Oh My Heck! Episode 10 – Fast & Testimony Meeting

A 12 year old girl came out to her Mormon church and they turned the microphone off. What’s that all about? And what was really going in her church that week? Listen to this week’s episode and learn what Fast & Testimony meeting is, and by the end you might be put off food and ready to stand and shout your fervent beliefs, too!

And remember, sharing links and leaving reviews keeps this (free for you!) podcast on air. And we (I) thank you for your support!

(I’ll no longer be posting to Soundcloud due to $$, so please refer to my podcast’s Complete Guide page to catch up on any episodes you may have missed!)

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My Grandmother’s Secret

It’s hard to keep a secret in a small town. Even harder is keeping a secret in a deeply religious town where everyone keeps moral tabs one each other, and often under the direction of their religious leaders. My grandparents had a huge farm in a small mountain town, Lehi, Utah. My father’s high school class of 1965 had eighty-six kids. When I lived with my grandmother during college, there were about 7,000 people in the whole town. Small. Everyone knew everyone else.

Lehi Utah Mormon LGBT

“Now I gotta cut loose! Footloose!” Lehi’s claim to fame

Lehi is also deeply Mormon. It’s just up the Wasatch front from Provo, Utah, home to BYU and the Missionary Training Center.

For those unfamiliar, when you’re an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it’s more than just attending Sunday meetings with your neighbors. You have morning Seminary for teens, daily Institute if you’re in college, Home Teaching, Visiting Teaching, Relief Society, Sunday night Firesides, Monday night Family Home Evening activities, youth activities on Wednesdays, and of course, Sunday service, which is three hours long.

It’s a lifestyle. Mormons prefer mingling with other Mormons, so you’re usually in each other’s pockets, especially in a small community like Lehi. Secrets aren’t easy to keep.

In the early ’90s, my grandmother had a stroke, and I moved in to care of her. Those were some of the best months of my life, even though they were tinged with the knowledge that her time was coming to an end. I got to know her in a way most people never do with a grandparent.

She’d grown up the middle sister, her older sister a wildly dynamic and popular young lady. In her 20s, she developed a skin-disease–neurofibromas, raised tumors over her face and body–that always left her feeling like the ugly duckling, ashamed to be out in public. She’d been the second wife to an older husband who spoke lovingly of his first wife (and who was still “sealed” for time and all eternity to this first wife, meaning my grandma would share her husband with his first wife, Florence, forever). She’d become the caregiver for a rapidly declining husband thirty years her senior while taking over as the main breadwinner for the family. And through all of this, she always honored her church callings. She never failed to miss a meeting, visit the sick, or feed the hungry.

After her stroke, she was just tired. She wanted to be left alone and didn’t care for what felt like false sympathy from the neighbors she’d known for decades, able to see the performance for what it was. Instead of entertaining visitors, my job was to turn people away with kindness and help carry her to her Big Chair where she would read.

And this is when I learned of her secret. Continue reading

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Oh My Heck! Episode 8 – SEX

It’s time to talk about sex. Awww, yeah, we’re talking the talk now! Except you shouldn’t be thinking of sex! Oh my gosh, are you thinking about it right now? Oh, no… Stop it! I don’t know, sing a hymn at your crotch!* GO EAT A MAPLE-GLAZED DONUT. Did you stop thinking of sex? Well why on earth not? GREAT. There goes God’s plan. Thanks for nothing, buddy.

This week I’ll discuss the positively baffling and obsessive mindset Mormons have about sex. (I mean, you don’t get those big Mormon families from a handshake… Or do you?)

*Actual instruction from the Church for ridding oneself of an erection. Listen and find out more ways to control yourself, even while asleep!

 

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Oh My Heck! Episode 7 – LGBT LDS wth?

Gay Mormons? (And Lesbian Mormons, Trans Mormons, Bi-Mormons, which does anyone even think they acknowledge bisexuality? Pfft!) Are there LGBTQ Mormons? How does that even work? Surprise! It doesn’t! Well, they’re trying, both the church and the members. Sometimes. Well, kind of? Listen to this week’s episode and let’s see if we can figure out what the heck and how the heck. (And you’ll get a little sneak peek at my upcoming novel, AND IT CAME TO PASS, about a missionary who realizes he’s gay while serving in Barcelona, Spain. Oh my heck!)

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing! (And thanks for listening!)

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Oh My Heck! Episode 3 – Baptisms for the Dead

…did you say Mormons baptize dead people?? Well, yes. But not like you think. They aren’t grave robbing and plopping corpses into tubs of water in the temple. They’re just stealing the names of dead people!

That doesn’t make it sound better, huh?

Listen to this week’s episode and learn some of the famous people who are now Mormon! Like Golda Meir! *cough*

Be sure to subscribe on Soundcloud or through iTunes/Stitcher so you don’t miss an episode!

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Mormon Mondays: Unrealistic standards set by the elaborate dating rituals of Mormon youth

One of the drawbacks of Mormon Culture—a term by which I mean the culture that Mormons and Mormon-adjacent folks who live in Utah and surrounding Mormon-concentrated areas like Idaho and Arizona engage in—drawbacks of this is the expectation for a life that isn’t really based on reality. It’s an idea that if you live life like a character in a ’50’s television show, that “Aww shucks, I’m meeting Penny and Skip at the Frosty’s for a malted!” lifestyle, everything is going to turn out perfectly.

Your fellow citizens provide your laugh track, which means you need to up the hijinks every week. At first you think this Leave it to Beaver episode is going to be fun, but when you look at it through the lens of reality, you start to wonder where Mrs. Cleaver hides the hard liquor to cope. It’s only through thinking back on those formative years where I developed my tastes and preferences in dating that I can see how it really set me up to fail in finding my Perfect Mormon Husband. (Spoiler alert: I never did.)

This week’s podcast is all about the dumb, unnecessarily huge gestures that I made to woo boys, how this sets up expectations for romance that’s almost impossible to achieve, and the ultimate way for a Mormon girl to ask a boy named Joseph Smith to a dance, based off a true and amazing story. This week is brought to you by a flood of shameful and hilarious memories that I had from listening to This American Life‘s podcast about grand gestures (and if you haven’t read Elna Baker’s book, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, you should! AND SEE? I wasn’t lying about all the dances!!)

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Mormon Mondays – The Time I Desecrated The House of the Lord with Hip Hop

LDS hip hop mormons,Mormon hip hop

This is a thing that is real

For those of you who know me in real life, it will come as no surprise to know that in 1992 I bought Arrested Development’s first album the day it was released. And it will also not shock you to know that I listened to that on constant repeat, soaking up the positive hip hop vibe of elevated consciousness. If you’re not familiar (how?!) with this quintessential Afrocentric hip hop group from the ’90s, you should know that their music is about connecting spiritually and intellectually with the world around you.

When I was in the throes of religious passion myself, one song in particular stood out to me, and it was like it had reached into my aching heart yearning to understand why I was in Utah, sticking out like a sore thumb while trying to grow spiritually among ‘my people’. Naturally I tried to share this song with the students in my Gospel Doctrine class one Sunday.

Apparently this was shocking to my blond, white, square-jawed Mormon students. Hip-hop? In my church?  Continue reading

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Mormon Monday – Not Angry, Just Disappointed

(This is seriously the best musical in the past decade.)

(This is seriously the best musical in the past decade.)

Oh, it’s good to be back home after a long vacation filled with lots and lots of driving. While traveling, I was contacted by an old acquaintance, a family member of a good friend from my LDS youth. As you do, we reconnected on Facebook, mutually followed each other, cooed over one another’s children, laughed at funny memes, that sort of thing. I genuinely like this person.

My previous post on my Mormon upbringing and how I look back on that now, however, struck a chord with her, and not in a good way. Specifically, umbrage was taken with me referring to the LDS church as a cult and claiming that many members are “blissfully ignorant.” Offense was taken at that term. And…I get it. Continue reading

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Mormon Monday – Subtle Cult (And Not So Subtle)

Official Mormon Story of a hot, barely dressed dude (Joseph Smith History 1: 31-32) visiting him in the night and making him promise not to tell.

Official Mormon Story of a hot, barely dressed dude (Joseph Smith History 1: 31-32- naked, exquisite and glorious are used to describe this “angel” of a man) visiting him in the night and making him promise not to tell anyone. Not shady at all, why would you think that was shady??

There was an article in the Atlantic this weekend about an evangelical offshoot with a charismatic leader whose wife committed suicide, which then led into the seven identifiable elements that make a cult.

Naturally I flashed back to my Mormon upbringing. I think the most telling thing I could share is that until I seriously began looking into the church’s history on my own–using outside sources, something that is key that we’ll get into–a lot of what is actually common historical knowledge was an absolute shock to me and to my close LDS friends. Well, we knew some of it, but we “knew” it wasn’t true. Because our church did a preemptive strike to tell us we’d hear things, but that it was Satan at work at to harden our hearts to those lies.

That’s…not healthy. That is exactly how I was raised, however.

Continue reading

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Mormon Monday- Apocalypse Prep Camp Vol 1

Caveman-Campfire

This time of year gives me the biggest case of Wanderlust. Growing up, this was the month of camping, mostly with the church’s young women group, but also with family and friends, and when I was in college, by myself sometimes. There’s nothing like wearing yourself on a hike to somewhere beautiful, sitting still, and just enjoying it.

But that wasn’t how we camped in church camp. That was all about preparing for End Times. Short story: you want me on your Zombie Apocalypse Team. Long story, click the read more. Continue reading

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