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4/26/11

tiny update

If you think you're stealing my jokes, you probably aren't. Didn't mean to engage the paranoia machine, which is silly, because if I was not me, and I read what I wrote, I'd be freaking out is was me too. I've been there! But it isn't you. Cheers!

things that do not

There are a few events in my life that repeat themselves so often that I just accept them. For instance, come every August I turn into a raging insomniac. I don't know why. End of summer blues? Birthday rage? Mysteries.


Likewise, I always turn into a terrible blogger in springtime. It's definitely not due to the nice sunny weather found every year in Utah. I can't even use excessive sunshine as an excuse.


But you know what? I've accepted these things. They do not bother me. I intend to turn into a vampire come August. And I will blog sporadically throughout spring.


SEGUE MACHINE: OTHER THINGS THAT DO NOT BOTHER ME.

1. Sex in books. Sometimes people suggest books to me, and at the end of their glowing recommendation, exclaim "And it's clean! You don't have to worry about sex or anything!" Now I'm not saying that I require book sex, or that I seek out book sex explicitly, I'm just saying that it won't deter me from reading the book. I’m not worried.

People have sex. It is part of the human experience. What does bother me are people who classify ALL sex as dirty and censor-worthy. There are smutty porny books out there. Grapes of Wrath is not one of them. You know? Nod, please.

My standards for movie and TV viewing are a little different, but I guess I’d have to say that in general, humans being humans does not bother me. Because that’s what sex is, when you take your prude glasses off. Humans being humans. Mom, if you are reading this, don’t worry, I don’t watch porn. I do watch Shakespeare in Love.


2. Swears. They do not bother me. I understand that there are places where it is not appropriate. I do not have some weird hierarchy where one swear is worse than the other. Somewhere, my past self is proudly proclaiming to her peers that she has never said the “f” word. My current self is waving at her happily, and frantically trying to cross the time-space continuum to tell her that life gets a whole lot better after junior high, damnit.

3. Teens. As I teacher, I get a lot of the patronizing, “I don’t know how you spend all day with high schoolers!” I don’t know how you spend all day with office douchebags, or small children. But to each their own. Teenagers are like regular people. Some are nice, some are annoying. Yes, they tend to be a little emotional and extreme, but they are also very creative and funny. Their pre-frontal cortex has not developed fully, but neither has their single-minded –to-the-point-of-insanity cortex. I mean, come on, some of them don’t even know if they are Republicans yet! Do you see the influence I have here?


So, there you have it. Several things that don’t bother me, that in retrospect seem vaguely related. Can I hijack my own post though, for a bit of housecleaning?

SOMETHING THAT DOES BOTHER ME.

People who steal my jokes, rearrange them a bit, and put them in their own blog posts. I was reading a post the other day, laughed at a little jokey phrase the author used, and realized it was funny to me BECAUSE I WROTE IT. Was the post a word-for-word copy? No, but my joke was inserted, very word-for-wordy, and now that blogger’s two readers are laughing at a stolen joke.

Immature of me? Sure. But still, write your own jokes. You can do better.


What doesn’t bother you? What does? I’m equal opportunity!

4/10/11

i am that annoying student with my hand always in the air.

1. This has become a Church Blog. Nine times out of ten, I dislike all- Church- all the- time blogs. But I don't like talking about my job, (too risky,) or most aspects of my personal life (none of your business,) so Church blog it is. Until I sew something (sorry, non-crafters,) or read another Jack Weyland novel.


2. A few days ago, I inadvertently annoyed one of my family members with my posts on a Conference talk. She asked "why can't we just be happy that a General
Authority is trying to address issues that matter to us even if it is not exactly what you wanted?"

Which led to me saying something snarky and mean. Which led me to apologize for saying something snarky and mean. So while I hope she doesn't mind me talking about this (I spoke with her in person, so I think yes,) her post caused me to seriously wonder about my need to rehash, analyze, and yes, question, most of the things I learned growing up.

One could perhaps blame it on my experience as an History major/English minor. Why is that event important? What was the result? Why did that poet use personification in that stanza? But not all the others?

In school, it was never enough simply to read the poem, read the book, fill-in-the-blanks. The assignment was not to just be happy that the book exists, the assignment was to question.

Or, maybe my questioning nature comes from my job? Why is that kid struggling? What do I do? Did that lesson work? How do I make it better? Should I just be happy that the students are in class?


Or maybe that is just who I am. You get what you get, and don't throw a fit.

Here is the thing about questioning the paradigm you grew up in: It is uncomfortable. It is painful. Sometimes it is so uncomfortable, and so painful, that it dissipates to those around you. And if they do not choose to question, that nuclear fallout can be seen as an unkind invasion.

I chose to openly question, I chose to drop that bomb. But I cannot choose who gets annoyed, upset, or hurt by the results. I don't get to decide who will retreat into their concrete shelters because of what I say.

Or is it not a bomb? Is it as simple as turning on the lights in a dark room, thus annoying the sleeping inhabitant, who then must squint and rub their eyes as they adjust to the light?

I don't know.


What I do know, is that poetry becomes more meaningful when I question. Events in history stand out, clear in my memory because I studied them, learned their faces, and remember their names.

The first time I had an honest-to-goodness faith shattering crisis, I found myself at the U of U Institute Building, listening to this talk: LINK


Later, during another crisis, my friend sent it to me again.


"My dear young friends, we are a question-asking people. We have always been, because we know that inquiry leads to truth. That is how the Church got its start, from a young man who had questions. In fact, I’m not sure how one can discover truth without asking questions. In the scriptures you will rarely discover a revelation that didn’t come in response to a question. ...

Some might feel embarrassed or unworthy because they have searching questions regarding the gospel, but they needn’t feel that way. Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a precursor of growth.
God commands us to seek answers to our questions and asks only that we seek with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ. When we do so, the truth of all things can be manifest to us by the power of the Holy Ghost. Fear not. Ask questions. Be curious. "


Or, as my good friend Walt Whitman said, (I consider any poet I studied in college my friend,)

"Be curious, not judgemental."

4/4/11

chaos, adjustment, balance.

It wouldn't be a Child Bride post if I did not hash and rehash the same subject, possibly to death.


I'm still thinking about Elder Cook's conference talk. I still like it. But, immediately after I hit "publish," I started to feel some doubts. Am I being apologetic towards a patriarchy I do not believe in? Am I justifying otherwise questionable content based on sincerity of the speaker? Though I do not have concrete answers to these questions, I do have some ideas.

1. I do not see Elder Cook's talk as a sign that our work has been done. There is still more work to do.

2. In order to have any positive feelings regarding the Church as an institution, I must, absolutely must, celebrate small victories.


3. I can celebrate small victories while still yearning for more.


4. Small steps towards egalitarian relationships in the church reveal that patriarchies are cultural, not doctrinal in nature. Additionally, inconsistencies in church rhetoric "A man is the head of the house, the woman is the heart," vs "Men and women are equal partners," further reveal the cultural, and thus, impermanent nature of patriarchies. I do not need to accept patriarchy to be a good person, Christian, or Mormon.


5. If patriarchies are temporary and cultural, what is eternal? I believe that relationships are eternal, not institutions. We may not always have a patriarchy, but we will always be children of our Heavenly Parents. That is the relationship I want to foster and protect.


So, yes. We have much work to do, but any tiny step that brings us closer to that ideal relationship with ourselves, and our divinity, I celebrate.


Plus, Quentin is just a really cool name.

4/3/11

why I like my family, and why my first son might be named Quentin.

I come from (and am fiercely proud and loyal to,) a typical Utah Mormon family. My Mom's family being particularly "Mormonesque." For instance, I am the oldest of 37* grandchildren. Many of my aunts and uncles live within a 2 miles of each other. We visit my grandparents nearly every week. I do not go a day without seeing a member of my extended family, or at least talking to them on the phone.


Members of my family tend to be proud of the following things:

Their pioneer ancestry

Devotion to the Republican Party

Mitt Romney.


I know they don't agree with me concerning most of the things I write on my blog, especially the stuff about the Gays. And the swearing. (But J. Golden Kimball swore, so there is still hope for me...)

Nevertheless, they all took time to congratulate me on my City Weekly thing. They are supportive and kind, even when we don't agree entirely.


Because we agree on the important things: we recognize the value of each other. My family loves and includes me, even when we don't agree. Plus, I think I got my Aunt to at least tolerate the idea of universal health care.


On Saturday I listened to Elder Cook's talk on women in the church. I was prepared to have my feminist feathers ruffled, even turning to Spouseman and warning him "this is not going to end well."

But then I noticed something. I noticed that Elder Cook stressed marriage as an equal partnership no less than three times. He never once said the word "preside" in reference to a husband's role. For the first time, over the pulpit, I was told that I could be just as valiant if I chose to work outside the home as a mother.

If I chose. Not if my husband died, or if we had a financial crisis, but if I chose.



While some people saw the bit about balancing church callings, (When a woman receives a time intensive calling, her husband will serve in a less time-consuming role,)as a tangent, I was pleased to hear about women acting in positions of authority and value in the church. That their role could be important enough to merit dad staying home, and, dare I say it...nurturing their children.



Plus, did anyone else think the part about the Bishop delegating responsibilities implied a delegation of responsibilities to women?


Most importantly, he was sincere. He was earnest. I could tell that he was trying very hard to reach out not only to the traditional LDS woman, but to those of us who so often feel excluded from the culture of the church. I don't think Elder Cook would agree with the more radical concerns of Mormon feminists, but I felt like he knew those concerns, and was listening.

He listened, and in very subtle, with carefully chosen words, made significant changes to the way we talk about women in the church. I mean, seriously? Are we going to get our undies in a wad over a somewhat-silly story about the contents of a woman's purse when the man said we can stay at home, or work, and still be valiant? DOES IT GET ANYMORE FEMINIST?


Yes, actually, it does. Someday, I hope to listen to a talk that promotes complete gender equality in the structure and organization of the church. I anticipate conference sessions where women not only are given the OK to pray in sacrament, but conference as well. My children and I will listen to more than two female speakers during 10 hours of Conference talks.


I look forward to revelations, authority, and blessings not currently offered to me because of my gender. Someday, we will not offer somewhat patronizing lip service on how awesome women are, because we will be working right alongside our male counterparts as equals. We will know of our potential not based on our gender, but our work.


So despite the fact that Elder Cook did not fulfill all my LDS feminist fantasies, for the first time in a very long time, Elder Cook made me feel like a valued member of a Church family. We don't agree on everything, but we recognize the value of each other.






Now what are the odds I can convince him to support universal health care? *? I think.