language, LDS, religion, videos, YouTube

Repost: I got accused of posting “hate speech”…

This post originally appeared on my Blogspot version of The Overeducated Housewife on November 27, 2013. I am reposting it for posterity because the issue that prompted me to write the post came up in Facebook memories. The discussion I had with friends about this situation was interesting.

because I posted the following video in an exMormon group on Facebook…

I first saw this video on the Recovery from Mormonism messageboard, years ago. I later got to know “Weird Wilbur”, the guy who made this video. He’s a pretty funny guy, who has sadly fallen on some hard times in later years.

I have posted Weird Wilbur’s “Most Mormons are Jackoffs” video on my blog before.  It was the very first video I ever saw him do.  Someone had posted it on RfM and it garnered a lot of discussion.  I thought what Wilbur said, while neither particularly respectful nor gracefully stated, was largely based on truth.  Wilbur made this video several years ago after an exasperating visit with his now ex-wife’s family, who are LDS.  It wasn’t based on just one contact with them.  Wilbur’s opinions formed after many observations and interactions.

I posted the above video in a secret exMormon group last night with the note that Joseph Smith was a “flim flam” man.  And frankly, in my opinion, he was.  What else would you call a man who sells a ridiculous story about golden plates with “reformed Egyptian” writing on them that he “translated” by looking at them with “seer stones” in a hat?  This same man went on to “marry” girls as young as 14 and the wives of other men.

This video also mentions the excellent New York Times article about Hans Mattsson, a Swedish. LDS church authority who started to figure out the church was based on falsehoods.

Anyway, the first comment from a male member of the group was that Wilbur is an “asshat”.  I responded that I don’t think Wilbur is an asshat.  Then several other males piled on, calling it hate speech and saying that I “should have picked a ‘better video’.” It soon became very condescending and sexist.  That thread went on all day, and eventually turned into a discussion about Mormons and sexism, mainly because a number of the men in that group were trying to “school” the feisty women-folk who stuck up for me. I opted out of the group soon after the men started becoming offensive, because I ain’t got the time for that shit.

I was suddenly reminded of an awful interaction I had with an otherwise nice LDS couple I met while in the Peace Corps in Armenia.  They, too, were serving in the Peace Corps and had impressed me by being attractive, hard-working, and basically nice people.  I happened to mention to them that I had read the book Secret Ceremonies by the late Deborah Laake.  I didn’t know it at the time, but that book was very controversial to Mormons.  The male half of the LDS couple basically shamed me for reading “trash” that was full of lies about their religion.   

At the time, I was shocked.  I hadn’t meant to offend them.  Yes, I read the book, but at the time I didn’t have negative opinions about Mormonism.  I didn’t know enough about it to have negative opinions, despite having read Laake’s personal account about her experiences growing up LDS.  I didn’t say to them what I should have said… or really, should have asked.  And that was, “Have you read the book?  If not, how can you tell me it’s full of lies?”  They hadn’t read the book.  They wouldn’t read it, because church officials had condemned it and they were told it was trash.  Then they shamed me for reading it, even though I am not LDS and didn’t get the memo… and even if I had, I still have the right to my own thoughts and opinions.

Deborah Laake was an outstanding, award winning journalist.  Years after that encounter, I re-read the book with Bill, who is a former Mormon.  He confirmed to me that what Laake had written was true, though much of the book was full of uncomfortable aspects of Mormonism that church leaders would have rather kept under wraps and away from the wondering eyes of those who “can’t understand” Mormonism.  Laake was invited to many talk shows and at every taping, a group of Mormons would show up and try to drown her out.  She later died by her own hand, because she had breast cancer that was resistant to treatment.  She chose to kill herself rather than wait for cancer to kill her.  Some may think she was crazy for making that choice.  Having never had cancer, I don’t feel it’s my place to judge.

Now, I have read Secret Ceremonies twice.  I reviewed it on Epinions and, I think, gave it a fair rating (if I recall correctly, it was four stars, although I can no longer check).  The truth is, Deborah Laake’s book heavily emphasizes sex… and sexual problems that she specifically had.  She blamed her issues on the LDS church.  Some of her issues probably were caused by religion.  Many of her problems probably weren’t.  However, the book she wrote is not full of lies.

As for Wilbur’s video, I will admit and agree that what he says, and the way he says it, may be hard for people to hear.  But at least his opinion is an informed one, and isn’t based on just one interaction.  The group of guys who accused me of posting “hate speech” based their opinions on just one video Wilbur made after a frustrating encounter with Mormon in laws.  Wilbur later took the video down, but someone else reposted it. 

A couple of years after Wilbur posted his “Mormons are jackoffs” video, he posted another one to Mormons because he needed help from the “families first” church.  At the time, his son and daughter-in-law were having troubles with CPS and Wilbur asked Mormon viewers, who supposedly support families, for help in fighting child protective services on behalf of his grandchildren.  The video he made was later taken down and, to my knowledge, is no longer posted anywhere.  I remember being dumbfounded that he was asking for this help from Mormons, since Wilbur does not live a Mormon friendly lifestyle.  He smokes, drinks, swears, chases women and doesn’t attend church.  I imagine most devout Mormons, meeting him once, would never support him in his bid to “save” his grandchildren from CPS.  I bet most of them would base that opinion on just one encounter.  It wouldn’t take the repeated run-ins Wilbur had with his former in-laws that prompted his frustrated “hate” video. 

I got to know Wilbur after he posted that video and we’ve sort of become friends (ETA: in 2021, I no longer hang with Wilbur– he went too far down the Trump rabbit hole).  I most certainly do not agree with all of his opinions, especially pertaining to politics.  But I don’t think he’s guilty of posting “hate speech” when he says that “most Mormons are jackoffs”.  If anything, Wilbur is guilty of negatively painting a large group of people with a broad brush, which is something that a lot of people do, especially when they are angry or frustrated.  I think if I were subjected to repeated visits from people in my own home, self-righteously lecturing me about my habits and repeatedly trying to invoke a church I’m not a member of, I’d come to a similar conclusion.   

What’s more, I think it’s somewhat hypocritical that several people in that group were so deeply offended by Wilbur’s thoughts when members of that very same group recently made a game out of disrespecting the church… to the point of having sex in church parking lots and taking photos of themselves flipping off temples, then awarding each other “points” for doing so.  I don’t remember people screaming about hatred and asshats when that was going on… but I guess since I’ve never been LDS, I’m held to a different standard. 

*Sigh*…. well, at least it’s Thanksgiving weekend and I’m not visiting my parents.  I’ll have to post about that next.

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And now from 2021…

Here’s a link to a news story about Deborah Laake’s infamous book, Secret Ceremonies, which I first read in 1994, when it was first published. At the time, I knew nothing about Mormonism, and was five years from meeting Bill. I didn’t have negative opinions about the church, even after reading that book. In fact, it wasn’t until I saw firsthand the damage done to families by the church that I started having a less positive opinion about Mormonism.

In the below video, you can hear a formerly devout ex-member explain why he left Mormonism. In the video, he explicitly says that not believing in the church threatened to end his marriage. And I have seen how families fracture when people decide they don’t believe anymore. You see families become estranged– children threatened or actually cut off from their parents or their siblings or both… and marriages falling apart. That’s pretty fucked up.

This man explains why he left Mormonism. He’s very brave to post this. If you watch any of the videos in this post, this is a good one to watch.

Most LDS church members have never read Secret Ceremonies, yet they claim it’s full of lies. Bill, who has been LDS, confirmed to me that it’s not full of lies. Moreover, the church does have a lot of “issues”, which are easily discovered on the Internet. I, personally, no longer have such strong opinions against Mormonism as I did in 2013. I still think it’s a crock of shit and needlessly complicates lives, but I am grateful that LDS church members helped Bill’s daughter escape the mini cult run by her mother… who is responsible for getting the family involved in the church in the first place.

Anyway… I just thought it was interesting to re-read the Facebook post that prompted me to write the above post in 2013. The thread is too long and convoluted to add to this post, but it was quite a shitstorm.

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LDS

Reason #255 why I don’t like Mormonism…

Today’s post is about sex. Don’t read it if you’re squeamish or don’t like TMI.

I recently started following Dr. Jen Gunter on Facebook. Dr. Gunter is a Canadian OB-GYN who advocates for women. She is the author of The Vagina Bible, which I haven’t yet read. She also provides abortions and fights for women’s reproductive freedom. It’s no secret that I’m a big believer in letting women make their own choices regarding pregnancy, childbirth, birth control, and everything else that comes with being female. Although I have never been pregnant myself, and therefore, have never had an abortion, I strongly believe that women should have access to them. The reason they have them is no one else’s business but theirs. Dr. Gunter cheers for causes I believe in, so I follow her.

Last night, Dr. Gunter shared this blog post. She writes that she was inspired to Google “premarital exams” after reading a viral Reddit post from a woman who claimed her ex fiance’s father wanted to check her hymen before they got married. I saw that post myself and was shocked by it, although after thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized that even in 2019, this kind of shit is still going on. I’m not sure what belief system the Reddit poster’s ex fiance’s family follows, but I do know there are legalistic religions out there where this kind of thing is “normal”. Thank God the Reddit poster called off the wedding. I’m sure her would be father-in-law’s demand to examine her genitalia was just the tip of the iceberg of what she would have been expected to tolerate if they had gone through with the wedding.

When Dr. Gunter Googled “premarital exams”, she found an article put out by the University of Utah’s department of OB-GYN about “premarital exams”, as well as an ad. Dr. Gunter was obviously shocked to read about this offering in Utah. She clearly hasn’t had much exposure to Mormonism. Good on her for that. Dr. Gunter also noticed that there is no similar “premarital exam” offered for men by the University of Utah’s urology department.

I was one of the first people to comment on Dr. Gunter’s Facebook post. I am not LDS myself, but thanks to Bill’s ex wife’s insistence on converting to Mormonism and raising his daughters in the religion, I have become very familiar with the culture. The “premarital exam” may not be a terrible thing on the surface. Basically, it’s a gyno appointment for young women who are about to get married. LDS women typically marry young and a lot of them are virgins on their wedding days. So they go see the doctor to talk about sexual stuff that, apparently, they never learned in high school, college, or at home… or from personal experience. They might also come home with “dilators”, which, in blunt terms, are instruments that are intended to help the woman get herself ready for penetration.

For about $150, you too can train your vagina, just like some young LDS women do before they marry… In fairness, there are cheaper versions available. This one appears to be “top of the line.” I remember hearing about the dilators for the first time when I took a Psychology of Women class at the University of South Carolina. But they were supposed to be used to treat vaginismus, which is when the muscles down there are too tight.

Dr. Gunter was clearly horrified by this exam, and she offered quite a rant about it. I don’t blame her for being horrified. She seemed especially upset about the dilators and antibiotics on hand in case of a urinary tract infection. But then she goes on about how women marry women, and that having severe pain during sex might actually be because of the man being a “lazy lover”. I suppose I should have also mentioned that a lot of LDS men who are getting married for the first time are virgins, too. In fact, Mormons are discouraged from masturbating. While I’m sure that’s a rule that is frequently broken, those who follow it probably don’t know much about what pleases them sexually. They might not even know what an orgasm is and how it’s supposed to feel.

I’ve shared this a few times, but it bears repeating. These guys are being yelled at for doing what is natural and instinctive. They’re all legal adults, and presumably, mostly virgins. Imagine them on their wedding nights.

As I’m writing this post today, I’m thinking about two young LDS people on their wedding night. They’ve waited all this time to have sex for the first time. They’ve recently taken out their “endowments”, which means they’re probably wearing underwear that is definitely not sexy… and they’ve been taught these underwear are “sacred” and have to be handled in a special way.

But when it comes to having sex, neither of them knows what the hell they’re doing. They’ve spent their whole lives having to talk about their “non-existent” sexual habits with their bishops. Sex is dirty and sinful, unless it’s intended to make babies, which you are only supposed to do after you’ve married, and the wedding must be between one man and one woman. Plenty of gay and lesbian Mormons have gotten married to straight people because that was what was expected of them. So, imagine too that you’re not even attracted to the person you’ve married. That person is “temple worthy”, though, and can take you to the “Celestial Kingdom” and bring new spirits to the Earth who are waiting for families that they’ve chosen (seriously, these are LDS beliefs).

Now we turn them loose to have sex for the first time… can we say disaster? Hopefully, they are attracted to each other and married for the right reasons. But, as I have discovered in about twenty years of unofficial study, plenty of them aren’t and haven’t. And their first time having sex just plain sucks.

I remember reading Deborah Laake’s controversial book, Secret Ceremonies, in which she describes her horribly awkward wedding night to her first husband, Monty, a man she didn’t love. She describes washing out the lambskin condoms her father-in-law gave her as a wedding present. Here’s a screenshot from a 1993 review of Laake’s book that appeared in The New York Times.

“Nutty ceremony” indeed.

Deborah Laake, sadly, died by her own hand in 2000. She had breast cancer, but she also had issues with mental illness. I read her book twice. The first time was when it first came out in the early 90s. Then, years later, I read it again with Bill. He confirmed it wasn’t full of lies, as a Mormon couple I had known in the 90s claimed it was (and they hadn’t even read the book themselves). However, I do remember the book was mostly about sex and how weird it was in Mormonism.

Sick and wrong…

On my old blog, I once wrote about a Mormon bishop who was defending his right to question an eight year old child about his “sexual habits”. When I was eight years old, I didn’t have a clue about sex beyond the most basic facts. And yet in this church, children are expected to divulge their “sins” regarding “self abuse”… also known as masturbation. Imagine you’ve spent your whole youth being taught that sexual stimulation is sick and wrong, and self pleasure is “dirty” and improper. And then you are expected to perform sexually on your wedding night. Sure, both parties are going to be nervous. And remember, there’s no liquor on hand to settle one’s nerves… Ugh. Sounds like a nightmare.

I have never made it a secret that I was myself a virgin on my wedding day. It had little to do with religion, though. I never dated much before I met Bill and never met anyone I wanted to have sex with who also wanted to have sex with me. I likely would have had no issues having sex if I’d had a boyfriend other than Bill, who was LDS when we were dating. He had only been with his ex wife and wanted to wait until after our wedding to have sex the first time. As it turned out, we waited until two weeks after the wedding, because just like Ginny in Sixteen Candles, I got my period on my wedding day. Fortunately Aunt Flow waited until after we said “I do” to make her appearance. It was just icing on the cake on a day that was fraught with mishaps. Consider that my husband’s dad, who was also his best man, locked his knees and almost fainted right before we said our vows. Yeah… it was best to just wait. Fortunately, our marriage has been much better than our wedding day was. That’s the way it ought to be.

Anyway, because I’ve been hanging around ex Mormons ever since Bill and I started dating, I’ve gotten to know a lot about the church, even though I have never been a member. I’ve made some exMo friends, read lots of books, and now that Bill’s younger daughter is speaking to him again, have had some direct knowledge in what the church’s teachings on sex can lead to. Actually, in younger daughter’s case, I’m grateful that she waited until she was in her 20s to get married and have babies. But she’s not finished with college, despite being very bright and capable. Her husband recently found a job, but they’ve just spent several very stressful weeks after the birth of their baby girl in July, trying to nail down housing and employment and health insurance… I’m glad she’s at least mature and mostly sensible, but her children are both under two years old. I really hope she gets some contraception and waits a bit before having the next one… or just stops with the two she has.

I sense Dr. Gunter is a curious type. I hope she’ll do more exploration of how religion can really fuck up a person’ sex life and mental health. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that the people responding to Dr. Gunter also mentioned that this whole “premarital exam” shit is all about the LDS religion and its demands that women be wives and mothers. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a good idea that young women find a gyno that they like and with whom they feel comfortable. I wish I had done that myself. But my first gyno exam horror story, which I’ve already written before, is another rant for another day.

I just think that young women should be empowered to make their own choices about sex, having babies, getting married, and all of that other stuff. And really, the virginal LDS men probably would benefit from counseling about sex before they get married too, if they are going to encourage women to do it. And yeah… the LDS church needs to catch up with us in the 21st century. The premarital exam should not be called a premarital exam, and it should not be done simply because someone is getting married to a man and about to have sex for the first time. The exam should be about health, promoting well-being, and responsible caregiving. You know, like any other physician’s visit should be, for men AND women.

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