Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mormon Persecution Museum Opens

Persecution Museum Now Open on Temple Square
The Salt Lake News - published Wednesday, April 15, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY - The Mormon Persecution Museum opens to the public today. The newest attraction on Temple Square, it boasts an impressive collection of historical artifacts, artwork, film and photography that depicts the maltreatment of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum will also host temporary exhibits. The first of these, The Brethren: Latter-day Martyrs for the Faith, focuses on the marginalization of the current Mormon leadership.

LDS Church curator, Rufus G. Bigelow, passionately promotes the museum's first special event. "Most people don't realize how much abuse is leveled at the humble servants of God who guide and direct our Church," he explained. "Patrons of this exhibit will come away without any doubt of the existence of what the Brethren have long known to be the vast anti-Mormon conspiracy." 

Visitors may experience the vast conspiracy Bigelow refers to via multi-media presentations aimed at exposing the Brethren's myriad nemeses. Targets include Feminists, So-Called Intellectuals, So-Called Gays, So-Called Historians, Whiners, Wimps, Comedians, Immodestly Dressed Women and Children, Counterfeit Couples, Mothers Who Think They Know, Part Tithe Payers, The Three Men who Shouted "Opposed" at General Conference, etc.

"The event runs the gamut when it comes to anti-Mormon elements," Bigelow said. "It delves into the mind of each variety of anti-Mormon, examines his particular brand of bitterness, outlines his delusional objectives, and describes his doomed means of achieving them."

Despite the breadth and diversity of its subject, Bigelow says the exhibit successfully stays on message. "The unifying theme is that all of these different forms of bigotry stem from the enemy's collective desire to sin and/or be easily offended."

The LDS General Authorities enjoyed a private tour of the museum on Monday. Their response is said to be highly enthusiastic.

"The Brethren are thrilled by this long overdue retribution," said LDS Church spokesperson, LaDell Dart. "Finally, the world will have the opportunity to see that they are the true victims."

"Already there is talk of expanding," Dart added. "Plans are in the works for an adjoining library, an interpretive center, and maybe even a research institute. In the coming years, the Persecution Museum is expected to grow into a full blown Persecution Complex."

Regular museum hours are Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hours extend to 9:00 p.m. the first Monday of every month to accommodate special Family Home Evenings. Closed Sunday. The "Latter-day Martyrs" exhibit will be on display in the Orrin Porter Rockwell Gallery from now until August 15, 2015.

Friday, April 3, 2015

LDS Women Compared To New Inanimate Object

Over the years good Mormon girls have been unlicked cupcakes, fresh sticks of gum, clean crystal goblets, and untouched rosebuds. So it should come as no surprise that in her opening address to the LDS General Women's Meeting, Cheryl A. Esplin, second counselor in the Primary General Presidency, likened LDS women to full cans of soda:
"The concept of being filled with light and truth became particularly important to me because of an experience I had many years ago. I attended a meeting where members of the Young Women general board taught about creating spiritually strong families and homes. To visually demonstrate this, a Young Women leader held up two soda cans. In one hand she held a can that was empty and in the other hand a can that was unopened and full of soda. First, she squeezed the empty can; it began to bend and then collapsed under the pressure. Next, with her other hand, she squeezed the unopened can. It held firm. It didn’t bend or collapse like the empty can—because it was filled."
"We likened this demonstration to our individual lives and to our homes and families. When filled with the Spirit and with gospel truth, we have the power to withstand the outside forces of the world that surround and push against us. However, if we are not filled spiritually, we don’t have the inner strength to resist the outside pressures and can collapse when forces push against us."

Okay. This totally works for me. But I'm surprised that a member of the Primary General Presidency would admit that in order to be full of "the Spirit and gospel truth" an LDS woman has to swallow the intellectual equivalent of an entire cup of dissolved sugar that's been shot up with pressurized gas.

But wait. There's more:
"Satan knows that in order for us and our families to withstand the pressures of the world, we must be filled with light and gospel truth. So he does everything in his power to dilute, distort, and destroy the truth of the gospel and to keep us separated from that truth."
So there you go, sisters. Guard your pop-tops. Satan hovers over you, flexi-straw in hand, eager to sap the fizz right out of your Sprites!

Why . . . oh . . . why do they make it so easy? And this was just the women's meeting! There are five more sessions of General Conference this weekend. Torture for the faithful. Comic gold for bloggers like me.

Friday, March 27, 2015

LDS Church Allows Members to be Gay on Facebook

Mormons Now Free to be Gay on Facebook
Salt Lake News - published March 27, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY - In a surprise announcement last week, LDS Church leaders revealed that members will no longer be punished for being gay on Facebook.

In an exclusive interview, church spokesperson, LaRue Walker, told The News, "While they still adamantly oppose gay marriage, the Brethren have determined that coming out on venues as shallow as social media does not pose a threat to an individual's eternal salvation."

Otherwise faithful Mormons may now feel free to "like" gay and lesbian themed pages, join LGBT groups, follow gay advocates, post on their gay and lesbian friends' walls, and write comments favoring gay marriage and other LGBT rights.

"I just changed my cover photo to a rainbow flag," said BYU junior, Homer Filbert, who plans to marry his girlfriend in the Provo temple next month. "Finally I'm free to be me . . . at least on Facebook."

In spite of this encouraging change in policy, Walker urges church members to be discreet and use caution on their Facebook walls. "When in doubt, good Latter-day Saints should post their 'Relationship Status' as 'Single' and leave blank what they're 'Interested In.'"

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Motherhood sans Mormonhood

Natalie and her surrogate
When I was a Mormon I was always going to baby showers. After all, Mormon women are always having babies. Mormon showers were women-only events featuring sickeningly cutesy games and cake or cookies paired with some vile sort of punch.

In fairness, it's been a while since I've been to an LDS baby shower. Perhaps they've changed. Maybe the food's better these days, and the games more fun. Maybe now some are even coed, acknowledging (gasp!) that men might actually share in the burdens of childcare.

But something tells me that the Mormon version couldn't live up to the Exmormon shower that Sheli, Sarah and I recently threw for Natalie and Dave who are expecting a baby girl via surrogate.

Our hosts, Sheli and James, went all out, opening up their beautiful house.

The games were kick-ass hilarious.

Dave makes a play-dough baby
James pins a sperm on the uterus

Baby bottle beer guzzling contest

The food was amazing, especially James and Sheli's tri-tip. And the beverages really rocked.
Steve, our awesome bartender

James making one cup at a time.
He roasts his own beans.

There were presents, of course.

And even the spirit was there. I had the privilege of blessing the baby! My inspired words were, of course, first vetted by the authorities. (Sheli and Sarah.)

Only sisters were allowed in the circle.

Here's what I said:

We take this child in our arms to give her a blessing. We can’t give her a name. Only her parents can do that. But whatever the name, we bless it that it shall not be known upon the records of the church.

Baby M, we bless you that you will not be a sweet spirit; that you will be strong and honest and confident and disobedient and, above all, badly behaved in the manner of all women who are destined to make history.

We bless you that you will find and pursue your passions. That you will marry—or not, that you will have children—or not, according to where your heart leads. But if you do find a partner, we bless you that he or she will be a person that you love and respect as your equal. One who loves you ferociously, as much as your parents and all of us do, combined.

We bless you, Baby M, that your days will be filled with loud laughter, light mindedness, and evil speaking of the self appointed. We bless you that you will not settle. That you will magnify your happiness, and that you will live in the moment—every moment—of your one wild and precious life.**

Namaste/Mazel Tov!

**Hat tips to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Mary Oliver and Joseph Smith.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cheers to Susan I/S and RfM!

Twenty-three years ago I was an emotional train wreck. My hands were covered with eczema and I had nightmares about being trapped in a box. I knew I was faced with the unfortunate choice between my church and my sanity. Fortunately, I opted for sanity.

And I was fortunate. I had the love and support of my husband and children. (Not all ex-Mormons do.) Plus my hands stopped itching and I was back to getting a good night's sleep.

But in other ways my situation sucked. Back then, the only thing close to a support group for doubters was Sunstone. And while the Sunstone community was, and continues to be, an excellent home for liberal Mormons, it can be a less than perfect place for ex-Mormons. We needed a home of our own.

Bizarrely, like so many ex-Mormons, I no longer believed in the golden plates, the first vision, or the living prophet. But I still bought into that erroneous assumption that those who left the church were angry, bitter people who were offended by some triviality and wanted to sin. That is, until around 1998 when I wandered on to Recovery from Mormonism.

Within days of combing the site, I learned three very important things. First, that the denigration of women, gays and intellectuals is not a trivial offense. Second, that a lot of Mormon "sins" are actually normal, perfectly moral, and even fun. And third, and perhaps most importantly, there's nothing wrong with being angry. It can be a good thing. It can help you see the light. And it can be an important step in your recovery.

Over the years the ex-Mormon community has expanded along with the Internet. Now there are myriad discussion boards and groups on Reddit, Facebook, places like, and a whole host of blogs in Main Street Plaza's Outerblogness. But, for many of us, it all started with RfM.

RfM continues to be a safe place for people who have left or are in the process of leaving the LDS Church. And it has been a labor of love for Eric Kettunen and his volunteer staff. Yesterday Eric announced that longtime poster and admin Susan I/S is retiring. At press time, his pinned post has over 140 comments. Other Recovery Board regulars have posted individually in her honor as well. It's no wonder. She was there at the beginning of so many of our journeys, and she will be missed.

Tonight Mark and I will raise our Friday night cocktail glasses to Susan I/S and her legacy at RfM. She could have devoted the past 2 decades to crocheting toilet roll covers in Relief Society. But instead she opted for helping hundreds, if not thousands, of people regain their sanity and lead authentic lives.

Cheers to Susan!

Friday, February 27, 2015

We Salute Him

You don't have to be a trekkie to know that the original Star Trek series that debuted in 1966 and ran for only three seasons is now a cult classic. And I mean cult in a good way.

Moreover, you needn't have watched every episode or seen all the movies or attended the conventions to know that Leonard Nimoy, who died today, was a cultural icon.

Star Trek is one of those unique diversions that both entertains and binds us together. Sort of like sports.

For example, say you're at a family reunion where half the relatives are believing Mormons. You can't talk about religion, of course. You can't talk about politics. You can't bring up the weather. (For fear of igniting a global warming vs. God's wrath debate.) You can't agree on appropriate attire or what is an acceptable beverage. In many cases, you can't even talk about yourself because you might be (gasp) gay, or otherwise living in - what the Mormon relatives consider - "sin."

But bring up Star Trek and the mood lightens and the conversation takes off. Everybody has a favorite episode, everyone has a favorite theory, and everyone agrees that Mr. Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy, is a classic.

Today we salute him, for inspiring generations of people to forget their differences, dress up in crazy costumes, and just have fun. May he "live long and prosper" in our minds and - despite his possible disapproval - our hearts.

Two obituaries in a row! This better not be a trend. Hoping to go back to humor in March.