Friday, December 12, 2014

Hi, I'm Infertile

Living with infertility is not something I planned on as a child. I knew life would occasionally be less than perfect, but I only ever thought I'd end up with really bad bouts of strep throat or pink eye (my worst enemies in those younger years).

It's not all bad. I mean, there are times when everything is wonderful. In these moments, I have all the hope in the world that everything will work out perfectly and soon I'll have new, simpler worries to deal with.

There are other moments when that vision crashes on my head as if to say, "Don't plan on it."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Race, Police, and Other Bad News

If you're the type who follows the news, then you might have noticed that things seem a little down lately. Times may be confusing and depressing, but fear not: Expert Textperts is here as always to explain the most important going-ons goingses-on things happening in your world today. Here's your news update for December 2014.

Now with 500% more image captions

Saturday, November 22, 2014

For and In Behalf Of: A New Skin (Part 2)

This is a continuation of a piece I have been posting. For the first part of this scene, click here. To start at the beginning, read Scene 1. Also, this portion includes a video from rehearsal to show some choreography for the piece. Soon, I will add a similar video for the second half of Scene 2.


AllanFor all her service, talents, and leadership, because she was a woman, my grandmother would never be ordained to the priesthood. Not in the regular operations of the LDS Church, anyway. But in the temple and in the covenants my grandmother wore to her death, she wore the power of the priesthood and acted in its authority.

[Enter B and F]

Allan: But I think I would like you to learn about that from two women who have often been close to my family. This is Sister Kelley and Sister Jensen.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Weirder Side of Evangelizing: A Journey Through a Jack Chick Comic Book

Late last week, while making my commute to class, I stopped at a gas station and found a Jack Chick comic stuck in a crack in the gas pump. If you haven't heard of Chick before, you very well may have seen his work, as he and his company create comic book tracts for Evangelical Christians that are:

a.) commonly handed out or left in public areas by, I'm sure, well-meaning people; and
b.) crazier than a sloth with syphilis.

Some of my personal favorites in his oeuvre include a scathing denunciation of that great abomination of the 20th century, Dungeons and Dragons; the classic "This Was Your Life," in which all of a man's sins are shown on a theater screen in heaven, including that time he checked his watch during church; and the ominously titled "The Visitors," in which a brave Christian girl tells her maiden aunt/strict librarian/Sarah Palin? that Mormonism is...well, take a look for yourself:
I am so looking forward to LDS.org's upcoming Gospel Topics essay on Baal worship.
Seeing this comic book gave me two immediate thoughts. One, leaving a tracting pamphlet in a gas pump is only one passive-aggressive step removed from leaving an anonymous note on your neighbor's windshield saying, "Hey friend, heard you weren't baptized! That's cool, nothing wrong with that, but you're totally going to hell. I love what you did with your yard!" Two, that I must take this pamphlet, read it, and share it with all of you, for the good of all the Internet.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

For and In Behalf Of: A New Skin (Part 1)

This is a continuation of the performance piece I have written. I invite you to read Scene 1: In the Beginning... and Scene 2: The Fall if you have not yet done so.


III. A New Skin

[With lights out, projection reads: “III. A New Skin”. Lights rise on female figure]

D: I don’t care what anyone says: Clothes make the man. Naked people often have little to no influence in society.

[Projection reads: “I don’t care what anyone says: Clothes make the man. Naked people often have little to no influence in society.”  – Mark Twain, 1905]

D: Mark Twain, 1905

[Light fades on D. D exits and Allan re-enters. Lights up on Allan]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

10 Historical Issues The Church Still Isn't Discussing Openly (with gifs for some reason)

With the recent release and subsequent media coverage of essays on LDS.org addressing controversial issues in Mormon history like polygamy and the black priesthood ban, I thought it useful to remind everyone that while the church's steps toward greater candor and transparency are laudable, there are a number of troubling issues it is still reluctant to confront. In the interest of promoting dialogue and encouraging further progress, I've compiled ten of the most egregious examples along with reaction gifs to boost my pageviews as a visual aid.

1. Joseph Smith shot a man in Kirtland just to watch him die.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On Being A Geek Girl

Our smart, funny, geeky friend Kate M. posted this fantastic post on her personal blog, and we now reproduce it here with her permission.

In addition to being a student at the University of Utah, Kate M. is a bibliophile, backpacker, international volunteer, and full-time adventurer. She firmly believes in the innate goodness of human beings, the power to change the world through art, and the dementor-alleviating properties of chocolate.

I am a geek.

It’s not always apparent in my day-to-day life, but here in my apartment, it’s obvious. I’m writing this while sitting under a Return of the Jedi poster and a Lord of the Rings wall calendar, wearing an Amazing Spider-Man t-shirt and Adventure Time pajama bottoms. My nightstand holds a reading lamp, an anthology edited by George R. R. Martin, and an illustrated Neil Gaiman short story. My many bookshelves are overflowing with classics and fantasy novels and comic books. Mounted on the wall across from me is a quote by the Tenth Doctor.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

For and In Behalf Of: The Fall (Part 2)

This is the second part of scene 2 from the performance piece I have written. To start at the beginning, click here. To start at the top of scene 2, click here.


[F exits]

Allan: From all accounts, my grandfather was a great man: kind, giving, a devoted husband and father, a loyal friend. However, I also know that my grandfather was very much a man of his time, a man that grew up in Georgia and northern Florida in the mid-twentieth century. That is basically to say that he was pretty racist. I don’t really know the extent, but I certainly remember growing up hearing the terms “nigger-rigged” and the rhyme “Eeny-Meanie-Miney-Mo” including the hauntingly violent image of “catch[ing] a nigger by the toe.” And for the most part, there’s a simple narrative you come to learn in the South—even the arguably pseudo-South of Northern Florida—that lets you reconcile yourself to this messy racial family history: “they’re from an earlier generation, they didn’t know better.” But something about that is not enough; I still struggle with what exactly I am supposed to do with this strain of mortal imperfection that disrupts the vision of familial sainthood. To be honest, I much prefer whitewashing the memory of my grandfather’s racist convictions—it’s just more pleasant to remember the nicer, more uplifting qualities of the man, of which there were plenty. I mean really, don’t most of us want in some way to redeem our ancestors or loved ones as we try to make narratives of their past? How many eulogies tend to erase flaws, errors in the past, ironically in honor of memory? And I know I am not alone in this. How do you deal with your progenitors own falls from grace? What’s your story of Garden when you are a son of Adam or a daughter of Eve? You don’t have to actually answer; that was pretty rhetorical. We’re not getting that participatory in the performance today. At least, not yet.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

For and In Behalf Of: The Fall (Part 1)

The following is a continuation of the script I wrote for a performance piece that explores the practice of proxy baptisms for the dead. This is the beginning of the second scene. For Scene 1, click here


II. The Fall

[With lights out, projection reads: “The Fall”. Chuck Berry’s “Back in the USA” begins to play. Lights rise on female figure]

F: As my sister and I drive along the Trail of Tears, the most happiness I find is when we're in the car and I can blare the Chuck Berry tape I brought. We drive the trail where thousands died, and I listen to the music and think what are we supposed to do with the grisly past? I feel a righteous anger and bitterness about every historical fact of what the American nation did to the Cherokee. But, at the same time, I'm an entirely American creature. I'm in love with this song and the country that gave birth to it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

God's Middle Managers: Why General Conference Is Boring And Why That's (Maybe) Okay

As I write this post LDS General Conference is underway. Those of you who are Mormon or who have Mormon friends are probably seeing social media flooded with uplifting memes, quotes, and invitations to listen to a prophet's voice. There's no denying that General Conference is an important Mormon ritual, in which millions of the faithful willingly sacrifice the better part of a perfectly good weekend to watch a succession of fairly dry, predominantly male speakers teach what we take to be revelation from God's prophets.


Lots and lots of this

I count myself as one of those Mormons (although I've missed a session or two for other activities in the past), but I have to confess: while I occasionally find General Conference inspirational, uplifting, and useful, sometimes it can be a little underwhelming. I remember talking up General Conference as a missionary. “Just watch ONE SESSION!” I would tell people. “You’ll be so hooked you’ll stay for the entire time! How long is that? Only 8-10 hours!” Once or twice people actually did watch. I remember asking one person how she liked a particular session. “It was nice,” she said. “A lot like what my pastor teaches.”