This Easter I find myself in roughly the same spot I was at last Christmas, being agnostic about Jesus but wanting to believe in Jesus because certain interpretations of the concept of Jesus are wholesome and beautiful. No need to rehash all that again. I went to my old LDS congregation to hear some friends sing. To my delight, the service focused on Jesus, not Joseph Smith or Russell Nelson. One beautiful person spoke between the musical numbers and she gave a mostly beautiful talk about Jesus and I ached with desire to believe most of what she was saying. She didn't mention how Jesus in the Book of Mormon celebrated Easter by annihilating seventeen cities, though, and I can do without that. She surprised me with a joke about how the world she makes (after becoming a literal and not just figurative goddess) will be fall all the time and only have snow in the mountains. It's been probably fifteen years or more since I heard an LDS person joke about creating his own planet - he said he would make it full of ski resorts - and in the intervening time the church has claimed that "few Latter-day Saints would identify with caricatures of having their own planet," but I guess she missed that memo.
Apparently Latter-day Saints celebrate Holy Week now too, despite most of them knowing little or nothing about it. I believe it was a year ago in General Conference when for the first time I heard two apostles acknowledge Good Friday as if it was something that we were all familiar with. It felt disingenuous. From what I've heard about last weekend's conference, they've ramped the Holy Week talk way up and it still feels disingenuous. Instead of saying "Hey, we've received further light and knowledge and decided that we should start celebrating Holy Week" - which I would respect even though I wouldn't believe for a moment that revelation had anything to do with it - they're acting like they've always celebrated it. I don't know why the church is allergic to transparency even when it has nothing to lose. In five to ten years Latter-day Saints will be overtly gaslighting everyone else that they have always celebrated it.
Here, on that note, is a recent post from the mormon subreddit:
I'm Anglican. Grew up Mormon and all of my circles are basically either Mormon or exmormon. Anyways, the past year or two it seems like they've been having a heavy emphasis on holy week. Like, in conference there was a lot of references to palm Sunday. Nothing in a more traditional sense, but there was at least acknowledgement of holy week.
I have no trouble believing that because it's the same dismissive attitude with which I usually heard other denominations discussed while growing up in the LDS Church. (And it incidentally brings me back around to why I felt the speaker's talk today was mostly beautiful, because she made a comment that there's other religions but only this gospel provides the most healing, and unless she's experienced all those other religions for herself she simply does not know that. To be clear, I think the world of her and I don't think she has an unkind bone in her body, but the Mormon superiority complex has probably infected her from childhood.)
The second and probably final trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny dropped the other day and it looks really great because again, even if the plot is trash - and the bar for plot isn't very high on these movies to begin with - it will be a thrill ride and a visual feast and a therapeutic display of Nazis getting what they deserve (aka death). I'm not going to bother with another full-length analysis but I will say it looks like Marion is dead or divorced, which sucks. Indy just can't catch a break.
Speaking of the 1960s, I also watched a documentary on USU campus the other day about a little-known riot by transgender women and drag queens against police harassment in 1966. I find LGBT history fascinating because this is a demographic that has not only been oppressed but has often been forced to hide its very existence, and it's interesting to study how LGBT people through the decades have conceptualized themselves and how they've adapted and carved out their lives in a world that would wipe them out if it could. Ah, how little has changed. And this history has only convinced me further that everything the LDS Church (and in fairness, a lot of churches) teaches about LGBT people is wrong. Its tagline now is "We love LGBT people but..." and yet this supposed love was nowhere to be seen when LGBT people cried out for their right to literally just exist. When they agitated for freedom from police harassment and discrimination in housing and employment, the LDS Church didn't support them one iota or indeed even acknowledge them any more than it had to, and then, of course, only to preach against their wicked lifestyles. However, the documentary interviews a Methodist minister who did minister to the transgender and drag community with love in the 1960s and support its demands for human dignity, so that was really cool. I recommend this obscure slice of history to everyone.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.