It was the worst of times, and it was the worser of times.
In the town of Orwell, USA, not so far from now, a woman is at a clinic informing her physician that she wishes to terminate an unexpected pregnancy. Betty is familiar with the legend of Roe vs. Wade, a mystical tale that she never paid much attention to until she needed it. She has heard the myth that women are people who should be trusted to make decisions about their bodies in private with the physician of their choosing, but now has found that in the town of Orwell, this isn’t really true anymore.
Betty tells the doctor that after serious consideration she and her partner have decided having a baby right now isn’t right for them, and she’d like to terminate the pregnancy as soon as possible before any physical or emotional effects begin to take their toll.
“So you want an abortion,” the doctor says.
“Well, I never wanted an abortion. I’m not excited about this situation but it’s still the right choice for me,” Betty explains.
“Of course you may have an abortion,” the doctor says reassuringly. “After all, the Supreme Court made it legal almost forty years ago.”
“Okay, great,” Betty says, feeling a sense of comfort and relief at the thought of having this unfortunate but necessary procedure done and over with so that she can get on with her life. “So can we get this done right now?”
“Oh, ho!” the doctor scoffs at Betty. “Hold on, you eager beaver, you! First you need to have an ultrasound.”
“But I don’t want an ultrasound,” Betty says. “It’s pointless. I want the mass of cells growing in my uterus to be removed. Why do I need to see what it looks like?”
“Big Brother says that you couldn’t possibly understand the consequences of your actions. I’ve also been told that as a medical professional I’m not qualified to give you advice on the matter,” says the good doctor. “No, you must have an ultrasound to give you another chance to reconsider.”
“Trust me, I have thought this through.”
“My dear,” the doctor says pleasantly, “I’m unable to agree or disagree. Our opinions are irrelevant because the state legislature says so.”
“But you’re a doctor.”
“I’m not wealthy,” Betty says with a sigh. “Will my insurance cover a medically unnecessary ultrasound?”
“Nope,” says the doc. “You can pay a few hundred bucks for one here, or you can go to a place staffed by people with no medical or psychological training where they will give you an ultrasound for free while heavily lobbying you with guilt, shame, and scripture to carry the baby to term so a nice religious family can adopt it, thus fortifying the ranks of the faithful.”
“But I don’t want to have a baby at all, let alone a baby that I’ll be pressured to give away,” the woman says.
“Well, then, that will be two hundred bucks on top of what this visit costs so you can have an ultrasound here without having to reveal your identity to people who despise you,” the doctor says cheerfully. “But then, of course, you’ll have to wait three days before you can come back for the abortion itself.”
“That will be difficult,” the woman says. “I already had to take today, Friday off, in the hopes that I’d recover over the weekend. My boss won’t let me have another day off so soon.”
“Well, you should have thought of that before your contraception failed,” the doctor says.
“I can’t afford to pay for the ultrasound here,” Betty sighs. “I guess I’ll have to go to the Crisis Pregnancy Centre, try to get another day off from work, and come back to have the abortion.”
The Crisis Pregnancy Centre is staffed by people more interested in The Good Book than the Hippocratic Oath. Not that they are really much for reading, however, because everything they try to read is full of silly “facts” and “research” that contradicts what their religious leaders tell them. The workers at the Crisis Pregnancy Centre aren’t doctors. In fact, they have no qualifications at all other than a strong interest in telling women that they should never, ever, terminate a pregnancy. They aren’t licensed and regulated by any professional or legal organisation, so they say things like “abortion is murder” and “God wants you to keep this baby.” Betty tries to sit through the counselling session with quiet patience, but is afflicted with shame and anxiety as a plump middle-aged, Mrs. Church lectures her about her thoughtless consideration of abortion.
“Now we’ll perform the ultrasound,” Mrs. Church says, and a technician pushes in a cart carrying a device equipped with a ten-inch probe.
“What’s that?” Betty asks, horrified.
“At your stage of pregnancy an abdominal ultrasound won’t show us anything, so the Pro-Life society from the Our Lady of Eternal Suffering parish bought this enormous shaft manufactured by ShameCo. Big Brother says it has to go up your ladyparts and we jam it against your cervix to get a peek,” Mrs. Church said cheerfully.
“But I don’t want that thing jammed up my ladyparts,” Betty insists.
“Oh, my dear,” Mrs. Church laughs heartily. “You know that’s not true. You wouldn’t be pregnant out of wedlock with a bastard child if you didn’t love having things shoved up your vagina.”
“Do I really have to do this?” Betty asks, growing increasingly distressed. She begins to wish that she had brought her partner or a friend with her, and the elevated levels of hormones in her body don’t help with the sudden panic she feels.
“My dear,” Mrs. Church says benevolently, “You don’t have to do this if you just do the right thing and keep this little gift from God and never go on welfare and raise it to be a good little heterosexual Christian American. If you really want the abortion, you can have this enormous shaft shoved in your ladyparts for free here at the Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering Crisis Pregnancy Centre, or you can go back to your doctor and pay him to do it. But then, you’re probably into that sort of thing, or you wouldn’t be here to begin with.”
“Just get it over with,” Betty sighs.
“Now, we may or may not be able to find the glob of cells at all, but just in case there is a heartbeat to hear, we need to make sure you hear it,” Mrs. Church explains as the technician greases up the large wand with its bulbous tip. Before he inserts the shaft into her body, Betty notices some words printed on it. They read “USA ALL THE WAY.”
“Maybe it won’t be that bad,” Betty reassures herself. “Just try to relax and maybe it will be over with soon.” She closes her eyes as the technician happily jams the plastic rod into her body.
“You have to watch,” says Mrs. Church. “The law says you must look at the ultrasound to see your precious baby before you decide to murder it, damning both yourself and your unbaptised bastard child to Hell for all eternity.”
“I don’t want to watch,” Betty says. “I’m just trying to make it through this. I don’t need to see something that isn’t there to see. It’s not a baby. It’s just a few cells that you may not be able to see anyway.”
“You have to watch the screen while we jam this thing inside you,” Mrs. Church says. “Or the ultrasound doesn’t fulfil the letter of the law. You must see your baby and–”
“It’s not a baby,” Betty snaps. “Right now its a glob of cells that doesn’t even look like a tadpole yet. It has no brain and no beating heart, and foetuses at this stage of development frequently spontaneously abort anyway because so many of them develop incorrectly.”
“I don’t know about that dear,” Mrs. Church laughs gently. “That sounds like Evolutionist blasphemy to me. Now look at the monitor.”
With great anxiety, Betty turns her head and stares at the monitor to observe the images produced by the thing that is probing her body. The ultrasound goes on for fifteen minutes as they search in vain for the sound of a heartbeat or the image of a clump of cells the size of a blueberry. They don’t find anything, so after shoving some papers laden with crosses, bible quotes, and the bloody images of aborted late-term foetuses into Betty’s hand, they ask her if she will reconsider her abortion, do the right thing, and carry the baby to full term so it can be adopted by a nice religious family.
“No thanks,” Betty says. “I don’t want a baby at all, let alone a baby that I have to give away.”
After a few more minutes of probing, Betty is sent home with the pictures of late-term aborted foetuses and a lengthy pamphlet about the tortures that await baby killers in Hell. She spends the weekend feeling stressed out, sore, and has panic attacks when she recalls the uncomfortable bump of the ShameCo wand against her cervix. In a few days she has the abortion she wanted anyway, but it takes her a long time to get over the confusion, shame, and pain of her state-mandated vaginal probe.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, a mother of three who has unexpectedly become pregnant again sooner than would be healthy for herself and her family is at her clinic.
“My partner and I would eventually like more children,” Sally says, “But I’m still nursing my newest baby and we’d like more space between the kids. I’d also be worried about the effect that another pregnancy would have on my body and my ability to perform as a parent just now.”
“Yes, I know that because I’m your doctor and I have looked after you and your family for years, and that sounds like you understand that this is the right choice for you.” the doctor says sympathetically. “But the law says you have to have an ultrasound first.”
“I don’t need an ultrasound,” Sally says with the stoic resolve of an experienced mother. “I’ve had plenty during my previous pregnancies. I know what they are and what they will show.”
“Plus it’s medically unnecessary and I feel it violates the Hippocratic Oath,” the doctor agrees. “Tell you what. We can use doctor-patient confidentiality, skip the ultrasound and just get this business out of the way so you can move on with your life and get back to your family.”
“Gee, thanks, doc!” Sally says with a gentle smile. “It sure is swell getting personalised treatment from someone who understands and respects me. But aren’t you worried about Big Brother?”
“Big Brother can get stuffed,” the doctor says defiantly. “My patient’s health and well being has to come first.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Sally says thoughtfully. “If I needed a blood transfusion you wouldn’t make me go to some Christian Science clinic to hear why it’s bad. I also suppose if I needed to have a limb amputated because it was riddled with tumours you wouldn’t make me go to a Rastafarian clinic to hear about how keeping the body whole is required by God. If I needed psychopharmacological treatment, you wouldn’t make me listen to Scientologists about how mood-altering medication is a fantasy. In fact, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at all that legislators should be able to cherry-pick issues like birth control and abortion to suppress while ignoring the fact that there are plenty of medical procedures that could be prohibited if this precedent is set.
Sally has her abortion, performed safely, respectfully, and in private at her doctor’s office. She goes home and returns to her family to recuperate with her loving and sympathetic spouse at her side.
The next day, Sally hears fists pounding on her front door. She looks out her window, and what did she see? Jackbooted priests with a warrant for three. Sally, her husband, and their family doctor are all carted off to be interrogated in Room 101, for they have conspired to murder a human being and refused to be bound up in unethical, needlessly restrictive and humiliating legislation. After being released on bail, Sally and her family pack up and leave Orwell, USA, settling in lovely Toronto, Canada, where people mind their own goddamn business. They settle happily into a new life where state sponsored terrorism against women is eschewed in favour of politeness, maple syrup ice cream, and basing medical legislation on scientific evidence and respect for human dignity. They raised their many children in happiness and joy, paying no heed to the silly, immature jibes of the USA, which eventually changed its name to the United State of Orwellia to honour the town of Orwell’s “exemplary” record of respecting the quality of human life.
Both doctors were eventually lynched by an angry mob of sexually unsatisfied church ladies as the law required their names and addresses to be made fully available online for The Anti-Abortion Pro-Doctor-Murder Society to see. Seeing this as the final straw, Betty followed her friend Sally to lovely Toronto, Canada, taking her reproductive system, dignity, and common sense with her. Not so many years later, the United State of Orwellia is populated only by religious extremists, who die off due to a deliberate refusal to participate in any form of Survival of the Fittest. Medicine, education, and eventually food are gradually replaced by prayer, and several days later when everyone in Orwellia drops dead of starvation, the rest of the world is too busy to notice what with all the science they are doing now that they aren’t being bossed around by gun-toting maniacs.
And they all lived happily ever after. Especially the people in Toronto.
I never thought that I would say that Rick Santorum had anything in common with PETA, but I guess anything is possible. Today’s feminist fail is brought to you by Frothy Mix and the Darwin Award Diet, who both hate women:
Brilliant move, hippies and neocons. Because women don’t already know what it’s like to feel caught in the middle of culture wars.
If you have a YouTube account and are inclined toward voting, please vote this rubbish down. Flying Spaghetti Monster knows what the marketing monkeys were thinking.
I realized that for reasons of [insert long story here] it would be in my best interest to at least know what the letter is about. My ex is applying for a sealing clearance. I don’t know what’s more silly — them wanting my opinion on the matter or their manner of expressing themselves. Here’s the text of the letter, with identifying information altered:
Dear Sister Molly,
Brother [Ex Husband] is applying to the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for a sealing clearance. As a former sealed spouse of Brother [Ex Husband], you are requested to provide a letter. This letter should include your feelings about this application and whether Brother [Ex Husband] is current in any financial obligations related to your divorce.
Please return your letter to the above address. Your consideration of this matter is greatly appreciated.
This letter provides a pretty good example of the lack of respect for personal boundaries that LDS, inc. has for the individuals it interacts with. Let’s think this through:
- I’m not a member of this church any more. But they track me down and send me this letter.
- They refer to me as “Sister” – an attempt to demonstrate authority over me and ignore the fact that I escaped from them.
- The letter never expresses concern for my well-being, nor does it apologise for what must necessarily be an intrusion of my privacy and an unsettling request to rehash the past.
- The letter instructs rather than asks me to provide them with a letter. The tone is authoritarian rather than inviting.
- Was this letter written by a robot or what?
I spent most of yesterday going back and forth. But after thinking it through, I will send a response. I’d like to let this bloke know that I do not appreciate being tracked down and contacted, despite my explicit instructions not to. I do not appreciate having my personal information acquired and recorded by an organisation I do not belong to. I do not appreciate the tactless request to dig up a past that is long buried. I want them to know that if they do this again I will contact the press and they will hear from my attorney. One more push and I’ll sacrifice my anonymity and make a public fuss.
The other thing I could possibly achieve from this is getting numerous nasty postings made about me online by my ex and his family. It’s common for cheating spouses to react irrationally when they get caught, and although he was the one having sex with guys from the Internet, all of a sudden I was the one who apparently suffered from every type of psychosis imaginable. Among the claims they made were that I hypnotised him into thinking that he was gay, that I was psychotic, that I had Borderline Personality Disorder, that I had “Killed the Light of Christ” and so on and so forth. The postings are all so irrational that they really only made friends more sympathetic, and they have never affected my work. But from time to time a friend will find one of them when searching for something else about me online, and they inevitably mention it. They mean well and are generally supportive, but it would be lovely not to have these little reminders pop up now and again to shout out “Oi! Molly! Remember how much fun it was being married to a self-loathing gay bloke whose repression made him explode in a giant globby mess of psychological flotsam?” Time can take the sting out of words, but the Internet keeps them fresh. Words on the Internet don’t fade with time. They are either online or deleted. I’ve put down my baggage from this mess. I don’t need it to keep following me around like a smelly unwanted stray animal.
So here’s how I do it. (And I don’t care if the twats from the Church Office Building are reading this, because it’s going to be difficult to disagree with.) The continued presence of this rubbish online is a pretty good indicator that he isn’t remorseful about (a) cheating on me (b) blaming me for cheating on me (c) saying a lot of nasty things about me. If he’s really repaired himself and moved on and is actually psychologically healthy enough to be marrying some other girl, then he shouldn’t be harbouring any bitterness toward me. It’s a bit hard to believe that he’s forgiving himself and me for everything if smug, false claims about my sex life, my morality, and my sanity are still gracing the pages of his and his family’s blogs. The repentance process requires recompense. There is no apology he could make with words that would really mean anything to either of us at this point. No, that ship has sailed. But from a doctrinal standpoint, taking away some words can get close enough. The only recompense I can get at this point is to have this person deleted from my life. To have all threads, physical, symbolic, and digital, cut forever. So that’s what I’ll ask for.
I don’t know if they will listen. After all, I’m the dirty apostate and he’s the one who has used the mask of piety to avoid dealing with the realities of his situation. But I hope by sending one last letter I can send a message to both my Ex-Church and my Ex-Husband: I’ve finished with you. Now fuck off.
I was out a few days ago and when I got home, in the post was a mysterious card saying that they had a letter for me from the church which required my signature before I could have it. I’ll now need to take the card to the post office to retrieve it. My mind is full of questions and I could really use some input from Outer Blogness on how to react. Here’s what’s swirling through my mind:
1. I have successfully concealed my address from LDS, Inc. for three years. It’s very creepy that they have tracked me down. If I accept the letter, they will have a confirmation of where I live.
2. What on earth can they have to send to me? I haven’t been a member of LDS, Inc. since November of last year, and in my resignation letter I specified that I wanted to be left alone. What can they have to say to me now? Why is it important enough to warrant a certified letter?
3. A big part of me just wants to ignore it, but I also recognise that it would be foolish to remain ignorant as to why a large, shadowy, powerful office building in Salt Lake City is trying to send me information.
What to do?
My mum is coming for a visit this weekend. A year ago I never would have thought this was possible, when she hung up on me after telling me how selfish I was for, well, following my own thought process out of the Mormon church. In a certain light it is a selfish choice. I could follow the herd, which was in the best interest of the herd, or I could stop being a sheep, which was in the best interest of my dignity and self-respect.
At any rate, the ice has thawed somewhat over the many months and while my father does his best to avoid speaking to me, my mum has come back around a bit. I’m actually pleased that she’s coming to visit. When you get her on her own away from her responsibilities she’s loads of fun. However, I need to prepare the house so that none of our lifestyle differences are shoved in her face. Here’s all the things I have needed to clear away to make the house acceptable to a Mormon Mum:
- All glassware bearing the name of a booze company (Guinness, etc.)
- All the booze
- The wine racks
- A copy of The Kama Sutra
- Caffeinated tea
- Refrigerator magnet reading “I believe the glass is half full as long as there is whisky in it.”
- Empty beer bottles in the bin
- My collection of Mormon-related books, including scriptures, old lesson manuals, and titles such as The Book of Mammon, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus, and Losing a Lost Tribe.
- Buddy Jesus figurine
- Coin purse reading “I’m Savin’ Up For Jesus!”
- Movies rated 15 and 18 (That’s R-rated to you Yanks)
- Flying Spaghetti Monster tea mug
- Sexy underpants in pile of washing
I think that should do it. Doubtless I’ll find a few more things in my final sweep, but I believe I’ve removed any tinder that could start a fire. Hopefully we’ll now just have a nice week-end.
Fingers crossed. Wish me luck.
There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle in the news lately over Evangelical Christians calling Mormonism a cult and preferring presidential candidate Rick Perry over Mitt Romney for this reason. The most reasonable explanation of the opinion I’ve seen came from Rev. Robert Jeffress:
The other Republican candidates keep taking the high road and saying that being a Mormon should be a non-factor in Romney’s candidacy. I believe they are doing this so they can look magnanimous and also to keep from having anyone apply scrutiny to their own religious beliefs.
So let’s try a little exercise. Let’s bridge the gap between Romney’s religion and muse about what Mormonism might mean in terms of real life presidential policy.
If you’ve read the Church Handbook of Instructions, you’ll know that the LDS Church threatens stiff punishment for anyone who has an abortion or assists others to have an abortion. Many religious politicians have been able to strike a reasonable compromise by saying that while they personally opposed abortion, they recognised the right of individuals and society at large to determine that matter for themselves. Mitt doesn’t get that liberty. If he sincerely is Mormon, then as head of the US Government he would be responsible for assisting others in obtaining abortions so long as it remained legal.
The good ol’ CHI is also strictly opposed to in vitro fertilisation, artificial insemination, and single parenting. How would that translate to a Mormon president’s social policy?
There’s also the problem that comes with Mormonism’s teachings that a woman’s place is in the home and a man is head of the family. If Mitt really believes in his faith, then Americans can’t count on him to address the wage gap between male and female workers or do anything about the glass ceiling that affects women’s job progress.
Racial and sexual minorities might want to consider what it would mean to have a Mormon president. Herman Cain graciously sidestepped the question over Romney’s faith when asked, but I wonder if the African-American candidate knows what Mormonism has to say about black people. Would the ironically named Mr. Cain have a problem with a president who believed him to be a descendent of THE Cain, born in this life with The Curse of Cain because he sat on the fence during the War in Heaven between God and Lucifer?
A Mormon president would be under massive pressure to reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and revoke any marriage-like benefits currently available to same-sex partners. A Mormon president would be obligated by his faith to oppose gay adoption or birth to gay couples via surrogacy or artificial insemination. Since Mormonism sees homosexuality as a form of delusion or even a mental illness, would a Mormon president be in favour of recriminalising gay sex acts?
But let’s not forget the extra-fun perennial issue:
That, er, Israeli-Palestinian Thing
Mormons are pro-Israel. Not because they are anti-Arab or anti-Islam, but because Mormonism was founded as a type of neo-Judaism. Mormons consider themselves literal descendants of Israel (usually through Ephraim) and borrow heavily from the Old Testament for their religious rituals. Mormons look forward to The Second Coming, when Jesus returns to Earth and reigns in glory before the final judgement. However, very specific prophecies must be fulfilled before this can happen. The nation of Israel needed to be established. That’s been done, and Mormons are in favour of its continued existence. (Sorry, Ahmadinejad.) One of the biggies is that the Jewish temple needs to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Israel then needs to be on the brink of annihilation, at which time Jesus descends and shazam, world peace.
Prophecies are all well and good and abstract, but let’s think through the physical realities. If you are a faithful Mormon you aren’t anti-Palestinian per se, but you are definitely pro-Israel. What’s more, if the temple is to be rebuilt then a Mormon would have to favour Jewish control over Jerusalem to the point of making the reconstruction of the temple feasible.
I doubt most Mormons know what the Al-Aqsa Mosque is or why it’s important to Islam. I also doubt that most of them know that it’s parked right on top of the ruins of the Jewish temple. So let’s review. Translating abstract belief into real-world foreign policy, if he truly believes in his faith, he’d like the Second Coming to happen as soon as possible. This means peace in the Middle East doesn’t really benefit God’s plan. The Al-Aqsa Mosque has got to go, and the Jewish Temple has got to be rebuilt. And if one thing could trigger Armageddon, it would be knocking down the Dome of the Rock. How on earth can a US President shape foreign policy with this kind of awkward religious doctrine hanging over his conscience?
But of course this is just theoretical
Would any of this actually affect a possible Romney presidency? I doubt it. Romney is a politician first and a Mormon second. His political track record shows that. Like Obama, I feel that Romney pays lip service to religion because he knows it’s required for the American public to feel that he is firm in his convictions. But this little exercise does demonstrate how difficult it is to elect a Mormon because you simply can’t predict how serious someone like Mitt is in implementing his faith in the real world. Mormonism isn’t just a religion. It’s a social, cultural, and foreign policy rolled up into a church.
The repeating refrain among the flock of GOP hopefuls is that religion doesn’t matter when it’s inconvenient to a candidacy but it matters very much when it’s helpful. I’d hope that voters notice this and carefully consider what exactly they’re signing on for when endorsing a candidate.
I haven’t had a lot to say lately on Mormonism. To tell the truth, a lot of my grasp on it is slipping away. Over time my conviction that the LDS church is a load of psychologically harmful groupthink based on comforting but false fantasies has been solidified and borne out through personal reflection, empirical evidence, and anecdotal experience. But I feel less interested in talking about it. My teeth are still set on edge every time I see one of those “WE’RE NORMAL” ads on YouTube, and the thought of Mitt Romney being the next US president makes me want to cancel my visa and go back to where nobody’s ever met a Mormon, let alone wanted to know how “normal” they are. I still feel anger when I think about the fact that 90% of my family will now have nothing to do with me because they don’t want me as I am — they want me as they would have me.
It’s getting harder, though, to be able to deliver the sort of commentary that I had in mind when I started this blog. I’m not interested in torturing myself by watching Ginrul Confernz. Conference is predictable to a fault. One or two token female speakers breathing the vapours of recently swallowed antidepressants into the microphone. Generic choral music sung by white people. Mind-numbing, bland feel-good pablum about sharing or something. Praise of the virtues of Doublethink and excoriation of the vice of Thoughtcrime, especially as they apply to naughty ideas about civil rights and secular government. There’s always at least one zinger, but GA misbehaviour gets enough press that I don’t need to bother listening to the old windbags all weekend to glean the inevitable bigotry.
That’s why this weekend Ginrul Confernz sneaked up on me. I simply forgot it was happening. I’ve forgotten a lot of things. Like the chill that used to go up my spine whenever someone told a 4 REELZ story about The Three Nephites that was passed along from their Bishop’s wife’s nephew’s sister-in-law. Or the reason I used to get choked up whenever some shrill-voiced Mia Maid got to the line “AND THEN THEY PEEEE-YURCED-THEM” in the Kenneth Cope song “His Hands.” (Wow, did I actually just admit that? The shame and horror.)
Some memories are fresher. Like the way people treated me when they learned I was getting a divorce from a philandering closeted criminal (BUT LDS!) husband who had used up his seven times seventy chances. Or the way people suddenly vanished from my life when they learned I had finally dropped off the deep end and was committing the final crime of marrying a non-member. (Mr. Molly, by the way, is loving, devoted, honest, stable, chock-full of integrity, and treats me as a partner. However, he is not a return missionary with a temple recommend, meaning he is clearly an agent of Satan. If so, then consider me the sinfully happy bride of Hell.)
I remember the peaceful realization that I didn’t want to pretend any more. I remember the sad acceptance that, while I would always love the family, friends, and community from my life as a Mormon, it meant more to me to stand up for what I believe is right than to keep myself in the closet. I remember the relief of knowing I was going to stop pretending to be affiliated with an organisation that is based on a rubbish work of Bible fan fiction written by a sex-crazed megalomaniac.
The Internet was the beginning of the end for groups that keep members in line through psychological intimidation and misinformation. We’re now at a point where the Catholic church cannot hide its sexual abuses of children. Jehovah’s witnesses, Scientologists, Mormons, and other groups with shoddy truth claims are having a hard time accepting that the public now has the ability to document abuses and scrutinise their every word. No one can hide hypocrisy any more. With the Internet nearing 20 years old, an entire generation has now reached adulthood reared on the idea that truth is something they can find for themselves. Let’s be honest; Google answers a lot more questions than God does.
Religion, politics, and cultural change is still something that interests me. But my scope has moved beyond a specific critique of Mormonism. LDS, Inc. represents a fairly insignificant religious movement in world history. Judging by the high attrition rate, the desperation of Mormonism’s marketing campaigns, and the increasing role of Mormonism as a cultural joke, its future as a significant cultural force seems dim. Mormons who reach prominence (such as Harry Reid or Mitt Romney) make progress only by downplaying their faith. (By comparison, mainstream Christians gain a political benefit from being overtly religious.) Mormon celebrities tend to be poor examples of a religion that penetrates most member’s lives twenty-four hours a day.
I’m more interested in looking at the bigger picture. Mormonism contributes a great deal to both overt and latent sexism, racism, and homophobia in Western culture, and the religion deserves its share of the blame. But I’m growing more interested in seeking out the common threads that bind human beings to outmoded ways of thinking. And then hopefully cut through them with a rhetorical chainsaw.
So as I come off my blogging hiatus, I’d like to introduce the first set of features I’ll be focusing on: Feminism Fails and Woman Wins. For example, this week’s Feminism Fail goes to Gisele Bündchen, who not only promotes a standard of beauty that devalues almost all women on Earth but somehow managed to do her part to encourage negative stereotypes about Brazilian women even as women make unprecedented progress in that country. Fail.
As always, I’m eager for contributions by guest writers. If you’re interested in smashing through outmoded cultural expectations and contributing the the growing arsenal against bullshit, drop me a line.