Wednesday, June 26, 2013

No hymen, no wedding ring...

I am currently reading a book called I'm (No Longer) A Mormon.  It's about a woman calling herself Regina Samuelson (a pseudonym) who decided to leave Mormonism.  I found this book because the author had linked to my blog from her blog and I had a few visitors who came here from there.  The book is actually very interesting, as is her blog.  I hope to be finished reading soon so I can post a thorough review.

This morning, I read a portion of Samuelson's book having to do with Mormon dating, particularly at Brigham Young University (BYU).  At one point, Samuelson writes that she dated someone who said his future wife must be a virgin.  "No hymen, no wedding ring." he affirmed to her in no uncertain terms.  That phrase, shocking and offensive as it is (especially since the guy wasn't a virgin himself), struck me as a good title for today's blog post.  It serves as one of many reasons I don't have a lot of respect for Mormonism as an institution.

Not long ago, I read an article about Elizabeth Smart, famous for being kidnapped at age 14 and forced to "marry" a crazy man who hoped to make her one of his wives.  After their "marriage ceremony", the man proceeded to rape Elizabeth repeatedly throughout the nine months she was forced to stay with him and his wife.  Having grown up in Mormonism, Elizabeth Smart had heard the object lessons about chastity.  Recently, she spoke at Johns Hopkins University and said she recalled a teacher who had compared having premarital sex to a being piece of chewed up gum.  If you're a pristine piece of gum fresh out of the wrapper, people will want you.  But if you've been chewed, you're worthless.

According to an article in the Christian Science MonitorElizabeth Smart said...

"I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.' And that's how easy it is to feel like you [no] longer have worth, you [no] longer have value," Smart said. "Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value."

How was Elizabeth Smart supposed to feel having been taught that lesson and then enduring repeated rapes from her captor?

I have heard of other equally repugnant exercises that are supposed to teach girls about chastity.  One involves passing a flower around.  As the flower is handled, it becomes damaged until it's lost some petals and looks wilted.  Another involves a tasty looking cupcake, which is then licked.  The teacher then asks everyone who wants the cupcake now, after it's been marred by a stray tongue?  Of course, I bet if the teacher stomped all over a $20 bill or wiped it in frosting and then offered it to everybody, people would still want it.  If a $20 bill can retain its value after being "soiled" somehow, why can't a human being?  Especially an innocent teenager?

I know not every LDS person feels this way about chastity and whether or not being chaste automatically makes someone, particularly a female, "damaged goods".  But it does disturb me that these messages are still being promoted.  I don't have a problem with teaching young people why casual, unprotected sex can be a bad idea because, the truth is, if you have sex with the wrong person, you really can end up getting fucked... sometimes for life.  Teaching people that they, themselves, are less worthy as human beings or marriage prospects simply because they have had sex before marriage is morally repugnant to me.  It's unfair to put that burden on young people, who have been biologically designed to have sex while they are still young; never mind the burden it puts on innocent rape, molestation, and incest victims.  

Moving on, I am very impressed with Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, Texas, single mom turned Harvard Law graduate, turned legislator extraordinaire.  She made quite a stir yesterday.  If you haven't read or heard about her filibustering about the draconian abortion laws that legislators were going to vote on yesterday, you should.  I am amazed by her resolve, not to mention her physical stamina.

When I was in grad school, I worked for the local public health agency tracking health related legislation.  Part of my job involved watching proposed laws and occasionally attending sessions and committee meetings.  While I never had much interest in politics before I landed that job, I have to say it was very educational.  And this is the kind of thing I would have been paying close attention to had it been going on when I was in grad school in South Carolina 13 years ago.

And finally, yesterday, someone left me a "fun" comment on a blog post I wrote over a year ago about an LDS propaganda film I saw on YouTube.  This person spent a few minutes on this blog and decided to shame me for blaming "one person's problems on the LDS church".  I don't understand the point of leaving a comment like that.  Was this person trying to change my mind?  Make me have more respect? Does this person think I really care about their opinion when it's clear that they haven't considered where mine is coming from?  Moreover, why would you come on someone's personal blog, read something you find offensive, and then leave a comment like that?  If you don't like my posts and can't leave a constructive or respectful comment, please go somewhere else.  The Web is a big place that truly offers something for everyone.

As usual, I left a succinct and profane rebuttal, as I generally do to people who feel the need to "drive by" and leave shitty comments for me.  Then I had some of my exMormon friends have a go at it and one guy left an especially brilliant and eloquent response that really sums up why I feel the way I do about Mormonism.  I highly recommend checking out what he wrote.

Everyone has a right to his or her opinion, including the people who leave me rude comments.  Those who choose to leave rude, dismissive comments, however, have not earned a respectful and well-considered response from me.  I figure if you're going to spend two minutes on my blog and then tell me to "grow up", I have every right to tell you to "fuck off" (go away).  It's only the mature thing to do.


  1. It reminds me of my favorite line in the Desiderata :"Listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they, too, have their story."

    What should be added to the old document is, "but don't listen for too long, and feel free to tell the dull and/or ignorant individual to fuck off if what he or she has to say is especially dull, ignorant, or otherwise repugnant.

    1. Everybody has a story. But if you come here for three minutes and just dismiss my story on my personal blog, yes, it's likely I will tell you to fuck off. I wouldn't do that in any other place where I write... but my blog is like my house. Come to my house and disrespect me and expect to be shown the door in a rather rude way. ;-)

      BTW, if you haven't seen what my exmo friend wrote, it's a thing of beauty. ;-)

  2. i'm going to check it out right now.

    P.S. I do believe the sentence "Fuck off!" is one of the more underused expressions in the English language, especially considering all the garbage the relatively few normal people are forced to tolerate.


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