I hate to interrupt this tender moment but there’s a gigantor (not a word) bird and a ginormous (recently a word) pair of hands behind you. Just a heads up.
You guys! I’ve become an inactive blogger! The blessings of Internet infamy are slipping away! Luckily, somebody called me to repentence, and here I am, ready to atone for my sins of omission.
Yesterday, I made the foolish decision to watch a video of Bill Maher unbaptizing Mitt Romney’s dead father-in-law. I say “foolish” because I can’t stand Bill Maher and generally avoid him and his ilk (nasty, mean-spirited know-it-alls) like the plague. I avoid Fox News for similar reasons.
At any rate, I watched the video and immediately felt like punching Bill Maher’s smug, self-satisfied smile right off his face, which of course I won’t do, because I can’t reach him from where I’m sitting. The past few months have been difficult for me, since Mormonism is like my kid sister: I can rag on it all I want, but nobody else had better try it, unless they’re hankering for a knuckle sandwich. (Note: I have never actually punched anybody in my life [since elementary school].)
I’m tired of atheists and theists alike mocking Mormonism, because it’s just not any weirder than any other religion. It’s really not. So Mormons believe they’ll get their own planets– which, by the way, sounds awesome. Catholics eat Jesus. You decide.
Later, when I was recounting the tale of Edward Davies’ unbaptism to Mr. Snitch, I did something that surprised both of us: I started bawling. It’s bad enough that Bill Maher is an inveterate asshole. It’s bad enough that he donned a wizard hat and used a magic wand in his “ceremony.” But he went and mocked a Mormon concept that is still sacred to me: eternal families.
Dangit. I’m tearing up again.
Believe me, I understand the argument that posthumously baptizing someone is as disrespectful as posthumously unbaptizing them. Certainly, if Edward Davies had wanted to become a Mormon, he would have. My grandparents had ample opportunity to join the Mormon church, and chose not to. Their temple work was done posthumously, and now my family believes that we are eternally bound together.
Posthumous baptisms and temple work are not really done for the dead, or for God. (What sort of omnipotent being would choose such a remarkably inefficient way to save souls?) These rituals are for the living. My grandparents belong to us forever. I happen to believe that the temple work wasn’t necessary for that, but the rest of my family believes that it was, and it gave them great comfort.
Edward Davies’ posthumous baptism was done with the earnest intent to offer him a place in heaven and to bind him to his family forever. Bill Maher’s unbaptism was done with the cruel intent to mock, demean, and belittle. He must be hankering for a knuckle sandwich.
Wow, you guys. Let’s take some time to totally be amazed that a year has passed in a year’s time! Can you believe it? Craaaaazy. ‘Tis the season to pick out special gifts for all your TBM loved ones, and I am here to HOOK. YOU. UP.
A Book of Mormon video game is finally here! If this doesn’t take the Gospel to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, I don’t know what will.
Here’s the description: “Perfect for thrill-seekers of all ages, Helam: A Stripling Warrior Quest is an action- packed video game based on the Book of Mormon. Experience the excitement first-hand as you take control of Helam, who aspires to be a stripling warrior. Battle mysterious creatures, defeat wicked Lamanites, and collect clues while you journey to find the villain who burned down your village. Do you have what it takes to complete your quest, conquer evil, and become a true stripling warrior?”
Shut the front door! This is actually sort of a kickass idea. Can’t wait for the expansion pack that lets you cut off Laban’s head and detach sheep rustlers’ arms from their torsos!
Let me sum it up for you: homeboy has a thing for widows.
Apparently the church’s jewelry designer was inspired by P. Diddy.
The following is presented without commentary:
Buy it for your children now, regret it for eternity.
This is not about evolution.
With chapter titles like “A Cancer That Can Ravage Relationships” and “Turning To Her Instead”, you know it’s gotta be good. (And could they not find a mouse that was made after 1999 or what?) There are approximately 5 gazillion books on overcoming pornography addiction on the Deseret Book website. If any of you are looking to make a buck, I guess there’s a big market.
I actually kind of love this, because it works with all the various versions of Joseph Smith’s vision.
Only one more day until Smithmas and three more days until Christmas! Get your ass in gear and get to shopping!
This past Sunday, in a Rexburg ward, the sister in charge of the ward bulletin photoshopped a picture of her baby’s face onto baby Jesus. She superimposed her child’s face over the Christ child’s face and put it on the ward bulletin.
I cried. I cried when I heard this, because it’s basically the funniest thing ever in the history of everything. I can’t decide whether it’s funnier if she did it as a joke or not. Either way, well done Sister So-and-So. You’re a keeper.
I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of said ward bulletin in my mailbox. When it gets here, I might die. Or pee my pants. Or both, but these are risks I’m willing to accept.
I know other people’s dreams are boring, but indulge me here for a minute.
Last night I dreamt that my mom somehow got me to church. As we sit down in the chapel, I ask her why she hadn’t told me we were going to church, and she says, “Because otherwise you wouldn’t have come!”
The organist is playing prelude music, but it isn’t a hymn. It’s “Superstar” by the Carpenters. I sit there for a few minutes, but then it becomes clear that it’s stake conference, and I’m like, two hours? Eff this!
I make my way outside and start walking home, and the sidewalk is littered with bones. Some of the bones are sort of bloody, and my stomach starts to turn. I freak out a little because what if these aren’t animal bones? Eek!
I enter a tunnel, and inside the tunnel is a ginormous dinosaur skull. I enter through the back of the skull, and see that in order to keep going, I’ll have to crawl through the dinosaur’s teeth. This isn’t even a tiny bit appealing, so I turn around and go back to church.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
I’m keenly aware that a lot of my dear readers are walking into delicate, tenuous family situations this Thanksgiving. Ouch. I’m so sorry.
Let me tell you about Thanksgiving 2005. I’d told my family in June that I no longer believed in the church. Months later, they were still SO NOT OVER IT. The dinner table felt like a powder keg. I don’t remember much beyond feeling horrible and being disappointed in the lackluster meal. (Canned green beans? Really?)
Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2007. My family wasn’t exactly over the whole testimony loss thing (and they never will be), but the love we had for each other won out. The seething disappointment and anger were gone, and the green beans were fresh.
My wish for all of you is that love will win out. It may not. It may take a really long time. You might have to endure many awkward Thanksgivings. I so hope that you eventually get to have a Thanksgiving without seething disappointment and anger, and with all the fresh green beans, pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes you can eat.
But not turkey, because I’m a vegetarian. Fifth turkey-less Thanksgiving, holla!
I found this question waiting for me in my Formspring this morning:
Can your techniques and know-how on “lapse-hood” apply to other religions as well? That is, would they apply to lapsed Catholics, lapsed Hindus, lapsed Shiites etc.? Please advise. From: Your fans in the Himalayas (really).
Of course! I am a guru to all nations, tongues, and people! In just four easy payments of $39.99, I can make any faith transition practically painless!
I kid, I kid. I don’t know if my techniques and know-how apply to faith crises in other religions (and I am so flattered that you think I have techniques and know-how). Losing Mormonism is tough, but I shudder to think of the pain that happens when somebody loses their faith in Islam (hello social ramifications!), or leaves the Jehovah’s Witnesses or their Amish community.
I wrote a post about a year ago with advice for the newly minted apostate. Re-reading it today, I feel it’s pretty darn good advice for anybody whose worldview has just been shattered.
There are some things that I would add, however.
Black and white thinking is not healthy. This sort of thinking is encouraged by a lot of religions. And let me tell you, the only people who rival religious fundamentalists in black and white thinking are people who have lost their faith, but remain black and white thinkers. They are fundamentalists as well. There’s no nuance there. No room for personal interpretation, no room for metaphor, no shades of grey. It’s hard to change ingrained ways of thinking, but this isn’t a black and white world– it’s fucking Technicolor.
Havi Brooks, whose blog deals with how to overcome the ways of thinking that bind us, wrote about Sukkot and other Jewish holidays, saying, “Here’s what I’m practicing. Consciously interacting with the tradition that I inherited. In my own way, with my own presence and my own understandings of how to take care of myself.”
Consciously interacting with the tradition that I inherited. That phrase has been kicking around in my head for weeks. I inherited Mormonism and Christianity, just as I inherited my father’s eyes and my mother’s tear ducts. Consciously interacting with the traditions I’ve inherited is something that has taken a long time to even consider. I’ve had to work on my black and white thinking, a process that is never-ending. I’ve had to completely reevaluate what the word “true” means to me. I have let go of literalism. I let go of everything and then took back what I wanted, what I needed.
This is Apostasy 492 or something. It’s advanced. Not that I’m advanced, just that getting here, to where I am now, has taken years. I started with Christianity, and am just now starting to interact with my Mormonism. It’s taken a lot of reading, thinking, writing, and personal work, most of which has been uncomfortable, and some of which has been painful.
Consciously interacting with the traditions we’ve inherited, with the cultures we’ve been born into or chosen, with the people around us– this is hard work. It requires an enormous amount of compassion, both for others, and– even more difficult– for ourselves.
I don’t know how much I have to offer in the way of techniques and know-how, but here are the things I’ve discovered to be the most important on my journey: love, compassion, and mindfulness. Those three things will help you navigate any path.
Oh, how I wish I could take all of my Internet homies with me to my sociology of religion class. We could all sit in the back and snort whenever anybody says something ridiculous, which is like, every six seconds.
Like the girl who said that non-religious people have nothing to hold their marriages together. Oh, and that she didn’t think that gay people were religious. Not any of them. Why, you might ask? (I did.) Because she didn’t know any.
Or my classmate who cautioned another to be very careful about Revelation, because “there are a lot of misinterpretations out there.” I had to raise my hand and say that there is no single definitive interpretation of Revelation because Revelation is just one long, bad acid trip. I’m pretty sure Hunter S. Thompson traveled back in time and wrote it just to mess with us. (I really just said that the only person who actually knew what Revelation meant was the author, and he wasn’t talking.)
Or the woman who wondered aloud how many demon possessions were misdiagnosed as mental illness and I had to stifle a giggle because THAT SHIT’S MADE UP.
(I am not entirely sure that shit’s made up. I’m pretty sure. But you never know. We’ve all heard some pretty hair-raising stories. Now I’m going to cross myself a couple of times, JUST IN CASE.)
My goodness, it’s fun. It really is. I wish I could take all of you with me in my pocket. It’s even more fun than my BYU religion classes because instead of just Mormon crazy, I get many different varieties of crazy. I feel like I should bring popcorn and a box of jujubes.
It’s almost– almost– as entertaining as Relief Society.
Today is a momentous day.
I WORE PANTS TO SACRAMENT MEETING.
I know right now you’re all standing on your chairs and cheering and applauding. No? Do it. Do it now. I need the validation.
I had to go to church this Sunday for some family stuff, and I’d been agonizing over what to wear for at least a week. All of my dresses and skirts are either an inch or two too short or sleeveless or too tight or whatever. Last night, as I lay in bed trying to decide whether or not thick black tights would mitigate a hemline that hits an inch above my kneecap, I thought to myself, “Fuck this. I’m wearing pants.”
So I did, and it was glorious. I walked into that chapel with my head held high, pleased as Punch because I was wearing PANTS. What was once unthinkable has now been thunk.
The verdict: Wearing something I definitely wasn’t “supposed” to wear was weirdly empowering. I feel pioneer-y and smugly avant-garde. Try it, ladies!
So since I’ve found so much SOLID GOLD on Pinterest, I’ve made an account to share it with y’all. I’m a giver. It’s what I do. Here’s a little taste to whet your appetite:
P.S. Eliza’s Pinterest has been buggy and weird, so if my pins don’t show up, sorry. I’m working on it.