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A NEW Normal Mormons will be back in a jiff! Til then, take a look at the archive! Lots of great reads!

"Big Love" to Air Sacred Temple Ceremonies

If you haven't yet heard, HBO is planning to air parts of our sacred temple ceremonies. As you may have guessed, I am extraordinarily angry. Like - really, really angry. It's not so much about the sacred temple ceremony being publicized, it's more about the fact that they are purposefully trying to disrespect us. They hired an ex-Mormon to tell them all the details of what goes on in the temple. Usually producers and directors attempt (albeit the feeblest attempt) to respect most major religions without "crossing that line." Well - they just crossed a huge one. BUT - after reading this article I feel a little better.

From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Website:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes finds itself on the receiving end of attention from Hollywood or Broadway, television series or books, and the news media. Sometimes depictions of the Church and its people are quite accurate. Sometimes the images are false or play to stereotypes. Occasionally, they are in appallingly bad taste.

As Catholics, Jews and Muslims have known for centuries, such attention is inevitable once an institution or faith group reaches a size or prominence sufficient to attract notice. Yet Latter-day Saints – sometimes known as Mormons - still wonder whether and how they should respond when news or entertainment media insensitively trivialize or misrepresent sacred beliefs or practices.

Church members are about to face that question again. Before the first season of the HBO series Big Love aired more than two years ago, the show’s creators and HBO executives assured the Church that the series wouldn’t be about Mormons. However, Internet references to Big Love indicate that more and more Mormon themes are now being woven into the show and that the characters are often unsympathetic figures who come across as narrow and self-righteous. And according to TV Guide, it now seems the show’s writers are to depict what they understand to be sacred temple ceremonies.

Certainly Church members are offended when their most sacred practices are misrepresented or presented without context or understanding. Last week some Church members began e-mail chains calling for cancellations of subscriptions to AOL, which, like HBO, is owned by Time Warner. Certainly such a boycott by hundreds of thousands of computer-savvy Latter-day Saints could have an economic impact on the company. Individual Latter-day Saints have the right to take such actions if they choose.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an institution does not call for boycotts. Such a step would simply generate the kind of controversy that the media loves and in the end would increase audiences for the series. As Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Robert D. Hales of the Council of the Twelve Apostles have both said recently, when expressing themselves in the public arena, Latter-day Saints should conduct themselves with dignity and thoughtfulness.

Not only is this the model that Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated in his own life, but it also reflects the reality of the strength and maturity of Church members today. As someone recently said, “This isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore.” In other words, with a global membership of thirteen and a half million there is no need to feel defensive when the Church is moving forward so rapidly. The Church’s strength is in its faithful members in 170-plus countries, and there is no evidence that extreme misrepresentations in the media that appeal only to a narrow audience have any long-term negative effect on the Church.


During the Mitt Romney election campaign for the presidency of the United States, commentator Lawrence O’Donnell hurled abuse at the Church in a television moment that became known among many Church members as “the O’Donnell rant.” Today, his statements are remembered only as a testament to intolerance and ignorance. They had no effect on the Church that can be measured.

When the comedy writers for South Park produced a gross portrayal of Church history, individual Church members no doubt felt uncomfortable. But once again it inflicted no perceptible or lasting damage to a church that is growing by at least a quarter of a million new members every year.

When an independent film company produced a grossly distorted version of the
Mountain Meadows Massacre two years ago, the Church ignored it. Perhaps partly as a result of that refusal to engender the controversy that the producers hoped for, the movie flopped at the box office and lost millions.

In recent months, some gay activists have barraged the media with accusations about “hateful” attitudes of Latter-day Saints in supporting Proposition 8 in California, which maintained the traditional definition of marriage. They even organized a protest march around the Salt Lake Temple. Again, the Church has refused to be goaded into a Mormons versus gays battle and has simply stated its position in tones that are reasonable and respectful. Meanwhile, missionary work and Church members in California remain as robust and vibrant as ever, and support for the Church has come from many unexpected quarters — including some former critics and other churches.

Now comes another series of Big Love, and despite earlier assurances from HBO it once again blurs the distinctions between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the show’s fictional non-Mormon characters and their practices. Such things say much more about the insensitivities of writers, producers and TV executives than they say about Latter-day Saints.

If the Church allowed critics and opponents to choose the ground on which its battles are fought, it would risk being distracted from the focus and mission it has pursued successfully for nearly 180 years. Instead, the Church itself will determine its own course as it continues to preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

The Beauty of Being Involved

by April

So, contrary to what many have discussed thus far on Normal Mormons, I actually really like my ward. I didn't even have to ward shop! We've lived in the same place for a year, and it hasn't been just until recently that I've had the time and will to actually participate and go every Sunday. But as a new year's resolution, I promised that I would go to everything I possibly could, do my visiting teaching, fulfill my calling as a Mia Maids advisor, and attend enrichment meetings etc... So far, I am doing pretty awesome.

Not gonna lie though, I used to dread going to church and activities. I was always the "new" girl - and no one really knew me very well. Plus, church is boring. I'm sorry - but unless there's an extraordinarily charismatic speaker, I can't pay attention for the life of me. Even in Sunday School. Especially in Sunday School, ugh. But lately, I've found that the friendships I've made with both the youth, the leaders, and many of the women in RS that I actually look forward to showing up.

Sure, perhaps it's bad that I look forward to going to church because of friends or social activities, but honestly how many people do that? Countless. Even the older folks who are supposed to be "attentive" and all "filled with the spirit" doze off, read a book, etc... (even the Bishop!) which honestly - isn't right. At least I look like I'm paying attention instead of blatantly ignoring the speaker like most do.

My husband's view on church callings is quite different - I think I'll have him do a guest post!

What the Heck is Kolob???

Somehow, while working very hard, I was Googling stuff and came upon this image.

I was like, "Hey, that's kinda funny/mean/sad." I had to do a bad photoshop edit on it because there was top secret temple stuff included. (Rude!) But what the Hell is Kolob? If you notice in the background there are letters on the building. So I Googled that. And went to Wikipedia. And found this.

In the Latter Day Saint movement, Kolob is a star or planet mentioned in the Book of Abraham as being nearest to the throne or residence of God. The literal existence and the exact nature of Kolob is a controversial topic in Latter Day Saint movement theology, as is the Book of Abraham, which has not been canonized by the Community of Christ and several other denominations. However, the idea of Kolob has had an influence in the theology and culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

So since I am sort of a "newerish" member, maybe someone could explain this to me? I mean, I read the Wiki definition, but what do you guys think? I had no idea.

Now we sound more like Scientology and their weird planet "Xenu." What gives?


Last night I got down on the side of the bed and started praying as usual. Normally, I thank Him for the things he's given me, and humbly ask Him for the things I need or want. I always include a line about "keeping family and friends safe" and try to thank Him as much as possible for the individual ways in which I've been blessed lately, hoping that my "requests" and "thank you's" will balance out by the prayers end.

Lat night I was sort of at a stand still. I prayed SO hard for my husband and I to get the Lap-Band these past few months that we ended up actually getting it on Dec. 8th together. That was probably the best thing that has ever happened to us both! But now, my husband is having horrendous foot pain. He had gout before, (which is one of the most painful things a man can go through...comparable to child birth they say) and now it's just so much worse. They think it might even be Rheumatiod Arthritis which BOTH of our mother's have, so we know it really, really sucks. He has to use a crutch and even cries because it hurts so bad. And hubby ain't no pansy either. He's gigantic and muscley and just...not a "crier." So I know it's bad.

He said..."What if asking God for something is a lot like making a wish? You know, like when you wish for a million dollars and your dad ends up dying so you can get his life insurance or something... and THAT'S how you get the million dollars? What if God is like that and he gave us the Lap-Band, but then gives me Rheumatiod Arthritis?"

I didn't really know what to say, because maybe he had a point. Thoughts?

This Is Why Mormons Have 400 Kids Each

I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but there are a few things mentioned in my ward this week that really bugged me. We haven’t been to church in a few weeks, so while sitting in sacrament meeting I was really feeling the spirit. Sunday school was a bore as usual, but my husband kept me busy as he impatiently misbehaved the entire time. Then, in Young Women’s (I am an advisor) the topic was on how our views differ from the views of the world. Things like alcohol, drugs, etc… Then came the part about having children in which one of the girls quoted a prophet/leader, “It’s incredibly selfish to not have children when you are able to do so.” or something to that effect. Then she went on to quote more leaders, “People often ask how many children we should have, and to that I say ‘Have as many as you can handle.’” Then she began to get emotional, saying she can’t imagine not using the gift God gave us.

The reason these statements bugged me is because not everyone is the same. I know LDS people that have no desire whatsoever to have children. (Albeit there are very few of them…) but it’s not because they want to “make money” or “travel” – it’s not for worldly things. It’s simply because they aren’t the nurturing type and they don’t particularly enjoy children. I find absolutely nothing wrong with this, and having church leaders say otherwise really makes me angry. Personally, as you may know, I want to have children! But I am not like everyone else. And we all shouldn’t be the same. Sometimes I think Church leaders, but ESPECIALLY certain members tear down people when they are different. They don’t realize that it’s okay to be different and have different feelings towards something like bearing children.

Then the statement, “Have as many as you can handle” just threw me over the edge. I am assuming he meant have as many as you can handle mentally, physically, and financially. Which is a good idea in theory, but all in all really dumb. Again, everyone is different. If I have the mental capacity, the physical ability, and the financial freedom to have “just one more” after say, my 9th child it doesn’t mean I should just keep having kids. Of course, there are people who want more than that, so I say “Go ahead!” But just because you CAN have another child, doesn’t mean you SHOULD, or HAVE to.

I think the church needs to reiterate that having children is good, but only when we can afford to do so. So many times it feels like the church is egging us on to “raise seed unto the gospel” no matter what the cost, or how much government assistance people are getting. Granted, the majority of the LDS people in my area are filthy rich doctors, but we all know the starving BYU students who decide it would be a good idea to have a kid, then get on government aid, and eat ramen just so they can “fit in” with the church mindset of having kids as often and as soon as possible.

Break the mold a little people!

Oh My Heck, We Are Famous

I got an e-mail letting me know that Normal Mormons was in an article! Here it is, from BeliefNet.com.

(UNDATED) Stories about love, lust and the undead may not seem like the best vehicle for teaching teens about faith and morality. But for Stephenie Meyer, who has been called "the Mormon Anne Rice," her best-selling "Twilight" books and upcoming movie contain plenty of teachable moments.Meyer, a wife and mother of three from Phoenix, who is a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and graduate of Brigham Young University, says she has become accustomed to people asking her, "What's a nice Mormon girl like you doing writing about vampires?"But as she told one Mormon-themed Web site, "Unconsciously, I put a lot of my basic beliefs into the story.""Twilight," published in 2005, was the debut vampire novel in the series of books that has now sold nearly 10 million copies, generating the kind of frenzy among tweens and teens that rivals Harry Potter.The film version opens in theaters nationwide on Nov. 21.On the surface, "Twilight" is little more than the latest incarnation of vampire legends that have circulated in many cultures for centuries, and which have been popularized in novels like Bram Stoker's "Dracula" (1897) and Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicles'' series (1976-2003).Yet Meyer's religious and moral values clearly shine through, even though Mormonism is never mentioned.

Heroine Bella Swan has the same insecurities and anxieties as any 17-year-old girl. But when she falls for Edward Cullen, a handsome fellow student who happens to be a vampire, she confronts the kinds of existential questions that religion addresses."The most obvious Mormon influences can be seen in the ways that Meyer has her teenage heroine stand up for marriage and, ultimately, motherhood," says Jana Riess, author of "What Would Buffy Do: The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide" and co-author of "Mormonism for Dummies.""But anyone who is familiar with the Book of Mormon can also discern deeper theological themes, from the Mormon reinterpretation of the Fall of humankind -- which inspired the apple on the `Twilight' book cover -- to the theme of overcoming the natural man, which we can see when Bella wrestles with her desires and decides whether or not to become a vampire.

"The concept for the "Twilight Saga'' series of books came in a vision, says Meyer, who is 34 and had never published a word before pitching her idea to an agent who got her a $750,000, three-book deal.

She doesn't read vampire books or watch R-rated movies like "Interview with the Vampire."And the sexual tension that pervades the stories is a natural byproduct of Meyer's strict Mormon upbringing. Growing up as a good Mormon girl among other good Mormon girls and boys, she met her future husband as a child but the two did not associate outside of church activities until they began dating when she was 20. They married nine months later.Unlike many other young adult novels, there's no sex in "Twilight,"even though Meyer's editor suggested otherwise. None of the characters drink alcohol or indulge in profanity, but there is plenty of heavy breathing and sexual tension.

Meyer's treatment of sexuality is a hot topic on Mormon-themed Web sites like normalmormons.com and motleyvision.org that make up the online "bloggernacle."A writer on motleyvision.org, which explores Mormon art and culture, says Meyer's books show "how abstinence leads to a heavily charged play of small gestures among Mormon teenagers and young adults."

And in a post on normalmormons.com ("It's true. We're out there."), a relative of Meyer's writes:"Edward and Bella could barely touch or kiss for fear that Edward might get carried away and suck her blood in a fit of passion. Very similar to that of two young BYU/high school students who aren't yet married and can't touch each other for fear it will lead to sex. I'm sure it was easy for Stephenie to describe with firsthand experiences."

By STEVE RABEY c. 2008 Religion News ServiceCopyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

Pretty Sweet Huh? Here's the link.

Why I Voted For Obama

I've mentioned before that my ideals are not liberal or republican. In fact, I am not sure what it's called - I just know what I believe in. This has been the most difficult decision I've had to make in a long time. I've flip-flopped between candidates for awhile, and I finally sat down and tried to write down (in excel spreadsheet form of course) each candidates policies and what they believe in. I researched, and researched everything from their past to their family life and exactly what they would do for the country. I watched all the debates and even watched biased media (although I shouldn't have.) Then, all slander and unconfirmed facts aside, I still didn't have a clue as to who I would vote for.

Last night I even got down on my knees and prayed that Heavenly Father would guide me in the right direction. But I still didn't have an answer right away.

Even as I walked into the little elementary school gym, I wasn't sure who it would be. I cast my vote for all the other candidates for congress and district courts etc... Then it came to the large box to the left with the nominees for president.

It was at that moment it sort of just...came to me. I want to vote for the person who is best for this country, not who is best for just me. So to make a very, very, very long drawn out and detailed story short - that's why I chose Obama.

Are YOU Normal?

For the first time ever, Normal Mormons is openly recruiting writers! Here's what we're looking for!

1. 2 male writers

2. 2 female writers

3. You'll need to be able to post twice per month.

4. Your writing has to be witty, unique, and something we wouldn't find on every other Mormon blog. You don' have to be funny because, let's face it, we wouldn't be writers here if that was the criteria.

5. Submit a paragraph either via e-mail or in the comments section stating why you want to be a writer.

Things to consider:

-This blog is politically neutral. We welcome democrats, republicans, independents, etc... Your views can be expressed, but probably won't be entirely agreed with.

-This blog is about Mormons and being Mormon. Therefore, you must be a Mormon. Convert, inactive, whatever. As long as you consider yourself a Mo, you're good.

-This blog firmly enforces freedom of speech. You are basically allowed to say whatever you want, assuming you don't use swear words. Think "newspaper" guidelines.

-That in mind, you'll want to make us look good. So don't do anything stupid.

Hope to hear from you soon!