Friday, September 30, 2005

I've decided not to raise my children Mormon...

...and I swear it's only partially because of this post on Times & Seasons. For those of you who don't want to read hundreds of comments (and who can blame you), I'll summarize. A T&S perma-blogger believes that, absent massive personal revelation, it is better to stay single forever than marry outside the temple. The rationale given is that mixed-religion marriages can "hamper... their children's spiritual growth" because kids will figure out that one of their parents don't believe. Even worse, they'll figure out that religion is not more important than marriage. I present the following quotation verbatim:
"The problem is that SOME [exposure to the gospel] may be worse than NONE. I've been around people from part-member families (and while I know not all are like this), ones that I have known have had no trouble taking the sacrament and then going out to lunch and ordering (gasp!) an iced tea. Not that that is evil incarnate, but it suggests that this person, at least, has fully learned the lesson of her youth: the church is nice, and it works for some, but it wasn't crucial to me (as your mother) that you be raised by someone who believes in it. She would have perhaps been better off raised without the gospel and then encountering it wholeheartedly instead of learning that 'the half-way covenant' is good enough."
I think this is the problem; this person believes the Church should trump all relationships, especially marriage. You shouldn't even consider marrying an outsider. Why would you? They aren't part of the Church, and the Church is the most important thing in life.

I don't want my kids exposed to these kinds of clannish, suffocating ideas, at least not until they are old enough to judge for themselves. I think it is a toxic mindset. And I don't think it's only Mormons that are afflicted with this; most churches (I'm looking at you Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Judaism, etc.) strongly discourage marrying outside of your religion. I whole-heartedly reject all this foolishness.

Which is more important, my wife or church? You shouldn't even have to think about it.
My wife will always take precedence over church. My family will always take precedence over church. Guess what? I hope my children do learn that the church is nice and okay for some people, but it's not the most important thing and it's not for everyone. It certainly shouldn't determine who you marry and it definitely shouldn't make you feel bad about yourself.

And that brings me to the second reason I won't raise my (theoretical) children Mormon: the church can't deal with sexuality. If I was scarred by the repressiveness of the church teachings growing up as a straight male, I can only imagine the hell it must be to grow up gay and Mormon. If my kids are gay, I don't want them them to be made miserable by constantly hearing about how bad of sinners they are, just for being themselves. There is a lot of ugly, unnecessary guilt imposed by the church that we could do without.

The number one lesson that will be taught in the Flanders' home is that being a good person and good to others are the only essential things. Everything else, including church, is fungible.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New online forum for believing spouses

I came across this new site during my daily scouring of the internet: a forum for believing Mormon spouses of inactives or non-members called Faces East. This community is just getting started, so if you fit the profile, or know someone who does, check it out.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Rough Stone Rolling release party?

With the release of the highly anticipated Rough Stone Rolling just minutes away, I have to ask, where is the excitement? To my knowledge, Deseret Book doesn't have any midnight release parties, and no members of the bloggernacle are headed off to the bookstore in their best Porter Rockwell costume. This is our Harry Potter, people! Supposedly, my copy left the warehouse today. We'll see if Amazon delivers it as timely as it did my wife's copy of the Half-Blood Prince.

I can't make any promises about staying up and reading all 768 pages straight through, though.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A delicate topic

Mormonism and its relationship with homosexuality seems to be the hot topic. If Steve would ever bother to restart his Bloggernacle Zeitgeist column, it would certainly be this week's winner.

If you haven't checked out Silus Grok's guest stint over at Nine Moons, I highly recommend that you do. Frankly, it's tough to read about someone willing to sacrifice so much to stay Mormon; I have to admit I'm a little ambivalent about it. I think the Church is richer with people like Silus in it, and I think his openness can only help tolerance and understanding develop in Mormon culture. On the other hand, I can't help thinking that he might be happier in a church that didn't brand his most basic desires as irredeemably sinful.

For those of us not in Silus's situation, the question of the Church's policy towards homosexuality can be troubling. The way I look at it, there are a couple possibilities:

1. God approves of the way the Church is handling the "gay question" and...
(a) will never change.
(b) will eventually include all sexual orientations. The time is just not right now.

2. God disapproves of the Church's policy towards gay members, but...
(a) chooses not to intervene. He lets the prophets make their own decisions.
(b) not so much that it warrants a new revelation.
(c) he can't get anyone on the line.

3. God isn't Mormon/doesn't exist/doesn't involve himself in human affairs.

I don't know that any of these are really attractive options for me. This is a tough and sensitive subject. I truly believe that God wants all of us to be happy, or as close as possible; I guess whether this includes the Church or not depends on the individual.

Regular readers will know that I am a huge Morrissey fan. On his latest album, he had a song that seems very relevant to this discussion (especially considering Morrissey's ambiguous sexuality and proclaimed celibacy), called "I Have Forgiven Jesus." Some of the lyrics are as follows:

"I have forgiven Jesus
for all of the love
he placed in me
when there’s no one I can turn to with this love...
why did you give me
so much desire?
when there is nowhere I can go
to offload this desire?
and why did you give me so much love
in a loveless world?
when there is no one I can turn to
to unlock all this love
and why did you stick me in
self-deprecating bones and skin
Jesus-do you hate me?"

I can't really add anything to that.

Friday, September 09, 2005

BYU is the fittest school?

The magazine Men's Fitness has apparently named BYU as the fittest college campus. I don't know if requiring a phys-ed class to graduate necessarily makes a campus fit, but I was surprised at the large percentage of students that participated in intramural sports. I wish my alma mater had more stuff like that.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fondue with the Tanners

It always depresses me when the bloggernacle stoops to petty (and seemingly interminable) back-and-forths like this recent M* thread. But at least Kaimi's links finally revealed to me the origin of the fondue story: this comment. I'm sure everyone already knew this, but I've been wondering about the origin for months. I finally get to be in on the joke!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Movie Review: Transporter 2

Transporter 2 was number one at the box office last week, thanks in part to Maude and me. We both enjoyed the goofy fun of the first Transporter, which has two of the best fight scenes ever (one involves a doorbell and the other bicycle pedals). We were also looking forward to seeing Jason Statham in action once again, as he is a criminally under-used actor.

As we left the theater after watching Transporter 2, I said to Maude, "Quick, let's get out of here before anyone realizes that we paid money to see that."

The first Transporter was fun and stupid; this one is just stupid. I don't go to action movies looking for plausibility, but don't insult my intelligence. I can't help feeling insulted when the Transporter flips his car 360 degrees in the air and clips a crane to knock a bomb off his car. I sense nothing but contempt from the filmmaker who has a plane crash full speed into the ocean with minimal damages.

I don't understand what is so hard about making a movie like this. Your audience has very limited demands: cool fight scenes and action sequences. Period. They couldn't care less about glowing purple orbs of vaccines, Russian biochemists, and Columbian drug cartels. (And Columbian drug cartels? Seriously, Luc Besson? Is it 1986?) The problem with Transporter 2 is that it doesn't even deliver this. The fight scenes are so heavily edited that you can't really tell who is punching whom, and the action sequences are too cartoonish to be any fun.

Despite this being a terrible movie, I have to say that I'm glad it made 20 million last weekend. Maybe now Jason Statham will finally start getting the roles he deserves. Let's just hope it's not Transporter 3.