Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Take a Look at Yourself, and Make a Change



by Rob T:


The use of so-called “swear words” generally goes against religious sensibilities.

It also follows that a few garden-variety words are treated with the same disdain as swear words by some more conservative religions.

One of those words is “change.”

“We will stand firm!” “We will not waver!” “Our doctrine never changes!” Having been raised Catholic and now being a practicing Mormon, I’ve heard rhetoric like this in both faiths.

Catholic writer Damon Linker discusses the appeal of this notion and why there is resistance to change with his commentary on Pope Francis’ new, pastoral approach to divorced and remarried Catholics in relation to the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

MMM Protip: Don’t Tell Women They Look Better Without Makeup



by Shawn Tucker:


I get it—I really do. You want to say, “hey, I like you just the way you are” or “just the way God made you is wonderful” or “you can feel at home around me without the need to change how you look.” I get how in your mind that sounds great. It sounds like you really care about her and you don’t want her to feel the need to change herself. Toss in how you don’t want her to feel like she has to keep up with (worldly) ideas of beauty or value and hey, you are trying to say something genuinely kind and loving. And while that is what you are thinking, there’s a really good chance that that is not the message she’s getting.

I have two daughters who take quite different approaches to makeup. One daughter takes time to regularly wear makeup. The other daughter, well if she has makeup on then you know two things: 1—this must be some event or occasion and 2—her sister probably did it. And both are lovely, lovely women! What I have learned is that there is a lot more to wearing makeup than one might think. My daughter spends a fair amount of time every day applying her makeup. She is a naturally lovely woman, and when she wears makeup she is still lovely, and lovely in a different way. There seems to be something extra sparkly about her eyes and extra lovely in her smile.

But the fact that women look lovely in makeup is not the only reason why you Modern Mormon Men should avoid telling women that they look better without makeup. Perhaps the most important reason is because they didn’t ask you and their choice to wear makeup is not really about you. It is their choice and it is for them. The process of putting on makeup can be an important ritual, an activity where she uses her talents, creativity, and skill to add beauty and luster to what God has given. Sure, perhaps some women have men in mind, and perhaps some have other women in mind, but the reasons for wearing makeup are far more complex (and interesting) than to appeal or impress others or because of backwards, ignorant ideas about vanity.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Re-Encountering God Using Greene’s Notion of Plan B



by Shawn Tucker:


I just finished Ross Greene’s fabulous book The Explosive Child. An “explosive” child, according to Greene, is one who is often seen as attention-seeking, manipulative, disrespectful, and as displaying other behaviors that adults and even other children find challenging. Yet Greene puts forward some amazing ideas, including the notions that all kids do well if they can and that the vast majority of challenging behaviors occur because kids lack the skills needed to respond successfully to certain frustrating situations. In that respect, no kids are “evil;” they merely display their lagging skills in their poor responses to various situations.

In addition to the fundamental idea that all kids do well if they can or if they have the necessary skills, Greene describes three approaches or “plans” that adults employ for dealing with challenging behaviors. Plan A is where the adults set, or better put, impose behavioral norms on kids and demand compliance. This approach actually works with children who possess the skills necessary to meet those imposed standards. Plan B is when an adult genuinely listens to a child and then equally genuinely invites the child to collaborate with the adult on solving problems that they both recognize. Working as partners, the adult and child develop practical, realistic solutions that satisfy both parties. Plan C is when adults judiciously and temporarily set aside some challenging behaviors in order to focus efforts on challenges that have a higher priority.

This is the most general overview of Greene’s insights, yet while I encourage those interested to read this book, this should be a sufficient summary to explore some insights about God that Greene’s work might reveal. Greene does not talk about God at all in this book, but what if one’s relationship with one’s parents impacted one’s view of God? What if, for instance, you lived in a home where parents used Plan A exclusively or almost exclusively? You may grow up to see God as Someone who imposes upon humans norms and standards and then demands compliance. The righteous are those who have the skills to meet those demands, while the wicked cannot.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Generally, Not Even Close to Murder



by Shawn Tucker:


If I were given the chance to influence one aspect of Mormon culture and scripture interpretation, one thing that would be at the top of my list would be the notion that sexual sin is “next to murder.” Generally, I believe that sexual sin is not even close to murder. But before I explain this idea, an idea I got from Michael R. Ash, let me say that sexual sins that are close to murder are the only sexual sins that are close to murder. The easiest example of this is Moroni 9:9-10, wherein the Nephites rape, torture, kill, and eat Lamanite women. Now that is sexual sin that is next to murder. Other sexual sins that are next to murder would be sins that irreparably damage souls, sins like incest, molestation, and rape.

When we are speaking with youth about sexual sin, in general it is not the above sins that we have in mind. While sexual sins like masturbation, fornication, and adultery are serious, sometimes very, very serious, I do not believe that they are anywhere near murder.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

That Great Day When There Will Be An End to Patriarchy



by Shawn Tucker:


Imagine if you woke up one morning and it had all rolled back. Your wife no longer had a job or even interest in having a job. She was at home patiently waiting for orders from you. Instead of having her own thoughts or plans or ideas, she lived only to serve and support you. All of which is to say that she was very, very dependent upon you. She did little or nothing without your explicit or at least tacit consent, down to the smallest activity. And imagine that your daughters, if they were not married already to men who ruled their lives, then now they are underpaid and disrespected nurses or elementary school teachers. You may have a daughter off at college but, by her own admission, she’s only there to get her “Mrs” degree. Your daughters, in fact all of your children, are as dependent upon you as your wife. They do little on their own without seeking first your approval. For every decision in the family, whether great or small, you must make it alone. You might talk to some other men about it or maybe look in the scriptures for some guidance—books written by men for men—but patriarchy demands that you make every decision and that every decision be flawless. This is the world where father must know what is best in every situation and all the time and for everyone involved. This is patriarchy, and it puts an impossible demand and weight on men while it robs women and other powerless people of participation and of a full voice in making decisions.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My 22 Point Opinion About Temple Sealings for Gay Couples



by Shawn Tucker:


A friend recently asked my opinion about temple sealings for gay couples. I don’t know why anyone cares about my opinion. I’m not proselyting my view; I’m merely stating my opinion in 22 bullet points.

1. People don't choose to be gay, to be only sexually attracted to people of their same sex.
2. No one, I believe, would make that choice, since it is so socially frowned upon and since it does not lend itself to the advantages (of which there are many!) of heterosexual marriage.
3. Since they don't choose it, and since it is really born in them, I believe the gay people I know when they say that they do not feel that their attraction is wrong or a sin.
4. Mormons typically think that such attraction is inherently wrong and against God's plan, while gay people, especially gay Mormons, do not believe that their attraction is wrong or sinful.
5. Mormons see heterosexual attraction as normal, natural, and even God-given.
6. I believe gay Mormons when they say that they believe that their homosexual attraction is normal, natural, and God-given for them.
7. Homosexual marriage seems to interrupt God's plan, since such couples cannot have children in the traditional manner.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Dear LDS Church: What Have You Done?



by Luke Warmer:


Dear LDS Church: What Have You Done?

Even for a church that believes homosexuality is a sin, this decision is a deeply heartbreaking head-scratcher. (See article of faith #2. The one that talks about their own sins and not Adam’s transgressions.)

If I were to guess, I would assume that this decision is born out of some fear of legal action from gay parents. And as church members we are left to wonder what it means when it appears that the church has compromised the spirit of the second of its Articles of Faith in order to be better positioned in a culture war against homosexuality.

I feel a deep concern for every gay child being brought up in the church.

For me, as a person with gay marriage on both sides of my family and three boys at home (ages 7, 4, and 1), I am left to debate whether I can attend a church in good conscience knowing full-well that the likelihood of at least one of my children being gay is much higher than average.

This is a heartbreaking day for families hoping for deeper empathy around the issue of the church’s stance on homosexuality.

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