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

(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 and that make up the online "bloggernacle."A writer on, 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 ("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!

Mormons and the Media

This is a post I wrote on Modern Molly Mormon, another blog I write for. After it's post, an overwhelming amount of comments and e-mails were made, mostly not in my favor. As a result of my little "non-conformist" view, the poor mediator of that blog had to enforce some new rules about not posting things that aren't congruent with the churches official stance on certain topics. Afterwards I posted an apology, but received e-mails and comments that were all of a sudden more supportive. So without further ado...

I feel it’s only appropriate to post on something I have experience in. For those of you who haven’t gone over to my profile, I am an account executive for an NBC affiliate. As you might imagine, the media has been a ginormous part of my life. Movies, music, Internet, billboards, television, newspaper…I’ve spent my college career studying these things in depth. So what have I learned? All media isn’t evil (as it turns out.)
Many of us easily shy away from certain types of media fearing it will "taint" us or our families. We need to understand that humans have a natural curiosity towards the unknown. Violence, sex, drugs, rape….all the “bad” stuff. This is why the particularly violent or sex themed shows are among the highest rated. Same with movies and music. Sometimes the media can help our children and ourselves understand the world around us. It doesn’t mean that we all want to be a part of this or take action and mimic these atrocities. By being exposed to different forms of media, we are able to develop a distinct line between good and evil, between right and wrong. We are able to understand our curiosities without acting on them. We are able to see what happens in the world in a fictional setting, versus a much more dangerous and real setting. This is also where good parenting comes in. Naturally our children might mimic what they see on TV or sing a dirty lyric they heard on the radio, which is really what we are afraid of if we allow our children to be exposed to such material. It’s our job to help them draw that mental line between “good” and “bad.” By completely shutting out certain types of media from our lives we only limit our knowledge of the real world. Not to mention the fact that the things we see on the news can be just as bad or worse than anything fictional. Now, I am not saying that watching a rated “R” movie with graphic violence and language in it is the best way to educate your family. But it IS a way. And it’s much easier to talk about it as a family than have curiosity take a turn for the worst. It’s also an excellent way to visually stimulate the minds of children about historic actual events. (Who wants to read about the Titanic when they can SEE the movie?)So when your six year old girl comes into the room and starts singing, “I kissed a girl and I liked it!!!” you can actually talk about it with her and explain what it means and why it's bad. Or when your son brings out his toy gun and starts shooting people, you can illustrate that he should be shooting the rapists and not the policemen. (Joke.) Since we are all “Modern” Mollies blogging on the Internet I don’t suspect any of you are completely stuck in the stone age.
I will say that we are part of a special group of people that take morality seriously. We are mothers, wives, and daughters who have standards. But we should also have open minds.
I personally am biased because I LOVE the media! I have learned more through media than at school! I admittedly watch rated R movies and listen to the Top 40 songs (which are often less than moral), but I am not a heathen. We are all different and have different takes on things that are appropriate. The important thing is to always keep an open mind, and experiment with new movies and media to keep a broad knowledge of what is out there. This way your children aren't blindsided when they are out in the real world and exposed to certain media for the first time.

Normal Mormon Makeover

Hey everyone! Please excuse the mess while I update the page, change the layout, and make Normal Mormons friggin' awesome. In the mean time, check out some of the posts labeled "controversy." Those tend to be pretty fun.

The Love Guru

The Love Guru was dumb. As are most movies that Mike Meyers has anything to do with. But of course I watched it and actually laughed.

It's a story of an Indian guy (Meyers) who wants to become the best guru/motivational speaker out there, a title which is currently held by Deepak Chopra. Upon watching the movie, my husband and I assumed this Chopra guy was some made up character, when in reality he's a real guru. (Shows you how out of touch we are.) Out of curiosty we You Tube'd him and found that his motivational speaking is some of the most soothing, interesting, and peaceful stuff out there. Now, the only motivational speaker we really payed any attention to was Matt Foley, the guy who lives in the van down by the river. So we didn't have much to compare him to. After a few videos my husband says:

"That's it, I am changing religions. What's better than a religion where you don't have to do anything?"

In one video Chopra stresses the idea of meditation, and enforces you to do nothing. To just sit there and breathe. Don't think. Just do nothing. Which sounds pretty freekin' awesome to me. His entire "thing" is based on well being, mind/body/soul oneness and all that sort of guru-ish sounding stuff.

Thankfully, we don't have to switch religions or anything to become completely "one" with our bodies and take some advice from Deepak. I find that high stress levels are often a common factor in church and in our Mormon social groups. Dr. Chopra and his center for well-being takes a completely non-judgemental view on life, God, and our bodies. Therefore any religions really can benefit from his ideas.

The Chopra Center is a place in Carlsbad, CA that has among other things, yoga, motivational speaking, and other sorts of liberal-vegetarian personality type stuff. However, I am becoming more and more entranced with all these cool ideas. As a younger adult, I find it's important to start investigating who I really am, and how being Mormon is a huge part of my personality. Some of Deepak's ideas really fall in line with Christianity and Mormonism, giving into the idea that our spirits are here way before and after we had physical bodies. While I don't think he has a religion officially, he has investigated Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and more I assume.

While we can't all fly to Carlsbad, I suggest you check out Dr. Chopra on You Tube. I can't cross my legs like he can, but I am always down for doing a little bit of nothing and meditating!

A New Blog

Hey everyone.

Blogging is a lot like credit cards - you want them, and they are great to have for a while, but after you collect six or seven it's time to just stop.

Thankfully, I am just in the beginning phases of this horrendous cycle, and therefore have created a new blog. It has come to my attention that my young inexperienced girlishness has rubbed off obviously on this blog. I personally suspect it's due to my lack of expression regarding my over-girliness. I will admit, my favorite color is pink. But that's beside the point.

Ideally, Normal Mormons is a very uni-sex place for men and women to talk about being a Mormon. I don't want my posts to start (or continue in some cases) sounding and catering to the female psyche. So I've created a new blog that will allow me to vent and talk about literlly - whatever the heck I want, which will hopefully divert this blog's theme into a man and woman friendly place to be Normal.

It's just and it's called "April Showers." I'm pretty flighty, so this might change if I think of something better. Ideas would be sweet. But then again, if it was a good idea you would probably use it yourself.

I have also recently acquired the Adobe Creative Suite, which I have no clue how to use (aside from PhotoShop) so forgive me if the theme and structure of my pages starts to morph.

In the mean time, take a look at my new blog, make some comments so I look cool, and let's start swapping blog buttons.

Anti-Mormon Comment (Woo hoo!)

Dontcha just LOVE this?

Anonymous- in italics.
Me - in bold.

Read your church history-- and maybe be brave enough to venture outside of the pale, whitewashed "approved" version in your sunday school handbook.

I do. That’s the point of this blog.

The LDS church's history is ripe with sexism and racism.

Um, so is the United States of America’s history. Not just the LDS church is to blame nor is the church the only religion whoever didn’t accept gays, blacks, women – whatever. Did you know that Latter-day Saint men and women were leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, and Utah was the second place in the world where women had the right to vote?

Brigham Young spewed so much raciest hate over the pulpit that I'm surprised how easily modern day Mormons are able to block it all out.

It was a different time. A different setting. And people were completely different. Like I mentioned in a previous post, no prophet’s are perfect. They are human. And what God inspires them to do and say can even be masked by societal issues. Society is to blame for racism. Not one person. And certainly not one person from the LDS church. Even in today’s society there are church leaders (not the Prophet) who spew crap about blacks and their roles and history in the pre-existence and here on Earth. Just because one person starts teaching “doctrine” or what they believe, doesn’t mean the entire LDS church follows suit. And in my mind, these people should be reprimanded for teaching such things.

And seriously, does no one notice when the LDS Church quietly goes about changing things like, "white and delightsome" in the BOM to "PURE and delightsome"?

Do we not use both word often in conjunction in the English language anyway? Perhaps it was racist people who forced the change because they assumed “white” literally meant white people, not a whiteness of heart or pureness of heart. They mean the same thing in this case. People take it the wrong way, which is why we need a prophet so misunderstandings can be cleared up. Everyone sees things differently, and in this case many people assumed “white and delightsome” had something to do with race.

And men and women equal? Are you kidding me? Heber C. Kimball is quoted as having said, "I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow." Joseph Smith's "wives" included girls as young as 14, and women who, when he met them, were currently married to others (Hey, uh, God told me that apparently I'M supposed to be married to your wife). And while I suppose newly converted Mormon woman are no longer told they are expected to become the 14th wife of some lecherous old man twice their age (AFTER the journey to Utah, mind you) they still certainly are not treated as men's equals. They are expected to be wives and mothers, end of story-- no real leadership potential, and no real value outside of those two relationships.

Your idea of a woman is skewed, not ours. Like I mentioned before… different time and different place. The Mormon people were a few of the first to accept women as equals. It wasn’t the Mormon church as a whole who decided women weren’t equal – it was society. It’s individual people who have are sexist, racist, and are bigots – not the Mormon church. In today’s society the idea of men and women being equal is becoming so much more skewed. Women assume that being LIKE men is being EQUAL to men, which is not the case. Women and men are different. Each with different roles, different responsibilities, different needs. Just because it is a woman’s divine privilege to have and rear children and it is a man’s right to work and provide for his family doesn’t make either party better or worse. It also doesn’t mean that men and women have to fulfill these roles or abide by the traditional gender "rules". It just means that God made us different for a reason, and gender is a vital part of who we are.

The Mormon Chruch changes it's tune when it becomes politically or financially expedient to do so. It's members pull their blinders tighter and excuse everything said before as ok because, well, I'm sure there's some kind of reason, right? What's that famous Mormon catch all-- we don't understand everything now, but I'm sure God has a plan. (Huh, I wonder if that gives the rest of us hope for your current raging homophobia at some point. That would certainly be nice.)

It’s not the church who changes their tune when it’s politically or financially expedient to do so. We fully believe that God has living prophets today to convey his messages to his people. In the Bible there were many prophets who did this for God’s people. God chooses someone to relay his messages. I can’t speak for God, but I personally believe that He shows us what he wants to show us in due time. That may sounds nuts to non-Christians, but it makes perfect sense to me. Would you give your 5 year old child a talk about sex? No. They aren’t ready and are too young to understand. We are God’s children and we don’t know all that we think we do. Yes, right now we fully believe that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible says so and God says so through the Prophet. Maybe in 10, 20, 100 years they will all look back at us and say “Ha! I can’t believe those people actually thought being gay was BAD!” Much like we do now about inequality with blacks and women. The Bible talks about polygamy, and now we think it’s nuts. It can all get damn confusing. Who says everything must be the same century in and century out? Change is inevitable, here and in the afterlife.


That was just to get your attention. Now follow me! Scroll down to where it says "Followers" and click "Follow."

Diet Coke and Ho Ho's

You know it. I know it. We all know that Diet Coke is a direct blessing from God. Well, it feels like it. Maybe in the same way crack feels to druggies. Or coffee feels to my mother. When the carbonation tickles my nose and the ice cold sweetness slips down my throat, I feel a little closer to Heaven. Personally, I also feel a little closer to Heaven when I sink my teeth into a choclatey devilish cake or a McDonald's cheeseburger, which is another one of my cravings. So what constitutes an addiction? By my sheer description of love for these foods and drinks, you might conclude that I have a problem. So what's the deal?

The Word of Wisdom warns us against consuming "hot drinks," which as we all know are considered coffee and tea. This doesn't mean that a nice frappucino or iced tea is off the hook. Joseph Smith stated:

I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said "hot drinks" in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom .... Tea and coffee ... are what the Lord meant when He said "hot drinks."

Okay, so we all know that coffee and tea are a no-no. Why? Well, we aren't sure. Is it because of the caffeine content? Perhaps. But then why are we allowed to consume other beverages with caffeine? Why didn't Heavenly Father inspire Joseph to say "nix the caffeine." Why "hot drinks?" Here's what the church said about it:

With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.[37]

I never understood the whole "don't drink coffee or tea, but go ahead and drown your sorrows in carbonated aspartamey splendor." Granted, I bet there's something in coffee and tea that we don't know about. Some radical cancer-causing agent that no one knows about, and unknowingly everyone downs like it's going out of style. Maybe one day the coffee beans and tea leaves in South America will develop some sort of lethal poison that we're unaware of, and *POOF* one sip of coffee or tea will kill everyone but the Mormons. Or at least the Word of Wisdom abiding ones.

So how do we KNOW for SURE that coffee and tea are the "hot drinks" we aren't supposed to partake of? The Prophet. Duh. What's the point of a modern day prophet if they don't tell us what the heck God is talking about?

But the Prophet hasn't ever flat out told us not to drink Coke. Or Diet Coke for that matter. He's never flat out said, "Don't eat at McDonald's because you're going to turn into a solid mass of cholesterol." He's never said, "Stop eating high fructose corn syrup and partially hygrogenated soybean oil" which are both found in nearly every processed food we eat. He's never told us to stop eating Ding Dong's, french fries, ice cream, cake, etc... Now, our prophets have always ADVISED against putting those crappy things in our bodies. But no one was ever Joseph Smith-esque, who just flat out put a stop to the whole "smoking, alcohol, coffee, tea" thing. No prophet has ever said, "STOP. Just STOP."

Some people might be saying, "Well, what about the people who aren't addicted to bad food and soda? The people who just like a little taste every now and then. Why ruin it for them?" I'm sure the people who liked to drink the occasional glass of wine thought that too.

Where's the firm resolve? Is God giving us a little leighweigh, or is the Prophet human? He knows that putting a ban on McDonald's and Diet Coke like coffee and tea won't go over well with the general public within the church. Maybe this is like the Civil Rights movement. All along the Prophet knew that men and women should be treated equally. The Prophet is a man, born and raised in society and bearing the influnces of man. Blacks holding the Priesthood didn't happen until the nation came to a consensus on equality. It was only then that the church officially finally were able to accept blacks as equals.

So we know what's bad for us. Yet we continue to consume it. Deep down we all know that comsuming processed foods, fast food, soda pop, etc... isn't the right thing to do. How do we afford fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains when an entire BOX of Ho Ho's are only $1? How do you feed a family of 37 healthy food if it's cheaper and faster to get fast food at McDonald's?

Well I don't know. I wish I did. All I know is that there's a reason for everything. (Yeah, one of those people.) We all just need to use common sense, avoid impuse buys, and think about what we're shoving into our mouths and the mouths of our children. Food and caffeine is addictive. And anything addictive is bad. (Note: Porn included.)

Maybe a new revelation is on its way? It's been good for us so far!

A 14-year selective study conducted by UCLA epidemiologist James E. Enstrom tracked the health of 10,000 moderately active LDS people in California and ended in 1987. Of these non-smoking, monogamous non-drinkers, Enstrom concluded from the study "that LDS Church members who follow religious mandates barring smoking and drinking have one of the lowest death rates from cancer and cardiovascular diseases—about half that of the general population. ... Moreover, the healthiest LDS Church members enjoy a life expectancy eight to eleven years longer than that of the general white population in the United States." The standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for whites in the general population is defined as 100. For males in the study, the SMRs "are 47 for all cancers, 52 for cardiovascular diseases, and 47 for all causes; the SMRs for females are 72 for all cancers, 64 for cardiovascular diseases, and 66 for all causes." For LDS high priests who never smoked cigarettes, exercised, and had proper sleep, the mortality rate was less. The results were largely duplicated in a separate study of an LDS-like subgroup of white non-smoking churchgoers in Alameda, California.[38]

Follow Me!

When you are in your "dashboard" there is a place below all your blogs where you can add blogs you are following. Add me and I'll add you!

Doing the Right Thing

Today I went to the DMV to register my new car. Yes, I bought it despite my previous post on Spending Money. If you had read that post, you'd agree that my purchase was justified. All that aside, I got a killer deal on a 2006 Chevy Malibu. It's nice - not as big as an Impala, not as small as a Cobalt - and will be great for when we have a family. It's charcoal gray, and very sexy. If a car can be a 4 door sedan and still be sexy, this is it. *drool*

Anyway, I went to the DMV and got it all registered. 65 bucks and change. I got $100 out of the ATM and gave the woman 60 bucks, thinking it was $80. She gave me change for $70. I quickly corrected her saying the ATM only gives 20's, so it MUST have been 80 and she gave me the extra money. As I walked to the car, I realized I had an extra $20 in my hand. Without a second thought I turned around and went back in to correct my mistake, and gave the 20 back.

It wasn't until I was out in my car again that I realized I would NOT have done that around 5 years ago. I would have dimissed it as good fortune and gone shopping. What made me turn around so fast? Impulse? Habit? The theory that good fortune is returned three fold for doing something honest and good? I don't know. Does this mean I will get $60 in return? Does blogging about my good deed take it away?

Well, I don't know about all that. I guess since I was baptized 4 years ago, lots of things have changed. Would we still do the right things if we didn't assume we would get blessings for doing so? Does expecting something in return completely erase the good deed in itself?

What about tithing? We all have a testimony of tithing the the good things it brings to our lives. Would we have that same testimony if nothing happened and you just gave your money to a good cause? Is the good feeling you get a good enough reward?

I don't know, maybe you all have an opinion?

Spending Money

I'll be blunt. We got an HDTV. (Insert glowing halo and choir music here.) It's so sexy that we actually had to modify our entertainment center to get it to fit. Normal people wall mount it, but we were blatantly terrified for fear that it would fall and crash into a million pieces before we could watch anything. So we took a sledge hammer to all the little convenient shelves in our wooden entertainment center, which left a gaping space to put in a TV. With just about an inch left on each side, we got it in. Now we are consumed with watching Blu-Ray movies and playing Xbox.

My car is a trooper – but if I have the air conditioning on it putters out like it’s out of gas. Especially in 100 degree weather. More than once I’ve been on my way to see a client, and all of a sudden I am stranded on the side of the freeway pushing my car to safety. So I am going to buy a car. Right now I own my car – but I was thinking of getting something a little nicer and just make payments on it. Maybe a cute Beetle. My 6’4” husband can fit into those things like a dream. In any case, it’s gonna cost me.

I’m flying to Seattle this weekend to see my best friend from college. Needless to say, lots of shopping will be involved. She just bought a brand new Cadillac. You know, the one from the commercial that says, “When you turn your car on does it return the favor?” Yeah.

I haven’t actually MADE a meal in two weeks, excluding last night when I put pizzas in the oven. We’ve eaten every meal out.

I’ve spoiled myself lately with nails, hair, waxes etc…

Last night I kneeled at the side of the bed for prayer, and had an overwhelming need to request God’s help.

Please, please God let me win the lottery. And if that doesn’t happen, help me make more money at my job. And if that doesn’t happen remind me the next time I want to buy something that you will smite me with a bolt of lightning.

In all seriousness, I’ve found that spending money wisely is kind of another addition to the Word of Wisdom. Don’t drink coffee, don’t smoke, and don’t buy an HDTV if your car is a piece of crap. The church has been good about dealing with financial matters and how we should avoid credit cards, and be frugal as much as possible. I think I have just forgotten how to do that.

Spending money is easy. Be it on a TV, baby clothes, kids’ toys, husband’s toys, wife’s beauty regimens, even food and the necessities. Some people buy brand name things when the generic brand would work just fine. Some people pay only $400 a month for rent, and purchase a $4000 living room set. Some people live in squalor, and eat ramen noodles every day, and never go out and have fun.

I say there’s a happy medium. Granted, we should be careful of what we buy, and never use a credit card unless we can pay the balance off in full each month. But we should also realize that LIFE is what happens when you are saving up for it. (My own quote there, feel free to attribute it to me….) We need to budget for FUN. We need to budget for what makes us HAPPY. For example, going to a movie in the “expensive” theatre (vs. the $2 theatre) once or twice a month gives me an unnatural amount of joy. So I am going to do it. On the other hand, I could have definitely gone without getting my hair done. I could have gone without these stupid nails that make it so I can’t type. My husband could have used his old rifle instead of buying a new one.

We could really go on about this all day. I guess the point is to be SMART about what we buy. Honestly, thinking about Heavenly Father when I feel weak makes me much more likely to spend wisely.

What have you bought lately that you probably shouldn’t have? What are some tips you have for spending money wisely?

Stuff Mormons Like

I just found this site.

It's hilarious.

Comment Response to Mo'Dar

Occasionally, I take a comment and make it public. Usually this occurs when the comment was particularly heinous or controversial and is easy to make fun of. Here's the newest one!

How does a shopper at Old Navy...etc....make one more likely to be mormon?

Old Navy offers a plethora of clothing for the young and old - much of which is suitable to cover garments. Not to mention the fact that Old Navy's are rampant in Idaho and Utah. Most people who shop at Old Navy aren't Mormon - it's all the Mormons that shop at Old Navy. Same with other stores. Just because you shop there doesn't make you a Mo'. It just so happens that Mo's frequent these store for a whole laundry list of reasons that I won't go into.

I shop at nearly all those places and am far from Mormon.

Again...not saying that shopping there makes you one. Saying that lots of Mo's shop there.

Pretty sure that all of my family enjoys those hoppies do any of those point to Mormonism...

I too enjoy hoppies.

Please enlighten me on the following: How is a male who is a white collar worker more likely to be mormon than a blue collar working male???

From personal experience, many of the Mormons I know have a white collar occupation. I don’t know why! Maybe it's where I live.

Isn't that a little egocentric???


My dear, I think that you have truely become one with them; which I'm sure was your goal. However, it is really sad that you are mature enough to make your own decisions yet have been so easily brainwashed. My prayers are with you.

Am I the one who is brainwashed? Are you're prayers REALLY with me? It is easy to point out the eccentricities of others. I simply do it about myself and my religion. We are a funny group of people and it can be easy to identify us. Besides, what's so bad about having children, having a loving Christian home, covering up, treating your body right, and doing the right things? If that's brainwashing then bring it on!


Mormons are funny creatures. Now that I am a full-fledged temple recommend-holding Mormon - I've developed pretty good Mo'Dar. This is "radar" only the kind that is exceptionally good at seeking the following criteria.

The Celestial Smile or "MoGee Lines." This refers to the outlines made by garments visible under the clothes. The celestial smile is the line formed by the neckline. "MoGee" is slang for "Mormon Garment."

CTR Ring. More obvious is the Choose The Right ring, worn widely mostly by RM's (Return Missionaries) and young adults.

The Haircut: The missionary haircut is seen throughout the majority of a young male RM's life. Haircut Mo'Dar for females is not accurate. However, you can usually be accurate in assuming a female with an RM haircut is NOT a Mormon.

Geography. There's a 75% chance that someone who lives in Utah is Mormon. About a 27% chance that someone from Idaho is Mormon. Of course this varies by city or town. Where I live, I would say there's a good 50% chance that some random stranger you meet is Mormon. In Idaho Falls - just 45 minutes away - that percentage jumps to probably 80%. There's some pretty sweet statistics at this site if you're interested.

Clothing. If your Mo'Dar is unable to decipher MoGee lines, or if the subject begins to feel uncomfortable as you examine them - pay attention to their clothing. Do the women wear capped sleeve shirts and long skirts or pants? Do the men wear button up or polo shirts? Young adults of the Mormon persuasion tend to dress modestly by comparison. This is more difficult to decipher as subjects increase in age.

Shopping habits. The likelihood of a subject being Mormon increases greatly if they are found shopping or working at any of these stores - Old Navy, Motherhood, OfficeMax, Costco, Sam's Club, Abercrombie and Fitch, Aeropostale, JoAnn's Fabrics, and of course any store with the actual name of the church or "Deseret" in it.

Occupation. The likelihood that one is Mormon increases if they have any of these occupations. For men: student, doctor, physicians assistant, computer hardware/software tech., dentist, or manager. For women: Teacher, Stay-At-Home-Mom, any type of service work, nurse, or dental hygienist.

House décor. If you've stopped by the new neighbor’s house for a visit, be sure your Mo'Dar pays attention to the house decor. If there aren’t readily any photos of Jesus on the wall, check for wall plaques with sayings like “Families are Forever,” Ensign magazines strewn about, or a framed family proclamation.

Office décor. First, note the subjects age. The younger the professional, the more likely they are Mormon. Then take note of photographs of family. 3 or more children will throw your Mo’Dar into overdrive. If neither of these things are noted, check for Mormon paraphernalia such as LDS mouse pads or plaques with inspirational quotes often used at the MTC.

Number of children vs. age of parents. The likelihood of one being Mormon is inversely proportionate to age, and directly proportionate to number of children. The higher the number of children and the lower the age of the parents increases the chances of Mormonism. For example, a 22 year old with three children is MORE likely to be Mormon than a 32 year old with four children. However, a 32 year old with 8 children is just as likely to be Mormon as a 22 year old with 4 children.

Age of Children. If the subject’s children are 2 or less years apart in age, the chances of them being Mormon are greater.

Last but not least, Hobbies. If you find a subject participating in any of these hobbies, they are more likely to be Mormon. For men: Video games, hunting, fishing, golf, blogging, and watching TV. For women: Scrapbooking, blogging, sewing, cooking (especially anything with Jell-O), or blogging.

My Temple Wedding

This past Friday (08/08/08) was not only the first day of the 2008 Olympic Games, but it was also the day my husband and I got sealed in the temple!

Two years ago on May 20 we were married civilly. It was a beautiful wedding atop a penthouse in downtown Boise. At that point we weren't really worried about getting sealed. We weren't preventing it from happening by our actions either - we just didn't feel ready. In school we tended to be nomadic, so we rarely attended church.

This year we settled down a bit, were able to go to church, and began to think about "Time and All Eternity." Picking a date is never difficult for us. May 20th is the date right between our birthdays - so 08/08/08 seemed like a cool date too. Not to mention that the infinity symbol (∞) has always been important to us as we used it to express our love when we were first dating. We used to say that our love could be represented by the ordered pair (-∞,∞) negative infinity to positive infinity. (Don't laugh.) How appropriate for a temple wedding - time and all eternity. (If you didn't notice, the infinity symbol is an 8 on its side....just making sure you caught that....)

Anyway, we were sealed around 8am. I think my husband's parents (and his whole family for that matter) were a little miffed that it was so early. They assumed I scheduled it for 8am because of our date, but really it was the only time they had available that day. (Which I was very surprised by.) My father-in-law told us he arrived a little late so we could be sealed at 8:08. Ha.

The ceremony was short, as I had expected. But we were sealed by my husband's grandfather, so it was extra special. As he was speaking the words, I payed close attention. Then, both my husband and my husband's grandpa began to cry. And of course so did my husband's parents. I tried to cry, but couldn't. I was way to happy to even shed one tear. I'm not really a "happy crier," so all I could do was smile.

Our reception was to be that night at 7pm in my mom's backyard. My mom, who is not a member, spent months planning a "casual reception." We later found out that planning a full on wedding reception may have been the same amount of work. We got an above ground pool, tiki torches, a gazebo, and barbecued burgers on the grill. My mom spent hours making greek pasta salad, mini quesadillas, meatballs, cheesy sticks for the kids, and raspberry punch with orange sorbet. The food was so good it was impossible to keep it on the table. Not to mention that my mom made her very first wedding cake. Two white three-layer teirs filled with orange cream and topped with snow white frosting. It looked so professional! As a gift, she topped it with a Willow Tree figurine called "Promise."

My husband's family didn't seem so eager to help on Thursday, and really made a few of us angry. Needless to say, there was a lot of drama on Thursday night. But by Friday night after we got sealed, it was like a weight had been lifted. No one was angry, everyone helped, everyone was in a great mood. The kids were running around, swimming and eating, and the adults from both families sat around and talked like civilized people. No one wanted to leave, and by nightfall the candles and tiki torches were the only things lighting the backyard.

I really didn't want that day to end. I am so happy that I can be part of a great family. Even though they have dysfunctions - it's awesome knowing we can all come together and have fun.

My Endowment

So this weekend was a big deal. I finally went to the temple to get my endowment. Not sure if that needs to be capitalized, but we all know it's important. Overall, it was spiritual, enlightening, understandable, and actually "fun." Not many people can use this word to describe their temple experience as we can see from the poll on the left.

My husband, of course, waited until the morning of my endowment to get his recommend signed by the stake president. After a panicky morning, we headed out with my husband's aunt (who was my escort) and his uncle. They are both around 60 years old, but both exceedingly good looking and filthy rich. Maybe not filthy - but we did arrive at the temple in their black Escalade, which was awesome. (Hey I'm poor, little things amuse me.) My aunt forgot her recommend of course - she's trendy, cute, feminine, and flighty. Affectionalty called the "Fancy Nana." But with a phone call, we were able to get in.

The number one thing I am glad I did before I went in was to prepare. I know you're not supposed to know what happens in the temple before you go - and I never really found out exactly before I went in. But I did have a better clue than a few of the other brides-to-be going in. I was briefed on each part of the endowment from a few different sources, and I also Googled it myself, being wary not to read anything from ex-Mormons that might reveal sacred stuff. All in all it went just as I expected, just in a little different format.

I feel so bad for a few of the other brides who went in with me. They looked lost, scared, and giggled a little at themselves. I was the only bride-to-be that looked like I had some semblance of a clue as to what everything meant. It's no wonder people think it's weird! I will say this though, I now know EXACTLY why all the things we do in the temple are sacred. And secret. I mean, anyone could find out all the information if they really wanted to online, so it's not really secret. But it wouldn't make any sense whatsoever to them. Everything we do in the temple has meaning. For a moment, I stepped back and looked at what I was doing from an outsiders perspective, and yeah, it's a little non-traditional. When you are actually in there, and you know why, and you know what it means - your perspective is so much more understading.

People who go into the temple unprepared are in for a "treat." Like I said, I can't imagine the times before temple prep classes, or the times when you couldn't really talk about it with your husband or anyone else, and you just had to get up and go. It's really vital that we prepare our young daughters and sons for what they will see, and be as specific as allowed. We assume that we can't discuss what goes on in the temple, but the truth is, we can! Just not a few specific things. So I say - talk about! Well, not at work in front of the Catholic guy, or in the movie theatre - but seriously - talk about it with the people who haven't gone through yet at home or in private together.

For those of you who haven't gone through yet, don't worry. There's no animal/virgin sacrifices. Thankfully, I was able to really listen to what everyone was saying. The whole thing lasts a pretty long time. We got there around 1:30 and left around 7pm. So it's hard to remember everything. But keep an open mind. Nothing is really surprising - it's just cool to be reminded and learn a few new things. A word of advice - get endowed on a different day than you get sealed. I don't know why people do it all in one day. I would be too busy thinking about my reception/dress/ceremony etc... than listening and learning. Plus it's a lot to remember.

Afterwards we headed back to our aunt and uncle's "mansion" where we openly discussed things. It was great not to have to dance around anything, and just be able to talk about it. I sipped strawberry lemonade from their crystal glasses and shifted with my silky garments. I actually really like my garments! They are the most comfortable things I've ever worn under my clothes. No tight straps, poking underwire, wedgies or anything! We concluded the night watching my uncle's video of the press conference for Stephenie Meyer (author of the Twilight series.) Since Stephenie is our cousin, he went down to San Diego for the Twilight movie event - and is all proud and excited. Yeah I'm jealous!

Anyway, this Friday my hubby and I are going to the Boise temple to get sealed! Wish us luck!

The Stake President Saw Me Naked

Well, bascially. It felt like it.

I am ashamed. I have all these cute summer clothes. Mostly tank tops and shorts. I've had them for years and they're perfectly broken in. Granted, sometimes they leave little to the imagination, but with 100 degree heat I'm prepared to run around naked if that's what it takes.

Yesterday I was of course sporting the tank top and short shorts while hubby and I were dropping off a movie real quick. Normally, I wouldn't be caught dead in public wearing an outfit like that - they are generally strictly for "home use." But we were in a rush because he had to get to the stake president's office to get his recommend signed. My endowment is this weekend, and of course he's put it off until now.

We let the time get away from us, and realized that I would have to take him over to the stake center for his interview, then pick him up afterward. I dropped him off, but instead of leaving I decided to just wait in the car.

About ten minutes later hubby emerges asking for more "documentation" or something - with the stake president right behind him. I am literally thinking, "Oh, Shit." Which is perhaps not the right thing to be thinking at this juncture. I shuffled around in the backseat to try and find something to cover myself up with. (The cleavage in this shirt I was wearing is a little rediculous.) I found my girl's camp sweatshirt and just as the stake president approached the car, I wrapped it around myself.

More than a little embarassed, my husband feigned some excuse that we were swimming and tried to get him away from me.

A few things I learned on this adventure:

1. Always be prepared (i.e. don't dress slutty) to meet someone important at any time of the day.

2. My broken in clothes will no longer be feasible after this weekend.

3. Wearing garments will be a very rude awakening. But still an excuse to buy more clothes.

4. Always keep a large sweater in your car. Not only for a situation like this - but just in case you get mugged and they take your clothes.

5. Have good excuses handy.

Only One More Post on "Twilight"

Okay, I refuse to consistently talk about the series - good or bad. I was severely falling behind the "Twilight" bandwagon, so I've only just finished the first book. But I just had to add a few things.

For those of you who don't know, "Twilight" is the first in a series by BYU grad Stephenie Meyer, who also happens to be my husband's cousin.  I always feel like I have to say that because well, I have never even SEEN a famous person, let alone have one in my family, so I will certainly be the first to say, "Hey I know someone famous."

All in all the book was good. It was pretty exciting and heavily paralleled Mormonism. It was well written, and not complicated to read. I wasn't searching for meaning, I could just read it and get engrossed.

I only have a few tiffs (spoilers):

1. What's the deal with the "damsel in distress" act? It gets a little monotonous after the fourteenth time Edward must carry Bella to safety. She's completely helpless the entire time, and Edward's chivalry gets a little monotonous too.

2. Bella constantly describes how enchatingly, amazingly, wonderfully, heroically, handsome Edward is nearly every page. His cold breath, icy skin, white face, blah blah blah. I just couldn't see how he could be attractive (I guess I have a thing for tan guys.) That, and the constant Edward flattery was just over the top. By the middle of the book I wanted to ring Edwards icy, sparkling-in-the-sunlight, white as snow, neck.

Cool ways it paralleled Mormonism: (I'm sure there's a whole crap load more.)

1. The entire time 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 eachother for fear it will lead to sex. I'm sure it was easy for Stephenie to describe with first hand experiences.

2. Towards the end of the book, Bella was begging Edward to suck her blood so that she could turn into a vampire and be with him forever. But the blood sucking process is very painful. Is this like temple marriage? Living the covenants and paying 10% can be pretty damn painful at first. Then of course you get to go to the temple and be sealed for eternity and reap all the blessings of an eternal life together. Much like Bella and Edward could do if they lived as vampires together forever....

For Those Who Live in Salt Lake City

I feel special as a Mormon. When I walk into the Deseret Book or Distribution Center and watch the lady in the skimpy tube dress, or the guy with the tattoo of a snake on his face stare at me, I feel happy, special....I feel like I know something they don't. Which, technically, I do. When I am searching for clothes with capped sleeves or long skirts, when I leave my Gospel Principles book on the front seat of my car, when I say I want 5 children and I'm only 23 - people who aren't Mormon get the hint. I'm proud. And of course, a convert.

I don't think you can be this excited about your religion if you've known nothing else. I love going into Deseret Book and buying overpriced paintings of temples I've never been to, foil embossed scriptures, hymn cd's, scripture highlighters, CTR rings, cheeky romantic novels with two people on the cover holding hands - It's Sorry. There's probably a better word, so excuse my lack of vocabulary. I just love being a part of all this fun stuff we do outside of church. Buying stuff at the distribution center dirt cheap, making your own "plaque" that says "Families are Forever," etc...

Except of course, when I go to a place like Idaho Falls or Salt Lake City. When you proudly go into the bookstore, no one stares at you. They follow you in. When you go into a bridal shop to search for a dress, you have to ask for a dress WITHOUT capped sleeves. Wal-Mart has special jewelry sections devoted to CTR rings, young women's necklaces, and primary bracelets. When you pass a parked car, not only is the Gospel Principles book in plain view, but amidst the four car seats you spy primary crafts, three sets of scriptures, a Young Women's guide, and ten little stick figures stuck to the back window in descending order.

I guess I never realized how hugely enormous the LDS church is. When I went to Georgia, a bunch of girls I met there had no clue what a Mormon was. At all. So I just figured I was part of something that hadn't yet grown into a huge religion. Yeah, we have our little bookstores and special clothing shops, but I underestimated us - big time.

Here are some of my former misconceptions:

1. Weddings are small and modest. HA! Have you ever opened an LDS bridal magazine? Most of these brides have doctors for fathers - therefore dropping $20,000 on a wedding reception is nothing. I thought everyone had a backyard barbecue and invited family only. I guess you can save a lot more money if you omit a ceremony and pool all the funds into a killer reception!

2. The only LDS author is Stephenie Meyer. While the Twilight series is probably the most popular now, there is a ridiculous amount of books by LDS authors about LDS stuff. Love, family, fiction, non-fiction. There's an entire library on dating, which doesn't surprise me at all.

3. Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre are the only movies ever made by a Mormon. Correction: There are huge LDS themed production companies that have made millions upon millions of dollars and continue to distribute all types of movies, both about Mormons, and by Mormons.

4. LDS bloggers are lonely and are quite outnumbered by Anti-Mormon sites on the web. Pffttt. That's all I have to say.

In short, I severely underestimated the whole "Mormon" culture thing. Going to Salt Lake City was a huge eye opener. It's like no one there has ever heard of a tank top, or Starbucks. I guess it's just a culture!

Mormon Porn

In the process of looking up stuff for my upcoming temple wedding, it's interesting that search engines will find just as much Anti-Mormon material as they do LDS themed websites.

I looked on YouTube for LDS temple wedding videos - you know the artsy, beautiful montages made of couples right outside the Salt Lake Temple, most often in the dead of winter... I was getting ideas. Then, on that brilliant little square to the right are similar videos that YouTube thinks you might be interested in - some of them blatantly attacking the Mormon faith. Even some that re-enact sacred temple stuff. (Didn't watch...)

This goes for Google too. I Googled, "LDS wedding invitation wording" or something to that effect - and ended up on sites that are ex-Mormon, try to de-bunk our faith - whatever.

Looking at Anti-Mormon websites is kind of like looking at porn. (Not that I've ever looked at porn...) It can get just as addictive and all the while you have this really disgusted look on your face and feel so sorry for all the people involved. I've read people's stories on how they left the church after 40 years, how the temple ceremony was terrifying, how Mormons can't be Christians, why Mormons are wrong, how spouses cheated, and tons of other material. I just kept delving deeper and all the while just feeling so sad that nothing anyone will say to them will ever change their thoughts. Because now, they are so far into it, that turning around and coming back out would be a blow to their self-esteem. So they keep trying to disprove our religion, hurt our feelings by putting all their effort into silly videos, twisting all our beliefs, practices, and values around to make us seem like cultish followers.

I guess here's my response to all those who left the church, or never really looked into our faith, and continue to bad-mouth and ridicule us:

To those who left, I notice a theme in your stories. Something bad happened, a divorce, a death, and left you in question. Or you went to the temple, or heard a story about something Mormons believe, and were taken aback when you found out the truth. Learning something new is always hard. We aren't always used to the things we are taught. Especially in life. So when you hear about a strange "Mormon" practice, remember that it's almost like trying to understand the Universe for the first time. Or trying to understand that yes, you DO have a push a watermelon out of your vagina. Or trying to wrap your mind around the whole "Ark" thing, and how Noah could fit all those animals on one boat. At first, it just doesn't make sense and is hard to believe. But after awhile, it's so easy to get caught up in what the rest of the world thinks about Mormons. It's EASY to be a part of that group that tries to de-bunk our faith because it feels good to be in the majority. The majority believes that Noah put all those animals on the Ark with no problem. If no one else thought that, and only MORMONS thought that, I'm sure we would sound nuts.

It's funny how Anti-Mormons will find anything possible to make us look bad. The fact that we are little marriage and baby factories. The fact that we don't drink coffee or tea or booze because were "better" than everyone else. The fact that we get married in temples, not in churches or on beaches, or in Vegas. The fact that we use symbolism of any sort, and won't tell everyone about it. The fact that we wear special underwear. The fact that we have missionaries always knocking on people's doors. But does all this really make us look bad? No. It makes us look DIFFERENT. And people are afraid of different. Nothing that Mormons do or believe is BAD. People just aren't used to it. In fact, as we all know, Mormons are actually really good people in general. It depends on the person of course, but as a whole, we tend to do good things and be good people. Our "Karma" is called "blessings" and we do things accordingly.

The rumor mill goes 'round and people hear all sorts of things about the Mormon faith. Many times people leave the church frustrated and alone. They start anti-Mormon websites, where people can gather and "recover" from Mormonism. I'm not going to poke fun at what "recovering" might entail, but I think it has to do with alcohol and rated R movies. Being a Mo' is hard. Reading people's anti-testimonies is hard. Living the Word of Wisdom, and abiding by all our crazy "rules" is hard. If you don't want to do it, fine. But just because you have to have a smoke or drink a bit of booze or mess up every now and then, doesn't mean you have to leave the church. Just because you don't feel the Spirit 24 hours a day, or when you're going through the temple, or at really important times, doesn't mean that it's God telling you that you're wrong. We are human, and have human emotions, and everything we do isn't perfect. So if you're reading or doing something in the church and feel nervous or weird, that's natural. Granted, it's not like were having orgies in the temple like my Grandmother once thought - and its not like what we do is THAT strange. Good grief.

Alright, that's enough of that. Back to my point of Mormon Porn being a problem. We are encouraged NOT to read this stuff. I would agree for many people. Sometimes people are gullible, or just get blinded by things people say so much that they shouldn't look at it. On the other hand, it challenges us to "re-convert" ourselves sometimes. Especially for those who grew up in the church, it's vitally important that you do your research and convert yourselves instead of following like sheep. These sites only make my testimony stronger. Not to mention it's kind of fun when you point out all the wrong things people think about us.

That Vampire Book Written by a Mo'

I don't read. I've heard that if you want to be a good writer, you have to read. Well, I read magazines and blogs. Aside from the occasional self-help book, I really just find fiction a waste of time. (I'd much rather see a movie.) The one book that I actually ever called my favorite is "Speak," which was later made into a Lifetime movie. I read that in 9th grade. I figured I better spruce up a little so, begrudgingly, I've jumped on the "Twilight" bandwagon.

I first heard of this fiction tale via my niece, who pointed out the book in Wal-Mart saying, "It's soooo good. It's about this girl, and she falls in love with a vampire." I laughed aloud and quite rudely threw the book down in disgust. "Sounds so lame." I still feel bad for that.

Anyway, on a road trip to the temple with a bunch of the Young Women, they began talking about the book too. And how it was written by a Mormon! I couldn't believe that a book about vampires could be written by a Mormon. It's also on the bestseller list, and a much "bigger" book than I had realized. Later I asked my husband about some book called "Timeless" and whether or not he had heard of it.

He corrected me saying: "It's called Twilight, and my cousin wrote it."

Me: "Ahem. What?"

Apparently, Stephenie's dad is my husband's mom's brother!

Awesome! So now out of family obligation, I had to start reading it. Of course, as many books I DO end up reading often do, I became lost in the story and was halfway through in one evening.

So far, the other leaders and Young Women have started talking about Edward and Bella like they're almost real, or a part of our daily lives. Church has become somewhat of a book club. And this is how I found out that a movie will be released on December 12th of this year.

I Googled it, and watched the trailer. It looks pretty freekin' awesome. However, strangely enough, the very same girl that played the main character in my first fave "Speak" is also the main character in the "Twilight" movie.

In any case, if you haven't joined in - I suggest you get on it. Apparently, there's more than one book - it's a whole series! So I need to get caught up.

When Praying Doesn't Really Pay

This weekend my husband and I took a trip to Boise, Idaho. It's where I grew up, where my family lives, and only three short hours away from where we currently live.

My husband went fishing, so I was going to pick him up on my way out of town Thursday evening. I left around 5pm, in the blazing heat of the day. I packed my two cats into a carrier, and a duffel bag into the trunk, and headed out. (I'm one of those "cat" people. The kind that has a calendar, leash, and ultimate scratching post/cat tree.) My husband was about twenty miles away, and at around mile 17 my car went from 85 miles per hour, down to 75, down to 65 as I tried to gas it. I pulled over to the side of the road, and my car died.

I sat there, allowing the sun to creep into the windows, diminishing all traces of air conditioning. Cars sped past me, rocking my little car with their 85 MPH wind wake. I carefully got out, and took my panting cats out of the inferno-esque car. I didn't see this one coming. A cop pulled over and gave me the low down on how long I could leave my car abandoned on the side of the road. I sat in the small amount of shade my car provided on the side of the road. My enormously over-sized movie star glasses made my face drip with sweat. I promised that my car wouldn't be one of those with the bright orange sticker on it, and spray paint on the windows left for dead on the highway.

My husband drove his truck and came and got me. We drove a mile into American Falls with the A/C blasting and got a corn dogs and chocolate milk shakes. When we came back to my POS Neon, she started up again. We slowly made our way back to town, and my husband followed me - but not before the same cop could pull him over for swerving. (His steering is going out.) My car died at the off ramp stop light, and our cop friend came and pushed me. He finally said, "Looks like you two need a new car."

While my husband isn't Mr. Mechanic, he got a new Radiator and A/C relay. Whatever that means. We decided to leave the next morning (without our felines), assuming it was fixed, and said extra hard prayers to the effect of, "Please let us know if the car is going to die BEFORE we leave. Please don't let us get stranded. Please, please, PLEASE!!!"

170 miles later, my car died once again in the blazing heat of the day. 65 miles away from Boise. We were under a bridge. The only shade for 20 miles in both directions. If you're not from any state in the west, here's what to expect: Sagebrush on top of sagebrush for miles in all directions, pavement so hot it makes your tires melt, and wind that will tear your skin right off. While I was secretly appreciative for the shade, we both tried not to laugh, cry, or yell and stayed calm. What now? We waited a few minutes until it "cooled down" (assuming that was the problem) and continued to the next town. Consisting of a restaurant/convenience store and a Mocha Hut, the small village of Hammett was of no help. Other than the refuge we took in their air conditioning. We continued, and it died again on the freeway. We turned on the heat to cool the radiator, rolled down the windows, and tried to putt-putt our way there stopping for an oil change at Wal-Mart in Mountain Home. (40 miles from Boise.) And to wick away our sweat-drenched bodies.

At around 5:30pm we arrived. Seven and a half hours from the time we left at 10am. A trip that should have taken all of about 3 hours.

The weekend went great. My husband and brother gave my car an internal makeover, and we made it home today just fine.

Maybe praying DOESN'T work all the time? Maybe Heavenly Father has a different plan for us in the way of car repair. I guess if I had never payed attention to the problems NOW, I could have had this problem while driving to get my endowment, or driving to Boise again to get sealed. Now THAT would have been bad. Do we just make excuses for unanswered prayers? Does He always have a reason? I wouldn't be lying if I said I didn't think so.

What Can You Do?

While shopping the other day, I noticed a man who had no teeth, a greasy baseball cap on, and peeking under his wife beater was a hairy beer belly. I was quick to judge, and assumed, like all other Americans, he was a piece of white trash. No job, on welfare, sucking off the government. Probably had thirty kids that were contributing to society in no way, and probably weren't all his. I left the store with all my groceries, piled high in plastic bags. I saw him and his wife and three kids leaving the store with a cart full of green re-usable bags and realized how wrong I was. For he wasn't the part of the group who would ultimatley be responsible for the demise of our environment, I was. No matter how much more money I had, or how great I looked, or how my job was contributing to the betterment of society - it wouldn't matter if we couldn't even live on our own planet anymore.
We Mormons are VERY interested in the welfare of our children and grandchildren. We try to also see eternal perspective. We need to remember that while we are chilling out in the Spirit World, our children's children's children will be chilling out on Earth. We should teach our kids now that protecting the Earth isn't just for democratic "tree huggers."
On June 4th, I attended an economic symposium in Idaho. Here's what it said in a pamphlet I received.

1. If the thermostat in every house in America were lowered 1 degree Farhrenheit during the winter, the nation would save 230 million barrels of crude oil.
2. If every American would spend 1 minute less each day in the shower, they would save 1,000 gallons of water per person, per year.

3. ONE hour of using gas-operated leaf blower produces the same amout of greenhouse gas as a car driving 4,400 miles.

4. If every American switched to receiving just one bill as an e-statement instead of paper, the one-time savings would be 217,800,000 sheets of paper.

5. If just one passenger per flight in the world this year packed 1 pound less luggage, they would save enough fuel to fly a Boeing 737 around the world 474 times.

6. If every American household turned off the lights for one hour, they would prevent more than 16,610 tons of carbon dioxide from being released.

7. 88 billion plastic bags are used in the U.S. each day. This represents 12 million barrels of oil. Less than 1 percent of plastic bags get recycled.

8. Household batteries contain hazardous materials that leak into the atmosphere. Instead, buy a set of rechargables.

9. Catalogs, newspapers, and magazines add up to more than 4 million tons of paper per year. Cancel your printed subscriptions and get the online versions.

10. Only 8 out of 10 water bottles are recycled. It takes 15 million barrels of oil per year to produce water bottles, enough to fuel 100,000 cars. Instead, pick up a resusable water bottle and install a filter on your faucet.

11. If every American did four out of five loads of wash in cold water, it could keep 50 tons of carbon emissions out of the atmosphere per year.

12. Minimize the use of ventilating fans in your kitchen, bath, and utility area. Just ONE hour of use can pull out a house full of warm air in the winter, and cool air in the summer.

13. TV's, DVD's, and electrical equipment still use SEVERAL watts of power in standby mode. Plug electronics into a power strip, and turn off when not in use.

14. Americans throw away about 40 billion soft drink cans and bottles every year. Placed end to end, they would reach the moon and back twenty times!

15. If all the cars on U.S. roads had properly inflated tires, it would save nearly 2 billion gallons of gas per year.

Missionaries Make Great Salesmen

It's true. Missionaries are really some of the best salesmen out there. They are used to "convincing" people, sounding persuasive, talking about what they believe in, and closing the deal quickly. When I was meeting with the missionaries, I began talking to them in March. They had me baptized in April. I'll admit, I'm a pushover and can rarely refute the advances of slick alarm salesmen or satellite mongers. So getting me in the water wasn't really difficult (oh, that and the church is true...blah, blah, blah.)

I'm in sales. It's what I do, and while I'm not really great at it I still have a killer job. My husband is also a salesman. He's the annoying door-to-door type this summer, until school's back in session. Every day he drives out to new neighborhoods with five other return missionaries, and they storm the place. Now, I've met these other missionaries and they aren't the brightest crayons, if you get me. But they are charismatic, positive, and outgoing. And they all manage to rake in the dough and make a bunch of sales per day. As for my husband, well, if it weren't for his salary I'd have to sell my body on the street. And I probably still wouldn't make enough. So it's a good thing he had his mission to get him used to this door-to-door thing. I however haven't yet been able to really "sell" a whole lot, and I know exactly why. Walking up to a total stranger and trying to convince them that what you have is something they want, is terrifying for me. But missionaries do it for two solid years. So if nothing else good comes from college, at least your mission prepares you for any sales job on the planet!

Is it the fact that they are just "used" to worming their way into people's affections? I don't know missionary tactics very well, but I DO know sales tactics. From what I've seen, getting people to buy a car is just as simple as getting someone to join the church. I'm not bashing the integrity of missionary work AT ALL. Sometimes you need to be like that in order to get people to really listen to what you are saying. If you truly believe in a product/church, it's hard to get across your point without a little manipulation and fancy wordplay.

By the way, if anyone needs TV advertising or lawn care, shoot me an e-mail and I will send you a pamphlet. And a Book of Mormon. And a pass-along card.

Polygamy vs. Gay Marriage

So, if you've stopped by recently, you would notice a poll to the right of this post. This will be a regular thing, too. But the last two polls I posted asked "What are you're thoughts on the FLDS?" and "What is your opinion on gay marriage?" In both of these polls, readers were allowed to chose more than one answer.

The two most popular answers for the FLDS question were
"They have the same rights as everyone else." (75%)
"They make us [Mormons] look bad." (50%)

The most popular answers for the gay marriage question were
"It ruins the sanctity of real marriage" (40%),
"They have rights just like every other American." (32%)
"According to God, it is wrong."(20%)

While the responses weren't overwhelmingly one way or the other, we can still see that the majority of visitors to this site feel that the FLDS have more rights than gays. Okay, I'm making assumptions on a grand total of around 50 votes. But it's interesting to see that we approve of rights for polygamists, yet not as much for gays. Of course, the Mormon church has both approved of, and banned polygamy. We feel our Heavenly Father, just like in the Bible, both allows and condemns polygamy. However, the church has never approved of homosexuality, perhaps because we assume the scriptures tell us so.

However, why is it not acceptable to either ban, or allow BOTH? If you rule out one, you must rule out the other. If the people involved are over 18 and consenting, why not?

Many Mormons I know would defend polygamy because it's a "loving" marriage between a husband and his wives, meant to "raise seed unto the gospel." They assume that gay marriage is nothing but a bunch of sodomy 24/7. You can't assume that all polygamist marriages are "loving" just like you can assume that gay or heterosexual marriages are "loving." I ask this to Mormons: Do you even KNOW a gay Mormon?

Personally, I don't. And I am really still on the fence about both issues. I simply don't know what is "right." But if people can be in a happy, fulilling, and loving relationship, WHY NOT?

Here's an interesting site.

Let's try to keep open minds. God has made way for change in the church before, but only if we are ready. There's not room for hate in our church.

Women vs. Men

I am not a "feminist" per se. But equality among men and women is something that I have never thought about because I assumed it was never an issue. Men and women are different. They have different things they are good at, and they think in different ways. They should each have all the same opportunities offered to them, but it's not required of them to partake in any of these opportunities. For example, we all have the right to vote. Whether or not we choose to is up to us. Women have the right to have the same jobs as men. Whether or not they choose to be stay-at-home-moms is up to them. I feel this should be true for all aspects of political and religious laws.

Currently, women aren't called to hold the Priesthood and men are. Much like the church used to not allow blacks to hold the priesthood, women aren't able to. The reason for this, most everyone in the church believes, is because God hasn't revealed that this is necessary. We believe that God inspires our Prophet to lead and guide us, and apparently God hasn't spoken up yet.

I have participated in various debates on LDS forums about this, and have heard all the arguments until the above consensus of "God hasn't revealed it yet" is everyone's ultimate answer. Which is fine. I guess. But that was the case with blacks holding the Priesthood as well. Until God revealed that it would be acceptable for black men to hold the Priesthood. So perhaps one day, God will inspire women to have it as well, we don't know.

While debating, there were a few things that flat out annoyed me. First, women would write about how they "don't want the responsibility" of the Priesthood. I understand that it's not about superiority, or that having the Priesthood somehow makes you "better" than your spouse. Before women were allowed to have complete job equality, I am sure they said "Who would want the responsibility of working that hard all day?" or before women were allowed to vote, "Who would want the responsibility of choosing who to vote for?" That's best left to the men, right?

It's not just the Priesthood that gets me riled up. It's the fact that many Mormon women are bred to think that getting a college degree is a good thing, working is a good thing, but your ultimate decision should be to stay at home with the kids. Personally, this ain't all bad. For the women. I would love to chill out all day at home with the kids. But I feel bad for the guys. They have to work hard all day, and on top of that hold the Priesthood and be expected to be this upstanding guy all the time.

It's not the actual church that condones this. Well, it does in a sense that all of its members live this life, and talk about how great it is, therefore making it impossible to be socially accepted within your church unless you are a doctor or dentist with three children and a wife who stays at home. (Inhale.)

The roles of men and women are great. Different, but great. I don't really want to go work all day. I'd rather be with my children for sure. But I would like to be doing SOMETHING to contribute to the family funds. Working from home, starting a business, what have you. And I'm not so sure that my husband would want to clean up puke and poop all day either. He'd much rather be the bread winner.

Is this true for EVERYONE? Should we really be teaching our Young Women how to sew when we could be teaching them how to start an online business? Should we really be teaching our young men how to tie knots when learning how to change a diaper is obviously something they will do more often? Why don't young men learn to cook, or exchange recipies, and young women go fishing. I am sure this is probably due to varying interests, but you get my point.

We shouldn't be segregating our men and women so much. We also shouldn't be teaching that men are the "head" of the household and what men say is "law." Not everyone does this now I am sure, but the words of many church leaders suggest otherwise. Each person is the "head" of the household. Each have different responsibilities. Each person's word is just as meaningful and viable as the other's. Even the word "Priesthood" condones inequality. Women have nothing like this to call their own. It's always Priesthood this, and "lead your home" that. (P.S. Motherhood doesn't count - that's a biological trait, not a man given right.) What about "Priestesshood?"

My Embarassing Temple Trip

Last night our ward drove up to the Idaho Falls temple to do baptisms for the dead with the Youth.

I drove up to the church, making sure I had extra underwear and makeup for afterward packed away in my little brown bag in my purse. I was right on time, at 5pm. However according to Mormon time I was 15 minutes early. So I waited around for some others to show up. I was wearing a tea length skirt and flip flops as the other youth leaders arrived in long skirts, heels, and pantyhose. I huddled with the people I knew the most, and watched four suburbans pull into the parking lot. The prayer was given once everyone arrived, and the bishop handed me my temporary temple recommend. (Mine had expired, and I've been too lazy to get a new one.) We piled into one of the suburbans, and of course I sat in the very back next to the luggage. The women had these ugly floral laptop-case-looking bags, which I assumed carried the stuff that I brought in a paper sack. All in all, there were four girls and two guys in the car, all my age.

I looked around and realized that there is a distinct possibility that I was completely misplaced. This may be purely coincidental, but the three women in front of me all had the exact same cropped bob for a haircut, with blonde highlights on top, and a burgundy red underneath. They all wore the loose fitting empire waist shirts with short sleeves that gather at the shoulder. Pantyhose, long skirts, and black tacky shoes. They all started talking about their babies and toddlers. Drool this, poop that. I looked out the window and tried to remember where I was going, and what I was doing. Despite the fact that the Young Adults of the Corn were taking me there.

Once we got to the temple, we sat in pews to have prayer. The temple workers informed us that any endowed members won't be able to get baptized, and would have to help. Therefore all the adults went to get their temple clothes on. I am not endowed yet. So there I sat. The only woman over the age of 17. I talked to the girls, trying to pretend that I ELECTED to get baptized with them "to be cool."

I have only done baptisms for the dead once, so I was rusty. Rusty as in, I looked a little lost the entire time. Thankfully, the endowed sisters realized that I was terrified and guided me along in the least condescending way possible. When it was my turn, I stepped into the nice warm, chlorine filled water. The guy baptizing looked a little scrawny, so I decided beforehand that I would help him out a little and be sure to really "push" off the bottom when he brought me back out of the water. (Let's face it, his arms would get tired.) However, I was entirely too eager and had to be "re-dipped" twice. Frick, even the teenagers could do this part.

After all was said and done, I was basically over my sheer mortification. (What could be worse than being dressed in a white jumpsuit that gets completely soaking wet?) So I gave up on the whole "trying to look cool and knowledgeable" thing, and dripped my way into the locker room. I got dressed, and prepared to do my makeup. However, the slick counters, partnered with my clumsiness, made a fascinating scene as my foundation shattered on the floor. Thankfully, it was that “solid” mousse stuff, so it didn’t get everywhere. But if you ever visit the Idaho Falls temple, and get your foot sliced open by broken glass – that was my fault.

I barely made it to the “movie” room (which is new to me…) and tried to isolate myself in a corner to not cause any further humiliation. All the girls came in and sat next to me. They talked about how many times they had seen “Johnny Lingo,” and I ended up confessing that I had never seen it. They gasped in horror. Or maybe jealousy. Like, “Your mom let’s you watch non-LDS movies?” Yes. My mom.

The scrawny guy that baptized me came in and apologized for not knowing who I was, and having to ask my name at the font. He remembered that I was new to the ward. He said he assumed I was a new “Youth.” That was the best news I heard all day.

Now for the best part. The food. We trekked downstairs to the cafeteria. I was ravenous, but tried to minimize the piling on of food since the ward was footing the bill. I got a normal sized plate of food, with a piece of pumpkin pie. (And I even omitted the scone for diet purposes.) I sat in front of my visiting teacher and her husband only to witness that them, along with everyone else, had done the opposite of me. Three scones, pie, salad, chicken, veggies, Jello, potatoes, milk, soup, fruit, juice, butter, all on one tray. However, ultimately I am glad my eyes weren’t bigger than my stomach as it was more that satisfying. Apparently, people actually fast all day to prepare for this temple food, and I can see why. Yum!

It was a great experience. Embarrassing at times, but really great. And even though the women who drove with me are all a little “Carrie Conformist,” I think I am going to make a concerted effort to make them my friends.

Is This Appropriate?

Last night before I left work, I stopped to talk to my boss. He asked me about a few days I had requested off. While we were talking about it, I brought up the fact that the reason I would need those days off is because I am getting sealed in the Boise temple to my husband who I am currently civilly married to.

After a long pause and some awkward paper shuffling he said, "Let me just ask you one the Bible it says that Jesus himself said there would be no marriage in Heaven. So why do Mormons think that they need to be sealed for time and all eternity?"

I honestly didn't know. I just said, "I don't know, I'll have to read that scripture and get back to you." He is a Roman - Catholic. During our hour long conversation, he asked me a bunch of questions and talked about Jesus a lot. He had the missionary discussions a long time ago, but never joined the church. He has been surrounded by Mormons his whole life, so he knew all my canned answers. Which are really the only ones I can spout off when I am cornered by my boss. I am very bad at talking to Anti-Mormons. I have no witty comebacks, and I haven't memorized the Bible and Book of Mormon so that I can recite scriptures and explain it all right then and there. It wasn't until after our conversation that I finally remembered all the answers, but by then it was too late. We dicussed the fact that the Bible was translated by people who weren't even around Jesus during his life, or how could we take the words of Jesus at face value since they were written by someone else entirely. We talked about more books of the Bible, and I explained as best as I could. Some things we agreed on, sometimes it seemed like he was de-bunking his own faith in favor of Non-Denominational Christianity. All in all, it was an awkward debate masquerading as a "discussion" between two adults. Afterwards I felt stronger in my faith, but a little hurt even still. He mentioned that the girl who worked there before me was also LDS. She had gotten pregnant and moved to the Midwest so her husband could go to dental school. Yes, the classic Mormon story. Apparently they too had a talk, and she said all the same things I did I am sure.

Anyway, I could talk about what our little "debate" was all day. But the question I have is - Was this appropriate for a boss to ask these questions and start talking about faith in work? It's not like he was attacking me, but he also wasn't having a calm civilized conversation with tolerance and objectivity. He was questioning my faith and trying to prove it wrong by "citing" examples. Maybe I just felt uncomfortable - but does anyone else encounter this?

By the way, I asked my husband about the "no marriage in Heaven" thing, and what it means is that you can't get married in Heaven because someone has to do the work for you here on Earth. Rather, marriage must be done on Earth, it cannot be done in Heaven. I wish my husband were inside my head during times like that.

The Last One on "The Best Two Years"

I really appreciate the comments made by everyone, but in particular this one made me understand more about why my husband and many people consider their mission the "Best Two Years" of their life.

Please don't be offended by what your husband said. He might have been tactless in how he said it... but I understand what he means!Explaining your experience on your mission is like explaining how good chocolate is to someone who doesn't have taste buds - you just can't quite convey the experience. My mission was the most incredible thing I've done, but I would never want to go through those experiences again. I think the reason that missions are rated as the best two years is because of the level of emotion that you go through. You hit some of the highest points, and most of the lowest points you'll have in your life. You dedicate your life to serving people - many of whom don't want you. And you only have two years to do it.Marriage is quite different. I love my wife with all of my heart. I also love my children with all of my heart, but the experience I've had with them the past two years is quite DIFFERENT from my mission. There are highs and lows, but they are DIFFERENT. I have grown in these past 4 years, but not nearly the same amount of growth I did in two years on my mission.I understand your frustration, but please do not think that that phrase is replacing, or demeaning marriage relationships - they're just quite different things. And think, your husband wouldn't be the man that he is today if he hadn't gone on a mission - it got him ready for you - wouldn't you think that's a great thing?

Thanks a lot for that comment! A mission is definetly a huge step and I respect anyone, man or woman, who has the courage to uproot themselves and cut off almost all communication with the only people they really know and love. Any point in life where you grow and learn should definetly be considered a few of the best years of your life. Hopefully, since we should all be learning and growing, we can call every year a "best" year.

I personally liked the year when I went to Hawaii... and will later enjoy the year where I go to Puerto Rico, Cancun, Tahiti, etc... (If you can't tell, I need a vacation.) But I guess I didn't enjoy the entire year in those cases. Just one week.