Thursday, May 31, 2012


So, just as some of you may have, i heard the news yesterday that Idaho’s liquor stores won’t be stocking Five Wives Vodka, made by Ogden’s Own Distillery, because it is (quoting from the newspaper article about it here) “offensive to Mormons who make up over a quarter of Idaho’s population”. And this isn’t just the reporter editorializing—the letter sent from Idaho’s regulatory commission actually used the word “offensive”.

And you know, i think they’re entirely right! You can’t have state-controlled liquor stores carrying products that are offensive to segments of the population that…aren’t remotely likely…to walk into…any of those stores…

Oh, wait.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Daughter effects?

So the “daughter effect” has been well-documented in the business world—if a company’s chief executive officer (or similar) has any daughters, and particularly a daughter as an oldest child, that company is more likely to have policies and practices of the type that are generally seen as being friendly to women.

So this has gotten me wondering—is there a similar sort of effect among Mormon leaders (bishops, stake presidents, mission presidents, general authorities)? If one of them has daughters, especially an oldest child who’s a daughter, is he more likely to, say, listen to women in stake or ward or whatever councils, or focus on young women equally as much as the young men, or promote visiting teaching as vigorously as home teaching, or whatever else one might come up with? Also, how would one measure this?

Utah Valley University has a decent and growing Mormon Studies program, and Brigham Young University has a lot of folks interested in the social scientific study of religion, and the University of Illinois has a history of research into Mormonism, so there’s got to be somebody out there who has the desire and training to look into this.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tired of the cold

Resolved: That the women of the church be the ones to set the temperatures in Mormon sacrament meetings, and if the men of the church want to be so deuc├ęd cold, they can just take off their suit coats!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

If you’re running late, just admit it

Fair warning: I’m gonna go totally postal on the next person who excuses their lateness by claiming that it’s no big deal, they’re just working on “Mormon Standard Time”.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Turn this mutha out

So can somebody tell me when Mormon celebrations of Mothers Day stopped being about Mothers Day and started being about Every-Female-Person-Over-Eighteen Day?

Friday, May 11, 2012


Here’s a question: The church’s records have spots for each member’s mother and father. However, there are plenty of family units out there where children are legally the children of two mothers or two fathers. So how do the church’s records deal with this, given that they enforce mothers as female and fathers as male?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Round robin reading

A comment on my last post got me wondering: Where did the tradition (for lack of a better word) in Mormon teaching come from where people are asked to pass around the manual and read from it a paragraph or so at a time? Sometimes this is the way stories get read, but i’ve really seen it most often where the entire lesson consists of everybody reading a piece of the lesson from the manual in turn.

I mean, whoever came up with the idea that this is anything even remotely approaching sound pedagogical practice?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This is so…Really, i don’t have words for it

Today’s assignment: Go to the lesson in the young women manual that all of our daughters are getting taught sometime right around now. Next, scroll down to the story that begins “It all began that first Sunday in March.”

Now swallow hard, and read the story. I expect there’ll be flinching, but make it all the way through.

And after that, discuss the following questions (and feel free to propose your own):
  • What kind of drifted-away-from-someone friend rushes home from college for a weekend for no other reason than to, essentially, lecture their friend about a choice they made (and about something where the one rushing home hasn’t been faced with anything relating to the choice they’re giving the lecture about)?
  • What kind of non-Mormons get engaged after two months of knowing somebody, and then get married one month later (even in the early 1970s, when these events allegedly happened)?
  • Speaking of which, does anybody else doubt that these events actually happened? Hmmm, maybe i ought to rephrase that so that i can get an accurate count: Does anybody think that this actually happened even close to precisely as narrated?*
  • It asks: If you were Emily’s friend, what would you say to her? I’m assuming you mean other than “Congratulations! Have you registered for gifts anywhere yet?”
  • They read their vows while a flute played softly in the background? Filthy, dirty hippies!
  • Did anybody else notice that when Emily surprisingly [sic!] stayed active in the church, she got called as assistant librarian? In the context of the story, does this feel utterly dismissive to anyone else, specifying that she got called as an “assistant” something?
  • Emily, as a child, had wished that her non-member father would be able to baptize her, she wasn’t sure whether her father would go to Primary daddy-daughter parties with her, and he went golfing rather than attend her seminary graduation. Um, did the old Sesame Street “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other” song start going through anybody else’s mind? the first of those is a religious thing. The other two are just being involved in your kid’s life. Her father wasn’t a problem because he was a non-member, he was a problem because he wasn’t a fully involved father.
  • So neither Emily’s husband nor father could give her child a name and blessing. Fine. But what’s up with her heavily-sobbed “Who is going to bless my baby?” They had home teachers in the 1970s, right? I’m pretty sure they had bishops. I mean, this is the ward she grew up in—she had to know somebody!
  • Interesting assumption in this story, that “member of the church” means “worthy holder of the Melchizedek priesthood”. Hint: Those two sets are not identical. (And there are a lot of non-members i know who i believe are more worthy than a good number of holders of the Melchizedek priesthood i know—but that’s a somewhat different topic, really.)
  • And finally, could the word choice throughout the story have been any more horrifically loaded? If your answer is yes, please describe in some detail, ’cause i can’t come up with anything.
  • No, strike that, this is the and finally: This young women manual was written in 1992 (with a bit of a revision in 2002), and it was old-fashioned even then. Its outdatedness shows. Badly. Seriously, folks, if the youth programs are really all so important, isn’t it time we fixed stuff like this?

* One change that the church has made to its publications in recent years (that i approve of most vigorously!) is that all stories like this must be at least closely based on real-life events. Back in 1975, though, when this story appeared in the New Era, there was no such requirement.