Friday, September 30, 2005 

The Chosen

I agree with Carrie Ann that the best Mormon myths are the celebrities that we somehow manage to imagine are Mormon. The reason why we do this may be related to what I consider my least favorite Mormon myth.

There is no place that really explicitly states my least favorite myth, but you see evidence of it everywhere. There is the "hanging by a thread" prophesy. There are things about this being an elect generation of youth. There is our persistent isolationism, coupled with the idea that everybody knows and cares about what we are doing. There is the notion that, in spite of the fact that BYU has a restrictive honor code and limited draw for big-time non-LDS football stars, it should have a perpetual top-25 (even top-10) football team. We think that we are chosen.

Perhaps I am still thinking about the foreordination posts from last week. Perhaps I am just tired of being a bit of a freak to people who think they know everything about me (JP's excellent post reminded me of many high school religion conversations). Maybe I've been engaged in Bloggernacle navel gazing too long. It just seems like if there is one group in the country that is absolutely certain that God likes us more, it is us.

There may be plenty of reasons for this feeling. We do believe that God blesses us on a regular basis individually (Elder Bednar's recent "tender mercies" talk is an excellent example of this notion). We also believe that blessings are somewhat dependent on our behavior. Since we behave well, and since our "pioneer ancestry" behaved well, it is possible that we believe that we have stored up sufficient good behavior to guarantee God's blessings on us.

This is the kind of thinking that got Israel overrun with Assyrians and Jerusalem destroyed by Babylonians and Romans. Chosen-ness does not mean that we are God's special task force, ready to step in whenever an area needs a spiritual beat-down. Chosen-ness doesn't mean that God will spare you because of how wonderful you are and how much more he likes you. If we are chosen, an idea that I am not entirely ready to grant, the kind of special treatment we receive is not the kind you want.

Let's take a look at a people whom we know were "chosen": The Israelites. There were the aforementioned Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans. There are the years and years of anti-semitism, oh, and the Holocaust.

The chief sin behind all the earlier events seems to be pride (I won't speak of the Holocaust, because God hasn't discussed the Holocaust). The Israelites were convinced, because of numerous escapes in the past, that God really would protect them no matter what, that they really were the special ones. It is this tendancy that I see in modern Mormonism and it scares me.

You may say, "It is different for us, we have modern prophets." They had prophets speaking to them up to and including the moment that the invaders began to tear the temple down. You may reply, "But those people didn't listen to their prophets." According to the book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah was an advisor to King Zedekiah. The King chose to ignore his advice and you know the rest of the story.

I am not saying this to engage in fear-mongering. I hope that God chooses to spare us the kind of judgment that he has thusfar laid out on his chosen people, the Jews. Nonetheless, so long as we feel that we are already sufficiently righteous, sufficiently blessed, or sufficiently chosen, we face that same danger.

Getting back to Elder Bednar's talk (what with Conference this weekend and all), the lesson that we should learn from God's blessings isn't that we are chosen, it is that he loves us. No one receives any more or less of God's love by earning it. It, along with all of God's good gifts, is freely given to all who ask sincerely (and some who don't). If we are blessed, it is to remind us of our dependence on God and, thereby, to humble us.

This chosen thing. It worries me. Especially since we seem to believe that our isolation is what makes us chosen (much moreso than righteous acts). If you think the manner in which the Mormons will save the constitution will be with some sort of military coup or minority vote, I don't know what kind of constitution you will be saving. If you think it will be our shining example of goodness that we lead people to make the decision, then I'll need to see more goodness and less of the kind of thinking that brought Jerusalem down.

If we are chosen, if our wealth and our knowledge was intended to set us apart from the world, then our goal is to open ourselves up to others, not cut them off as dead weight. We shouldn't be a tower in the sky, forcing others to climb over each other to get to the blessings we enjoy. If we are meant to be lofty (an imputation that I might dispute), we are at least intended to stretch all the way down to the ground. There is room in our tower for all and as many doors as there are people wanting to get in.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 

Stupid Is As Stupid SAYS

When I was in Jr. High…this kid on the bus found out I was Mormon and asked if I drank Kool-Aid. I gave him my “what the heck?” look and told him that yes, I drink Kool-Aid from time to time. Funny, but:

Mormons drink Kool-Aid
Mormons don’t have horns
Mormons are allowed to dance (not all of them CAN, though)
Mormons don’t WORSHIP Joseph Smith
Mormons are Christian (and therefore DO believe in Jesus Christ)
Mormons DO believe in God
Mormons DO NOT belong to a cult
Mormons are NOT satanic worshipers

And those are just a FEW Mormon myths that I have either heard are been accused of. I had a very upsetting conversation with a very Christian man after he found out I was Mormon…and that I wasn’t active. He actually said to me, “So the Good Lord pulled you out of that.” And then when I was too stunned to respond he continues, “You know, because they don’t believe in Jesus Christ.”

And then I found my voice.

“Actually, Mormons DO believe in Jesus Christ.”

“No, I’ve done a lot of research, and they don’t”

“I grew up Mormon….they do indeed believe in Jesus Christ.”

“I didn’t grow up Mormon, and I KNOW they believe in Jesus Christ.” Said Non-Mormon husband there.

“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but…no they don’t. You can read (name
dropping Christians that I have no clue who they are) and listen to them speak
on how un-Christian they are.”

Do to me being UTTERLY SHOCKED by this man who was arguing with me about a faith grew up in, I wish I could’ve gathered my thoughts better and yelled:

DUDE! The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints….are you STUPID OR SOMTHIN’?!

But that probably wouldn’t have been the best approach either. But where do people get these ideas???? I know there are anti-Mormon groups everywhere who just might sit around and make these kinds of myths up…but WOW. I don’t know about you, but I kinda like to know what the heck I’m talking about SO I DON’T LOOK STUPID.

But, maybe I’m just asking to much of people…

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 

Punchline = Polygamy

Despite the fact that I have not attended church in more than three years, every time I hear a Mormon polygamy reference as a joke punchline, I am literally up in arms. You should see it... my arms go up, my jaw drops down, and I look at who ever is nearby--sometimes this is the dog--in utter disbelief.

I realize that most of the people making these jokes probably know that Mormons (mainstream, not Fundamentalist) don't practice polygamy anymore, but I just can't help becoming aghast each and every time.

Of course, maybe I just see more of it than most people. I do watch a lot of Stand-Up, but the topic also hits mainstream in a lot of sitcoms and some dramas.

My husband recently learned much more about Mormons and the LDS faith through reading Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer. Although much of it focuses on two Mormon Fundamentalists who committed murder "on God's orders" in 1984, Krakauer also gives an extensive history of the founding of the church. Apparently he gives information that is balanced with both the official LDS accounts and the "anti-Mormon" accounts. Since the book spent a number of weeks on the New York Times Best seller list in 2003, the concept of Mormons & polygamy spent some more time in the spotlight.

I sincerely doubt that the association between polygamy and Mormons will go away any time soon. I do wonder, however, if that would improve if polygamists were prosecuted, taking away the appearance of acceptance by the state government in Utah.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 

Horny Mormons

When my mothers oldest sister was born, the first thing the midwife did was check her head for horns because she knew my grandmother was Mormon. Apparently, a common myth about Mormons was they were born with horns, and removed them in infancy. Needless to say, the midwife was shocked that my aunt was horn free and asked my grandmother if she was a PRACTICING Mormon. My grandmother said she was indeed practicing, and yet ANOTHER Mormon Myth was laid to rest.

My mom grew up in a SMALL town in Nevada and during her adolecence her goal in life was to get into the town newspaper. You think it wouldn't take much, but apparently it did. She and her friends did several INSANE things (I beileve stealing a car or tractor or something was one of their stunts) that did NOT land in the colums of the local newspaper. My favorite attempt that didn't make it was when they painted the highway leading into town. My mother recalled the story of her sister being checked for horns and the ditty some of the local kids sang (Lyrics: You can see by my horns I'm a Mormon/I can tell by your horns you're not a Mormon/But if you join us and be Mormon/ Then you can be horny too.) she painted "Welcome to the Home of the HORNY MORMONS" at the entrance to town. I can honestly tell you that my mother had no idea that "horny" might have meant ANYTHING other than to have horns. I have SO many stories like THAT that I could share. Anyway, the point is, I've seen quite a few new born "Mormon" babies, and they have all been horn free. I would LOVE to know how that rumor got started though.

As for my mom, she finally made it into the paper the summer before her senior year of high school. Her boyfriend was an archiology major and they were hoofing around in the desert one day and found a full skeleton. They took it put it in at the public swimming pool with a beer can full of flowers over it. They never got caught, and she still has the newspaper clipping. THIS is why I fear raising my children in a small town. ;)

Monday, September 26, 2005 

Favorite Myth? That Would Have to Be Myth Drrty Girl Herself

I’m in New Hampshire on vacation. I miss the East Coast like a long lost family member. But that is neither here nor there… My favorite Mormon myth would have to be all the false celebrities that have “converted” or been taught the gospel by “missionaries in my mission.”

We visited this subject a little while back. And while I hope that we get to hear from some other post-ers and commentators on their fave doctrinal myths of Mormondom, I will take the easy road (because I am out of my element and far from my library) and write about my favorite Mormon celebrity: Christina Aguilera.

She is my favorite not because she exemplifies all things “Mormon”; quite the opposite…I get a kick out of how “un-Mormon” she has become.

This is how the myth began: there was a girl in my major in collage who is not the type to fall prey to exaggerated stories or hyperbole. She was down to earth and honest. She claimed that Christina grew up in her ward in Pennsylvania (from all that I know of Miss Drrty from “Behind the Music” this is true…). Christina’s parents met at Brigham Young University, of all places, her father being from Ecuador.

My friend is older than Christina so she wasn’t close friends with her, but she said that Christina would sing in church sometimes. Can you imagine that? That’s like the time my sister’s friend was investigating the church and was singing in sacrament meeting being totally distracted by the woman singing behind her…it was Gladys Knight.

So Christina has been baptized. But that doesn’t mean much in the biz these days. Brittney Spears was probably baptized a Southern Baptist, and now she’s into Kabala, she even claims to “read Hebrew, although I don’t know what every word means…” Poor celebrities…at least they have the Church of Oprah and Madonna to look to…

Who is your favorite Mormon “celebrity” (real or alleged)?

Saturday, September 24, 2005 

is it really so strange?

I don’t think about foreordination often because 1) Most of the accepted Mormon Doctrine on this topic strikes me as ranging from best guesses to crazy ruminations and 2) Whenever I start to think about it I’m reminded of the conversations certain associates would try to have with me when they were very stoned.

“Many are called but few are chosen.” I don’t think that has anything to do with a specific calling or position. All are called unto Christ, but few respond, and so few are chosen. Actual foreordination, maybe it happens. Maybe some are destined to do certain things and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it. One of my friends in high school—he was destined to be our school’s all time star athlete and no amount of cutting class, cheating on tests, sleeping with the English teacher’s daughter, or drinking alcohol on school grounds was going to keep him from meeting that destiny; and by association it meant that I never got busted for anything either, which was cool.

Even if some do have a specific calling, were foreordained. Who cares? Whatever the heck you have to do in your life, it isn’t any less or any more important than what anyone else is “called” to do. Bottom line, God is no respecter of persons. Could be the Prophet, the President, Bill Gates or some shmoe, toiling away unnoticed in China, Sweden, or the Amazon jungle, they aren’t any less or any more important than you, and what you do with your life isn’t any less or any more important that what they do with theirs. Except for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I’m pretty sure that everyone reading this is more important than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. But not George Clooney. He’s kind of cool and dare I say, for a man, he’s kind of sexy, even if he did turn in the lamest Batman performance ever. And Ocean’s Eleven and Twelve, not that great, but he’s got Out of Sight and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind backing him up, and that goes a long way.

And that’s the end of my last post here at VSoM. People come and go in the bloggernacle and it’s time for me to go. By way of a brief explanation, recently I’ve felt that I need to focus my energy elsewhere so that’s what I’m doing. Various Stages of Mormondom, and the bloggernacle in general, have had a positive influence on my life and my views toward God and the church. Thanks to Rebecca, for inviting me to post here, and to the VSoM crew for letting me stay, and thanks to those who have added to the discussion with their comments. I’m especially appreciative of the amiability and respect that exists at VSoM despite the differences in opinion and belief. My successor takes over next week, a man whose shoes I am not worthy to polish. I’m sure you’ll enjoy what he has to say.

Friday, September 23, 2005 

I knew that this would be a hard post

The truth is that I avoid thinking about foreordaination. If it is true or if it ain't, there simply isn't a thing that I can do about it. However, there are plenty of other such things about which I will passionately debate, so I am sure that it is sheer cowardice that keeps me from facing the problems that come up with this doctrine.

I am very interested with the variety of responses that this topic has drawn out of us thus far. The accident of birth, the reality of evil, the serendipity of love, and the importance of agency have all been covered. What else could I add?

The problem of foreordaination seems to hinge on the problem of a fixed future. If the end is fixed, as we believe it is, does that make the path fixed also? There is a powerful tendancy to believe this. I am not sure that it is helpful, but it may be inevitable.

The consequence of a fixed future is that individuals are just the means to gain the end. Even if anyone could be a Joseph Smith or a Judas, someone has to be both. Or do they?

Are the questions of foreordaination just another conceit of human pride? Do we know that it had to be the way it was? By this, I am not suggesting that there are versions of the plan that do not feature our Fall, that much seems certain; without a Fall, how do we get an Atonement? Rather, why is it that, just because the Atonement played out a particular way in our world, we assume that the path taken to get there was the only possible path?

I am not saying that it isn't; I am saying that we, ultimately, don't seem to know. If all that we agree on is that the end is fixed (which we do, in the church at least), then anything further that we might come up with is just speculation (barring revelation, of course).

Part of the reason why we assume that this is the only path is that we have assumptions about God. In particular, while we believe that there is a necessary amount of suffering necessary for the Plan to work, we believe that a loving, omnisicent, and omnipotent God would only allow that amount and not a drop more. This operates in a nice parallel with the idea of the fixed ending (God allows suffering up to level A, after which the cup of the sinner is full and they are wiped off the face of the earth). Ultimately, it doesn't matter how you get there, just that you do.

Unfortunately, the only amount of suffering that seems to be fixed is Christ's and that was set at infinite. There does not appear to be an end to suffering in this life; arguably, it is one of God's greatest tools for getting us to turn to Him. Not that he causes it, but he clearly doesn't always prevent it when he theoretically could.

Foreordaination is disturbing because it causes us to examine what role God plays in our life and what role we play. Much like the recent hurricanes, it reminds us how little our life is of our own making. Although how we choose to deal with the life we have is entirely up to us, the random acts of kindness and destruction that we encounter enforce a situation where all our plans are tentative. While the Plan has a fixed future, we rarely seem to.

Perhaps this is for the best. Uncertainty, like suffering, can bring us to God and that seems to be the end for which our lives should be destined anyway.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 

I Like the Simple Explanations

I've had the day from HELL. Not that you necessarily care but it certainly got me thinking about this week's topic. OH...that and it' s reason that I'm so incredibly late in posting.

I believe that the very reason we are all on this earth is because of choice. Everyone has choices in their life and I believe that our choices ultimately make us who we are. I still think that we have our free will to choose...but I also think that God has plans for us all. A PLAN for what he thinks we should become or accomplish. Some may be more specific than others...but who knows.

I've used this example before, but it fits here too:

Every day I plan out what I need to do in my planner. I have a PLAN of how I want my day to go and what I want to accomplish. I don't need to tell you that my plan does not always work how I had planned. I make choices that my get me off track...and others in my life make choices that could affect how I carry out my plans. There are potentially many obstacles that get in the way of my plans. But the PLAN is still there. Could it be that our lives just have a plan they follow? That somehow Heavenly Father knows our fullest potential and has a plan for what we would or will become?

Maybe I have a naive way of looking at foreordination, but I just don't think that our free agency would be comprimised to carry out a specific plan. Jesus Christ had a very specific plan on this earth. He was sent to this earth for such a reason, it boggles the mind. And even thoughh his life was part of Heavenly Father's plan...he still had his agency to choose the path to follow.

This is how I see it. It just makes sense to me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 

Foreordination and Agency Don't Mix

Not only is foreordination completely unfair, it's also completely ridiculous.

I'm going to be honest here--I never bought into foreordination. I never could resolve the issues of foreordination vs. choice. Either God was omnipotent and foreordained certain people for certain things, knowing what they would do, thereby taking the choice away from someone, or we really did have a choice.

That was so convoluted. Let me boil it down.

Say God has foreordained Johnny to become a great leader of the church... a general authority, even. Johnny doesn't know this, but God does because he knows everything, right? So, does Johnny have the agency NOT to be a general authority? According to the doctrines of the Church he does... but does he REALLY? Maybe theoretically, but not really.

Likewise, can someone be foreordained to do evil? Was Satan foreordained to start the big war in heaven? I'm sure God wouldn't want to pick someone out to do bad things, but if he knows what's going to happen (as an omnipotent being should), then he knows. Maybe he knows, but he just doesn't bring it up. If he did, the same thing would apply... someone would have to be the bad guy and not have any choice about it.

Which brings me to a great flaw in this whole design... God's great plan for everyone to try out life on their own on earth... it required a bad guy, right? So wasn't he just setting up the stage for someone to be the ultimate evil? I mean, his creation of the plan was dependent on people learning to choose and being responsible for thier choices, right? Well, there had to be a choice and that's where Satan came in. So was Satan foreordained to hold that position? Someone had to do it or the plan wouldn't have worked. It's pretty messed up to have a plan where someone has to become the ultimate evil.

You see where I get skeptical about foreordination? If it does exist, I don't want to believe in God.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 

The Circle Of Our Love

I think in terms of forordination it might be easier to tell you what I DON'T believe as aposed to what I DO believe.

First of all... I don't believe in forordination in the ways it is explained in this popular LDS film.

I don't believe that there is only ONE person who you promised yourself to in the pre-existance who will know you on sight and pick you up and twirl you around and sing to you at your first earthly meeting.

I do believe that Heavenly Father has people in mind for us to be not only married to (though, let's be honest, that is pretty darn important) but also people for us to be surrounded by. That includes our family and friends. Do I think my family and I stood in the pre-existance and sang a song together before my brother made his way on down to earth? No, I don't. But I do know that each of my siblings was meant to be a part of my family. None more clearly than my older brother who is adopted. I don't care that his blonde with blue eyes and I am brown from head to toe, I don't care that out genetics are different, THAT is my brother. He was supposed to be my brother. It was forordained.

Carrie Ann brought up an interesting topic when she spoke of the where and to whom we are born part of this earthly existance. And while I was born into a family that was LDS, and lived in the States it certinally doesn't mean that I was more vailient in the pre-existance or that life would be better for me somehow. I actually suspect that Heavenly Father knew me well enough to know that I probably wouldn't have chosen the Church if I hadn't grown up with it. (Have you ever been NEAR a margarita? How could I give up THAT if I'd had the chance to have it ;) ) And I didn't grow up in a family with parents who had strong testimonies and read the scriptures to us and had family prayer. Actually, quite the opposite. But, again, that was what I needed. That was what I needed so I could make my own choice, a choice that no one else in my family really made - I chose to live my religion as faithfully as I could. There have, of course, been moments when I have not done my best at that, but I was (am) able to apply the atonement in my life, and pick myself up and move on - move toward the things I am meant to do.

Monday, September 19, 2005 

Foreordination: is it fair?

I suggested this question because I have had personal issues with aspects of the topic of foreordination.

Here’s the official lowdown:

Going along with the last week’s theme of life beyond this life…we touched upon the fact that we believe we were created by God the Father in spirit form and we lived in his presence before we were born to live on earth:

“To carry forward his own purposes among men and nations, the Lord foreordained chosen spirit children in pre-existence and assigned then to come to earth at particular times and places so that they might aid in furthering the divine will. These pre-existence appointments, made ‘according to the foreknowledge of God the Father’ (1 Peter 1:2), simply to perform mission which the Lord in his wisdom knew they had the talents and capacities to do.”
--Bruce R. McConkie (Sorry, I use him a lot, but he gives really concise definitions.)

The scriptures are full of examples of the Lord having a specific purpose in mind for his children. McConkie and Alma are careful to point out the role of agency in this principle:

“In all this there is not the slightest hint of compulsion; persons foreordained to fill special missions in mortality are as abundantly endowed with free agency as are any other persons. By their foreordination the Lord merely gives them the opportunity to serve him and his purposes if they choose to measure up to the standard he knows they are capable of attaining.” –Bruce R. McConkie (see also Alma 13:3-9)

I can accept all of that just fine. It seems logical that God, knowing us so well, would have specific “tasks” in mind for us, if we choose to do so. This principle is not to be confused with FATE or DESTINY. It’s a little more subtle than that. Maybe I’m uncomfortable with the idea that fate or destiny takes away my agency somehow, but we are ALL foreordained to return to our Heavenly Father.

My previous issues with foreordination are somewhat related to that idea although they are a little more on a tangent; they stemmed from the ponderings of why I was born to the family I was born to, in this time, in this country, yada yada yada. I consider myself to be EXTREMELY fortunate: I have a great family, I have a wonderful husband, we have plenty of food, clothing, and more than adequate shelter…so why did I deserve to be born here and now when so many billions of others were born into poverty and ignorance. I felt that I did not deserve the millions of blessings that have been granted to me because of my unworthiness to receive them. This isn’t to say that good things can’t happen to bad people, and bad things can’t happen to good people. There is SO much in life that is put into motion through random acts of agency… On a bigger scale, I wondered “why me”?

It was during a self-pitiful conversation with my dad just a few months ago when he shed some light on the topic for me. I was expressing my foreordination quandary of “why me” and “it’s not fair” when my dad gave me a new perspective on the topic. He explained that our existence can be broken down into a three-legged journey: pre-existent life with God our creator, mortal life here on earth, and life after death. We believe that we had certain strengths and weaknesses in the pre-existence according to our unique creation by God. The scriptures tell us that some spirits were “noble and great” (Abraham 3:22-23) and some spirits were weak and/or disobedient and were cast out of God’s presence along with Lucifer.

In the LDS faith, we believe there was a “war” in heaven: one “team” supported Heavenly Father and his plan to send Jesus Christ to be an example and a savior, the glory being reserved for the Father, and the other “team” supported Satan and his plan to “compel” us to be obedient, keeping all of the glory for himself and giving none to God. (Moses 4:1-4) We, as spirit children had the opportunity to participate in this “war” (most likely it was a war of words and influence seeing as how none of us had bodies yet). Some spirits were valiant and strong supporters of God’s plan, others were just as strong for Satan, which left a lot of fence-sitters and lukewarm believers in either camp.

We had the chance in the pre-existence to show our devotion and faithfulness to God, which is part of our eternal progression. I kind of always had the impression that we all started with a clean slate when we were born, things had been “reset”, and that was why I thought it was so unfair that I was foreordained to come here, now.

My dad patiently pointed out that it would have been unfair after all the chance we had to prove our loyalty and obedience, for everyone to start out at the same place. That would have invalidated the purpose of the great plan, which is choice/agency and progression. How I live my life here on earth will put me further along, or further away, from my goal of returning to God. When I die, that simply ends the second leg of the three-leg journey.

Would it be fair if I strove to live the commandments the best I could in this life only to be “reset” after death? No. Neither would it have been fair to do that after the pre-existence leg.

So can I sit back and enjoy my privileged life because I earned it? Heavens, no! We also believe in the LDS faith that “unto whom much is given, much is required.” Those of us who were born into “wealth” and a knowledge of the Gospel have a responsibility to share both with others. We must! We are commanded to, just incase we are not inclined to do so naturally. My responsibility in life toward my fellow men is that much greater because of the blessings I have been given. I have made some decisions in my life directly based on that principle serving a full-time mission, for example.

The point is that this isn’t a race, and we’re not being compared to one another. We are not being graded on a curve here. There is room in “heaven” for everyone. We were all created with the potential and foreordained to do what we need to do to make it back. I hope and pray that we all do…

Saturday, September 17, 2005 

Cemetery Gates

Going back to my mission days, the first discussion covered The Plan of Salvation and part of the plan was that if we lived right we could return to live with Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I remember thinking, every time we went over it, I thought, I don’t really care about returning to God after I die, I just want to be with my family and friends. For me, heaven could only be glorious and marvelous if my family and friends were in it. And I believed that’s how things would be, if I lived right.

A few years ago we lost our son. I was devastated and that Mormon comfort that most everyone seems to get after losing someone, that comfort in knowing that in the next life angels would be singing the soundtrack from “Together Forever” and everyone would be reunited and happy and do whatever it is you do in heaven--I never got that comfort--though I desperately wanted it. I received no confirmation of any of it.

I don’t debate it much anymore. I think we have a natural inclination to believe there is an afterlife. In casual thought, sure, I believe. When I really start to think about it I realize that I don’t have any reason to believe. I just don’t debate it anymore.

The afterlife used to hang before me like a Celestial carrot, leading me on to do good, sacrifice, improve myself so that I could receive my reward, and be with those that I love. Now I see that doing good, sacrifice, improving myself are their own reward, and bring rewards in this life. Living the gospel has brought me to enjoy life more fully, enjoy the company of others more fully. If we live on after we die, all the better; but I’m not holding my breath

Friday, September 16, 2005 

Veiled Speech

I feel it important to note initially that no-one terribly important to me has passed away. I have lost two grandparents, but I wasn't close with either one (in one case, because she was long gone while she still lived; in the other, because he was kind of a mean old coot and sometimes quite unpleasant to be around). The closest I have come to losing a close loved one was watching the lingering death of one of my wife's great uncles. At one point, he lived in the house with us and I would hear loud thumps in the night and have to rush upstairs to help him up off the floor. Later, after I moved away, he fell into dementia and fever. When my in-laws could no longer take care of him, he became bitter, lashing out at those who had taken care of him. When he passed on, it was hard to remember the genial gentleman who loved to tell me about his mission in the 20's because he had accused my mother-in-law (the saintliest person I know) of trying to cheat him out of money and cheese.

Mormons love to pride themselves on their vast knowledge of the afterlife. Most likely, this is entirely due to the influence of section 76, which does presume to tell us where we will all wind up (depending on our actions here on earth). To be honest, I don't find it nearly as explicit as most people seem to. While, I don't believe Dante is the equivalent of Joseph Smith, I do think that Catholic beliefs about the afterlife are clearer than our own (though, perhaps, slightly more complicated).

I have a father who isn't a member of the church. The family I grew up in isn't sealed. My father is in his 70's now, the age at which one reads obituaries, even in towns where you don't know anyone. His mortality is beginning to concern him; it has always concerned me. I don't know why my Dad isn't religious exactly. He will pray, but he doesn't like to do it. He has said that if he were to join a religion, it would be ours, but I know that he is very suspicious of our religion.

Recent study has convinced me that some commonly held LDS ideas about the afterlife are wrong. Specifically, I have come to believe that the time of our probation extends into the afterlife. We can repent up until the point where we are resurrected, I think. This gives me hope for my dad.

Perhaps this strikes you as defeatist or condescending. On my mission, I got fed up with my father. I wrote him a long letter, explaining why he ought to find out if the church is true and trying to answer any possible concerns that he might have had. The letter got enveloped, stamp, and began the journey to the mail box. On the way, I was told not to send it. I was told that the rush wasn't great, that I had to be patient. My father's relationship with God and religion is complex. I see now that I hastily written, if heartfelt, letter was not going to do away with his questions.

I have a notion regarding my father's ambivalence to religion. His father died when he was thirteen. He loved his Dad. His father's death disrupted his whole family. It changed his relationship with his mother, sisters, and brothers. I imagine my father pleading with God in prayer for his father's life, for his family. I don't blame my dad for his skepticism.

There is probably nothing more emotionally affecting than the death of a close loved one. The hope that the Gospel brings is actually fairly universal (your beloved has gone to a better place seems to be a religiously ubiquitous response to death). Unfortunately, that can only do so much for the benefit of the people who remain in this not-better place, dealing with a life that is clearly worse for the loss.

To those people, what can we offer? A testimony that helps me through tough times cannot be given to another. While I find answers in the gospel, they are of the sort that cannot be spelled out. And besides, I admit to never having suffered great loss. It is likely that I would find the gospel's answers inadequate (and possibly offensive), too.

It is a universal problem of those in pain that they can never be understood. Interestingly, testimony and pain are both lost in transmission. The best we who haven't lost can do seems to me to be to be there when the grieving need us and to get out of the way when they need to be left alone.

Somehow, we have gone this week from talking about life after death (of which we know very little) to death, which even I understand is painful. Perhaps this is appropriate. The dead, we believe, have gone beyond the veil of mortal interest and mortal care. It is the living whom we must help.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 

Sometimes It's Okay Not to Have All the Answers

I find it highly ironic that oftentimes, since VSofM was started, the topics coincide with certain struggles or experiences that I am having. I would be kidding myself (and all of you) if I said that I had no clue as to why that might happen. Through whatever stage of Mormondom I happen to be at, I have never stopped believing in a loving God. There have been times when I question my faith, my beliefs, what I stopped believing, what I started believing…but I never questioned whether or not I believed in God. Having said that, at this time I am struggling, you might say, on how I feel about what will/may happen once our time on earth is through.

About four years ago, a 15 year old boy named Ian took his own life because he felt there was no other way out. Also around that same time, one of my dearest friend’s dad very unexpectedly (he was in perfect health) collapsed and passed away. These two people did not go to church or have any religion that they were believers of. I honestly don’t know if they believed in God or not.

I struggled much with Ian’s death. I used to baby-sit him and his brother. And while it was obvious that Ian struggled with much and had several mental issues all his life, it was still such a shock and so upsetting and I struggled with the thought of him not only taking his own life, but what would happen to him in the afterlife. So did Ian’s mom. My friend, who is a devout and very faithful Christian, struggled even more with the thought of her dad not accepting Christ before his died. She believes that you won’t have another chance once you pass on from this earth and was just sick with worry about his salvation.

Obviously, none of us 100% sure what happens when our life here on earth is complete. But for those two people who, it would appear, had no faith in God to speak of, was that the end? Did their chance pass? Especially because Ian committed suicide. Many people believe they can’t be “saved” from that point on.

Those deaths, especially Ian’s, bothered me so much that Sarah sent me a story that a LDS writer, Robert Farrell Smith, wrote after his sister committed suicide. He struggled with some of the very same thing that I mentioned and went through so much trying to deal and accept the death of his sister and to also try and get a handle on what happens after we die. In a dream, he saw his sister sitting next to him in the church they grew up in. With her arm around him she said, "Don't worry, Heavenly Father has it all figured out."

I know that I don’t have all the answers. I do find comfort and strength and put my faith in the fact that Heavenly Father does have it all figured out. At the end of Mr. Smith’s story he says,

“I also know that it's up to me to … understand that Heavenly
Father has it all figured out. Not in ignorance, but in awe. We're
lucky to be alive. I can't wait to see what happens."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 

What the %*@# Do I Know?

Part of being a former Mormon/current agnostic is becoming comfortable with the fact that you just don't "know" that much. I used to "know" things... like that God existed and Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that families are forever. I don't know that now--but that hasn't really changed who I am--so whatever the afterlife holds, I think I'll be okay with it.

Last Saturday night we had some people over for a game night and a friend of my brother-in-law was talking about his religious beliefs (Catholic) and why he was sticking with it and not going to another religion. He said, "Did you know that Jehovah's Witnesses believe in 3 heavens and Mormons believe in 7?" Now, both of these statements are false and and I don't even know where this guy came up with it. I set him straight on the Mormon front, and apparently the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that if you aren't saved (and you've got to be one of them to be saved), you just get anihilated and cease to exist.

While I was looking that information up, I glanced over what other Christian denominations believed, started reflecting on the various beliefs of the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Hindus. Everyone who believed in these religions believed that they knew what was going to happen to them after they died. The thing is... you only find out once you get there, and then it's too late.

Now, before you start lecturing me with, "I'm glad I don't have to wait to find out... I already KNOW," I'm going to say "Good for you!" If you know and you're happy and cool with it... rock on. Just keep in mind that all of those Greeks who built Temples to Athena KNEW she'd be watching out for them. Maybe you really have the "right religion," but you won't really know 'til you get there.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 

This Is Not The End

When I was 5 years old my youngest sister died. She never came home from the hospital, in fact, she didn't live long enough to come out of my mother. She was stillborn. I remember the excitment that had built up waiting for her to be born. We were all so excited for the new addition to our family. But instead of bringing home a baby, my parents brought home a lot of heartache and the only evidence there has been of the little girl who never made it to our home, her footprint on a peice of paper with her name Megan Lee written above it in my mother's shakey script.

I remember the funeral. I remember my little sister figeting next to me, the songs that were sung, the little white casket, the way my mother couldn't stop weeping. I remember the years after her death where my family tried to rebuild itself from the emotional rubble that was left after such a terrible heart break nearly destroyed us. I remember visiting her grave in my youth, and being scared and sad. And I remember going to that same grave as a grown-up and thinking about the sister I didn't get to grow up with but who, someday, I will get to know because of the first thing I can remember: my family being sealed for eternity in the temple.

The first memory I have is of walking into a sealing room in the Oakland temple, seeing my parents and thinking how pretty my mom looked, and then being sealed to them - being bound to them for eternity.

A few weeks ago I walked out of that same temple, but this time I walked out sealed to a new family, a family that is organic to me and my husband. I walked out of that temple with a promise, that if I do the things I know are right, if I make my best efforts, and recognize and repent when I don't - because I won't always do the right or best thing - then I get to be with my husband and the family we'll create forever. I don't have to worry about never seeing him or my children again. I will get to hold his hand for eternity. And I love that. I love that I don't have to worry about never meeting my sister, we will have an eternity to get to know each other. There has never been anything that has made more perfect sense to me than the gospel of eternal families.

I know there is life after death, I know the sealing power of the temple is real, I know family is not just a here and now thing, it's a forever thing... and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, September 12, 2005 

Until Death Do Us Part…Not

“—At death the eternal spirit merely steps out of the mortal tabernacle and enters a world of waiting spirits to await the day of resurrection. The spirit, which lived before in pre-existence, lives on after death. In this sense, there is no death and there are no dead. Our departed fellow mortals only seem dead unto us because they have gone in to another realm of existence where we can no longer see and associate with them.” Bruce R. McConkie “Mormon Doctrine”

Another timely subject. I attended a funeral last Friday. The son of my former employers accidentally mixed incompatible drugs and suffered cardiac arrest. It was a truly sad occasion because he was young and it was an accident, but the funeral was uplifting, inspiring, and full of love.

This young man came from a good family, not unlike many of your families: siblings loved each other and supported one another, and the parents were kind, stable, and loved their kids unconditionally. So the general theme of the day was: “David, we love you, and we will be with you again.”

LDS doctrine says that we were created in spirit form by our Heavenly Father long before we came to this earth. We all lived together in the presence of God: everyone who has ever lived, everyone living now, and everyone who has yet to come. A plan was set forth whereby we would have the opportunity to gain a physical body, like God’s, and to be tested. Without getting too into it, we accepted the plan to follow our brother, Jesus Christ, as he would also come down and gain a body and be an example for us as to what we need to do to return to Heavenly Father.

We should try and emulate Christ’s life, and we will also emulate the pattern of his death. We, too, will die as he did which means that our spirits (the essential part of us that makes us US) will separate from our bodies (which were made by our parents) and will go dwell in a temporary realm (the spirit world) until the time bodies and our spirits are again united (resurrection). The New Testament documents Christ’s death and resurrection (the Gospels document this as part of the story of Christ’s life and then allude to it throughout the epistles), and the Book of Mormon gives us a little more insight into the specifics of resurrection and its purpose (Alma and Amulek talk with Zeezrom in Alma chapter 11, and Alma’s father/son talk with Corianton in Alma chapters 39-42).

Mormon doctrine also tells us that the temporary place, called the spirit world, is not up in the sky, it is not down below, it is here all around us; a thought that makes me feel slightly claustrophobic. There are “good” and “bad” spirits around us pretty much all the time. We are taught that the spirits who followed Satan’s plan, the ones who will never receive bodies because they forfeited the right when they chose to be disobedient, they are here, too. I’m sure that most of you have had an experience where you felt an “evil” presence that frightened or terrified you. On the flip side, I’ll wager that most of you have also felt comforted by what you perceived as the presence of a loved one in a time of need. This is evidence of life beyond death.

The fact that we can feel a spiritual presence, the Holy Ghost, lays wide open the possibility of other spiritual beings being able to communicate with us spiritually. Some peoples (the tribe of Manasseh, for example) have innate spiritual gifts that make them sensitive to things of a spiritual nature. Have you ever wondered why peoples of the tribe of Manasseh always seem to claim to see saints and visions and other seemingly extraordinary things? Just a thought…

I think this post warrants a testimony. I believe that it’s true, that we lived before this life, and we will live again after this life. I believe it’s true because during times when I have grieved for a loved one who has passed on, I have felt a comfort beyond that which I could myself produce that assured me that my loved one was “alive”; an assurance that I would see that person again. These feelings come through the influence of the Holy Ghost, and when the Holy Ghost testifies, I know it comes from God.

We are taught that if we are faithful to the commandments and to the covenants we make to God in the temple, we can be with our families and our loved ones forever…not until “death do us part.” If this isn’t the greatest motivation to be faithful and true, I don’t know what is…besides maybe pure love of God. But until I get to that point…I’ll do it for my family.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 

Barbarism Begins at Home

I don’t have much to add. Mormonism will always be haunted by a tendency to judge and show contempt for others. A comment was made under JP’s post linking this judgment and contempt to pride. I’d never thought about it like that before, but I think it’s spot on. Is it possible to say, “this is the one true church,” without being lifted up in pride? Is it necessary, essential that we repeat that so often, even if it is true? I also wonder if this phrase, and others like it, haven’t become a vain repetition. The skeptic in me thinks that The Spirit doesn’t bear witness that “this is the one true church” very often; rather, that the teachings are true, that The Gospel is true, that joining the church or remaining active is the right thing to do. But I could be wrong.

A close friend of mine argues that discussions such as this damage the church. I disagree. Being on the receiving end of wrong judgment and hypocrisy, in my youth I nearly left the church. I can’t give numbers, but I know life-long non-members in Utah who have experienced prolonged Mormon unfriendliness, often in their youth. This doesn’t only happen in Utah, but the critical mass of members in that state makes hypocrisy and wrong judgment a more expedient danger. Some areas, in and out of Utah, show very little of this hypocrisy. How do they do it?

Thursday, September 08, 2005 

Watch Out For the Stones

I will always be grateful to my parents for teaching us kids tolerance. That sounds like a funny sentence to write with regards to this week’s topic, but I’ll explain that later. I grew up in a very tolerant and accepting family. I never felt that my parents judged any of my friends, even those that weren’t members of the church. My elementary and Jr. High Schools were not culturally diverse, but because of my family example, the color of someone’s skin or culture was never an issue. It just didn’t matter.

I bring up tolerance and acceptance because that is an area of the church that I see as a “do as I say, not as I do” issue…often. You are taught in Primary and Sunday School that we are all God’s children and that we should love our neighbors as ourselves and most importantly: JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED. While it’s hard to write on this week’s topic without inadvertently judging someone else…I’m trying really hard not to that here. It’s just ironic how much better so many people in the church think they are because of the beliefs of the church being “the only true church.” I’ve seen many people leave the church because they are judged for the way they live the gospel…still knowing the gospel is true. It was just hard for them to listen and learn about the accepting nature of the gospel and never feel it because they were always judged and looked down on.

**Disclaimer so I don’t get trashed in the comments: I AM NOT SAYING ALL MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH ARE THIS WAY. Thank you.

I’m not arguing the truthfulness of the gospel or that there are many that do accept people for who they are. What I’m talking about is teaching each Sunday to do many things and then not exemplify that with members and non-members alike. NONE of us are perfect and we all have time of being judgmental and hypocritical. It happens. But it’s also important to recognize this and to really take heart to the fact that if you look down on the person that doesn’t live the gospel the way you think they should, or look down on the person with all the tattoos and peircings or have contempt for the gay couple that live down the street that you are placing yourself above those people making sure they know that YOU ARE BETTER. It truly makes no difference if your children are taught to love one another if it is not shown to them by example in their daily lives. I think that makes Heavenly Father very sad.

So...all those who have no sin…please, throw that first stone.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005 

Hypocritical Oaths

I hate a hypocrite as much as the next person, but I also openly acknowledge that all of us are, at times, hypocritical.

For instance, I tell my students not to sit on top of the desks in my classroom... but I do it all of the time. I also tell people to be on time, when I am sometimes late. Oh, and my critique of my husband's driving is laughable when you look at my DMV printout.

I think we're all hypocrites and if I were to tell you to stop being hypocritical, then that would be hypocritical. See the messy Catch 22?

I can't talk about this without being guilty of what I'm talking about.

But putting that aside (because otherwise this would be a REALLY short and repetitive post), I have to say that I haven't dealt with a disproportionate number of two-faced Mormons versus two-faced Gentiles.

Most people have seen and interacted with people who know and espouse methods by which you should do things or live you life, but fail to operate by those methods themselves.

When people do this, I usually don't call them out on it--I really don't enjoy confrontation--but just take what they say with a grain of salt. As Carrie Ann said, it really is about integrity.

Monday, September 05, 2005 

Do As I’m Doing…Follow, Follow Me

I will be brief for two reasons: 1) it is a holiday and 2) I don’t have a whole lot to say on this subject so I am counting on the people who HAVE a lot to say on this subject to say it and I will comment on their posts.

I’m sure this topic came up because people who preached one thing and lived another have had a presence in someone’s life. And that’s a big deal; it’s yucky, but I don’t have too many personal experiences with it.

OK, I may have a couple, which were more irritating than anything. Remember Miss Handstand? I had a co-worker who had some issues, so she’s not entirely to blame. But we would go on store build-outs for a couple weeks at a time. One build-out in Cozumel, Mexico took a month; a long, hot, arduous, irritating month. Miss Handstand didn’t want to go on a full-time mission, because it would impede her ability to flirt and date, but this didn’t stop her from commandeering the painter (who was already two weeks behind) to teach him the Gospel….as she knew it: which meant that you should follow all the commandments that are convenient for you at the time, but when in Rome…or when in Cozumel…do as the Cozumelians do, if it gets you a date and a free dinner, with a stranger, in a country in which you do not speak the language. If anything, her actions verses her words caused a HUGE breach in trust, and that went for work stuff, too. Saying one thing to a vendor or a contractor and then doing another never really works out so well for anyone. Oh wait…isn’t this called INTEGRITY? Now that I’m back in Young Women I notice these things…

I’m sure I’m a two-faced Mormon sometimes. I shouldn’t really comment on other people. That would be judging them, and I know how much people like to feel judged around here. Hopefully, I can use the Holy Spirit to discern the good they say from the bad they do. Good is good, and all good comes from Heavenly Father. I should be more supportive when people like Miss Handstand say good things, even if it means the store opens late.

Saturday, September 03, 2005 

what difference does it make

I’ve come to hate watching the news especially with the shock and awe guess work and punditry that has subsumed “breaking news.” I don’t even want to know what is going on with the hurricane aftermath anymore, let alone what some jackass reporter or politician thinks about it.

Of course it’s good to be prepared, to take reasonable measures. Obviously, there is no way to prepare for the apocalypse when it lands on your doorstep. Acts of God, whims of the universe, it’s a roll of the dice and 50 gallons of honey isn’t going to do you much good one way or the other. I have friends in an area neighboring the hurricane and their supply lines come right out of the delta. They weren’t affected by the weather, but in the aftermath their community has already run out of gas (literally) and who knows what will go next. They certainly would benefit from food storage, but they aren’t Mormon, so they don’t get to have any.

I’ve never been excited about food storage. Even the events of this week haven’t excited me. I found a way to get excited, though. A year’s supply of brownies and lemon bars. I’m still perfecting my brownie recipe, but I make lemon bars that could kill. Just the thought of a year’s supply of ingredients for brownies and lemon bars, I’d be an idiot not to do it. Can you bottle eggs? Or can them? I must know. Eggs are crucial to my plans, and I must have a method for long term egg storage. You might think this is ridiculous, but when the economy collapses and we all lose our jobs, two months into grinding your wheat and reconstituting unidentifiable vegetables, you will be trading your children for my lemon bars.

Friday, September 02, 2005 

Alas, Babylon

I don't know how popular Pat Frank's book, Alas, Babylon, is outside of Florida. I have always suspected that its popularity in my home state was directly related to its setting in central Florida. I have been thinking a lot about the book lately (spoilers ahead, if there can be spoilers for a book that is over 30 years old).

For those of you who haven't read it, it is about a group of people who survive a nuclear war. Central Florida is the only area of Florida to escape (relatively) unscathed and so the residents there are isolated (I should say that it was written when the bombs would have been atom and hydrogen bombs, so that also might explain how Orlando made it). The area is fairly rural and transportation soon has much more to do with the rivers in the area than with the roads.

One of the chief things that I remember about the book was the characters concern with food storage. The main character, foreseeing the coming war, had stockpiled quite a bit of food. In particular, he had quite a bit of meat in freezers. We food storage pros realize that this probably isn't the best set up, but he didn't see the problems that would come after the power failed. After the steaks had gone bad, he learned to forage in the orchards and the surrounding countryside for food.

One of his neighbors kept bees and began to use honey for bartering. The neighbor figured that bartering would take over for money, as money was pretty useless now. He also figured that it would afford him some protection from looters as you need beekeepers if you are going to have honey.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. Looters came. The neighbor was killed. The hives were destroyed.

As I have heard news about the looting that has taken place in the wake of Katrina, particularly in New Orleans, I have wondered how I would react if I were there. I don't actually know that I wouldn't, which is a bit scary to me. I don't believe that I would have a problem breaking into a store for food and water, if I had nowhere else to get it. I am pretty sure that I would go after Levis in a lawless landscape, but considering the situation, I might get a gun.

Perhaps this is part of the reason why we are told to have our own storage. So that the temptation to loot is minimized.

Now, as has been discussed much this week, food storage is no magical balm that works in all disasters. Although I doubt that anyone in Southern Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama had a basement, the flooding and wind took away entire homes, food stored or not. But for those for whom it was available, no doubt it helped (and helped keep them from getting photographed by random invasions of reporters).

There is something that begins to happen when we loot. The binding power of community disappears. It is hard to argue with the logic of Thenardier, but Thenardier has no neighbors. A realm of looting is a realm of chaos, a Hobbesian state of nature, a state of war of every man against every man. People must decide to reject civilization to enter this state and in it they find that they can do much more than loot. If you stop caring about people who don't matter to you, you stop thinking of them as people. That never leads to the good.

Although I think I would be tempted by the possibility of a panel TV in a lawless society, two things would keep me from getting it. First, in this state, it would be just another thing that I would have to protect from people like me. Second, I don't think my conscience would let me ever actually watch anything on it.

So food storage could be a way for us to protect ourselves not only from the ravages of natural or financial disasters, but also from further spiritual disaster. Where else does the Lord ask us to hoard material possessions (answer: nowhere). Perhaps your food is there to help others fight off the temptation to loot too. After all, it is hard to loot what is freely given.

Which brings me to the beekeeper. Sometimes, in anger, desperation, or simply as a byproduct of the chaos that surrounds them, looters simply destroy. Without the societal constraints of a community, it may be tempted to blow something up real good, to rape, pillage, and destroy. There are reasons that these activities are traditionally associated with invading armies and with looting peoples. Normal restraints are gone and some people dive into the animal mayhem. When will they get another chance?

Perhaps food storage is not simply to protect us, but to protect us from ourselves.

Thursday, September 01, 2005 

Katrina. What a B!^&#!!!

Not unlike all of you I’m sure, I’ve been glued to news reports of all that is going on after Katrina threw her fit. I’ve been searching for ANY news on Picayune, Mississippi as there is much wait to find out if a friend is okay. There is also so much helplessness felt, wishing I could do something to help. Prayers just don’t seem like enough.

I must say that I do find it ironic that our topic for this week here at VSofM touches so close to home for many, many people. I do not have sufficient food storage or supplies should a disaster such as Katrina hit my home town. I live near the intersection of two “healthy” rivers as it flows into the Delta…I have new fears, now. Fears that may get my butt in gear and make sure that I have supplies on hand to take care of my family and maybe even my neighbors. Isn’t that what it’s about?

Some may argue that food storage won’t help many of those affected by Katrina. It’s probably washed away or could be incredibly contaminated now. At least for the folks in New Orleans where so much is under water. But who knows, really.

Deciding whether or not to subscribe to the whole FOOD STORAGE thing is really up to you. I know that my thoughts have traveled back to my lack of food storage and it is something that my husband and I need to discuss.

It just doesn’t seem like such a bad idea right now.

This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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