We've finally made it back home after enjoying a week in Zion, or should I say Deseret, or should I say Utah. It really wasn't a bad visit. My husband's mother acted strangely the whole time, but his grandparents are amazing caring people, whose only hangup is that they talk about church all the time (but what can you do, they are old after all).
My mother in law doesn't really like me all that much, because I am a bad influence on her son (of course), and not the molly Mormon she would like me to be. But that's OK, because Marcus's grandfather is always praising me and my accomplishments in my school and career (and he has every since before we were married).
1. Quick Preface: My mother in law doesn't like the fact that I work and my husband works from home and takes care of our daughter while I'm gone. She asked him, "So are you just going to let Hypatia work then? That's not what I wanted for you."
2. I heard my mother-in-law crying almost every night in the bathroom.
3. I had to walk on eggshells everytime church came up in conversation because my husband's grandparents don't know but his parents do and so we had to walk the fine line of being vague and not addressing church related questions asked of us directly.
4. My mother in law suggested that my husband should be afraid of me leaving him because we are no longer church goers.
5. Our daughter busted her face on a hide-a-bed in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, so all of her Christmas pictures have a black eye and fat lip.
6. Santa came to visit our daughter, and in an attempt to get her to sit on his lap, I was asked to sit on his lap first as an example. (i.e. Weird)
7. My daughter got a bad cold and got sick a lot.
1. Santa came to visit our daughter, and she was surprisingly social with him.
2. My daughter was a beacon of sweetness and adorableness. My husband's grandparents commented all the time on how wonderful she is. And my husband's parents have a hard time denying that maybe she's not having a horrible upbringing with us as parents.
3. My daughter played in the snow.
4. I was able to enjoy the company of my husband's grandparents. When we lived in Utah we visited them all the time. I love being around them and I miss them already.
5. Because my daughter was sick, I didn't have to go to church on Sunday. Oh yeah!
6. Marcus and I found some interesting literature in the library of my grandfather-in-law (former stake president, bishop x2, stake president, regional representative). It included the following books and titles:
- Origins of Power by Michael Quinn
- Birth of Satan by T. J. Wray
- God's Problem by Bart Ehrman
- Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman
- The End of Faith by Sam Harris
So that is a very, very, very brief summary of our Christmas break. I'm sure Marcus will write more about it.
I am so glad to be home now.
Well, my family and I are flying out to Utah today for the holidays. I don't know that I will get a chance to post or comment on blogs over the next week, as we will be staying with my husband's relatives. So, I don't exactly want to be accessing this blog through their computers. I have a slight fear that they will discover this online abomination, which (as you know) documents my heathenish ideas. I will miss everyone and I wish you all a Merry Christmas! Or a happy whatever you choose to celebrate.
Happy holidays everyone!
And if they were in the habit of conferring honours among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honours and glories, or envy the possessors of them?
I've been moving through life as an observer of human behavior for the past couple of days. And there is something that is making me literally sick about where I live.
It's just so fake. The landscape is littered with strip malls, blow up holiday decorations, and tons of kitsch. I just don't understand why people value all this crap. I was at Kohls this morning, looking for an outfit for our trip to Utah. (We are going to Utah next week to visit my husband's grandparents and parents for Christmas.) Anyways, I kept hearing all these older women argue with different clerks about different things.
"Wait! How much is that?! I had a coupon for that! It should be 30% off!"
"Are you saying I'm making this up?! The display said these should be 8 dollars a piece!"
The true "spirit" of the holidays permeated the store and gave me the warm fuzzies. If by warm fuzzies you mean wanting to bash your head into a post and vomit violently across the floor.
Everyone around me was stressed. Hurrying to get their shopping in. Looking over each other's shoulders to make sure there wasn't someone in on a deal to which they were not aware of. Actually, by the time I found a cart that had a child seat (my daughter was with me and there were NO available carts in the store), I became literally ill with the environment around me; I had to leave. And I did. I actually nixed shopping for that holiday outfit because I didn't want to be a part of what I was witnessing. It was awful.
For some reason, this made me remember another experience I had at the same department store a little while back. I was trying on some pants that I had to buy for work, when I heard a woman comment in the stall next to me, "I just pray to the Lord to send me another Kohl's coupon!" I think that basically sums up the culture here. I live in the south, and so there are megachurches and Jesus bumper stickers aplenty, but there is this huge disconnect in between reality and worship. It's the suburban view of piety. The view that, hey, I have access to all this "stuff" so that means that I deserve all this "stuff" and I'm going to keep praying for more "stuff" because God likes to give me "stuff" because I believe in Jesus.
All of this glorifying of nothingness seemed to culminate in a conversation I had with a friend at work today (I work with some really cool people). Anyways, my friend was waiting with her family at a restaurant the other night. It was really busy as it was the same day that a huge city event was going on in celebration of the holidays. There was about an hour wait to be seated in the restaurant, and there was chaos everywhere.
So this guy comes in, and starts yelling at the hostess. He was screaming that his wife was told they would be seated next but that in reality they weren't next and had to wait a little while longer. Because of the crowded conditions in the restaurant (everyone thought it was too cold to be outside so they crammed like sardines inside), this guy was pressed up against my friend as he dehumanized the 20 year old hostess because they weren't seated next.
"I am a business owner. And I own a hair salon here downtown! And I'm going to make sure that everyone who comes into my salon to get their hair done DOESN'T come to this restaurant because what you are doing is horrible!" and so on and so forth.
Anyways, so my friend, basically stood up for this girl who started to cry because this man was being such an @$$ hole to the her. She said, "Hey, it's not her fault! She's just the hostess. If you have a problem you need to talk to the manager."
He then put his nose a few inches from my friend's face and screamed at her. "Get the f**k out of my face lady! You stay out of my business and I will stay out of yours!"
Needless to say the manager eventually arrived and took the man outside. I don't think he went back into the restaurant after that.
So what does it take to feel so entitled? Apparently, if someone owns a hair salon and they are a little delayed in getting a table at a restaurant, then they get to berate and emotionally abuse a human being. I don't understand this idea of feeling superior to others because of some perfunctory fact or label.
But I think some people really believe, that if they are being "served" by someone, that they are better than them. I just don't understand it. Why DO we confer honors on each other? Why am I any better than the person next to me? Why do people think they're so much better than the next? That they have the "right faith" or the "right job" or the "right anything"?
This is such an amazing universe. We are all part of it. We are all connected by the very genetic make up of our beings. And here we spend all this time trying to disconnect ourselves from each other. To artificially isolate ourselves from reality. To indulge in artificiality.
There is so much out there, why can't we see past our front porch?
I know I mentioned before that my awesome husband, Marcus, wasn't going to be contributing to the blogosphere anymore. But I have some great news! He decided to pick it up again using our old blog. I will keep writing here of course, but it will be great that he and I will have our own blogs as we continue to ponder on the strange realities of religion and life!
Welcome back, Marcus! ;)
A recent conversation with a friend got me thinking A LOT about codependent relationships. And not just any kind of codependent relationships, I'm talking about the ones in between people and religion.
Do you feel responsible for other people--their feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being and destiny? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes... and Yes.
Do you feel compelled to help people solve their problems or by trying to take care of their feelings? Yes
Do you feel safest and most comfortable when you are giving to others? I would say yes.
Do you feel insecure and guilty when someone gives to you? This one I would have to say probably not...
Do you feel empty, bored and worthless if you don't have someone else to take care of, a problem to solve, or a crisis to deal with? "These are the latter days. Satan has never had more power over the hearts of men. We must do everything we can to fight the powers of Satan, with the movies we choose, the company we keep, and ... oh... be sure to come to the church Christmas party on Saturday!"
Are you often unable to stop talking, thinking and worrying about other people and their problems? Does three hours on Sunday and asking members for two daily personal prayers count?
Do you lose interest in your own life when you are in love? Yes. You have to lose yourself in Christ. You have to remove your identity and become of one mind, one heart, and one spirit.
Do you stay in relationships that don't work and tolerate abuse in order to keep people loving you? "We sacrifice for Christ."
Although the fallout from me leaving the church hasn't completely settled, my parents and I are definitely on speaking terms, and things are very slowly becoming more tolerable. (Although I had a rather humorous episode on the phone early this morning when my mom offered to buy me cable so I could watch the BYU channel.)
Anyways, lately, my parents have been taking my daughter to church. Now, every time they have taken her, they have asked before hand for permission. I really don't have a problem with it. In fact I think she might be having fun going to nursery and playing with other little ones her age. And honestly, I enjoy the three hours of free babysitting every Sunday.
But is this a good idea? I'm concerned that I may be giving my parents a false hope that I am going to go back to church or something. I also don't want my little one to be confused about what to believe as she grows older.
Does anyone else have this conundrum? How do they deal with it? Have any problems been made manifest in familial relationships or in children? Thoughts?