Sunday, December 27, 2009


So apparently more changes are being made to the LDS church’s Young Women’s program. I already have issues with that program. The inequality in spending on the young men versus the young women for example, or the lessons {implicit or otherwise} that teach these impressionable girls that THEY are responsible for the thoughts and actions of the boys, or the “licked cupcake” lessons, etc. But when I read this article about the new changes I about near died when I got to the following quote:

The booklets are pink. "We are excited about the color of pink, because we think these young women are pink. They resonate to the softness and the femininity of that color. We want them to understand that they are soft, they are unique, they are feminine and that they don't have to be like the boys."

Oh yes, the young women are soft. They don’t have to be like the boys {code speak for “they SHOULDN’T be like the boys”}. Because, OMIGOD you guys, it would be HORRIBLE for a woman to be strong! Strong isn’t feminine enough, apparently. And heaven forbid the girls be like the boys…the boys who are regularly encouraged to plan for missions, college, and careers while the girls are in the room next door being taught the importance of making babies and how to apply makeup {I’m not kidding, folks. I swear to Google I had lessons on MAKEUP in my time in the Young Women’s program}.

There are a million ways in which the LDS church is anti-woman. Apologists and Feminist Mormon Housewives arguments to the contrary Mormonism and feminism are mutually exclusive. I’ve been considering for months writing a book on the very topic…and this quote has got me riled up enough that I might just do it. But I dunno. I get so pissed off about crap like this that I can barely see straight, never mind write coherently.

Just, ugh. BARF.

Maybe I’ll write more later when I’ve cooled down. For now let me just end with this…


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Hey all! I know I’ve been absent. But after my daughter’s birthday party and Adam’s finals are over I’m hoping to do some more journal posts.

Anyway, today I wanted to take just a sec to share a link someone shared with me. If you’re not aware, within Mormonism there’s a doctrine which allows living people to be baptized on behalf of people who have died. It’s one of the things that happens in Mormon temples. Mormons are only supposed to submit the names of deceased RELATIVES, a policy the church really doesn’t do much to enforce. Which is why Pope John Paul II was baptized a Mormon posthumously.

Yes, I’m serious.

The Pope.

Also? Jewish Holocaust victims, criminals, founding fathers, etc.

Speaking as someone who once held this view I will say this: Mormons just do NOT get how offensive this is to non-Mormons. They think they’re doing a good work. They think they’re making sure these people get into heaven. After all, if you don’t believe in Mormonism why does it matter? What’s the harm? They’re not hurting anyone. If you don’t buy into the idea of proxy baptism then it shouldn’t bother you, right?


I see things so differently now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sorry For My Absence

I explained over on my other blog that I’m MOVING. Yeah, we’re getting new digs. So my posting schedule is all messed up right now. When I do have a chance to post I’ve been focusing on Domestic Dork because I’ve got a bunch of tutorials and a blogging contest entry I’ve been working on.

But things should settle down some time in December. Plus Adam will be done with the semester soon, which means he can help wrangle the munchkin which means {hopefully} more time for me to write. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Unpaid Clergy and Why That’s a Problem

Seems the LDS church is getting sued {again?}, along with the Boy Scouts of America, for sexual abuse of children. Obviously, sexual abuse of children happens in plenty of churches and you don’t need me to mention which ones. But this has me thinking…

See, on the local levels church leaders don’t get paid, nobody does. All positions are “volunteer” {and by ‘volunteer’ I mean ‘assigned-to-you-and-if-you-don’t-want-to-do-it-don’t-think-you-can-do-it-or-absolutely-hate-the-idea-of-doing-it-and-turn-them-down-then-you’re-turning-down-GOD-and-shame-on-you-now-go-home-and-feel-guilty-you-faithless-selfish-failure-as-a-disciple-of-Christ’}. This includes Boy Scout leaders. This includes Bishops, who are allowed to interview children and teens alone about many issues including sex, this includes Sunday school teachers, etc. Now, I will be the first to say that most of these leaders have good hearts, and wouldn’t hurt a child. My issue is that some of them are *not* trustworthy but are often trusted implicitly by other church members who assume that just because it’s a fellow Mormon they’re a good person and it’s OK to leave your child in their care {remember, most cases of sexual abuse are committed by people who are familiar to the victim…not by strangers}. And this would be a lot less of an issue if people were hired for these jobs.

Mormons take a lot of pride in their unpaid clergy. It often inspires condescension towards churches that pay their ministers. But is it really a good thing? I get the idea that followers of Christ want to give to “him and his church” but I’m not so sure that system is working. Aside from the fact that certain positions are absolute time sucks which take a person away from their family for hours upon hours upon hours each week with only “spiritual rewards” there are no background checks and no training for these people. Do you see why I think this is a problem? Leaders are expected to “follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit” when counselling with members. Now, you all know I don’t believe in the Holy Ghost anymore than I believe in Casper the Friendly Ghost. For one thing, if there really were an entity providing a conduit to the will of God, then why the hell is God telling people to call child abusers to positions in which they are in charge of children? Just saying’.

The way I see it, you have a scenario in which people are given trust and responsibility without having earned it. And that can create all sorts of problems. Let’s say Sister {in the LDS church everyone is called Brother and Sister instead of Mr. and Miss/Mrs./Ms.}, let’s say Sister Smith is having marital problems and goes into see Bishop Jones. Bishop Jones has absolutely zero background/training in psychology, or marriage counselling. He’s an accountant. But, because “God called him as Bishop” Sister Jones believes he’s qualified to help her. Let’s say Sister Smith’s marital problems are *really* serious. Let’s say she’s being abused. Maybe Bishop Jones counsels her to head to the women’s shelter to protect herself and her children. That’s probably good counsel. But let’s say Bishop Jones isn’t her assigned Bishop. Let’s say Bishop Thompson is, and let’s say Bishop Thompson counsels her to figure out what she’s doing that might be causing her husband to get angry with her, and tells her she needs to be humble.


See, there is a handbook that’s supposed to provide a guide to priesthood leaders. But it’s just a manual to Church policies. In the end these leaders aren’t getting checked up on to make sure they follow those guidelines, and I wonder how many of them actually read the whole thing before they start spouting their opinions as advice…er, I mean, before they listen to the Holy Ghost telling them what to say. There’s no predictable mode of operation. Leaders responsible for counsel and for church discipline are not trained for their positions, not even a little. But if the church had paid local clergy like they do at the upper levels, and believe me they CAN afford it, they could begin to solve a lot of problems, starting with child abuse.

ETA: Fellow ExMo and blogger Curmudgeon wrote about this very topic. Don't miss his post!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guest Post

I met Daniel when I was a freshmen at BYU. We’ve recently reconnected via Facebook. I was so impressed with his response to the recent announcement from the LDS church that I asked him to write a guest post. Daniel’s blog can be found here. And you can see some of his FANTASTIC artwork here.

Salt Lake City just passed an ordinance that protects gay people from being fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes simply because they are gay. In an unprecedented move, an official spokesman supported the ordinance on behalf of the LDS Church before city council. This is an important ordinance--I know because I live in Utah, and I am frequently scared that I could be fired from my job or kicked out of my apartment because I am gay. Don't believe it happens? Think again.
One of my friends was living in a privately owned apartment in Provo. The apartment complex as a whole was contracted with BYU. When BYU discovered that my friend was gay and had previously been in a relationship (he was, at the time, single and celibate), BYU called the apartment manager and forced the owner to evict him from his apartment.

I do appreciate the Church for standing up for this ordinance, though the ordinance would have passed with or without the Church's approval. I hope that this move will set an example for members of the LDS church and let them know that it's okay to support gay people and their rights in both the public and private sphere. Mormon friends, the stamp of approval is there--you can be a gay ally!
But as a whole, this small move is not enough. While it might make the Mormon Church appear moderate and reasonable, the reality is that the Church didn't make any concessions on this PR stunt. Case in point, the scenario involving my friend could still happen to me.

It's not just that the ordinance only applies to Salt Lake City and I live in Provo, though that is in and of itself significant. (Where was the LDS Church during the Common Ground Initiative when this very issue was brought before the State legislature?) Even if that same ordinance were passed in Provo, exemptions that the LDS church made sure were included in the ordinance would allow BYU to evict people from it's contracted housing even though it doesn't own that housing or collect rent from its tenants.

Says Michael Otterson, the official LDS spokesman, "In drafting this ordinance, the city has granted common-sense rights that should be available to everyone, while safeguarding the crucial rights of religious organizations — for example, in their hiring of people whose lives are in harmony with their tenets, or when providing housing for their university students and others that preserve religious requirements," he said. No wonder the LDS supported the ordinance! It seems they don't want anyone else to fire or evict gay people, as long as they still can.

As the Church stated, this ordinance protects common-sense rights. It shouldn't be significant that the Church stands up for common-sense rights, it should be a given. My head will turn when the Church stands up for equality and fairness even when it isn't obvious, and even when it means compromising previous positions that were discriminatory. And the opportunity for them to do that will come in the near future if they want to take it up, because as a gay Utah resident, my rights are still not protected. Equality for LGBT people isn't a reality yet.


Well, Duh

I am opposed to the nuking of unborn, gay whales.

I support initiatives to outlaw stealing candy from babies.

I think burning your neighbor's house to the ground is wrong.

I think poisoning kittens is mean.

I am opposed to tattooing "LOSER" on people's fore heads against their will.

I am against mandatory euthanasia of menopausal women.

I support minorities' right to breathe.

I believe all people should have the right to call rainbows "pretty."

I think cancer is bad.

I think only a vile group of people wouldn’t support a law to protect LGBT persons from housing and job discrimination and that it is absolutely not newsworthy to state your support of basic human decency (unless of course you’re pulling a PR stunt in a pathetic attempt to draw attention away from all the other shitty, anti-gay things you do).

Just sayin’.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This section will be added to over time. If you have a question you’d like answered please leave it in the comments.

Why do you call Adam your boyfriend/partner? I thought you guys were married.

Please see this post for an explanation.

Gay Marriage: The Debate Continues

I received the following comment on my last post about gay marriage.

I just have issues with the re-definition of marriage. You can say it "quacks" like a duck but really, it doesn't. Where do you draw the line? Should elementary and secondary school gym classes all shower together? Who has the right to tell a boy that he isn't a girl and so he isn't allowed to shower with the other girls? Marriage is between a man and a woman. I don't see why "gays" feel the need to redefine it? Make something else special and create a process for that. Call it "Euphoria" or what ever you want, but if you redefine marriage, then we should be able to call man-woman interactions gay (because according to you, we should be able to call anything whatever we want). Just a thought...

I’d like to address this very thoroughly…so here goes…

“I just have issues with the re-definition of marriage.”

Which one? The so called definition of marriage has changed countless times throughout history, as I pointed out already in my previous post. In fact, gay marriage is nothing new and has been practiced before modern times. So which cultural idea of marriage should we go back to? How about one in which women are property with no rights? How about one where parents arrange the marriage for their children. How about one in which divorce is illegal? Oh…wait. You mean you have issues with defining marriage as anything other than YOUR definition? I see.

Well, here’s how I define marriage:

Marriage is a social union or legal contract between individuals that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged by a variety of ways, depending on the culture or demographic. (via Wikipedia)

Huh. That definition says nothing about the sex of the parties entering into the marriage agreement. How ‘bout that? If you ask me, I’d say it’s a step forward for a culture to re-define it’s notions about marriage to benefit its citizens, to be more accepting and inclusive, and to provide further protection for peoples who have been, up to that point, without those protections. I think it’s just dandy that people finally came to their senses and realized “hey, maybe women are people after all” and changed marriage laws accordingly. I think it would be just dandy if we did the same for gays too.

But props to you for being honest. I agree, you do have issues. And since I’m not you nor your psychiatrist I can only guess at what those issues may be. However, you have the power to ask yourself and find out. Why do you have issues? Why does it bother you so damn much that gays who enter into a social union or legal contract that creates kinship call it the same thing you call your social union or legal contract that creates kinship? Are you sure you aren’t biased? Are you sure your issues aren’t with gays rather then semantics? Because I’m having a hard time seeing why, if you don’t have issues with gays you have issues with the semantics.

“You can say it "quacks" like a duck but really, it doesn't.”

Oh really? Two people fall in love, get engaged, get married, maybe expand their family with children, live together, celebrate anniversaries, take care of each other in sickness and health, for richer or poorer as long as they both shall live. Quack! Quack!

Oh…wait…they don’t have sex like you do! Uh-oh! Well, never mind then. Clearly sex is what defines a marriage. While we’re on the subject, what do you think about attacking other people’s marriages based on their sex lives? We could put cameras in peoples bedrooms and anybody we catch doing things considered improper in, oh, say…LDS culture, would have their marriage invalidated on the spot. So no oral sex, no viewing pornography, no mutual masturbation, and definitely no open marriages (regardless of whether it’s working for that couple).

That’s ridiculous you say? Why yes, yes it is. It is ridiculous for one group of people to throw their time and money extensively into a cause that takes away the civil right of civil marriage from couples who do not live up to their own notion of religious marriage. It is ridiculous to ignore all the similarities between one marriage between two loving, committed people and zero in on the sexual differences.

“Where do you draw the line? Should elementary and secondary school gym classes all shower together? Who has the right to tell a boy that he isn't a girl and so he isn't allowed to shower with the other girls?”

Yikes! That’s one big, ugly red herring you’ve got there! Let’s feed it to the logic shark shall we?

First off, we’re talking about gay adults entering into legal and social agreements, not children in gym class. Second, even if we were talking about children in gym class I think you might benefit from reading up on the differences between homosexuality and transexuality because you seem to be mixing them up. Gay boys do not think they are girls. Third this almighty “line” you mention? It gets drawn one law and one policy at a time. The gay marriage laws/policies are about gay marriage. They wont magically jump into schools and force changes there. You’re fear mongering. Fourth, are there really schools that still have group showers for gym kids? Seriously? My school didn’t even have showers for us period. And fifth and finally, putting aside reason for a moment, lets pretend calling gay marriage “marriage” somehow creates the unlikely scenario you’ve tossed into your comment. Here’s an easy solution: make private showers. It’d be better for everybody and would certainly cut down on a lot of anxiety, body shame, and hazing (that happens regardless of sexual orientation).

“Marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Except, you know, when it’s not. But I’ve already addressed that once in this post and once in my last post. But the point I’ve been trying to make, and maybe you missed it, is that civil marriage is what society says it is. So how about we start being more inclusive and less homophobic and worry about our own damn marriages instead of everybody else's?

“I don't see why "gays" feel the need to redefine it?”

That’s because it seems that you haven’t truly put yourself in their shoes in an effort to treat them as you would like to be treated. Try it sometime, empathy is fantastic. I promise, trying to understand gays won’t make you gay. And you know what? I’ll help you out…read on:

Your purposed solution to the gay marriage issue is “make something else special and create a process for that. Call it "Euphoria" or what ever you want.” Really? Call it whatever they want? How about “marriage?” Oh wait..

You said you don’t see why gays feel the need to use the word “marriage.” Stop. Think. Think hard. You said you don’t see why gays feel the need to use the word “marriage”…within an argument all about how you don’t want them to use the word. You’re basically saying “hey! I care about this word and don’t like how you’re using it! You should just stop caring about this word so I can be in charge of what it means and how it is used! That’d be great! Thanks!” Clearly words mean a lot to you (they mean MILLIONS of dollars to certain groups of people…*cough cough Mormons cough cough*). Now, tell me again that you don’t understand why they matter to someone else?

Let’s make up a dorky name for YOUR marriage…”Euphoria” is already taken so how about “Blissisitude” or “Blissyness.” I like “Blissyness,” let’s go with that. How would you feel if I called your marriage a “Blissyness” and your spouse your partner?  Everybody else gets to call their marriage a marriage, but not you. Now, be honest, that wouldn’t bother you? Put yourself in their shoes.*

Ask a Latter-day Saint how they feel when others say “you’re not Christian!” They’ll often say “Yes we are! We believe in Jesus Christ! We believe he’s our savior! His name is in the title of our church!” The naysayers argue back “well…you don’t believe in the Nicene creed!” Or…in other words Mormons don’t fit the mainstream’s definition of “Christian.” I don’t think you really need me to point out the parallels there.

Now, tell me why you don’t see why words matter? They sure as hell seem to matter to you.

“but if you redefine marriage, then we should be able to call man-woman interactions gay (because according to you, we should be able to call anything whatever we want). Just a thought...”

Just an illogical thought. I’m going to outline a basic logical premise for you.

If all dogs are mammals. Are all mammals dogs? No. Just because A = B does not mean B = A. If all dogs are mammals. And all dogs have paws. Do all mammals have paws? No (for example, whales or humans do not). Just because A = B and A = C does not mean B =C. Is that clear?

  • A “marriage”
  • B word
  • C definition that changes based on culture

A = B. A = C. That does not mean B = C.

So no, not according to me do I think we can call heterosexual relationships “gay” and be accurate. But thanks for putting those words in my mouth. They were yummy. And by yummy I mean “bitter and illogical.” Same difference.

I’ve been pretty rough on you, or rough on your comment at least. Anonymous comments get treated a certain way ‘round here. If you don’t respect your opinion enough to put your name on it, then why should I respect your opinion? I point this out because I want my readers to know that should they want to leave comments I’ll try to play nicely, assuming they’re brave enough to own their words. I say that as a person who, when I was still a believer, DID put my name on my comments when I (and I’m not proud of this) when I defended Prop H8. I did it, but it terrified me. So I understand why you might not be willing to do the same. I would just like to say that if you’re not willing to link your name with your beliefs on the matter then please ask yourself why that is. Is it because you’re chicken? Or is it maybe because they don’t quite ring true with what’s in your heart?

Think about it.

*From now on I’ll be referring to all marriages as relationships/domestic partnerships/etc. and all husbands/wives/spouses as boyfriends/girlfriends/partners. If gays shouldn’t care what those things are called then certainly straight people shouldn’t either. Right? I wonder how long it will take before someone is offended…

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some Common Arguments Against Gay Marriage

I know I talk about this a lot. But I think about it a lot. Why? Maybe because I’ve always obsessed over what I find to be unjust. Or maybe because I’m trying to make up for lost time. But I feel the need to address it again. This time I’d like to list some common arguments against gay marriage, or against its supporters and my responses.

“I’m OK with domestic partnerships. Just don’t call it marriage.”

If it looks like a marriage. And it acts like a marriage. And it gets benefits like a marriage. And it quacks like a marriage. Then why the hell can’t we call it a marriage?

If you aren't prejudiced against gays, why do you seem to think it demeans your marriage to have it described using the same word? I guess my point is two-fold. First, if you don't have a problem with gays why do you care if they use the same word you do to describe their monogamous relationships? Second, if you do admit you have a problem with gays {maybe because your religious belief prescribes such} why do you have a problem with gays using the same word you do to describe their monogamous relationships? I don't approve of abusive relationships, but I don't in any way feel threatened by them being called marriages. It says nothing about me or my marriage.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s just what it is! You can’t change the definition.”

Why not? We’ve been changing the definition for millennia. Marriage is between one man and one woman…except when it’s between one man and several women, or one man and two women and some handmaidens too, or one woman and a couple men, or even marriage between a man and a man. Yes, that’s right. Same-sex marriage isn’t new.

“The Bible says homosexuality is an abomination.”

Why would anyone even use this argument anymore? Look, unless you’ve sworn off shellfish, are OK with slavery, want to outlaw divorce, and think it’s a great idea to follow EVERY rule in the Bible then you’re picking and choosing. Picking and choosing isn’t a bad idea. The Old Testament is filled with all kinds of crazy, awful shit {in fact reading it helped lead me to question and ultimately leave the Mormon church}. So please, pick and choose! But how about you try picking the parts that say love your neighbor, not the parts that say stick your nose into his business and tell him he can’t marry the man he loves?

Also, I don’t believe in your Bible anymore than I believe in the Siddhartha, or Dianetics, or the Iliad. And I sure as hell don’t want you making laws for me and my friends based on any of those religious texts. Let’s make laws based on group ethics, logic, and tolerance instead of superstition religious belief please.

Also, what about churches that do condone same-sex marriage? Why does your religious belief get to pre-empt their own?

“Gays and their supporters hate us. They’re bigots for calling us bigots. We don’t hate anybody. We’re not bigots. They’re boycotting us and blacklisting us.”

Well these guys are bigots. And so were these guys. “But I’m not like them!” That’s great. It’s really awesome that you don’t go around beating gays to death. But stop and think for a minute. Here’s a community of people who are all too familiar with being hated, most often by the religious. And then you come along and support the same initiatives that people like that would support. Is it really that surprising they think you hate them? You’re playing for the same team of people that do hate them, virulently. If you’ve ever found yourself thinking “I don’t want to support a group of people who can hate me so much, and call me names, and who can act like gays acted in the Prop 8 backlash” I have to ask…why can you support the aims of groups who act the way anti-gays do? Why do you base your support of a cause on the understandably emotional outbursts of a hurt minority instead of the merits of their argument? And why so much focus on the No on 8 group’s behavior? Were they the only ones behaving poorly? People act regrettably when they’re upset {even the police aren’t above reproach}. But that’s not a reason to pick sides, especially since you’d have to pick nobody’s side.

And why on earth is there all this anger about boycotts? Boycotts are nothing new. I boycott Nestle because I don’t like what they do. Will my boycotting change their behavior? Well, decades of boycott haven’t so far. But I’m still gonna do it because I’m speaking with my money. I’m saying “I don’t approve” with my wallet. To me, boycotts, like flag burning, are a form of speech, protected speech. And I will defend your right to boycott anyone you feel deserves it. LGBT persons and their straight allies are well within their rights to boycott supporters of legislation that they find reprehensible and hurtful. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You are every bit as entitled to your opinion that homosexuality is wrong and you are free to donate your time and money to enforce that opinion. But you are not entitled to be free from accusations of prejudice for doing so.

Let’s look at the word hate and the word bigot. First “hate.”

  • dislike intensely; feel antipathy or aversion towards; "I hate Mexican food"; "She detests politicians"
  • the emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action
  • Hatred (or hate) is a word that describes the intense feelings of dislike. It can be used in a wide variety of contexts, from hatred of inanimate objects (e.g. vegetables, bicycles, tables, chairs, etc...) to hatred of other people, or even entire groups of people.
  • hated - despised: treated with contempt {emphasis mine}

From where LGTB persons (and us, their supporters) stand we see a group of people so opposed to gays and having so little sympathy for gays {aka antipathy} that they felt it demanded the action of changing the California constitution {in the case of Prop 8} to outlaw them marrying each other. Their love for each other has been deemed contemptible and not worthy of protection.

Now, “bigot.”

  • a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own
  • one who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; one who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion ...
  • bigoted - blindly and obstinately attached to some creed or opinion and intolerant toward others; "a bigoted person"; "an outrageously bigoted point of view"
  • bigoted - Being a bigot; biased; strongly prejudiced; forming opinions without just cause {emphasis mine}

From where LGTB persons (and us, their supporters) stand we see a group of people so intolerantly devoted to their own opinions and religions that they legislated those opinions in a way that forces other families to submit to them without just cause {not without cause, but without what I think is just cause as evidenced by this post rejecting the supposed reasons for outlawing gay marriage}.

We’re just calling them like we see them. Frankly, I’d rather be called a bigot for hating what I view as bigotry then be called a bigot for supporting causes that hurt real people {and more than just their feelings}.

And if it’s not hate, what is it? What is it that could inspire you to stick your nose in other people’s families and legislate love? Fear? Would you prefer being called homophobes? I doubt it. Is it because your religious leaders told you to? Would you prefer being called obedient drones? I doubt it. Prove to us it’s not hate. Show us an argument against gay marriage that actually makes sense and isn’t based on fear or religious belief and maybe we’ll stop thinking you have a thing against gays.

What if it were me? What if I was your friend and I told you I was a lesbian? Would you still have voted to keep me from marrying the person I loved? What if it were your son, or your daughter? Is your precious “definition” worth enough to you that you’d rather protect it then protect them? If yes, then that seems like hate to me. If no, then why on earth are you doing it to other people’s friends, and daughters, and sisters, and mothers, and brothers, and uncles, and sons, and grandmothers? These are REAL people. And this is REALLY important to them. They can’t just forget this and move on after the election is over because every day they’re reminded by society that their love isn’t valued by their neighbors and coworkers. Every day that they go home to their ‘boyfriend,’ or their ‘domestic partner’ they’re reminded that people around them find their relationship unworthy of the word ‘marriage’ because they aren’t heterosexual. So while you go home to your husband or wife and all the legal and social respect and protection that comes with those words they don’t. Please don’t forget that. Please remember that next time you just can’t understand why they think you hate them.

“It’s not the same as interracial marriage. Gay is a choice, being black isn’t.”

Oh really? “Well, OK. Maybe people are born with gay feelings, but they still choose to act upon them!” Yes, that’s right. Just like YOU choose to act upon your straight feelings. Just like you chose to marry the person you married because that was who YOU loved. You could have chosen not to. You could have chosen to marry someone else, or to not marry at all. But you didn’t. You loved who you loved and you married them. You didn’t have to ask for society’s permission. And I’m betting very few {if any} gay couples would have wanted to deny you that special day and that special commitment you made to each other. So why do you feel the need to prohibit other people’s choices? So you're against gay marriage? Don’t have one.

“I don’t want schools teaching my kids gay marriage is OK.”

*head desk*

Look, first off…government schools teach government values. End of story. They teach that drugs are bad, acceptance is good, and that the founding fathers were all freaking heroes to be worshipped {never mind their imperfections}. I promise, every school in this nation is teaching kids something that their parents don’t like. Some teach abstinence only sex ed, which I find irresponsible. But it’s impossible to create a curriculum that will please everybody. So your options are either homeschool your kid or make sure you teach them your know, parent them? If my daughter goes to a school that teaches abstinence only you know what I’ll do? I’ll teach her about safe sex myself. You know what I won’t do? I won’t fund or support a campaign to outlaw the marriages of couples who haven’t had sex before their wedding night.

That said…this is a fear-creating argument not particularly based in reality.

“Marriage isn’t a civil right.”

Oh, OK then. So then if a majority votes to say you can’t get married you’d be cool with that? I guess it’s easy to decide something isn’t a right when you’ve already got one and it’s not under attack.

What is a civil right? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Protection from discrimination? Is marriage a civil right? Yes. I say it is. Civil marriage is a civil right. Gays have every right to pursue happiness as married, stable couples who are not discriminated against based on their sex or sexuality. By all means, don’t let them marry in your church or your temple if your religion is all hetero all the time. And don’t try to sell me that crap about the government forcing churches to marry gay couples against their beliefs. Last I checked Mormons weren’t forced to marry inter-ratial couples in the temple {nor are Mormons in Canada, where gay marriage is legal nationally, being forced to marry gays}. Protection for religion is built into the American Constitution. I promise, it’s not going anywhere any time soon. And I promise, by extending more freedom and respect and protection to gays you won’t be giving away yours no matter what the fear-mongers try to tell you.

And if civil marriage is a civil right then the majority, no matter how big, should never be allowed to vote it away from the minority.

I LOVE Stephen Colbert and other links

Hello! I’m busy writing my heart out for NaNoWriMo. But I’ll try to keep the blog posts coming as well. That said, I just watched part of last night’s episode of The Colbert Report. I laughed so hard. It was one of my favorite Colbert moments thus far. What was it about? It was about the kissing incident in Salt Lake City a while back. If you have a minute WATCH THE VIDEO. :) You can read an article about the segment here.

Here’s an article about an atheist bus ad that will be displayed in Seattle.

Also, please consider forgoing the pizza this weekend, or your latte and send that money to Jaeli’s family instead. Jaeli is a very sick baby girl. She has violent reactions to anything other than breastmilk and Jaeli’s mom needs help purchasing milk from the milk bank to keep her little girl alive. Giving about five dollars will purchase about an ounce of breastmilk.

ETA: If you're looking for another good cause to give to 8: The Mormon Proposition (a documentary coming out next year) is looking for financial help.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I’m really proud of the costume I made for my daughter. So please go check it out and feed my ego by telling me how purely awesome I am. :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Around The Web

This article about the church’s history of racism in relation to the recent statements from Oaks is an interesting read.

So is this article about the National Organization for Marriage, money, and Maine. In a nutshell the NOM doesn’t want to reveal who their donors are because complying with the law requiring they do so is “oppressive” and will threaten free speech. Ha-ha. I think what they mean is it will force people to own up to their speech. Seems their donors don’t want to come out of the closet and admit their bias against LGBTQ persons. Maybe they’re ashamed of their bigotry? Or maybe they’re just loser-chickens who want to be able to talk with their money in a way that hurts others but that won’t hurt them by causing them to actually face the consequences of people knowing they're asshats. In my opinion Maine voters have a right to know who’s trying to influence their laws. I don’t like these secret combinations if you know what I mean.

I just have to throw in this quote before I close:

"Fred Karger's claims are just - in a word - silly," says Brian Brown, Executive Director for the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage. "We've not received any contributions from the Mormon Church, and even if we had, every religious group has the right to donate to NOM just as they have the right to donate to other groups that stand up for issues that they believe in."

Really, not any contributions at all? Hmmmm…I find that hard to believe. But I guess we’ll find out for sure once the NOM starts obeying the law. When they do I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say. In the meantime read the articles for yourself. They’re not too long and they’re pretty interesting!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Temples and Taxes

I read this interesting article about Temples in England and how they are not tax exempt. It’s a short read, but presents an interesting perspective on LDS Temples. The article claims that only 30% of church membership pays a full tithe (a requisite to enter the temple). I have no idea if that statistic is right, but I can tell you this, if it is I never had a clue. As a believer I would have been shocked if you told me that…in fact, I would have been shocked if the numbers were reversed and 30% didn’t pay a full tithe. I was operating under the assumption that almost all my fellow members were paying full tithes. I certainly was. To not pay a full tithe was to “rob God” while paying a full tithe insured protection, temple “worthiness” and financial stability. Yes, that’s right. I was taught that no matter how little money I was trying to get by on (and as a college student, it wasn’t much) if I paid my tithing everything would magically work out. And by “magically work out” I guess they meant “not work out without taking upon me tens of thousands of dollars of student debt.” Whatever, close enough. {insert big eye roll here}

Anyway, it’s an interesting article. Go read it. Or, ya know, don’t. Use your “free agency” and decide for yourself. ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Guest Post

Today (and tomorrow) I’m a guest blogger on Godless Blogger. Don’t miss it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Apologies

Look at me, all “I’m gonna post more!” and then I leave you hanging. Sorry. See, I’ve got this miniature person in my house. She’s adorable as all get out, but not entirely supportive of my writing hobby-but-god-I-wish-it-was-a-paid-career. It’s probably because she can’t read. That and she can’t wipe her own bum and dirty diapers definitely come before blog posts.

Also, a lot of people have beaten me to the punch on writing about Holland’s general conference talk and now I’m not as interested in tackling it. I did watch it. I have thoughts about it. But they’ve been said. In a nutshell? It was an emotional, thought-stopping mess riding the line between uninformed and downright dishonest. But the membership loved it. Apparently all it takes to do a good talk is use a prop (which, interestingly, the members are discouraged from doing in their own talks – nothing like leading by example) and get emotional. Sometimes I think public speaking should be a required class in high school…

Anyway, I’ve got to write two guest posts today. So I’ll just leave you with this trailer for a documentary I’m very interested in seeing. Also, I’m working on a glossary for this blog. So if you have questions about words, ideas, or whatever that you’d like some clarification on just leave a comment.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Persecution Complex

You know, LDS Church leaders are giving me more material than I can keep up with. I still have two more General Conference talks I want to address but the stupid just keeps coming and now I also have a recent talk Dallin H. Oaks gave at BYU-I to discuss (plus the proxy baptism and marriage of a Catholic Saint and more journal posts to do}. I really don’t think I can address all this in a timely manner but I just have to say something about this ridiculousness from Oaks who said:

It is important to note that while this aggressive intimidation in connection with the Proposition 8 election was primarily directed at religious persons and symbols, it was not anti-religious as such. These incidents were expressions of outrage against those who disagreed with the gay-rights position and had prevailed in a public contest. As such, these incidents of “violence and intimidation” are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic. In their effect they are like the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.

Oh. my. god. Google.

This is *not* a joke. He actually had the audacity to compare Prop8 backlash (boycotts, protests, and some vandalism*) to the intimidation blacks and white allies faced during the civil rights movement. Hah! Coming from a church with a questionable history regarding persons of color I’m surprised he’s comparing themselves to the *victims* of the civil rights movement, and not the oppressors. But you know, I could spend all day going back on forth on whether the church was really racist or not {hint: as an institution, yes}. But what I really want to talk about is this:

You won {for now}. Your billions of dollars and your preaching and your volunteers and all your efforts to pass Prop 8 succeeded. You stripped the civil right to civil marriage from gays in California. So stop acting so damn persecuted because those of us who don’t feel threatened by our neighbor's love lives aren’t pleased about it.

You can’t make us agree with you.

People can boycott, and badmouth all they want because, thus far, you haven’t stripped that right from them. YOU decided it’d be a good idea to send a letter out to your membership mandating they give their support to the Prop 8 cause. They obeyed. Now own your actions, consequences and all. You sound, at best, absolutely silly whining about how persecuted Mormons are because people are pissed off at them, because people tried to deter the passing of Prop 8. You want to know what persecution looks like?

How about getting the shit pounded out of you for being gay?

As a friend of mine on Facebook pointed out, Mormons have their religious rights protected. It’s built right into the constitution. And despite Oak’s fear-mongering that isn’t about to change. But guess what guys, you don’t have the right to be above criticism, boycotts, or similar actions. Believe whatever the hell you want. But just because your opinions and worldviews are based on faith and scriptures they are no more immune to attack than opinions based on political ideologies, scientific theories, or bedtime stories. YOU may say God agrees with you. YOU may think we should all agree too. But WE think you’re delusional/homophobic/etc. But by all means…whine about how unfair it is for us to say so.

Complain about how it’s so unfair for people to boycott Prop 8 supporters (but it’s totally cool to fund Prop 8). Complain about how unfair it is for people to say you’re bigots (but it’s totally cool to preach that gays are sinners). Complain about how you’re the poor, pathetic victims of the big, bad, bully minorities (LGBT).

You do that.

I’ll be over here at my computer…laughing my ass off…

…Or crying. Whichever.

*Vandalism ain’t cool guys. Find another way to protest. Just sayin’.


Former LDS President Ezra Taft Benson was known in the 1950s and '60s for referring to the "so-called civil-rights movement" as a communist plot, said American history scholar D. Michael Quinn, a gay former Mormon. {via The Salt Lake Tribune}


Just a reminder...Oaks is the same guy who suggest parents refuse to let their gay children bring their partners home for the holidays or introduce them to their friends. I've mentioned that before.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day and I’m “coming out” as a straight ally. I live in Canada now {and I love it}. But I haven’t forgotten that my GLBT friends in my home country {the United States} are still not equal in the eyes of the law. Civil marriage should be a civil right throughout the United States. GLBT persons should be able to serve openly in the military. GLBT persons should not have to hide who they are. They should not have to fear for their jobs, or their safety. They should not have to be defined by their sexuality anymore than a straight person is defined by hers. They are not stereotypes. They are people, real people, people you know, people you work with, people you love…people who should not be treated differently because of who they love.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Arm Yourself

This was written by Adam and posted elsewhere {the context isn’t all that important}. I thought it was really great and wanted to share it here.

The bottom line is that I just don't think that Religion and Reality coincide. How many times have you thought to yourself, "Gee, I really wish God hadn't set things up so that they look like a hoax." I would read the Book of Mormon and say "I wish God hadn't included so many references to things we can't find any archaeological evidence of." "I wish God hadn't changed the Lamanites’ DNA so it looks like they migrated from Asia ten thousand years ago."

Eventually, those things add up. You keep coming across pieces of information that don't fit, and you say "I don't know what to do with this, but I know that what I have is true, so I won't worry about this new information." It's like doing a crossword puzzle. If you get a word wrong near the start, you start having to think harder and harder to force other words to fit in. Eventually, you get to a word that you know the answer to, but it doesn't fit with what you've got. In Mormonism, the approach is to discard the word, assuming that there is some synonym that you don't know. "We'll find more archaeological evidence later that shows that there really WAS ____(Horses, Barley, Steel, Armies of millions dying in one place)."

But at some point, the cognitive dissonance adds up. You have to re-evaluate your initial assumptions. You have to say "what if that first word I put in was incorrect?" I've had a few members tell me that they ask this question constantly, and keep finding the same answer. I would have said I did that too. I was wrong. I had questioned my faith, but I had never really ASKED and looked for all possible answers. So I went back to my crossword puzzle, and I said "What if that first word was really *this synonym* instead?" And you know what? Now all the words start fitting.

The reason archaeological evidence directly contradicts the Book of Mormon account? I used to say God is testing our faith, and the evidence that will support the Book of Mormon has yet to emerge. Now I say the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction. It fits better.

The reason BILLIONS of people worldwide have spiritual experiences that lead them in directions other than towards the church? I used to say they were being led towards small nuggets of truth that exist in other religions, or that they were being caught up in emotional fervor, and mistaking it for the spirit. Now I say that the same is true for members of the church. A Pentecostal feels the rapture coming and is CERTAIN that Christ will take her. A Terrorist straps a bomb to himself and is CERTAIN that Allah will accept him. A Mormon reads the Book of Mormon and is CERTAIN God is telling him it's true. Is there really a difference? Can you compare your experience to that of someone else and say that yours is stronger? That yours is truer? That they are being emotionally misled, but you are immune to that? The simpler explanation is that this is a common human trait. When we hear a story about unfairness, we feel angry. When we hear a romantic story we feel romantic. When we hear a spiritual story we feel spiritual. Paul H Dunn has shown us by example that the story need not be True to make people feel "the spirit" and be convinced.
After I decided that there were too many coincidences to ignore, too many stretched explanations to replace one beautifully simple one, many things started to click into place.

"Aha!" I said. "THAT's why the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew doesn't match the 3rd Nephi versions of the same sermon! Either Jesus gave the JST version in Jerusalem, then it got mistranslated to EXACTLY MATCH the DIFFERENT version he gave to the Nephites, (in which case, if it was good enough for the Nephites, why did it need to be fixed in the Bible?), or Jesus gave the Jerusalem version in both places (in which case the JST is incorrect), or Jesus gave the Nephite version in both places (in which case the BoM is incorrect). The simpler explanation? Joseph Smith didn't think of the JST until after he had written the BoM, and forgot to make them match.
And why do Egyptologists unanimously disagree with the Egyptian translations Joseph gave of the Papyri? Mysteries of the Kingdom? No. Joseph didn't speak Egyptian.

And there are dozens more: The Hoffman documents, The Kinderhook Plates, the sexual scandals (I was never taught about Joseph's other wives: he had 27, several of which were already married at the time. And yes, he consummated). There is just a TON of stuff that doesn't fit into "The Church is True" conclusion, so the church tells you to avoid it. “Don't read anti-Mormon propaganda, it is lies crafted to deceive you.”

“If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak.” —Journal of Discourses, George A. Smith

"Convince us of our errors of Doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the Word of God and we will ever be grateful for the information and you will ever have the pleasing reflections that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings."
- Orson Pratt, The Seer, pp 15-16, (1853).

"Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground."

- Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol 1, Page 188-189
If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed."

- J. Reuben Clark, D. Michael Quinn, J. Reuben Clark: The Church Years. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1983, p. 24.
"Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing."

- Gordon B. Hinckley. "Loyalty," April Conference, 2003.

Have you taken Hinckley up on his challenge? I did. It's true: there is no middle ground. I don't hold a grudge against those who investigate and still believe - that is your prerogative, but I think that it is intellectually dishonest. I do however prompt people to do the investigating. You don't even have to look at anti-Mormon materials, just go to Wikipedia. All sources are cited, and almost all of the sources are from within the church. Check, look at Joseph's marriages. Look up some of Joseph's prophecies. Read about Brigham Young.

If knowledge is power, you need to arm yourself.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We Know Because We Know

As promised, here are more of my thoughts on the talk Elder Hales gave in General Conference.

After spouting off as fact what he thinks of atheists/atheism* Hales goes on to discuss knowledge, sort of. Let’s begin with a quote:

We know He {Jesus} lives because we believe the testimony of His ancient and living prophets, we have felt God’s spirit confirm that the testimonies of these prophets are true. {emphasis mine}

So…in other words he knows because he believes because he has a feeling?

Maybe I’m being nitpicky here, but to me that seems an abuse of the word “know.” I know my name is Holly because it says so on my birth certificate. I know I like pumpkin pie because I’ve tasted it myself. I know a lot of things based on personal experience and evidence, not feelings. Here’s a man telling millions of people he knows when what he really means is he believes, he feels, he trusts the scriptures and other church leaders. Of course, there are plenty of his followers who honestly believe he’s seen the resurrected Christ with his own eyes and really does KNOW. Of course that would be too sacred an event for him to disclose to anybody {how convenient} despite the fact that biblical prophets and apostles were always going about telling people God/Jesus had appeared to them. In fact, so did Joseph Smith…

Hales then talks a little bit about Joseph Smith who he says was called to prepare the way for Jesus' second coming. He doesn’t point out that Joseph Smith said he expected that second coming to happen within 56 years but hey, even prophets make mistakes.* Then he shares the church’s favorite version of the first vision story. And goes on to say, again, that you can know the church is true because…wait for it…

We told you so.

Yup, God is real and the church is true because prophets say so in General Conference. But then, the crazy guy on the street corner with the cardboard sign says the same thing so who’s to be believed?

Hales says you can trust the Holy Ghost. In other words, if you ever get warm fuzzies or strong feelings that’s the Holy Ghost telling you what the Church teaches is true. And that’s how you know. And oh boy, do we run into problems with this principle. In fact, this is probably the principle that most contributed to our exit from Mormonism.

Aside from the fact that it’s kind of manipulative to interpret people’s feelings for them {e.g. “those warm fuzzies you’re feeling are God telling you we’re telling the truth!”} it’s also irresponsible and downright silly to tell people because they feel something it is in fact true. As Adam often puts it:

A Pentecostal feels the rapture coming and is CERTAIN that Christ will take her. A Terrorist straps a bomb to himself and is CERTAIN that Allah will accept him. A Mormon reads the Book of Mormon and is CERTAIN God is telling him it's true. Is there really a difference?

Once Adam and I were willing to honestly ask ourselves that last question “is there really a difference,” once we were able to bring ourselves to wonder “could these feelings be, well, just feelings?” that is when everything came apart.

Hales then goes on to say that the Holy Ghost won’t testify to you if you’re skeptical. Yup, that’s right. God hates critical thinking. So you’d better suspend it. Don’t use your brain. Just wait for the warm fuzzies and we’ll tell you what they mean.

I don’t know if Hales realizes how dishonest his talk was. He may very well believe every word he said. But I find the talk not only offensive but illogical and deceitful as well {whether intended or not}. He’s a man in a position of power telling those beneath him that they shouldn’t think, they should feel and that those feelings can be trusted as being from God. He’s telling millions that they should believe because Joseph Smith said so, or because Thomas S. Monson said so. He paints critical thinking as something dirty and then frightens these people into line by telling them if they think too much then God won’t talk to them anymore {very loving fellow, this God} and that without God they’ll live meaningless, purposeless, and altogether crappy lives.

And I feel that that is reprehensible.

*Of course, the apologists would say he was just "speaking as a man” not as a prophet, which is the same thing they’ll say in response to any of the crazy shit Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, etc. said.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Darkness of Secularism

I don’t watch General Conference anymore {obviously}. But I hear things, both from fellow ex-Mormons who attend due to family pressure and from believers attending in faith. So when I caught wind of Elder Hale’s talk discussing atheism I was not exactly a happy camper. I may or may not have called him names on Facebook. I knew I wanted to write more thoughtfully about the whole thing {without the impulsive name calling} so I went ahead and watched the talk myself. It isn’t fair to criticize that which I haven’t given due diligence researching. You can be bored by be angered by watch it yourself here {it was in the Saturday PM session}.

Right out of the gate Hales is off and running with an attack on atheism. He uses loaded language like "the darkness of secularism.” There is nothing dark about secularism. The most basic meaning of the word refers to anything not being directly related to religion, so driving your car, doing your laundry, or playing ski-ball all qualify. What Hales may have been getting at was “the darkness” of secular humanism, which “is a humanist philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, and specifically rejects the supernatural and the spiritual as the basis of moral reflection and decision-making. Like other types of humanism, secular humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead good, happy and functional lives.” Yup, gotta watch out for reason, ethics and justice…they’re bad ya’all.

Hales then says

Without God life would end at the grave. And our mortal experiences would have no purpose. Growth and progress would be temporary; accomplishments without value, challenges without meaning. There would be no ultimate right or wrong, no moral responsibility to care for one another as fellow children of God. Indeed, without God no immortality or eternal life.

Holy Secular $#*^! Where do I begin? Let’s start with the {unoriginal} criticisms myths of non-belief.

Myth: Life is meaningless without God.

Unless you’ve lived a life without belief I really don’t think you’re qualified to tell me it’s meaningless, especially because, guess what, it’s not. Just because I don’t have a supernatural parent assigning meaning to my life doesn’t mean I’m incapable of finding or forging my own. Same goes for having purpose. I’m very happy determining my purpose in life {raising my daughter to be happy and good, loving and supporting my life-partner, fighting to make the world better and more beautiful, etc.}. And I don’t need geriatrics to assign a one size fits all purpose for me thankyouverymuch.

Myth: Without God people have no morals.

Please. That line may work on people who don’t have any atheist friends but it won’t work {I hope} on anyone who actually knows an atheist. I certainly hope my friends know I’m not running around eating babies, stealing cars, or cheating on my husband {my life isn’t that exciting, guys}. I still give to charity, strive for honesty {unless you ask me if that dress makes you look fat}, and try to do what is right and good. And I do it because it’s right, not because God told me to, not because God told me if I really loved him I would {manipulative parenting much?}, not because I’m afraid I’ll go to hell if I don’t. However, if by morality you mean not drinking coffee, not watching R rated movies, and not speaking ill of the Lord’s anointed then, OK, you’ve got me. I’m a sinner first class.

Let’s move on. Hales talks about how there is no ultimate wrong or right without God. What he fails to mention is that there isn’t an ultimate right or wrong with God either. Mormonism {any religion really} is full of contradictions in morality that make that perfectly clear. It’s wrong to murder…unless it’s a drunk guy that’s passed out in the street and he has something you really, really want and God tells you to do it. It’s wrong to have more than one wife…unless God tells you to do it. And so on. And frankly, I admit it…I don’t believe in ultimate wrong or right. I believe in shades of grey. I believe it’s wrong to lie, but if I had to lie to save my daughter’s life I’d sure as hell do it.

Hales also says that without God life would end at the grave, there would be no eternal life. Of course, he says that under the assumption that there IS a god and there will be eternal life. I believe there is no god and no life after death. If I’m right then believing otherwise won’t make it so. I’d also like to point out that believing this is all there is has actually added meaning to my life. I strive to extract every last ounce of joy and purpose from my time on earth because I know it’s limited rather than wasting my days looking forward to a celestial future that won’t come.

I have more to say about this talk. And there’s another talk by someone else that I think I’ll need to address. But this post is long enough. So, for now, that’s all. I’m going to go have a baby sandwich. ;)

A Fearless Champion of Truth!

The following was written by my fellow ExMo and friend, Devin Z.

Have I ever told you about my experience with Telus (a Canadian phone company)? A couple of years ago we lived in Grande Prairie. We thought we were going to live there forever – most definitely a long time. So we went ahead and signed a long term contract for our Internet use, and in exchange we would receive a free computer. Telus had a deal with Dell, and we went through the motions to get our computer. However, after a month of waiting our computer never arrived. There was some error in the order. So again, we went through the motions to get a computer – another wait, and another failure. Three times is the charm? Not it case. We never received a computer.
It didn’t take us too long to realize Grande Prairie was a mistake for our family, and we started our preparations to move. I called Telus several times in this moving process and confirmed that we wouldn’t have to pay to get out of our contract because we were moving to an area without high speed Internet, and we had never received a computer. However, when the time came to move we were told that it was our fault for never getting the computer; Dell had charged Telus for the computer, and they were going to recover that charge through us.
I was pissed!
Try as I might, complain as I did, there was no way for us to avoid the charge, and I wasn’t about to have creditors chasing us down. It was money that we didn’t have. We were in the right unquestionably. If Telus didn’t have a virtual monopoly in rural Alberta, I wouldn’t drop a cent in their general direction. They have lost a customer forever.
It still makes me angry even though it has been a couple of years. It was only a few hundred dollars.
Now, imagine if you will that instead of being a few hundred dollars it was tens of thousands of dollars. And, instead of being just a business contract, it involved countless hours of all your time, talents, and energy. And then imagine how you must feel when you discover that that organization that you have freely given yourself to has lied, distorted the truth, manipulated you to believe in ideas that are provable falsehoods, and asked you to stake your personal integrity to witness for these “truths?”
My brother asks me: “Why is it that ex-Mormons seem to congregate to pull down their previous faith? I feel like you are included, but I thought you were above that?”
Here is the bind created by Mormon dogma: If I stay quiet, people will continue to fall prey to logical fallacies, emotional manipulation, and pseudoscience; if I take the time to speak the truth, Mormons believe that this is evidence that their church is true because “the wicked take the truth to be hard” or that obviously I have fallen prey to Satan’s influence.
Mormonism demands that its adherents are honest but then they are offended when we speak the truth. Mormonism stresses personal integrity but labels integrity a sin when a person leaves an organization that fraudulently misrepresented itself. Mormonism tells its followers to get an education but then silences those that learn something.
My own personal integrity says that I must speak out and warn those around me and maybe correct a problem that I contributed in perpetuating. It has nothing to do with spite or anger. And, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I would speak the truth. I was raised with the injunction to speak the truth and be honest in my dealings with my fellowman. My actions today stem from my unabashed pronouncement of belief despite my parents’ embarrassment in inappropriate situations or yelling out the windows to warn passersby’s of the evils of smoking. I am exactly what I was supposed to be – a fearless champion of truth!

So much of this could have been written by me, Adam, or a thousand other ex-Mormons. A big thank you to Devin for writing it so clearly and letting me share it here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I’m Supposed to Come Up With A Title

So, would it be weird if I wrote about stuff that has little to nothing to do with Mormonism?

Because I think I’d like a place where I feel like I can get into some really deep/thought provoking/etc. issues. And those kinds of things don’t always seem to fit on my other blog.

I’m not going to write anything like that tonight, because I’m tired and my brain feels broken. Just sayin’ I probably will in the future.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Journal Flashback May 6th. 2001

This is the first of many, planned posts featuring things I wrote in my journals as a Mormon. I’m starting with the earliest stuff and working my way forward. I’m not going to bother editing the spelling and such because 1. I don’t feel like it and 2. it’ll give us all something to laugh about. Just FYI, all these journal entries were written in the form of prayers to “Heavenly Father.” Anything in {brackets} is added content for clarification.

Here’s the first excerpt:

That’s why we are told to live like Him {Jesus Christ}. You would never ask us to do something we can’t. It makes me feel better about myself. I don’t need to worry about whether I can do well at school and in my career. If I’m following my calling You wont let me fail.

The very first thing I noticed about this entry was that, at the time, I still was planning and looking forward to having a career. This entry was written very shortly after getting involved with the Mormon church. I still didn’t know a lot about “the Gospel” and I still held a lot of my own opinions and dreams. I hadn’t yet made the switch from a career mindset to the SAHM mindset. I guess I didn’t see, yet, that “my calling” would be a one-size-fit’s-all assignment, not some personalized path.

I wanted to go into show business. I started doing musical theatre when I was seven. I added competitive speech, drama club, glee club, etc. to my performing resume as I grew. My very last musical was the summer I wrote that journal entry. All the musicals I did were through the church I attended before becoming Mormon. I stopped auditioning for them as I became more wrapped up in Mormonism. I cannot begin to explain how much I regret that. I loved the stage. I miss it so, so much.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love my daughter. And I love that I’m able to stay home with her instead of having someone else care for her and enjoy watching her grow. I would be heartbroken if I wasn’t the one with her all day, every day. But Mormonism is directly responsible for the young age at which we decided to start our family. And while there are definite perks to being a young mom, and while I would never, ever trade my baby girl for anything I’m also not blind to the things I’ve missed by becoming a mother so soon.

There are, of course, the financial implications. If I wasn’t caring for Lucy I could be working full-time and supporting Adam while he’s in pre-med instead of doing freelance digital illustration which nets me about $2 an hour on a good day, and 5 cents an hour on a bad day. Providing for Lucy would be a lot easier without all the student loans and with a decent savings. But, in the end, money isn’t everything. And we’re doing OK for now.

There are other things to consider, my love for the stage being one. If I could find a show to audition for I wouldn’t be able to do so. There isn’t a director anywhere who would be fine with a cast member interrupting rehearsals to breastfeed her baby. Besides, there just isn’t time for plays. Diaper changes, feeds, play time, chores, work…I have to sleep too. By the time I have time to audition for another show I can tell you this…I’ll be too old to have a chance of being cast in the lead.

The sad fact is that Mormonism tells young girls and young women that careers are merely a Plan B. Plan A is get married and have babies {preferably lots of them}. A degree is important, sure…so that if your husband dies or leaves you then you won’t starve. But your “divine role” as handed down by God Almighty Himself is to be a SAHM. The end.

What makes that teaching even more dangerous is that Mormonism also teaches that the people saying this stuff are speaking for God. It’s not just advice, or an opinion that you can disregard if it doesn’t jive with your own. It’s God’s will. There’s a mostly unspoken understanding within Mormonism that a woman who works outside the home is selfish, and “bad.” 

The expectations of when to have children and how many are, over time, changing. Many families can get away with having three kiddos instead of eight. And many couples, like us, wait a year, or two before procreating. But the pressure to do otherwise is still there. I dealt with guilt for using birth control from the time I was married until about two years later when we stopped. I was convinced I was denying some spirit in the pre-existence a place in my family and that I was a terrible person for it. And of course, a year or three before children doesn’t mean much when you’re also getting married at a young age. Because, even with the wait, you’re still really, friggin’ young.

I was barely 20 when I got married. Now I’m twenty-three. I can’t even rent a car without paying extra fees because the science indicates that my brain hasn’t finished “growing up” {the brain reaches full maturity around the age of twenty-five}. I love my daughter. I’m doing my best to do everything that is in her best interest. And, frankly, I think I’m doing a pretty great job. She certainly seems very happy and healthy so that’s gotta count for something right? So, in the end, for us, it’s worked out pretty well so far. But really, who thinks it’s a good idea to encourage women as young as 18 and 19 to get hitched and start a family? Before you’re grown up and before you have a chance to discover who you are and to just be that person for a while you’re suddenly responsible for this beautiful, wonderful, crazy, little person who can’t even wipe her own butt.

Would I have done things differently if it weren’t for Mormonism?


Would I change it now if I could?

Not on your life.

About My New Design

  • I did it all myself.
  • It may change slightly in the future but I’m planning on keeping it this way for the most part.
  • I used Photoshop, Inkscape, and fonts from:

I get the cutest fonts from Free Scrapbook Fonts!

About “Eat, drink, and be merry:”

In The Book of Mormon there is a section that reads:

Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

It then goes on to talk about how foolish that is, and how there will be a lot of false churches and how wicked they are and blah, blah, blah…

It’s one of many scriptures that kids in seminary (church classes for teenagers) are supposed to memorize. Since leaving the church it’s become my favorite scripture because it so nicely describes my life and attitude now. I eat, I drink (coffee, tea, beer, wine, mojitos…mmmmm…mojitooooo), and I’m really freakin’ merry these days. And you know what? “Tomorrow” we will die. And we’re not going to fly up into the heavens to live with some magical sky parent. We’re going to stay dead. So I’m going to enjoy this life while I have the chance. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


You’ll be seeing some changes around here.

I sort of, almost, kind of addressed this is in a recent post – people like to hear my story. And, though my abysmal posting rate might indicate otherwise, I like to tell it. Mostly because I like to hear {or read} myself speak {or write}. And I’d like to post more often, but hadn’t really known what to say.

Until now.

See, all Mormons are encouraged to keep journals/family histories/etc. I started keeping a journal right away after getting involved with the Mormon church, *right away.* And I kept one since then more faithfully than many. In fact, the church is partly to thank for this blog. I started blogging as a way to keep a journal. Having a blog about my exit from Mormonism was just a natural step.

Well, I still have every single one of those journals. They’ve been sitting in a box for some time. I was mortified by the idea of actually reading them and facing my own stupidity and superstition. But tonight, as I lay in bed unable to sleep, I figured I should. Why?

Because it will give me something to write about, regularly.

Seriously. I’m not even half way through the first one and I’ve got probably ten posts worth of material. Which is impressive considering these early journal entries mostly consist of “I’m so happy! I love you, God!”

Oh, did I forget to mention that all my journal entries were written in the format of prayers?


They were.

I even ended them with “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen” which is how Mormons are taught to end their prayers.

It’s going to feel pretty humiliating, especially at first, for me to share this stuff with all of you. I can’t believe some of the stuff I believed. I can’t believe some of the things I did. But I really think {hope} you’ll appreciate it. If nothing else, they should provide a good chuckle. But I think {hope} they’ll provide more like…

  • insight into how the church sucks people in
  • a glimpse into the terrifying abyss that is the mind of the teenage female
  • a real life demonstration of how all-consuming Mormonism is
  • opportunities to think hard about different things

Thus far I’m mostly amazed at how much worse my spelling and grammar were back then than they are now. But I’m also amazed at how similarly I spoke, at the time, about becoming Mormon as I do now about being ex-Mormon. This will really be an interesting journey.

Also? I’m thinking of doing a redesign of this blog.


Um…because I can do so much better now. UPDATE: Nothing like re-working your blog layout at 2am. What do you think?

Monday, September 21, 2009

"In the Shadow of the Temple."

I don’t know much about it yet, but apparently there’s a documentary coming out called "In the Shadow of the Temple." You can get more info here on their blog. And you can see outtakes and previews on their YouTube channel, including this clip featuring one of my ExMo friends. I’m off to go watch all the other clips now!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

Despite my atrocious posting rate on this blog, you guys continue to follow me. And I’ve even gotten a few new followers. And I hate to disappoint an audience. So here I am. Posting.

I think part of the reason I’ve been so absent {aside from being busy writing for my other blog, and doing graphic design projects for my clients, and being a mom and all that stuff} is because I haven’t had anything relevant to say. I’ve been so wrapped up in living my life that I haven’t really been visiting the exMormon forums or taking the time to think about exMormon-y things. And that’s good.

9 months. That’s about how long it’s been since we sent in our resignation letters. Things feel so different now. I don’t think like a member anymore. I used to fear it’d take me years to deprogram the guilt and fear conditioning. But I’m very glad I was wrong.

People sometimes surprise me with how fascinated they are with my experience. One family member recently told me I should write a book about it. But what on earth would I say? Everything I have to say has most certainly been said before. And I’m not sure 8 years or so is enough experience to fill an entire book. If you want to read a book, get a hold of Lyndon Lamborn’s book. It’s great. But I do love to talk to people about the church, and what it was like, and what it means to be ex-Mormon. It’s always interesting to hear the questions people ask. Some people are more interested in what I believe now (I’m very much a non-theist). Some people want to hear about the weirder things, like what the temple was like and what my “temple name” was (Deborah). Some people want to know how others have reacted to my leaving the church. And others want to know how I got sucked into it in the first place. Then again, some people wish I wouldn’t talk about it at all. But that’s no surprise.

Truth is, all the evidence stacked against the church makes it clear to me what a fraud it is. And I will say just that to anyone who wants to listen. I feel it’s the right thing to do. And when people ask me questions I’m not going to demure and say “well, maybe you should ask a Mormon” or “Well, this is what a Mormon would say” (unless promptly followed by “but I say…”). Some Mormon’s will tell you “you wouldn’t ask a Ford salesmen to tell you about a Chevy.” True…but I’m not selling anything. I’m not asking for money, or anything at all (though the Mormon church asks for plenty)! And my response is “But you would ask somebody who’s driven a Ford for nearly a decade.”

So there.

I’ve driven the proverbial Ford for about 8 years. So ask any questions you want. I’ll do my best to answer them. Maybe you’ve seen the “Ask A Mormon” websites…well, consider this the “Ask An Ex-Mormon” website.

Ask away.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Militant Atheism

The hubs and I recently watched this Richard Dawkins lecture on TED (I love TED and so should you).

And, as I blog, I’m having a twittervation about speaking my mind on Twitter vs. being sensitive to my Christian followers. Lately I’ve been getting a few conservative, Christian followers…guess they didn’t realize I’m a liberal, LGBT-supporting, Obama-voting, atheist?

At any rate…I explained my “politeness” on Twitter thusly:

I'll cuss sometimes. But I really like a lot of my Christian followers and don't want to lose them by being insensitive.

All of this makes me wonder…

Am I just being a scaredy-cat, follower whore? Am I too chicken to speak my mind for fear of losing my audience? Or is there merit in being user-friendly to a broader audience {especially when I do have an outlet for uncensored thoughts – this blog}?

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Yay! It’s up! I haven’t listened to it yet. I wanted to share it with you all first.

You’re welcome.



This special panel brings together three couples: Devin & Melissa, Holly & Adam, and John & Zilpha. Each married young and less than six months after first meeting one another. They discuss their marriages in the context of Mormon culture. Specifically, they discuss the cultural elements that drove them to marry so quickly, the role of Church teaching in their marriages, BYU, the upside of these marriages, and having children. Finally, the panel gives advice to anyone else who might be contemplating a short courtship marriage. {Mormon Expression}

Monday, August 3, 2009

Spamming For Jesus

I have an account with Xanga (blog platform) that I never use anymore. So imagine my surprise when, in my inbox this morning, I saw that someone had left me a comment.

Hello Ms. Van Gogh[screen name],
You made a nice-looking site but I see that you don’t write here much anymore!
I want to help people to really get to know Jehovah God, especially in these troubled times. 7Whatever the LORD God plans to do, he tells his servants, the prophets. (Amos 3:7) (CEV)


Wednesday, July 29, 2009



{click image to be taken to original source}

No commentary from me on this one, at least not today. Just know that I’m smiling as I type this. :D

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Seen & Overheard

{a round-up of tidbits I’ve come across on the internet}

I read the following on an Exmo forum the other day:

When I hear a TBM say "People only leave the church because they are offended" I really want to stop them short by saying "wow - that's an awful thing to say about your church. Are people so offensive in your church that they can turn half the members away from God with their behavior? What kind of church do you belong to, anyway, that drives away members in such numbers? What do they teach the members that makes them so offensive to others? You don't hear other churches claiming that they are so offensive they are losing members in droves. That's really a sad situation.

The official church website says:

Remember that “a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). It almost never helps to argue or contend with others regarding your beliefs or to become defensive or belligerent. Just share your stories in a kind and gentle way, remembering that not everyone will agree with what you say—and that’s okay. Remember to respect others and their opinions.

• Be friendly and polite, even if you comment anonymously. Act like you would if you were talking to your next door neighbor. How you comment may be just as important as what you say.

A friend on Facebook had this as a status in celebration of the lunar landing anniversary:

“We will never get a man into space. This earth is man’s sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it…The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen.” May 14, 1961 – Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr

An online friend said this on his blog:

Well duh, we shouldn't allow gay people to marry or adopt or have kids because OBVIOUSLY gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only ever raise straight children.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Tonight we’re giving the podcast-interview-thingy another go. Hopefully everything works out this time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I’m Not Buying It













I’m not buying their story. And here’s why:

  1. It took them a week to release their version of events (even in the face of outrage and protests over the incident). If it really takes that long to write three short paragraphs to tell the “real story” then you might want to fire everybody in your PR department. The guys you detained managed to tell their story within 24 hours and they don’t even have a PR department.
  2. If they had “obviously been using alcohol” (a single beer according to other side) why weren’t they charged with public drunkedness or whatever charge Utah has for drunk, “belligerent, lewd, profane” individuals?
  3. This press release makes them look absolutely faultless. The other side isn’t pretending to be perfect. They admit they cussed at the guards after being treated the way they were treated. Nobody is perfect. Stop pretending you didn’t do anything wrong (still waiting for more info on if the guards did, in fact, illegally detain the two men and if so, when will they be charged?).
  4. They don’t exactly have a history of telling the truth when the truth is “not useful” for them.

Are there any witnesses? Where are they? At this point I’m inclined to believe the first story from the men detained, rather than this press release from the organization that can’t stand to look bad.

Here’s the thing. If you don’t want to let gay couples hold hands or whatever on your property then COME OUT AND SAY IT. You have a right to be that way (I think it’s mean, and bigoted, and over the top but it IS your property). Don’t play stupid games. Don’t try to tell me NO PDA whatsoever is allowed on the grounds (because that’s a LIE and you know it). And don’t pretend you’re gay friendly. As an organization you are NOT gay friendly and never will be. It doesn’t matter how many of your members as individuals are open minded and tolerant. As an organization you are not friendly to gays. You have leaders who suggest parents refuse to let their gay children bring their partners home for the holidays or introduce them to their friends. You used electric shock therapy on gays at BYU until the 70s (hmmm…the 70’s were big for change, eh?). You’ve treated gay students at BYU like criminals. So yes, you have every right as a religion to teach that homosexuality is all kinds of filthy and immoral. But you can’t have your cake and eat it too. So don’t think you’re fooling anyone into believing you’re gay friendly while teaching that crap.

Aaaaaaand I can’t write a post on this topic without throwing on this link:

That is all.

PS: The interview thingy got postponed. So it will be a while before I have links for ya’ll.