lds-acknowledgment.jpg
On November 10 (the same day The Accidental Terrorist was released), I mailed my resignation letter to the LDS Church via USPS Priority Express with delivery confirmation.

You see, unlike in many Christian churches, having your name and records removed from the rolls of Mormonism is not as simple as refraining from church attendance. Mormons are sticklers for records, and unless you do something drastic, they continue to count you as a member whether you want to be counted or not. If you move, your church records will often follow you, whether you want them to or not, and the leaders in your new city will send people out to your house to make sure you get involved in the local congregation. I've heard from former members whose repeated requests to be left alone were completely ignored, to the point where it could be called harassment.

I had not attended a Mormon church in nearly twenty years, and my address had changed eight times, but on May 29, 2014, I nonetheless received an email out of the blue from the local Mormon ward in Astoria, Queens, asking for volunteers to help out with a weekend service project. I still don't know how they knew where I lived, never mind what my email address was.

The point is, the LDS Church (both as an institution and as individual members) is terrible at respecting the boundaries of people who would prefer to be left alone. Because of this, it took at least one lawsuit to establish that people in the United States have the right to easily resign from the church and thereafter be left alone. That's how it should work in theory, anyway. In practice things are often messier.

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Is there a religious equivalent to the term "civil disobedience"? As in, a term for defying one's church leaders when you find their edicts unjust or immoral? Something more warm-sounding than "heresy"?

Oh, well. For lack of a better term, I'd like to challenge a Mormon bishop to commit heresy.


Before I get to that, I'd like to talk about the Boy Scouts for a minute. I was very happy last month that the LDS Church decided not to sever its ties with the Boy Scouts of America over the issue of permitting troop sponsors to allow openly gay men to serve as Scoutmasters.

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Why I was disappointed by Serial

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SPOILERS

Yep. As predicted, I was.

As soon as I woke up this morning, I downloaded the final episode of Serial. I listened to it while making coffee and feeding the dog and fixing a lunch for Laura. Besides the tantalizing and ultimately frustrating mention of the thin possibility that Hae was murdered by a known serial killer, the episode unfolded without any surprises, right down to Sarah Koenig's admission that, while there probably wasn't enough sufficient evidence for a fair conviction, she can't really make up her mind about Adnan's innocence or guilt.

Maybe this wouldn't have felt like such a letdown if the series hadn't been stretched out to such a length that even vague, unrelated rumors become fodder for investigation and interminable discussion. Serial was certainly worthwhile as an examination of what can happen in our legal system when a crime is prosecuted without rigor, but for me that aspect of the story was undercut by all the tedious minutiae.

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If you visit Chicago by car, please note that it is illegal to fail to display a front license plate. If you drive a car like the one we occasionally borrow from the in-laws, souped up with a special turbo grille in front that doesn't allow for a license plate, you just might get a $50 ticket.

We did.

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The Roald Dahl Memorial Bill?

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I'd like to propose a law. My idea is inspired by a technique I proposed for preventing executives from prioritizing the most egregiously idiotic of projects, but admittedly those stakes are small beer compared to the problem my law would address.

The proposal is simple. Before declaring preemptive (i.e., unprovoked) war, the president would be required to sacrifice a finger.

I'm not talking about a clean amputation, either, with anaesthesia and all those modern niceties. I mean the president's finger would be hacked off with a dull saw, preferably rusty, while he watches. In the most appealing scenario, the amputation would be performed by a surgeon with experience in Civil War reenactments. The surgeon could have whisky, but the president could not.

Also, the stump would be cauterized with a red-hot branding iron.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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