Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Blog

So I have a new blog. I've been considering it for quite a while, and I'd like to invite y'all over.


"Y'all" doesn't include people who:

1) Are easily offended. This means: don't mind a bit of cursing and blasphemy and the like.
2) Are going to tell me I'm bad or going to hell or am going against the church. Guess what, I don't care.
3) Are looking to worry about me. I'll be just fine. Really.
4) Are afraid of other ideas and viewpoints. (seriously. I've had a number of people come to this blog who believe they're open to new ideas but end up hemming and hawing about mine and then storm out because I'm just that awful)
5) Hate on or feel called upon to condescend to people who either believe or don't believe or just don't know what they believe.

"Y'all" does include people who

1) DO want to talk with someone who feels the same way or similarly,
2) ARE open to someone who is genuinely working things out, even if the end result doesn't match your their ideals,
3) LIKE to talk religion and sometimes politics and sometimes other stuff, even if the viewpoints are different,
4) ARE genuinely open to other ideas, even if they aren't their own, and
5) WANT to learn and explore some potentially scary alternatives.

If the latter shoe fits, you're more than welcome to come visit me at The Liberal Agnostic Who Could.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

ok. i really think i'm done now

i'm done. i haven't posted here in a long time, and it's felt good.

i've started another project over at livejournal. i know some of you aren't fans of livejournal, but for what i'm doing, it just felt like the right place. if you've a journal there, let me know. we can be friends.


some of the entries will be "friend only" but most should be open to people. Anyone can comment, though i don't know how easy it will be for me to know who you are, so let me know in the comment.

As most of you know, i've done this "last entry!" thing before. there's always a chance i'll come back here, but eh. i'm working on some projects for DemandStudios (freelancing) and school starts next month. Wednesday I'm headed to Texas to meet a longtime online friend of mine for the first time (!!!) and we're ripping up our house, getting new windows, slowly sucking the life out of our savings account.

I'm busy, and I don't want to be angry anymore. Too busy with my BIL coming home from his mission and telling people we're not quite into it anymore. Harder than it seems. But I'll talk about the church still. It's too much a part of me to not. Hell today's entry at livejournal is about Pioneer Month and how I've never been a fan (even in my TBM days), but i'll talk about other things.

Let me know. Shoot me an email. It's in my profile.

BTW, I'm not looking for debate at livejournal. None of this sort of thing where I bitch and you tell me I'm going to hell for blasting the prophet or the lord's apostles for saying something stupid. The livejournal is a totally different idea. Just a place to chat. So if I make you mad, I think it's time to say goodbye until or unless I come back here looking for blood.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On Abortion

Fair Request: Be kind in your comments. This is meant for discussion.

I came across this article not too long after the abortion doctor, George Tiller, was found shot to death by pro-life extremists. It's eye opening. It should help others to see that the abortion issue is not as black and white as many would like to think. The truth is that very little in this world is as black and white. I would almost dare say nothing is black and white. But I digress.

You can find the article here: Between a Woman and Her Doctor

An excerpt:

My doctor turned around and faced me. She told me that because dilation and evacuation is rarely offered in my community, I could opt instead to chemically induce labor over several days and then deliver the little body at my local maternity ward. “It’s up to you,” she said.

I’d been through labor and delivery three times before, with great joy as well as pain, and the notion of going through that profound experience only to deliver a dead fetus (whose skin was already starting to slough off, whose skull might be collapsing) was horrifying.

I also did some research, spoke with friends who were obstetricians and gynecologists, and quickly learned this: Study after study shows D&Es are safer than labor and delivery. Women who had D&Es were far less likely to have bleeding requiring transfusion, infection requiring intravenous antibiotics, organ injuries requiring additional surgery or cervical laceration requiring repair and hospital readmission.

Not everyone who opts for an abortion or a procedure does so because he or she finds the baby an unwelcome and inconvenient interference in their lives. History suggests women opted for abortion because they had given birth/become pregnant so often they couldn't handle it anymore. Many don't understand what a pregnancy can do to a woman's body and mind. And if anyone would like to tell a married woman to abstain from sex, be my guest. I'm sure she and her husband will appreciate that.

Back in the day before birth control, women had babies galore. I can say from my own genealogical research that many of my forebears had up to twelve children, many whom died soon afterward. Does anyone have any idea what psychological and physical ramifications this had on these women? These families? I've suffered from one miscarriage and post-partum depression. I know only mildly what some women go through.

On a semi-related note, I wonder how many LDS women opt for larger families out of "obedience" or an actual longing for a larger family. I know I felt the pressure and know of at least one other woman who wondered if she was selfish for not wanting more children.

This isn't so much about a woman's choice as it is about other people (men especially) having so much say over what a woman does when they haven't spent even ten minutes in her shoes. This is about a woman's body. It's about her mind, too. Her life matters just as much as that baby's life. Not everyone who finds themselves in this situation finds themselves there because they "chose" to have sex. Many are married and as such, according to our Church, given the right to have sex. What of a situation like the one mentioned above when a woman is forced to undergo a more dangerous procedure because the safer has been deemed unconscionable?

I am not a proponent of abortion. I am a proponent of giving women the benefit of the doubt. Of allowing some people to make their own damning choices so other women, like the one mentioned above, can have the choice of what to do. A safer choice.

Allowing a choice for abortion does not mean you condone abortion. Just like teaching a child about safe sex is not a blessing to run out and screw everyone they see. It is saying "you have free agency: here is some information, use it wisely."

Out of Many: A History of the American People says this:

"The maintenance or achievement of a middle-class lifestyle required the joint efforts of husband and wife. More cooperation between them was called for than in the preindustrial, patriarchal family. The nature of the new, companionate marriage that evolved in response to the market revolution was reflected most clearly in decisions concerning children...

"When mutual efforts at birth control failed, married women often sought a surgical abortion, a new technique that was much more reliable than the folk remedies women had always shared among themselves...Some historians estimate that one out of every four pregnancies was aborted in the years from 1840 to 1860 (compared to one in six in 2000)"

Consider this:

"Accompanying the interest in family limitation was a redefinition of sexuality. Doctors generally recommended that sexual urges be controlled, but they believed that men would have much more difficulty exercising such control than women were uninterested in sex. Although it is always difficult to measure the extent to which the suggestions in advice books were applied in actual practice, it seems that many middle-class women accepted this new and limited definition of their sexuality because of the desire to limit the number of their pregnancies" (315)

Middle-class couples had fewer children because they didn't need the extra labor out in the fields. These were suburban families, so to speak.

Imagine being a woman and at God's mercy regarding your pregnancies. Indeed for a long time our church said limiting family was a sin, recalling with nostalgia the times before the pill. But birth control isn't so much about killing or curtailing babies as it is about sex, and men (hell, anyone) deciding what is best for a woman to go through.

Though the churchwide attitude has evolved now to shy away from condemning the use of birth control, this wasn't always the case. Elder Marion G. Romney in this Ensign article, Scriptures as They Relate to Family Stability, states,

With respect to birth control, President Joseph F. Smith said, in 1917:

"I regret, I think it is a crying evil, that there should exist a sentiment or a feeling among any members of the Church to curtail the birth of their children. I think that is a crime wherever it occurs, where husband and wife are in possession of health and vigor and are free from impurities that would be entailed upon their posterity. I believe that where people undertake to curtail or prevent the birth of their children that they are going to reap disappointment by and by. I have no hesitancy in saying that I believe this is one of the greatest crimes of the world today, this evil practice.” (Gospel Doctrine, pp. 278–79.)

On these matters, the First Presidency has recently said:

“We have given careful consideration to the question of proposed laws on abortion and sterilization. We are opposed to any modification, expansion, or liberalization of laws on these vital subjects.' (Letter to stake presidents in the state of Washington, October 27, 1970.)"

Yet another example of when the Church has backpeddled. Changed. How can I trust what they say today is what they will stand by tomorrow? I thought we had a direct line to God.

Hello? Is this thing on?

Back then this wasn't considered a leader's opinion. It was considered doctrine. We follow the Prophet. Period.

While I’m grateful the rhetoric has changed within the church, as a woman who has three children and is done, I find it abhorrent that anyone who doesn't know me dares find any pedestal on which to stand on and tell me when and if it is time for me to stop having children. And I've had plenty of people suggest it is not. I've some choice words for them that I will refrain from using at the moment.

We don't know what these women are going through. Will some abuse the system? Yes. But we live in a society that assumes innocence until proven guilty. We believe in a God that judges our hearts, not as man judges (1 Samuel 16:7). We cannot sacrifice those who have valid reasons, acutely personal reasons, because others may decide to abuse the law.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Standards for Celestial Dating, 1-6

What I'm about to type is an abridgement, perhaps the beginning of a series, regarding a pamphlet my husband was given back in his teens, probably sometime after turning sixteen. I don't know. But it was produced and handed out by our then Stake Presidency. So this is circa 1995-1999.

It says we cannot control ourselves sexually. And I understand that once things get going, wants become needs. I understand that control becomes an issue. I've a stepsister with three kids from three different daddies. I've known some teen pregnancies. I remember how unbelievably attracted I was to my husband while we were dating (still am, don't get snarky :). I get it.

But come on.

President Kimball and those who worship his words and works are very much focused on sex, sex by itself and sex as a sin.

They say these things understanding that our sexuality is a fundamental part of who we are. Like porn, it becomes so saturated in our church media that we wonder if its not attracting us. I wonder if aggressive campaigns of this nature are in part self-fulfilling prophecies.

I mean, if french kissing is suggestive of "the sex act" doesn't that make your inner antennae perk up a bit? Sounds good, right? I hadn't even thought of that until I read this, after all.

Personally, I'd rather be spoken to as an adult--not just the spiritual reasons for abstaining from such things, but the secular reasons as well. Appeal to me as an intelligent person and then leave me to govern myself. I like to think most people are pretty intelligent and will act accordingly if treated as such.

But that's just me.

What you're about to read (and there's more) makes me think: my God, with all that can go wrong--why bother at all? My own thoughts are in blue.

1. NO DATING UNTIL AGE 16; NO SINGLE DATING UNTIL 18. "...President Kimball went on to counsel us that beginning the dating process too soon almost always brings on young immature marriages or immorality and sin."

Funny. I think all the sexual repression does this. This also assumes there are no immature marriages if a person follows the Church's prescribed formula. I can say from personal experience this is patently untrue: a young couple will marry ASAP because they've been told to and they want to have sex. Many marriages still surivive, but this doesn't mean marrying quickly is always the answer. They also become parents before they are truly ready regarding finances and maturity levels. Do they survive despite? Sure. But this isn't always the right answer.

"Remember, NO STEADY dating until after missions. It is an excellent idea to always double or group date until at least the age of 18."

Anyone else finding some inconsistency there? What of that year between 18-19? I mean, if a young boy is readying to go on his mission, wouldn't Satan be extra vigilant in getting that young man to give into sexual desires? Or wouldn't Satan, as he did in the Garden, tempt young Eve to get Adam to do something that would keep him from his mission?

Be on your haunches, young men!

2. MISSIONS BEFORE SERIOUS DATING. I know plenty of couples who have ignored this bit of counsel. They're the ones who get married two weeks after he returns home.

3. DO NOT DATE NON-MEMBERS OR UNWORTHY MEMBERS. "I do not believe that the Lord would expect the choice young people of His church to find their eternal mates among non-members! He would not ask us to go against both His counsel throughout the ages or against the counsel of His prophets. President Kimball told us "Clearly, right marriage begins with right dating...therefore, this warning comes with great emphasis. DO NOT take the chance of dating non-members, or members who are untrained and faithless." Now, do not rationalize by saying that you are doing missionary work. The Lord does not instruct us to do missionary work one-on-one with members of the opposite sex"

well, hell, I had an fresh RM teaching me about the gospel before i dared speak with the missionaries. i had a huge crush on him too.

4. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN "KISSING-HUGGING" SESSIONS. (making out, or necking, as it is sometimes called). I am not talking about the serious sin of "petting" but the lengthy make-out sessions that many feel are "okay" as long as you do not let it get too far. President Kimball taught us, "Among the most common sexual sins our young people commit are necking and petting. Not only do these improper relations often lead to fornication, pregnancy, and abortions -, all ugly sins - but in and of themselves they are pernicious evils..." Necking or making out, the kissing-hugging sessions, is wrong IN AND OF ITSELF, not just because it may lead to something worse. I'm not saying there isn't a proper time in a dating relationship to kiss. There IS a proper time and place. President Kimball advised us, '"Kissing would be saved at last until these later hallowed courtship days when they could be free from sex and have holy meaning--'

i can only assume "these later hallowed courtship days" means after one returns from a mission and is "steady dating"

"--In an address delivered to returned missionaries (not high school age people), President Kimball say '"A kiss is an evidence of affection. A kiss is an evidence of love, not an evidence of lust--but it can be. Don't ever let a kiss in your courship [sic] spell lust. Necking and petting are lustful; they are NOT love...I don't mind your kissing each other after you have had several dates; but not the "Hollywood kiss," not the kiss of passion, but the kiss of affection and there won't be any trouble.'

(it gets better)

5. "NO FRENCH KISSING. This type of conduct is far too intimate and is suggestive of the sex act itself. A French kiss does not meet the standards President Kimball described above. President Kimball stated that '...The "soul kiss" is an abomination and stirs passions to the eventual loss of virtue. Even if timely courtship justifies the kiss, it should be a clean, sexless one, like the kiss between mother and son, or father and daughter.--"

(the bolded part is one of my favorite LDS quotes of all time)

"--In Isaiah we read: 'But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore. Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood?" (QUOTES from Spencer W. Kimball, Chastity: Isaiah 57:3-4)


6. DO NOT PARK. Especially in the high school years, parking in an automobile has been the downfall of many choice young people. President Kimball told us that, "In interviewing repenting young folks, as well as some older ones, I am frequently told that the couple met their defeat in the dark, late hours, in secluded areas...the car was most often the confessed seat of the difficulty. It became their brothel." BEWARE! Often I have found that a couple originally parked to discuss a problem or work out an argument--not to make out. However, after the problem was resolved, they kissed to make up and things developed from there. It does not matter the reason: DO NOT PARK. After a date, GO HOME! Once you are there, go into the house, ALONE!

And just in case I'm accused of blanket hyperbole again, here is number 17:

17. DO NOT THINK THAT YOU ARE THE EXCEPTION TO THESE RULES. Don't say to yourself, "Boy, do I know so-and-so who needs these rules." The rules are for you! To think that it could never happen to you is an error. It CAN happen to you. You are not so in control that you can afford to say to yourself, "oh, I would NEVER do that, therefore, I can go into an apartment alone with my date, or park, or whatever." This is an open invitation to Satan to prove you wrong! And, he will! The biggest error of all is to think that you are an exception to one of these rules.

And yet, somehow, my husband and I made it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Come Out to Your Ward: Follow Up

For those of you who were wondering...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hill of the Foreskins

My husband and I sat, dutifully, in Gospel Doctrine. In the front row, even.

Things were well--until he broke into hysterics.

I playfully elbowed him in the side. "Shut up!" I hissed.

He didn't stop.

"What is it?"

He points to his scriptures and reads in a whisper:

And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. (Joshua 5:3)

Now I'm breaking into hysterics. We're giggling like we're ten years old--and indeed right now I cannot fathom why it would be so funny--but at the time it was absolutely hilarious. I don't think our teacher or fellow class members thought so, but damn it, sometimes you have to laugh.

I mean, the visual alone is, if not funny, gross. Couldn't Joshua and his crew come up with a sleek Hebrew or even "Reformed" Egyptian name? Like Irreantum in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 17:5?

Hill of the Foreskins.


Thursday, June 11, 2009


I don't remember how much--if anything--I've written here about my activities outside the blog, but my husband and I just bought and moved into our first house.

I have been without the internet for a week and I've much to catch up on, so this post is basically a plea for patience.

Go watch the video below if you haven't already :)