Thursday, March 31, 2011

Late morning - MBTA Red Line - Harvard Square to Kendall Square

LDS missionary: How are you doing today?
Long-haired hippy guy (LHHG): I was good until you asked.
Missionary: Oh, really?  Well, what was good about your morning?
LHHG: ***stunned*** Ummm.  My coffee was good.
Missionary: Oh, well, would you be interested in a copy of the Book of Mormon?
LHHG: ***moves to the opposite end of the train***
Me: ***Laughs.  Feels sorry for LHHG.  Feels more sorry for missionary. Laughs at self for feeling sorry for missionary.  Tries not to appear Mormon, friendly, or blonde/red-headed lest I set off their modar. Wishes her skirt was shorter or neckline lower.  Avoids eye-contact with missionaries.***


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In which puppy doesn't get a temple recommend and Amy doesn't get work done

1 Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?

2 Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?

3 Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?

4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?


Naughty puppy.

Is Amy procrastinating when she should be writing a progress report for her fellowship?
Yes, yes she is. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In which I become extremely wealthy...

I'm clearly not the first to stumble on this market.  But, it seems to me that I can write Christian apologetics books and make a fortune. All I have to do is just make up all sorts of bullshit and as long as that bullshit supports the beliefs they already have, Christians will buy my book by the truckload and I won't even have to do any research.  I probably wouldn't even have to re-read the Bible (I'm pretty rusty, and mine is pretty dusty).  If I validate their beliefs they won't bother checking my "sources" or thinking about the book critically. They will completely miss my logical fallacies.  I could kick that crap out in a weekend. And many of the authors who write those books seem to be doing just that. You flat out cannot write a well-researched, well-thought out book every two months.

Also, I wish my Christian friends didn't make such lame debaters. It's all just straw-men. Seriously, my friend just said this: "We're supposed to believe that microbes wash up on land and eventually walk away shaped like humans?"  Throw me a meatier bone! ANY other logical fallacy will do. I just got out of a self-defense class and I am looking for a fight!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Resignation Letter

If you ask, you shall receive.  Someone requested that I post my resignation letter and so I did.  If you'd like to read it or want an example, just click on the tab above. I followed the recommended template for the most part. I just added the last two paragraphs.

Helpful information on the process can be found at these sites: 
Recovery from Mormonism
Life After Mormonism

Saturday, March 19, 2011

On Feeling Alone and On Having Options

I've written before about being alone.  Previously, I wrote about how belief in a personal deity means one is never alone. I wrote about how much that terrified me - the thought of never being alone, of never being unknown, of no privacy and no boundaries.

I have a strange relationship with this word alone. I'm an introvert.  I'm content alone.  In fact, I love being alone.  I must be alone.  I get irritable when I don't get to be alone.  But, I also get extremely lonely at times.  I guess I love aloneness and suffer from loneliness. I’m rambling.  I apologize.  Pardon me.  Humor me if you will while I work through this one.  I’ve been thinking again about the Church and alone.

"You can leave the Church, but you can't leave it alone." Is this a threat? Like, "You can leave but we'll never really let you go."  Is it meant to convey something like, "You'll be back." Is it a complaint? "You've left the Church, but you insist on bad-mouthing it." Or is it a command? "You've left the Church, now just leave it alone!"

"You've left the Church, but it won't leave you alone." That's been my experience.  I want to get to the point where I can go days without thinking about the Church, the Faith, the Gospel. But, I know I never will.  It haunts me like so many generations.  My grandmothers thought that the great sacrifices they were making were for me - so that I would have the Fullness of Truth - when they pioneered to Utah.  I suppose they were. Making great sacrifices, that is.  They thought the Gospel was for my benefit.  And here I am. Ungrateful.  I don’t believe that the Church, the Gospel, that they sacrificed for has been good for me.  I’ve discarded it.  I resent it.  I’m angry.  I can’t leave it alone.  And leaving it makes me feel guilty.

And here I am. Grateful. I am here and I know that would not be the case had my foremothers not sacrificed and moved, married and made babies in Utah.

And here I am, pioneering in my own way for my daughters and granddaughters - undoing what the Church has done - finding my own Truth.  I am willfully abandoning the model of womanhood the Church and the Gospel has dictated to me. In doing so I am abandoning the models of my mother and grandmother, women I love like there are no words to describe, women I admire.  But, I need to be – no, I just am - something other than that model of womanhood. Not more, not less. Just other.  You know? I need my daughters to know that there are other options. I need them to grow unburdened with the guilt of wanting something other.  I need my daughters to know that it is not selfish to forge one’s own path, to pioneer in one’s own way.  No.  I need for my daughters to grow up in such a way that it never even occurs to them that choosing one’s own life path would be selfish.  I don’t want them to see other options. I want them only to see options.

But, I feel alone.  I don’t know how to be other.  Unlike my mother, and hers, I don’t have a model to follow.  I don’t know how to pioneer this model-free path.  Is it ironic that I am lonely for a model for pioneering a model-less path?  Will I be setting my daughters up for the same loneliness? Or, will they appreciate the aloneness of having nothing but options and pioneering of their own to do?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God thinks like you. And like me. And like everyone else.

So, yeah, God basically has Multiple Personality Disorder.  At least that is what this research indicates.

Explains some things, doesn't it? I know you are not surprised by these results.  Neither am I.  I've long known that God is created in man's own image. 

But, you know what I just realized?  This means the religious can no longer hide behind these tired old arguments:
  • "I'm not homophobic.  The bible says it's a sin."
  • "I'm not sexist.  God thinks women should submit to men.  Patriarchy is the divinely dictated order of things." (Psshhh more like divinely dick-tated. Am I right?) 
  • "I'm not a prude.  God is the one who is hymen-obsessed and requires that we wait to have sex until we are married and that we rush to put our garments back on post-coitus. I'm sure it is for our own good."
  • "I'm not racist.  God is the one who cursed Cain and Ham and all of their descendants with dark skin. Some of the Prophets have said white people were more righteous in the pre-existence. The Book of Mormon describes the cursing of the unrighteous with dark skin. I can't help it if God thinks that my skin is delightsome."
  • "I'm just lying for the Lord. Sometimes the truth isn't very useful."
To the religious: Science has seen behind the curtain and isn't impressed by your wizard.  We know it's just you back there with a microphone speaking in a deep voice.

Post Edit:
And so you know...God is not an old dude with a white beard. She is a natural blonde but likes to dye her hair red on occasion. Sometimes She shaves Her legs and sometimes She doesn't.  Deal with it.  God doesn't care about your underwear but forbids you to wear socks during sex.  God has a caffeine habit.  God wears Her Converse even when She knows it's raining outside and that this will mean Her feet will be wet all day. God has two piercings. In each ear.  God likes men to wear eyeliner.  God forbids short-sleeved dress shirts and ugly ties.  God is sarcastic.  God thinks you should leave your neighbors alone.  Stop with the missionaries. God thinks having multiple kingdoms makes the whole judging thing too complicated but multiple orgasms was a brilliant idea. She stands behind that one.  God doesn't really care so much about being worshiped or Her name being used in vain but if you say anything about the size of Her ass, it's fire and brimstone for you. Patriarchy? You mean like men in charge? Hahahahaha, I think milk just came out of Her nose. What a completely terrible idea.  God works through evolution and thinks your prayers are silly and annoying.  The Universe wants to kill you.  God thinks all skin is beautiful.  God is fine with nudity. God doesn't need you to make oaths or weird signs to hang out with Her after you die.  In fact, She doesn't even think an afterlife is worthwhile.  She scrapped that.  So, make the most of your time here.  And join the dark side.  They have cupcakes.  Also, the Smashing Pumpkins totally blew.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shaking in my (tall, black, leather, four inch-heeled, fuck-me) boots

From:     Rhonda Relief Society* <> 
Subject:     Contact with LDS Church
Date:     August 7, 2009 8:26:27 AM EDT

Hi Amy,

It has probably been a few months since you last received an email from the 1st Ward Relief Society, due to our slower summer, vacation filled months. I hope your summer is going well.

I'm grateful that you allow us to send you (via email) invites to these activities, but we definitely do not want to be a burden and end up in your spam box. I'm certain that there are reasons why you and your husband have not been attending church services (or perhaps you have and I just haven't met you yet). In either case, I would like to ask you (and your family) what your desire level of contact with the church is. Would you be comfortable with home and visiting teachers, newsletters, telephone calls, receiving weekly ward and RS email announcements, or no contact at all. This last option is quite extreme resulting in either a personal, telephone or mail contact from and with Bishop Oooohhh Intimidating Priesthood Authority**.

Please prayerfully consider what you would like and what you would like us to do, and I hope to hear back from you within the next few days.

Thanks for your time and understanding.


This was an email from some woman, maybe the RS President, in the local ward.  I had never attended there.  My thoughts were:
  • "How did they get my email address?" After I searched through my emails I remembered that I had sent an email in response to one of these "invites" informing them that they had been sending the emails to my husband's email address and that I was never going to attend a RS event. We assume that they got his address through the online student directory where he was a student, which can only be accessed by students and faculty and is specifically NOT supposed to be used for non-academic purposes.
  • "I am sure she sincerely hopes that a stranger's summer is going well. Stupid niceties."
  • "Are you grateful?  Really? Why?"
  • "When did I give permission or state that I would 'allow' you to send these emails?  And how could I have prevented it?"
  • "You TOTALLY want to be a burden and you TOTALLY ended up in my spam box."
  • "You are certain that there are reasons I am not attending?  Yeah, no shit.  I don't do anything without some sort of reason. I am certain that you just threw in this sentence so that you could passively-aggressively imply that my reasons are invalid."
  • "Perhaps you just haven't met me?  You have some doubt about whether I am or am not attending at yet you are willing to send this accusatory email?  Would it not be worth finding out if I attend before sending this?"
  • "Is my desire(d) level of contact with the church not implied by my complete absence from it?  If I wanted contact, I would show up occasionally or respond to my home teachers.  I might even give my phone number to someone."
  • "Wait. Whoa. Has there been some sort of paradigm shift in the church since I left?  Have gender roles been eliminated?  Do I actually get to speak not just for myself but also for my family and the priesthood holder in my home? Can I be trusted to determine what is best for me? Is my husband's authority over me and my submission to his decisions no longer required?"
  • "No contact at all. I definitely choose no contact at all."
  • "Oh, that last 'option' is 'quite extreme'?"
  • "Are you threatening me?  If I don't show up or submit to allowing others to harass me I will be forced to submit to harassment by the Bishop? And how will that be enforced? How can I be made to meet with, open the door for, answer calls from, or read correspondence from the Bishop? Bwaaahahahahahah!  You actually think that the church has some authority over me!  That I would recognize or tolerate that authority! Silly woman."
  • "If I believed in prayer would you need to ask me to please prayerfully consider what I want? Wouldn't I have already prayed about my relationship to the church?  Has it occurred to you that perhaps I no longer attend because I don't believe in a god to whom I could pray?"
  • "Oh Honey!  Believe me when I say that you do NOT want to hear back from me.  I don't respond calmly to veiled threats, passive-aggressive insults, or faked concern. I've got nothing nice to say to you and I am hoping that my non-response is understood as the response that it is intended to be."
  • "I don't 'understand' you or the motivation behind this email at all."
  • "Shit.  Fuck. Damn.  Am I about to be excommunicated? Is this email intended to elicit a response that can be used as evidence so that I can be convicted of apostasy? Am I paranoid?  Has the church been notified about the negative things I say on my blog. Why is this email sent now, eight years after I stopped attending? Very minimal effort has been made to have contact with me previously but I haven't been threatened with Bishop confrontation before."  
I didn't respond to the email.  I was tempted to tell this woman exactly what I thought of her tactics but I held myself back.  I never heard from her or the Bishop or anyone else for that matter.  This email was the last straw for me.  I knew I was never going back but I wasn't sure resigning was really necessary.  This email made it clear to me that the attempts to visiting/home teach me, drop-in visits from the missionaries, emails, letters, and phone calls would never stop until I insisted that they MUST.
    *Name changed to protect the passive aggressive bitchy stranger innocent.
    **Name changed to protect the Self-Important Local Patriarch innocent.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    I haven't told my mom.

    I've been wrestling with the decision to tell or not tell my mom that I have resigned from the church.  I put off resigning because I was worried about hurting her.  Last year, I could take it no more so I resigned. My husband chose to announce his resignation to his parents.  They took the news surprisingly calmly.  I expected a major freak-out.  Instead, they reacted with less concern and emotion than when we told them we wouldn't be getting sealed in the temple. (Have I told you that story?  If not, I really should so remind me sometime.)  That said, they are extremely judgmental of his lifestyle.  I guess they have learned to keep it to themselves.  That's progress, right?

    I couldn't bring myself to tell my mom.  We have sort of an unspoken agreement about this sort of uncomfortable discussion.  I don't tell her something she doesn't want to hear.  I will if she asks.  Since she doesn't want to know, she doesn't ask.  She has never asked me any questions about the years of complete inactivity and she certainly hasn't asked if I have resigned.  I haven't confessed outright to my atheism.  She knows that I'm a liberal and a feminist.  Maybe she figures she knows why I stopped attending.  But, she suggested a few days ago that I should go back to church as a means of making friends when I move later this year.  I told her it was never going to happen.  You see what I mean about our unspoken agreement?  She pushed the issue, I answered.

    So far, I have adopted the same approach to my resignation.  I'll tell her if she asks but I am not going to tell her because I don't want her to perceive that as me throwing it in her face.  I am not sure if there is any reason she needs to know.  Does she need to know?  But, I've been sort of living with the fear that she will find out from someone else, if she hasn't already.  I don't want her to feel like I kept something from her.  I believe in being honest with my parents.  I always have.  Is it dishonest to keep something from her because it can only hurt her?  Is that lying by omission? Am I obligated to share everything about myself, my life, and my decisions with everyone in my life? I don't know.  I also believe in being authentic.  I don't want to hide major aspects of myself from friends and family.  I want my mom to know because I want her to understand me.  I know she will love and accept me no matter what so I don't stand to lose anything.  But would it be fair to tell her because I want her to know?

    What do you think? Should I tell her?