Tent revival: ur doin it rong

Okay, so I thought I’d attended my last evangelical tent-in-a-sanctuary revival in 1986 when I left private Southern Baptist education. While I mourn the lack of liturgy and ritual in our church service (aka sacrament meeting, for those non-Mormons who aren’t keeping track of the vocabulary and couldn’t care less) and we’re not as silent as the Quakers, I really really really despise the rah rah rah hard-sell religious pep rally motivational seminar worship service.


It took me a full 30 seconds into this to figure out this was us and then couldn’t bear to watch another second. What, did we turn into the 700 Club while I wasn’t looking? What happened to the angst-ridden EFY and Youth Conference testimony meetings awash in sweet spirits and tears and Happy Valley Girlesque avowals of eternal gratitude and BFFness?

Sister Dalton, Brother Dahlquist, in case you haven’t noticed, we’re Mormons. We are not evangelicals. Evangelicals curse and hate and spitefully use and persecute us and they always will. They do this for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that we’re not trinitarians and we value works over grace (yeah, LDS types who take umbrage at that—think about that a while before trying to hamstring me with The Miracle of Forgiveness). Stop trying to be them and to curry their favor by emulating them. Oh, sure, they liked us well enough during the Prop 8 bullshit, but then they went back to hating us once we did their dirty work for them. And now half the rest of the world hates us more than they already did.

Who thought this was a good idea? You’re going the wrong direction. We’re fucking weird. Own it. Embrace it.

Hat tip Main Street Plaza.

::grumblegrumble:: Next thing you know, we’ll have crosses on our steeples and speculate about who’ll be left behind at the Rapture. Note to self: Find nearest coven in case of emergency eject.

You can’t leave it alone*

In my work in progress, Magdalene (#3 in the Dunham series), the non-Mormon heroine, Cassie, wants to ambush the (widowed) Mormon bishop hero, Mitch, at church. They’ve been dating (excruciatingly chastely) for 5 months and she is thoroughly bewildered as to why he hasn’t invited her to attend (not to mention more than a little peeved that she hasn’t been able to seduce him). Not that she wants to go to church, mind, much less join; she just had the idea that we were all about acquiring converts—which is a completely reasonable and wholly correct assumption.

Since Mitch lives in the heart of the steel belt and she lives in Manhattan, she has quite a bit of trouble figuring out which ward he oversees, where to go, and what time to be there. Thus, she turns to Mitch’s best friend, who left the church halfway through his mission and is a professed and semi-practicing pagan. He gives her the procedural rundown and says,

“The more you understand about our culture, the better you’ll understand Mitch.”

Our culture?”

“Well, yeah. Mine, too. You don’t stop being a Jew just because you convert to Christianity.”

“That’s genetic.”

“With us, it might as well be.”

I live in a place that’s rich with Mormon history, so, like any native, I take it for granted. I don’t feel any sense of heritage when I go to Utah (which state I avoid like the plague). It’s in Nauvoo, Illinois, where I feel this connection to my heritage; every time I go, I find my cynicism and willingness to snipe seeping out of my soul, leaving a refreshing softness and wistful smiles. And, well, I got married in Nauvoo. That might have something to do with it.

So I took some pictures when we were there in August for my cousin’s wedding. Enjoy.

*There’s a saying about a portion of folks who identify as ex-Mormon or recovering Mormon (yes, there is a 12-step group for it): You can leave the church, but you can’t leave it alone.

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Judge. Book. Cover.

Th., give thanks and be glad! You are no longer alone in your opinion on my cover. 😉

LDS Fiction has very kindly listed my book amongst the LDS fiction released in the last little while. You have to request this, along with sending its information and the cover (because the poor blog owner can’t be expected to keep track of all the LDS authors and fiction out there). If I recall correctly, I didn’t send a pic of the cover with it because, well, it has bewbies on it. It’s entirely apropos to the story thematically (on about three different levels), but unless you read the book, you aren’t going to get that. On the other hand, I know the audience there and while I didn’t think it would appreciate the cover, obviously the blog owner did what she thought consistent with her blog.

So I’ve garnered a one-star review. Oh, wait, did I say REVIEW? I meant to say, a one-star disapproval rating, based on the cover.

That’s an awful cover. I don’t think I would pick up based on the cover. I couldn’t have it in my home.

To be fair, it does say “rate this book,” not REVIEW this book, but in my world, you kinda have to read a book to rate it, so I think I can be cut some slack for assuming that a rating = review.

This kinda reminds me of the “reviews” Eugene’s book got wherein some folks flew up into the rafters over the fact that there was a bishop’s wife and a vampire together. (Or, better, when the back blurb SAID there was a bishop’s wife and a vampire together, and the reviewers didn’t get it might not be something you’d buy from Deseret Book until they got to the sex scenes.)

I can so appreciate that someone wouldn’t want the print version in the house, so the Lord has provided you with a SOLUTION!


Give thanks and be glad.

Why I go to church

Something happened this past week which greatly upset me. Trying to be stoic (Stoic isn’t exactly my middle name, right?), I did not cry. I attempted to put it out of my mind. I worked a lot. Last night, still trying to not cry, I dragged my Tax Deductions all over town shopping (uh, not exactly normal, see). Then I put them to bed and started a Home Improvement Project. Woke up this morning still determined not to cry, to put it in perspective, not to think about it, and go to church hoping that the pew we usually sit in wasn’t occupied (which, irrationally, annoys me every time it happens).

And sitting in church, holding onto my Tax Deductions with Dude playing with my hair, I started to cry. And I kept crying. All the way through sacrament meeting and Sunday school (that would be 2 hours in Protestant and Catholic time). Dude briefly made me laugh by appending “But ours sparkle” to a comment someone made during Sunday school. But I sat out Relief Society as usual and tried to read a sharply amusing/ironic piece called Byuck. And it was amusing for a while—

—until a woman I’ve known for 15 years but rarely have a chance to sit down and converse with (but when we do, though…) asked me how I was doing. Sincerely.

The question, “How are you?” asked sincerely is probably the hardest question in the world to answer. Maybe even harder than, “What is the meaning of life?”

And I started to cry again. I laid it all out for her. When I was finished, she drew an analogy for me that made me understand that it was just one small drop of water in the ocean of my life. And I felt better.

Now, this friend always makes me feel better, but we aren’t BFFs. Never have been. It would not have occurred to me to call her and say, “Make me feel better,” but in retrospect, she is the only one who could have done so.

I feel better.

’Cause I went to church today.