Archive for May, 2009


May 22, 2009

It was predicted some time ago that humans share a common ancestor with the lemurs of Madagascar. A 47 million year old fossil of one of our common ancestors was found in Germany recently. A small and extremely well preserved monkey, Darwinius masillae, or Ida for sort, had opposable thumbs and short fingernails. She is perhaps one of the greatest Mother’s Day gifts paleontology has ever wrapped up. But let me leave the science to the scientists. For our purposes it is enough to know that you can now go to Madagascar, meet a lemur, and call it cousin. Isn’t it great? There is no more doubt, no more wondering. No more second-guessing ourselves. I know, some of you might have been hoping that these country bumpkins couldn’t possibly be related to us. But they are. And they’ll beet us at hide-and-seek any day of the week.

I would like to go to a family reunion with the lemurs. They would probably be a lot more fun than the forced family reunions that happen to my extended family. Only slightly more evolved than lemurs when it comes to theology, the majority of my extended family happens to be Mormon. We do play a lot of hide-and-seek, though. We start with peek-a-boo so young, and it’s such a fun game!

My dearest mother received the most ironic mother’s day gift this year. Her father died. She is no longer anybody’s little girl. Well, she believes in Eternal Life, so maybe it’s not so hard for her after all? Me? I think denial is a river in Egypt, anyway. But grandpa went and hid this time and he won’t be found.

Do lemurs have extended family reunions when someone dies? Or do they sneak off and die alone, respectfully, like most of the species on earth? My grand-father’s idea of a respectful death was to have an elk embroidered on the lining of his casket. In his favorite version of hide-and-seek he carried a gun, and killed his prey when he found it.

I like to bounce around like the ring-tailed lemurs. If you haven’t tried it, you might just like it. The mama lemurs carry their babies on their back or around their belly, or both. The baby lemurs have really got to hold on tight. My dear mother taught me to bounce around quite a bit, and hold on tight, too. She also taught me to hide.

Ida didn’t hide. At least, she didn’t hide in a tree. She hid in a volcanic ash tomb for millions of years so that she could come forth out of the ground and declare that every year on Mother’s Day, humans and lemurs alike can come together in a great family reunion. They can cry on each other’s shoulders or groom each other’s hair. They can mend each other’s wounds and encourage each other’s successes. They can play hide-and-seek, too.

But when the momma lemur hides, she always wins. We know she is there still, hiding right behind that chair there, under that blanket over there, behind her very own hands right in front of us! What a surprise when she re-appears, calming our nerves and soothing our loneliness.

Ida is our mother. We have no need to ever feel alone.


10 Reasons to Leave Mormonism

May 10, 2009

(and many other forms of fundamentalism, I would imagine)

1 – True happiness comes from deciding for oneself how to make life mean something.

2 – Not going to church will leave much more time to devote to family and community. This new community can be one based on inclusivity and tolerance.

3 – Not paying 10% tithing to the church will leave more resources to help support the family.

4 – The realization that Jesus and God are merely metaphorical of the human struggle with death can open up the mind to a greater understanding of the gospel. Christ’s atonement is infinitely more accessible and useful when understood as a psychological metaphor of change rather than literal fact.

5 – When there is no hell awaiting the sinner, the only rewards/punishments come in this life. This makes the urgency of developing a healthy conscience more apparent.

6 – A godless universe is one where fairness is completely man made. Life is not fair. Nor is it unfair. The onus is upon us to create fairness as best we can.  

7 – Leaving Mormonism will open your eyes to the wonders of science and the beauty of creation. True reverence for “god’s” creations comes from an understanding of how little we actually know.

8 – Imagination and creativity are inspired by freedom from religion.

9 – For those mormons who just love being right, an understanding of science and atheism will offer an unending source of subjects to study. The mind will be opened to new and amazing truths.

10 – You get to choose your own underwear.