Friday, October 22, 2010

My Ex-Mormon Conference Weekend

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Donna Banta
Subject: My Conference Weekend

As I hinted in a post last month, I don't like looking at a sea of blue suits and white dress shirts, listening to bullshit stories about poor schlubs who blow their life savings on temple garments, mixing with old men who seem to know a gazillion people who like to look at porn, taking the advice of people who only want me to pay my tithing, or, in short, being bored out of my fucking mind.

So it was only natural that I passed on the 180th Semi-Annual General Conference of the LDS Church, and caught the Ex-Mormon Foundation Conference instead. It was a good decision.

It opened on Friday night with an awesome open mic that featured many first time attendees, all with fascinating stories to tell.

On Saturday Pamela McCreary inspired us with the story of her journey out of Mormonism and her eventual reconciliation with her believing family.

Jim Whitefield, author of Mormon Delusion, provided us with a spirited and sometimes hilarious expose of LDS doctrine and history.

Then Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family and C Street -- The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, delivered a fascinating account of his investigative reporting of the fundamentalist movement in American politics. He also described his first tour of Temple Square. When he asked a sister missionary in the Visitors' Center about the LDS Church's involvement in legislation against gay marriage, the addled twenty-something avoided the question by turning on a video of Jeffrey R. Holland's recent conference address on -- what else -- INTERNET PORN! Honestly, is there no other subject?

Finally, Tal Bachman addressed the conference again, this time on the dual topics of "life after Mormonism" and "why is Gordon B. Hinckley smiling?" I especially appreciated his observation that we exmos need more than just Darwin to sustain us. We also need a community and a passion to replace what used to be our faith.

Speaking of community, there is none better than the attendees of the Ex-Mormon Conference. I had the pleasure of meeting the above speakers, Post-Mormon founder Jeff Ricks, Eric Davis, Cludgie, and the amazing Insana D. I also reconnected with Ms. Mom and Dr. Dad, Larry and Mikki, Jerry and Cheryl, The Brother of Jerry, Wine Country Girl, and a whole bunch of other feminists, gays and/or intellectuals, including these characters:
No worries on the drive home with one of the 3 Nephites at my side! 
Thanks to Sue Emmett, Chad Spjut and others for putting together another fantastic party!

View excerpts from the Ex-Mormon conference on The Iron Rod.


  1. omg, the nephite shirts.


    would that be a bit blasphemous, considering I'm a woman? Because that makes me want one all the more.

  2. Lisa,you need one! Not just to blaspheme, but also to piss off Boyd K. Packer.

  3. I went last year and had a great time. Ex-Mormons are awesome!

  4. hmmmm; i might have to go next year. Do you think the 3 Nephites would sign my boobs? Will YOU sign my boobs, Donna?!

  5. 3 NEPHITES! YES!!!

    Jim Whitefield was IN-credible!! I don't know if it was the accent, or the humor. Probably both in conjunction. :D

  6. I agree TGW, ex-Mormons are awesome, and Carla, Jim Whitefield was IN-credible. As for goodbye kitty, not only will they sign your boobs, they'll sign them in Reformed Egyptian!

  7. :: gasps ::

    JEFF SHARLET spoke at the event? Wow! I'm envious!

  8. Jeff was a good sport to come to UT -- after reporting on the "prayerboy mansion." His speech was the highlight for me.

  9. My temple name is DeborahOctober 25, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Jerry should sell the shirts online.
    Thanks for the summary!!!
    BTW, did you see this? Made me think of coffee enemas.

  10. OMG, My temple name is Deborah! Too funny.

  11. You chose to spend your weekend hanging out with feminists, intellectuals, and gays? Oh my! (think of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz)

    Fabulous report. Thanks!

  12. It was a fabulous conference! I was a first-timer and met so many great people and even had my first real alcoholic beverage!!!!

  13. OMG! Will the coffee enema talk never cease. My story about my mother and her Mormon homeopathist will go down in infamy among exmos! Lol! Awesome report Donna. It was great seeing you guys in August and the 3 Nephites shirts are awesome! Did the picture of them helping the "stranded motorist" come out ok? I've always wanted to see it.