Finding Hope From The Westboro Baptist Church

A Westboro Baptist Church protest. (Wikimedia Commons, alterations by Cody Ray Shafer).

For years, the Westboro Baptist Church have been synonymous with bigotry. I learned this when they protested at my high school in 2004 over a production of The Laramie Project (documented by my embarrassing teenager blog). A large counter protest was organized, and an event originally sparked with hate turned into a largely positive, jovial affair. The Phelps clan were woefully outnumbered, and they left rather quickly, while the crowd left behind cheered and laughed and prayed together. As an … [Read more...]

Star Wars Needs A Faith Crisis

Along with my love of the original films is a massive appreciation for Ralph McQuarrie's excellent concept art for the very first Star Wars. (Fair use)

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but there’s a new Star Wars coming out next month. Remember Star Wars? It was a 1977 low-budget film from the chronically anti-social merchandising kingpin George Lucas that shamelessly ripped of Kurosawa and Frank Herbert. Believe it or not, the film was followed by not just one but two sequels in the ‘80s, and then an entire prequel trilogy in the early ‘00s. Now Disney owns the property and is planning on inundating the public with more Star Wars films fro … [Read more...]

These Three Things Are True


Sharp divisions make it hard to pinpoint "how Mormons feel" about the policy barring children of same-sex married parents from blessing or baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but these three things are true:Mormonism is charismatic. Mormonism is organized. Mormonism is Mormons.By “Mormonism is charismatic” (from the term “charismata”, or gifts of the Holy Spirit including visions, healings, prophecy, etc.) I mean that its existence as a religious tradition is … [Read more...]

I Won’t Go to Church Unless Everyone is Welcome

Charles Lock Eastlake, "Christ Blessing Little Children," (Wikimedia commons).

There is a lot yet to be said about the Church's recent policy changes to Handbook 1 regarding the children of LGBT parents. A few writers here at Peculiar People are still processing this, and our perspectives and opinions are as varied as the church membership itself. This policy doesn't directly affect me, but it does people I know and love. I don't want to distract from their stories, but I thought this was as good a time as any to air out my issues with the Church's position.When it … [Read more...]

Stephen Colbert is right, believing in God is pretty crazy

Screenshot, courtesy of

I had the pleasure of catching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night. It was a great episode, and I think the show is getting better as he settles on a more familiar format and rhythm.But even from day one, the thing that’s distinguished Colbert’s late night party has been his interviews. He is just considerably better at interviewing people than Kimmel, Fallon or Conan. And last night was no different. In fact, Colbert said something in particular that I think would do us some good t … [Read more...]

Thomas, Meet Francis: The Glory of the Outsider-Leader

Jeffrey Bruno/Wikimedia Commons. Alterations by JFeinauer

I remember the day he was elected, feeling amazed that a non-European was finally going to be in charge. I'd been LDS for a long time by then, but the prospect of some new outsider of sorts, shaking things up in my church of origin...intrigued and excited me more than might be expected of a temple recommend-carrying Mormon. The past two and a half years since his accession have been the unfolding of what I consider to be a divinely-led series of reforms and refocusings, and with … [Read more...]

Ahmed Mohamed, and The Need For A New Narrative

Photo courtesy of Anil Dash

  Ahmed Mohamed, a high school student in Irving, Texas, had a rude awakening this past week when he brought a homemade clock to school. Much has already been written about Ahmed’s experience, as he appeared on Good Morning America, had a shout out from Mark Zuckerberg, and President Obama himself.One of his teachers thought the clock looked like a bomb, and alerted authorities. Ahmed was escorted out of class, handcuffed, and interrogated. He was not even allowed to call his p … [Read more...]

With the Mormon Church’s Backlash Against Boy Scouts, Gay Leaders Are Merely Scapegoats


Young men in the Mormon faith are almost guaranteed to be automatically enrolled with the Boy Scouts of America. I spent the majority of my teenage life attending BSA camp-outs, rafting down rivers, and camping out in the middle of no-man’s land. The BSA has always stood for some perceived transition into manhood by many members—learning how to start a fire, properly use an ax, and how to tie one-thousand-and-one-knots.However, last month the BSA announced a policy change that would allow gay … [Read more...]