Inhuman Swill : Mormonism : Page 14

ShunnCast #14

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Epidode #14 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which I and my trainer Elder Fowler knock on many doors in search of elusive gold, stumbling at last upon a fairytale cottage and the irresistible enchantress within.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=14

See also [info]shunncast.

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ShunnCast #13

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Epidode #13 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which I and my trainer Elder Fowler take charge of missionary work in the lonesome prairie oil town of Brooks, Alberta, and many naughty words are uttered as a result.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=13

See also [info]shunncast.

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Not so big love

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Dooce this week has a terrific post about the new HBO drama Big Love and the legacy of Mormon polygamy in general. You won't be surprised to hear that I sympathize with her in many particulars. (My comment is #245.)

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ShunnCast #12

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Epidode #12 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which I fly to Canada for my first day of service as a Mormon missionary, but before departing perform amazing feats of transubstantiation upon an ordinary chewing gum wrapper.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=12

ShunnCast #11 was accessed over 1,300 times after the BoingBoing link, producing a 30 Gb bandwidth spike. My monthly bandwidth limit is 40 Gb, so I'm very anxious to see how many of those listeners continue on as regular subscribers. File under "Getting what you ask for."

See also [info]shunncast.

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ShunnCast #11

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Epidode #11 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which I begin the audio serialization of my memoir The Accidental Terrorist, and God commands me to confess exactly which bits are embellished.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=11

See also [info]shunncast.


Update:  Hey! We have a link from Boing Boing!
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Elder Skelter!

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Somehow, despite the fact that it played regularly at the Blue Mouse in Salt Lake City to midnight crowds, I managed to grow up without ever having seen the 1922 cult-classic exploitation flick Trapped by the Mormons, about scary Mormon elders with hypnotic eyes who lure nubile women into lives of sexual slavery.

But fate conspires to remedy this sad oversight. There's a remake! And it's coming to New York! Huzzah! Pay lay ale!

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You often hear cited as fact that Mormonism is the fastest-growing religion in the world. Peggy Fletcher Stack does a fine job in a recent Salt Lake Tribune op-ed piece of sorting out the evidence that this is untrue:

Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than 12 million members on its rolls, more than doubling its numbers in the past quarter-century. But since 1990, other faiths—Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God and Pentecostal groups—have grown much faster and in more places around the globe.

And most telling, the number of Latter-day Saints who are considered active churchgoers is only about a third of the total, or 4 million in the pews every Sunday, researchers say.

For a church with such a large, dedicated missionary corps constantly seeking to spread its word, conversion numbers in recent years tell an unexpected story....   [full article]

What a flippin' relief!

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Via Paul Melko by way of David Moles, I encountered this morning a fascinating essay by SF writer and scholar John Kessel exploring and repudiating the morality of intention that underpins Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and attempting to explain the book's enduring popularity.

It's a long essay, and quite worth reading if you have any interest in morality and fiction, but here's a distillation:

The number of times this scenario of unjustified attack and savage retaliation is repeated, not just in Ender's Game but in other of Card's stories and novels, suggests that it falls close to the heart of his vision of moral action in the world.... The same destructive act that would condemn a bad person, when performed by a good person, does not implicate the actor, and in fact may be read as a sign of that person's virtue....

This, I fear, is the appeal of Ender's Game: it models this scenario precisely and absolves the child of any doubt that his actions in response to such treatment are questionable. It offers revenge without guilt. If you ever as a child felt unloved, if you ever feared that at some level you might deserve any abuse you suffered, Ender's story tells you that you do not. In your soul, you are good. You are specially gifted, and better than anyone else. Your mistreatment is the evidence of your gifts. You are morally superior. Your turn will come, and then you may severely punish others, yet remain blameless. You are the hero....

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Curses! Foiled again!

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So way back in the mists of time I was engaged to a girl I'll call Katrina, because that's how I refer to her in my memoir. Katrina and I have stayed in touch all these years, and she now lives in Connecticut with her second husband, a Dutch chemist nine years her junior (go, Katrina!) whom I'll call Gerrit.

Laura and I had a holiday party back in December, and Katrina and Gerrit drove down from Connecticut for it. It was the first time I'd met Gerrit.

About an hour into the party, Gerrit came sauntering into the group I was chatting with, drunk off his ass, and said, "You know what I just found out that I didn't know before? I found out in the car on the way down here. This guy here"—he indicated me—"he used to be engaged to my wife."

I looked around at the group and said, "Well, this is awkward."

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[from Missionary Man, a memoir still in progress]

I had a very stupid argument once with my girlfriend Bertha, back when we were still living together. (Actually we had a lot of very stupid arguments, but I only plan to consider one here.) This was 1995, and we were at a small club in Seattle waiting for Barenaked Ladies to take the stage. We had both enjoyed the opening band, an act which managed the impressive feat of playing tunes in tricky time signatures without ever alienating the audience.

"How would you count that last song they did?" Bertha asked me. She had taken a class in music theory in college, coming away with just enough knowledge to make her a danger to herself and those around her. "It didn't sound like you could count it like a normal song."

This was her way of asking the number of beats per measure. "It was in five," I said.

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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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