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Here's the thing: I read a good four or five newspapers every morning. (Online) In addition to the Dallas Morning News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the BBC and the Salt Lake Tribune, I also check up on AP, NPR and Huffington Post throughout the day. I like to think I'm moderately informed on stuff happening in the world. Please notice that I said I read the SL Tribune. Shame, shame, SHAME ON YOU!!!Collapse )

SHAME ON YOU, UTAH. "The Handmaid's Tale" was not a How To book.

HERE IS A LETTER THE ACLU OF UTAH HAS WRITTEN TO THE GOVERNOR. The address to write your own letter is at the top. I highly recommend all of you who lean towards upholding the Constitution of the United States of America write in. I highly recommend that all of you that believe we are actually a Free Society to write in. I highly recommend that all of you that believe that a woman has a Lawful Right to be in control of her body to write in. Be respectful, be concise, and be up front: this is a travesty. This is unrighteous dominion. Use the language of their religion to shame them, because that's what they deserve for this hateful piece of backwards legislature.

And I hate to say "I told you so" about that state - in this respect, at least. I am cross-posting this to my personal journal, stoney321, and please feel free to link to this, to email it, the more people stand up to these bullies, the better off the poor women of Utah will be.

And please note that the new bill that will make Utah-made guns EXEMPT FROM FEDERAL LAW is getting more discussion from male leadership. A pox on all your houses, Utah.

Book excerpt: LDS and Homosexuality

Note: this was written before Prop 8 and will be greatly modified in the final copy, but there are some important details I feel are important to talk about. Chapter Nine: the Church and HomosexualityCollapse )

For further interest, the LDS-owned BYU was home to the infamous "aversion therapy" center to cure homosexuals through the use of Clockwork Orange-style methods. To say that the methods used are archaic is an understatement. And if you are Mormon and Homosexual, you are not alone.
For those of you that don't follow my personal blog, I posted some information about the HBO show Big Love and an upcoming story line about rituals of the LDS temples. Warning: there are spoilers for this season, so be fair warned.

Details of how this particular rite is performed, by whom, etc. etc. abound for those that want to learn more about the LDS temples and their ceremonies.

There is some further discussion about LDS dogma in comments, as well.

Some random polygamy commune talk

And further discussion on why the state of Utah will not go after these law breakers, and bad, irresponsible journalism.

Oh, Brooke Adams, you are such a toady for the polygamists.Collapse )

[ETA] A link to a trailer, Banking on Heaven, with first-hand accounts from people who've escaped, including Carolyn Jessop before she came forward with her "Escaped" book. *cough* Note the distinctive Utah accent. I can't read a single book written by a Mormon or Ex-Mo without hearing that particular cadence...
(Not necessarily book related, but relevant to previous posts here on polygamy and its adherents.)

Merrill Jessop, the right hand man to Warren Jeffs was arrested last night, released on bail, but still. If you read Escaped by Carolyn Jessop, that's her former husband. Also, those v. disturbing pictures I posted a while back with Warren Jeffs' 12 year old wife (purple prairie dress) and he's holding her and kissing her? That's Merrill's daughter with Barbara. ...which is why he's most likely #2. GROSS.

a little more on what's going on with the YFZ ranch, etc.Collapse )
You might find this blog interesting. Because I'm not in CA, I didn't realize that one of the "selling points" to pass that was that "gays would teach gay sex in elementary school." Which obviously is horse pucky.

I worry about the ability to bring the Church to its knees on tax-exempt status because of a very important element to the religion: no one (for the most part) is paid in the church, and the leadership was "off the record" when they told the membership what to do, meaning, they didn't say "vote this way" during General Conference, the twice a year instruction sermon from the leaders to the members. The church's agenda is carried out by the MEMBERSHIP. They accomplish their mission by meeting in each other's homes, by talking on the phone. The church has been able to skirt a LOT of problems by saying "the leadership didn't say this out right" because the leadership meets with lower-level leaders in their houses, stressing what should be done, then those leaders go to lower level leaders, and so on and so on, and it trickles down in Saturday night priesthood meetings in individual ward houses on off hours, or in some one's home on Sunday evening "home teaching." This is how they get around "we officially didn't say this."

Or the other way is how the church buys out civilian businesses, uses that to buy another business, and there's the front. An example is FARMS, a "research" outfit that is designed to "prove the science and history" of the Book of Mormon but is in no-way affiliated with the LDS church. Except for how it was founded by an apostle, is on BYU land, has all of their "findings" published by Mormon press, and is referenced by Mormon leaders in their Sunday night "unofficial" meetings with the congregation. Yeah, it's not affiliated. They have smart lawyers, in other words, all trained up at BYU law.

I do hope they get nailed for this one, because it SHOULD be clear that they were influencing their congregations. (There's a petition to sign at the bottom of the above link to support stripping the Church of their rights to avoid their pressing political agendas in the future.)

Important to say (for me:) I bring these things up not because I'm trying to single-handedly bring down the Mormon Church (although I won't lie - that could be sweet if their real face was exposed and people could make INFORMED decisions about sticking with them.) I say these things because while I believe that everyone has the right to believe in the god/ess of their own choice and practice their own faith/religion how they see fit (as long as laws aren't being broken - no virgin sacrifices, in other words), the Mormon Church DOES NOT RETURN THE FAVOR. That is unfair, unkind, and most importantly, UN CHRISTIAN. (They aren't a Christian church, though they like to pretend otherwise.)

[ETA] This link shows that the bishops of San Francisco (like the local preachers) were instructed to read the aforementioned statement, but ONLY in the sunday school classes for the adults, NOT in sacrament service (the main service that has a "pulpit") so as to avoid the rules on separation of church and state. If you're going to such lengths to skirt the law, are you being moral or ethical? Short answer: nope. Not even close.

The Mormon Church and Prop 8

"As a member of the LDS church we have known [and still do] the feeling of being ridiculed and mistreated because of our faith."
~David Loder, 40, a business manager from Corona and a member of the Mormon church, discussing his vote in support of Prop 8.

Homosexuality, LDS, and Prop 8Collapse )

Black Mormons

“Are there no blessings for me?” ~ Jane Manning James, black pioneer

Continues...Collapse )

portions of this chapter originally appeared on my livejournal in February, 2008
(This is not an excerpt, just answers to some questions I've been asked about missionaries. There is a portion of the book dedicated to the Mission process, as I - before I was married - almost left for a mission of my own. Thank [the god of your choice] that I didn't go.)

I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or twoCollapse )
This young girl (warning, it's... difficult to look at) is one of the eight children that have been removed yet again from the YFZ ranch for a variety of reasons. Some of the 8 were removed because their parents refused to keep them (the children) from alleged child predators/abusers at the ranch. Others were removed because their parents didn't sign statements providing for their children's safety from these predators as well.

It's important to note that some of the parents of these children do not live at the ranch. Lemme 'splain. Warren Jeffs began planning for this compound as early as 2001 and wanted to hand pick the inhabitants. Sometimes this meant whole families, but mostly it was specific men he could trust and specific wives of those men that could be trusted. (Read: compliant and obedient.) That means some wives (mothers) were left behind in Colorado City and elsewhere. But their children went on with the fathers, because in the FLDS, children (and wives) are the property of the fathers, period.

One child was reported as asking her uncle (Merril Jessop, the spokesman you keep seeing everywhere and the former husband to Carolyn Jessop, author of Escape) about her mother and he "told her it was none of her business so she has just gotten to the point that she had stopped asking." This girl also knew that her uncle would decide when she would get married. She is 12.

Let's hope these kids get some re-education and the support they need to fully get away from that life.

Tangentially, I finally got around to reading Escape and was only shocked at how un-shocked I was at the details of abuse she suffered. Unfortunately, I've actually heard of worse from a former co-worker that lived in a goat pen, chained to the ground as an example of the "priesthood's strength" over the women. I do have two small (and insignificant) gripes with her book. One, she definitely made light of the practice of "bleeding the beast" where the members abuse government funds because the world is wicked, and two, she claimed to have never heard of "blood atonement" until Warren Jeffs came on the scene. Now, I have a hard time with that one because I wasn't raised FLDS and I sure as hell knew about it. (Not to mention that Colorado City is 30 miles as the crow flies from the site of the Mountain Meadows massacre, which was the first massive blood atonement act in the LDS church.) So. I feel that she left those things out/altered the facts to keep herself sympathetic with her readers.

Like I said, small quibbles. Other than that, it's a fascinating read for those who are curious as to what these people's "religion" is like. In a nutshell: hell on earth.

[ETA] According to the Deseret News (the LDS paper in SLC, funny how they have more facts on the case than the San Angelo paper. No, that's no suspicious!) the mother who had her girls taken from her was also taken away from her original husband, one of the Barlows and then "given" to Merril Jessop, including the children. Unfortunately for her, she's takiing the heat for not knowing where her children are, when the authorities need to understand that in their culture, once the children are reassigned, that woman has no say in their lives, period. It's horrible. That's how deep the power and abuse goes.
Does this picture bother you?

It should. So should these because they are wedding photos. he's already behind bars, thankfully. Here's who the other guys are in relation to the 'Prophet'Collapse )

Ugh. This whole lifestyle/people/cult makes me need to bathe in bleach. Absolutely reprehensible.

[ETA] Their booking photos, courtesy of cappy's link. They look so full of themselves. Bleh.

Introduction - Starts Here

(Tentative) Introduction

My paternal family is filled with lovely, funny, relatively smart people. Well, you dilute the gene pool with as many offspring as there are, and the law of averages take over. I have 63 first cousins, 127 second cousins, 14 aunts and uncles, not including their spouses, and before my grandfather died seventeen years ago at the age of 99, we had celebrated the birth of the first great-great-grandchild.

Two guesses at to what religious flavor my family is and the Catholic guess doesn't count. My great-great-grandfather was converted to Mormonism in the mid-1800s in England and moved his family across the ocean to join the "saints in Zion." He was one of the first men in the church called to be a missionary to England, and one of the first men publicly called to polygamy by the President of the church, Brigham Young. He had twelve wives and enjoyed a prosperous life in the newly built city of Salt Lake City. His son, my great-grandfather, believed in making his own way and hopefully leaving the family business of sheep herding and masonry behind. He rode a bike from house to house tuning pianos to keep his family fed, sometimes riding a horse from Idaho to St. George, Utah, about 640 miles of unpaved road, and tuned pianos at three bucks a piece. Hard workers, my family. A little loony tunes at times, but all hard workers.

There's this idea among Mormons, and it's the motto of the state of Utah in fact, that you need to be busy little worker bees with your spiritual eye fixed on the prize. Your hands should never idle so the devil don't get ya. On the surface, that seems like an honorable, decent, Christian mindset (or, for those that know their classics, a hell of a lot like the Aeneid and the use of beehives to symbolize the state.). But with the Mormons (or Latter-Day Saints as they prefer to be called) this is really a way to keep everyone so busy, they don't examine things too much. Because if they ever did, there probably wouldn't be too many Mormons left.

Apologetic PrologueCollapse )

for those coming over from various links, welcome! Know that not everything is public here. This is the place for my posts about growing up in the LDS Church, my impressions on that organization, and so forth, as well as some excerpts from the book I'm writing. You are welcome to comment, but understand that I won't always reply. Since this is a memoir, debate isn't going to work here, so if you're an apologist, this is most likely NOT the place for you to vent your frustrations out on me. However, if anyone wants to ask questions, I'm happy to answer to the best of my abilities.