Thursday, December 23, 2010


A friend reminded me today of my plans for my 30th (which was 2 years ago now and said plans never fruitioned - is that a word?). I had conjured up in my mind a Bon Jovi garden party with fake tattoos and bandannas for all. Well I didn't go ahead with it, life kind of got in the way.

That same month however, I did attend my graduation earning my Diploma in Education. I only invited Toby (family stuff going on at the time too!) and I drank in the wonderful feeling of achievement.

I had started the DipEd in 2001 then became pregnant with my daughter. The 'morning' sickness was so bad that I lost 5kg in the first Trimester. I had to put my studies on hold. The sickness didn't end but I did start to gain weight and finally gave birth to a healthy 3kg girl. A couple of years later my son was born. All that I needed to do was a 6 week teaching Prac. but I didn't want to use daycare so I waited until circumstances allowed me to leave my children in school or with family and took on the 6 week Prac. It was great. I loved the students, my mentor, the other teachers at the school, the challenges, the change of pace... and finally 7 years after starting it I was done!

So the graduation was pretty sweet for me, it was a long time in coming.

If I could have a do-over I would delay parenthood until after embarking on a career and set myself up to be in a position to take maternity leave. However, how do you know when enough is enough? When have you set yourself up enough that you can take an extended break from the workforce to parent and then return to some kind of secure position? Really I don't think this is the way the world works anymore anyway, career changes are pretty common and regular. I guess everyone rolls with the punches as much as setting goals. There's my ramblings for the day. In essence, when I stumbled across these pictures today they reminded me of just how far I really have come. It's been a busy life! and these days - a very happy one.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Festivus for the rest of us?

Last year I was still a bit shell-shocked when Christmas came around. I kind of just went through the motions, oh and I still thought Jesus and God were real too, that's kind of significant I suppose. However, throughout the year I lost one and then the other, found one again, lost them again. You know how it goes. Now I find myself 3 days out from Christmas wondering W(hy)TF I am still buying into the Christmas season when I don't even believe in Christ?!

A friend of mine told me a couple of nights ago that they don't celebrate Christmas and it kind of triggered me into thinking "oh yeah, that's right I probably ought to re-assess what I'm doing here". Particularly because apathy/paralysis have conspired to lead me to this point -3days out!!!- with no friggin' clue of what I am doing!

Well I came across this article today which reminded me that Christmas (a force unto itself/an entity not unlike say a corporation) actually borrowed many of it's feel good traditions from paganism. Now I'm no expert so please pick me up on my incorrectness. My understanding is that after a long cold winter, people would celebrate the Winter Solstice with food, wine, dancing, tree decorating etc etc. Now when I realised/remembered this I was so happy because I love the tree, the snow, the cute little robins and twigs, the cake, the wreath, the food, the music... oh how do I love the music!!! and I don't have to toss it out along with my belief in the Jesus story. LOT's of it can stay, yay!

Oh, and my kids still love the Jesus story and it is kinda sweet so I'll keep the cutesy versions and just add some more myths of my own as I find them.

Now last night (why oh why didn't I bring my camera?!) Toby and I took the kids into town to have dinner with my brother and his girlfriend and son, my other brother and my dad. It was RAD. We went to Miss Maud . It is a Swedish restaurant all homely and snug. It was decorated with pine garlands and fake snow. There was a giant gingerbread house in the middle of the smorgasboard!! and the band played lovely Christmassy tunes all night. Everyone had a great time. This will have to become a tradition I think!

Then a friend reminded me of the fact that we live in Australia and our Solstice is of the summer variety at this time of year. Our festivities involve the beach and cold beer and food. She also reminded me of this song. Love it!

...and finally some sage advice from my most pagan of friends was a renaming of the day itself.


Oh, how I love this new name! I certainly plan on using it in my newly atheist family. When religious types are around I may go easy on them for a while yet and just harp on about the solstice but giftmas is a keeper.

Oh and Bowie reminded me earlier today of how much fun it is to be able to write X-mas now with no fear of thunderbolts!!

So, I plan on spending some more energy looking into ways to merge a Winter/Summer Solstice celebration that will allow me to retain everything that I love about Christmas/Winter Solstice traditions whilst paying homage to my very hot homeland of Australia.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A year in pictures

Phoenicia and Toby in Kings Park

Canaan and cousin Holly

love the attitude, hope it lasts!

eherm, my reasons are my own ;) 
Christmas '09

Canaan having fun at Bobo's (Grandad's)

putting on a play


looking the part

ready for the stage

learning the art of hiding your hand

that would be 6 candles

a new cousin... Teagan (born May 31st 2010)

Canaan graduates Kindy

Scitech fans

photographer :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Listening to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 'Into My Arms' and my mind (and heart) went of course to my own Rockstar and I just felt an overwhelming desire to do anything that I could to contribute to his happiness. I think I've been a bit insular and self-absorbed lately and it's getting to be a bit much. As soon as I acknowledged this desire to help someone else I realised an improvement in my own mood. Ironically I am now thinking about the benefit to myself that comes from helping others BUT well does pure altruism actually exist? Anyway, god I love listening to Nick Cave! I love music for that matter. Music is my church; this is where I heal my hurts.

Friday, November 26, 2010


My maternal grandmother (Granny) passed away this morning. She went peacefully in a lovely aged care facility with her two daughters by her bedside. I am so happy for her. I don't know what the next life holds for any of us but I feel that she has moved on to some exciting new adventure. I imagine her young and vibrant again, like the sassy girl I saw dressed in military uniform in old black and white photos. Oh and there's lots of green grass and sunshine in my imaginary world for her. That is the beauty of freedom. I can choose whatever reality I would like to imagine her in and boom! there she is having a great time. No-one can tell me otherwise because there are no authorities on the afterlife.

Tobys grandfather passed away about 2 weeks ago now. Toby has had a difficult time processing this. He has been grieving deeply and has let out a lot of pent up emotions. It has also been tough for me to watch him dealing with so many emotions all at once. I think that our society does not allow men enough space to show emotion throughout their lives; so that when men do hit a big emotional spot they get a bit overwhelmed. Toby also had to deal with some unpleasant religious attitudes at the time which did not help him at all. I won't elaborate as that would be his story to tell if he wants to. He probably won't though. That is why my advice to any ex-mo's who are thinking about blogging would be to go with an anonymous blog; then you can talk about the things that you really need to get off your chest!

My maternal grandfather and my paternal grandmother passed on a couple of years ago now within days of each other! How interesting is that.

My memories of my maternal grandfather (Grandad) include admiring the model airplanes (check out yellow one in photo below) that he made out of glass bottles, tin and alluminium and him walking around the garden with his cigarettes, taking a 'breather' from family politics. He was from Cornwall, England and so was rather on the shorter end in terms of height (a trait I have inherited), he also had one leg a bit longer than the other and so my memories are of a cute little grandad with his trademark hobble pottering around with a glint in his eye getting on with the business of seeing beauty in everyday things.

My paternal grandmother lived in England. I saw her once when I was about 5, she and grandad came to Australia to live with us for a few months. I was then lucky enough to visit her in England when I was 18. My paternal grandfather had passed away the year before. I remember (or maybe I just remember being told about it?) sitting on his knee and listening to his awesome crazy grandad stories. He was tall and wore cool hats. My Granny was another sassy woman. I remember one evening we were all supposed to be doing some kind of fun activity but everyone was waiting for me to finish up with the dishes (hang on a minute, I was 5!!! hmmm, time to get my kids onto it) and she came in and plonked all of the cutlery onto the sink and went swish swish swish and then pulled them out again and put them on the draining board and said "that's how you do it" (or something similar) Hahahahaha, thanks Granny.

I am now grandparent-less. I loved knowing all of them and I cherish my memories of them no matter how skewed they are by time. I will be sure to remember them often and to draw upon my memories of them to help me here in my life. I love you Granny, Granny, Grandad and Grandad xxxx

Bunnys and Daredevils

Since this is my happy place I thought I'd post some old videos here that I stumbled across while clearing out the junk on my computer.

For your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Video Evidence

I was doing some deleting today and found a few old videos you might be interested in.

This video is about 4 years old so we were still in the Mormon State of Mind.  Thought you might enjoy my daughters rendition of a favourite Primary song :)

Then there is this gem of which I am quite proud as it reassures me that we threw in a healthy balance of godlessness whilst still in 'the Trance'.  Look out for the booger meal!

... and finally, some evidence that supports those TBM accusations of my immodesty prior to leaving the Church.

To be fair I had just got back from the gym!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Psychological Dysfunction


For anyone who has wondered why I have been doing mental gymnastics for the last year or so.

Read me

That's a fucking big list when you put it all together!

You can read the article this list came from here, also very helpful for ex-mos.

Thanks Cognitive Dissenter for posting the link over at Smoking Joe's new blog Moroni Blows.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Afflicting the Comfortable

Well, I’ve been a busy little bee lately but haven’t we all! That is life Maureen, suck it up! Actually I did get to go and see that chick flick Eat, Pray, Love and I’ll tell ya’ my respect for Italians went through the roof. You get a really good picture of their attitude to life, particularly regarding work, rest and play. They really, truly feel that they deserve their ‘down-time’, in fact they know that they deserve it, they have grown up knowing this. Love it.

So I know I have neglected my blogger duties but I have been rather outspoken on fb. I’d like to share part of a thread w/you here. I’d also be very interested in any feedback you might have about how I handled the subject. Am I being too rude? I know Daniel won’t think so… he dislikes tone trolls somewhat. The TBM that I am in discussion w/is (as most Mormons are) a very lovely person. I’m not sure if they still think that I am though. I think another friend may have just bitten the dust, sigh.

I’m thinking it’s time to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

A friend posted about the recent General Conference and a commenter soon enquired about their opinion on the now infamous BKP talk. This is what ensued. I’ll skip the first several comments as I’m sure you’re really only interested in it from where I pipe up (dang, my head won’t fit through the doorway). Good luck, see you on the other side.

Maureen (10 Oct 23:06)

Packers talk disturbs me horribly because of the effect it will have on LGBT youth. Why must the church harp on about homosexuality? If religion must exist, why not stick to 'love one another'?!

Maureen (10 Oct 23:22)

I'd love to hear y'all thoughts on Packers talk though. Check out for great discussion on how to cope with any cognitive dissonance you may be feeling about the church's stance on homosexuality. There are many active members there finding a way to be faithful and informed. xox

TBM1 (11 Oct 18:41)

when i first heard of 'feministmormonhousewives' i thought to myself they must be the most miserable people on earth! haha

TBM2 (11 Oct 22:00)

the notion that feminism clashes with mormonism excludes the streams of feminism that are in harmony with the gender roles in the lds church, such as those of sylviane agacinski-jospin, alma don sorenson and valerie hudson. i like that fmh creates an open forum and i see it's valuable to its readers, but it's certainly not the only or by any stretch the best option for finding answers and reconciling your own belief systems. i prefer academia and prayer - an earnest search for truth and a bit of faith can go a long way.

Maureen (11 Oct 23:36)

I find it interesting that there are still no comments on the LGBT issue. My heart bleeds for LGBT Mormon youth. Are you guys aware of the rise in suicides from this group recently? I'm not trying to disturb your harmonious feminist and Mormon identities, that is awesome if you can reconcile the two, many women at fMh do too, and it is certainly not the only place to go for help w/that, just a good one, if you're interested. Any takers on the LGBT issue? I see hope for these youth (and adults), heck polygamy didn't last forever, the blacks got the priesthood. Is there room in heaven for the LGBT community? I think so.

TBM2 (12 Oct 06:45) well, the church's stance on homosexuality is no secret (president packer's talk, which wasn't even about homosexuality like the newspapers portray it to be by only quoting the small parts where homosexuality was mentioned) and it's pretty simple. God said don't practise homosexuality, the church says don't practise homosexuality. that's about it, but members and opposition alike add all sorts of assumptions of their own.

Calvalcanti (12 Oct 11:28)

Actually, there's an additional proposition in Pres. Packer's speech that, to some people, seems like a bit of a step backwards from previous Church pronouncements (at least at that level). Specifically, the bit about homosexual tendencies not being inborn, with the rhetorical "Why would God do that to anyone?". While I think the reaction has been disproportionate (Pres. Packer has said things far more controversial), I don't believe that it is entirely groundless. Even with all the sensational editorialising stripped away, there's still a legitimate (and complex) issue left for discussion.

TBM1 (12 Oct 13:02)

I noticed that too [Calvalcanti]. I liked Elder Packer's talk because it was clear and straight down the line, despite public pressure.

Maureen, it is sad that those youth have felt that there is no hope for them and ended their lives. However, what would you suggest, that the church change its doctrines to be less offensive to those who find them challenging? If you consider who the doctrine comes from, it seems to be an absurd ask, that
God should change eternal laws and truths and requirements for his children because some of his children find the criteria too hard?

If you are LDS, then it is an accepted belief that revelation (such as talks by President Packer) is from God. Based on that, I can't quite get my head around the idea that you can be LDS, but not believe everything God tells us. For example- it doesn't make logical sense to say "I am LDS but I believe abortion is okay". Either God reveals things to us through his prophets, or he doesn't. Picking and choosing does not make sense.

Maureen (12 Oct 16:00)

Thanks guys, I appreciate the willingness to talk about the issue. Teen health is something that I am very passionate about.

As [Cavalcanti] has pointed out the church's policy used to be that people are not born gay and should just stop being gay. The church now accepts that people are born gay but say that they should not practice homosexuality. Packer seemed to have forgotten this nuance which from where I stand is easy for me to understand as being his personal opinion and NOT from God.

i think you would be hard pressed to find any latter-day apostles/prophets declaring that they actually speak to god. They work on 'feelings' and impressions. I think you would also be hard pressed to show where god says homosexuality is bad, as far as I know there is no mention of it in the New Testament.

I personally believe that if there is a god that he/she accepts homosexuality on the same level as heterosexuality.

The church decided to get really public and political about homosexuality so the LGBT community and supporters feel quite justified in speaking out against the Mormon church. Believe whatever you want about the afterlife and god but religions have no right to interfere in the lives of non-Mormons and ought to take youth suicide seriously.

Think for a moment how you would feel if you were a gay teenager listening to Packers talk. Then the drone of "follow the prophet" over and over again. Do you really think that subjecting LGBT people to a life of celibacy is humane? or sexual relations w/a person they are not attracted to. I could not marry a woman, nor could a gay man happily marry a woman!

Again, I appreciate your willingness to discuss. The Mormon church can happily go about their religion as long as they remove hurtful statements and stay out of issues where they do not belong.

TBM1 (12 Oct 16:37)

I do not know of any background regarding the church's stance on homosexuality, and I don't need to know. I also don't need to find specific confirmation of homosexuality (rather than immorality) in the bible. All that matters is if God communicates with his prophets (and I don't know how he communicates with them, and I don't need to). As an active LDS, I believe that God does communicate with his prophets, and he has commanded us not to practice homosexuality. Even if God's attitudes were different in the past, it wouldn't matter. He has said to us as recently as a week and a half ago, do not practice homosexuality.

I feel for people who are struggle with feelings of homosexuality. I am fortunate I have not had that struggle. We have also been instructed through prophets (God) that we should treat everyone with kindness and respect and love one another. There have been talks dedicated to these very people, reassuring them there is hope, and that God loves them.

In regards to hurtful statements, some people may be hurt or offended by gospel doctrine. But as I mentioned previously, demanding that prophets (God) change eternal laws and requirements that are challenging does not make much sense. I wonder if you feel the same way about 'immorality' in general, or just homosexuality?

TBM2 (12 Oct 17:34)

when i was at byu, president packer gave a really long boring talk at our regional conference. a month later, he gave the exact same dead boring talk at general conference. he's an apostle, but the dude is getting old :) i'm inclined to go easy on him. at least he changed the word 'tendencies' to 'temptations' in the conference report - which is what really matters, because the conference report is official church doctrine, and the actual conference session is not.

i can understand a gay lds teen would be frustrated, i can't actually think of a harder spiritual burden for someone who shares our beliefs, but the lds message isn't one of hate. for people who believe that God commanded us to not practise homosexuality, then the message of repentance and the atonement that the lds church teaches is one of hope, and that's certainly the intent behind the message - it was definitely president packer's talk, which was about repenting for immorality. for others who believe that practising homosexuality is not a sin, then the lds belief that it is sinful (and God did tell us this, in 'the family: a proclamation to the world'. this is one of the few church publications that is official doctrine) could understandably be interpreted as hateful. it's a difference of opinion though. i think it comes down to a person-to-person basis though. some lds people are very understanding, fair and eloquent. others have brittle black-and-white, and even erroneous interpretations of our beliefs. it's like any community.

Rockstar (12 Oct 19:02)

when, "[...]by common consent" was the Proc. brought in as doctrine? The last actual doctrine was an altercation to who could and couldn't Hold the priesthood. And even then it's really a stretch considering that since Joseph all the leaders have been less than a "Yankee guesser".

and the bigotry rolls on!

Rockstar (12 Oct 21:09)

[TBM2], seems like it's too easy for the church's official stance to change with the whim, fancy and inclination of whomever may be standing at the pulpit. But then, as long as it all FEELS right, y'know, overall...

Good to see everyone so civil.

Rockstar (13 Oct 17:31)

I notice that [TBM1] took your remark about Paker's statement being a backward step as a good thing... I'm not sure if you feel the same way, do you? I don't, and wouldn't if I was still attending/believing; as a TBM I found this standpoint disgusting, now it's also mystifying. And the backward step borders on evil.

[TBM1], so the church shouldn't change it's stance on gays, but it's fine for them to change it re: polygamy and blacks in the priesthood? Just because they haven't doesn't mean they shouldn't, neither does it mean they can't. The "absurd ask", as you suggest Maureen's statement is, has happened before and, frankly, if the church wants to stay financially stable (which is what's really important these days :] ), it's guaranteed to happen again. Guaranteed. So unless you want to end up just like that old sister at Duncraig ward who left the church because the blacks got the priesthood (it seems she reluctantly came back besides her aversion to skin pigmentation), or those who left because of the change to polygamy, I'd get used to the idea that it's actually a possibility. The church may actually change it's teaching.

Maureen (13 Oct 22:39)

[TBM1] and [TBM2]: Mormons have a reputation for being really 'nice' people but I'm afraid that saying that you feel bad for the suffering of others but then refusing to even question ([TBM1]) 'the whys' of your chosen religions actions, actions that adversely affect others, is not being looked upon favourably in the current climate.

[TBM1]: Check out a paper by Hugh Nibley called 'Beyond Politics' that deals w/why god wants us to question even him! (and even more-so his spokesmen/women).

Personal revelation can trump even a prophet. (I'm sounding like a believer now!)

So it's celibacy or marry someone you're not attracted to, are those the choices?

I asked myself this question before I left. If polygamy were brought back in today would I 'follow the prophet', I could not. I left. If polygamy came back in... today... would you 'follow the prophet'? Does this bring you a little closer to understanding the situation for LGBT Mormons?

I find many points of Mormon doctrine highly offensive but the great thing about leaving is that there is no need for me to 'demand' anything of god. I don't care for the Mormon god. I like my god much better.

How do I feel about immorality you ask?
Not sure how this question applies to our discussion but I'll bite.
Firstly, I have to say that I do not consider homosexuality to be immoral so we differ there. I am not a fan of adultery. I think sex w/in a committed relationship is beautiful, I see no need for marriage. Rah rah rah. There are other differences. I love being able to think about these things and weigh them up in my own mind and heart. It's interesting too how words like immoral, sinful, wrong just don't pop up in the world I gravitate in now.

[TBM2]: He may be old but I think he's next in line to be prophet, will he still get free passes then? Maybe their talks should be scrutinised a little more before they are broadcast/spoken since for anyone listening to it the damage has already been done. I acknowledge that you only accept the print version as doctrine.

I was talking about whether or not god spoke against homosexuality outside of Mormonism. I know Mormons think he has. I still think you should ask a prophet/apostle/anyone to confirm when the last time is that someone actually spoke to god rather than having predetermined ideas that they have then prayed about and had confirmed.

I have the same questions for you about the lot in life for LGBT Mormons and whether you would practice polygamy.

[TBM1&2], you have been great sports. I hope the tone in the written word is coming across ok to you. Any grrrr tone is not directed at you but at 'the church'.

if you're interested, just someone's thoughts on it.


TBM1 (14 Oct 20:27)

I don't have all the answers to all the questions
posed to me. But I am okay with only knowing what is necessary for me to know right now, I can be patient in the meantime. I don't pretend to know better than the prophets and I don't pretend I am more intelligent than god. [Rockstar] and Maureen, I feel you won't be satisfied with any of my responses until I come to the same conclusions you have- that the lds gospel is false, religion is bad, god does not exist etc. I am not going down that path. I do not doubt, and the personal circumstances surrounding my faith are just that, personal, and not fodder for mocking or anyone else's entertainment.

You have asked for us all to respect each other and discuss these things openly. As far as I can see, your friends have been understanding and respectful to both of you. For you to try to tear down the very personal beliefs of your friends while mocking things they hold dear, their sense of compassion and even their intelligence is unfair and does not match the levels of understanding shown to you.

I am happy in my faith, I am not bitter. I don't want to continue a pointless argument about our different beliefs anymore.

Maureen (14 Oct 21:01)

I was just being straightforward with you [TBM1]. I thought you and [TBM2] (etc) were open to that. I just re-read my comments to try and see if I had been rude. I don't think I was. I don't want you to denounce god but I would love to see active LDS question the leadership on this issue. I feel that it is a human rights concern.

I don't believe I mocked you. I called you out though on choosing not to look into the subject. That is a tough thing for you to hear but I thought you would understand why I would say it.

Let me reiterate. You think that practicing homosexuality is evil and that god thinks it is bad and that gays should change. For some reason you don't see that this is considered by many people to be a very hateful stance... and if you are going to hold such a tough stance then I personally think that you need to know the ins and outs of it.

I don't want to tear down your beliefs, I want you to make sure that you understand them and that they truly are your beliefs and not someone elses. Believe in god all you like but when your beliefs impinge on the freedom and happiness of others then you will probably need to be able to explain yourself.

You ARE compassionate AND intelligent, I did not mean to suggest otherwise. I don't think you are bitter.

I gave my views on god etc throughout our debate but I worded them as 'my views' not "here's the truth, you must agree with me!"

The Mormons here have stated many times their strong belief in god, why is it then not ok for me to say that I don't believe???

This is a tough subject. You don't agree with me and I don't agree with you. I thought we were making headway but something went wrong?


So, there’s the long and short of it. If anyone is still reading at this point then you need to go and check in for blog addiction rehab.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Me, random guy and my friend

I had a great weekend. My good friend had her Hens celebration on the Saturday. We spent the afternoon at a beauty salon; then had a fancy and civilised dinner with the mother and mother-in-law etc before moving the party into Northbridge for some riotous living. It was so much fun... the whole day that is. I think the part you will be most interested in though occured in the wee hours of the morning.

As soon as we got to the bar we made fast work of some tequila shots and then cooled off with some Vodka and lime. We were very popular with out pink fluff, shot glass necklasses and bridal veil. I recommend donning these costume pieces if you're up for a night of making instant short-term friends!

We found the crowd to be very friendly and at times a little too eager. New experience for me - making my way from the bar to the dance floor and random arms reaching out to try and entice you to dance with them. Tip no. 1: Walk fast! eyes ahead... then use the move my dad taught me where you twist your arm out of their grip in one swift move leaving unknown Romeo spinning.

The thing I'd like to natter about with you is this. I removed my wedding rings soon after leaving the Church. I wanted to find myself and I felt that the real bare bones me needed to be stripped of this worldly symbol of ownership.  Now before you all get started 1.) Rockstar has never worn a wedding ring 2.) I love him more and more every day! Our relationship rocks (In fact I was especially 'in love' with him when I got home from receiving so much positive attention that night... TMI, probably).

It just so happened that this guy asked if I were single and before I could open my mouth one of my friends said "She's married and she's got kids!". Hmmm. I wasn't annoyed that she had done that but it sure did start a tiresome exchange. So then this guy was all up in arms about me not being allowed to go out without my wedding ring on. I asked him why and he said "because you're hot!" Gee, thanks (blush).  I told him that my husband doesn't wear a ring and that I just wanted to go out and be me and have great conversations with people without having to be labelled as married. I asked him if he would have still hung out with me if I had worn the ring and he said he would have so good on him for that. I asked again what was wrong with me just wanting to be me minus the ring and he said that I was owned and that I had to show people that!!! Ok, back up a second, you said what?!! Ugh! I could not believe it. I let him know just what I though about his ownership hang up and I hope that I got through. Anyway this guy still hung around and I should add that he remained friendly throughout the night, he just had some very full on things to say. He harped on about it at random intervals but otherwise we all had a good night.

Being new to the world of pubs and flirtation I'd love to hear your opinions. Am I naive? messing with mens heads? Can they take it? Can we all just have good, clean, flirtatious fun or am I being mean? I had a good time. Did they?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One Year On

mid-Happy Birthday song...  cake decorated a la kids
(oh! do you love my hitchhiking dinosaur shirt? he's off to one of my favourite places - Vegas!) and uh, that's me dancing to the song btw.

It is my thirty-second birthday today but I am also marking another milestone; it has now been a whole year since I last paid tithing (10% of my income) to the Mormon Church. I noticed this when I went over my finances for the 2009/10 year and discovered a difference of about $700 between what the Church says I paid and what my records say I have paid. Hmmm, so I will look into that and I think I will go back further in my records to check that out. Besides that oddity it was quite satisfying to see such concrete evidence of my departure from the Church.

I have not as yet received anything official from the Church to acknowledge that I have removed my name. I am going to re-send my letter, along with the tithing query, along with, wait for it... a letter from Rockstar! He's decided that it's actually taking too long for them to excommunicate him and he wants out.

So, where am I one year on?

I had an amazing aromatherapy full body massage today at my local organic day spa and as soon as I laid down on the massage bed I just melted away. The music, the soft bed, the peace... and then the awesome massage. I felt very happy. A few thoughts flittered through my mind while I was there, one of them was how wonderful it is to feel free to think whatever I want. I can read about anything that I am interested in, talk to whomever I choose and make up my own mind about how this world works and what might be beyond it. Early on this idea freaked me out a bit but now I find it to be extremely liberating and calming. I am the one at the helm of my life and it feels great!

So I am 32 in earth years and 1 anno libertatis!      

(Daniel, dear linguist friend of mine, have I bastardised the latin or does it work? See Daniels comment below for the reasons I have changed anno liberta to anno libertatis! Thanks Daniel)

pizza faces

looks like Canaan thought I'd need some help 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Feminist Mormons: An Oxymoron or the Best of Both Worlds?

When I started to look deeper into the history of the LDS Church one of the first places this search took me was a blog called Feminist Mormon Housewives (fMh). It was here that I began to feel that it was ok to look at the ‘facts’ no matter how confronting they might be. The other source of comfort during this time of questioning was an article written by Hugh Nibley called Beyond Politics (BYU Studies 1974) where he wrote “God did not hold it against these men that they questioned him, but loved them for it…the Lord was not above discussing matters with the brother of Jared…” (p3). Ah, sweet words to a newly questioning soul.

I soon began to visit this online world for more than just information and ‘permission’ but also for friendship, discussion and above all a new and much needed feeling of belonging. The issues discussed there are varied and bold. Accompanying every thread is an almost tangible feeling of sisterhood. Wait! There is more than that. The feminist men who comment on the blog are such an integral part of the place that really the feeling is one of humanity? It is a forum where respect for each sex is the ideal.

Recently some feminist Mormons have put together a new blog called HOPE.  It is linked to the WAVE website (Women Advocating for voice and equality). At HOPE women (and men), LDS or not, can write about their experiences in relation to equality for women in the Church.

Why do I, as an ex-Mormon and known by other labels such as anti-Mormon and apostate, choose to support such movements?

As much as I dislike organised religion I also dislike the idea that I would turn my back on my friends at fMh simply because we have different beliefs. There are plenty of ex-mo’, atheist, agnostic etc supporters of fMh. There was a short time when I did not visit fMh as my feelings of betrayal and anger towards the LDS Church were quite high and I did not want to blow off steam in a place that still felt like home.

Considering the pain that I experienced leaving the LDS church I feel strongly that LDS members should be allowed to look into the truth about their church’s history and I think that fMh and HOPE are good places for active members to do that. If a person then chooses to remain a Mormon then at least it will have been their choice, a conscious informed choice. The other option of course is that they choose to leave. Either way LDS members will then have been given the chance to choose what is right for them.

IMO many of the people at fMh actually comprise what I consider to be a breakaway branch of Mormonism. I am all for it. They believe in God, Jesus, love, service… they just also happen to believe that God always intended for women to have a more significant role to play in the Priesthood, an equal role even. They look to the past to inform this dream for the future. They also believe that there is room in heaven for the LGBT community. Again, not a secondary role but an equal role. They look at each person on this planet as truly equal. That is something that I can admire.

If the girls and guys at fMh can enlighten the minds of the LDS youth and provide options in an otherwise strict and unbending institution (unbending towards its members vs very flexible in its changes to ‘doctrine’ over the years!!) then I am all for it. Consider for a moment the youth suicide rate in Utah. I think that fMh and HOPE along with other such blogs are very well positioned to alleviate a lot of suffering.

The Mormon conundrum is a complicated one. I hope to lend a hand in transitioning people out of it or at least into a safer part of it. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Through the Eye of the Tiger

After 6 months of Down Dogs, Crocodiles, Cobras, Sun Warriors, Airplanes, Stars, Swans, Locusts, Cat Stretches, Pyramids, not to mention butt squeezing (seriously this has got to be the most commonly used coaching cue "squeeze your butt"!!!) I am finally certified, yay!

I received my certification in the mail a few weeks ago and just realised that I have not yet shared this exciting piece of news with you. So now I can get paid more, I can register with Fitness Australia and I can feel further accomplished.

One of the tips in the notes I received was to find times in each track where I can talk less and allow the music to teach. I said to one of my regular classes "Talk less? my husband could have told me that!"

The 3 day intensive course that got me started on this journey 6 months ago was far more challenging than I had expected. I had thought "I've been going Body Balance for 7 years, this will be fun", well it was fun but it was a lot more than that. I came close to tears on the first day when I realised how far off I was from being able to transform my good technique into something that I could teach. I felt as though I was speaking a different language than the master instructor. I would listen to the beat in the music and try to get the timing and then move and then count and then talk!!! aye-yae-yae-yae! I honestly doubted my ability to pass this stage of the journey.

I practiced and I did have a few tears at home. I drew in my strength and applied myself. Then when we had our final assessment I gave it all I had and I felt great. By this stage I was expecting to gain a conditional pass but... the surprise and pride I felt when the master trainer gave me the full pass to trainee was immense. After the difficult months that I had experienced previous to this endeavour I felt tremendously lucky and satisfied to have been able to prove to myself that I can do whatever I set my mind to.

The journey continued with team-teaching, launches, workshops and many hours of practice. I have felt my body grow stronger and leaner. I have experienced a deeper awareness of the mind and body connection. I have challenged my previous fears of performing. It has been an exciting and demanding journey but so inspiring for me. Thank you to the people who encouraged and supported me. This is an achievement that will continue to be advanced and that will benefit myself and others for the rest of my life.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Young Elders return with Honour?

I know I said I would do a feel good post about what I like about Mormonism as my next post but that is requiring some work and I really wanted to post about something that came to mind this week.

I was reading over at the Koda Think Tank, Koda wrote a post about some goings on around the time that he went on his mission. He wrote about feeling guilty and about nearly getting sent home. It reminded me of Rockstars mission.

Rockstar nearly got sent home when he was about 2 months off completing the 2 year mission. He had been sent to New Zealand (not an important part of the story just fyi). His favourite all time companion (lovingly referred to as MB - marijuana boy by his wife, Angry Baker, because he calms her down eh!) had recently finished his 2 years and returned to the USA. Rockstars productivity had begun to slide a little and he and his comp (companion, missionaries are paired up usually for a few months at a time and reside in bachelor style flats, ew stinky!) had been neglecting to check in with superiors and report on their whereabouts and statistics. They had also indulged in the viewing of a few movies at member families homes.

They (I think it was about 4 of them) got called on for a meeting with the Mission President who had to make a special trip to meet with them. It was clear to all 4 young elders (haha, 'young elders'.... an oxymormon?! ) that they were probably going to be sent home.

This is where I get to my point.

Rockstar started thinking about what he would do if he were sent home early. Now for those uninitiated in the ways of the Mormons, being sent home early from mission is certainly up there as one of the most shameful things that could happen to you. Rockstar decided that when the plane landed in Sydney that he would just disappear. He wouldn't catch the connecting flight to Perth, he would drop off the radar and go from there.

He didn't know when or if he would contact his family or myself. We had written to each other pretty much every week (we each now have a shoebox full of letters, oh so romantic) but he felt so icky about being sent home early from mission that he didn't know whether he could bare to face any of us.

The story ends well. The boys were not sent home early. Rockstar finished his mission and returned with honour.  Romance resumed and so on, yadda yadda.

Hmm. So what I am interested in here is the aspect of control on mission. There are so many rules! Geez! most of these kids are 19-21 years old. From what I've seen of missionaries - I sat across the family dinner table from many elders in my childhood. I have fed many elders (and sisters, not so many of them but they're great) in my home. I would use two words to describe them. Kind and energetic.

Since the mission is expected of every young man it bugs me no end that the rules are so strict and in many cases so ridiculous. I will beg Rockstar to post about some of his experiences.

I am looking forward to moving house so that when eventually we get a pair of missionaries randomly knocking on our door (currently I think our house may be a no-go zone for missionaries, scary apostates reside here) I plan on letting them know we're exmo' but inviting them for dinner, conversations etc. I am  so grateful to all of the splendid New Zealanders who looked after Rockstar on his mission and I would like to continue to offer support to any elders/sisters who are game enough to spend time in our home.

Lighten up Mission Presidents!

Eczema update

In my search for a moisturiser that I could apply to my sons eczema ridden skin I have come across Blossom Baby Butter from Ayana Organics.  If you are in Perth, Australia then this is a wonderful local product that I highly recommend. We have been going through about 250ml of moisturiser each week (we have tried just about every moisturiser that is commonly available in chemists), applying moisturiser all over his body 3 times a day which is why I am so glad to finally have found a product that I feel completely comfortable using so often. His skin has been dry and damaged for some time and I did not want any unknown or harmful products being absorbed. What is so great about this Blossom Baby Butter is that even the preservatives are all natural. This of course gives it a shorter shelf life but we are using so much of it to manage the eczema that the shorter shelf life doesn't factor in for us. I now have some Ayana products for me too and I am loving them. I wanted to post about it here since we have been grappling with this current bout of eczema for some time and I really want to pass on any info about things that have been working for us.

We have also been going to Allergy Pathway and we are seeing great results from that as well.

The other thing we have been doing is visiting our local pools once or twice a week. It is believed that the chlorine kills off the bacteria that can develop when eczema is present. Hospitals use bleach baths but I much prefer the pools option. Plus the kids love it. Make sure you shower with things on and moisturise after pat drying yourself with a thick fluffy cotton towel.

We have been buying all cotton bed sheets, covers and clothing.

We encourage Canaan to drink plenty of water. I try to offer him water every time I get myself a drink.

We have been adding foods that promote healthy skin to our diet (i.e. foods high in antioxidants as well as other things). Our favourites are raspberries (the frozen ones are great for a snack), other berries, apples (particularly Red Delicious, Gala and Granny Smith), popcorn, oats/porridge, pear, cranberry juice (Canaan loves this for some reason!), lemons (think hot lemon and honey), broccoli (dinosaur trees), barley (beef and barley soup), parsley (in chicken noodle soup or on garlic bread), LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal) which Canaan loves sprinkled on his porridge, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts (add to brownies), grapefruit (Canaan likes the pink one), pineapple, millet (I buy puffed millet and then make a slice out of it with melted choc chips, dried apricots, dried cranberries, honey and butter, experiment with quantities).

The other thing that we do is if he is having a particularly itchy night we have an antihistamine on hand to provide a better nights sleep. We try to save this for when it is really needed.

Anyway, these are the things that have been working for us. We also keep him out of direct sunlight, make sure he's wearing a hat and long sleeve shirt if he is going in the sun, and we've educated him about regulating his temperature. If he gets hot and sweaty he will itch more so he tries to remember to take layers off to cool down. We've also tried to have him rub the affected areas rather than scratch them. Oh and we keep his nails nice and short and clean, buff them too.

Phew, so much to say.

Good luck to anyone else out there trying to manage eczema. It can be tough but we're getting there. I hope these ideas help.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tim Minchin video

Rockstar just read the last piece I wrote and suggested I add Tim Minchin's If I didn't Have You, check it out.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Parallel Time Dimension? Fuck Yeah!

I read a piece by Kiley a few weeks ago titled Would You Really Change the Past? and it brought up so many things for me that I thought I would like to post my response here. Kiley wrote her piece in response to a post that she had read at N.O.M (New Order Mormon), which asked If you could have all the things and people you love in life and erase Mormonism from your past present and future would you do it?”. Kiley answered “no”, I answer YES!

I side more with another viewpoint I read this week. Eliza R. Snitch talks about her experiences at BYU (Brigham Young University) -

“I felt that I’d been cheated out of the college experience that I’d always dreamed of, and I was pissed off about it– and rightly so!.......So there you have it. How to get through BYU without going crazy. But really, the best way to survive BYU? LEAVE. As soon as possible.”

I hear you Eliza!!!

Although I cannot attribute all of my faults/weaknesses to Mormonism (wouldn’t that be somethin’!) I do feel that I was shaped in a very big way by my religion. From where I stand right now I do not like what I see. I know that if I had grown up without religion that I would most likely have chosen some very different directions in my life. I would also have grown up minus a shitload of guilt and shame. Now that is a Maureen that I would like to see! Bring on the Star Trek type parallel time dimension!

Even without the guarantee offered by N.O.Ms scenario (that of keeping the same people in your life etc) Rockstar and I both agreed that we would still do it. I guess that might be because we don’t believe in destiny or soul mates. We figure that we each would have found people we love just as much as we love each other and that we would have had happy, fulfilling lives.

Kiley said “I don’t think that different decisions would necessarily result in a better life”. I disagree. I believe very strongly that my life would have been markedly better had I been raised non-religious. I feel jealous of my friends who were raised this way.

Now, I do acknowledge that I gained good things from Mormonism (In fact I’ve been thinking of writing a piece about that and I think it had better be the next one I do eh) however I would much rather have learned my life skills elsewhere, you know, minus the baggage.

I agree with Kiley that I need to “…get over it, get past it, learn from it…” and I agree that I have grown a lot in the last year, II can also use my experience to help others through the tough ‘coming out’ process. I see these things as the silver lining of a very dark cloud. I find it very easy to identify with Kileys description of feeling like a survivor. Kiley, that does not sound pretentious to me, it sounds real. It feels real. I don’t want to downplay the scars that religion left on me. I feel like a survivor. That’s why I like to thrash it out in my spin classes, sweat off that anger.

Then I get to the end of Kileys piece and she says - 

Truth be told, there are few people put in a position to have experienced such sweeping changes in their lives and ways of thinking, than people who believed and lost. As painful as such an experience is going through such things provides a point of view and perspective of the world that few others will ever earn.”

I do feel like I’ve been through the fire and I feel damned lucky to have made it to the other side. I even think, Kiley, that you may have convinced me. I surely would never choose it again (being born in the covenant) but for this life, the one that I am living now, I think I can live with it and possibly be somewhat proud of the journey and the tremendous opportunity for growth. As Christopher Hitchens says, I am glad I grew up.