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 :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Come Out To Your Ward

Here's George again. I would love to be there when he does this. Very powerful:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Governator: A Political Girly Man

A little late? Yeah. And while I'm close to losing my head without news like this, I'm still hearing about it and I still want to scream in Schwarzenegger's face.

(by the by, is it okay for me to criticize government leaders?)

This past Tuesday California had yet another "special election" because Arnold can't lead to save his life. Because Arnold does not understand that this is a republic, not a democracy. We, the people, vote in others to represent our interests and ideals and they, in turn, go to work full time to ensure we, the people, get what we say we want. This is for a few reasons:

1. The People do not have the time to follow up and research--and vote for--all of the laws to be passed.

2. The People largely do not have the smarts to deal with all the laws to be passed.

But Arnold doesn't get this. It felt neat at first when he threatened the legislature with "taking it to the people" but after a while, the people got tired. We've our own crap to deal with.

He can be entertaining to be sure, but he's too scared to lead. Coward. To use his own words, Arnold is a political girly man.

You see, everytime there's a big decision to be made and the legislature throws their arms in the air and Arnold can't rally them up--which is almost every time--he takes it "to the people."

And it costs m-o-n-e-y. So much effing money.

As some may well know, California also cannot (a) balance a budget and (b) pass a budget. So what does he do? Special Elections.

And with the nationwide economic crisis with California suffering moreso than some other states, gasp, Arnold knows he has to cut some programs.

And what does Arnold like to cut? Education. Fire.

Now my involvement in politics admittedly ends too soon and I have no other answers. However, a friend of mine on a privatized blog of mine asked a key question:

What is he not willing to cut if he's willing to cut Education and Fire?

Before the election this past Tuesday, Arnold and his ilk were running around saying things like "I don't like to threaten with fear, but I have to. If you do not pass these propositions, I will have to cut education."

Just wait. There's more.

All the propositions failed. By a landslide. Arnold's reaction? "You guys sent a strong message this past Tuesday, that we need to live within our means. We need to cut education."


That is NOT what we said.

We said: do your job. Figure it out. We don't have time for this.

Don't come back and say "well, the people hath spoken" because that's political speak for "if this doesn't work, it's not my fault your child can't afford to attend a college here, to take his music and physical education class. The people voted."

Let's not forget the state is in more debt, I hear, even with the economy aside, than we were when Gray Davis was Governor.

You're taxing the hell out of us, too. You're just spreading it around so it doesn't seem like it. Our vehicle registration fees are doubled. It costs money now to get a smog extension. Our sales tax has been hiked. Thousands upon thousands of teachers are now out of a job and more are scared they're next. Schools have closed. Fire stations. I actually heard a leader say "don't worry, we still have enough firemen to get to everyone. It just might take a bit longer to get to your house."

Come on now. Seriously?

You know you can't run for President. Your tenure as Governator is, thankfully, coming to a close. There's very little to lose here. So stand up and do something. If you run for the Senate or the House, well. We know what kind of congressman you'll be. A lazy one.

I didn't vote for you the first time nor the second time, and you can bet your ass I won't vote for you again.

Go back to Hollywood.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm LOVING this.

"We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court has acknowledged the right of voters to define marriage in the California Constitution," said Andrew P. Pugno, a lawyer for, the leading group behind the initiative. "The voters have decided this issue and their views should be respected."

-State Supreme Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban


I wonder if Mr. Pugno and his ilk will feel the same way in a few years when voters reject the next version of Prop 8.

For real, people, read the articles. The 9th Circuit Court conservatives consistently decry as "activist" except for when the court rules in their favor did not rule against same-sex marriage.

I repeat: It did not rule against same-sex marriage. It didn't rule for it, either, but it didn't rule against it.

It ruled that Proposition 8 was an amendment to the state constitution and as an amendment and not a revision, it does not require a 2/3 vote of the legislature.

That's it.

So I hope lawyers like Andrew P. Pugno are ready to celebrate the wonderment that is our system when a sufficient number of voters (not many, by the way) eventually see through the fear mongering and repeal Prop 8.

And when that happens, will they appeal to the 9th Circuit Court? When the Court stays the course and says "Nope, it stands" will those who oppose gay marriage then cry "liberal activist judges!"

...or will they accept the will of the people?

I think I know the answer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Prop 8 Upheld

(warning: if you've sensitive eyes to naughty words, move on)

As of about eighteen minutes ago Prop 8 was upheld.

BUT, the 18,000 marriages performed while it was still legal are also upheld. So at least there's that. Better than nothing (I can't imagine).

I still don't understand the logic of "sex is only okay within the bonds of marriage [not "civil unions"], so because we cannot make 'sodomy' illegal anymore, we'll just make sure the gays can't get married."

Am I wrong there? At all?

The debate right now is when to time the next battle: 2010 or 2012 when they'll have the presidential election on their side (= greater turnout)


Nobody is truly surprised, but many are disappointed, especially given the events of the past few months with Iowa and Connecticut and other states which have legalized gay marriage. As my husband points out, however, this decision was not about legalizing gay marriage so much as it was deeming Prop 8 constitutional as a ballot measure, if this was a matter of amending the constitution or a constitutional revision.

And the judges by a 6-1 vote said it was constitutional.

But time is only on the side of the Prop 8 opposition.

Here's a bit of a news interview I just saw:

Reporter: "We're going to turn to someone who is in support of Prop 8. George Riley. Good morning. You know we've seen you out here since six a.m., how do you feel now knowing that the judges have supported Prop 8?"

Riley: "Well I feel like justice was finally served. This is the third time that we've had the people vote and the people for the third time have said yes. We believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and whether or not people like that or not, that's what the people want. So if there was anything else besides that, I'd have to say that the judges were trying to play lawmakers from the bench."

He went on to say that he feels Prop 8 opponents have a vendetta against Christianity.

Everything is about the Christians. If Christianity isn't being persecuted, someone will ensure Christians at least feel persecuted. Newsflash: this is only about the Christian religion inasmuch as they make it about the Christian religion.

As for "activist judges": People need to read their history books more often. I'm no historian, but I learned enough in the past semester of U.S. History to know that Supreme Court judges tend to do one of two things on occasion:

(a) Judge very poorly (see the Dred Scott decision)
(b) Judge against the majority (see Interracial Marriage. Loving v. Virginia)

One of the purposes of the Constitution of the United States is to protect the minority from the majority's whims. For so long (even into the '60s I believe) the majority felt interracial marriage was wrong. The majority isn't always right.

The Supreme Court justices are not there to represent the majority. They are there to act neutral, unbiased, to interpret the Constitution and the laws of the land, and sometimes it doesn't turn out as we'd like.

And that's why we have a system. There's always next time.

Again: this is not about legalizing or de-legalizing gay marriage. This is about the constitutionality of Prop 8--revision v. amendment. The Court found it was a perfectly legal amendment in need of no more than a simple 50% + 1 majority.

I respectfully disagree.

As other states have found, the right to marry is a civil right. It's in the books. Go look it up.

People don't have to agree with it. It's none of their business. But people do things all the time we don't "agree" with, but we pop our shoulders and we get over it. We understand nobody is forcing us to run out and have gay sex.

The opponents don't seem to have the same zeal regarding serial divorces. There’s no rallying against "no-fault marriages." They say (and by "they" I mean LDS leadership and membership) it's because straight marriages have the potential for celestial glory. By the way, this is also the LDS response to the point that the government once used similar rationale against polygamy--at least polygamy was between a man and, uhm, women.

That's fucked up.

The world will never be 100% LDS. And the LDS are not in charge, nor should they be. No religion should be.

Honestly I wish people would open a few books and consider different perspectives for a change. It doesn't hurt. I promise.

Marriage is a civil right. Not a basic human right like water and food and *cough* health care, but a civil right. A civil right is a right bestowed upon its people by its government (see 13th and 14th amendments)

I'll allow a minute for that to sink in.

And this is a government decision, not a religious decision. Nobody is going to force any church to marry a couple guys or a couple of girls. They don't force churches, especially the LDS church, to marry anyone--civilly or in the temple.

But apparently we can be coerced—a kind way to put it—into votes we weren’t sure we wanted to make in the first place (I know of a few people who would’ve voted differently)

Why more people don't understand this is completely beyond my comprehension.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ironic Scripture

Luke 17:34-35

I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.

Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

You've gotta love cultural context.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A little something I wrote

I haven't written a poem in months, perhaps a year, but this came last night to me after reading a poem by Gloria Anzaldúa entitled "El sonavabitche." Fantastic poem and intriguing poet, by the way. Google her.

Anyway, that said I'm laying this out for you guys. Please be respectful. None of this "Oh that doesn't really happen." I don't mind constructive criticism, just don't be an dismissive ass. That's all I really care about. Also know I remain faithful to no form of poetry, so comments regarding to meter or rhyme will be ignored. Rhythm, progression and structure (to a degree), however, are important to me. I also have issues with changing tenses. Blogger also won't allow me to create the layout of the poem I want with indentations and the like (help?)

Also know I'm one of those perpetual editors. I don't consider this done but I feel it's good enough to publish.

Hope you like it.

PS: I don't plan on writing too much more about the church (I have to give myself some leeway). It's been fantastic these last few weeks giving it so little thought. This is not to say I've been divinely censured or I'm suddenly a fawning fan. I'm just not interested in getting myself riled up these days. It's given me peace and I've waited a long time for even a taste of it. I'm also seriously considering starting up a writing blog. Now that the semester is almost done and we're moving into a new house (and won't be able to renovate for at least a year), I'll have time to truly focus on my writing.

Oh--That reminds me. I've been published in print. You don't have to buy the book (I get no royalties anyway), but if you're interested please check it out on Writer's Bump. It's entitled "Trapped" and it's for anyone who has ever felt the need to be someone they aren't. Writer's Bump found me on Writing.Com (one of the Writer's Digest Top 100 writing sites) where I'm a preferred author.


For those who have emailed me or otherwise commented that my words on this blog echo their thoughts, I invite them to New Order Mormon.

Then again there's always StayLDS. I know The Faithful Dissident enjoys it very much. That site is for those who struggle with some doubts and dissensions but who want to remain faithful. The previous site mentioned deals with people who don't want to StayLDS necessarily. Those have a beef or three with the Church, but they stay for whatever reason (family, friends, spouse, tradition, confused, etc)

So the content of this blog may change. May be random. The politics will stay (the GOP gives me far too much fodder) but I hope you'll stick around. I've really enjoyed your company.

* * *

The Golden Convert
[Edited 5/20/09]

I may as well have come from my mama,
They said,
In an ankle length skirt and modest top,
Scriptures tucked under arm,
Chin high to heaven
To be led in the direction the Lord wants me to be:

The One and Only True Church of God on Earth.

The confirmation had come:
“This is where you need to be.”
“You're ready,”
They said

And I was

Eighteen and
enamored with her;

Eighteen and
Foaming for Independence;

So I went along
New friends and pats on the back,
Encouraged me along the way.

They told me
I am Golden,
I am Choice,
I once lived among the Noble and the Great.
I am Sarah.
I am Rachel.

But my lips never fully formed around
I Know This Church is True.

Yet I sacrificed
To cut the cord.
Because it feels good
To belong,
To be Right;
Feels good
For God to be indebted
To my obedience.

And so my god-in-the-making and I
Gritted our teeth.
Wrapped ourselves with spiritual dynamite
Ready to blow if we blew it,
We waited for marriage,
Too afraid
To disappoint.

We tried, we tried, we tried,
Sacrificing ten percent
of Everything,
And then some:
Our Time, Talents, and Everything with which the Lord has blessed us
--or will bless us
Each other
Our kids
We tried.

With one piercing in each ear,
We hung the Temple on the Mantle,
Repented for keeping one too many pennies,
Donned knee length garments
To cover sex
An expression of
The sting of peculiarity
For a God with no respect
Of Persons.

But more Alice Kramden than Donna Reed,
My Mustard Seed Faith suffered
Beneath a black thumb.

Now the kind faces of family and friends I love
Are watchful.
They are careful to avoid
Every Appearance of Evil
(Just like Jesus did)
As they whisper and lament
Of a soul
They know not.

So I sit in the closet reading of the
unholy, and
impure practices of oral sex,
Of a man and his fourteen year old brides,
Of the calls for death on the spot for
The White Man
who thrusts himself into a willing Black Woman.
Of choosing death over fornication,
Of the fear of Africans and Women and Homosexuals
Plunging the world straight to hell.
(I’m still waiting)
I learn of the imploring against
“petting,” and men working the little factory
in its off hours
To keep the Vessel of God
Pure and clean.

But, President:
I don't have wet dreams
Like you do.

As two men, worthiness of me decide
Recommend me
To be Eve, who
Veils herself when asked,
Gives him her New Name,
Covers herself, ashamed--
And Promises
To keep these pearls before unworthy swine,
Because The Church Will Not Be Mocked;
To Hearken unto Adam
as He Hearkens unto God.

But President,
I am not Eve,
And I did not marry Adam.
Don't you remember?

Master, the Tempest is Raging,
And my prayers have lead me here.
Is it well,
Or does God ignore pleas
And toy with a shattered heart?

The solemn reply campaigns,
“Question not. Follow the Prophet’s refrain
For he will never lead you astray,
Listen to his words and obey.
Hearken not to thine own understanding,
Listen to his words and obey.
Submit and forget thyself,
Do not delay.
Listen to his words and obey."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Of Updates and Plugs

In response to President Obama's complaint that FOX News doesn't show enough Black and Hispanic people on their network, FOX has announced that they will now air "America's Most Wanted" TWICE a week.

* * *

I don't know who wanted to know (I'm merely volunteering information), but my husband and I just bought a house and should be closing in...geez, three or four weeks.

*enter shock here*

So we're in the midst of packing, finishing a school year/semester and all the other fun stuff. I won't be posting much, if at all, for a while. Especially if he gets a summer school position because we've a kitchen to remodel (and wallpaper to tear down and carpet to replace...oy vey. Great house, but it's like a step into the 60s. It's a trip)

I'll also be spending just under a week or so in Texas at the end of July to meet a longtime online friend of mine. Go see her blog. I've known her since I was 14 or 15. I think it's about time we met, no?

There's just a lot of crap--good crap, don't get me wrong--going on over the next little while.

In the meantime, I'm trying to cut down on my stress. It's been getting the better part of me lately. I'll post when I can, if something neat strikes me or I get feisty (I've a few posts in my queue and in my head, but I'm just not in the mood).

If you find yourself bored, any of the blogs on my sidebars are worth a look or twenty. There's also Going Dutch: How I learned to love the European Welfare State for some social democratic fun--

--Or go to town on some of my articles. Most are crap, but I've got a few good ones in there. It's an appropriate place for me to learn. Examples of the good:

The Other F Word
In Defense of Harry Potter
Thirteen Haunted Places to Stay in Northern California
*My second most popular article. I'll admit it's quite long. I was determined to stick with 13 for apparent reasons. This was my first article I interviewed others for. Quite frightening, to be honest. But it's a good one. I'm proud of it.

For those who are wondering, my most popular article is 10 Ways to Remove Stains From an Asphalt Driveway. Go look if you want. It's more practical than entertaining, obviously. I'm glad I took the assignment though. I had no idea there was such a demand.

And for the blog theme, I've California's Prop 8. It's still doing fairly well.

Then there's my first published short short story, Trapped. I hope you like.

Anyway, I hope everyone is well. Thanks again for reading :D

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A cowboy walks into a bar...

A cowboy, visiting Idaho from Texas, walks into a bar and orders three mugs of Bud. He sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more.

The bartender approaches and tells the cowboy, "You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it. It would taste better if you bought one at a time."

The cowboy replies, "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in Arizona the other is in Colorado. When we all left our home in Texas we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together. So I'm drinking one beer for each of my brothers and one for myself." The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there.

The cowboy becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way. He orders three mugs and drinks them in turn.

One day, he comes in and only orders two mugs. All the regulars take notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss." The cowboy looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in his eyes and he laughs.

"Oh, no, everybody's just fine," he explains. "It's just that my wife and I joined the Mormon Church and I had to quit drinking. Hasn't affected my brothers though."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Deseret Drops Twilight

Hat tip to Times and Seasons for being far more proactive than I.

Article found at the Salt Lake Tribune

I know. It's Twlight and many of us are tired of hearing about it. I suspect many who read still have a soft spot for those books, perhaps it is a guilty pleasure. That's what they are for me. But this isn't a critique of the book or even praise.

Deseret Book has decided to take the series off their shelves.

Those interested are able to special order the books, sure, but no longer can one (read: youth) walk into one of these stores and pick it up. I do wonder how many members actually purchased the books there. I bought mine at Barnes and Noble. Many of my friends visited Walmart or Target. Granted, the nearest DB is an hour away but even when I lived nearby one I didn't hear of many who visited to buy it.

I don't know.

The reasons for the drop are vague at best.

"Like any retailer, our purpose is to offer products that are embraced and expected by our customers. When we find products that are met with mixed review, we typically move them to special order status," Leigh Dethman, Deseret Book spokeswoman said.

Mixed review?

I know a friend of mine initially denounced the relationship between the two main characters as "inappropriate." Yet she continued to eat up the rest of the series. She's not the only one, but some have stood by their review and refused to read the rest of the series or have blacked out the more sensual passages to keep their virgin daughter's thoughts more virginal. If they ever were in the first place.

We black stuff out. We don't talk about it, acknowledge it, discuss it. We black it out. Take it off the shelves.

I'll agree: this probably isn't the book for your thirteen year old. While there is no explicit sex, sex is dripping from the prose.

I mean, let's face it. Twilight is soft-core erotica for LDS women. I'll admit I loved it. And why not? We need a little more sexuality in our lives.

Those faithful, strong, zealous members of the Church who love this book tickle me. These people who have standards so thick as to follow the one time counsel to dating youth to only engage in "sexless" kisses, these BYU students and alumni love this book.

Because the author is Mormon. Because it promotes abstinence. Because it is "clean." At least that's what they say.

I heartily disagree. I think it avoided premarital sex. Found a loophole. Much like in Stephenie Meyer's other book, The Host, the issue of fornication was completely circumvented. Not decried. The main character, Bella, wanted Edward. He wanted her, too. But he was afraid with his superhuman strength and extreme lust for her blood, he'd end up killing her.

Some examples of the text. Some of my favorites ;D

His hand curved around my elbow, moving slowly down my arm, across my ribs and over my waist, tracing along my hip and down my leg, around my knee. He paused there, his hand curling around my calf. He pulled my leg up suddenly, hitching it around his hip.

I stopped breathing. This wasn't the kind of thing he usually allowed. Despite his cold hands, I felt suddenly warm. His lips moved in the hollow at the base of my throat.

"No to bring on the ire prematurely," he whispered, "but do you mind telling me what it is about this bed that you object to?"

Before I could answer, before I could even concentrate enough to make sense of his words, he rolled to the side, pulling me on top of him. He held my face in his hands, angling it up so that his mouth could reach my throat. My breathing was too loud -- it was almost embarrassing, but I couldn't care quite enough to be ashamed...

Slowly this time, he rolled till he hovered over me. He held himself carefully so that I felt none of his weight, but I could feel the cool marble of his body press against mine...

Cold as ice, his tongue lightly traced the shape of my lips. (Eclipse, pgs 186-187)

And this:

His hands were in my hair, his lips moving softly -- but very seriously -- against mine, before I realized what he was saying. What he was doing.

There wasn't much time to act. If I waited too long, I wouldn't be able to remember why I needed to stop him. Already, I couldn't breathe right. My hands were gripping his arm, pulling myself tighter to him, my mouth glued to his and answering every unspoken question his asked.

I tried to clear my head, to find a way to speak.

He rolled gently, pressing me into the cool grass. (Eclipse, pg 618)

There is sex in this book. And while Edward objects because he claims he's old-fashioned (he is 100+ years old), this is not activity with which the Standards of Youth would approve.

Nevermind he is constantly in her room. Alone with her in other places.

We drink this up. I read this when I was still marginally faithful, afraid to turn the page - would they have sex? should I read this? oh but I wanted to. Finally, a member of the church found her courage to write like this. It was refreshing. I'd stopped writing long ago because I didn't think I could write anything worthy of the faith, and I refused to write something akin to The Work and the Glory.

This series was refreshing for me. Like a revelation.

No, Meyer's novels don't decry premarital sex because the abstinence is far too erotic. The want for it is far too strong. And perhaps that's the problem for Deseret Books.

But really, a little heavy breathing is good for us. We need to acknowledge sex and celebrate it. Stop shunning it so much. I'd like to know the prevalence of women who, like in one story I heard, couldn't bring herself to consummate her marriage with her husband because to her, sex was bad. Dirty. We need more stories like Twilight to help say it's not. More women in the Church need to know it's not. Married and single alike. Old and young.

But it seems DB, owned by the Church, can't afford to keep it on the shelves. It's too PG-13. After all, I'm positive President Kimball would've disapproved. Our standards for dating are entirely too strict and I believe lend to more sexual "sins" than not. Or lead to unhappy sex lives within marriage. Is it sad or telling to anyone else that married LDS women are eating this up?

In the end, I don't think Deseret's problem lies with the adult readership but perhaps in the Church's (and it's ultra-strict members) decrying the sexual content because so many of our young women read this over and over again.

And instead of asking ourselves why, we take it off the official LDS bookstore shelf.

EDIT: After some thought, I had a few other questions, and I think the answers to them will surprise many if there's any bit of honesty involved:

1) Would so many LDS women consume this series if it were written by a Pentecostal/Catholic/Muslim/Agnostic Stephenie Meyer?

2) If she wasn't LDS, wouldn't most of us decry these books as inappropriate? Yeah. Probably not many of you.

But many of our faithful-and-true friends would for the very reasons I posted above. We allow it because, well, she's Mormon. We make excuses for her. Because she's one of us. She's a successful one of us. An LDS mommy. A working LDS mommy.

A psychologist's playground, this is.

And I think that leads us again to my original question: what does this say about our views on sexuality? Our egocentrism? Our culture? Our religion? Our propensity to hypocrisy (gasp! i know)?

I mean, let's be honest.

For a listing of the comments, both rational and unbelievable (for both sides), see the Comment Page for the article listed at the top.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Don't let the homo storm get YOU!

From the National Organization for Marriage (These people are dead serious. "I am afraid" Oh man.)

Gay people are so scary.

And Stephen Colbert's fantastic response:

You gotta love Colbert.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I wanted to share a few quotes from Meet the Press and some Jon Stewart episodes from the past week.

You know, for a guy who isn't a real journalist, he sure as hell is doing a better job than most.

I do have some rather...inciteful posts in my queue right now I'm debating on posting. We'll see. But in the meantime, I want to go back to politics. From April 19th's Meet the Press:

"FMR. REP. DICK ARMEY (R-TX): Well, first of all, I, I want to correct the record. While FreedomWorks did participate and help with the organizing, we had over 800 TEA parties. Now, this is very important. Over 800 TEA parties around the country, with attendance in the hundreds. [yay?] And Atlanta was 15,000. These were almost exclusively organized by volunteer people. I say they were. [well then we will have to take your word for it, huh?] And where FreedomWorks helped with technical assistance, in every TEA party that I was aware of a real person in their real community put it together. Now, what they're concerned about is where it's going to go. Quite frankly, the--most of the people that I talked to at the TEA parties and, and who had that sentiment frankly just simply do not believe that the president is either going to hold the line on spending. Look, he's, he's taken the, the deficit up to $2 trillion and promising to halve it. That still makes it, what, a--twice as big as it was when he started. So the fact of the matter is there's real doubts about him, and taxes must inevitably go up if he's going to grow big government. [Where the hell were these people when Bush was making big government?]

"FMR. REP. HAROLD FORD JR. (D-TN): There was not--but, but, but, Leader, there was not one TEA party in the eight years that President Bush was in office. [I love how they're using the TEA acronym now. Lame!] And this is not meant to litigate the last eight years. But let's be honest, there was a $5 trillion increase in the amount of the, the nation's debt under President Bush. Normally when you use a credit card and you go out and charge things, you're able to show something you got in return. For the last eight years there are no more kids with health care, there are fewer kids who are able to afford college, we have not found new energy sources, and we can make a pretty credible argument that the Middle East is less stable and more dangerous than it was before. I give the president great credit for another attack not occurring on our soil. When we look at the long-term investments and the foundational platform that this president, President Obama is trying to create, one could make a legitimate and I think a compelling argument that in the long run this will produce the new--new investments in energy will produce not only alternatives but less reliance overseas, cheaper energy here at home, a smarter electricity grid, more kids going to college, more people with access to health care, which will lower business costs and allow the economy, for that matter..." (emphasis added)

Let's not forget, John McCain's plan was going to increase the deficit as well.

And besides that, anyone watch Jon Stewart? To quote an overused phrase, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. Correspondent John Oliver attended a tea bagging party where everyone shouted about tyranny and how "taxation is slavery." I just wanted to beat the utter crap out of these people.

Slavery? Tyranny?

These are the SAME PEOPLE who are running around screaming how we don't know how good we have it. How we don't appreciate our freedom.


I just want to know how many of these teabaggers went out and bought the then half-million dollar houses which are now in foreclosure.

Then Oliver speaks with a teabagger who doesn't understand what "Taxation without Representation" truly is. Basically the conversation went like this:

Reporter: "But you are represented."
Teabagger: "Yeah, well, um. I'm not represented in that my views aren't being represented."


Keep encouraging these people, Faux News. It's making 2012 look much more brighter than it already does.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Don't Panic: We've Been Here Before

The fundamentals of the economy are strong.

Remember that quote? It still makes me giggle, especially since most knew at the time that John McCain was very, very wrong.

The more aware among us realize the Recession has been around for a while now, and now everyone's losing their jobs and losing their homes.

In my county and the neighboring county, unemployment is at a staggering 20%. The foreclosure to resident ratio in my neighboring county is the highest in the state.Most of us know where all this began: investment in housing. For the longest time when housing prices were so inflated as to induce laughter at the mere sight of the price tag (half a million for a dilapidated house in my father’s neighborhood was snatched up in no time), and nobody thought this would have to, you know, stop.

The experts were saying it would have to, but people refused to listen because they wanted to believe the realtors who swore that wasn’t the case. Because the realtors had no interest in lying to the public about any sort of bubble, right? We had our bank and others approach us to offer us home loans. Out of nowhere. Our annual income at the time was around $25k a year. Our credit scores were fantastic, but credit scores can change when a family making around $25k a year are talked into buying a $300k home. Because everyone wants that. Everyone wants to be able to buy a home. And I’ll admit, we considered it (for like, half a second. It took one look at the prices for us to realize that wasn’t possible no matter what we wanted. We’ve good credit for a reason).

People were going into interest-only loans where their $800 mortgage payment would balloon after five years into $3000. Some of these people were true victims, but I still believe many of them were just damn stupid.

You want to talk about entitlement? There's your entitlement.

And before we knew it, people owed more on their homes than the homes were worth.
And they couldn’t afford the payments.
The bank comes in and forecloses or the family asks the bank for a short sale (in which the bank basically forgives the remaining debt and takes the house to sell – hardly a “short” process)

But we’re hardly the first to think we can have everything we want, own things we cannot afford, and dive into an ocean of credit that will eventually return to stab us in the back.

Then the banks don’t want to give out loans to anyone. People lose their jobs because businesses need some loans to thrive and thus can no longer afford those employees.
A huge company defaults.
Throw a war in the mix,
And the economy grinds to a screeching halt.

And no, the Great Depression of the 1930s wasn’t the first time this sort of thing happened - just the worst yet. During my readings for my US History course, I came upon two panics which occurred during the 19th Century and found there to be many parallels. Upon more research I’ve discovered far more financial disasters our country has endured. This is hardly a comprehensive list, but I hope it says enough.

The Panic of 1819

War: The War of 1812, Napoleonic Wars
Speculative Activity: Real estate
Other reasons: American shipping boom ending, demand for American “foodstuffs” declining
Lasted: Five years

“The western land boom that began in 1815 turned into a speculative frenzy. Land sales, which had totaled 1 million acres in 1815, mushroomed to 3.5 million in 1818. Many settlers bought on credit, aided by small “wildcat” state banks that made loans far beyond their resources. This was not the first—or the last—speculative boom in western lands. But it ended like all the rest—with a sharp contraction of credit, begun on this occasion by the Second Bank of the United States, which in 1819 forced state banks to foreclose on many bad loans.” (Out of Many [1], 232, emphasis added)

The Panic of 1837

The War: None
Speculative Activity: The Second Bank of the United States
Other Reasons: Specie Circular of Andrew Jackson
Lasted: Six years

“The Recession of 1833-34 was followed by a wild speculative boom, caused as much by foreign investors as by the expiration of the [Second] Bank [of the United States]. Many new state banks were chartered that were eager to give loans, the price of cotton rose rapidly, and speculation in western lands was feverish. A government surplus of $37 million distributed to the states in 1836 made the inflationary pressures worse. [President Andrew] Jackson became alarmed at the widespread use of paper money (which he blamed for the inflation), and in July 1836, he issued the Specie Circular, announcing that the government would accept payment for public lands only in hard currency. At the same time, foreign investors, especially British banks, affected by a world recession, called in their American loans. The sharp contraction of credit led to the Panic of 1837 and a six-year recession, the worst the American economy had yet known.” (Out of Many, 284)

The Depression of 1873

The War: Civil War
Speculative Investing: Railroads
Other Reasons: Commercial Overexpansion
Lasted: 65 months (the longest in history at the time)
Unemployment: 15 percent+

“Mass meetings of worker in New York and other cities issued calls to government officials to create jobs through public works. But these appeals were rejected. Indeed, many business leaders and political figures denounced even meager efforts at charity. They saw the depression as a natural, if painful, part of the business cycle, one that would allow only the strongest enterprises (and workers) to survive.

"The depression of the 1870s prompted workers and farmers to question the old free-labor ideology that celebrated a harmony of interests in northern society. More people voiced anger at and distrust of large corporations that exercised great economic power from outside their communities.” (Out of Many, 457)

The Great Depression of 1930s[2]

The War: WWII
Speculative Investing: Stock Market investing. Investment in factories and new machinery led to overproduction, which lead to more stock investing. Loans given to invest in the stock market and for buying cars.
Lasted: Nine years
Unemployment: Nearly 30% in 1932.

I could go on. The Energy Crisis of 1970s (Vietnam War). The multiple recessions of the 1980s (I remember the late 80s one well). The dot-com bust of the late 90’s. And now the housing crisis of the late 2000s. The list is huge and goes back to the late 1700s for America.

It happens

In the words of John Rockefeller: "These are days when many are discouraged. In the 93 years of my life, depressions have come and gone. Prosperity has always returned and will again.”[3]

I could go on. The Energy Crisis of 1970s (Vietnam War). The multiple recessions of the 1980s (I remember the late 80s one well). The dot-com bust of the late 90’s. And now the housing crisis of the late 2000s. The list is huge and goes back to the late 1700s for America.

People are “scared” about Obama’s stimulus plans. They were fuming over Bush’s bailout plans. People were pissed off about some of Roosevelt’s solutions. And they still argue over whether or not it did anything.

But let's consider the alternative and if anyone has any other ideas?

“In neither 1837 nor 1819 did the federal government take any action to aid victims of economic recession. No banks were bailed out, no bank depositors were saved by federal insurance, no laid-off workers got unemployment payments. Nor did the government undertake any public works projects or pump money into the economy. All of these steps, today seen as essential to prevent economic collapse and to alleviate human suffering, were unheard of then. Soup kitchens and charities were mobilized in major cities, but only by private, volunteer groups, not by local or state governments. As a result, workers, farmers, and members of the new business middle class suddenly realized that participation in America’s booming economy was very dangerous.” (Out of Many, 284)

Before too long, few will remain who were alive during the Great Depression enough to really remember it. In time there will be none left who experienced it, and we will forget. In some ways we are ignoring it. We’re willing to allow people to lose their homes and with the potential live in squalor just so we can see which of us is the strongest (please go read John Steinbeck’s "The Harvest Gypsies". Unbelievable). We seem to think we should suck it up and let the market roll.

But couldn't we say that's kinda what got us in this mess in the first place?

While I’m hesitant of the bailouts (hated them) and of the stimulus plan, I have hope in Obama’s idea to invest in programs which will encourage economic growth. This doesn’t mean I agree with all of it, but I like the idea. And I realize it isn’t his idea, but modeled under FDR. Truly, what other choice does Obama have?

And truly, Bush followed the model, too.

Though the debt is and will be far beyond comprehension, I have hope that investing in infrastructure, education, and in green jobs will promote such growth that we’ll be able to pay this off.

We can learn from history, though. We have to take care when investing in speculative issues. We have to be informed. We have to think critically. We have to have an educated population. We have to be willing to dissent.

To this I add that we have to learn that if we’re too big to fail, than we’re probably too big. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

And it’s easy for me to say this. My husband still has his job. We’re able to afford a home now because of the bubble bursting. But that doesn’t mean what I’m saying is untrue. The market will recover. We need to take care of each other. We need to work with the government instead of against it. We need to be informed and educated and work with reason rather than emotion. It does seem to be the natural course of things for the universe to strike us back when we get too excited about money and material things – the problem is we’re not learning. And we won’t. But it is hardly the end of the world.


1. Out of Many: A History of the American People. 5th ed, Volume 1

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Teabag the President? Ewww.

How lame is this tea bag thing? Seriously?

Has anyone taken U.S. History 101? Anyone gone to high school? Do they just remember that this had something to do with taxes? Because that’s what the extent of their knowledge seems to be.

Has anyone done their research, or does this just sound like a clever way to get attention?

I have to admit straight out of the gate that I would’ve easily fell into this category of people who knew next to nothing about the Boston Tea Party but remnants of what my high school history course made it into my brain. Back in my conservative days, chances are we would’ve bought our own tea bag to send to the President.

And we would’ve been stupid, stupid, stupid.

What was the Boston Tea Party about? Taxes? Yes. But the similarities truly do stop there.

Back in the mid-Eighteenth century, American colonists were beginning to form a sense of American identity separate from the British. The British didn’t like the potential for a revolt – they wanted the colonists to remain dependent on them so they imposed various tariffs and laws. Following the Seven Years War between America (who the British fought with) and the Indian people, Britain, in an effort to keep any uprisings at bay, kept 10,000 troops in North America. This was an expensive move and Britain needed money.

So they imposed the Sugar Act – a tariff (or tax) on imported sugar to the colonies and moved to make it difficult if not impossible for the colonists to smuggle sugar. The colonists had no say. The courts of vice-admirality used to force these taxes didn’t assume innocence before proven guilty. There was no trial. There was no representation. Therefore “Taxation without representation is tyranny” – James Otis, Massachusetts lawyer.

Britain felt it was only fair for the American colonists to help pay for the costs incurred by the French-Indian/Seven Years War, and so felt no regret for their actions.

To make matters worse, since the colonial taxes remained lower than those in Britain, Britain decided to impose yet another tax in a measure called the Stamp Act. This placed a tax on anything on printed paper (newspapers, letters, licenses, ship papers, playing cards, etc). This stamped paper had to be bought with hard money during a time when the economy wasn’t doing so well.

Britain’s response? “Eh, you’re represented about as well as we are here in Britain. Kinda like how citizens here represent those who cannot vote, such as women, slaves, and children.”

(sounds like us, huh? ugh. we're soooo unrepresented here.)

The colonists hated this response and it only heightened their resolve to fight against “Taxation without representation.” (Yeah, sucks to not have a voice and have yours depend on someone you don’t know/can’t see/have no or little contact with, huh? I wonder if this made anyone think of women’s suffrage if not the black man’s vote. Doubt it.)

And the center of all protests came from…Boston.

The taxes created for a worsening economy adding to the skyrocketing unemployment and inflation rates. Samuel Adams, of the beer brand, became a leader for this movement in Boston, including a group who called themselves the Sons of Liberty, who called for protesting by way of pamphlets and petitions. In time, Britain was unable to enforce the Stamp Act since all stamp distributors had left the area. And the colonists were calling for a halt to importation of goods to pressure Britain who, by 1766, repealed the Stamp Act and reduced the Sugar Act.

But they also made a Declaratory Act which basically said they could do whatever they wanted anytime they wanted. They were just being nice by repealing and reducing those acts, basically. Not backing down.

Britain’s national debt wasn’t going away. Riots and tax protests ensued at the mainland, and Britain cared more for the protests occurring at home than in the colonies which showed in their Revenue Act which called for a tax on imports such as glass, paint, paper and tea.

In October 1767, a meeting in Boston reignited the call for nonimportation as they drew a list of British products to boycott. They called for people to live more frugally and stimulate the local economy, which the small towns are rural areas loved. In time, all colonies but one enacted legislation to ban importing British goods, bringing the value of these imports down by nearly half.

By 1773, Parliament imposed a tax on tea which infuriated the colonists (who loved tea – after all) and incited rebellion and later passed the Tea Act which placed a monopoly on tea to the East India Company, a company ready to collapse in bankruptcy. Parliament didn’t want it to fail and knew the colonists loved their tea as much as they did. In time, the consumption and purchase of tea was seen as an act of treachery.

The Boston Tea Party took place late that November when Bostonians disguised themselves as Indians, boarded the ships, and dumped all the tea into the harbor, pissing off the British and making them question what authority, if any, they still had in the colonies and leading them to other Acts to punish Massachusetts. In time, we'd have the American Revolution.

Sounds just like today, eh?

Anyway, on a fun note: this is why Americans drink coffee and not tea.

See also the New York Times Online: Tax Day Is Met With Tea Parties. (registration required)


Brian Schuster on YouTube (Thank you, Project Mayhem!). I am doing my best to keep all my coarse jokes to myself, but Schuster does a good enough job I guess. I much prefer Rachel Maddow or Olbermann.

*Source: Out of Many: A History of the American People, Vol. 1. 5th Ed. 136-142

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Masochist Mormon

I'm just repeating myself anymore.

At times I wish for nothing more than to...not necessarily deconvert anyone (this is hardly a fun thing. I wish it on nobody), but to help someone understand. A commenter here stated not too long ago that she just wanted to understand. But I've realized something: she won't be able to. The ability to understand where I am doesn't exist for faithful, unwavering members like her, because when I'm not preaching to the choir, I'm preaching to a people who are so indoctrinated with absolute authority in fallible men and faith in circular logic that there is no way out unless something clicks despite me.

And I am here for those who are in-between because, dammit, misery loves company :D

The original intent of this blog was to show "TBMs" their way of thinking wasn't the only way. I wanted to show many liberal views are grounded in scripture and are every bit of good as the conservative views. I wanted to help the many conservative Mormons know it's possible to be something other than a neo-conservative bot and still be a faithful member in good standing (which I wanted so much to be). So much for that.

I also wanted to help people see that the world isn't in black and white and that indeed the Church didn't teach that (even though I've only one GA quote to that extent). I wanted to reconcile my own issues, and I wanted to do it in a journalistic, non-biased sort of way.

That journalistic thing (as far as keeping my own views to myself) didn't last long. That's because it was all a lie: I was just scared to voice my opinion.

After completing a post, I'd have my husband read it. He'd suck in air through his teeth and say something like "That's a strong statement."

More often than not, I'd either return to sugar coat, over-explain, or retract the statement all together. At first I thought his reactions reflected personal problems with my words, though later I'd learn he agreed with me but wasn't sure I was ready or completely aware of the possible ramifications of my words. To an extent this was true.

With time comes courage, however, and we're both gaining it. Though he, I think, wants to remain as NOMish as possible, he knows our time in the closet is limited. Our daughter is turning six next month - two more years until that magical LDS age of accountability. My husband also has three brothers and one sister who are "of age" to marry in the temple sometime in the near future (though there are no immediate prospects to our knowledge). We're looking at a home which would place us in a ward which has produced more than a few stake presidents and other stake leaders. His grandmother is in that ward, too, and it wouldn't be a surprise if someone asked us to help her get to church every week (which we'd totally do, but still).

We want the impossible and we know it. It really is saddening. I am still trying to figure out how to make it work because I do want it to work. So much.

Anyway. Back to the blog. I'm tired of all the head spinning. I'm tired of writing entries before realizing "Damn. I know exactly how this will be answered."

For example, one cannot quote from the Journal of Discourses without having someone stop by to say "But that's unauthorized."

Me: "Not unauthorized enough for the General Authorities to refrain from referencing."

Them: "Well not all of it is wrong" (or something equally annoying)

If I quote from an official letter on official letterhead from the official First Presidency something we now know or at least believe to be wrong, we hear this:

"That was just his opinion."


"That was then, this is now. We listen to our current prophet" (who haven't, by the way, recanted all of which we now consider "opinion.")

I'm so *#&^%# tired of hearing that. It's far too convenient. All of the answers are. It doesn't matter what quotes I post because my backup is never enough. No matter what I say there's an answer. Even when I explain that "I've prayed about it" or "I know in my heart this is true" I get some BS about how my prayers are somehow flawed or my personal hopes get in the way or that my testimony in the Prophet isn't complete enough. Or my portrait of the Church is but a caricature (I still disagree here) when I live in the second most populated LDS state in the nation. I'm also fed some quote (more than once) about how the Prophet won't always tell us what we want to hear or what we will agree with and so I should suck it up and be faithful.

The latter really pisses me off because Eric and I felt as if we'd had just short of a face-to-face encounter with God himself when we felt beyond impressed to have our youngest about four years ago, at exactly the same time we first had our "oh man, this church may not be true" thoughts. At the exact...well, it's more personal than I wish it was. Suffice it to say: You want to talk to me about faith and sacrifice despite personal feelings? Let's start there.

But I digress.

I'm tired of it. There's really nothing more I can say on the subject of gay marriage because the Prophet hath spoken. Doctrine or not, the general membership understands through various talks that when the Prophet speaks through official channels it is as if God Himself were speaking and we are to follow the prophet because the Lord would never permit His prophet to lead his church astray.

I could show quotes to the contrary, even in the official Sunday School manual which makes it clear, but dammit: nobody teaches this. Nobody wants to believe it. We want to believe that what the Prophet says in official settings is what God says without exception. It's so much easier to just do what we're told. To believe it's all any of our business. That, if nothing else, gay marriage is immoral to the tune of murder, pedophilia, and drug addictions. And when I throw our polygamous history back in their faces, that the government came in and legislated morality on us - on "God's Eternal Law" - and why that's different if not completely okay now, I hear "That's different. Polygamy was between men and women."


I started this blog because I tired of hearing my very smart friends and family believe and preach stupid things. At least it makes for a fun tag.

But seriously, this otherwise quiet girl wanted to speak up. In time I learned that those of us who choose to look at official words of past and present are viewed with skeptical, dismissive, and even disapproving eyes. That there's a chance for excommunication. There's no room for context. There's no room for critiquing the words of men - however well-intentioned they or we are. Everyone has an answer and very few stop to analyze their own answers because it's safer that way. I get that. I do that still.


The majority of TBMs of the Church, those with their noses brown of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck tout their patriotism without even seeing that we exist in a microcosm which stifles (if not completely forbids) free speech and discourages dissension even to the smallest degree.

Does anyone else see the disconnect? Or has my rant completely gone off base?

Before someone tells me I'm wrong about my dissension statement, let me refer them (again) to Lesson 27 of our current Relief Society/Priesthood manual. The gateway drug to apostasy is in purportedly in the most minute of actions and thoughts.

I can't figure myself out. Why I wanted to go to church Sunday (couldn't, saw family), why I'm not totally against donating some money and time to good causes supported by the Church but only to however much we can. If I miss the temple it is only (and I cannot emphasize this enough) only because it's a beautiful peaceful place devoid of screaming children.

The problem is it's either all or nothing. If we were to attend, I'd have to deal with my children having culture preached as doctrine (or doctrine I find harmful) pounded into their heads and having otherwise well-intentioned leaders screw with their heads and hearts. But there are good things to be had for them as well. The frustration level is reaching its peak.

Though I understand it probably can't work, I can't help but try to fit this square peg in that round hole. It's what I do.

As for attempting to convince anyone of anything, I feel done today. Knowing me, I'll probably rant about it again in persuasive essay form the next time something pisses me off enough - but I need to get off the feeling of needing to convince good members they're wrong. In the end I'm just trying to convince myself I'm right which means I'm not ready to make any decision yet. Unless it's made for me, which would admittedly suck.

And one question I continually come to is this: am I too angry? To I have anything to be sorry for by way of tone? Should I just keep quiet until I figure this out to play it safe?

All I know is this will never leave me. The culture, the people, the teachings. It's been in me for nearly a decade now and we've too much family that I love and respect. This isn't going away no matter what I do, so I have to try to make it work somehow. I have to find my peace within the variables both known and unknown.

I'm just tired of hearing everyone pay far too much lip service to the idea that leaders are fallible when we are taught to act as if they are infallible.

At least when speaking officially.

Which really doesn't mean anything when one can't determine what is official anymore.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Update/Quiz...Happy Easter!

I've been thinking a lot lately (I think a lot all the time, but especially so this week). My bishop called me in, tried to make it a last minute meeting but I postponed it a week (for a few reasons). I don't think it has anything to do with my blog but rather the reasons I asked to be released from my calling as a Relief Society teacher. For some reason I told him I was having a crisis of faith, which isn't really the case anymore. I think I was afraid of telling him the truth.

At the time I didn't know how to put it all into words and he said we could talk later. It's been weeks, so I thought perhaps he forgot, but since my serial absence at church and reiteration to the RS President that not only did I not want to teach, I wasn't about to agree to be part of the Enrichment Committee I think he's decided to give me a buzz.

So we'll see how that goes. I'm more ready for it now. I don't know what to expect exactly. I'm not always the most aggressive person in a face-to-face situation or even the most assertive. I've been working on changing this. Though I like my bishop as a man, I need to be honest with him and not spare his feelings because he's a big boy and I'm not attacking him personally. Just answering questions and talking about things.

The again I wonder how necessary this meeting really is. There's really nothing to say to me right now. While I'm not preaching on the rooftops my disappointment, disagreements and anger toward all or part of the Church, I still talk about it here at least. It's not that I hate everything; in fact lately I've thought much about the good the Church has brought me. But I'm still angry and disappointed and other things I've no words for yet. Though I've need to work through this, I'm okay except for our close friends and family still being in the dark. At least as far as I know. Perhaps some do read and remain quiet.

So it'll be...interesting.

Anyway, I found this quiz over at Mild-Mannered Musings and thought I'd waste a couple minutes. The results are hardly surprising, but it was fun enough:

Your result for The what kind of Mormon are you? Test...

Sunstone Mormon

-4 Orthodoxy, 4 LDS knowledge, -5 Cultural homogeneity

Orthodoxy ranges from (-) anti-, non- and liberal Mormon, to mainstream, conservative, and fundamentalist Mormon (+).

You're on the cutting edge of LDS progressivism. You believe scholarship and change would benefit the LDS Church, but you realize that your place in Mormonism is marginal.

Take The what kind of Mormon are you? Test
at HelloQuizzy

Anyway, Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have a fabulous weekend. As for me and mine, we'll be at my grandma's house. With a ranch and all, it's good for the kids. They get lost, have fun, and leave me alone, haha.

I'm actually rather relieved it's almost over. Those Cadbury Creme Eggs will be the end of me /droooool.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Marriage is a Civil Right.

With Iowa's recent ruling the unconstitutionality of banning same-sex marriage and the upcoming elections in California and I assume elsewhere, I want to begin my arguments in support of gay marriage...again.

In this post, I will attempt to allow various definitions and whatnot to make the case for me (with some commentary of course). This is part one of a few posts I expect to write in order to make the case that same-sex marriage is indeed constitutional and the banning thereof a violation of one's civil rights, as well as another instance of the Church's misguided efforts. Readers will notice I offer backup links so they can look at the context and verify my sources themselves and that I also offer many different sources' definitions as to erase all question.

All arguments for and against my own are more than welcome. I understand some have made up their minds without intention of changing it as have I. The purpose of debates between two strongly opposing parties is to help those who haven't made up their mind or who are open to changing theirs to consider each side. While hardly a lawyer, I hope to make my case.

* * *

civil right (right or rights belonging to a person by reason of citizenship including especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th amendments and subsequent acts of Congress including the right to legal and social and economic equality) (WordNet Search, Princeton University)

“A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. Examples of civil rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places. Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. Statutes have been raised enacted to prevent discrimination based on a person’s race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin, and in some instances sexual preference.” – Cornell University, Legal Information Institute, Civil Rights.

Wikipedia offers a few definitions of Civil Rights:
1) "Civil and political rights are a class of rights ensuring things such as the protection of peoples' physical integrity; procedural fairness in law; protection from discrimination based on gender, religion, race, etc; individual freedom of belief, speech, association, and the press; and political participation."

(Remember: gender and race weren’t always part of this list. They had to be fought for, which means some believed both women and black people had no claim on certain rights, such as to own property, to be free, to vote, etc. Do we disagree with this today?)

2) "Legal rights are rights that are bestowed by nations on those within their jurisdiction; they are sometimes also called civil rights in common law jurisdictions. Contrast with natural rights or human rights, which many scholars claim that individuals have by nature of being born.

3) "Civil rights, in civil law jurisdictions, are rights or powers which can be exercised under civil law, which includes things such as the ability to contract. In civil law jurisdictions, lawsuits between private parties for things such as breach of contract or a tort are usually expressed in terms of infringement of a civil right." (emphasis added).

(Remember, marriage is a contract)

Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of The U.S. Constitution:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The Fourteenth Amendment has been used to argue for many rights, including marriage rights such as in interracial marriage. We must remember, for a time the definition of "marriage" either directly or indirectly included "between two members of the same race." Interracial marriage went against the generally accepted notion of what was not only moral but natural and God ordained. If this wasn't so, there would be no need for various court cases including California's 1948 case Perez v. Sharp and the U.S. Supreme Court's 1967 case Loving v. Virginia. Both of which concluded that marriage is a right.

And finally:

Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

(Isn’t marriage part of pursuit of happiness for those who pursue it?)

Not all rights we recognize and enjoy today have always existed. We've had to fight against racism and sexism to assert the equality our Constitution rightly demands. It is not in our interest to judge others who wish to pursue their own happiness, a happiness most recognize as selfless and beneficial to both those involved and those not involved. It's God's job to judge. According to many, there are heterosexual marriages of which God will not recognize, but we allow it because we believe straight sex to be "moral" - but only in the bonds of marriage.

And this, everyone, is what kills me.

First we tell everyone sex outside marriage is unacceptable to God and provokes his wrath. We essentially give everyone this choice: be celibate outside of marriage or go to hell. We tell everyone if they’re gay they can’t marry one of their same sex - but they can marry someone of the opposite sex (so very respectful to the poor straight partner, whether or not he/she is aware).

If anyone has ever been compelled to pretend to be something they're not for fear of invoking the wrath of those with authority over them (parents, teachers, a church), they will understand the horrendousness of such a suggestion to be straight when one is gay.

So now that we've ensured gay people cannot marry one another, if they have sex, they’ve not just the sin of homosexual sex on their hands but fornication as well. We’ve dug that grave deeper for them, taking their freedom of agency from them, first by telling them they cannot marry and then by saying because they're not married they can't have sex.

(By the way, nobody has ever said any Church would be forced by law to sanction such unions. If need be, I can dig up the specific wording of both the May 15, 2008 California ruling and the most recent Iowa ruling.)

Before we demand lifelong celibacy out of anyone, I suggest we consider what it would be like for us - and this doesn't just include marriage but dating, too and anything which we believe God would consider sinful or lustful outside marriage. And we've quite a list of "no-no's" which even the most faithful have difficulty following. Because we don't want to be alone, and even God has said it is not good for man to be alone.

So why marriage?

Marriage provides stability (for children). Marriage provides security (for children). Marriage forces us to act like adults and commit. It does not point a gun to anyone's head to force anyone to accept it, God especially. Not everyone who marries is religious anyway.

The fact is we all have our own beliefs and we all teach our children those beliefs despite the world who may or may not fight against them. But this is no theocracy. I cannot say that enough, and that is why so many like me reject with zeal and with even patriotism that no religion's beliefs should even try to impede on non-member's lives. And that is what this is all about.

Many straight couples/individuals today engage in behavior which I would consider detrimental to the family unit, yet we don't fight against them because it is their right to do so and my right to avoid them and their behavior. That makes the "it's moral" argument incomplete. If we're so concerned, we ought to legislate against all couples who, in our eyes, morally threaten the sanctity of marriage/the family regardless of sexual orientation.

Fear of marriage is unfounded. Fear of having any religion led by men dictate our laws and what constitutes a right is totally founded (I don't care if he's the Prophet, he's still a man).

The Church was wrong about blacks and interracial marriage and expressed racist statements in official settings which lend to the impression of divine authority and blessing. Later they argued their beliefs were merely due to the times and culture of which they grew up and belonged in, and further that they were working with limited knowledge. Fair enough - but they can be and I believe are wrong regarding gay marriage today in much the same fashion.