Thursday, January 26, 2006

Utah and Mormon Culture.

I hope that my title did not scare anyone away. This is not a rant per se, I am not about to complain about someone else's culture but have to get this off my chest, I grew up Mormon in Utah so this is about my culture.

An L.D.S. ( Latter Day Saint: Mormon) friend of my wifes lent us a made for Mormons by Mormons, movie titled Singles Ward. I watched it with a certain amount of trepidation; it would not be funny, I would have to explain all the jokes to my wife, it would be too much like what they show in church.

I was surprised at how funny it actually was. The director really had a good time with Mormon cultural norms, without making fun of church doctrine and without a bunch of jokes about its polygamous past. The funniest part of the movie, for me was when the main character has a "spiritual"(spirchtal: in Utah speak) epiphany and begins to "bare his testimony" when his three friends (who provide most of the comic relief throughout the film) interrupt him with " who are you talking to" and " you were starting to sound like a seminary video." (every Mormon kid in high school is expected to spend part of their day in religious instruction, taught by church approved teachers.)

Being able to bare witness to the belief that the LDS church's teachings are true, in most Mormons stories, is a climactic moment. That the film maker was able to lightly mock that particular moment in this characters story was nothing short of amazing to me.

Despite these moments and jabs at Mormon culture, deep down it was a pretty typical Mormon story. A guy, who has grown up in the Mormon church, falls into inactivity after divorcing his wife. (The ex wife , a convert, decides she has had enough, leaves him and the church.) He ends up meeting a beautiful Mormon woman and is compelled through "sexual attraction" ( Women in the church stories are always portrayed as being much purer than the men.) to come back to the fold. He resists a little but eventually sees the truth has an epiphany and comes back. He, of course, "marries" is sealed to the woman who has managed through love, purity, perseverance ,not to mention the best looking woman in the singles ward, to bring the wayward son back. Mormons love this story and is not to surprising that these Mormon movie pioneers used it as a vehicle.

How non-Mormons in the movie are portrayed was what bothered me the most. They basically spent their time smoking, drinking beer, and laughing at Mormons. The sentiment seemed to be that the only reason to leave the church or to remain a non-member was so you could do what you want; as if non-members are a bunch of perpetual teenagers smoking and drinking because ruining their bodies is really what they want. This stereotype is not so surprising, I remember while growing up that if I saw someone smoking I immediately assumed that they were lost and possibly evil. This rule applied to people who I spotted buying beer or going into a bar, since I never did see anyone actually drinking alcohol, I had to assume that they were partaking of those insidious beverages that were forbidden to me.

This typical, non-Mormon stereotype, is another way that Mormons are able to support their beliefs. If you have fallen away from the church, it is because you don't want to give your time to God and would rather spend that time on more worldly pursuits. Never mind that plenty of former Mormons leave for philosophical reasons and not always because they would prefer beer over worshiping God. (If it were just about beer for me I would have gone back years ago.)

If you don't know anything about Utah-Mormon culture many of the jokes won't make sense but it is a good look at what the culture is like. If you are an ex-Mormon you may find yourself laughing one moment then rolling your eyes the next.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Poster Children for re-production.

My daughter with her infectious grin, probably getting ready to attack me.

My two sun's.

Controversy anyone?

Warning this post conatains strong opinions.

I read in the paper yesterday the description of the Right to Life march in SF; As usual a bunch of people from outside the bay area trying to show those heathens in SF that they are out numbered.

The organizer of the march had asked that the marchers keep the gory photos home and to please tone down the rhetoric. So, the "right to lifers" are trying to appear moderate instead of like raging lunatics who in their religious fervor like to kill "killers." Maybe that comment wasn't fair. I tend to believe that, most people who would like to see abortion criminalized, really are quite peaceful and probably would be more comfortable being percieved as moderate and not lunatics.

But by wanting a complete ban on abortion does not put them in a moderate category, the moderate veiw is pro-choice. Yes, pro-choicers are the moderates. Pro-choice does not equal pro abortion or anti- child or anti life. Pro-choice means you give people the freedom to decide what is right for the situation they are in.

If Jack and Diane, who are no more than eighteen, get pregnant, Jack should do his best to support Diane while she carries the child. They should work together and make a decision that will work for them like adoption or raising the child together. Unless Jack raped Diane, or Dianes life is at risk. Then and only then should Abortion be an option. If Diane thought about getting an abortion and asked my opinion, I would tell her that I think it is a bad idea. The two women I know who have had abortions look at it as the worst thing they have ever done.

It would be great if every woman who becomes pregnant does so, when the pregnancy is desired, and if it is un-planned could make a choice that spares the life of the child. If they do decide on Abortion then they should be able to get it in a clean safe environment. And access to counseling afterward. Despite any one else's opinions.;

What makes my stance pro-choice is that I don't think my personal beleifs about abortion should become law. If you really want to end abortion, education is what is needed.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

It is almost three weeks since the new one came into the outside world and I have been comparing him to his older sister almost constantly. It is inevitable I suppose, I compared everything she did to her older brother or rather I compared my experience with the older boy with raising the girl.

Already at three months I can see the differences of personality, he is a calmer person, we could see that while we were still in the hospital. He did not cry when the nurses came to check him. Infact, one nurse took him from me when he was sleeping, placed him in the bassinet changed his diaper and checked his temperature; he did not even yawn, his eyes stayed closed. When they did that to the girl she was absolutley livid.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I set out a couple of weeks ago to blog about my wifes ongoing pregnancy. I hadn't given it enough attention, I felt, and it was in it's final weeks.

I would have written about how anxious we were about having it all be over. (not ALL of the big it, just the pregnancy) But it was the holidays my mother was here and there were the kids to keep busy shoveling manure. Any way as the last week dragged on towards the end of the year, it was all to obvious that we were not going to have another tax break for 2005, I decided that I would write a list of non-resolutions.

The first on my list was greet my child sometime after the new year... and that was the last resolution. He was born on Monday the second of January. Thankfully there is no more pregnancy to write about.