Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Relief Society Book Club Time!

To: Abbottsville Fourth Ward
From: Sister Susan Renfro, Ward Relief Society President
Subject: December book club titles

Next month sisters in the Go Sit in the Corner for women  book club may choose from the following titles:

Her Own Once Upon a Time
by President Uberdork

Before she can find her "happily ever after," Princess Eternal must first face adversity, mulch a bed of forget-me-nots, and learn the sole value of a woman's remarkables.

Take THAT Science
by Zelph Sorenson

In the tenth installment of the Captain Moroni series, Scienceman and his band of evil doctoral candidates invade Bountiful, Utah and threaten to spread their pernicious theories of evolution, global warming, and cholesterol. Fearing that the fair citizens of Bountiful will be exposed to facts, the mayor sends for Captain Moroni who bravely saves the day, donning his Title of Liberty cape and conking the evil-doers over the head with his horn.

When Rulon Met Merrilee
by Shirlyn Frost

When Rulon and Merrilee embark on a cross-country road trip from Ogden to Provo, it seems they have nothing in common. That is, until Rulon tells a knock-knock joke that almost makes Merrilee giggle. They both turn red and apologize. After that, they arrive in Provo, shake hands goodbye and never see each other again.

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, we'll send you our best knock-knock jokes.
(Or you could check out False Prophet--hint, hint)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why People Who Leave The Church "Aren't Happy"

I've been off my blogging lately, taking a necessary break after finishing my second book. But a memory popped into my head today.

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to attend an LDS Fast and Testimony Meeting. While painful and time consuming, these occasional visits always provide me with some sort of epiphany. This particular meeting was no exception. After several of the usual suspects rose to bear their testimonies, a woman around my age took the stand and with a mopey face tearfully proclaimed, "People who leave the church aren't happy." Then came my epiphany:

I could be her right now. A miserable Mormon woman.

Over the years, LDS leaders have thrown the bulk of their time, talent, and resources into driving home the message that people who leave the Mormon Church are miserable sinners. -- And thereby scaring the faithful into remaining miserable believers.

It's a strategy that's worked pretty well for them. All they have to do is point to the miserable ex-Mormons like me.

As I sit here at my desk, drinking coffee in my street clothes and department store underwear, I am the embodiment of a miserable sinner. 

You see, "sin" has a somewhat broader definition for Mormons than it has for most people--it starts with drinking coffee and wearing department store underwear, and then moves up to more grievous transgressions, such as eating out on Sunday, wearing a tank top, enjoying a healthy sexual relationship, laughing really hard, drinking a coke, playing gin rummy, and having too much fun. Fun is the operative word here. Because if a person is enjoying herself, she is most likely being sinful.

Fun is very scary. It can make you miserable.

Over the past few years, I've been doing something I consider to be great fun--speaking my mind via blogging and writing novels. Researching a novel can lead to all kinds of "sin." For example, when my friend Cheryl and I went to the porn shop. An ex-Mormon and retired first grade teacher, Cheryl, like me, is no stranger to "sin." That said, neither of us ever thought we'd cross the threshold of an adult superstore. After all, in Sunday School our teachers told us that people who left the church ended up as drunken degenerates who wallowed in porn.

Turns out our teachers were right. For the better part of an hour Cheryl and I wallowed in porn. After that we had a few beers.

While I admit I was shocked by some things, and a little grossed out by others, I found a lot of the merchandise to be useful products for people enjoying a healthy sexual relationship. (And we know what to think of that!) All in all, it was a very fun experience, so much fun that I made Cheryl a porn shop co-owner in my new book, False Prophet.

Here's the (obligatory) excerpt from when Lt. Ryan and Sgt. Romano visit her shop:

Romano mercifully broke in. “We’re actually here to ask you if you saw a certain man in this vicinity yesterday. He was a Mormon, so I doubt he was a customer.”
“Don’t be too sure,” said Cheryl. “We have a few.”
Really? I had to ask. “Know a guy named Dennis Newsome?”
Cheryl squinted. “Lawyer?”
“That’s the one,” I replied.
“Newsome,” said Murph. “Nice guy.”
“He was in last week,” Cheryl added. “Bought some of the remote control panties.”
“No kidding?” said Murph. “Thought his girlfriend was into the edible warming oil.”
“The panties were for his wife,” Cheryl replied.
Murph moved his head in a slow nod. “That’s good of him. Keep her happy too.”
Romano shot me a bored look. “Ryan, why don’t you show them the picture?”
“Oh yeah.” I handed Murph the image of Dooley.
“Sure, I’ve seen him. You’re right. He’s not a customer. But he walks by the shop from time to time.”
A girl in a candy store uniform carried a collection of dildos to the counter. Murph passed Cheryl the picture on his way to the register.
“Can you bag them individually?” the girl asked. “They’re gifts.”
“I saw him yesterday.” Cheryl handed the picture back. “Just after nine a.m. I remember because the sales rep who supplies our butt plugs had to run to pay for parking. The meters begin operation at nine every morning.”
“Yes, ma’am.” I pulled out my pad.
“Anyway, just after he left, your man appeared in the window, wide-eyed, mouth open, gawking, but at nothing in particular. I’d seen him go by before, but with barely a glance at us. I was so startled by his appearance that I went out the door to ask if he was okay. He stared back at me in a bizarre way that gave me the creeps. And in my business that’s saying something.”

Suffice to say, I am obviously very miserable. Look at all the fun I'm having.