Archives for April 2012

Other People’s Dead

The most recent controversy over Mormonism’s practice of posthumous baptism reached its peak in February when it came out that Eli Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, had ended up on a to-be-baptized list.  Wiesel called on Mitt Romney to condemn the practice of proxy baptisms for Jews, particularly Holocaust victims, echoing complaints made by Jewish leaders in the early nineties.  The Church has apologized profusely and maintains that they have made every effort to keep Holocaust vic … [Read more...]

“I’m a Mormon, yes I am!”

Like Rosalynde Welch, one of my early musical memories (besides my oldest brother blasting Van Halen through the walls) is of gathering around the record player listening to Janeen Brady’s annoyingly catchy song, “I’m a Mormon”: I'm a Mormon, yes I am! And if you want to study a Mormon I'm a living specimen. Maybe you think I'm just like anybody else you see, But trust in my word, You'll quickly observe, I'm different as can be! … [Read more...]

Domestic Violence and Mormonism

Domestic violence is disturbingly prevalent in the world at large. Worldwide, most estimates suggest 1 in 5 women has been abused by a man. When you add in violence perpetrated against men, children, and the elderly, it’s a sobering thought. And in some communities, domestic violence is more common than not. … [Read more...]

On Mormon Secularization and Politics

Mormonism has been secularizing since 1833. (For those keeping score at home, that’s three years after Mormonism’s institutional birth.) Politics—or more specifically, Mormons’ engagement with and capitulation to the secular nation-state—is the primary culprit.“Secularization” is a loaded term, carrying for many the notion of anti-religion. But by saying that Mormonism has secularized I’m not suggesting that Mormonism is secular, in the sense of not being oriented toward the sacred. And I’ … [Read more...]

The New (Non-Mormon) Politics of Mormon Persecution

In “Why Ann Stayed Home,” McKay Coppins of Buzzfeed offered his intervention into the reignited Mommy Wars.Coppins is a Latter-day Saint. Let me rephrase this in American Argot: Coppins is a Mormon. I repeat this fact because for some odd reason, it became a point of debate in what has followed. … [Read more...]

The PR (In)convenience of Mormon Terminology

One of the more fascinating aspects of the recent “Mormon Moment” (and there are many) has been the way the LDS church’s Public Relations department (LDS Newsroom) has had their press-release blasters set to immediate and well-publicized damage control.  Well, in comparison, that is, to what its output seemed to be in the past. … [Read more...]

Lay Clergy: The Democratic Vision of Mormonism

Mormonism isn’t democratic. Everyone knows that.There are no public debates to determine Church policy. There are no contested elections. Mormons vote almost weekly to “sustain” decisions made by their leaders, but these “sustaining votes” signal acceptance of the decisions rather than actual agreement. And they are almost always unanimous in the affirmative. In thirty years of church attendance in three countries and a dozen states, I have never seen a single “no” vote.This line of reaso … [Read more...]

Bones & Honey: The Problem of Allegory

I've been thinking about fury. Specifically, my fury.It's a new experience. The course of my life has been relatively blessed, so much so that the physical feeling of absolute, inarticulate rage, expressed in finger-trembling and skin flushing and hyperventilation and everything else, is a recent discovery, a novelty of the last year or so. I won't go into the whys or wherefores. I will say there's at least one bonus: I find it weirdly satisfying to suddenly know what other people mean when t … [Read more...]