Thursday, June 26, 2014

Once Again, It's "Out of Love"

Some of my most unpleasant childhood memories begin with my mom telling me, "I'm only doing this for your own good." Likewise, some of my most unpleasant parenting memories begin with me repeating those same words to my own children.

But at least in the case of parent and child, there is true love behind the discipline. We do punish our children for their own good, or at least we think we do. - So they'll be considerate of others, so they'll learn the value of a dollar, so they'll keep from killing themselves, etc. We're big, they're small, and they're our responsibility. So, for the first decade or two of our children's lives, we're forever on their case - lecturing, nagging, lending endless advice, and otherwise driving them completely crazy. Out of love.

But when the "for your own good" argument is used on adults it too often becomes an excuse for abuse. Such is the case with LDS Church disciplinary councils - or so-called "courts of love."

"Love" is one of those big words that Mormon leaders don't understand.

This week when Ordain Women founder, Kate Kelly, learned that she had been excommunicated by an LDS "court of love," she reportedly sobbed uncontrollably.

Meanwhile, shortly after Kelly's expulsion became public, the LDS General Young Women's President, Bonnie L. Oscarson issued a video statement, claiming:
"Those who are struggling for whatever reason should be able to find within our sisterhood a spirit of warmth, inclusion, and love." 
Warmth? Inclusion? Love? Anyone out there buying that? I'm very relieved to hear that Kate Kelly isn't. When asked if she believed her leaders were ostracizing her for her own good Kelly replied:
"That's classic language of an abusive relationship, where a person abusing and hurting you says they're doing it out of love."
Kudos to Kate for standing firm. For recognizing that abuse is not love and for realizing that nothing less than equality for women will do. I wish her and the brave members of Ordain Women success as they champion their cause.

Bridget Jack Jeffries said it best in her op-ed in Wednesday's Salt Lake Tribune:
"If you have to constantly reassure someone that you really do love them, value them and respect them, it may be because your actions are telling a different story. In any case, there is no such thing as equality without equal access to authority. Therefore, any talk of Mormon women being equal to Mormon men free from ordination to the priesthood is perfect nonsense."
And the male church leaders' claim that they love women and consider us as equals? An empty assertion that bears no resemblance to reality.

But then, "reality" is another one of those big words that Mormon leaders don't understand.

Friday, June 20, 2014

ExMormons Brace Themselves For Romney 2016

ExMormons Prepare For Another Potential Romney Candidacy
Salt Lake News -- published June 20, 2014

Employing skills they acquired as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some former Mormons are amassing emergency supplies amid rumors that another presidential bid by Romney may be imminent.

"I work in an all-Mormon office and my desk is by the copy machine," said Samuel Petersen, an ExMormon from Sandy, Utah. "I don't care if I lose my job. He runs again and I'm going off the grid."

He's not the only one.

"I was an actual woman in one of his binders last time around," said Sally McPhee, a former Mormon from Somerville, Massachusetts. "I can't go through that again, I don't care what I have to do."

Overexposure to their pro-Romney Mormon relatives and coworkers during the 2012 Romney campaign, as well as revulsion with the governor himself, has led many former LDS to devise exit strategies should "the one and only true candidate" decide to again enter the race.

"I've set up a private sanctuary away from everyone," Homer Smoot of Saint George, Utah told the News. "It's remote, sound-proof, and has a tiny padded nook where I can curl into the fetal position and moan."

Meanwhile, those who can't escape their present situations are pleading with news outlets to limit campaign coverage if Governor Romney decides to enter the race again.

"I know he was running for president and all. But the media had no idea how damaging the constant exposure was for people like us," said Julie Frost, an ExMormon from Farmington, Utah, who believes that the entire 2012 Romney campaign should have been condensed into a single visiting stake high councilman's talk.

"For the sake of our sanity, they should have limited it to one media event," Frost explained. "Just picked a stifling hot Sunday afternoon, started with his cheesy anecdote about Ann's 'couple of Cadillacs,' gone on to the faith-promoter about strapping the dog on top of the car, filled that tiresome unprepared mid-section with his repetition of, 'I like cars,' came to a close with him insulting 47% of his audience, and then ended in the name of the corporation."

"Instead we had to listen to him drone on for a year, in that same stake president's monotone," Frost bemoaned. "It was agony."

Citing the special nature of both the last and the upcoming elections, other ExMormons remain fatalistic about what they see as the inevitable.

"In 2012 the Republicans were faced with foiling the reelection of the first black president. In 2016 they will probably be poised to block the election of the first woman," said former Mormon, Kyle Rogers, of Bountiful, Utah. "It makes sense that they'd pick a Mormon to do that."

"I'm prepared to stick it out and endure to the end," Rogers declared. "But then, I can take anything … I have a degree from BYU-Idaho."

***In other news: Be aware, Gentle Readers, that a number of progressive Mormon bloggers and activists, including Kate Kelly, are scheduled for church disciplinary courts this Sunday, June 22 2014. Read more about "the real Mormon Moment" here. Also read Kate's letter of defense here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

LDS Leaders Courageously Stand on Principle

LDS Church Offers Additional Response to Church Discipline Questions
Salt Lake News -- published June 13, 2014

As the pending church disciplinary action against Ordain Women founder, Kate Kelly, and Mormon blogger, John Dehlin, approaches, LDS leaders continue to insist that people of all opinions are welcome within their ranks.

"The notion that the LDS Church is not a place for feminists, gays and intellectuals is simply not true," church spokesperson, LaRue Walker told the News in an exclusive interview yesterday. "We are a progressive organization made up of individuals with diverse backgrounds and opinions."

Citing several profiles in the church's popular "I'm a Mormon" campaign, Walker insisted that the LDS Church is an open environment that encourages questions and allows members to think for themselves. She did, however, voice concern over some members who choose to share their thoughts.

"It's as simple as this," Walker explained. "Mormons can be feminists, so long as they don't say women are equal to men. They can be gay, so long as they don't demonstrate their same-sex attraction, and they can be intellectuals so long as they don't share any of their ideas."

Summarizing the LDS leaders' hopes going forward, Walker said, "The Brethren want the members to galvanize around them as they stand firmly on principle and courageously lead the church into the future."

When asked about the expected outcome of Dehlin and Kelly's pending trials Walker stated, "The Brethren can't comment on that as church disciplinary actions are a local matter that they have no responsibility for whatsoever."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I Would Be Remiss if I Didn't Thank Prop 8

Last Sunday was Fast and Testimony Meeting, and as my gentle readers--plus the saints in the Abbottsville Fourth Ward--well know, that means the Post-Mormons gathered at the San Francisco Ferry Building for our own unique form of worship. This month we welcomed quite a few new members, and, of course, invited them to tell us a little about themselves. While the newcomers varied in age, profession and domestic situations, their life journeys included a common theme:
  • "I left the LDS Church in 2008 because of its support of Prop 8."
  • "I left the LDS Church many years ago, but then officially resigned in 2008 because of Prop 8."
  • "I quit going to church but didn't tell my extended family. Then I came out to them over Prop 8."
  • "I was partially active to please my family. Then in 2008…" 
2008 was a very big year for the Ex-Mormons. But the Brethren in Salt Lake still don't get that, as Dallin Oaks demonstrated recently at a regional conference in New Zealand where he delivered yet another tiresome screed against gay marriage.

Of course, the LDS Church has always had a dickens of a time figuring out "traditional marriage," from the early days of polygamy to today's bizarre Mormon version of nuptials--the bride and groom decked out in crazy-assed get-ups and exchanging vows before the privileged few while the majority of their loved ones cool their heels outside the temple.

As the usually cheerful blogger, Single Dad Laughing, said in his post today:
"Want to know something sad? I don’t go to my family’s weddings anymore. Not my cousins. Not even my siblings. At least not if they take place in Mormon temples (which most of them do). Know why? Because. If I do go, I don’t even get to go. I am asked to sit down with everyone’s children and babysit because I am not considered worthy to go inside and watch the ceremony. And let me tell you how fun that is, hanging out with all the teenage girls and trying to corral three dozen out of control toddlers."
The poor Mormon authorities. Lies, guilt, exclusion, organized tedium, flagrant bigotry, and stubborn adherence to the wrong opinions just aren't enough to retain those numbers anymore. Meanwhile, our Post-Mormon attendance continues to increase, as has our loud laughter, light-mindedness, and evil speaking of the self-appointed.

But we aren't trivial. Last Sunday we debated whether Kolob was a planet or a star--a spirited discussion that continued into the next day over the internet. I was convinced it was a star, until one of our newbies, Dan, provided me with scientific proof that Kokob was the star and Kolob the planet. And then it all seemed to make sense when longtime attendee, Cheryl, pointed out that a person couldn't "hie to a star,"because she'd burn up! Only that sparked further debate over whether a person's garments would protect her from burning up, also over whether or not our resurrected bodies would need them. Wouldn't our magic underwear be built into our skin? Or perhaps the Celestial Distribution Center will sell a spray-on variety. Our findings were inconclusive. Nevertheless, it was way spiritual.

And I would be remiss if I didn't thank Prop 8.