This wins the prize for "Stupidest Thing I've Read All Week": "Telling black people they should be 'respectful' to avoid getting shot by police is like telling women they should dress 'appropriately' to avoid getting raped." Wow. Just wow. Heaven forbid we tell people they should be respectful. What a gross violation of their inalienable rights as Americans to do whatever they want with no consequences. After all, cops are obligated to take whatever crap the ungrateful brats they serve and protect dish out at them. They never get attacked or killed in the line of duty, and if they did then that's just their job anyway, so they need to just chillax and not worry about defending themselves.
But in all seriousness, if you mess around with a police officer doing his job just because you're a jackass, you voluntarily forfeit your right to not get shot. This isn't to say that deadly force is always justified or that police brutality doesn't exist, but just to dismiss the absurdity of the original premise. And you know, white people get killed by police too, but that doesn't generate any outrage because it doesn't fit the "police are racist" fantasy. Maybe it does happen to black people proportionately more often, but maybe if society treated them like any other human beings instead of pretending it's still the 1960s and they can't accomplish anything without being patronized, they wouldn't be raised in the kind of culture that leads to that kind of thing. And finally, whoever trivialized rape by attempting to put this petty little complaint on par with it should be embarrassed.
In other news, the LDS Church made a couple of changes to Handbook 1 regarding same-sex couples and their children. John Dehlin, who was excommunicated earlier this year for "asking questions" (and not, as a reasonable person might assume, for trivial things like publicly belittling anyone who believes in the historicity of the Book of Mormon and stating that he considers the concept of the Atonement to be repugnant) got hold of the relevant excerpts from someone in his secret combination, I mean network, and leaked them, prompting hurt, confusion, and widespread outrage.
Anyone sincerely wondering about the rationale behind the changes would be well served to actually listen and think instead of jumping to conclusions. Here, Church Spokesman Michael Otterson interviews Apostle D. Todd Christofferson, who explains it. He was probably chosen to do so because he has a gay brother, Tom (who explains here why his spiritual journey recently led him to abandon his same-sex relationship and return to the Church), which would make him particularly sensitive to multiple sides of the issues. See also: The 9 Facebook Myths About the Church's New LGBT Policy
Elder Christofferson Provides Context on Handbook Changes
To everyone, Mormon or not, who insists on attributing this to hate, hate, nothing but hate, I say as respectfully as possible, get a clue. Do you think the leaders of the Church are braindead? Do you think they were unaware of the backlash they would cause? Do you think they insisted on doing it anyway because their hatred of gay people outweighs their desire for people to like and join the Church? How absurd. The Church's critics so often want to have their cake and eat it too; in their minds the Church is a fraud only interested in baptizing converts and bilking them out of tithing money, yet at the same time it takes unpopular stances on social issues and risks alienating those prospective converts along with current members. And the leaders are apparently intelligent enough to keep the fraud going after all this time but too stupid to realize or care when they're working against their own best interests. That makes perfect sense!
The other thing that annoyed me was all the Mormon youths I saw denying that the news was even true because it wasn't on lds.org. I only wish that were a straw man characterization. Some gems: "Until further legitimate documentation is provided, which is first and foremost always on lds.org first, I conclude this to be a hoax, and have made my own conclusion that KUTV is not a reliable source of information (never have) because of a lack of true sources to support the message in the articles. In other words, shut your blasphemous pie-hole, and thank you." "No sources, random website. Please stop posting third-party websites and start using common sense." "I don't give a flying dipwad if you know a bishop. Until Top comes out publicly with this information, it's false. Doctrine is doctrine, and it doesn't make any sense, nor has it ever made sense, to withhold doctrine from the public." "Kids these days. Believing anything on the internet they see. I have no pity on you for failing to find truth. Keep listening to what you wish. As for me, I'm not going to listen to your pissant attempts to belittle."
Actually, those are all from the same guy. Oy.
You know, as I said a few weeks ago, a certain breed of skepticism is healthy. I wouldn't fault fault anyone for waiting until the Church officially said something before they fully accepted the news. But to flat-out reject it right away just because they don't like it and it isn't on lds.org isn't skepticism, it's just irrational and wrong. Maybe this kind of attitude and inability to handle the truth is one reason, as hinted at by Elder Oaks, why we needed to use a sanitized version of church history in most venues until recently. Marvin Perkins related, "As an exuberant new member of the Church, I was in a conversation with someone, trying to share the Gospel. As we spoke, he pointed out what he said was a fault of Joseph Smith. In my inexperience, I defended Brother Joseph with denial - 'impossible... couldn't be.' My new-member mind was saying that the Church was true, so what this man was saying couldn't be. I'd later find out that his claim was true. Now it didn't bother me as much to find out that Joseph was human and had faults as it did that my credibility with this man was shot because I was willing to defend something in total ignorance. I had not studied the issue he'd presented, yet I was willing to speak out on it. Once my credibility was gone, I felt I had little chance at helping him want to know more about the Church."
It seems to me that growing up, we always put Joseph Smith on a pedestal and acted like he was perfect even though we would adamantly deny doing so. Now, it seems the pendulum has swung the other way and we're attempting to compensate by constantly saying, "Joseph Smith was imperfect, Joseph Smith had flaws, Joseph Smith made mistakes", and so on. I find both extremes annoying and I hope that they'll balance out in a few years. Why can't we just treat Joseph Smith as a person? Why can't we just be candid about his flaws whenever it's relevant, without going out of our way to mention them just to prove that we acknowledge that they exist? If we just treat him as a person, we don't need to explain that he had flaws because it goes without saying. Granted, many Mormons are comfortable with the abstract intellectual notion that Joseph Smith was generically "flawed", but become hurt and uncomfortable when they encounter any actual specific examples. That's a shame.
Bracelets (whom you should remember because I've mentioned her before; if you've forgotten, suffice it to say that she is not a relative of Dora the Explorer's monkey friend but rather a girl from one of my classes whom I have granted this pseudonym as a tribute to one of her fashion proclivities) is the very archetype of a classy lady. Last week I asked her out, which was a big deal considering how much I hate dating. I don't think I've ever gone into much detail here about how much I hate dating, because I wouldn't know how to do so without it sounding like a pity party. Suffice it to say for now, then, that I hate it. Nonetheless, sometimes I experience a lapse in memory and judgment and attempt to do it anyway.
Bracelets is a very impressive individual but, in order to keep this post a reasonable length and hopefully not say more than I should say, I will narrow my recollection down to three of the things that impressed me the most that evening (in no particular order).
1. Her phone beeped like seven times in two minutes. I thought someone was harassing her, but then realized that she just has a lot more friends than me. It beeped a few more times over the course of our time together, but she didn't take it out while we were talking or even when there was a lull in the conversation. For that, I mentally made her an honorary member of Gryffindor and awarded her a billion points.
2. She gave an impassioned spiel about how she knows what she wants and she's not going to settle for less. I was so proud to hear that, since I already know that some of what she wants, though perfectly reasonable, is very difficult to find these days in our degenerated society, and it had occurred to me to mention to her that she should hold out for it and not settle for less, but obviously I don't need to because she's already on top of things.
3. She gave an impassioned spiel about the importance of honesty and how it's important to know the truth even when the truth sucks. I wanted to applaud, because this touches on one of the things I hate the most about dating, where dishonesty is not only accepted but expected. The lies of which I have been on the receiving end were mostly intended to spare my feelings; but by insulting my intelligence and betraying my trust they had the opposite effect. After one particularly brutal occasion, as I was breaking down in tears to my bishop, he mused, "Our society gives women a free pass to lie for their convenience." And I was kind of stunned that he would say such a thing. I thought, Whoa, dude, you'd better not talk like that if you ever want to become a General Authority. You're supposed to pretend that women are perfect little angels who can do no wrong.
So anyway, honesty is very important to me and, though perfectly reasonable, very difficult to find these days in our degenerated society. And overall I just had a great time. I had been trying for over a month to do something with Bracelets, but she was always busy, and after a while it had gotten discouraging. But that evening, it was all worth it.
This week's song - not that I'm obligated to provide a song every week, but this week's song - is by Erasure who, thanks to the popularity of "Robot Unicorn Attack", are known by everybody and their dog for "Always". I found the CD with that song, and another one by them, at Hasting's for 97 cents each. So I purchased them both and on the one that doesn't have "Always" I was blown away on the second track by this gem. The video is really weird, as you can probably guess by looking at the preview.