a lot about this in the next week or two. I can't decide whether to analyze the language of retention rhetoric in the church or focus on the current climate surrounding the "problem" of teachers.

The first is easy, though maddening. I do wonder if it would help me get over everything. It's not difficult to point out various aspects of the church's strategy to keep people in, but to lay it all out at once and see it all for what it is might help.

Then again, what am I learning? And would it help anyone else out--not the faithful, but the fringe perhaps? The non-member? Those who tell me (as I was told on friday) to focus on the rhetoric of conversion because "leaving the church is easy"?

(i corrected her tout de suite. i don't know if she was a member or just ignorant, but it didn't matter--i've grown to have an automatic impassioned response for such bullshit)

In looking at the church issue I've run into loads of it. Like this:

To obey means to follow and to accept direction...I was impressed by the remarks of Elder A. Theodore Tuttle of the First Council of the Seventy, when he asked a young man if he was preparing to go on a mission. The young man replied, ‘I don’t want to go on a mission.’ Elder Tuttle’s response was, ‘What does that matter? The Lord wants you to go.’ This is a perfect example of how the law of obedience should be exercised -- Keith Brian Rutledge, in Conference Report, Melbourne Australia Area Conference 1976, p. 18. via  "Lesson 34: Obedience," Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002)

I've heard similar BS in my own wards. Like the time my Gospel Doctrine teacher told the story of a couple invited to meet with the stake president, who would ask the husband to a rather burdensome position--bishop? Anyway, apparently the SP asked the wife if she would support this calling. She said "I don't like it." The SP said, "Too bad."

My Gospel Doctrine class, with the exception of my husband and I, laughed.

They laughed.

It's just, you know. Really?

And it's everywhere.

And I've done this for 2 1/2 years myself. All this would result in is a more nuanced understanding of one aspect and a paper. I don't particularly care anymore if there's a member in my class who might get his or her feathers in a ruffle over this--they need to know. And they probably won't. Members are olympiads when it comes to mental gymnastics.


The other issue gets me off the church mindset. It would help me focus on a field I'm looking to enter into in a few years. It's part of many related issues I don't know a lot about, other than what I've seen in my own family for the last 2 1/2 years and through my interactions with my kids' teachers--not to mention the experiences I've heard from friends of mine. In that way it'd likely be educational for me as well. Right now I'm thinking of looking at what I see as the current focus--salary--and the rhetoric surrounding the argument.

Or something like that.

That, and Jon Stewart provides me with more than one fantastic commentary I could use. 

I love me some Jon Stewart.

Teachers and dey bling-bling.

Just sayin'

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in Dairyland - Apocalypse Cow
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Don't mean to brag, y'all, but we got an almost 10-year-old ride. Not to mention the 12-year-old one. Kias, too. We be ridin', they be hatin'.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"What is THIS?"

The other week, my husband threw his temple clothes on our bedroom floor so he could use the bag for something better.

It takes him a while for some of this stuff. Then again, I think I still have mine. Not because I'm attached, but it's like a bad souvenir. I don't know how to explain it.

ANYWAY, my daughter comes out of the room a few days later with the apron wrapped around her waist. She's staring at the thing like it's completely foreign.

"What is this?!" she asks.

I died laughing. I don't remember what I told her. We try to be respectful but not entirely--don't need her thinking badly of her family, but you know. It is weird. I think most members would admit that if they felt no one else would hear them.

Story 2.

The other day a woman joined an ex-mormon facebook group* who had a last name I'm SO FAMILIAR with. It's Squeaky's last name. Remembering stories about how all people with this last name are related, I told her "you are legion in my town." Turns out, her husband is Squeaky's husband's cousin. I even knew her husband--kinda--had heard of him.

They LEFT THE CHURCH four weeks ago. Like, right away--no process, just "omg, we're outta here." Tossed the garments. Told most everyone. Her in-laws wrote them a letter, calling them to repentance for the sin they obviously committed. She's already lost friends.

I never would've guessed this guy would leave the church, just by virtue of his name and family--they're ridiculous in the church, but then again so many of them are leaving right now. Of course, this particular couple lives in Oklahoma now and not California--so that sucks--but still, it was validating.

It was validating. I don't know how to explain that. It's not that I questioned myself, but it's nice to have someone a little closer to home who's going through the same thing.

Something seriously offended her. I know that's a bad word to use, but she discovered something bad enough to shake her from her TBM-ness. And not only her family, but two or three other families in her WARD. All at once, they've left.

NOT ONLY THAT, but a temple president from their stake had left a few years before. A temple-fucking-president. He prefers to remain low-profile, but apparently he ran into some serious incongruities and wrote a few letters to the First Presidency. They initially went ignored, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease. A Seventy finally wrote a letter back, basically telling him to forget about the truths he discovered.

A. temple. president. I respect his wishes to remain under the radar, but could you imagine if he went public? It would be amazing. Some discussion is online, but the story in its entirety remains unpublicized.

*this group is secret and won't show up in any searches, and it's a bit of an effort to get in if the admin doesn't already know you--they're very careful about keeping things safe for apostates and free of trolls. if you're interested in joining, lemme know. i'll see what i can do to hook you up.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I am going through SUCH an unattractive phase right now. While not the source, midterms and botching stupidly easy quizzes and kids with bronchitis and reading ridiculously difficult essays aren't helping.

I hope to be back with something readable and not magnificently annoying or blindly self-righteous soon. I also hope to do so by not posting and then deleting on a daily basis.

Spring break is next week. Doesn't mean much, but it's something.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why I am not Republican

(Reason #1938743)

Texas immigration bill has big

"Those who hire unauthorized immigrants would be in violation of the law -- unless they are hiring a maid, a lawn caretaker or another houseworker."


Such bullshit!

I suppose illegal immigrants are totally okay as long as they're serving Americans? the white man? Indentured servants, slaves, doesn't matter. It's abhorrent.

The fact that these brainless, self-righteous dickheads were voted into office at all makes me weep for society. Which is funny, because I've some neo-con friends who would agree, but on a different premise. "O my gawd they want to take away my guns!"

These people should not be voted in. Period.

*Yes, I understand the bill can't possibly pass--at least, I hope to god not. The article states that the bill could undergo some "modifications." I also understand that this, like others, could be simply symbolic--lookit us, being all patriotic. I further understand that not all Republicans/conservatives are on board with this crap. But that doesn't change anything. It, like so many other bills I've heard introduced as of late, are far scarier than anything Glenn Beck could make up.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gotta be more.

Y'all know I'm aching at the moment to move on, but the harder I try the harder I find it easy to do so. I know that's part of the deal, things not being easy, but still. I can't stand getting involved in debates I know absolutely nothing about, and the thing is I don't have the fucking time to invest in getting to know the issues better. And I feel like a fool in the process.

So maybe I will just stick with the fucking church for now. With religion. My idea for the project I've been assigned deals with the rhetoric surrounding conversion and retention not only (though perhaps only) in the LDS church but in Christianity in general. The LDS church is much more obvious in their efforts to do so, and I've first hand experience there.

I could also do the gay marriage thing, how it's "unnatural"--I mean, shit, that's easy.

I just want to believe there's something more to me than all of this. I'm having a hard time figuring out what that is, and it's becoming rather depressing.

There's got to be more to me than this.

Besides, looking up issues beyond the church (and, I suppose, including the church) is nothing short of depressing. You wouldn't believe the bullshit people believe. Denial of white privilege--"omg America won't be a white country anymore WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO?!?!?!"

I read another essay on the rhetoric of early 20th century efforts to make women feel it was their place to be in and enjoy and whatever-the-fuck else in the home. It was enlightening, but frustrating. Karen Altman, look her up.

I don't need this stress right now. I'm drowning. I've been fine, mentally, since school began. Now I don't know how I'm gonna make it through the one week I *have* to make it through. My spring break, which is next week, is so full I won't have a chance to sit down. So if sanity means holding onto the buoy that is analyzing church efforts to keep their "faithful" in line, I guess I'll do it.

Everywhere else I turn I feel like an unenlightened, wanna-be poseur, and that doesn't feel good either. Maybe at this phase in my life, this is my expertise and I just need to ride the wave.

I'd just like to know that there's more to me than this.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oh, Mike.

I don't have a hell of a lot of time to write these days--midterms, fat projects, etc--all while avoiding complete freak outs.

But I saw this.

h/t STFU Conservatives.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Testimony of a Transgendered Child

I'm not all that familiar with transgendered or transsexual people, but it's showing up more and more in the blogs I follow. I saw this video a week or so ago, and it's pretty amazing. The more you learn about the differences between sex and gender, the more you realize this shit is for real. Not that it's our place to decide who a person should be anyway. Thought I'd share:

"My child is gender variant (Transgender) which means that during fetal development there was insufficient testosterone which resulted in the lack of male gender identity markers in the BSTC section of the pituitary gland in her brain. The result is a child who is born a natal male with a female gender identity. Gender exists between the ears, not between the legs." (jabberjawz223, aka super mama. emphasis added)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Step One

(thank you, Kiley <3)

For some reason I feel the need to tell everyone since I kind of already stated that this was something I planned to do.

I'm staying away from the church and religion for my rhetoric project.

Well, I'm trying like hell to.

I know, I know. How easy would it be? I had already begun to compile articles and talks and everything. But--at the moment--I'm tired. I overheard a conversation today involving a girl who dropped her sorority. Her friends asked for a little dirt. I heard everything she said through the lens (wha?) of the Church. That's how it always is. It's always the church. The church the church the church.

And why not? That's how I've seen and heard everything for the last eleven years. It's habit.

I can't even do freewrites in class without wanting to immediately jump into something church related if only because it's too easy. I have kinda-inadvertently begun to establish myself as the ex-mormon. I see myself in particular contrast to the Catholic girl I share three classes with. She's perfectly nice, but we are opposites both politically and religiously, and so there's this barrier that shouldn't be there. A barrier I put there--it doesn't matter if she has, too, because I have. It isn't right. People are more than that.

I need to establish other facets of my personality. I have other facets...yeah?

Beats me.

I don't want to allow the church to continue to distract me to the point where I've nothing else to talk about. Not that I'm imposing a complete moratorium. It comes up because it has to. I find or see or hear something funny or maddening or ironic or moronic, I'll talk about it. It's a huge part of who I was and why I am where I am today.

But there has got to be more to life than the fucking church.

Can I please please please begin to move on?

Monday, February 28, 2011

No shit.

"The spiritual part of us and the emotional part of us are so closely linked that it is possible to mistake an emotional impulse for something spiritual."

--BOYD K. PACKER "The Candle of the Lord" January 1983 Ensign.

Yeah. Of all people.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bad cop

Question. Bear with me, please.

It's argued that bitching loud and proud about how awful and manipulative and irritating the church is is the only way to break free of it. Taking off those chains isn't easy. It's a loud process. They push back so hard on your efforts to just be.

Then again, it could also be argued that doing so is, in fact, allowing the church to have some control over you still. They're in your head, you're playing into their hands re: what apostates do, etc.

I know what many, if not all of you, will say. But let's play around with that second idea. I think about it sometimes, wonder if ignoring it--if simply living my life without the church--is the best way to break free of it. Is it the most active, persuasive way to make it disappear? I see other people living this way, and they just seem so much happier and, y'know, freer. It doesn't touch them anymore.

Is it simply the process or is it more an individual thing?

I can't help but feel I'm allowing them to have power over me still. I'm wasting precious life allowing them to eat me from the insides. But it's easier to do that. It's much scarier to find and live a life you don't have.

Thoughts? I think both arguments have incredible merit.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Free Agency"

An article over at MormonTimes was brought to my attention which commented on the rhetorical issues of "I can't, I'm Mormon."

The author thinks this is crap because, duh, Mormons have a choice.

This is a sticking point between many ex-members and current members. It's also an issue between never-mos and current members. For example, my brother had a really bad experience with a scary roommate of his. The guy ended up going to jail because of my brother. He threatened my brother--you know, "When I get out..." I don't remember the specifics, but my brother had to do what he did because, as he said, he didn't have a choice.

A member told him "Of course you do."

This was during my initial disaffection, and as such I had a progressively heightened sense for bullshit. I told said person that when it's a "choice" between living or dying, it's not really a choice, is it?

This person is like this...all the time. He can't let anything go. He'll walk into your home and preach. He'll call you to task on anything he feels strongly about. It's his way of spreading teh gospel. It's fucking annoying.

To his credit, he let it go that time because really, what is the choice?

He didn't quite learn the lesson though. The church is all about "free agency." Freedom to choose. "I teach them correct principles," Joseph Smith said, "and they govern themselves." Every member is under this delusion that you always have a choice.

Of course you do, technically. You could choose to die if you wanted to. But most people aren't looking to be martyrs without a cause. Most people want to live. What choice is it when your hand is effectively forced?

But, members would say, the church doesn't force your hand. Ask past-President Gordon Hinckley:
No, I reply, the Church will not dictate to any man how he should think or what he should do. The Church will point out the way and invite every member to live the gospel and enjoy the blessings that come of such living. The Church will not dictate to any man, but it will counsel, it will persuade, it will urge and it will expect loyalty from those who profess membership therein.

Isn't "expect loyalty" simply a euphemism for "dictate"? 

The church is confusing choice with force, not to mention forgetting the paternal nature of its organization. They treat you like a (jerk) father would treat his little child--but it's worse than that. It is akin to a father saying "Don't ever say anything bad about me or I'll disown you."

What is the choice in that?

The Church takes it a step further, however. It's not simply about excommunication because excommunication as an LDS concept means so much more. What ought to be said is "Don't say anything bad about me or I'll disown you and effectively not only take away everything you've ever had, but your salvation as well."


Truly, if I wanted to, I'd make a shirt that said "I can, I'm not Mormon."

Hmmm. I might look into that.

*Also, just for fun let's also discuss the funny that is an attractive, young blonde thing with "come hither" eyes wearing a shirt that says "I can't, I'm Mormon."

Monday, February 21, 2011


This sums it up rather nicely. A book on women, written by 15 pious old men.

Woman, by a bunch of old white men

h/t USU Shaft

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It begins?

So I don't know the timeline as my landline answering machine fucks up the dates and whatnot, but.


While I studied in my room yesterday, our RS president stopped by, wanting to meet me. DILF told her "It's probably best if you don't come back."

I was both disappointed and glad I was away when she came by.

Then, just now, my son noticed that we had some messages on our answering machine. He keeps a sharp eye for this. He presses the button, and I immediately hear the word "Sister" and a familiar last name. I listen. This woman wants to "become acquainted with me" and gives me her phone number.

I figure she called before she came over? Who knows.

The next message is from her as well. "Don't mean to bother you again," she says, and then repeats the same shit she said on the last message.

My oldest is about to turn 8. We've already received the letter about it, and now this stuff. I understand from the message that "Sister" So-and-So is new to this calling, so she may just be super-zealous about bringing inactives back, but I wonder if it has anything to do with my kid not being baptised unless someone does something.

I just hated it. "Become acquainted with you." Uhm. I don't do assigned friends, but thanks.

I still can't get used to being on this side of the fence.

It is weird, the reactions you have to these things. I kind of want her to call again. I'd like to tell her that I'm sure she's super nice, but there's nothing nothing nothing she can say or do to bring me back. I'd love to tell her I'm resigning soon. I'd love to tell her I've already resigned, because I worry that telling her I haven't yet will give her some kind of hope and we'll receive EVEN MORE attention--but if that happens, we'll just send in the letters. I'm not okay with this. I'm just not.

God it's weird the way these stupid things affect you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update on 30-year-old single guy

He's getting married.

At the end of April.

Now, I'm nobody to speak against fast engagements (do you really want to know how quick my husband and I became engaged? blink. there you go), or fast marriages, but...

after all his doubts and hesitations?

She wants a quick marriage. Every LDS girl does. I did. Hell, I wish we'd have gotten married on our terms and done it three months earlier, but whatever. I get it. Pants, they want to get off already.

I dunno.

I hope it works out for them. I really, really, really do.