Thursday, August 28, 2014
Salt Lake News -- published August 28, 2014
In yet another startling break from tradition, LDS leaders announced late Wednesday that an actual woman will be attending next month's church-wide Women's Meeting.
"The Brethren are nothing if not progressive," said church spokesperson Wilbur Burton. "They decided to test the waters. If this one behaves herself, there may be more next time."
The carefully selected candidate, Ginger Louise Bennion, is a sophomore at BYU-Idaho and serves in her ward nursery.
"The Quorum of the Twelve sifted through thousands of resumes before settling on Sister Bennion," Burton said. "They were looking for a special kind of sister, one who possesses that delicate combination of tact, sweetness, and run-of-the-mill expectations."
While the Women's Meeting is scheduled to last 2 hours, Ms. Bennion will be excused after the first 30 minutes.
"The Brethren don't want to push it," explained Burton. "So much of what will be discussed in the Women's Meeting is too sacred to be shared with an actual sister. But she can at least hear our opening agenda."
When asked how she received this honor, Ms. Bennion replied, "I'm like, so thrilled. I mean, it's way cool to be the first and everything." And then she added archly, "This will once and for all demonstrate how much my church values women."
Friday, August 22, 2014
Recently a brave BYU sophomore named Keli Byers challenged her school's ban on sex for unmarried students, and more specifically, berated the BYU administration for its bias against women. In an article published on August 13, 2014 in Cosmopolitan Byers described how, at age 15, she was assaulted by an LDS returned missionary and then blamed by her bishop for having invited the sexual violation. She then went on to explain:
"When I came to BYU last year I signed its honor code and promised to live a 'chaste life' — students who don't could get expelled. But my attitude changed after I joined the Young Mormon Feminists, a group that's not endorsed by the Church or BYU. We talk about how the Church doesn't see women as equal to men and how BYU is slut-shaming. The school's honor code forces women to dress modestly — no skirts above the knee — supposedly to help men control their thoughts. The group helped me reclaim my sexuality and realize my sexual assault wasn't my fault.”Predictably, her opinion drew angry and defensive responses from believing Mormons. Read both the article and reader comments here.
As I pondered my own reaction to Keli's brave admission, I concluded that my opinion is probably best expressed in the Vagina Testimony I presented at the 2012 Sunstone Symposium, earlier only excerpted here on Ward Gossip.
So this week for Keli, the Young Mormon Feminists, and my Gentle Readers, I again present my Vagina Testimony, this time in full:
--Those of you who use Goodreads may check out my new author page here and even friend me! Please be my friend.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
There are so many magically hilarious moments lodged in my memory.
His manic stream of consciousness performances on The Johnny Carson Show, one prompting Carson to exclaim, "When did I lose control of this show?"
Nixon: "That they're soft, and they're very shallow and they serve no purpose."
As Mrs. Doubtfire igniting her fake breasts on the stovetop and then extinguishing them with a couple of pot covers. As the larger than life genie in Aladdin...
And then there were the casual lines he tossed out seemingly as afterthoughts. At the end of the George W. Bush presidency, "The Reign of Error is over"... or, upon learning that the Iraqis were trying to draft a constitution, "Well, why not take ours? We're not using it."
But he was equally capable of delving into his dark side in movies such as Insomnia, One Hour Photo, and Good Will Hunting. (The latter performance earned him an Oscar.) My favorite of his films, Dead Poets Society, debuted when I was on the cusp of leaving Mormonism. At the time I felt like I was a student in Mr. Keating's class, climbing atop my desk for the very first time and seeing the world from a fresh perspective.
|Oh Captain, My Captain|
But then, the outpouring of grief across the globe demonstrates that people far and wide felt he was also their neighbor. For many of us, it was deeply personal.
How important is art to life?
On Monday at 4:20 PST I was watching a segment about the ISIL on The Chris Matthews Show when a special report interrupted with the news of Robin Williams' death. From there, the show shifted to an interview with James Lipton and stayed with him for the remainder of the hour. So devastated by the news, the veteran host of Inside the Actors Studio continued to apologize to the MSNBC reporter. I'm sorry I'm not a good interview, Lipton continued to lament. I'm still in shock, etc.
In a statement, his daughter, Zelda Williams, said:
"To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh. As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too…"From now on, when I think of Robin he will be laughing. Also I will be laughing.
How important is art to life?
Friday, August 8, 2014
Then what do you know, I logged onto that venerable bastion of journalism, Sheep Dip, and found this hilarious report on a press conference with God Himself! Right away I knew this was a must-share with my Gentle Readers.
So! It seems the Big Goofball was pulling our leg all along...
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Wham. In an instant I was 25 years back in time, sitting in a Relief Society Homemaking Meeting.
--Now, before I go on, I should explain that everyone who is lucky enough to be a member of the one and only true church is conditioned to believe she must attend every single meeting in order to partake of the special knowledge that a poor nonmember isn't privy to. Likewise, everyone who is lucky enough to have escaped the one and only true church can recall a series of "aha" moments when she realized this so-called special knowledge maybe wasn't all that special after all.
Back to my "aha" moment 25 years ago. I was sitting in Relief Society listening to a presentation on thrifty shopping tips. The teacher, a young blonde with a feathery hairdo, picked up an egg carton from her display table, pointed at the date stamped into its styrofoam lid and--with eyes widening--proclaimed, "I didn't know this until yesterday, but eggs have a date."
As the women around me nodded sagely, my eyes glazed over and a primal aha screamed in my brain. I gave up an evening with my family to grab the inside scoop that a raw egg is perishable.
Now, I can't blame the blonde feather-head. After all, she was just doing her best to fulfill the calling her inspired priesthood leader pressured her to accept. (She's a woman. Naturally she loves to cook!) What was maddening was that I was sitting there in the first place, honestly expecting to receive "special knowledge."
Here's another example and another Homemaking Meeting. (For some reason these "ahas" tended to happen at Homemaking Night. Maybe that's why they changed the name to Personal Enrichment.)
Anyway, a middle-aged lady was teaching a lesson on multi-tasking. Mustering the full measure of her special knowledge, she advised, with a straight face, "On cleaning day, I load my dishes into the machine, press start, and while they're washing, I vacuum."
Again, the primal aha. What? You mean unlike the rest of us you don't pull up a chair and watch as the machine goes from wash . . . to rinse . . . to dry?
In retrospect, I'm grateful to these two well-meaning ding-a-lings and the like. The poor things may not have been cut out for our divine role, but they helped me see the light. Hopefully they've had their own "aha" moments, possibly on the occasions I was called upon to share my own special knowledge with the ward.
And I did take away a few good things from Homemaking Night. I recently reupholstered a chair, having learned how in my BYU married student ward. It's been a valuable skill. Although maybe not worth 10% of our income.
Friday, July 25, 2014
One of the many things that I am thankful for is that I never made one of those phony pioneer treks that today's Mormon youth
A friend of mine, who acted as a youth leader on one of these ordeals, claimed that his ward dressed up like the Utah pioneers, went to a local (D.C. area) park or field and slogged around in circles for an entire week. -- Sort of the antithesis of an actual pioneer journey. Although it could be the ultimate paradigm for the Mormon experience.
There are all kinds of ways that people set off for new territory, not all of them hot and sweaty. And there are all kinds of reasons people choose to get out of town, not all of them altruistic. -- Maybe a man's just robbed a bank, or he's committed murder, or he wants to marry 50 women, for example.
But, in general I think pioneers are honest and brave and true. Especially those who lead themselves and others to a better world.
For example, the ExMormon pioneers who celebrated Pioneer Day last night at the Hotel Utah Saloon in San Francisco.
|Westward ho! Sans handcarts and stupid costumes.|
Cheers to the real pioneers everywhere. Also to the real world.