The Trump Supporter Next Door

If you've been following the Peculiar People column over the past few months, you've probably noticed two things: the posts have been sparse, and nearly all of them have been anti-Trump. The emphasis on Trump wasn't a coordinated effort on anyone's part - personally, I've held back from writing more about him so that it wouldn't seem like we'd plunged into political propaganda. But I'm acknowledging that trend because it probably won't surprise you that I'm among the many Americans still reeling … [Read more...]

The Case for Hillary Clinton and a Mormon Stance on Abortion

It's no secret that Mormons don't like Donald Trump. So I was surprised a few weeks ago when, among my conservative Mormon friends, one of the most common public reactions to the third debate was a doubling down on far-right anti-abortion stances. In response to Clinton's insistence that a ban on late-term abortion needed to include exceptions for the life and health of the mother, friends shared articles claiming that no abortion is ever necessary to save a pregnant woman's life and gave … [Read more...]

Why I’m Fasting for Hillary Clinton

On the first Sunday of every month, Mormons all over the world abstain from food and drink for 24 hours. This period of self-denial is designed to help us draw closer to God and seek answers to our prayers. In addition, we donate the money that we would have spent on the skipped meals to the Church’s program for assisting the poor and needy.I’ve fasted for various things over the course of my life. As a high school senior, I fasted before giving a speech at my graduation, praying that I wou … [Read more...]

Not a Democracy, Not a Dictatorship: My Big Fat Mormon Family

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously suggested moving to New Zealand to avoid Donald Trump. Alas, here I am in Auckland, New Zealand, but there is no refuge here from U.S. politics. Election news is on the BBC. It’s in the headlines. My students at the university get together to watch the debates and quote the best bits in tutorial.These discussions about political bodies and how they are constituted and governed have coincided with the semi-annual General Conference of t … [Read more...]

Trump’s Threat to Mormons

Donald Trump poses a unique threat to the interests, freedom, and safety of the Mormon people. Yesterday, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Donald Trump spoke to a group of evangelical pastors at a conference in Orlando. While there, the Cheeto-dusted Bloviator sought to capitalize on some evangelicals’ antipathy towards members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by noting that Utah “is a different place” and pointedly referencing the fact that no one from Utah was present in the audie … [Read more...]

Hell and Zion: A Review of “Undertale”

 Note: Undertale is a game best experienced without spoilers; I include some details below, however, in an attempt to convince the reluctant among you that it’s worth your time.In the game Undertale, your adventure begins when you fall into the underworld—a sort of hell that turns out to be quite Mormon. [1] That is to say: it is not the typical Christian hell of punishment and torment, fire and brimstone. The underground’s inhabitants, monsters banished and trapped there by huma … [Read more...]

Stop Praying for us, and Acknowledge That You Helped Create Omar Mateen

Let me give you a run down: 2015 was the deadliest year on record for transgender women, but 2016 could surpass that—since the beginning of the year, 14 transgender individuals have been murdered. Additionally, research shows that 80% of LGBTQ people killed are people of color. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, fought over 200 anti-LGBTQ laws in the first ten weeks of 2016. Advocacy groups continue to fight House Bill 2, also known as The Public Facilities Privacy & S … [Read more...]

Gordon B. Hinckley, Gun Control Advocate

 My heart aches in the wake of Sunday Morning's Pulse nightclub tragedy. I haven't said much, haven't looked for arguments or consolation, because this is just getting too exhausting. We've been here before. And the way things look, we'll be here again. We have a crisis of inaction in the U.S.; we are bombarded with horrible tragedies just like this, and we are continuously satisfied with our wobbly justifications that doing nothing is the best course of action. Because we all have … [Read more...]