It is an absolute pleasure to read Midnight Sun just to cringe at it. But I am here to make it even cringier! I'm sure they have been WAY too many Twilight metaphors, but I'm adding one more to the pile: behold, Twilight through the lens of my gay Mormon religious trauma.
I chose to read *Saving Faith* by John Gee because I knew I would strongly disagree with it. I don't usually do that with the books I read in my free time, but this one touched a chord as a gay Latter-Day Saint and a survivor of sexual abuse.
Stevens was a top Republican campaign strategist for many state and national elections, including Bush and Romney. His thesis: Trump isn't an aberration of the Republican party; he is its culmination. What happened to balancing the budget? Small government? Personal responsibility instead of playing the victim? Character counts? These principles that were supposedly the bedrock of the Republican party were abandoned over night when Trump was elected.
Hayek and Chesterton gave me a healthy skepticism of expert opinion, but the fact still stands: we do ourselves a disservice when we refuse to listen to our experts. In the era of COVID-19, we are seeing battle lines drawn yet again. Tom Nichols' book is an excellent look at where we went wrong.
While historical fiction surrounding the events of Christ's life can be fun, even inspiring, this one hasn't aged well. From Nicodemus's rant about the decline of Roman family values (even fitting abortion in there) to making Judas a rapist, it was WIERD.
When it comes to Enos, Jarom, and Omni less is more. Sharon Harris has done more with these little books than I thought possible. Harris makes theological space in these pages for those on the edge of the inside of Mormonism, and in an Ozymandian take reminds us that spirituality isn't measured by your real estate on the gold plates.
Hugh Nibley simultaneously affirms faith and challenges the status quo within the Church, and that duality is what I admire so much about him.
Just as Jim Crow replaced slavery as a means of racial control in America, mass incarceration of people of color has replaced Jim Crow. The really harsh thing isn't the prison time-- it's the label that comes along with it for the rest of your life that bars you from jobs, government programs, and even the right to vote.
"Tabernacles of Clay" hits so hard, because for me it is personal. For LGBT Latter-Day Saints on the ground, living our faith is a practical matter, not a theoretical one. Yet ecclesiastical guidance and even doctrines change with political winds.
"If slavery is a manifest and universal evil, why did no one seem to realize this until relatively recently? What does that mean about our traditions of moral reasoning or divine guidance? Why do our scriptures condone slavery and why did our prophets practice it? How can we venerate people and texts-- the prophets, Founding Fathers, a scripture or founding document-- that considered slavery valid or normal? And, if we see clear and egregious moral wrongs that those people and texts so conspicuously missed, why are we venerating or honoring them in the first place?"