Friday, January 30, 2015


Recently, the Mormon church had acknowledged that past prophets have not been completely infallible, and have indeed made mistakes.

Joseph Smith married other men's wives when it is expressly forbidden by god, Brigham Young was a racist, and the church leader's murdered men, women and children in the Mountain Meadow's massacre, among many other mistakes.

As I've pondered these and many other mistakes, I've come to wonder why does God, who people say is perfect, needs fallible men to communicate with us humans here on earth? If he is go grand and glorious and great, and full of power, then can't he figure out a better way to communicate with us than through fallible men?

I mean, really, scientists have been able to communicate around the world with people through televisions, telephones, and computers, you'd think god could be as clever and creative, if not more so!

People have been able to put up an electronic billboard in times square, for heaven's sake!

What? God can't think to build an electronic billboard in the sky and talk to us through it?

Wouldn't that be more effective than telling us women through an old man to only wear one pair of earrings?

How about a billboard in the sky telling us to stop killing each other over religion? How about telling us to stop hating each other because of how we dress, or look, or who we have sex with?

How about a billboard in the sky telling us that the most important things are to just love and accept each other and tolerate differences? Wouldn't that be better than discriminating and hating on each other?

How about that, god?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Remember the turnaround....

It's all well and good until...

This last week the Mormon church came out with what they are calling a 'balanced approach' to marriage equality and recent laws being passed across the nation that will refuse public places to discriminate against the LGBT community. conditional support

The Mormon church wants other laws to be passed to also protect religious rights. Well, I have news for them, there are already laws in place, its called the first amendment.  Any laws written will only give equal protection to the LGBT community that is already afforded the religious community.

There are no *special* rights being given to anyone, just the same rights that everyone else, including religions, already enjoy.  The same day the Mormon church held their press conference, the Utah legislature also introduced  HB66  that would allow public officials who have a strong religious objection to marriage equality to refuse to issue marriage licenses. This is what the Mormon church calls a *balanced approach*.

This simply doesn't work. Why not? Because by giving public officials the privilege of claiming strongly held religious objections, then religion will trump law every time, every will put religion ABOVE the law.

Can a person discriminate against a person by denying them housing? No. Oh, wait, unless they have strong religious objections.

Can a person discriminate against a person by denying them the ability to marry? No. Oh, wait, unless they have strong religious objections.

Can a person discriminate against a person by denying them medical help? No. Oh, wait, unless they have strong religious objections.

This always sounds all fine and well, that is until it is turned around. I wonder how these Mormons are going to feel then these *balanced approaches* are turned around on them?

How are the Mormons going to feel when their missionaries are refused haircuts because they aren't considered Christians?

How are the Catholics going to feel when they are denied the privilege of banking at the banks owned by the Jews?

How are the Evangelists going to feel when they are denied access to Indian or Chinese restaurants?

It's all well and good until what you wish for is turned around on you.
Be careful what you wish for, Mormons.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Emotional Abuse and Autonomy

Emotional Abuse and Autonomy

“You need to have more kids, especially with how beautiful all your girls are.” My mother-in-law tells me for the hundredth time. Inside I’m seething, as I have to wonder why it is anybody’s business how many kids I have, especially my mother-in-laws when she knows how difficult my pregnancies are as well as the deliveries. She only has three kids, so who is she to tell me to have more kids, anyway? Why is it anybody’s business? I hate it when people tell me how many kids to have. I’m overwhelmed as it is, and this only makes me feel more overwhelmed.

“I’m going to take you to Africa and swing you from the trees.” Joe, an acquaintance tells me in a flirting manner.  I feel so uncomfortable, I don’t know what to say, what kind of come-on is that anyway? How completely inappropriate. I never know how to handle this, so I answer with a soft no, “I’ll just build a tree house and hide from you in its safety.” My soft no doesn’t work, as it often doesn’t, as he persists; “I’ll just build a ladder and come into your tree house.”  I walk away at this point because I’m so disgusted. My guy friends tell me it’s my fault for not giving him a strong no by just telling him to fuck off. I contend that a soft no would be respected by any person who respects boundaries.

“Your behavior is so juvenile, you need to stop acting so silly.”  I’m told this on the internet by someone who doesn’t like my sense of humor.  Why do I need to stop acting silly, I ask myself, I’m not hurting anyone, if it bothers them, why don’t they go somewhere else where it isn’t bothering them? If my behavior isn’t harming them, why do they feel compelled to tell me I must act according to what they want?

I’m tired, I want to go to bed.”  John then tells me it would offend him if I didn’t stay up and watch a movie with him.  The next day, I could hardly make it through my work day, I was so tired and then I resented him for making me too tired to make it through the day.

“I think this is funny!”
“That’s not funny, that’s stupid, and anyone who thinks that’s funny is stupid.” Says my friend.  Well, now I just feel ashamed.

“I’m so angry at Randy!”
 “How dare you…anger is of the devil, you need to repent.” 
“I’m sorry, was just expressing how upset I was that Randy raped me. Now what do I do with all these conflicting emotions?”

“Stop texting and listen to the speaker!”
 “But it’s boring.”
 “I don’t care.”
 Now I’m bored and frustrated.

As I left a controlling church, I realized how much I was told how to think:  your thoughts will condemn you, your bad thoughts lead to sinful actions, sexual thoughts are evil, etc.  I was told what to feel: anger is wrong, jealousy is wrong, sadness is wrong, be happy all the time. I was told how to behave: wear modest clothing, attend church every Sunday, do your church calling, listen to uplifting music, etc. As I look back on this, I realize that very little of these things had to do with harming others, but more with controlling me.

I began to learn to set clear boundaries and take control over my own emotions, thoughts and behavior. This has been a big learning curve for me. I have had to learn from others how to do a lot of this. I have been taught that my thoughts, feelings and behaviors aren’t really mine, but in the control of patriarchy as well as authority.  I have had to learn assertive communication skills in order to take back my personal power.

I remember listening to some women who were going through marriage counseling and how they were being told they could not control the behavior of their spouse, they could tell their spouse what bothered them, but their spouse was in complete control of their own behavior and could then choose to change their own behavior or choose to not change it. This was very difficult for me to understand at first. What if that behavior was damaging to the relationship? Wasn’t the spouse obligated to change? Could they be compelled to change? I have come to understand that we cannot compel others to change, not if we want a healthy relationship with them. We can assertively ask for what we need in a relationship, then after that, we have a choice; we can accept, compromise or walk away.  This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn.

Sulking, giving the silent treatment, yelling, or name calling are not healthy ways of communicating our wants and needs. We can ask for what we need, but the other person can choose to accept, reject or compromise. We become manipulative and lose ground if we use passive aggressive or aggressive tactics.

There are behaviors that are harmful, such as abuse, name calling, withholding money to control, etc. that should not be tolerated and if the person does not change, walking away is the best option. But I’ve often wondered about lots of other behaviors that are annoying but not harmful. How do we deal with the annoying behaviors of others?  I have learned we do the same. We can ask people to change, but they are still in charge of themselves and if they choose to not change, we choose to ignore or walk away.

Walking away can look like a lot of things. We can go into the another room, we can leave a party where someone is being obnoxious, put on head phones so we don’t have to listen to annoying sounds, etc.

As the years wane, I began to ponder why people think it is their right to tell other people how to act when it isn’t harming them. I wonder why people think they must tell others how to dress (mostly modestly) how to think (it isn’t okay to think about sex) or how to feel (it isn’t okay to feel anger, jealousy or sadness). 

I run a support group and this is always a point of contention within the group, as people attempt to control others by telling them what behavior and feelings are acceptable and which ones are not. This causes the most contention within the group than anything else. I have learned a lot over the years as I had to moderate the group. I have learned this; that people have a right to their own self-determination over their own thoughts, feelings and behavior as long as they are not harming others.

It is when others attempt to control our thoughts, behavior or emotions that causes the greatest amount of friction in relationships.  We seek autonomy.  I see other’s attempt to control us through passive words, behavior, ideas as well as through aggressive words, behavior and ideas. People are not separate from their behavior, and to say their behavior is bad, wrong or in error, but they are not is the same as calling them bad, wrong or in error.

Such things as sulking, the silent treatment, yelling, or name calling are just a few ways people use to attempt to control other people’s behavior, emotions or thoughts.  Why is it so difficult to allow other people the autonomy to self-determination?

The definition of emotional abuse includes this: verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth."

So, when a person attempts to assert control over others, it is a form of emotional abuse. Each person needs to be able to determine for themselves, from the very small things, to the very large things. We can choose our sexual partners, when we are tired and need to rest. We get to choose how many children we are capable of having (or none at all), as well as which emotions we are feeling, from sadness to frustration to anxiety to anger to happiness. We get to choose our clothes, and even our laugh and sense of humor.  We choose our thoughts and ideas as well.