It’s Friday, and that means it’s PARTY time! Well… not really. Bill and I aren’t big partiers. But there will be a special fest in our little village this weekend. It starts tonight and will consist of live music, a wine stand, AND a beer stand! There will also be a food truck. Hopefully, it will stop raining, so we can enjoy the fun and stay dry.
This week, I’ve been watching more cop videos on YouTube. The ones that end up on YouTube are usually somewhat interesting on some level. Like, the uploaders aren’t going to just put up a video of someone getting a speeding ticket without complaint. Most of the videos that make it to YouTube involve some misbehavior or attitude of some sort.
I have a few favorite body cam channels. I like the ones where there’s a good narrator, even if the narrator is AI. If the AI isn’t super obvious, I don’t mind it that much. I just like a good story, although some of the stories are tragic. Code Blue Cam usually has good body cam videos and a compelling storyline. Their most recent upload is quite the doozy. Just a warning… this video is definitely NSFW, mainly due to the extremely profane language the woman uses as she’s being busted for DUI. I’d share it here, but it’s age restricted.
The below video comes from Real World Police, which is another one of my favorite YouTube body cam channels. As I was watching it, I had to pause and ponder…
In the above video, the older man is very upset as he’s speaking to the police officers. He uses a lot of foul language. One of the cops says, “Calm down!” And it occurred to me, when I’m upset and someone orders me to “calm down”, it usually has the opposite effect. I asked my friends on Facebook if they are ever able to calm down when someone orders them to calm down. Almost everyone responded with a resounding “NO!”, including my former shrink– a psychologist with over 50 years of experience. He said, “It doesn’t work for anyone.”
Please note… I’m not talking about speaking to someone calmly and encouraging them to calm down. I’m talking about ORDERING them to calm down. I see this all the time in the cop videos. The police are wrestling someone to the ground, screaming at them to “stop resisting”, “calm down”, “don’t pull away”, and my personal favorite, “RELAX!” Yeah, I’m gonna relax with guys in uniforms with guns, tasers, pepper spray, and handcuffs are screaming at me and my adrenaline is pumping. Not.
I liken the order to “relax” and “calm down” by police as the same as a gynecologist telling someone to relax while they have their fingers in one of their patients’ orifices. I’m sorry if that’s shocking to some readers, but in all seriousness. One of the main reasons I’ve only had two exams done in my 51 years of life is because when I had my first “female” exam, the doctor was awful and ordered me to relax as she was hurting me. When she hurt me, I cried out, and almost fainted. She basically told me to shut up, or she wouldn’t finish the exam. I needed the exam to join the Peace Corps, so I gritted my teeth.
Then, when the OB-GYN from Hell finished the exam, she said “Well, everything looked okay, but I didn’t get the world’s best exam, because you weren’t relaxed.” Duh… I wasn’t sexually active; it was my first time getting an exam; and she was hurting me in a place where the sun doesn’t shine. And then to add insult to injury, she fat shamed me, too. 😉 How relaxing! NOT. As you can see, that experience really had a traumatic effect on me.
The woman in the above video– name of Precious– is completely out of touch with reality. She asks the cops to let her walk “sexy” as she’s wearing handcuffs. She claims she’s pregnant with Rick Ross’s twins and is his wife. She also says she’s a model. This video is pretty funny, too, because as I mentioned in the above caption, I used to live in Fayetteville, Georgia, where this video was taken. This brings back some good memories for me. I did enjoy living in Fayetteville, but that was before Trump fucked up small town America.
Anyway, the woman in the video isn’t relaxed, but I give kudos to the Fayetteville Police for handling her professionally. We only had one interaction with them. It was when we brought my now 14 year old Mini Cooper– then brand new– to be inspected by the police before we could register it with Fayette County and get new tags. The cop who dealt with us was very efficient and pleasant. I can see from the many cop videos on YouTube that they aren’t always that good.
Last night, for instance, I saw a video Ring of Fire did about MAGA supporter and former Obama and Trump White House physician, Ronny Jackson, who is an actual emergency room doctor, being cussed at, thrown to the ground, and cuffed. Why? Because he was trying to help a teenaged girl in medical distress at a rodeo. I’ve seen many videos where cops have seemingly endless patience and compassion. And I’ve seen other videos where they aren’t much better than the people they arrest, and in some cases, they’re even worse! I’m not saying I like Ronny Jackson is the greatest doctor, but he’s certainly qualified to help a teenager with hypoglycemia. He shouldn’t be thrown to the ground and cuffed for helping someone.
The above video is also a good example of why our mental health system in the United States needs a complete overhaul. That woman is in need of psychiatric care. It sounds like another cop is being more gentle with her. I can understand that dealing with someone like that is very frustrating, but screaming at people doesn’t calm them down. When they arrive at the police station, you can hear the one cop screaming at her to “calm the fuck down”… but it’s really not effective at all. People who are that “amped up” are not in the frame of mind to calm down. The best you can do is put them in a safe, quiet place and wait for them to simmer down. Barring that, Ativan works pretty well… but again, you kinda need a medical person for that.
It always fascinates me to see people ordering people to relax and calm down. That sort of defies logic, doesn’t it? When people yell at me, it makes me want to respond in kind. I never calm down when someone demands it of me. All that does is piss me off anew. When I was younger, I used to get really upset and hysterical, even to the point of hyperventilating. I haven’t had a good, full-blown anxiety attack in years, though… thank God. It’s not a nice feeling. The woman in the above video, especially, needs some compassion, even though she’s clearly broken the law and needs to answer for that. I suspect she’s mentally ill, and needs care.
But I also know that the police, especially in the United States, have a difficult and dangerous, yet very necessary, job. It’s not work that always attracts the best and brightest, nor is the training that great, especially in some areas. It seems like cops are trained to be very authoritative, instead of de-escalating situations. One thing I have noticed over here in Europe is that cops are more interested in non-violent interactions, and they work hard to keep things peaceful, as they also keep the peace. It helps that there aren’t so many guns, here.
I’ll leave you with this old video by Beau (Justin), of Beau of the Fifth Column, who used to train law enforcement. He makes a lot of sense, and the video isn’t distressing or violent. If you watch any of the videos in this post, I highly suggest watching this one, simply because he brings up the state of mind of the person being arrested, which is an important key point that I think a lot of people miss.
This morning, I noticed that The Atlantic was rerunning an article about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I read the article the first time it ran, back in January, so I didn’t read it again this morning. Instead, I went directly to the Facebook comments. Many people posted that the LDS church is a cult. I happen to agree that it’s a cult. If you go by the strict definition of a cult, Mormonism fits nicely. According to Dictionary.com, the noun usage of “cult” is defined:
a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
the object of such devotion.
a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
I notice that there’s nothing really negative implied by this definition. In fact, based on the dictionary’s definition, just about any religious group could be called a cult. But many Americans see the term “cult” as negative, so when a group is called a “cult”, some people become defensive. Such was the case this morning, when an obviously LDS church member took on the many people who were calling the LDS church a cult. I chuckled to myself when I came across this exchange:
I thought about responding to him, since the original poster hadn’t. I was going to ask, “Are you sure you want us to spell it out for you?” Because again, if you look at the official definition of a cult, Mormonism and most other religious groups fit quite nicely. But Mormonism also fits nicely under the more sinister meaning of a cult as it’s defined by famed cult expert, Rick Ross. In a 2009 article published by The Guardian, Ross explicitly spells out the “tell tale” signs of a cult . He quotes psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who taught at Harvard Medical School and wrote a paper titled Cult Formation back in the early 1980s. Below are the three main characteristics of cults, according to Lifton.
1. A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power. That is a living leader, who has no meaningful accountability and becomes the single most defining element of the group and its source of power and authority.
2.A process [of indoctrination or education is in use that can be seen as] coercive persuasion or thought reform [commonly called “brainwashing”].
The culmination of this process can be seen by members of the group often doing things that are not in their own best interest, but consistently in the best interest of the group and its leader.
3.Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.
Ross goes on to provide a list of ten signs of an “unsafe” group or leader:
Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.
Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader.
Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.
The group/leader is always right.
The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
As I look at this list, and consider what my husband experienced when he left the LDS church, as well as many of the other stories of what people who have left Mormonism have gone through, I recognize a lot of the signs. The LDS church has a “living prophet”. Right now, the prophet is Russell M. Nelson, who is 96 years old. True believing Mormons consider Nelson to have the ability to receive special revelations from God, although they do realize that prophets are human and sometimes speak “as men”. In other words, the prophet is only a prophet when acting as such, which provides a convenient explanation when a prophet says or does something that is distinctly un-Godly.
People who are in the church but question it are often told to “put it on the shelf” or “doubt their doubts”, meaning that they shouldn’t think critically or worry about any niggling thoughts they have as to whether or not the church is true. Members who are too vocal about their doubts will surely be called in to talk to the Bishop, at the very least. They are not encouraged to talk about their concerns with friends or family, especially if those people are also church members. And every member has home and visiting teachers– church members who come by other members’ homes to teach them a “lesson” or have a look at the books and movies on display in a person’s home… or maybe check to see if there’s a coffee maker.
Drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol, you see, is forbidden. So is the use of tobacco or recreational drugs. Mormons are very scared of “addictions” and many believe that ANY use of a forbidden substance, masturbation, or viewing pornography is a full on addiction. My husband’s younger daughter, at age nine, visited us ONCE. She saw two beers in our refrigerator and actually slapped Bill across the face for having them. She even called him a drunk. It was quite a shock for me to see that, since I actually was raised by a drunk. And I can tell you that Bill isn’t an alcoholic (thank GOD). But he does like to drink alcohol.
I don’t have much to write about the church’s financial dealings, other than to state that the church invests in a lot of businesses. Members are expected to tithe ten percent of their gross income, and every year, there is a “tithing settlement” meeting with the Bishop. If members don’t pay a full tithe and follow the rest of the rules, they can lose their “temple recommend”, an actual ID card that allows believers to visit temples, where they put on weird clothes and go through religious ordinances sometimes involving films. This might not be a big deal, except that most faithful Mormons get married in temples, so if you don’t have a current recommend, it might mean you’ll miss a family member’s nuptials. Recently, the church was in the news for misleading members about how donations were potentially being misused.
Bill stayed an active member for several years after he and his ex wife converted. Part of the reason he stayed in the church was because it was used as a tool to keep him in line. He was afraid that if he resigned from the church, he would lose contact with his children. That did end up happening, although it was happening before he finally resigned. Many people told him that resigning would lead him to ruin, although as you can see, his life only improved exponentially after he got divorced and quit the church. An added bonus was that he no longer had to wear the underwear with special symbols on it. If dictating to members what kind of underwear they wear isn’t the sign of a cult, I don’t know what is. And members will often “garment check” other members, checking to see the telltale signs that a person is wearing the proper underwear and is dressed “modestly”.
Hang out on the Recovery from Mormonism board, and you will read many stories from former church members. Some of the stories are heartbreaking. Sadly, a number of people who used to post on that board are no longer with us. I can think of at least a couple of folks– bright, sensitive, intelligent, and talented people– who took their own lives because of church bullshit. Many times, it’s because they were homosexual and their families couldn’t accept that and disowned them, but other times it’s because they don’t believe anymore, and their families rejected them. There is one frequent poster who has had many problems with his family because he doesn’t believe and won’t conform. Yes, he could go through the motions in order to keep the peace, but why should he have to do that? It’s not an authentic way to live, and it leads to misery.
The above video is just one of many similar stories about the lingering aftereffects of growing up Mormon. And a lot of people who are in the church will not explore other belief systems. Why not? Because it may shake their beliefs! They don’t want to hear anyone offer criticism about the church and will be very threatened by negative commentary about the church. But if the church is true, why does it matter what other people say? How can a testimony be shaken if church members are so certain the church is “true”? I have gotten many comments from offended Mormons about posts I’ve written. It always perplexes me, because if a person is that sure that they have the truth, nothing I write on a little visited blog should have any effect on them.
I personally don’t care what someone’s religious beliefs are… and, in recent years, I’ve become a lot less interested in Mormonism. I don’t write about it as much as I used to, mainly because Bill’s younger daughter, who is a devout Mormon, is finally speaking to him again. I no longer feel as much anger toward the church as I used to… although I still think the church is pretty culty. As Jimmy Snow points out in the above video, the church takes up a lot of time. Members are kept busy and invested– financially, emotionally, and literally, as young men are expected to go on two year missions, often in other countries. Young women can also go on missions, but it’s not expected of them the way it is for the men. And while plenty of people leave the LDS church after serving missions, it’s my guess that the mission experience is likely to bind people to the religion.
I have also noticed that a lot of members don’t actually know that much about their church’s history… or they only know the whitewashed version taught by the church’s leaders. For instance, they don’t dwell on the fact that Joseph Smith had a habit of marrying girls as young as fourteen or the wives of men who were sent away. Church members will explain that we shouldn’t judge Joseph Smith by today’s standards. But what about the wives of other men that Smith married? Many modern Mormons are descended from polygamists, although mainstream Mormons don’t practice polygamy anymore. It is still practiced among FLDS (fundamentalist) Mormons. Fundamentalist Mormons claim that their version of Mormonism is the “truest” one, since plural marriage is still practiced.
That all being said… the LDS church is not unlike a lot of religious groups that fit into the “cult” definition. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, Scientologists, members of The Way International, and any number of other belief systems that are unlike more mainstream faiths. And, in fact, most churches are culty. I have some respect for Catholicism, but it’s a pretty culty belief system, too.
I could have spelled all of this out for the guy on The Atlantic’s Facebook page, but I figure other people with more patience and energy can take it up with him. What matters to me is what I believe, and I doubt I could change the guy’s mind, anyway. His beliefs don’t affect me personally, and if he’s happy as a Mormon, good on him. But I see that the longer the post is up on the page, the more arguments ensue. Some active church members are bound and determined to defend the faith, and they resort to lectures and insults to get their points across. Again, I see that as a waste of energy, since most people aren’t going to be receptive to changing their minds when someone berates them. Calling someone a “bigot” is unlikely to inspire them to hear what you have to say, right? I know I’m rarely interested in listening to someone who chastises and namecalls.
Anyway… here’s another video by Jimmy Snow. Again, he’s a great source for information about culty religious stuff– not just the Mormons, but other groups, too… as well as Republican wingnuts like Kaitlyn Bennett, the gun toting college grad who made the news a few years ago for posing with her weapon while wearing a cap and gown.
I’m hoping to get my second vaccine today, which may mean that I won’t feel like writing tomorrow. We’ll see what happens, but if there’s no post tomorrow, it’s probably because I’m bedridden.
Edited to add… Poster sunbeep on RFM has offered this entertaining parody of church membership…
Have you tried the new restaurant across town? Two nice young kids stopped by my house to tell me about it. They said the food was delicious to the taste and very desirable. I listened to them for a while and then they promised to come back and show me parts of the menu.
From what I hear, this isn’t just any old restaurant. This place is special and offers a fare that you simply can’t find anywhere else. You don’t need a reservation, but you do need to pass two oral exams. Once you have been recommended, you can go inside. After you have eaten here a few times, they will assign you a night and expect you to eat here on that night every week. Someone will even call you to see if you went.
This is not a cheap place to eat, in fact it’s rather expensive, but the rewards are out of this world and they promise you that you won’t be disappointed. Soon you will be asked to tell others about this place as the owners want all to receive it. Oh, one more thing; the patrons who eat here will also be asked to help clean it once a week. It’s only fair, you help dirty it, you help clean it.
If you eat here long enough, they will even let you be a server, a cook, a dishwasher, or maybe the bouncer to make sure nobody gets in who couldn’t pass the exams. One of the things that makes this place so special is that everyone is welcome and everyone pretends to love it. Isn’t that a marvelous work and a wonder?
One more thing, and this is verily important. What makes this place even more specialer than other eating places is that you don’t actually eat very much here. You come, you quietly sit, you pretend to enjoy the small morsel of bread and the tiny sip of water. But remember, you can only use your right hand to eat with. Then when your meal is over, you get to take a short nap while someone tells you stories about how blessed you are to find this restaurant.
If you eat here long enough you can even pay to send your children to third world countries to get intestinal parasites and malaria and tell far away peoples about this restaurant. There’s more, much much more, but we don’t want to confuse you with minor details. So, bring your checkbooks, credit cards, or hard earned cash, and dine at the one and only restaurant worthy of praise.
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