Monday, June 27, 2011

Love Bombs in memory of Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith Jr. died on June 27, 1844.

I don't celebrate his death but I hear that in Utah (and other parts of the U.S.A.) June 27th is a day where it is hard to escape constant messages praising the man. Over here in Australia I am relatively sheltered from such messages but facebook does increase that phenomenon. This year a facebook event has been created encouraging ex-Mormons (and anyone else who would like to get involved) to Love Bomb facebook today with testimonies, quotes, videos and links sharing the truth about Mormon history.

The creator of this event states... "PLEASE do all of this with Love in your heart, and in appreciation that someone once took the time to share the truth with us, enabling us to now live Joyous, peaceful, and authentic lives."

Living in Australia also means that I get to be amongst the first share these posts. My first one was a link to an "I am an Ex-Mormon" Video  . Accompanying this video I wrote ... 

"RIP Joseph Smith Jr. (Died June 27, 1844) Even though I am very very mad at you I think maybe you were a bit screwed in the head and so I am trying to forgive you. Although I doubt there is a life after this one I do know that there is life after Mormonism ♥

...and now I realise how far I have come. I used to openly hate the man. I called him "bastard, scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, snake, jerk, swine, cad, knave.... " I regularly told him to "Fuck off" and so it was a welcome discovery today when I typed out RIP in front of his name... and actually meant it. Then I watched the youtube link of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing 'Praise to the Man' whilst doing some research for this post. Yes, some of the lyrics pissed me off but I felt moved by the music and even got a little teary. I think that I felt sad for the many people who have been hurt by Mormonism as well as thoughtful about the goodness that can spring from just about anywhere, even from a false prophet. I like the idea that I can enjoy listening to this song whilst disagreeing with the man and the religion. Progress? I think so. The people singing the song believe in Joseph as a prophet and they try to live good lives and to honour the good man that they think he was. Now, I may be on the path to forgiving the man but the things that he did and the people that he hurt are recorded in history and I will not forget their pain. 

A couple of things about that 'Praise to the Man' youtube video (if you decide to watch it or if you already know it). The line - "Praise to his mem'ry, he died as a martyr;" gets the goat of ex-Mo's not so much because he had a gun with him, not so much because he shot it into the mob but because he had practised polygamy, kept it a secret (even from the husbands of women he married) and then burned down a printing press that dared to write about the truth of Mormon polygamy. This is why he found himself in prison!!! Whilst he did not deserve to be killed by a mob he was no saint and the church absolutely white-washes the story. As a child I heard and read the Mormon version of events many times. I was lead to believe that he was unarmed and that he was in jail because the law of the 'Wild Frontier' deemed his religion to be a nuisance, i.e. they were being discriminated against. AND I was taught that he was shot inside the jail-room and that the force of the bullet forced him out of the window where he fell to his death. In fact he had tried to jump out of the window to escape and was shot trying to do so. Again, still a sad story and I pity him but not the version of events that I was taught in Sunday School. 

Another line - "Earth must atone for the blood of that man". Can anyone say 'Holy War'? Seriously don't go around saying shit like that! Someone might actually take you seriously and either start a Holy War on your behalf or against you. Either way I think the less people keen to throw us into some kind of thermo-nuclear armageddon the better!

Finally, did you see that final painting of Joseph Smith there in the video? Um, whilst I think Joseph might like this image of himself I don't think it is very realistic and uh, it kind of looks like the artist! Check out the jaw line, the artist seriously just painted a picture of Joseph Smith in his own likeness!

Aaaaaaanyhooo, I think that the idea behind this facebook event is a good one. Reading sickly sweet messages about a man who has had a negative impact on your life kinda tends to leave bile in your mouth so it helps to be able to respond with a Love Bomb. Check out LAM (Life After Mormonism) or the iamanexmormon website and rest assured that you are not alone!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yes Ma'am: An Exploration into Mormon Sexuality

(Warning: Parents and parents-in-law are advised that the material in this piece may not be suitable for your memory storage space. With love, M)

A few months after Rockstar and I stopped going to church a couple of young missionaries paid us a visit.  It was about 10am on a Saturday morning, we were both incredibly hung-over from our 10 year anniversary celebrations the night before. We had consumed a bottle of champagne and a bottle of red between us. I know, I know we had no idea what we were doing or what it would do to us but while we were dining at our favourite tapas restaurant we were too happy to care. Back to the 'morning-after' and a couple of doe-eyed Elders was the last thing I expected to see in my bleary state. Rockstar was polite and let them know that we'd left the church and didn't want to have anything to do with it. The Elders seemed to have been somewhat prepared for this response and left pretty quickly, after handshakes and smiles of course.

The Missionary flat that used to be located just down the road from us is no more. I won't presume to say that it is because of us that missionaries no longer live there but I do wonder. I used to see handsome young Elders walking past my house several times a week. Often I'd run into them taking the kids to school, shopping, going to the gym etc etc. The gym trips were the funniest because I'd be in skimpy clothes and I always felt a bit rare talking to missionaries like that but at the same time it was a small kind of thrill to see their obvious responses.

As a good Mormon stay-at-home mum I was often home alone or with small kids when the Elders would come around. One hot day the Elders dropped by (one was particularly handsome and had been very friendly with me during dinner visits at our house). I had been out the back with the kids trying to cool off with some water play and so when I opened the front door I really was not wearing a whole lot. I grabbed a nearby wrap to cover myself a bit more and assumed that the Elders would not stay long. However we spoke for quite a while. In fact the Elder (the one that I said before was attractive) he even made a comment about my figure which, when I think about it now, was pretty outrageous behaviour for a missionary but at the time I really appreciated the feeling that someone saw me as a sexual being.

Rockstar and I had the missionaries over for dinner regularly. We felt like it was our way of saying thanks to all of the generous New Zealanders who fed and cared for Rockstar when he served his mission in Auckland in 1996-1998. Plus we were only a little bit older than the Elders and Sisters so we felt like we were their peers. I really treasure all of the memories that I have of the many big-hearted missionary Elders and Sisters who visited our home... ate with us, played games with us, adored our children, sang with us. Wow, I'm feeling teary thinking about it.

Where has all of this sprung from? I was reminded of an incident recently when a hunky male staff member at one of the gyms I work for winked at me as I handed him my Balance cards just before leaving the club. I was startled by just how much that wink affected me. You see, before he winked at me I had not really paid all that much attention to him but ever since that wink I am just drawn to his maleness whenever I see him. I mentioned this to Rockstar since he has an ego of steel (haha) and then we remembered something that had happened when some missionaries were at our house a few years ago...

We - Rockstar, me, two Elders and our two kids - were playing 'Go Fairy' which is just like 'Go Fish' but with Fairy cards.  I asked one of the Elders "Do you have a rainbow fairy?" and he responded in his American accent (think kinda slow drawl here) "Yes Ma'am" and handed me the card. I summoned all of my strength to reach out and take the card because inside I had just turned to Jelly (or Jell-O for the American Mormons here). Every fantasy I had ever had about a man in uniform just merged into one and there he was sitting in front of me. Seriously, if all social conventions had disappeared at that moment and suddenly all that existed in this world were that Elder and I then Damn! would he have had to look out! For weeks after that I couldn't look at the guy without blushing. It was madness.

The sexual tension of a situation is massively heightened if you are a Mormon. Every glance, every brush of skin (or clothes) sends thrills through the body and paralyses the mind. Pretty exciting stuff really; just like the scene in 'Pride and Prejudice' where Mr. Darcy offers his hand to Elizabeth Bennet as she goes to climb into the carriage and then as he walks away there is a shot of him flexing his hand as though the thrill of their touch is still coursing though him. Being Mormon can be like that. It is hard to be friends with someone of the opposite sex because you are told that you should not ever be alone with a man (or a man alone with a woman) because you might end up having sex with them; the temptation would be too great! apparently. Sooooo, this kind of precludes friendship (or any serious friendship) with someone of the opposite sex.

Sooooo I guess if my local (ex)leaders are reading this then I have hopefully been removed from that black list into complete and utter oblivion. And I would highly recommend that they do because if i find any stray Elders over here you can bet that I will be very charming indeed. I look forward to some daytime chats on my front porch or an evening dinner with my family and ooh, maybe even a game of 'Go Fairy'.  I will probably have to wait until we are living somewhere other than Perth though ...but then I can let the fun and games begin! I'm getting all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

(If you see any pics here that you think I have cropped you out of and you would be happy for me to crop you back in please send me a note and I'd love to expand the view, AngryBaker I'm looking at you!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

NOH8 photo shoot in Perth

There's going to be a NOH8 photo shoot in Perth in August. Who wants to come with me???
Here's some info:

The shoot we’re planning will be shot on a Sunday from a home studio (Beckenham/Cannington area) in late August, we want to try and get as many people in as possible so we’re aiming for 1-2 people every fifteen minutes. After looking at the responses there will be a small cost involved of $25 which will need to be paid before your shoot BUT this includes:
- Professional photographer
- Food / drinks 

- MUA through the day for touch ups, if needed.

- Supplies for the shoot (duct tape and tattoos/paint)

- Email copies of your photo with light re-touching.
Any extra or left over money we receive will be donated to the WA AIDS foundation.
The shoot will require you to turn up within your delegated hour (shoot will run from 11am-4pm) wearing a white top of any sort, preferably denim bottoms and your hair and makeup ready to go! We will either temp tattoo or paint “NOH8” on you when you arrive, then you can enjoy some food and drink until your turn in front of the camera!
Now as we want as many people as possible, if you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, child, parent or friend who wants to come along then bring them! (Just be sure to let us know before hand!) No race, age or gender discrimination here! If you want to bring someone (with the exception of children) they’ll only be charged $5 on the day if they want a paired shot with you! If individual shots are wanted then it's still $25 each.

So if you're interested either email Mark at
or email/fb message/call me and I'll add you to my application.

You can also 'like' them on fb

and check out examples of photos here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Some interesting things that were said to me this week

that I am "...suddenly determined to bring down the evil with my apparent newly accquired self-righteousness..."

I understand where the author of this comment is coming from. To them I sound loud and angry and, well self-righteous. But am I really? I'd like to think that what has been newly acquired is a VOICE! and the realisation that my opinion does count and that I am free to think and read and speak and write. I am free to converse with people and disagree with them. I am free to speak out if I think that there are injustices afoot. And everyone is free to do all of these same things too. Disagree with me. I want you to. I want to be forever open to new ideas and ways of looking at the world. Self-righteous? I don't see it. 

and later this (same author) "If one wants to hate on the LDS church for having views peculiar to some instead of concentrating on being a good Atheist, go for it! If not, and contention is a high priority in one’s life, go all the way and do it to ALL the religions and Atheists that view similarly!! If I want to put the gloves on, why go after the little kid in the yard when you can take down the big bully!! And there are 4+ billion ‘bullies’ out there, have a field day!! One can enjoy several lifetimes of pugilism with old school Battle Royale!!"

I like to think that I 'hate' on the LDS church at the same time as being a 'good' atheist rather than "instead of" :P 

...and I'd just like to add the now tedious reminder that I am against the LDS church, not it's people.

Is contention a high priority in my life? God I hope not. I think that I like to "kick against the pricks", and when I say 'like' I mean that I consider it to be worth doing. It hurts like hell at times (damned prickly pricks)  but what am I doing here in this priviledged white educated girls skin if I don't use my voice in some hope-full/less attempt to give voice to others. For a while that dialogue has screamed about Mormon stinkshit but I am moving on. There are (as my friend* and quasi-conscience points out) many religions and bullies to tackle. I'll get to them. The one that I am currently trying to cut out of my brain is Mormonism so, just give me a minute. 

As for the LDS church being "the little kid in the yard"??... 1.) pointing to a bigger bully does not absolve the smaller bully. 2.) I think that there are many dead gay Mormons who would disagree with you, if they were alive to do so. 

I appreciate my friend*'s "passion" as another friend* called it. And I am gratefully aware that the pain I felt as I read the words was much less than what it has been in the past. My hide is toughening up. That doesn't mean I'll shut up (as you can see) but my blood pressure is a lot better these days. 

*Please note dear friends that I continue to mean friend when I say friend. I hope the anonymity of this post is sufficient. May the dialogue continue.