Monday, October 3, 2011

I Hooooope they call me on a mission...

The Mr. and I are on a mission to deconvert missionaries. I think I've met more albinos than I have deconverted missionaries, but I'm going into psychology and the Mr. wants to go into medicine: we're in the business of saving lives.

We've had 3 lovely meetings now and I've worked my very hardest to be hospitable, even whipping out the brownies and milk (because Utah missionaries live on a diet that is composed exclusively of brownies) to try and make them feel welcome. Let me introduce you to these sweet gents:
Elder 1 is from the states and has a german name that I can never remember so I just think of him as Elder Googenheimer. Elder 2 is from one of those boring states you pray (even if you're atheist) that you'll never have to drive through, so he's Elder Cornfield. Wonder Twin Powers ACTIVATE!

We like Elder Googenheimer. He's pretty thoughtful and polite. I told these guys straight up that I was an ex-mormon that used to be extremely active and fully-believing. I gave them the somewhat abridged version of events so they'd have a fair warning. Also, I didn't really want to waste several evenings politely nodding my way trough the Gameplan of Salvation. So, sweet Elder Googenheimer listens to my stories, woes and tyrades and doesn't try to bullshit me. When I give him a question, he tries to give me an intelligent, thoughtful answer. When I shoot that down and repeat the question, he says "You know, that's just a really good question." And that's it. No bullshit.
Elder Cornfield does a lot of the talking. A LOT. I explained to him in no uncertain terms why his analogy of same-sex attraction being like alcoholism was inaccurate, inappropriate and total bullshit and he responded with "Ok, but what I was going to say...." wasting nearly 15 minutes of my life with irrelevant old news. Guy has doublethink like you would not believe. I don't know if he thinks he's winning or he just keeps coming back out of polite obligation. As for Elder Googenheimer, his motives and real opinions are difficult to sift from his silence. We have meeting number 4 tonight. Baptism commitment is on the 5th date, right?

The hub finds this experience massively entertaining and tries to let me do a lot of the talking. He says it's been good to learn more about me because he had no idea that I spoke exceptionally fluent Mormon. It's my first language, after all. I know what answers they're going to give me before they give them because if I didn't, I wouldn't have left (good luck making sense of that sentence).

It also seems that the MTC is slipping in the quality of its training. That or they say "Oh, you guys are just going to Utah. Nevermind the software updates, Frank, just plug them into the matrix." Can't say I blame them either, "The Place" is brimming with Mormons, ExMormons and devout Anti-Mormons of all faiths. The demand for missionaries is pretty damn low. Still, I haven't picked up my quad scriptures in over 2 years and (I'm putting it modestly here) I can dance circles around these guys when it comes to knowledge of the scriptures. That's everything from what they say to where they say it. And they thought I was kidding when I said I'd been devout...

These poor little proselytizers haven't even read the bible cover to cover. They're talking to some one who read the OT front to back, the NT front to back twice, and the DaC page 1 to the end, and the BoM cover to cover 3 times, not to mention the first six Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites books. They don't really know what to say when I tell them I prayed about the BoM each time I finished it and never got that "burning in the bosom" it so explicitly promises. As an added bonus, my Mother-in-Law is like a Shiite Baptist, so my husband had a pretty well-versed biblical/anti-mormon upbringing.

Actually, the burning in the bosom thing was kind of hilarious (and I like to pretend I was wearing something cleavage-bearing for that meeting). I told them "Dude, I sat on my knees, praying about this for at least half an hour and was finally like 'ok, LORD, I'll be here when you get a minute. I've got school in the morning so I guess I'll go to bed'." They give me an answer that essentially says that God works in mysterious ways and I retort, "Sure, but he also promises in James to not upbraid. Seems like a lot of my unanswered questions could be resolved by upbraideth-ing not." They tell me maybe I wasn't ready to learn it or I was too proud or something and, ignoring that last one, I tell them it's kind of cruel to upbraid on a question you're coached to ask throughout your entire life.

Maybe we'll FINALLY hit feminism tonight...

Consider this post a suggestion box if you've got some unique and/or incontrovertible questions about the doctrine, history, practices etc. of Das Cherch because Gawd's men are ON IT!

Not to mention, I would sure love the potential discussion.

Friday, July 22, 2011

This is a quick explanation of why I'm not ok with people opposing gay marriage. I know it's not a relevant political topic in the (m)ass media right now, but I need something to distract me from the Teapublican asshats and their delusional thinking anyway. So, here goes:

I have yet to hear a good POLITICAL argument against gay marriage. Nada. Zip. Zilcho. If you've got one, I would love to hear it. Slippery slope to polygamy? Nope. Honestly, polygamy is a completely different issue anyway.

So why am I anti-anti-marriage equality? Because people use "morality" as a cover for not giving a shit about anyone else. They use "God's plan" as an excuse to do things that I don't believe any loving and compassionate God would ever condone. Here's the deal, I can rant 'til I'm blue in the face about how gays are no different from anyone else and how their love is real, but the fact is, people who don't want to believe that aren't going to hear it anyway. So I'm gonna play this card right here: think about the children.

Thousands of children are living without families. They are pulled from negligent and/or abusive homes. They are bounced around foster care like volley balls and have little hope of finding solid relationships in their lives. (and this is not a dramatization, I work with several of these kids)
Then a pair of loving parents, gay or straight, opens their home and their hearts to a creature of innocence and tragedy that is not of their own flesh and blood. For what is the first time for many of these children, they are loved. They have a chance to feel safe.

And it is under the guise of "morality" that the "authorities" tell many of these children their family is illegitimate, is less than those with heterosexual parents. Rather than loving homes, these "authorities" would have these children continue to bounce around foster care for years to come, not knowing families and parents of their own.

Let me tell you something, my mother was adopted by her father and has never said anything less of him than "a better father has not existed." He is her dad, biology be damned. I have friends who were adopted and they couldn't care less about blood because their parents are the people who loved them. That is what this is about: love. I'm not arguing about the romantic love of same-sex relationships, I am talking about the familial love and stability that EVERY child is entitled to.

Here is something else for you to think about, opponents. I work in pediatric psychiatry. Many of these kids have been systematically abused, neglected, assaulted and worse. We see a number of children with Reactive Attachment Disorder, a large percentage of which have been adopted after years of systematic abuse that most of us can't imagine.

Many of them are violent, and dangerous to themselves. Their self-esteem is dismal and they often meet us after a stay in the inpatient unit for attempted suicide. Some of them self-harm almost compulsively. Surveys, questionairres and interviews indicate they want to change everything about themselves and their lives. Except one thing. When asked what they would change about their family: Nothing.

"What's a positive in your life for today (patient)?" "I love my mom"

It is their one patch of stability. A place to belong. Even though they are haunted by the past, they know who to turn to. Don't you dare tell them that place is immoral.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Dude Abides

What a month it has been. I got married, which was fun. If you're wondering how some one with such a conflicted oedipal kind of relationship with religion does a wedding, I'll tell you.

Ever seen The Big Lebowski? Well I have. And it spawned an online religion called Dudeism. So, one of our friends got ordained and after we had "acted in accordance with the standards of being relaxed and groovy, made commitments, exchanged tokens and pretty much taken it easy in my sight" he permitted the dude to kiss the chic and there you have it. Married in a public park with an audience of 30, about 24 more than we originally wanted. I don't know what's with people inviting themselves and other people to somebody's wedding, but whatever, man. Take any rug in the house.

So anyway, I'm a married woman and everyone asks me how married life is. You know what I want to tell them? "Oh my GAWD it is the worst experience EVER" just to see what they say. Not to get all mushy, but living together first means there isn't a ton that changes. That being said, I still admit that picking the guy I did is one of the best things I've ever done for myself (hopefully he's cool with it too, 'cause if not, things might get awkward). It's nice to have some one to tolerate my bullshit and call me on it when he's had enough.

In other news, I've been working on getting a job and you don't realize how right everyone is about the job market sucking is until you actually start applying. I've put in 15 applications and had a whopping 2 interviews. And I'm not applying for CEO positions or anything, we're talking stuff like Smith's and the University Bookstore. Great time to have a degree, ain't it folks? The good news is that the interviews have both been for jobs that I actually reeeeeeeeally want.

Anywhoozle, I've got an idea for a new post. When it comes, please feel free to inform me whether I sound racist, just don't do it in an internet troll kind of way. We need hairy-handed melting eyeball myths for that kind of behavior.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pissed-off Patriotism

If you didn't read my previous post, you may want to to understand what's about to happen here. That being said...

Ok, let me clarify something. I know I should be studying my ass off for finals, I know I should be writing yet another paper and I know I should be making notes for a comprehensive statistics final. But ya know what? I was up way later than I wanted to be having an argument that was just a little pointless and have not had the best day today. SO, I've decided to clarify something.

The leader of a major terrorist organization is dead. Gonzo. Kablooey. And while I do see him as a waste of very precious human life (particularly brains, I have a soft spot for those) and I do have some sort of convoluted, highly-limited feeling that kind of resembles sort of empathy for people who are brainwashed and lose themselves in the darkness, I'm going to cave. Sir (he knows who he is), you win. Also, I don't think we were fully talking about the same thing last night.

To the people who think it's disgusting to celebrate Bil Laden's death: Go Fuck Yourselves.

Here's what I mean: YES, it's unchristian (or whatever) to celebrate death, YES he was a human being, but if you're going to sit here and tell the families of victims that they can't celebrate justice for their loved ones, you've walked yourself into some misplaced sense of delusional self-righteousness. I'm not saying he got what he deserved, I'm saying the world can feel a little balanced again. People can feel closure. And that is something to celebrate.

Seriously, when I saw THIS in my facebook newsfeed, something snapped:
It suprises me how much hate people have....sure osama is dead but don't rejoice in death like he did. Its sickening

To assume that people rejoice in death over justice is to give them no credit whatsover. If you really can't descend from your ivory pedestal for one brief moment to realize your pampered lap-dog life has given you NO experience with injustice, then to you sir (different sir this time) I say, Go Fuck Yourself. Twice, even.

Good day to you, sir!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Patriotic Pessimism, worthy of the 70s

As you may or may not have heard (I'm more on top of this one than usual), Osama Bin Laden is dead. (and I fuckin' voted for the guy who issued the order! *starstruck*)

But in all seriousness, in the ocean of sardonic facebook statuses (statusi?) and befuddled news bulletins and comments, there was, as always, one that stuck out. For the first time, I find myself echoing Rep. Rob Bishop: "It is awkward to celebrate anyone's death, but it's impossible to feel remorse for one who has caused so much pain and needless suffering in the world."

Like the majority of Americans, I remember where I was at 9/11 (that's called flashbulb memory, kids) and my dad was in D.C. so it hit particularly hard. Not to say too much about my years or lack thereof, I was in the 7th grade, sitting in a geography class, supervised by a disillusioned football coach. We "needed to see it," he said. It was "history, happening right before our eyes." It would "come to define our generation" and we needed to remember where we were.

I remember where I sat, who I sat by and how I felt. I was horrified. My dad was in D.C. and my classmates were talking about how stupid it was that people at the WTC were jumping out of windows to avoid burning alive. The reporter on the TV talked about the horrific crunch of bodies hitting the pavement and my classmates were laughing. I wasn't laughing because, aside from Dad being in D.C., some piece of those reporters' experience was already in my sensory memory. And I'll tell you there is nothing in this world that is more nauseating.

The smell of death and cement dust was there because I stood at another Ground Zero, this one in Oklahoma City. Timothy McVeigh parked a yellow Rider truck in front of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995 and in that truck was a home-made bomb that claimed 168 lives. He intentionally parked it near the wall of the day-care center.

His message was hate. Bin Laden's message was hate. I feel disgusted to say it, but I do feel some level of remorse for Bin Laden and Mcveigh, even the boys from Columbine and the like. I feel remorse because it is a waste of life. They waste their beautiful grey matter and potential, these people who lose themselves in the darkness of violent ideas. If I rejoiced in their demise, it would be hate for them that made me feel joy at their deaths. Could I really say I was any better than they?

Let the face of terrorism fall, let the world rejoice in justice. I am happy that my country is happy. I am happy that, for a moment, we can forget the Tea Party and forget Donald Trump. I am happy to see such a disgruntled, struggling public happy.

My sadness is in the fact that the men may be dead, but their ideology is not. I can only have hope that the world will watch with open eyes and look beyond the shadows of tradition and superstition.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I suppose I shouldn't be sad to be writing to a small audience, considering I don't write much anymore. Sorry, it's nothing personal. I'm great at starting blog entries, but not so great at finishing them.

Anyway. I just wanted to take a moment and thank the risen lord for dying for everyone else's sins. And maybe mine. We're not really clear on that. Either way, I'm pretty sure there was an Egyptian god who did the same thing so I've gotta be covered by somebody, right?

But in all seriousness, I want to wish all my fellow non-believers (and the believers if they're interested) a happy fertility day. Because that's what Easter is really all about. That and the resurrection of Tammuz...and Nimrod's "little factory," ...and his moon-wife/mother ovulating and dropping eggs to earth, oddly enough. What a weird holiday.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Go to God...And then go looking for WMDs.

Well, I know it's been a while, but I thought I'd be back to say hullo. It's been a crazy week with a stolen bike here and a broken car window there, and some general frustration with the world. But anything I wanted to write about regarding my petty problems has once again been overshadowed by something I saw at MollyMuses. From her post:

"The following was forwarded to me by a friend. A Facebook comment made today by Natalie Hess, a Provo-based real estate agent, read:

This is going to be bold, so be prepared. I’m so sick of hearing about lds people who are watching & reading anti-lds propaganda & then actually believing it as 100% truth. Seriously use your brains people! Don’t believe everything u watch/read. Consider the source, usually it’s begrudged people coming up w/ this crap!

Richard Dutcher, yes the Richard Dutcher who made “God’s Army” and “Brigham City”, replied:

And this is going to be unpopular. So be prepared.

You have a point, Natalie. But, as one who has studied and researched more Mormon history and doctrine than anyone I know (other than some scholars and published writer friends of mine), there is another side to that coin.

There are so very many church members who are familiar with only material published by the church/Deseret Book. And then they come into contact with something controversial from an outside source (not all outside sources are “anti-Mormon” by the way) and turn to Deseret Book or the church for an explanation and…guess what? There’s little to nothing.

And so they research a little more and find out not only that what some of these outside sources are saying is true, but that the church deliberately hid and/or lied about the information. And then they’re really confused. They’ve trusted in the church, they’ve sacrificed for the church, they’ve LIVED for the church, and then they find out that the church has lied to them, repeatedly.

It can be quite a faith shaker. In many cases, a faith destroyer.

Yes, there are anti-Mormons who lie and cheat (using partial information) and do anything they can to fight against Mormonism. But there are very many historians and scholars with no axe to grind who simply put forth material that is contrary to the church’s official story.

Some of us can manage to live with the cognitive dissonance of holding two contrary realities as somehow both true. Some of us can’t.

Be patient with those who are struggling with information that is shaking their faith. They’ll need your support. It is a hellacious ride which will most likely end in a very painful collision with reality.

It is also a painfully confusing experience to realize that the church you love and have sacrificed for is withholding information from you, while your “enemy” is telling you the truth. So very painful and confusing."

As always, I'm skeptical as to whether or not it was actually the Richard Dutcher sitting in front of the computer screen, typing away on Facebook, but I find that this makes for interesting conversation all the same. While I have great appreciation for Mr. Dutcher's courage in being so blunt and honest, the ensuing conversation was what caught my undivided attention.

A favorite highlight was the feigned surprise at 'ol Joey Smith being imperfect (an attitude that still manages to insinuate that he ultimately was) and Dutcher's clever reply of "I think if Thomas Monson sends you off on a trip and then humps your wife while you're gone you'll feel somewhat differently." (also, some poor bastard named Devin advises we "get on [our] knees and ask for it." hah!)

Humor aside, what I loathe is the attitudes and the generic "solutions". Generic is not a strong enough word. Here are the problems these people believe they are addressing:

1. People are looking at anti-mormon literature and believing it, which is stupid of them because ALL anti-mormon literature is the inflated fiction of disgruntled ex-mormons

2. People are looking for reasons to cease believing because walking away from something you've known, trusted and sacrificed for your whole life, while facing social rejection is waaaay easier than being mormon.

3. People have doubts and, being mindless sheep, have NO idea how to deal with them.

What multiple commenters advised we doubting Thomases do is go to God. As one who has "gone to God" on numerous occasions and come back with only an empty stomach and a feeling that I spent an hour in prayer, banging my head piously against the East wall, I feel like these people owe me something a little more substantial.

From a psychological perspective, here's what'll happen when you "Go to God" without being a truly objective judge: you'll get a "feeling" in favor of the church being true, because ignoring or rejecting what has more evidence but happened a long time ago is a more powerful catharsis (yeah, I'm going Freudian on your asses) than leaving the beliefs you've been socially punished for doubting, immeasurably reinforced for believing, and looking at the people closest to you and saying "I don't think I agree with your core lifestyle and beliefs anymore." Here's what I meant by that run-on: as a species, we're terrified of change. Our present status is what we know; it is cushy and comfortable to us. We adjust to the changes that are thrown at us, but to consciously invite change, specifically change that leads to unknown consequences and the possible loss of social trusts, is not something we do very naturally. More natural is to look at a conflict, like "My patriarchal blessing seems a little generic" and simply reject it. That burning you're getting in your bosom for rejecting the aforementioned statement is really your mind saying "yes, this is comfortable and safe, this does not invite change or any form of rejection from my peers. They will probably applaud me for coming to this conclusion. I like applause."

The fact is, when the leaders of the LDS church say "ask God and find out for yourselves" what I really hear is "ponder it and come to the right conclusion-*nudge*nudge*wink*wink* You know, the one we're spoon feeding you."

My response to all of this genericness is one generic word: Think. Think for yourselves, choose what is strong and sensible, not what feels fuzzy and soft, because if some one goes breaking into my proverbial house I'd rather have a Rottweiler than a Pomeranian. In other words, if I should explain why I believe the way I do, I want a solid argument that will mow an unwelcome invader into the ground. The truth is what it is, not what you feel it to be.

To close, our friend Devin also had this to say: "Isn't it great that testimonies aren't based in fact finding or knowing the exact truthful history of what actually happened?" No, Devin. That is terrifying. Basing everything that you are, everything you believe, everything you live, on something for which you haven't found facts is dangerous. People who live this way have been known to go looking for WMDs in Iraq.