Friday, May 30, 2014

Cheers to the Badly Behaved Mormon Women

Despite the  growing surge of members who are abandoning the faith,  the LDS Church continues to pour millions into advertising to impress nonmembers, while, at the same time, it ignores, insults or marginalizes some of its own. The most recent example came last week when, after ignoring 5 formal meeting requests from the Mormon feminist group Ordain Women, the LDS Church granted a 90 minute audience to the newly formed, obedience-oriented Mormon Women Stand.

As many of my gentle readers no doubt already know, Mormon Women Stand is the brainchild of Kathryn Skaggs, author of the blog, A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman. Her blog title, I assume, condescendingly refers to the Mormon feminist, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who famously said, "Well-behaved women seldom make history." Whether the reference was intentional or not, Skaggs' blog posts have thus far been forgettable. For example, her recent argument that the film, Frozen, is part of "the gay agenda." (Spoofed here on Ward Gossip.)

I've been a little hard on the Mormon feminists over the years. Too hard probably. But perhaps that's because I used to be one. I remember the indignities--the premature releasings from callings, the warnings to my husband to get me in line, and, of course, the painfully patronizing explanations. But, Sister Banta, you get to have babies. -- Sister Banta, if you had the priesthood, which calling would you want? The mere mention of these memories has me covering my ears and screaming, "Make it STOP!"

In my mind, the most obvious solution was to leave the LDS Church. But then I'm no longer a believer, and the church members who support Ordain Women clearly are. Otherwise, the group would never have issued a public "thank you" today to LDS Public Affairs director, Michael Otterson, for suggesting their organization was "divisive and suggestive of apostasy."

One of the more comic aspects of this drama has been the assumption by the "well-behaved" sisters that those in the Ordain Women crowd are not really believers--for example, the reactions to Joanna Brooks' recent post on Feminist Mormon Housewives. Oh, they're believers all right. Nothing but the deepest belief could motivate an LDS woman to stand up to her priesthood leaders, and then stick around church to suffer the consequences.

In that spirit, tonight I raise my Friday night cocktail and say, "Cheers to the badly behaved Mormon women."

I hope that they will make history. I also hope that as they go forward, some will realize that there are many paths to spiritual fulfillment, even outside of Mormonism.

Because, in the near future, I doubt that the General Authorities will be entertaining any requests from Mormon feminists--unless they want to star in an "And I'm a Mormon" ad.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

LDS General Authorities Embark on Anti-Gay Marriage World Tour

LDS Church General Authorities Hit the Road
The Salt Lake News - published May 21, 2014

The General Authorities kicked off their Anti-Gay Marriage World Tour at a regional conference in New Zealand last Sunday where Dallin Oaks courageously devoted the majority of his talk to the evils of gay marriage. Encouraged by the moral perfection of Elder Oaks' message, the General Authorities are traveling the world to address what they consider to be a full blown global crisis.

Overall, the tour has received tepid reviews.

"I've been worried about the rising sea level that threatens my farmland," 47-year-old Hans of Denmark said. "But last night the Brethren told us we should be up in arms over gay marriage. I don't understand. Am I being selfish?"

"I have a gay son," 59-year-old Portuguese citizen, Marta, confessed. "I'm more worried about him getting a job--but then I'm not American," she conceded. "America must be a very strange place."

However some international saints have come away inspired by the Brethren's message.

"They gave me hope,"said 9-year-old Juan, a Brazilian who just lost his parents to malaria. "I'm going to try really hard not to be gay."

When asked about the Brethren's recent singularity of focus, LDS Public Relations insisted that the church continues to pursue a diverse humanitarian agenda.

"With the sisters still busy with their crafts, the timing seemed right to go after the gays," church spokesperson, Ramona Wimple explained. "But we continue to be on guard against the feminists and intellectuals."

Nevertheless, sources within the Church Office Building are voicing surprise at the zeal of this new campaign.

"We're now limited to a single talking point," an anonymous LDS Church employee told The News. "Whatever the problem is, the reason for it is gay marriage. For example: Why can't the church hire janitors to clean the ward meetinghouses?--Because of gay marriage. Why don't they sell caffeinated Coke at BYU?--Because of gay marriage. Why are there horses in the Book of Mormon?--Because of gay marriage…"

"It's become the Mormon version of Benghazi," the source concluded.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Selling the City of Enoch" by Johnny Townsend

--This review was originally posted on Main Street Plaza.

Johnny Townsend has done it again. He’s delivered more deliciously subversive Mormon fiction in his delightful new collection, Selling the City of Enoch.

As in his previous works, Townsend’s well-drawn characters are too complex to fit into the Mormon cookie-cutter mold. For example, the overly curious Sister Covino who can’t look the other way when her mission president’s wife appears to have been murdered. Or Lucy, a recent convert who, lacking the human connections she’d hoped to form in her new ward, resorts to renting a family for the Christmas holiday. Similarly disenfranchised, an ambitious Wiccan politician lamely aspires to be the mayor of Salt Lake City—that is, until he has an alien encounter while hiking Bryce Canyon. And then there is the charming Mrs. Mariposa, the title character of my favorite story in the collection, who marries the love of her life in the Mormon temple and then surprises him with the news that she isn’t technically a woman.

Selling the City of Enoch exists at that awkward intersection where the LDS ideal meets the real world, and Townsend navigates his terrain with humor, insight and pathos.

Order this great read here.