Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Motherhood sans Mormonhood

Natalie and her surrogate
When I was a Mormon I was always going to baby showers. After all, Mormon women are always having babies. Mormon showers were women-only events featuring sickeningly cutesy games and cake or cookies paired with some vile sort of punch.

In fairness, it's been a while since I've been to an LDS baby shower. Perhaps they've changed. Maybe the food's better these days, and the games more fun. Maybe now some are even coed, acknowledging (gasp!) that men might actually share in the burdens of childcare.

But something tells me that the Mormon version couldn't live up to the Exmormon shower that Sheli, Sarah and I recently threw for Natalie and Dave who are expecting a baby girl via surrogate.

Our hosts, Sheli and James, went all out, opening up their beautiful house.

The games were kick-ass hilarious.

Dave makes a play-dough baby
James pins a sperm on the uterus

Baby bottle beer guzzling contest

The food was amazing, especially James and Sheli's tri-tip. And the beverages really rocked.
Steve, our awesome bartender

James making one cup at a time.
He roasts his own beans.

There were presents, of course.

And even the spirit was there. I had the privilege of blessing the baby! My inspired words were, of course, first vetted by the authorities. (Sheli and Sarah.)

Only sisters were allowed in the circle.

Here's what I said:

We take this child in our arms to give her a blessing. We can’t give her a name. Only her parents can do that. But whatever the name, we bless it that it shall not be known upon the records of the church.

Baby M, we bless you that you will not be a sweet spirit; that you will be strong and honest and confident and disobedient and, above all, badly behaved in the manner of all women who are destined to make history.

We bless you that you will find and pursue your passions. That you will marry—or not, that you will have children—or not, according to where your heart leads. But if you do find a partner, we bless you that he or she will be a person that you love and respect as your equal. One who loves you ferociously, as much as your parents and all of us do, combined.

We bless you, Baby M, that your days will be filled with loud laughter, light mindedness, and evil speaking of the self appointed. We bless you that you will not settle. That you will magnify your happiness, and that you will live in the moment—every moment—of your one wild and precious life.**

Namaste/Mazel Tov!

**Hat tips to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Mary Oliver and Joseph Smith.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cheers to Susan I/S and RfM!

Twenty-three years ago I was an emotional train wreck. My hands were covered with eczema and I had nightmares about being trapped in a box. I knew I was faced with the unfortunate choice between my church and my sanity. Fortunately, I opted for sanity.

And I was fortunate. I had the love and support of my husband and children. (Not all ex-Mormons do.) Plus my hands stopped itching and I was back to getting a good night's sleep.

But in other ways my situation sucked. Back then, the only thing close to a support group for doubters was Sunstone. And while the Sunstone community was, and continues to be, an excellent home for liberal Mormons, it can be a less than perfect place for ex-Mormons. We needed a home of our own.

Bizarrely, like so many ex-Mormons, I no longer believed in the golden plates, the first vision, or the living prophet. But I still bought into that erroneous assumption that those who left the church were angry, bitter people who were offended by some triviality and wanted to sin. That is, until around 1998 when I wandered on to Recovery from Mormonism.

Within days of combing the site, I learned three very important things. First, that the denigration of women, gays and intellectuals is not a trivial offense. Second, that a lot of Mormon "sins" are actually normal, perfectly moral, and even fun. And third, and perhaps most importantly, there's nothing wrong with being angry. It can be a good thing. It can help you see the light. And it can be an important step in your recovery.

Over the years the ex-Mormon community has expanded along with the Internet. Now there are myriad discussion boards and groups on Reddit, Facebook, places like, and a whole host of blogs in Main Street Plaza's Outerblogness. But, for many of us, it all started with RfM.

RfM continues to be a safe place for people who have left or are in the process of leaving the LDS Church. And it has been a labor of love for Eric Kettunen and his volunteer staff. Yesterday Eric announced that longtime poster and admin Susan I/S is retiring. At press time, his pinned post has over 140 comments. Other Recovery Board regulars have posted individually in her honor as well. It's no wonder. She was there at the beginning of so many of our journeys, and she will be missed.

Tonight Mark and I will raise our Friday night cocktail glasses to Susan I/S and her legacy at RfM. She could have devoted the past 2 decades to crocheting toilet roll covers in Relief Society. But instead she opted for helping hundreds, if not thousands, of people regain their sanity and lead authentic lives.

Cheers to Susan!

Friday, February 27, 2015

We Salute Him

You don't have to be a trekkie to know that the original Star Trek series that debuted in 1966 and ran for only three seasons is now a cult classic. And I mean cult in a good way.

Moreover, you needn't have watched every episode or seen all the movies or attended the conventions to know that Leonard Nimoy, who died today, was a cultural icon.

Star Trek is one of those unique diversions that both entertains and binds us together. Sort of like sports.

For example, say you're at a family reunion where half the relatives are believing Mormons. You can't talk about religion, of course. You can't talk about politics. You can't bring up the weather. (For fear of igniting a global warming vs. God's wrath debate.) You can't agree on appropriate attire or what is an acceptable beverage. In many cases, you can't even talk about yourself because you might be (gasp) gay, or otherwise living in - what the Mormon relatives consider - "sin."

But bring up Star Trek and the mood lightens and the conversation takes off. Everybody has a favorite episode, everyone has a favorite theory, and everyone agrees that Mr. Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy, is a classic.

Today we salute him, for inspiring generations of people to forget their differences, dress up in crazy costumes, and just have fun. May he "live long and prosper" in our minds and - despite his possible disapproval - our hearts.

Two obituaries in a row! This better not be a trend. Hoping to go back to humor in March.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sorry Brethren, You Don't Own Us

At the April 2007 semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the Prophet, Seer and Revelator, Gordon B. Hinckley, advised:
"Husbands, love and treasure your wives, they are your most precious possessions."
This was in the seventh year of the twenty-first century, over one hundred years after the Mormons stopped practicing polygamy and almost ninety years after American women got the vote.

Also it was over forty years after Lesley Gore first sang "You Don't Own Me."

Whenever I hear the song I envision Aqua Net-coiffed teenaged girls in sweater sets and knee-length pencil skirts gathered around a radio - maybe after church - and belting out the lyrics in defiance. Just like the straight-haired, bell-bottom clad girls of my day did to Helen Reddy's feminist anthem, "I Am Woman."

Of course, the Brethren, who think they do own us, consider such female role models to be tools of Satan. If that's so, I invite the Prince of Darkness to send up more of his "tools." They have an uncanny knack for being on the right side of things.

Lesley Gore died this week, too young, at the age of 68. But she left behind a legacy. She was among the most successful female solo artists of the 1960's. She was an actress as well, appearing on Broadway and, memorably, as "Pink Pussycat," Robin's love interest in the old Batman TV series.

Who could forget this scene?
Robin: How 'bout a little smooch, you're my kind of dame.
Pink Pussycat: …I'm not the kind of girl to kiss a boy on the first crime. 

She led a life that mattered. At the height of her popularity Gore insisted on completing her education and earned a degree in English and American Literature from Sarah Lawrence College. She was a feminist, and after coming out as gay in 2005, an advocate for LGBT rights, hosting episodes of the PBS series, In the Life. She is survived by Lois Sasson, her partner of thirty-three years. Also by a couple of generations of empowered female fans.

Sorry, Brethren. It's now the fifteenth year of the twenty-first century and fifty years after Lesley sang it and you still don't own us.

You can cry if you want to.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mormon Erotica Film Set for Release on Valentine's Day

Fifty Courts of Love to Debut on Valentine's Day
Salt Lake News - published February 13, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY-- Tomorrow night the LDS Church will release it's newest feature film, Fifty Courts of Love. A flight of fan fiction loosely based on the LDS Handbooks of Instruction, Fifty Courts draws on the growing popularity of "Mormon Erotica," a genre aimed at the small, but enthusiastic  segment of LDS priesthood leaders who experience libidinous pleasure when witnessing the denigration, humiliation and expulsion of the most articulate and talented members of their church.

In order to enhance what producer, Hobart Graham, calls the film's "shock and awe" value, no trailer has been released and the plot remains a guarded secret. But Graham has dropped a few hints about what viewers can expect.

"Excommunication trials have always had a kinky appeal to our audience," Graham told The News. "It's basic. You've got a woman lawyer who thinks she's so big, or a PhD who thinks he's so smart. Or a gay guy. Then real men like us get to force him or her into a cramped, uncomfortable space, ask official questions, and exercise the full power of our priesthood. Submission is sweet, right? But think about how much sweeter it will be when, thanks to poetic license, we change the venue to the basement of a Utah Valley hardware store, up the physical restraints, and expand the realm of official questions."

While the movie's release is eagerly anticipated by some, other LDS Church members plan to boycott the film.

"Sounds like smut to me," said Wilma Baxter, a 64-year-old resident of Bountiful insisted.

C. Delbert Baxter, age 66, echoed his wife's disinterest. "Mormon Erotica? I'd derive more pleasure from a documentary about cheese."

But the filmmakers, as well as church officials, believe Fifty Courts will attract a larger audience as viewer excitement grows. "Mormon Erotica is quite different from the worldly variety," said Graham. "Worldly Erotica is all about kissing and fondling and groping. Our audience isn't aroused by any of that--least of all on Valentine's Day. For us it's all about . . . discipline."

While there have been no leaks from anonymous sources directly involved in the film's production, several Utah Valley Dollar Stores are reported to be completely sold out of conservative neckties.

***And congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Brodie Awards!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Annual Brodie Awards/Super Bowl Post

This may be the best Brodie Awards season yet! 2014 boasted a record number of great LDS-themed blogs, books, posts, discussion forums and podcasts. The competition is stiff--starting with eleven sites competing for best new blog! (Including my personal favorite, Sheep Dip.)

I'm thrilled to be nominated in 5 categories this year. But, while I've managed to sneak away with a prize or 2 in years past, I don't expect to win this time around. Just check out some of my competition: Infants on Thrones, Brother Jake, runtu, Peggy Fletcher Stack (!!!), Holly Welker, and even chanson herself. With my name alongside the likes of those and the other talented writers, I am indeed thrilled just to be nominated.
That being said, vote for ME!!
One thing's for certain, this year's awards are proof that Main Street Plaza's Outer Blogness is not only not going away, it's gathering steam. What was it? Those church essays? The cheesy LDS feature length film? Joseph Smith's crazy libido? Kate Kelly's excommunication? Or was it that underwear video? For whatever reason, LDS Church leaders certainly drew attention to themselves this past year, and not always in a good way.

Vote for your favorites here in the Brodie Awards on Main Street Plaza.

Another child is corrupted
Also this past Sunday, Mark and I hosted another ExMormon Super Bowl party, giving me the opportunity to post a series of candid pictures that prove once and for all that we left because we were offended and wanted to sin.

For those of us here on the Left Coast, the Seahawk's loss in the final seconds was a crushing blow. But we jollied ourselves up with much loud laughter, lightmindedness, and evil speaking of the self-appointed--carrying on the grand tradition of partying on Sunday. :)
Everything! Even the ExMormon Funeral Potatoes.
Blue hair looks great without a temple veil

No BYU Beard Card required
 In the name of cheese and rice, amen.