Archive for the 'Books' Category
After finishing The Book of Mammon (see earlier review), the remnants of my Mormon mind seem to be quivering as if a lump of dead flesh were receiving electric shocks; just enough to make it seem alive, if not wholly yet.
All of a sudden I have a renewed interest in the church and its history. I guess this has lain dormant for many years now because it was easier to ignore than address the pain.
A friend recently asked me, “If the church’s stance on homosexuality were different, would you still be active?”. I didn’t hesitate to say yes — which actually surprised me, and which probably was a different answer than it would have been a month ago.
Ok — finished and reviewed on Amazon.
An old apostate friend recommended a new book over the holidays, so I added it to my Kindle list and gave it a go. It’s called The Book of Mammon: A Book About The Corporation That Owns The Mormons by Daymon M. Smith.
While I’m only “51%” through (the Kindle lacks pagination due to the ability to resize the font, which throws the whole concept off), I have indeed been elucidated, appalled and amazed.
And yet, I remain nonplussed. It’s as if I finally am getting confirmation from an insider about something I already suspected — and felt — was true. Mr. Smith has a way of sharing the information in parable-like format that changes the names of the guilty, but just enough to throw any legal/ecclesiastical challenges off their game (“Boy Paquemander”, “Thomas $ Midas” and “Bilbo B. Booting” — you know who you are).
It’s proven to be a rather insightful view of the legal corporation that superseded the actual LDS church early in the 20th century. It’s written at times in semi-scriptural language (the author holds a doctorate in linguistics anthropology and it shows), but like any good book that intends to elucidate, the onus falls onto the reader to separate the chaff from the wheat. And don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of wheat in this.
As mentioned above, I’m both appalled and amazed and yet not totally surprised at this exposé of the bureaucracy that is the “COB” [the legal entity described herein and represented by the innocuous name wherein their dirty deeds are performed, the "Church Office Building"].
Church Correlation takes a beating as well.
While the book is available on the Kindle, Amazon does not make the link between that and the paperback version. I have included links for both (I get 4% if you buy after clicking through — almost enough to retire on).
I can’t tell you how pleased I was to receive a Facebook request today from someone whom I had not seen since 1985. She was the youngest daughter of my high school LDS Seminary teacher (and Stake Presidency Counselor), whom I revered as an example of what I wanted to become.
As the sister of the girl whom I dated in my senior year, I always noted that she was a precocious child. She had large, watchful eyes and an intelligent, but quiet demeanor. She always seemed to be taking in my actions and listening to my words and I felt it was important to be an example to her.
I’m always a little trepidatious when I receive friend requests from people I knew when I was actively LDS. Will they now judge me? Will they quickly de-friend me? Will they respect my life and choices?
Will we have anything in common but our shared humanity? I guess in this instance, I will shortly see.
[UPDATE - 16 December: After several attempts to communicate via telephone, we finally had a very nice conversation last night. It was great catching up on 25+ years and comparing notes about our lives.
It was cathartic for both to have this discussion and to see where we have landed at this point, after so many fits and starts.
One interesting note, on the Myers-Briggs scale we are both INTP, which didn't surprise me in the least.]
Meanwhile, I have been reading the blog of another old friend who turned fifty this year. He proclaims himself happy, but his postings seem to show something else: a bitterness, a longing and a questioning.
This caused me to evaluate my own life a bit and I determined (probably superficially) that I am happy where I am in my life and with my relationships and in my thoughts and feelings.
I see old friends reaching certain milestone ages and turning so introspective that it becomes a miasma of “me, me me”. I think they sense that they are that much closer to dying and death, and their surroundings and other people fade a bit in their egocentrism.
Hopefully, I have not done the same.
Hopefully the life that I have made for myself can serve as an inspiration to others; that a fulfilling, happy, shared life is possible and probable.
I mourn for others’ seemingly wasted lives (their words), overwrought with guilt, anger and blame, but realize I can only be responsible for me.
And I am content.
“Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.”
– Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse Five | (epitaph of Billy Pilgrim)
I guess Elder Packer wasn’t involved in the revisions to the ‘handbook’.
Updated LDS handbook softens language on gays
The Salt Lake Tribune
A newly published compilation of LDS guidelines — used by all church leaders worldwide when dealing with their members — has softened the language about gay Mormons.
The book, known as the Church Handbook of Instructions, lays out the Utah-based faith’s policies on everything from baptism to running a worship service to counseling troubled marriage partners.
The updated reference book is scheduled to be presented to thousands of LDS lay leaders in a giant, televised training session Saturday. Any language changes, then, will set the tone for church interactions for years to come.
Like most recent LDS Church statements, this new handbook makes a clear distinction between same-sex orientation and behavior. It eliminates the suggestion, mentioned in the previous 2006 edition, that same-sex relationships “distort loving relationships” and that gays should repent of their “homosexual thoughts or feelings.”
It also says that celibate gay Mormons who are “worthy and qualified in every other way” should be allowed to have “callings,” or church assignments, and to participate fully in temple rituals.
He came up off the floor and made a dive for the handgun on the sofa. I caught him with a wild left in the throat. It was a solid punch, and a lucky one. But not for him. It crushed his larynx. He went down on the floor again and suffocated. It was reasonably quick. About a minute and a half. There was nothing I could do for him. I’m not a doctor.
A couple of years ago, before going totally digital literary-wise, I bought a paperback book in Costco that looked interesting. For the next three years, it languished on my ‘to-be-read’ shelf and never quite made it to the front of the queue.
At our family reunion this summer, my brother — with whom I share common reading interests — mentioned the author Lee Child as one that I should read. I remembered the paperback — Persuader (Jack Reacher #7) — still sitting on the shelf untouched, and trusting his advice, bought the latest two in the series in the Kindle editions for my iPad to take on my latest trip to Brazil.
Now the subtitles kind of freaked me out as I had just read “Jack Reacher #14″ followed by “Jack Reacher #13″. Being the anal type that I am, when I got home I purchased the first three in the 14-book series and started those. And then ended up buying the rest (Jack Reacher #4 to Jack Reacher #12)
Last night I finally read Persuader (Jack Reacher #7)
and am lined up to read in the rest in chronological order.
Lee Child’s latest — Worth Dying For
— comes out next month and I intend to be caught up.
I think I mentioned that I had finished reading the quite lengthy novel by Justin Cronin called “The Passage” last week and it scared the bejesus out of me. I had a hard time walking the dog early in the morning, because I kept seeing things in the trees.
It reminded me of Stephen King’s “The Stand” — but with a different flare and evil.
Cronin says this is the first of a trilogy. Let’s hope he lives long enough to complete it.