Category Archives: Pop Culture

Why I Love the “I’m a Mormon” Media Initiative

The “I’m a Mormon” / Mormon.org media initiative that was launched last year is making its way to my neck of the woods (inland Northwest).  Starting the first week in October, there will be TV spots, radio ads, billboards and bus signs with cool, trendy people proudly proclaiming their Mormonness.  In preparation for the media blitz, our ward received in-depth training from Salt Lake this past Sunday, so that we can be ready for the increased questions and attention that will inevitably come our way.

I am completely enthusiastic about this initiative — have been from the start.   I’m not sure how well it’s working in terms of creating convert baptisms (that’s probably not trackable, since it’s a branding campaign as opposed to a response-driven campaign)…but that’s not what excites me most about it anyway.  While I certainly hope it improves our public image, what I really love about the “I’m a Mormon” initiative is the message it sends to Mormons about who gets to be “in!”

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Mo or No?: Ryan Ramirez

All season long, I’ve assumed that Ryan Ramirez on So You Think You Can Dance is Mormon.  Then I realized I hadn’t really analyzed my reasons for my assumption. So I thought I’d post about it and then throw it out there — Ryan: Mo or No?  What say you?

Evidences in favor…

  • She just kind of seems like one.
  • Her mom is always wearing Mormony outfits.
  • She admitted last week on the show that she’s never been in love.  Not that Mormons don’t fall in love, but who is a devout young Mormon woman going to fall in love with when she’s spent the past 3-5 years in LA’s professional dance scene?
  • Sometimes she has kind of a vague smile on her face.  I’ve noticed that we Mormons smile vaguely from time to time when we’re uncomfortable but aren’t quite sure how to handle a given situation in a nice way.
  • She’s a big-time overachiever: she graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA.  Mormons are known for over-achieving.
  • She didn’t get her driver’s license until she was 18 or 19.  This isn’t necessarily a real reason, but I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 18, and I’m a Mormon, so she must be too, right?  😉

My Mo Rating: 72%.

How about you?  Enter your percentage in the comments below.  In the meantime, I will search around the internet for the answer!

UPDATE: I believe I have uncovered the answer, thanks to a fairly diligent bit of Facebook stalking.  Check here when you’re ready.

ABOUT MO OR NO?: I play Mo or No? all the time with my husband and a couple of friends.  Whenever we pass a candidate in the street or at the store, we give each other a percentage based on a cursory glance–and then search for additional evidences (such as capped sleeves, long shorts, CTR rings, extra undershirts, etc.) to verify our hunch.  Online, the game works the same.   Enjoy!

Why The Book of Mormon Musical Was Made Now

(NOTE: the song above doesn’t have any bad language, but it is irreverent and makes fun of Mormon beliefs.  It has a couple of cringe-worthy moments for me, but I don’t find it too egregious — even found myself laughing in a place or two.  However, I don’t want to offend anyone, so if you’re worried about it, I recommend that you skip it.)  🙂

There’s been a ton of buzz about The Book of Mormon Musical lately, due to the fact that it took home about a bajillion Tony Awards this past Sunday.   I haven’t seen the production, of course, because I live very far away from Broadway — and because I’m not sure my little heart could take it* — but I think there are some very specific reasons why something like this could be made about Mormons at this particular moment.  I’d like to explore them here…

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Listography Week 3: What the What?

Today’s list was hard, because I have so many of the items in question:

Things that are beyond your grasp of understanding.

Still, I managed to narrow it down.  Here they my top picks…

1. Calvinism. I’ve read a couple books on Calvinism, and each time I’m left scratching my head.  Five-point Calvinism states that (1) because of humankind’s inherent depravity, we can do nothing to contribute to our own salvation.  Therefore, (2) God chooses whom He will save, not based on merit or faith, but on pure grace.  (3) Jesus’ atonement is limited to those whom He has chosen to save, (4) the chosen are powerless to resist Him, and (5) none of them will ever fall.  (If you fall from grace, all it means is that you were never really chosen to begin with.)

It’s not that I can’t comprehend the theology itself — in fact, it’s probably the most internally consistent theological position in Christianty. And though the finer points of the philosophy (such as compatibilist free will [as opposed to libertarian free will]) give me a headache, I understand the basic concepts. What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to believe this way.  It makes God seem like such a meanie — totally unappealing!  Then again, if you’re a Calvinist you know I have no other choice but to say that, because God wills it so.

2. Why 0.999…  = 1. So I get that this is true.  The video below shows how.  It still blows my mind.

3. The idea that there is no beginning. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of a future eternity is no mental picnic, but it’s way easier than trying to figure out how it’s possible that something (like God) has always existed.  Ouch.

4. People who actually like Paris Hilton. Who can understand this nonsense?  Anyone?  Anyone?

5. People who DON’T like Battlestar Galactica. I don’t care if this reveals my inner nerd to unprecedented levels.  The 2003-2009 series consists of some of the finest television I have ever seen.  Wonderful, complex characters (especially the women!); compelling mystery; great acting and writing; exciting action; intriguing romance; hard-hitting social and religious commentary.  Plus, a wonderful new substitute swear word.  How could you NOT love it?

There are dozens more things I can’t possibly comprehend, but that’s on the top of my list today.  How about you?

(In case you’re interested, here are the technical terms of the Calvinist concepts summarized above: (1) total depravity; (2) unconditional election; (3) limited atonement; (4) irresistible grace; (5) perseverance of the Saints.)

Listography Week 2 — Literary Tearjerkers

Welcome to yet another listography post — and today’s prompt is SO much fun:

Books that Made You Cry

Right? Super exciting.

Without further ado…

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Worst Christmas Songs of All Time

Every year, I make a mixed tape of fun and unusual Christmas songs to share with friends (see this Grooveshark playlist for some of the  selections I included this year).

Today, I thought I’d do something extra special: a mix of the very worst Christmas songs of all time!  These songs are so terrible, you’ll wish you had a gallon of eggnog (the real kind!) to drown your sorrows.

Without further ado, here they are…

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Mo or No?: Shanna

I swear, The Biggest Loser has more Mormons than any other reality TV program in the universe (in fairness, I have no way to substantiate that claim because The Biggest Loser is the only reality TV show I watch).  This season, there is one confirmed Mormon contestant, Burgandy Keel (check out her Facebook fan page where she links to Mormon messages — a dead giveaway)…but last night I found myself wondering if there might be another: Shanna.

Evidences in favor…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Her voice.

Evidences against…

None. Did you hear her voice?

My Mo Rating: 110%.

How about you?  Enter your percentage in the comments below.  In the meantime, I (or perhaps our resident Googler, Eric) will search around the internet for the answer!

ABOUT MO OR NO?: I play Mo or No? all the time with my husband and a couple of friends.  Whenever we pass a candidate in the street or at the store, we give each other a percentage based on a cursory glance–and then search for additional evidences (such as capped sleeves, long shorts, CTR rings, extra undershirts, etc.) to verify our hunch.  Online, the game works the same.   Enjoy!

Women and Happiness — Part 1


I’m reading a book right now that came highly recommended from a counselor friend I admire, called Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.

I’ll admit: I was (and, to a certain extent, still am) totally skeptical.

It’s a popular Christian book, and as such, I was afraid it would be full of platitudes and patronizing pep talks; or worse, rigid proscriptions of what a woman “should” be: domestic, demure, passive, well-dressed — none of which I am, of course, and which have always contributed to my feeling particularly inadequate as a woman.  (The book is not off the hook yet, by the way, because I’m only a chapter and a half in…but so far it’s managed to generally avoid those traps — though it has used some borderline cheesy language that had me rolling my eyes in a place or two.)

Still, last night, feeling a tiny bit discouraged, I picked it up and came across this passage:

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50 Things I Love

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Friends and neighbors, I am no longer in such a cranky mood!  Hooray!

My blog has been a bundle of pissiness lately, and there’s no excuse for that.  Well, except for the fact that I have been a bundle of pissiness lately–which I guess is not so much of an excuse as it is an explanation.

In any event, I decided today that there’s always gonna be stuff to be pissy about, so I might as well get over it.  Therefore, it is with great joy that I present my list of 50 Things I Love (to counteract my previous list of 50 Things I Hate).  In no particular order…

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Marie Osmond Comes Out…in Favor of Gay Marriage

marieSo it’s not like I read Perez Hilton (ahem, ahem), but apparently Marie Osmond has come out…in favor of gay marriage.

Her daughter Jessica is a lesbian, and in an interview with KOST 103.5 in Los Angeles, Marie talked about the need for civil rights for everyone.

I have to say…I’m proud of her.  I’ve always liked to make fun of Marie–ever since that horrendous doll dance on Dancing with the Stars (okay, that’s a lie; I made fun of her long before that)–but you know what?  It takes guts to be Marie Osmond.   God bless her for that.

As for me?  My political views compel me to require that all people be treated equally under the law…even when they’re doing things I don’t agree with (as long as their actions don’t infringe upon the rights of people around them).  My religious views compel me to treat everyone with love and kindness…even when they’re doing things I don’t agree with (just as I would hope others would show compassion toward me).

Gay marriage is a messy topic, but I generally agree with Marie’s assessment that in a free society, the same civil rights must be afforded to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation–whether that means civil unions, marriage, or whatever.