Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Book of Mormon Girl

A couple of days ago I finished Joanna Brooks's book The Book of Mormon Girl. It was excellent. 

She writes about her experience growing up in the Mormon faith. She focuses on how comforting it was to know that her religion had ready made answers for all the difficult questions of life. Outside of some of the doctrinal differences, growing up Mormon sounded very similar to growing up adventist. One of her special skills as a child was being able to tell which cup of brown liquid was root beer and which was coke, because she wasn't allowed to have the caffeine. I'm pretty sure I know a few people who could identify which casseroles contained cheese as opposed to soy cheese :)

Later, she talks about her experience at Brigham Young University during the 90's when the Mormon church excommunicated many feminists, scholars and intellectuals for questioning the church. She started to see the cracks and shortcomings that all churches and philosophies possess.

"These are the unspoken legacies we inherit when we belong to a people: not only luminous visions of eternal expanses of loving-kindness, but actual human histories of exclusion and rank prejudice. We inherit not only the glorious histories of our ancestors, but their human failings too, their kindness, their tenderness, and their satisfaction with easy contradiction; their wisdom as well as their ignorance, arrogance and presumption, as our own. We inherit all the ways in which our ancestors and parents and teachers were wrong, as well as the ways they were right: their sparkling differences, and their human failings. There is no unmixing the two." Pg. 133. 

She recalls her disgust as her church turned out to support proposition 8(banning gay marriage) by mobilizing a massive grassroots movement and contributing nearly 50% of the $82 million dollars donated to the cause. $82 million dollars that could have provided oral rehydration packets to children dying of diarrhea, the second leading cause of death worldwide, for a decade. 

She asks, "What do we do when we fail to become the adults we dreamed of as pious children? How do we react when we discover at the core of faith is a knot of contradictions?... Throw it out? Do we resent the worry in our friends eyes?... Do we blame ourselves for taking seriously the talk of love, compassion, equality, mercy and justice?"

Things get sticky when the faith that provided so many warm childhood memories and a fulfilling community isn't as bright and shinning as you thought. Anyone who has been in a relationship knows that warm memories aren't enough to create a bright future. 

Her conclusion is that everyone should work to create faith traditions that are big enough for all stories and points of view. Instead of abandoning something so fundamental to your life, accept that it is imperfect, decide how it fits into your story and work for reformation. Do we need to be loyal to faith traditions in an all or nothing deal?

I highly recommend this book to anyone working to decide the role that faith will play in their life and what that faith will look like. I found it very insightful. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Album Series

When we first stumbled upon the idea of a favorite albums series,  we quickly discovered that the prompt, "name your top six albums" just doesn't cut it.  How do you define top six albums?  Should the albums be selected because they were critical to your own musical formation?  Should they be selected to represent your tastes over time?  Should they be selected as the travel music for your journey to Mars?  Each of these prompts creates vastly different lists.  We'll keep it simple.

Over the next six weeks, the five estate members plus one special guest will be presenting six albums that they would choose to listen to right now over all others.  Their selection will be supported by a short explanation.

Here is the order of contributors, selected at random:


365, believe it or not.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


These are our pets. (minus some chickens and two cats I couldn't find)

The dog on the far left is my dad's dog. His name is Romeo, though I usually settle for something more frustrated like dummy. He's a Rhodesian Ridgeback and he's tall enough to rest his head on the dinner table and lick your food.

I dont like him because he won't respond to anything anyone says.

David: Romeo sit.
D: Sit.
D: No!

I complain to my dad a lot about what a lame dog he is. My dad always reminds me that he was bred to protect people from lions. Do we have a lion problem? This does not excuse his behavior.

I prefer buddy, followed distantly by Red cat and Bailey.