Perspectives from a Liberal Mormon

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Big Love is a Big Joke

Now as some of you who know me, know that I am probably one of the first people to criticize "Utah Mormon" culture. Generally I think that some people in Utah are pretty out there with what they think and the way they do things. But for once in a really long time, I am going to align myself with them. As some of you may or may not be aware, HBO has created a new show, Big Love, that is supposed to tell the story of a polygamous family living in the suburbs of Salt Lake City. Now when I first heard about this show, I thought it could be interesting and was curious about it. My wife and I watched the first couple of episodes just to be open-minded about it and see what it was about. However, as I have watched this show I have found that it has failed to differentiate the LDS faith from that of those who practice polygamy. I recognize that FLDS (the polygamists) people believe similar things to what I do, but this show makes a mockery of those things. For instance, the producers of this show felt it was appropriate to show people giving a priesthood blessing to a hunting rifle. Now, some may find that funny, but having participated in real priesthood blessings, those moments are so special to me that this show just throws it out there like it was yesterday's garbage. Also, they show buildings like the Salt Lake LDS temple everytime they have a "Salt Lake shot" (this show is actually filmed in California) implying that polygamous individuals and the temple are intertwined. I recognize that at one point, my faith did practice polygamy, but news flash for the rest of the world: MORMONS HAVE NOT PRACTICED POLYGAMY FOR OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS NOW! It is against the law, and against the practices of my faith. I just wish people would quit promoting misleading information about my faith, such as the producers of HBO. As I said before, I am generally the first to criticize Utah culture, but this has got to stop.

For anyone who is interested, there is now an effort to email HBO protesting this show, and asking that it be removed from their programming. I have done this, and would ask that people, LDS or not, do so. This show promotes bigotry and stereotypes even if HBO says it does not. Below is a link that will take you directly to an email form to fill out to do this if you would like. Also if you disagree with me, write and tell them to continue airing the show. What you write is up to you.

Tell HBO What You Think About Big Love

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

One for me and one for you...

So here is something that has been on my mind for quite some time now, and I just thought I would share it with everyone else. Now I am sure that all of you have been to some form of a professional sporting event, whether it be baseball, basketball, soccer, football, synchronized swimming, etc. Now before each of these sporting contests begins, we are often treated to the singing of the national anthem.

Now as I have been to several sporting contests I have heard many a national anthem. And it seems as if the older I get the more and more disinterested people are becoming with our national anthem. Usually these people can be easily detected because they are the ones who feel it so pertinent to their social lives that they cannot get off their cell phone; or women who are afraid they will mess up their sporty look by taking off their ballcap, and therefore decide the whole "please remove your hat" bit is meant for everyone but them. I think we have all seen, at one point or another, people who fit into this category. Now I have spent many a drive home, from said sporting contests, debating within myself the meaning of such things, and I think I might have a solution. However, before I move to said solution, let it be known that I love our national anthem and do not necessarily subscribe to the thoughts my brain produces. With that said, let us move to a possible solution....

Alright, so my brain determined that the reason that people do not respect the national anthem is two-fold. First, for people who have grown up in the U.S. and have heard the national anthem countless times feel that it is outdated, and just kind of boring. In our day and age of rock and or roll music, the national anthem just doesn't make the cut. Secondly, our nation has seen a rather large contigent of foreigners make their way across our borders and they feel that the national anthem is not for them because it doesn't deal directly with their needs as immigrants to our country. (Before I move on, just let me interject that I think that immigrants in our country play a vital role in our economy and that we should work towards helping them out more than we do).

So after hours of debate, this was the reasoning that my noggin came up with, and so I said to myself, Steve (because that is what I call myself), what is to be done to remedy this problem and get people on their feet and enjoying the national anthem. And then it hit me, what we should do is have two national anthems; one for natural born citizens and one for immigrants. But this creates a new dilemma, what will the songs be so that both groups can enjoy them equally. Because you will have to play them both at any point in which the national anthem is played.

So once again, after hours of debate over song selection, my brain came to a conclusion. For natural born citizens, the new national anthem would be "Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen, and for immigrants, it would be "Coming to America" by Neil Diamond. Upon learning of my brain's decision, I thought this might work. I mean, at sporting events just picture thousands of people rocking out to these "anthems". It would be pretty radical, if I do say so myself, which I do. Number one, it gets people pumped up on America, and it also gets them pumped for the game. Pretty rad.

Again, not that I personally subscribe to this philosophy, but it does make you think. And thinking leads to ideas, which lead to change, which leads to tyrannical dictatorships, which leads to death and destruction...on second thought, thinking is completely overrated, so we should just not do it and stick with what we've got now.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

You can't be a Democrat and a good Mormon

Having been born and raised in Utah and as a member of the LDS faith, I have come to learn one very important thing with regards to politics: you cannot be a Democrat and still be a good member of the LDS church. Although some are not willing to admit it, this is the message that is subliminally preached to LDS church members. Whether it be in some person making some off hand remark in Sunday school, or just in casual conversation walking in the halls of the church. Needless to say, more than once I have been privy to be informed that the G.O.P. stands for "God's Only Party". I cannot tell you how clever people think they are for thinking of that one. Regardless, I am tired of it!

In addition to this, I am also tired of going to church and having people bring up political issues and then when I state my views, they ask,"Aren't you a Republican?" When I tell them I am not, you would think that I had just contracted some vile disease by the way they react to me. Often, this declaration of political affiliation leads to a great debate, where many a good Mormon Republican will revert back to their missionary tactics in an effort to help me see the error of my ways. Well my response to those people is that being a Democrat and being Christian are not all that different. When one looks at the platform of the Democratic party, you would find that Democrats stand up for education, social services, and equality for all people regardless of their lifestyle. Funny thing is, last time I checked Jesus Christ preached and advocated for these same issues (maybe not education so much, but you get the point).

Recently I was an intern at the Utah state legislature, and I got an opportunity to see what it meant to be a "good Mormon". As some of you may or may not be aware, there were several very controversial issues before the legislature, and most dealt with promoting a solid conservative Christian agenda. One such piece of legislation was a bill that would ban Gay-Straight Alliances in high schools throughout the state. As I went to the committee meeting where this bill was being heard, I can honestly say that it was the first time I was ashamed to be a member of my church because of the views being expressed in that room about people who have made certain choices in their life that may not fit my religious creed, and passing those comments off as the voice of the whole church.

As I left the room that day, I was a little disheartened by what had happened, but that was nothing compared to what I saw and heard next. Standing in the corridor talking with a couple of my fellow interns, Senator Curt Bramble walked passed and as he did there was a group of individuals standing on the other side of the hallway from where we were. Mr. Bramble stopped because he had noticed these people were wearing badges with the acronym PFLAG on them. He asked what it stood for, and they told him it was "Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays." Now he could have just said oh, and walked on, but no, not Bramble. His exact response was, "Oh, I am sorry I even asked." And he proceeded to walk on.

A second instance of this display of being a "good Mormon" occurred on the floor of the Senate. As bills are presented on the floor, any senator has the opportunity to stand and debate the merits of the bill. As this is the procedure, there was an instance where Senator Scott McCoy was debating in favor of a bill, and while doing so, Senator Chris Buttars referenced to the people along the benches by his desk that knowing that Senator McCoy was in favor of a bill was enough for him to know that he was opposed to it, and it just so happens that Senator McCoy is gay.

Now you may question whether the actions of two individuals is enough to speak for Utah Republicans in general, and my response is yes, it is. The reason is because I have talked with people who feel as these two individuals do. For twenty three years, I have attended church meetings each week where these ideas are talked and joked about. I have seen the influence the church has on government and the backing of the Republican platform. I have spent countless hours in debate over these issues. The list goes on and on, but through it all I have come to realize one thing, at least in Utah, how can you not be a Democrat if you are a good Mormon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Hello Cleaveland!

So this weekend the Mrs. and I decided to take a holiday down to Las Vegas, the land of milk and honey. The purpose for our little adventure was to go and see the Bob Jovi concert. As for the concerto, it was pretty radical. In fact, I would dare say that it was really, really ridiculously radical.

As I was sitting there waiting for Bob and his crew to take the stage I began to people watch. And as I was engaged in previously stated activity, I noticed something: a lot of the members of the female species liked to show off their boobies. And not that there is anything wrong with that because I do support women and their choice to display their God given gifts, or surgically implanted enhancements, whichever the case may be. However, I began to notice a fairly disturbing phenomena, there are women who feel that bras are no longer necessary in this day in age. And not that this is a problem, because I support women and their choices not to wear bras, but there are those who would greatly benefit from wearing one.

Now, not to sound conceited or anything, but I believe myself to be something of a boobie conossieur, and there are rules that need to be adhered to. The first deals with cleavage. Cleavage is something that can be a wonderful thing, maybe even a beautiful thing depending on the individual. Now the first rule with cleavage is that the cleavage line should proceed from the top of the boobage along a slanted line towards the edge of the collar of the shirt. When followed properly, this technique could produce great oggling results.
At Bob Jovi, I noticed that this rule was not being heeded as strongly as it should have been. I noticed that some women, whose boobies seemed to have fought the good fight with gravity and lost, still felt that they were not going to concede and wear the bra. Thus resulting in straight-line cleavage. Now, I do not wish to dwell on straight-line cleavage, because it's icky. Needless to say, I felt it my duty to educate the world about the do's and don'ts to good cleavage etiquette.

Now there are many more rules when it comes to cleavage, but it would take a great deal of time to discuss such sensitive and crucial issues, so I must stop for now. I only request that you take time and think about what has been written here and how this applies to you in your life. Boys, if you happen to fall victim to being enticed by bad cleavage, my advice to you is to not let it get you down, but take it as a learning opportunity and one for change. It is never too late. Girls, if your boobs have fought the good fight and lost, it's okay. The sooner you recognize that, the sooner you can begin the journey to making a good cleavage situation out of a potential hazard. It too is never too late to start anew if this rings true for you. The important thing is that we all come to grow together as both males and females and the beauty that is cleavage. And girls, regardless of your choice, I support your ability to make that decision, I just hope you make the right one. Not just for me, but for yourself.