New feature: Feminist Fail and Woman Win

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.

10 thoughts on “New feature: Feminist Fail and Woman Win

  1. haha i see that you have a lot of bitterness towards the mormon church. i was also once a mormon, but i guess i found my way to “apostasy” and whatever else they wanna call it and ended up being a pantheist instead. anyways i hope for the best and thanks for an interesting post!

  2. @jnf – um, eh? Why is that if you point out widely acknowledged facts that happen to be negative it’s called “bitterness,” instead of, you know, common freaking sense?

    • I’m not certain it’s a real comment; autogenerated spam is getting awfully sophisticated. Perhaps it’s genuine, perhaps trolling perhaps just not the best choice of words. Let’s just say it’s a bit hard for me to be “bitter” if I got so bored blogging about Mormonism that I stopped doing it . . .

    • oh it was just an honest comment nothing else. sorry if you find it offensive. perhaps i really should have used a different set of words. there was no harm intended with my comment is all i’m saying. again i apologize if i passed off as being offensive.

      • No worries. I’ve found it a common problem that printed words can be easily misinterpreted since nobody can hear your tone of voice. Welcome to the lively community.

  3. I had forgotten that Reid was even a Mormon, probably because I’ve gotten stuck in the Utah mentality that Mormons can’t possibly be baby-slaughtering democrats. I like the guy. I would like Romney if he were the same politician that governed Massachusetts. The GOP (and I suspect the Church *TM) have thrown him into a waffle iron and conservatived him up a bit. I like watching him talk about religion though because you can tell he believes it enough to feel guilty that he’s downplaying. All-in-all, he’s a squishy puppet of a politician, nothing really original there. Good fodder for SNL.
    I know exactly what you mean with getting a little weary of blogging about the church. I guess I kind of just got discouraged because the more I talk to members (the Mr. and I have been on a mission to deconvert our local missionaries) the more I realize I can’t make anyone see anything. Such is the power of double-think and rationalization. I’m preaching to the choir here, but I know what it is to believe that BS with all your heart and soul and the only way out of it had to come from within. I like how you describe wanting to come out of “the closet,” because that’s very much how it felt for me too. Ultimately, we just want to live lives of integrity and honesty. Oh, and of all the guys I dated, only one was a never-mo and he’s the one I married. Better to me than any of the RMs. Thanks for your thoughtful and courageous blogging, I look forward to what’s coming.

  4. Pingback: Mormon Scam and More « Mormonism Scam or True Blog

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