And General Conference is the Super Bowl.

Righteousness Fests: When a bunch of Mormon people get together and bash on something they think is evil, and congratulate each other on not participating in said evil thing.

Righteousness fests are a complicated sport, with more rules than football. Like football, you can be penalized for "excessive celebration" of your own righteousness. One too many self-congratulatory remarks and you come off as "prideful." But if you're sidelined the whole game, refusing to comment on how you just don't understand how a member in good standing could watch that R-rated movie, well, then you're not truly playing on the side of the Lord, are you?

I've participated -either via the sidelines, (unrighteously,) or as a running Quarterback,(obnoxiously,) in a great many Righteousness Fests. Since I was raised in the Mormon Church, one could even suggest that I'm close to being the Brett Favre of righteousness. No comment on how many times I've threatened to retire.

If Righteousness Fests are the Mormon Cultural Superbowl, and if you expect to take home the Celestial Trophy, there are a few "plays" you need to know.

1. You must constantly talk about "the good old days" where people valued the traditional family, and the youth were respectable. Openly longing to live in the 1950's will get you a field goal. Ignore topics like segregation, civil rights, women's rights, and the atom bomb.

2. Have a copy of the Proclamation to the Family posted prominently in your home. Make sure to twist the text when you quote it so that your point seems the same as the Prophet's point. Quote it even when irrelevant for extra yardage.

3. Lastly,my favorite play- insult people who have more education, or money, than you. Mormons love to do this. In fact, I heard the following mantra mis-quoted in both Sunday School, Relief Society, and Sacrament meeting last week.

Mis-quote: quoting the 14 Fundamentals and pointing out that "the two groups that have the hardest time following the prophet are the rich and the learned."

Oh my. This is the Shot Gun formation of Righteousness Fests. Mormons love being rich, and love being educated, but they have a hard time with people who are richer, or more educated.

How many times have you heard "Oh her Daddy paid for her college tuition, she's not a hard worker..."

"Rich people don't know how to really work..."

"Yeah it would be nice to have more money, but you know, rich people have a hard time following the prophet. Their boats become false idols...." (That was from Sunday School last week.)


"I wanted to finish my degree, but I realized that the Lord had better plans for me then to listen to the words of men..."

Want to know the actual quote?

"The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. "

It isn't about how your roomie from college had more parental financial support than you. It's about pride. And it's bad in any form. Being prideful about your spouse's six figure income as an attorney is annoying. But being prideful, and insisting that you are the better Mormon because you "worked harder" to "make it on your own" is annoying too.

It is annoying, but but it's also ineffective. Sadly, even though every Mormon uses Play #3 in a Righteousness Fest, it usually results in an obvious fumble.

Because like NFL football players, only certain types of people get to participate in righteousness fests about the evils of wealth and education. People who complain about boats being a false idol are the people who have access to boats.

They are usually white, American, middle-class Mormons who simply by being born in the U.S. already have access to more riches and learning than their brethren in South America.

I'd venture that if the Chileans (mascot: a Habitat for Humanity Representative) who had their homes destroyed by an earth-quake had to play the Mormons-in-My-Ward (mascot: an SUV) in a Righteousness Fest the Chileans would win. Due to their awesome defense, I mean, humility.

But go on, keep smugly arguing that you're the better Mormon because you don't have a boat.

Fantasy Football time: What teams would you like to see in a Righteousness Fest? I'm waiting for the game where the Modesty Nazis play the Anti-Halloweeners.



Last night, as I was washing my face, I got really frustrated because I could not seem to get all the smeared mascara off my eyes. I kept scrubbing and scrubbing.

Then I realized that I wasn't dealing with smudged mascara. I just had really big dark circles under my eyes.

This job is killing me.


something we can all agree on. *

This bag is really cute.

I'm an amazing crafter.

*Seriously, I love a good debate on religion, but if you don't think this bag is cute you are either a.) a dude b.) apostate.



For a moment, I focused on the negative. The one "you're a bad Mormon" comment left on my last post. The comment is still there if you are a glutton for punishment. I promised myself I would publish every comment on that post, and I did.

But then I realized my error in focusing on the negative, so I am editing my post. Instead I would like to say Thank You for all the kind and supportive words everyone else left. Even those who disagreed did so in a kind and civil way. Thank you.

For those who shared similar sentiments, it was good to know I am not alone. I do feel very alone sometimes, in my journey through Mormonism, and it was nice to have people walking with me for a few miles of that journey.

We are all enlisted 'til the conflict is o'er.


even though nobody asked.

Like a lot of people, I was upset at Elder Packer's conference talk. But, like a lot of people, I was comforted when the talk was changed to reflect the church's previously stated stance on homosexuality. (link HERE).

It did not comfort me because I am satisfied with the LDS Church's position on homosexuality. I could lie and say that I was, but again, I would be lying.

I was comforted because changing a General Conference talk shows that the LDS church is willing to change, and to correct error. Right now, it is a few words in a very complex talk, given by the person next in line to lead the church. A complex talk because I agree with him on the nature of the atonement. I believe God is always there and willing to forgive. I do not, however, believe that people choose to be Gay. After all, I did not choose to be straight.

I also believe in prophets. I believe in prophets who listen to God's voice, but have to listen just like the rest of us. Who may struggle to hear that voice amidst louder voices. The louder voices of personal bias, cultural upbringing, and fear. Sometimes those voices drown out other voices, even if that voice is God. Even if you are the prophet.

This makes being Mormon extremely difficult for me. It would be easier if I could simply believe that everything said in General Conference was direct revelation from God.

It would be easier for me if I could believe they were all lunatics.

But I don't.

What I do believe is that the church can change. We can recognize errors, fix them, and progress. It is an agonizingly slow process. Change in the church is like the child who slowly peels off a band aid. There are times I want to rip off the huge band aid of being Mormon, because watching it peel back hurts so much.

But for whatever reason. I'm still here. Forcing myself to listen and pray every time I hear something that does not sound right. Every time I question, and yes, every time I doubt.

If I have learned anything from Elder Packer's talk, I have learned that I am the only one responsible for my testimony. I cannot rely on one man to determine my relationship with God. I can only listen and hope to hear God's voice. Sometimes he speaks through someone else, sometimes he speaks through the scriptures, and sometimes he speaks to me. Because he loves me.

So no, I am not satisfied with the LDS Church on many of their positions. But this is the church where I learned to pray, where I learned to listen, and where I learned I am a Child of God.

For now, that is enough.


Um. No.

We are preparing to read Oedipus the King in my Humanities class.

I was looking up lesson plan ideas online, when I stumbled across one suggesting that I have the students make finger-puppets, and act out the main events of the play.

Um. No.


Not okay.


oh parent teacher conferences

The bane of my life.

Fortunately, this year I had no crazies. Remember the PTC where the mother of an expelled student came and yelled the word that caused her son's expulsion over and over? To prove that it isn't a "bad word" and that "people say it all the time?" Oh memories. I wonder how that parent is doing after she got escorted off school premises by the school cop.

I did have some weirdos though. Just people who don't quite get appropriate human interactions. As a person who often struggles with appropriate human interactions, I'm usually sympathetic. However, I also realize that if I, one prone to slightly odd behavior, find something weird, then it is definitely weird.

I had one parent come talk to me about their kid, leave, come back, see I had no one in line, and proceed to sit down and tell me how terrible it was that they wanted to build a mosque right next to Ground Zero. He also felt the need to explain to me that I might not think two blocks away is right next to Ground Zero, but blocks are different in New York. Two blocks really is right next to ground zero. Apparently.

However, weirdly, about ten minutes into his spiel, I got the distinct impression that he really didn't care about the mosque. Something was bothering him, something was not quite right in his world, and the best way for him to deal with it was to rant about terrorists and mosques and oh-my-heck-this-country-is-going-to-hell.

Maybe it was because I had 4 hours to sit and think about whatever I wanted (well, until the next parent came, at least,) but PTC made me think about all the other "issues" we may latch onto to hide what really bothers us. Prop 8, The War, Taxes, Obama, do we really care? The world keeps going on, no matter who is President, who gets married, who pays taxes, the world keeps on spinning. I'm not suggested we don't care entirely, because we do, but is the Ground Zero Mosque really what causes us to sit down and lash out at an unsuspecting teacher for 25 minutes?

What's really bothering us? The fight we had with our kid this morning? Or spouse? The soul-crushing feeling we get sometimes when something we wanted doesn't happen, or isn't as great as we thought?

Is the idea of gays getting married in Massachusetts really keeping you up at night? Or is it the stress of your job, feeling unappreciated at home, the realization of what it means to have a chronic illness?

I include myself in this analysis too, recognizing that the times I get most passionate about things usually coincides with some personal drama. So, in an attempt to prevent myself from accosting some teacher someday, I will tell you some things that are bothering me right now.

1. The fact that many of my loved ones would rather give each other the silent treatment then talk it out and work out an issue. This has bugged me for years.

2. The fact that despite being smart, capable, and well-educated, I still make mistakes as a teacher. I want so badly to be good at my job, that anything less than perfection is painful.

3. I am not confident enough in myself to write this without worrying what specific people will think of it. Will she think I'm oversharing? Will he think I'm dumb?

What is not bothering me right now-

1. Anything the Tea Party is doing. It doesn't impact my life in anyway. I think they are crazy, but this doesn't keep me up at night. There. I said it.

What's bothering you?

(Ps. If I tagged by entries, this would so be tagged under "emo posts"

Maybe I should tag my entries. Aha!