This blog is no longer being updated. About this blog.

Last Post!

I’ve decided to retire this blog but keep all of the posts online. It’s served it’s purpose well, allowing me to heal and tell my story. It’s time to move on.

In case anyone’s wondering how I’m retiring this blog, here’s what I’m doing. Expertise is assumed. If you don’t understand how to perform a step, I suggest that’s it’s probably outside your expertise to manage this safely. Sorry.

  1. backup the files and database
  2. remove the XML-RPC API link from the header
  3. add farewell post
  4. add a note to the header that the weblog is no longer being updated
  5. disable comments on all posts by running SQL like the following. Be careful! UPDATE posts p SET comment_status = 'closed', ping_status = 'closed' WHERE comment_status = 'open';
  6. remove all forms (e.g. search boxes) in the template
  7. remove all widgets that don’t make sense on a static website
  8. wget -o log.txt -r -E -T 2 -np -R xmlrpc.php,trackback -k
  9. replace wp installation with downloaded static files

Let me know if you need anything. Without further ceremony, goodbye!

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My family history is replete with leavers and stayers. Generations of staying put are punctuated by people who leave.

We leavers have left many things: the LDS church when the truth came out, the comfort of Utah when employment led elsewhere, the United states when they murdered Joseph Smith, Protestantism when Mormonism made promises guaranteed by prophesy, England for the promised freedoms and prosperity of America, Roman Catholicism when Thomas Cromwell and Henry VII pushed for Reform, the indigenous traditions of the British Isles when Christianity came calling, the Ice Age refugia when the glaciers began to melt, the African savanna when another horizon tempted.

Who am I to be ashamed of my family tradition of leaving?

(Inspired in part by Leaving.)

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Noumena, Phenomena, and the Thing-in-Itself

I think that a religious vocabulary is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, it helps us to conceptualize our awe or wonder inspiring experiences. A religious vocabulary can help us make sense of our experiences and benefit from the wealth of thought and practice that is stored in our religious heritage. These experiences are essentially human, and human beings have been wrestling with them for as long as we’ve been human. That’s Good Religion.

On the other hand, our religious vocabulary comes with a lot of baggage that often prevents us from experiencing wonder or awe without blinding filters and constricting conceptual frameworks. Our religious heritage can give us the illusion that we understand and prevent us from thinking and feeling and wrestling for ourselves. That’s Bad Religion.

For example, naming an experience the Holy Spirit guides us to think and feel about the experience a certain way. This may be help us to relate to our experience, or it may be a traditions-of-their-fathers idea that stultifies us. The phrase “Holy Spirit” may prevent us from getting closer to the thing-in-itself.

As I understand and use the terms, the Holy Spirit is a noumenon, a mental object, which stands in opposition to the phenomenon, the sensations presented by the thing-in-itself.

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$8 per member per year on humanitarian aid

I’m filled with regret. Using numbers they reported for humanitarian aid and membership over the last 24 25 years, the LDS church has spent (approximately) a whopping $8 per member per year on their humanitarian efforts. (via

If we use more generous numbers (assuming that there was an average of only 2 million active members over that time period, only a million of whom lived in the US (an approximate surrogate for wealth), only 500,000 of whom were working adults with an income), then humanitarian aid from the church to to non-Mormons jumps to a ballpark figure of $25 $100 per wealthy member per year.

I hope that I’m missing something. This is pathetic, especially coming from a church which is building a $3 billion (or more) mall in the heart of Salt Lake City. All of that money spent on real estate, cattle ranches, malls, political campaigning, etc. Instead of hoarding and building up an financial and political empire, they could have done some actual good.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” I think the LDS church has forgotten what it is to go without purse or scrip. The institution has become entangled in seeking the riches of the world.

I was a full-tithe payer from the day I got my first allowance from Mom and Dad to the day I stopped attending the LDS church three years ago. I was happy to donate it because I trusted that it was in the best hands, that my money would do good in the world. This has, like nothing else, made me deeply regret all of that money that I donated, wasted.

Edit: Reworked the numbers and corrected.

Edit2: 1984-2009 inclusive. Thanks, Kari.

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Foundation Beyond Belief

Dale McGowan, the editor of the truly excellent Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers, has started a foundation to focus the generosity of humanists and non-theists and to educate and support non-theistic parents.

Religious folk get the chance every time they attend church to donate to charity. Those of us who are non-religious can often forget because we are not regularly faced with the figurative collection plate. The foundation will feature a rotation of charities that can come from any ideological background as long as they don’t proselytize.

I think it’s a promising idea and plan to participate. Please take a look.

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