Monday, May 16, 2005


Now they tell me. Teresa Nielsen-Hayden, one of my favorite writers on the internets, is an excommunicated Mormon. She tells the story of her ejection from (rejection of?) the Church here, in an essay that reads so familiar to me: this voice, this bemused pedantry about the arcana of Mormon historiography, is the one I slip into every time I explain what Mormons believe to a non-member ("gentile"). I particularly liked Teresa's description of the implausible Liahona, as a "magic dingus," and her anatomy of the Mormon prayer is so dead-on that I've got to grab it:
The next order of business was an opening prayer. Now, Mormonism has a lay ministry, which means that there is no professionally trained clergy; for instance, I think that Bishop Lee is a builder or contractor or some such thing. And though services are generally heartfelt, they are not graceful. One peculiarity this breeds is that everyone learns to pray by listening to everyone else, and certain phrases get repeated over and over, prayer after prayer, until they lose their sense.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, she gets excommunicated after writing an angry letter to the president of the church asking to leave the church after it mobilized against the ERA. A loathsome episode in church history, and I'm glad that Teresa opposed it with her all.

But I'm also glad to know that the Church didn't just swoop down and find her out. I'm not quite ready to leave entirely, not quite so alienated from my Mormon relatives (who are rather less insular than her family sounds), not so affected by Mormon temporal power. Perhaps more nostalgic.


Blogger Zelph:

I've known Teresa since HS. Here are some other blogs by Exmormons:

This one's mine:

You might be interested in this website as well:

5/16/2005 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

Thanks for stopping by and leaving those links. I'll be checking them out with more care in the next few days.

(And although I don't comment much at Making Light, let me take this chance to say that I'm envious that you've known Teresa since HS; she sounds like a wonderful lady.)

5/17/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

Wait...Jesus's General is an exmormon? It makes such fearsome sense...

5/17/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Zelph:

The Good General is indeed and a descendant of pioneer stock too!

Check out this post:

5/18/2005 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

That post makes me wonder if I could stomach my mother's custard, cassis, blackberry jello concoction today. At all of the potlocks, I remember it as being the best of a bad lot, but, ugh, jello? I'll have to get the recipe.

Still, to be fair, strange Midwestern food is not limited to the Mormon faith. I have had conversations about the surrealism of jello-salad with many a survivor of many a Midwestern religious group.

5/18/2005 11:32:00 PM  

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