Monday, October 31, 2005

I need advice, I need advice...

A hypothetical situation presented to you, my devoted readers.

Let's say that you are a returned missionary with a somewhat shaky testimony (some days it has stopped shaking and completely fallen down). You haven't seriously attended church in years and probably won't ever be a General Authority, a Seventy of any Quorum, or even the guy asked to bring bread for the sacrament.

Let us further posit that you have recently regained contact with a family you baptized during your mission. The family has now been sealed in the temple, both parents have stake callings and one of the kids has served a mission. What do you tell them about your activity in the Church?

If you say that you don't go anymore, might not their testimony be shaken? On the other hand, shouldn't you always be open and honest with life-long friends like this? Which is worse, lying or hurting them spiritually?

Should we feign testimony to help those who have yet to struggle with theirs? This is a very uncomfortable situation; any counsel would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Worst Halloween Costume Ever

Wow, it turns out that I got sick of the whole you-know-what discussion a lot faster than I thought. I'm over it; let us never speak of it again!

Moving on, I wanted to complain about the previous owners of my house. I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns. Besides painting tacky amateurish murals on the walls and jury-rigging all the window treatments with push- and straight pins, they also left everything they didn't feel like taking with them. I mean everything. We had to have a special trash pick-up ($35) just to get rid of most of the stuff. We filled an 8 ft. x 8 ft. x 4 ft. cube with all of their trash.

The only amusement I get is sorting through all of their ridiculous catalogues that now come to us. Please know that I am only exaggerating slightly when I say they get every catalogue printed. Catalogues full of dog costumes? Check! Catalogues full of gaudy Victorian furniture? Check! Yesterday I got their catalogue for Christian Book Distributors.

It contains the worst Halloween costume ever: BIBLEMAN! Yes, that's the real name. Just for your information, the light saber thingy he's holding is called the "Sword of the Spirit." For perhaps obvious reasons, they don't actually call it a Halloween costume.

Only slightly lower on the child abuse scale is this doozy: the Faithgirlz Bible Backpack. I mean, wow. Note that the front pocket has a clear window so everyone can see you are carrying around the Bible. That's how the Phariseez roll, yo!

I'll stop. I could go through the whole catalogue. I think I became a little more Mormon just reading this thing.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ned's Ultimate Banner of Heaven thread...

We'll all soon be sick to death of the Banner of Heaven talk (and many already are, I'm sure), so I thought I'd get my licks in now.

I think what bothers me most is that my sense of community has been violated. By Common Consent, Kulturblog, and Banner of Heaven were some of my favorite places to hang out. I was looking forward to meeting my fellow bloggers at Steve Evans' Thanksgiving party. Suddenly, I don't feel like doing any of these things, Steve's half-hearted apologies aside. I'm the idiot because I actually thought I had a connection with these people.

Do I want an apology? No, I'd prefer not to get one. If someone apologizes, you have to forgive them or else you're the jerk, no matter what they did.

Steve Evans-- for someone who has spent so much time helping form this bloggernacle community, it is odd, to say the least, that you are so blase about crapping all over it. That's all.

I'll get over it soon enough; it's not that big of deal. But are these people going to be my friends? No, and that's what sucks the most.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ex-Mormons are people too...

The second-most famous couplet in the church, and possibly the only one which we still believe in is, "people can leave the church, but they can't leave the church alone." I used to think the same way. Now, I'm not so sure.

A recent thread on M* about the Church's efforts to track down members with no known address (like yours truly) elicited the usual comments about how if people don't want to be tracked down and visited, then they should just get their names removed from the rolls of the Church. Notice how they never use the word "excommunicated"; no, getting exed from the Church is apparently just like getting an unlisted number. You do it one weekend and then you never think about it again. (Please note: some people do just that, but this post isn't about them.)

Some believers (and I used to be one of them) just can't understand how anyone could be conflicted; there are only two options. Either the Church is true, and you should give it your all, or it's all a sham and you should immediately stop talking about, thinking about, or being interested in the Church that dominated a good chunk of your life. What strikes me is this almost neurotic desire to always be in control about what people are thinking about the Church. You should either think good things, or not bother thinking about it at all. This is more than a little unfair to those who suddenly find themselves unmoored by disbelief.

All I'm asking for is a little compassion. You can't possibly know what kind of familial and social pressures people are dealing with. Aggressively suggesting that inactives remove their names from the rolls is thinly disguised ideological bullying: you don't believe the exact same things as I do, so you must renounce Mormondom, cut all your ties, and stop discussing us. No matter how much tithing you've paid, how many hours you've spent in meetings, or how many years you served a mission, none of this can be part of your life story if you're not one of us.

I'm sorry, but I am one of you. No, I don't keep my name on the rolls to have something to complain about, I do it for my family. Heck, maybe I am trying to hedge my bets come Judgment Day, but I doubt whether my name is in an outdated computer system under a granite mountain will make much of a difference to Jesus. As I remember, he didn't much like bullies either.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Will blog for food

As you can probably tell just from the sheer number of comments I've been leaving around the Bloggernacle, I am not exactly working at the moment (to borrow a phrase from George Costanza). I wasn't too concerned about a getting a new job after we moved, but now I have been unemployed almost two months. This should be the most enjoyable time in my life, but it's not. Sure, I can sleep till noon, but I always feel guilty when I wake up. I can lounge around the house, but all I can see is all the cleaning and organizing I need to do. I feel cheated: instead of living it up, all I can think about is the growing blank spot in my resume.

The only thing I can do is get a job. Unfortunately, there simply aren't as many companies or openings around here as I am used to. I had a hard enough time finding a job in D.C.; how am I going to find one in Stars Hollow? I think the solution is to start spending at least as much time on job-hunting websites as I do in the bloggernacle.

So, if you see me leaving too many comments or comments at weird hours of the night, just say, "Ned, knock it off and get a job!"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Various Stages of Mormondom

I just wanted to announce that the good people at Various Stages of Mormondom have invited me to post on Saturdays (or, in the case of this week, very, very early on Sunday). I have already ordered my Mayor Quimby-esque "Saturday" sash to wear around the house. You can check out my first post, on Mormon myths, here.

I've always enjoyed VSoM, and I am honored to be a part of it. JLS is irreplaceable, so hopefully we haven't seen the last of him around these parts.

P.S. I have been getting an enormous amount of comment spam recently, so I have turned on "word verification" for the comments. You just have to type the word displayed there, so it knows you're not a spammer. Please email me (VivaNedFlanders -at- if you have any problems leaving comments. Thanks!

Saturday, October 01, 2005


No one else seems to have mentioned it, but there is a great new site in the bloggernacle: Snarkernackle! Very amusing, even if it can't decide how to spell itself. Snark on that, Snarkernackle!