Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wear Pants to Church Day

A group of Mormon women has decided to designate this Sunday (December 16th) as Women Wear Pants to Church Day. This, and the reaction to it has made me do a lot of thinking and I have a few things to say.

In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can't see.
Who am I to judge another?
-Susan Evans McCloud

Some women are discontent with what they see as sexism in the church (for ease I will call them feminists). They have concerns based on their experiences. Other women, who have had different experiences, do not believe there is sexism in the church (for ease, traditionalists). People are different and that’s okay. However, some traditionalists made statements like, “they (the feminists) don’t truly understand the Gospel and they don’t really have faith in God.” That is not okay. It is wrong to marginalize and dismiss others because they disagree with you. These issues are painful for some people, they struggle constantly. When someone is going through a hard time, don’t make things harder for them by attacking their faith and belief.

There is disagreement in the church. There always has been. There always will be. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. We have the Word of Wisdom because Joseph Smith didn’t like clouds of smoke at church and Emma Smith didn’t like cleaning filthy tobacco spit off the floor.  A problem was observed and something was done about it. Disagreements can make things happen.

We need to try harder to understand each other.

I have been disturbed by statements like, “if you don’t like the church, why don’t you leave and find one you like.” The prospect of that is sometimes tempting. I have stopped going to church several times because I found it intolerable. I always end up going back. Why? Because I have had profound spiritual experiences within the framework of the church. This does not mean I like everything about the church. It especially does not mean I like all the people in the church, or all of its leaders.

The “love it or leave it” attitude traps people in two scenarios.
1. They “love it” by keeping their mouths shut and holding all of their pain inside or -
2. They “leave it” and then have to endure active members trying to get them back to church and/or members fearing for the lost souls and wondering what sin made them leave the true path.
Do you want to be in that situation? Don’t subject others to it.

Many will argue that this is “a problem with the culture in the church and not the church itself.” Fine, I understand that. If a problem is just cultural, why not have a discussion and get things resolved? Why tell these feminists that their concerns are not valid when we could be listening to them and trying help them resolve their issues?

I may be overly sensitive to these issues. Lately, a personal dichotomy has been growing in me. Half of me loves the church (the spiritual aspects, the sense of community) and the other half is repulsed by it (the sexism, views on homosexuality, history of racism). I have discovered I am not alone in this. Many struggle to reconcile the way they feel and the way they think they should feel. Some members who attend church each week are actually agnostic and go because they want to support their family or they like the social interaction. Some don’t believe the scriptures are true, but believe in redemption and like what the church has to offer. We think the church is homogeneous because we are scared to talk about it. Mormonism is a much bigger tent than I originally thought. Diversity will make us stronger, not weaker.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Beef with Chick-Fil-a

I have never been to Chick-Fil-a. I’ve heard it’s tasty - I may never know. As things are now I cannot solicit them in good conscience. 

It’s not about free speech

If Dan Cathy wants to say he thinks gay people shouldn’t marry, he is free to do so. I think he was careful to avoid libel, slander, and hate speech, thus avoiding a free speech issue. I am free to say that I think he is wrong on this issue. 

It’s not about so called “liberal intolerance”

Some like to point out that liberals are hypocritically intolerant - asking others to be tolerant, but being intolerant on things they don’t like. (Richard Larsen wrote a blog about this, it was silly.) That’s not the case either.  Lack of support for something is quite different from intolerance. As I said, I can tolerate that Cathy has those opinions, I just think they are discriminatory.

It’s about money

I will not be eating at Chick-Fil-a because Cathy gave nearly $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2009. I would assume he is still giving. You may say, “So what, he can do what he wants with his money.” Indeed he can, and so can I. If I give money to Chick-Fil-a, then it becomes his money. I wouldn’t want to give my money to anti-gay groups even in a second hand way. I have similar feelings about Wal-Mart: I find their business practices abhorrent, I think they treat their employees like garbage, and I don’t like the political candidates they donate to. I don't want to reward them by giving them my money. (Confession: on rare occasions I still shop there, but afterwards curse myself for my lack of moral fortitude.)

This is nothing new. Just last month, a great number of people said they were boycotting oreo because of the rainbow oreo they posted on facebook on Gay Pride Day. We support things we like, we don’t support things we dislike. Why is it such a big deal? Why do we have to get in fights with each other on facebook?

If you want to eat at Chick-Fil-a, then do it. I don’t think I’ll be joining you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Thing About Mormons Being Christian

We’ve all heard about the comments made by Robert Jeffress - labeling Mormonism as a cult and as not being in line with “Historical Christianity”. By saying this, I feel that Jeffress is acknowledging one part of history and ignoring several others.

I have heard three basic arguments for why Mormons are not Christians. Two of them are based in ignorance and one has some merit, but creates the historical problem that I feel Jeffress has.
#1 Mormons don’t believe in Jesus at all. Any Mormon will tell you that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior. This argument is clearly false.

#2 Mormons worship a different Jesus than other Christians. This doesn’t really make sense and it makes me think of the praying-to-baby-Jesus argument from Talladega Nights.
Christ is Christ.

#3 Mormons are not Christians because they don’t believe in the Trinity. This point has validity. Mormons reject the 3-in-1 concept for a “Godhead” in which Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate beings that function as one God. Since belief in the Trinity is considered one of the defining characteristics of Christianity, the argument can be made that Mormons are not Christian. (I’m assuming that’s what Jeffress means by “Historical Christianity”.)

Here’s my problem with that: This definition of Christians as Trinity worshipers was solidified during the First Council of Nicea (AD 325). The issue came up because of debates about Arianism (named for the Egyptian presbyter Arius and completely unrelated to Aryans, who are racist bastards) One of the core beliefs of Arianism was that if Jesus was begotten by the Father, then the Father existed before Jesus and they cannot be the same being. They also believed that the Father created the Holy Ghost through Jesus and that it was subservient to both of them.

So what’s the problem? Arianism was heresy and the council crushed it. No big deal, right? Well, my question is why did they crush it? There is a lot of history to show that the church in Rome was less concerned about spirituality than they were about consolidating their power through politics. This was certainly the case with Arianism. Arians were all over Egypt and, at the time, Egypt was where the world went to be educated. Arians were enjoying a huge amount of influence because of this. Influence that threatened the supremacy of the church in Rome. This wasn’t the first time a council had done this. The Gnostics had been condemned just 40 years earlier.

Seems to me that “Historical Christianty” is somewhat based on a series of power grabs. This is not to say that everything about Christianity is terrible and wrong, I just don’t think it’s completely authoritative.

My point: People should be able to believe whatever the crap they want. 1700 year old Bishops are not the boss of me.
My other point: Labeling confessed Christians as non-Christian for political gain seems a bit un-Christian.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How I won the office March Madness Pool

When a co-worker approached me with a bracket to fill out for the office contest, I said, "You do realize that I probably haven't watched an entire basketball game in this century, right?" He said that was fine, all I had to do was pick the losers because we were playing low ball. Then someone else mentioned that Obama always filled out a bracket. So, I went online I did the opposite of Obama's picks. Thanks Mr. President.

Here's a fake press release written by Andy, one of our media people:


Marley, showing true geniushood, guts rivals;
Destroys the Competition in First and Best Ever NCAA Lowball Competition

POCATELLO – Joe Marley knows how to pick losers and he'll be rewarded for his efforts: the picking prodigy only had one wrong pick in the MARCOM 2011 Low-Ball NCAA Bball Guestfest Extravaganza.

His pick of losers included only one errant lob: he incorrectly predicted UCLA would lose its first game. Besides that, he was perfect. He earned $1.25 first-place prize.

His competition, however, was a bit further off. Rounding out the competition were:

  • Joey G. and Heidi B., tied for second with seven;

  • Andy T. and Kaye B., tied for fourth with nine;

  • Carl J. and Alex J. , tied for sixth with 11; and

  • Emily F., eighth, with 15 and counting.

"Bow before me and quake in awe in my presence now," Marley said of his stunning victory.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm a Liberal. I'm a Mormon.

It's true. I am a Mormon Liberal. A lot of other Mormons view this as an oxymoron and a few have asked how it works for me to be both. I have two answers for them:

1. Sometimes my Mormon-ness makes me a liberal

2. Others times it's just that I don't understand conservative thought

Then they say, "Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do." (Not really, they're never that funny. They're usually concerned for my soul and don't have time for jokes.)

#1 I often feel that the views of Conservative Mormons contradict my understanding of scripture.

-Conservative Mormon says, "Socialism is more evil than crushing kittens!"

I have noticed that conservative Mormons often confuse socialism with dystopian sci-fi novels. For the record, socialism is:
a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Such a society was described in the book of Fourth Nephi:
And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. 4 Nephi 3

All things were communal, there was no distinction between rich and poor. Sounds like...I dunno...socialism. Actually, it sounds like hard core communism the likes of which no living man has seen. Apparently it's a heavenly gift.

Early members of the church tried to do something similar called the Law of Consecration, a system wherein property became communal and was redistributed as best suited the community. It is argued that this law is not at all like socialism because socialism was invented by the devil so he could control people and the Law of Consecration was based on love. I am surprised people say this because all it does is prove that members of the church don't love each other. The Law of Consecration failed. It failed because people are selfish and greedy. The problem is not that socialism is evil, we are too evil for socialism.

The Christian Socialist, George Lansbury said,
"Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."
Maybe a bit extreme, but I think he's on to something.
-Conservative Mormon says, "Capitalism is the Lord's way! Hooray money!"
I sincerely doubt it. The goal of Capitalism is to earn money. The more money you make the more successful you are. While capitalism has its merits, it is a system that fosters greed and materialism. The scriptures say, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10. Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

If we were to ask James and Jesus about these statements they wouldn't say, "Oh, that? I was just talking." I'm sure they meant what they said. People can do terrible things to each other in the pursuit of money and possessions. It can easily consume a person and make them turn against others. You may be thinking, "Well, I don't exploit other people just so I can have things." We've all heard the jokes about kids in sweat shops making our clothes. Odds are, someone is being exploited because of the things you own.

-Conservative Mormon says, "Welfare is the Devil's allowance and I would never accept it in any form!"

Some people are in difficult situations, they need food stamps, they need money to get by. People do abuse it, but people also use it as it was intended to be used. I am willing to pay for the abusers because I know for a fact it helps people.

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just--But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. Mosiah 4:17-18

I would also point out that you have probably been the recipient of welfare. If you have ever received a pell grant, accepted WIC when you were a starving student with a child, had your children on free or reduced price lunch, or driven on a public road (in Idaho our roads are largely paid for by the Feds, because we can't afford them), then you have received welfare.
If you don't need welfare, good for you. Some people genuinely need it. Don't act like you are better than them. Your farts stink too.

#2 The stuff I just don't get

-Conservative Mormon says, "Don't ever vote for a pro-choice, baby killing candidate!"
Deciding who governs you based on one issue seems unwise. How does abortion affect your life- Have you ever had one? Do you plan to have or fund one? I think most Mormons will answer no to those questions, and if that's the case why are you so concerned about it? Changing the laws on abortion will have little effect on you. I understand that it is offensive-I personally don't think abortion should be used as birth control, but I'm not willing to completely dismiss a candidate just because they disagree with me on an issue that won't change my life. I can't overturn a Supreme Court ruling, but I can vote about issues like poverty, education and government services.

-Conservative Mormon says, "If we let the gays marry, society will collapse into a puddle of sin and rainbows!"

Both the Old and New Testaments have scriptures condemning homosexuality. But I have a secret for you. I don't care if gays get married. If voters approve it, fine. If they don't, fine. According to religious belief, their sin is that they have sex. They're going to do that whether they can marry or not.
It is argued that gay marriage will 'blasphemically' desecrate marriage. My problem with that is marriage offers legal benefits that I think gay couples should have. I feel the government should be in the business of granting rights to its citizens, not preventing citizens from gaining rights. Perhaps it's time the government got out of the marriage business. Let them give civil unions to whomever wants them. If you want to get married, go to a church.

I have reasons for being a liberal. I'm not doing it to be contrary, I don't have a devil in me, it's just how I see things.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hiking to the top of Old Tom

Sometimes my Dad gets crazy ideas. They vary in the quality and quantity of crazy. Last year he ran a marathon. I rank this as super crazy. A few weeks ago he asked if I wanted to hike to the top of Old Tom with him. This wasn't all that crazy and I thought it would be a nice summer adventure.

It started off not so much as an adventure, but as a really confusing drive along the side of the mountain. We had no idea where we were going and it showed. Luckily we ran into a farmer who told us how to reach the bottom of the trail-kind of-we weren't really sure what he said, but we figured it out. He said we could drive up the mountatin pretty far and that would make the hike easier. That would have been true if I didn't drive a Honda Fit. (Note to self: buy a giant truck one day, after a cheap gas alternative is invented) When your car is six inches off the ground it makes rocks, holes and giant puddles seem like a bigger obstacle than they should be. I eventually had to pullover and park because I thought we were going to drown.

That was when the hiking began. At first it was a normal hike up a mountain road. Then we hit the real trail.

There were no switchbacks, the trail just went straight up the mountain. It's a very exhausting way to go. We had to rest frequently on the way up, which I think made us feel embarrassed and sissy-like because many comments like, "I swear I go to the gym, I'm not that out of shape." were frequently said.

However, the exhausting climb was worth it when we reached the top and got an amazing view of several cities and valleys.

Arimo, Robin and Downey


The American Falls Resevoir

The marker placed by the US Geological Survey, proving that we actually reached the top. These are useful because there were several times we thought we had reached to top only to notice another portion of the mountain was higher

In a pile of rocks at the summit, there was an old book wrapped in plastic in which visitors had written messages. It dated back to the 1940's and had a lot of interesting things in it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Saint David's Day - Dydd Dewi Sant Hapus

I seem to have two themes on this blog. One is food. The other is Welshiness. I guess there is a third theme-stuff that happens. So, I guess this blog is about whatever I want. This blog post will be awesome because it combines the the first two - food and Welshiness, Foolshiness?
St. David (Dewi Sant) died on March 1, 588? He was most known during his life for founding a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosin. He was also the patron saint of Wales during their resistance against the Normans (around 1066). St David's Day is a big deal in Wales. It's a national holiday. Men wear leeks, women wear daffodils, children sing and put on plays, fountain water is dyed red. Also, people eat things. That's my favorite part.

In David's monastery, monks could only eat bread with salt & herbs and could only drink water. Meat and beer were strictly forbidden. I decided I wasn't doing that. Instead I made a bunch of food and invited a bunch of family to partake.

Cawl Cennin (leek soup)
I made this last year and a few times since them. It's a simple kind of tasty.

Swper Mam (Mom's supper)
So simple, so brilliant. There are three ingredients: bacon, cheese and onion. They are put in layers and baked. I highly recommend it.

Wyau ynys mon (Anglesey Eggs)
It's kind of like funeral potatoes meets potato salad. A mixture of mashed potatoes and leeks is placed in the bottom of the pan.

The potatoes are topped with hard boiled eggs.

The eggs are topped with a cheese sauce and cheese and then baked.

Picau ar y maen (Welsh cakes)
I really hate making things that require the rolling of dough, but these were pretty good. the dough is rolled out and cut like a sugar cookie, but cooked like a pancake. Currants give it a nice tangy flavor.