Bombs and the Mormon Temple

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Bombs and the Mormon Temple

On Aug 9 2018, a Saudi led coalition bombed targets in Yemen, leaving dozens of children dead.  This is a picture of shrapnel from the blast. This bomb was made by American firm Lockheed Martin. Much outrage has ensued.

The conversation around this picture of shrapnel got me thinking a lot about Mormonism.  There are some deep, obscure doctrines espoused by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that are worth contemplating as we look at this thing that killed children:

I’m bringing you right into the heart of the Mormon Temple ceremony known as “The Endowment”.

For my non-Mormon readers: Here is a major simplification of the 3 main ceremonies that are conducted in Mormon Temples:

  • Sealing (the Mormon version of marriage which they believe grants the opportunity to be together forever as a couple in the hereafter),
  • The Endowment (Mormons believe this ceremony gives them both a clearer understanding of their relationship to God, AND gives them the secret passwords and handshakes that are necessary to proceed past the angels who stand as sentinels as they walk back into the presence of God in the hereafter), and
  • Proxy work for the dead (granting these ceremonies to people who have already died, via living proxy workers.

I’ve been through every Temple ceremony countless times, I will speak in first person about a particular aspect that grabbed my attention the very first time I went through and continues to reside in my mind:

There is a point early in the ceremony, after having gone through a symbolic “washing” and “anointing” (it’s extremely similar to Catholic baptism – one drop of water is considered a sufficient symbol for total immersion in water).

A few minutes later, I find myself in the next phase of the ceremony. We are about to watch a movie in small movie theater, depicting the creation of the Earth and the Garden of Eden story. A narration is playing:

“…you have been washed and pronounced clean, or that through your faithfulness you may become clean, from the blood and sins of this generation.”

“Reconsiderations” by Paul Duane

 

Now, hold on just a fucking second here.

As a Mormon, I was raised to believe in a system of moral accountability that is highly individualistic: that Man will be punished for his own sins, and not for Adam’s transgressions (and ostensibly anyone else’s). It’s every man & woman, for themselves.

Seems fair.

But here I am in The Temple, receiving what is ostensibly the most essential ceremony one can receive in their lifetime, and I’m being told that because of that symbolic drop of water “washing” a few min ago, now I’ve been “washed and pronounced clean from the blood and sins of this generation”?

WHAT IN THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE

I HAD NO IDEA THAT I WAS ON THE HOOK FOR EVERYONE ELSE’S SINS

We live in a world where where most people believe in a sense of moral culpability where you can be guilty in degrees –

For instance, if I’m driving you around in my car, and you jump out, rob a bank at gunpoint, and then jump back in, ordering me to drive away quickly – I will be held partially accountable for your crimes. Most reasonable people can see how being an accessory to a crime brings a degree of culpability, guilt, and accountability.

Let’s take another look at that shrapnel:

That bomb didn’t build itself.

Lots of hard working Americans were paid to design it, test it, build it, and sell it.

That bomb could not have done it’s job without those hard work Americans.

This is not a criticism of those Lockheed Martin employees. I trust that they would be horrified to know about these fruits of their labors.

It doesn’t stop there.

How many bombs have Americans dropped that have caused “collateral damage”? (This is a military term created to sanitize the truth – it refers to the unfortunate fact of innocent people being killed while we go about the messy work of trying to get the bad guys).

Untold numbers of innocent children and adults have been killed in this way.

With bombs built by Americans.

Dropped by Americans.

Paid for by Americans – you, me, and mostly our grandchildren, who will still be paying off the debts incurred by these wars.

If facilitating a crime constitutes responsibility, then by paying for these deaths, you and I, and our children, and our grandchildren, are, to an extent, murderers.

I know it sounds harsh.

It’s true, though.

Mormonism is the only religion I am aware of that makes a SERIOUS contemplation of moral accountability on a global scale like this.

[note: I’ve never met another Mormon who has even thought about this… so, I’m speaking in hypotheticals here. The reality is, 99.9% of Mormons just go through the motions in the Temple and never dig deep into what they’ve experienced, so don’t worry about talking to any Mormons about this. Sad, I know.]

For me, this part of the Temple Ceremony essentially says, ‘Modern life is very complex, very messy, we are all entangled in webs of money and influence that we are often unaware of – and we are all in this together’.

That, brothers and sisters, is a painful, messy, and beautiful truth.

much love –

Paul Duane

The Crossdressing Mormon Anarchist

Mormon Church: I understand why you want to keep the youth “worthiness interviews”

The traditional practice of “worthiness interviews” between youth and adults leaders has caused a lot of stress, on both sides. I understand why.

[For my non-Mormon readers, a bit of background: Mormons have a strict code of sexual behavior for all ages: no sexual activities outside of marriage. Period. That includes masturbation and anything like unto it… and as every former teenager knows, this is where the spotlight turns to the kids. It is a Mormon tradition to have regularly occurring interviews between the congregation leader (the Bishop), and it’s members. They often ask specific questions about sexual behavior. Failure to comply brings very heavy social and religious consequences. For a Mormon, this stuff is a BIG DEAL.]

Let’s start with the premise that it’s a good idea to mentor kids as they mature sexually. Parents should be the first and foremost resource in mentoring kids, through word, deed, and loving dialogue. Obviously, this is an ideal scenario that doesn’t always happen.

It does take a village to raise a kid. We are tribal animals, and it really is good for kids to have positive mentorship relationships with adults in their community. I most definitely benefited from many adults in my life outside of my good parents. It has been argued that it’s a psychologically healthy thing for Church leaders to talk about sex with kids. Proponents claim that kids who have significant adult mentors who are religiously literate fare better as adults.

In secular society, we’ve become honest about the oft-failure of parents to take care of the basics, and have developed backup plans. Head Start, school breakfast programs, and… God forbid… television – all have become surrogates, safety nets, to fill in the gaps that parents often miss. The above argument for Church leaders stepping in to teach kids about sexual ethics reminds me of the increasing reliance on The State to step up where parents stepped out.

Moms, Dads, We are the first line of defense, the first line of resource, for the kids. Let’s handle the really sensitive stuff in the walls of our own homes so that the bishops, scout leaders, teachers and neighbors don’t need to pick up so much slack, but can perform their role as extra adult role models.

That being said – this interview practice is not sustainable. It’s a ticking time bomb. Mormon Church, you are determined to hold your ground and I understand why. Let’s cut right to the chase:

If you stop asking kids about their sexual behavior, ie, conducting “worthiness interviews”, this will eventually spread to the adults too.

“Reconsiderations” by Paul Duane

No more interviews about sexual behavior = No more enforceable policies about sexual behavior. This will cause a doctrinal and cultural landslide. It will echo into the walls of the Temple, because a major part of Temple worship includes entering into a covenant to maintain “sexual purity”. Suddenly, a person’s sexual behavior will be between the individual, their partner, and God – and that’s it.

For me, being a Mormon means believing in the essence of what Joseph Smith claimed: that if the individual desires to commune with The Divine, it will be granted, in private. No intermediaries are necessary. We believe in a God that is conscious of, and attendant to, every individual seeker of truth.

Eliminating “worthiness interviews” might just force The Church into a strictly supportive role, rather than an investigative role. It would force the Church to trust each individual to pursue virtue on their own terms…

…just like every prophet of old has done.

 

In love and freedom –

Brother Paul Duane

#SoulAnarchist

 

 

 

Ask Me Anything Q&A March 2018

  • How can I stop stressing over the judgement of other people?

  • Flowers: Practical gift or waste of money?

  • Is photography still an art form or is it less hip now that everyone can do it?

  • What is your dream motorcycle?

  • How can I find my own unique clothing style?

  • Do women like men that Crossdress? I get asked this question SO MUCH… I decided to do a video exclusively about it:

Watch the Facebook Live recording here:

 

An Attempt to Convert Brett Veinotte to Mormonism

If you like Brett Veinotte, there’s a decent chance you like Jordan Peterson. I just finished reading his book, 12 RULES FOR LIFE. Fascinating. Actually, I listened to it on Audible. I love listening to books, especially when the author does their own narration, (as Jordan does on this). You should try Audible. Get FREE 30 day trial and a free audiobook of your choice. Click this banner to get started, you’ll love it.

I suit up in my finest Crossdressing Mormon Anarchist attire, brush up on my Mormon Missionary discussions, and give Brett Veinotte (Host of School Sucks Podcast) a tour of Temple Square. My goal is to convert Brett to Mormonism.

 

“Are you sure you aren’t confusing this with Scientology?”

“It’s like the best of all the Abrahamic religions, rolled into one”

“It’s like something you’d see on The Sopranos”

VIDEO:

Follow Brett Veinottte / School Sucks Project:

http://schoolsucksproject.com

https://www.instagram.com/schoolsucksproject/

https://twitter.com/SchoolSucksShow

https://www.facebook.com/School-Sucks-Podcast-The-END-of-Public-Education-144639747999/

Get your bottle of Five Wives:

Dr. Ferguson Saw Your Brain Being Religious



 

Dr. Michael Ferguson is a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University. His work centers on the intersections of culture and brain. Active research includes cognitive neuroscientific investigations of intelligence and religiosity—two major themes of cultural studies.

Michael currently teaches the undergraduate course Gender and Sexual Minorities at Cornell. He previously co-instructed a graduate course on functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging at the University of Utah, where he completed his doctoral degree in bioengineering.

Michael is a popular public speaker with an engaging enthusiasm for asking “the hard questions” with rational methods. He and his husband, John Seth Anderson, were the first same-sex couple legally married by the state of Utah, and are outspoken advocates for LGBTQ+ communities and causes.

“The expectation primes the experience. What you are anticipating actually constructs your reality”

“If you’re expecting that your religion is going to help you lead a more prosperous, fulfilling, happy existence – your religion might then actually help you lead a more prosperous, fulfilling, happy existence.”

– Dr. Michael Ferguson, PhD

michaelfergusonphd.com

https://www.facebook.com/religiousbrainproject

https://www.facebook.com/michaeladamferguson
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Peter Breinholt: The artist is more important than ever

Singer / songwriter Peter Breinholt is a local legend. He seems to be as popular today as he ever was 20 years ago. When many musicians would relegate to “has been” status, Breinholt is anxiously chomping at the bit to create his greatest work yet, along with keeping up a busy performance schedule.  This is how it’s done, kids.

“The artist has a critical role in the world. Who else is talking about the things the artist talks about: compassion, love, forgiveness… who else is doing that right now? You’re not getting that on the news. The artist is more important now than ever”

“If you’re an honest writer I think who you are is going to come through.”

PeterBreinholt.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/peterbreinholt

https://www.facebook.com/PeterBreinholtMusic

https://twitter.com/peterbreinholt

 

Richard Dutcher: Your Art is Your Vehicle

Filmmaker Richard Dutcher joins us for a candid conversation about the artist’s life. He shared his journey of overcoming a huge fear in the making of his seminal film, “God’s Army”.

“Bad filmmaking is when you think you have the answers. Or storytelling or any art, if you think you have the answers and you’re just out there to tell people the answers, then you’re full of shit. It’s propaganda and it’s going to be bad art. But if you’re using your art to help you explore, to help you find the answers…If you think of yourself less as an artist perhaps and more as an explorer into these realms that you don’t fully understand yet, things that fascinate you but that you don’t really have a grasp on yet, I think that’s really rich and fertile soil to do your work in.”

 

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Thoughts. Fears. Ideas. Weird. In your mail box:

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When Mormons Doubt: Jon Ogden

Have you ever had one of those awkward conversations with someone who grew up the same way you did… but… YOU’VE changed?  Maybe they are still in the same mode of thinking and living, but you’ve shifted in some way. It could be politics, religion, sexuality, career, school related… whatever. We’ve all been there.  Author Jon Ogden wrote a great book called “When Mormons Doubt: A Way to Save Relationships and Seek a Quality of Life”. It’s a great book about how to navigate those critical conversations while preserving those important relationships. Order your copy of it today by clicking on the book cover below:

when-momons-doubt-john-ogden-cover

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The Crossdressing Mormon Anarchist

Do you have a question or comment? Leave it here and I’ll respond to you – I might even answer it on the show.

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I went to church

Hey guys, I went to church yesterday.
…. and last week
…. alone
…. and I met with my bishop.
It’s been 10 years since I’ve done any of that.

Normally, this kind of thing is nobody’s business.
I cannot believe how difficult it has been for me to write this.
For the past ten years, I have been an outspoken critic of the church. (Which church? All of them. Organized religion is inherently corrupt. I just happen to grow up as a Mormon). I have talked SO much shit on the LDS Church, I have “helped” so many people let go of their faith in it…
…. that I feel like the only way I can look myself in the mirror as an honest man, is to put this out there.

Here’s the short of it:
I feel this sense of being on the edge of something great in my life. (You glass empty people will call it a “glass ceiling”). I’ve had several messengers come to me and instruct me that the secrets to advancing in life are to be found in my shadow self.

Psychologist Carl Jung’s taught the idea that the things that irritate us in other people, are simply reminders and reflections of parts of ourselves that we have not become comfortable with – ie, your “shadow”. That’s where you tuck away the things you want to ignore.

It means, the things in life that keep bothering me, are the things I’m afraid to let myself feel.

It means that there’s a lie happening inside of me somewhere. Lies are tied to truths. Like the story line of any good video game, the more valuable the level-up item, the harder it is to get.

It means I’m insanely interested in finding this truth that’s hiding in the cobwebs of my shadow.

It means that I have realized that the church has been a MASSIVE mirror in my life. I’m completely uninterested in arguments about whether this or that church is “true”. That’s the wrong question to be asking, anyway.

It means that my view of “church” has changed a lot.
It means I’ve allowed the church, it’s leaders, and members, to be imperfect humans, and to stop expecting miracles from them.
The LDS Church is such a mess these days, and it’s getting worse, and it will become even worse yet. I’m there despite their moronic political moves, devastating policies and ludicrous public image.
NOPE.

It means I’m there to figure out why it kept me angry for ten years.

It means everything that Maynard James Keenan of Tool said when he wrote “46 and 2”

“My shadow’s shedding skin and I’ve been picking scabs again.
I’m down digging through my old muscles
Looking for a clue.

I’ve been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could’ve been.
I’ve been wallowing in my own confused
And insecure delusions
For a piece to cross me over
Or a word to guide me in.
I wanna feel the changes coming down.
I wanna know what I’ve been hiding in

My shadow –
Change is coming through my shadow.
My shadow’s shedding skin
I’ve been picking my scabs again.

I’ve been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could’ve been.
I’ve been wallowing in my own chaotic
And insecure delusions.

I wanna feel the change consume me,
Feel the outside turning in.
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and
Cleansing I’ve endured within

My shadow
Change is coming.
Now is my time.
Listen to my muscle memory.
Contemplate what I’ve been clinging to.
Forty-six and two ahead of me.

I choose to live and to
Grow, take and give and to
Move, learn and love and to
Cry, kill and die and to
Be paranoid and to
Lie, hate and fear and to
Do what it takes to move through.

I choose to live and to
Lie, kill and give and to
Die, learn and love and to
Do what it takes to step through.

See my shadow changing,
Stretching up and over me.
Soften this old armor.
Hoping I can clear the way
By stepping through my shadow,
Coming out the other side.
Step into the shadow.
Forty six and two are just ahead of me.”

Here is the song for any who are interested

https://youtu.be/Tja6_h4lT6A

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Self Portrait; 2012. Sitting in the church I grew up in. Logan 2nd Ward

My beliefs haven’t changed. I believe in a Divine Source. We can have a personal connection to it. All humans come pre-wired with an equal opportunity to have powerful connections to the Divine. God doesn’t pick favorites. I believe that our purpose in life is to become more masterful creators. Jesus was a super cool guy who truly understood what it’s all about and taught it better than anyone ever has. Ben Franklin was inspired when he said that “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
I’m ordained as a Dudeist Priest in the Church Of The Latter-day Dude, too.
RUSH is the greatest band of all time.
Anyway, spiritually speaking, that’s about all I’ve got.

So… what am I doing at church?
….long, boring, sleepy, church?
I’m stepping through my shadow.