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Thursday, February 23, 2012

PBS Series: The Mormons

In 2010, PBS presented a 2 part series on Mormons as part of their American Experience/Frontline programming.

Here's a link to the PBS site. It has a lot of interesting information as well as  Parts 1 and 2 if you want to watch the entire series:

Here's a link to a FAQ about Baptism for the Dead:


Part 2: Chapter 11 Baptism for the Dead

Watch The Mormons Part Two on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Huffington Post: Mormon Baptism For the Dead: History and Explanation of an Unusual Ritual

by Samuel Morris Brown      Posted: 02/23/2012 1:14 pm

Mormons are known for many things, from their love of corporate attire and organization, to their almost uncanny cheeriness, to their scandalous history of polygamy. They are also known as the chief sleuths of genealogy in the modern world. There is a purportedly dark side to their interest in the personal side of world history: the rituals performed for deceased individuals identified through genealogical research. Best known among these rituals is a version of the familiar Christian rite of baptism. Called "baptism for the dead," Mormons have performed such baptisms since their founding prophet introduced the practice on the banks of the Mississippi in the early 1840s. In this rite, Mormons receive baptism "for and in behalf of" a deceased individual and are themselves immersed, just as they were at their own baptism into the Mormon Church.

In one caricature, Mormon baptism for the dead is merely the bizarre extremity of the proselytizing juggernaut of the Mormon missionary program. Even if you managed to turn down those boys in white shirts and black name placards in life, this caricature goes, they will have their way with you in death. There have been more extreme caricatures over the years, including the stunning and idiosyncratic claim that Mormons actually immerse corpses, but by and large outsiders have seen the practice as a strange and insensitive expression of Mormon exclusivism. In context, though, this ritual has rather different meanings.

Mormon baptism for the dead is at least two things.

First, it is a solution to what some scholars call Christianity's "scandal of particularity." By this they mean that Christianity claims that salvation comes only through Christ. If that is true, though, what about those who had no conceivable way to hear of Christ, let alone to confess him? What justice is there in a Gospel that arbitrarily denies heaven to people merely by token of their place of birth? Joseph Smith and his Latter-day Saints answered emphatically, "None." The Mormon solution to the scandal of particularity was not that Christ is unnecessary, but that Christ can be brought to everyone in the afterlife. While the notion offends many modern ears, the solution has a sort of ambitious coherence.

Second, baptism for the dead is a reflection of early Mormon ideas about the nature of family and human relationships. Though in the 20th century Mormons emphasized a more Victorian interpretation of these beliefs, early Mormon beliefs about family were stunningly universal. The family of heaven encompassed essentially every human being in early Mormon belief. Mormons understood baptism as the mechanism by which individuals were adopted into that vast family of heaven. On this view, baptism for the dead represents the hope that all of humanity will be united in the afterlife as one harmonious family. Mormons, rather than looking down at the damned with pious glee, are exploring every possible avenue to get the supposedly damned into heaven. That they employ the very physical rite of baptism to unite the human family reflects more than anything the assiduously literal and physical bent of Mormon thought.

With this context -- baptism for the dead is fundamentally inclusive and universalizing in conception -- it is little wonder that the Latter-day Saints would perform baptism for all the dead whose names they manage to uncover in the world's archives. This enthusiasm, mixed with historic insularity, has led to controversial episodes in which Latter-day Saints have performed baptism on behalf of Jews, including victims and survivors of the Holocaust. While the chastened LDS Church eliminated the entries of such individuals from their records and forbade further such baptisms, a trickle of individual Mormons -- with more enthusiasm for their own religion than empathy for a people for whom forced conversion is a bitter thread in a long history of brutal religious intolerance -- have continued to perform intermittent baptisms on behalf of the Jewish dead.

Mormons have protested that their rite does not convert the dead, it only facilitates such conversion should the dead choose to accept it. They emphasize that they see their rituals as enabling rather than restricting choice. Debates over the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead demonstrate a lack of empathy -- the capacity to imagine the world as the other group does -- on both sides. Mormons have not always understood why their explanations do not satisfy critics. Latter-day Saints should strive harder to understand where and when their answers are not persuasive. They would do well to consider what forced conversion has meant for Jews over the centuries. On the other hand, outsiders would do well to try to imagine the universalist impulse underlying Mormon baptism for the dead.


You can also read more about Baptism for the Dead on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism_for_the_dead

Monday, February 20, 2012

UPDATE ! I Scour the Internet: The Mardi Gras Edition 2/21/12

This just in!....

Well, OK, I just read this on Google news. Looks like there will be a season 4 of Sister Wives! Maybe....

Apparently, because of all the filming going on, parents of children attending the same elementary school as the Browns'  Kids are really upset.

So upset, in fact, they want the school district to change its filming policies. The school district is standing behind the Kody Film Krew, with a district rep noting that  "In the past few months, we've had the Ellen show, ABC News, Oxygen Network, and countless local broadcasts filmed at our schools. TLC and the Brown family deserved the same."

Somehow, I fail to see how a reality show featuring a balding klown who has 4 wives and 17 kids equates to ABC News, Oxygen Network and Ellen. I mean really...think about it. And what's so special about Las Vegas schools that they get all this high powered media attention from so many sources, anyway?

According to TMZ, even though an agreement was reached between the school administration and the production company to blur out faces and not divulge the name of the school, AND the production company even donated $500.00 to the cause (it was a fundraising Valentine's Day Dance), the parents still want changes made to policies pertaining to filming at the district schools.

Ummm...I wonder if these parents includes the homeowner(s) who tried to get an unnamed sister wife evicted from her house rental last year.

Anyway, on the 'good' news hand, this brouhaha means filming is still going forward. On the 'bad' news hand, you can take a look at a photo with Kody front and center (of course) at TMZ: http://www.tmz.com/2012/02/20/sister-wives-parents-upset-tv-crew-cameras/

So, what were the Browns up to this long holiday weekend?

Some of the Browns were very very busy this weekend. We even had someone report a sighting right here on SisterWivesBlog!

Let's take a look at some tweets:

So Robyn, how was your weekend?

So sorry to hear...wait a minute, this sounds vaguely familiar...oh yes, here's a tweet from 1/28/12

That's a heck of a long incubation period for that flu bug...almost a month? What's with these people - why do they get the flu bug and cold sores that refuse to go away? Or is she wanting sympathy?

Note to self: Maintain a safe distance from Robyn at all times...she is sickening.

Browns on the Road...Again

Yep, just when residents thought it was safe to venture into the fine, dry winter's air in Arizona, who blows into town but Kody Brown, dragging a sisterwife with him. When I last reported about the LIV Global Operation Detox on a global scale shindig in Mesa AZ - for Friday 2/17/12 , the craigslist advert just mentioned the Kody Brown Family would be in attendance.

Now we can confirm which wife he brought with him. It was....Janelle! Makes one wonder if her Super Bowl Party journey where she met ole Phil was just a warmup for her Mesa gig. However, I doubt if Mesa has anyone close to Phil's notoriety - I don't remember exactly where Alice Cooper lives, but I can definitely say it's not in Mesa. And Alice, if you're reading, I really enjoyed seeing your Big Unit at Alice Coopertown !(shameless plug).


Janelle sort of hints something's up with her tweet on the morning of 2/17/12. Kinda like she was going in front of a firing squad or something...

But, as I found out from our undercover friend Antoinette, she reports that the admin on the Brown's Extra Special Friend-Only Facebook Fanpage announced on 2/16/12 that the Kody and Janelle would be at a restaurant in Gilbert (?) Az, and that anyone who wanted to attend could email the Browns as the seats were limited. Oh yes, the Browns would be presenting a "short overview of a family business venture".

Wow, now that sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it?

So Kody, did you and Janelle do anything (besides talking up the operation redux  'family business venture') while in the Valley of the Sun?

Oh yeah, those guys who were on YOUR show last season. I can smell the testosterone from here. So what did Janelle do while you were having ...fun?

Ha Ha! Just one of the regular folks huh? Watching the crowd getting psyched for blood! Reminds me of when I used to go to the Colosseum in ancient Rome. Yes, I am that old.

And as the sun slowly begins to set in the western sky, an Anonymous SWB commenter writes on 2/19/12:
Was Janelle in AZ today? I could have swore I saw her at Anthem outlet mall and my daughter says I am crazy!
Nope, you're not crazy. Looks like the Browns are driving their way back home to Vegas!

So far, we have one wife sick at home, one figuring out technology, and one still dripping with  testosterone from a mixed martial arts match. Where in the heck is Meri?

Meri went to Disneyland!!
That's right. When the going gets rough, Meri takes her 'girls' (including Aspyn, Madison, and Mariah) to one of the happiest places on Earth, DISNEYLAND! Yay!!

First, we see Meri planning for the trip by scanning  >choke<  Craigslist?!

Ummm.... no Meri. I don't think it's safe!

Finally  they're at Disneyland,. So is everyone enjoying themselves?

Looks like Meri is missing her man. Well Meri, I'm sure Kody would have been there if he didn't have to make an appearance for the family business venture. And if you believe that, I have some tickets to sell you for Disney World. I was going to put them on Craigslist....

And Rosie tweeted back! That really surprised me because that means Rosie is actually personally sending all those tweets?! How does she have time to enjoy herself? Oh well, I think Rosie must have an assistant walking next to her tweeting as Rosie dictates what to say...she can't possibly be doing all that tweeting!

Where was I? Oh yeah...

Well, it sounds like Meri had a lot of fun in Disneyland. But it must be drag not to have all your sisterwives with you, right Meri?

UPDATE 2/21/12

I just got a message from Antoinette La Taupe, still undercover at the Brown's Extra Special Friend-Only Facebook Fanpage. Janelle just left a message: Seems that Kody killed two birds with one stone on the Arizona road trip this weekend. Not only did he take care of 'family business', it was also his 19th anniversary with Janelle.  Kind of weird she put this on Facebook where only a select few can see it instead of twitter. Anyway, she thanked Christine for helping Gabe with his homework and Meri for taking 'the girls' to Disneyland. I guess Robyn helped in the snuggling because Janelle only wrote about Meri's and Christine's good deeds.

Maybe she'll update twitter later after her 'pancakes with butter  AND syrup' feast.

Well that's all for now. And remember, I Scour the Internet, so You Don't Have to!

Hope you had a great President's Day and Mardi Gras (where applicable)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ask Mormon Girl: I’m pretty sure Mormons still believe in polygamy. Am I wrong?


Here's another interesting article from Ask Mormon Girl. The comments make for a good read, too, so check them out on the url link at the end of the article.


Dear AMG:

I’m an unorthodox lifelong Mormon. I consider myself to be well-versed on our religious doctrine, and in some BYU religion classes, had heard something about polygamy being “the exception, not the rule” in the celestial kingdom. I just put it on the back burner of my mind because a) I couldn’t even stomach it, and b) It sure as hell wasn’t going to apply to ME.

On Sunday, the Relief Society lesson was about the three degrees of glory. We of course addressed the fact that if a woman is not married in this life, she will have the opportunity in the next. During the last five minutes of class, the Relief Society President raised her hand to address the topic of exaltation and said, “Well, those of us who have righteous husbands need to be prepared in the Celestial Kingdom for him to take on other wives.” Ummmm, WHAT?! I had a feeling of absolute horror, and had a cold sweat and nausea instantly run over my body.

The rest of the night, and next few days I spent looking for doctrine of what she’d said. I spoke with many people, none of whom seem to know the answer. I cried. I plead with God for peace. I got more sick about it. These past few days, I’ve been unable to concentrate at work. I feel totally emotionally distant from my husband because, after all, what is the point of being close to him if I have to share him with other women? It goes against every fiber of my being. I asked my husband what he would do if faced with polygamy in the hereafter. He said if he had God actually gave him a choice, he would choose to be with only me, but that if it were a commandment, he would abide by it because he puts his love of God over his love for me. More nausea.

My thoughts have been, “Why have I been trying to live such a good life to gain exaltation if it would be my absolute personal hell over there? I would rather be single in the Terrestrial kingdom than practice polygamy in the Celestial kingdom.” I know this probably sounds dramatic, but it’s how I feel. I’ve talked to my parents, and they tell me that I’m thinking about it with my earthly eyes, and that since there’s no specific doctrine, why worry about it now, but honestly, I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s affecting my functioning at work, and I’m emotionally shut off from my husband. Please help! What’s your understanding of the doctrine?


Dear AMG:

After reading your research on the blacks and the priesthood, I felt for the first time I had received a clear explanation with historical background. I am curious why you have not discussed polygamy in more depth. I have read many books, but still have a hard time believing it was a revelation from God. From my perspective, the LDS faith still practices polygamy, not overtly but by permitting men to be sealed to more than one woman. Some personal experiences have added to my doubts, as well. I understand that this is a very controversial subject and perhaps that is why you have avoided it; however, I would appreciate your perspective.


Dear AL and AD:

Thank you for raising the issue of polygamy. It is an issue our community has profoundly mixed feelings about—shame, confusion, anger, resentment, fear, sadness, conviction, pride. And one we rarely talk about.

We need to talk about polygamy.

Just last week, after the subject of Mitt Romney’s Mexican-born grandparents came up during a debate, I posted to the @askmormongirl Twitter line: “Everyone knows Mitt’s ancestors went to Mexico to practice polygamy, right? Because it was illegal in the states.” And then, I came out about my own polygamous and non-polygamous ancestors: my great-great-great grandmother Lucy Evalina Waterbury Wight was a first wife, and my great-great-great grandmother Martha Clayton Dorton threatened to cut off her husband’s ears if he took a second wife. “Come on, Mo tweeps,” I tweeted, “Lose your shame. Tweet your polygamous ancestors.”

What followed over the next 18 hours was a remarkable outpouring of Mormon thoughts and feelings about polygamy. Some proudly tweeted their polygamous ancestors. Others admitted to shame and confusion about doctrine and history. Many (usually Mormon men) insisted they found polygamy “repulsive.”

Strong, strong feelings.

We need to talk about polygamy.

In the late nineteenth-century, the US government basically waged political, financial, and military war on Mormons in the west, in part because of polygamy. Show trials in Congress. National reform crusades and press coverage. All of them depicting our ancestors as depraved men and duped women. And it was all part of a very specific political effort (with strong anti-Asian and anti-Islamic overtones) to maintain the domination of white Protestant “normalcy” in the US.

To survive, our ancestors stopped talking about polygamy. Some of them went on the “underground,” hiding out from federal agents and moving from town to town. We learned not to talk about polygamy. We still do not talk openly about polygamy—by Joseph Smith, or Brigham Young, or as doctrine. We are still on the “underground.” The life account of Joseph Smith in the official church Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith manual does not mention any of his more than thirty plural wives. When I have mentioned his polygamy in public, angry Mormons have emailed me, incredulous, and demanding proof that Joseph Smith was polygamous. (If you doubt the facts, please see Todd Compton’s meticulously researched book In Sacred Loneliness. There really is no debate. Joseph Smith had at least 33 wives. Many have been profiled at an amazing series on “The Forgotten Women of Joseph Smith” at the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog.)

We need to talk about polygamy.

Polygamy remains on the books in Mormon scripture (many, but not all, Mormons interpret Doctrine and Covenants 132 as an endorsement of polygamy). And, yes, to this day, the mainstream LDS Church continues to form polygamous eternal marriages between one man and more than one women. Current temple marriage policies allow a man who has been widowed or civilly divorced (without a religious divorce) to be married for eternity to a second wife. A woman who has been widowed or civilly divorced (without a religious divorce) may not be married for eternity to a second husband. Technically, the LDS Church does practice polygamy to this day.

Because of scripture and policy, many mainstream Mormon people today—not the ultra-orthodox FLDS splinter groups of Colorado City, but regular everyday Mormons who look like Steve Young and Mitt Romney–fully expect that heaven will be polygamous. But they don’t talk about it.

We need to talk about polygamy.

In fact, the Mormon strategy for dealing with the public on polygamy is much like it was one hundred years ago: don’t talk about it. The official line is that Mormons do not practice polygamy (which is not essentially accurate). Apologists routinely downplay the historical extent of polygamy, stating that only 2 – 3% of LDS people ever practiced it; historians place that number closer to 20 – 30%.

I fully understand the reasons we tell the world we don’t practice polygamy. The amount of sheer revulsion directed at Mormons for polygamy is astounding, and it’s ridiculous in a world where other form of non-hetero-monogamous relationship are welcomed or winked at. We crave understanding. We want to get along with our neighbors and fit in. And yet the strategy of telling the world we don’t practice polygamy when polygamy remains a live Mormon doctrine may have some major drawbacks.

We need to talk about polygamy.

Growing up, I was taught not to worry about it. “Put it on a shelf,” as the classic Mormon line goes. “We’ll understand when we have an eternal perspective.” But that never worked for me. From the time I was a child, I have always been a thinker by nature, and serious about my religion. So I tested myself against the question, “Would I share my husband if it meant my sister Mormon could get into heaven?” And I decided, yes, I could. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old. Maybe that’s where my feminism started: in female solidarity.

I’ve lived with the reality of polygamy for a long, long time. I’ve seen the very real feelings it generates in people close to me. I’ve seen white-knuckling, and anger, and heard wives extract promises from husbands, and siblings tell siblings they don’t really count as “Mormon” if they so much as remain silent when the issue of polygamy comes round. Put it on a shelf? Hide it away? When we are taught to be a knowledge-seeking people? The fact is, Mormons live with polygamy every day. Even when we repress it.

Indeed, there are plenty of bright LDS young men and women today who look at the current temple sealing policies and conclude that yes, we do still practice polygamy. They are not wrong. They want no part of polygamy, and they find the way the culture denies it or “undergrounds” it to be scary and discouraging. And some of them walk away from the Mormon tradition.

And there are young people today who have no idea about Mormon polygamy or Joseph Smith’s plural marriages until they find it ON GOOGLE—what a wonderful way to learn the family secrets–often from one of the many anti-Mormon websites designed to shame and embarrass members of the faith.

On my twitter thread, @LDSBishop shared a story about an entire family that left the Church because they had no idea about polygamy until they read Richard Bushman’s Joseph Smith biography Rough Stone Rolling.

Why should we not inform our own people about our own history? When we don’t, we set up our people to feel betrayed and ashamed, and we give power to people who would like to embarrass us. What we refuse to be ashamed of, others can never hold over us.

As for the doctrinal value of polygamy, I have talked to plenty of Mormons who believe that polygamy was always a human rather than an inspired element of LDS doctrine and practice. (See Flunking Sainthood author Jana Riess here.) I have talked to plenty of Mormons who embrace it as an iron-clad eternal principle. And I have talked to plenty of Mormons who think that polygamy may be an unfortunate but necessary part of the eternities. Why? They cite two big unofficial reasons:

1.There are more righteous women than men, and if we all need to be married to get to heaven (as per LDS doctrine), then it makes sense that one man may have to marry more than one woman.
2.If our heavenly parents pro-create spirit children, polygamy would be necessary to create enough spirits to people a planet.
These are my personal unofficial responses:

1.As a feminist, and for the love of the men and boys in my life, I straight up refuse to believe that one gender is inherently or essentially more righteous than another.
2.The idea that the creation of spirits happens in a process that parallels sexual reproduction of human bodies is a remnant of nineteenth-century speculative theology. Fantastic stuff. But a pretty limiting view of God to believe that S/he has to generate spirits through a spirit uterus. More recently, Mormon theologians have proposed a view of spirit creation as the “organization of matter.” And on a more personal level, I loved being pregnant, but if spirit creation means that I have to pregnate a jillion souls, I’m out.
So, count me among the many Mormons who do not believe that polygamy is an eternal principle, even as I honor all the Mormons who did and do believe this, and the sacrifices they made and make for faith. I love the idea that none of us enters the heavens singly, that we all must be bound together—across the generations—we all go in together. It reminds me of the Buddhist teaching that none attains enlightenment until all attain enlightenment. But one-man-multiple-woman polygamy is not an idea I can believe in, and it’s not just because I’m seeing with “mortal” rather than “spiritual” eyes: symmetry, I think, is an eternal principle too.

But most of all, I dislike the way we hide polygamy, or seek to manage it with carefully-managed or contradictory messages. That strategy we developed back in the 1890s sticks with us to this day and shapes our guarded, nervous relationships with non-Mormons. I hate the shame the whole subject engenders. I hate getting screaming e-mail messages from Mormons who are extremely ashamed that I mentioned Joseph Smith’s plural wives—a matter of historical record—in public. And I hate getting e-mail messages from Mormons to whom I must gently break the news that such is historical fact.

We need to talk about polygamy. A subject that drives such strong feelings among us deserves to be handled with candor, respect, and humanity. That is what I’ve tried to do here.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Special After the Valentine's Rose Bouquet Edition: Christine TWEETS !

It's been 48 hours since Valentine's Day, so leave it to the Brown Sister Wives to brag to tell their many fans what Kody got them for Valentine's Day.

Meri even went so far as to post a picture! A really BIG picture.

But before we get to that, there's been another important development on the Brown Tweet front.

Now ya'll better sit down for this, because after an almost one month absence, CHRISTINE TWEETS!

 Now this is verrry interesting.

On Feb 14, our very own 'Amused' commented:
As for the hunt for Christine....
That poor woman looked like she was unraveling at the end of last season. So who knows what is going on with her.

But it does seem that whenever there are posts here questioning certain lacks/flaws in the Kody World image, they do then pick up the ball. So perhaps Christine will resurface soon.

And guess what happened? The Browns, particularly that major Lothario of a man named Kody, made sure they tweeted and Facebooked about their wonderful Valentine's Day.


I'm getting all goose bumpy all over my body! Cynical Jinx just told me to get a grip and write.

So let's take a look, shall we?

What a nice wish for everyone. But I'm confused, are those 9 Valentines you are shopping for, or 9 Valentines you received? And of course you love it - for a woman who practices keeping their honeymoon alive and loves being the center of attention, Valentine's Day must be the high point of the year. Still shopping, I see. Hey did you pick up anything nice at Victoria's Secret? Just asking...

Now, if you read between the lines, this is what I believe  Robyn is saying: " You jerk! You mean to tell me you couldn't think of FOUR DIFFERENT things to give me, I mean, to give to your wives? You cheap BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP! I'm calling Janelle for Phil Varone's number! He's a real rockstar, you jerk!"

Well, let's take an intervention...I mean intermission and see what Meri had to say earlier this week.

So Meri, was this your subtle way of saying Sunday was Kody's day with you? Just saying....

Ah.....l'Amour, l'Amour! But a little over the top with the bouquet praising. I  mean it's a damn vase of flowers that's gonna dry up in a couple of days. Kody's flush with dough, he should be giving his LEGAL wife something a little more substantial than flowers. I'm thinking white, hard and brilliant in a tasteful setting (or settings if earrings).

Oh yeah, here's a small pic of the bouquet.

There's a single yellow rose in the center of the bouquet. I betcha each wife probably had a different colored rose in the center of her bouquet.

I don't know, but I'm thinking Joe Darger's Themed Polygamist Valentine's Day Massacre Party wins hands down over Kody's weak flower bouquets in the originality department.

But let's check on Janelle. What do you think Janelle?

OUCH! Maybe she hadn't received her 'beautiful' bouquet yet...but leave it to Janelle to keep it real.

And what does the big dawg have to say?

Say what? Fun surprises probably means Robyn going ballistic her sisterwives also got bouquets. Let's hope this Hileah person was the floral arranger and not Kody's next prospective wife. And I don't even want to think about chaos, let alone "Brown chaos". Hopefully he didn't keep the children out of school for it.

And now, what you have been waiting for...


....Alrighty then...       I.am.speechless.

Well, that was kind of a letdown. So, let's take a look at what I'm calling the Cricket Corner.

This Corner is where all those tweets from fans wanting to know about the next season go. The Browns for some reason are keeping mum about the next season. So any fan that tweets them for info, are sent to the Cricket Corner, where all they hear are the chirping of crickets - forever...



Oh noes! Robyn sent these fans to the Cricket Corner!! Bad fan, bad fan!

Good questions, ladies. Maybe you'll get a private tweet from Robyn with the answers! Considering they get a gazillion questions a day, you'd think that a public answer to one fan's query could prevent 100 other fans from needing to ask the same question.

But maybe that's part of the Brown Chaos...

Well that's all for now. And remember...

I Scour the Internet, so You Don't Have To !!

Monday, February 13, 2012

UPDATE!!: I Scour the Internet: The Valentine Day Edition 2/14/12

 Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

Let's recap what's been happening with the Brown group!

Somebody had a birthday last week....

That sounds like fun, but I wonder what they hunted in the wilds of Las Vegas? For Phil Varone's cast offs? And has anyone else noticed that Kody went HUNTing with HUNTer? If only Kody and Robyn had named their baby Fisher instead. That way, on his fifteenth birthday Kody could take FISHer FISHing, know what I mean?

 So what does Hunter's mom have to say?

Thanks Robyn  <eyeroll>, but I was referring to Hunter's BIRTH mom, OK?

Hey Janelle, so what's up with Hunter's birthday celebration?  Did  you cook whatever  Hunter and Kody HUNTed up on their HUNTing trip?         

Wow Janelle, that does sound kind of easy. Does that mean Hunter can ask for Eggs Benedict or even Chile Rellenos? I just hope he didn't get a bowl of Lucky Charms or Shredded Wheat. And thanks to Hunter's parental units for reminding all of us that Brownboss99 is Hunter. Isn't it funny how both Robyn and Kody use the word 'aka'? Almost like they are one mind. Literally.

And on the subject of birthdays...

A fan asked the Kody Krew what month was busiest for birthdays:

That's good to know, especially if its ever the $50,000 question on some game show!

Hey Meri, you've been looking a little tired lately. Are you getting enough rest? What's wrong?

I'm sure we all have that happen when we know our hubby is sleeping in someone else's bed.

But Meri, I thought your sisterwives, especially Robyn (you know, that sisterwife you always wanted) were suppose to be your friends. And why isn't Kody helping you make sense of your world, you know, the one you chose to live? Maybe your favorite sisterwife Robyn can help you out. Has she told you about her Honeymoon Experience theory?

This is all beginning to look so...depressing! Calling Dr Philgood, oops, I mean Dr Phil !

Since this is the Valentine's Day edition, I remembered how last year Kody took his wives to dinner at an all you can eat buffet in Vegas.

Now call me crazy, but that just doesn't seem too romantic. No wonder Meri is down in the dumps.

Maybe Valerie Darger has discovered a way to keep the romance alive. Let's check it out, shall we?

How Polygamists Celebrate Valentines Day

Posted on February 7, 2012 by Valerie

It’s complicated. To be honest, I have no idea how other polygamists celebrate this lovers’ holiday. I think there are some who pass it off as just another day on the calendar. Others might keep it low-key with a card and flowers.

In years past, I remember Joe saying he didn’t need a special holiday to express his love for us…it was something he did every single day. And I didn’t entirely disagree with him. He is always finding ways to show how much he cares. Whether it’s a tender embrace in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner or sending an unexpected text in the middle of his workday, he manages to make me feel special.

If there was one thing to complain about it’s this; he feels that giving flowers is a waste of money. I know! Right? I don’t entirely agree with him on this one but I kind of don’t blame him either. There is a story in our book where he goes to the florist to send flowers to Vicki and Alina for Valentines. This was before I ever came along. It ended badly. You can read about it for yourself on page 195.

One year he came up with a brilliant idea. He suggested we have a party by polygamists, for polygamists. We would invite people who believe in or live the Principle of Plural Marriage. It’s been a tradition ever since and has really been successful in taking the pressure off the man to come up with something for each wife. We have a different theme every year for food and decor. First it was Italian, then Asian, Hawaiian, Mexican and this year it will be French. We will be preparing Julia Child’s famed Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy). As well as some moist and delicious sugar cookies for which I will share the recipe below.

Each year we ask our guests to add to the fun. The year we had Asian food they were all to write their own fortune “fit for a polygamist” like you might find in a fortune cookie. The next year they were to make a homemade Valentine card that could be used by a polygamist. There were such creative ideas, we were falling off our chairs, doubled up with laughter. This year they were asked to come up with a ‘candy-gram’ that is polygamy themed.

Now for the heart-shaped sugar cookies with pink frosting. They are always so festive and the tray is empty long before the party is over...

Well Valarie, you know what I always say - Empty trays for empty minds! Or was that simple pleasures for simple minds? Ya'll get the point, I'm sure.

You can see the yummy recipe at http://lovetimesthree.com/how-polygamists-celebrate-valentines-day/

And kudos to Valerie for showing us that polygamist men are not only the center of a polygamist woman's universe, but they can come up with brilliant party ideas too. And nice job hawking your book by telling readers they can read about Joe's flower disaster themselves on page 195 of your bestseller.

I bet if you ask Oprah Winfrey real nice she would give you some ideas for next year's partay. Or even better, tweet your polygamist girlfriend Janelle's new friend Phil for some ideas. I bet he'll even provide the um, decorations, too!

Before I call it a wrap, I came across this tweet from Robyn I'd like to share:

Good gracious, what is the deal with this woman? For goodness sakes, Las Vegas is in a DESERT. If you ain't seen cold and snow by February, it ain't gonna happen! And isn't that one of the reasons, besides ratings, that Kody used to persuade your sisterwives to move to Vegas? No more snow, no more freezing temperatures like Utah. Get with the program Robyn. Let Sol out of his cage and take him outside now before it gets over 115 degrees!


I just found this!

Fresh off the Craiglist's presses: Liv International will be hosting a Luau featuring the Kody Brown Family on Friday February 17th in Mesa AZ. Mesa not only has an LDS Temple, but from what I've heard, its own share of polygamists, too! For only $25.00, you can mingle with the KODY BROWN FAMILY while enjoying an Hawaiian Luau menu dinner, with Hawaiian Fire Dancing and door prizes and a raffle!

Just for the fun of it, I went to the Liv Luau 'website' and tried to order some tickets. Unfortunately, I got the message that the event was sold out. Damn, what a pity! I wanted to see if Christine would be there, shaking hands and eating Hawaiian food!

I don't want to sound petty or mean, but, couldn't Liv International find a more urban upscale setting? Like  maybe even downtown Mesa instead of an out in the boonies place that boasts being the venue for people yearning for 'authenic' Hawaiian Weddings. Face it, if I want Hawaiian, I hop on a plane to Oahu, not Mesa!

On a more serious note, is this the best Kody can do for his family? Trotting out with his wives to shake hands and small talk with people that are only interested in them because of a reality TV show. And I really would like to know how much of the $25 entrance fee goes directly into his pocket. What happens when the show is cancelled, and he's got a couple of hundred cases of food supplements in his  rented Vegas garages? Does he think people will still shill out $25 to see him?

Here's a link to the Craiglist ad: http://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/eve/2845055730.html

Well, that's all for now. Remember, I Scour the Internet, so you don't have to!

Question of the Day - Is Monogamy the Best We Can Do?

I think we all need a laugh, so here's something I found on Vice.com . Enjoy!

By VICE Staff

That one family from Utah who had that show on TV are kicking off a debate about anti-bigamy laws. The father, Kody Brown, has four wives and 17 kids and belongs to something called the Apostolic United Brethren Church. Only one of his wives is hot, too, so you are kind of left thinking "Why are you doing this? All of your wives added together barely scrape past a ten."

Nevertheless, we still think polygamy could really offer a beautiful alternative to the way most of us do love, so we asked people: Is monogamy the best we can do?

VICE: How many wives do you wanna have when you grow up?
Um… one.

What? Only one?
The ideal marriage for me would be one.

Definitely one? Don't you think there’d be drawbacks?
Yeah, there’d be repercussions for sure. That’d cause problems. But from my perspective as a young person who hasn’t gotten into any really kinky shit yet, I just don’t think you can be with more than one person at once.

Some polygamous people keep collecting wives into their later years and end up with a few who are younger than their children. What do you think of that?
Yeah. It’s weird. My dad tried to OK a girlfriend with me recently and she was my age! It was way too weird. It’s just irritating when older guys steal away girls of your age.

VICE: Hey, ladies—is monogamy the best we can do?
Girl on right: It depends on what you think you can do to other people. You can really hurt people.

How many different husbands would you like to have, in an ideal world?
Girl on left: I like having a lot of different boyfriends. But I wouldn’t have more than one husband.

So you don’t think you can properly love more than one person?
Girl on left: That hasn’t happened to me, but I think it’s definitely obtainable.

What do you think is the maximum number of spouses someone can have and still make it work? One for each day of the week?
Girl on the left: Ha! Like the king in ancient China! I don’t know. I personally can’t make love to like... a LOT of people in a week. But if someone reckons they can deal with one a day, then why not have that.

VICE: Would you ever have more than one wife?
My parents have a really good marriage and have always taught me that’s the way to do it. I think that’s helped shaped me into the person I am. A lot of kids' parents are divorced due to polygamy...

I didn't realize there were so many orphans of polygamy running around.
Yeah. I think it can really fuck kids up on a personal level.

VICE: Is monogamy the best we can do?
No, I don’t think it is.

How many wives would you have, in an ideal world?
Errr... [long pause] one? I just couldn’t deal with the nagging.

So you wouldn’t go for one wife for every day of the week?
Well, maybe if I could get away with it. I don’t know. I just think it would be too much hassle.

Really? What if they all knew and were cool with it? And they all lived under one roof in your super mansion?
I still think I’d just stick to one. I’ve got a couple of Muslim mates with three wives and I just don’t think I could hack that.

Source: http://www.vice.com/read/question-of-the-day-is-monogamy-the-best-we-can-do

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Scour the Internet: The Post Super Bowl Edition 2/7/12

So how was everybody's Super Bowl Sunday? Did your favorite team win? Lose?

I kept up with my own Super Bowl Sunday tradition: I cleaned up the condo, then ordered up pizza and wings for the family and friends to enjoy while being the perfect hostess.

And when it was all over, and the last guest struggled out the door to the cab waiting outside, I put my feet up, grabbed a pepsi off the coffee table, and watched the Puppy Bowl that I dvr'd. I fell asleep three times before finally erasing the show and crawling into bed.

Some traditions are just too good to ever change, right?

The Browns' Fans try to Keep Up with the Cardassians.

You know, when Antoinette first tried to tell me about this, I couldn't help but ask why would the admins on the Brown's Facebook fanpages want people to vote against the Cardassians? I mean, I use to watch Star Trek and every one of its spin-offs, so if I had to vote against another life form, the Borg would definitely have my vote before a Cardassian.  Cardassians are so cute, in a lizard kind of way...

Antoinette then explained that it was the reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians she was talking about, not the Cardassians. In other words:

© Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com


Although, I do see some similarities between the two...

Anyway, iVillage has this Entertainment Award 2012 Poll where they ask readers to vote for their favorite reality show 'guilty pleasure'.  And the fans of the Browns don't want their favorite polygamist family to lose the coveted iVillage Entertainment Award to the Keeping up with the Kardashians Krew.

Now, Wikipedia defines a guilty pleasure as "... something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The "guilt" involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one's lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes."

So why would a fan of the Browns want to vote in a poll for a guilty pleasure? Are they feeling guilt or embarrassment when they watch Sister Wives, or do they not understand what a guilty pleasure really means?

I will be magnanimous and say that it's none of the above, and that those poor fans are just jonesing for anything on the 'net that deals with the Browns. So if you're jonesing too, here's a link to the poll: http://www.ivillage.com/favorite-reality-show-guilty-pleasure-1/1-i-419622

I won't give away who's <cough> in the lead <cough, cough> but I will say that I voted for RuPaul's Drag Race and that's at 18%  last time I looked.

What did the Browns do on Super Bowl Sunday?

Well, Kody not only is providing shout outs for his favorite Mexican Food Restaurant, he's even giving the address - don't want those fans to venture into the wrong establishment, right? And Kody, do you get a free meal if they mention Mark's name?

Leave it to Robyn to tell fans what's up with the Browns on Super Bowl Sunday!

And of course, the day after, Janelle lets fans know what a letdown Mondays can be. It almost sounds like she has a job or something, doesn't it?

But wait, my scouring of the internet brings up this tweet from  Phil Varone - former sex addict immate of the reality show Sex Rehab with Dr Drew and rock band drummer.

Does this mean Janelle hit the Vegas celebrity party circuit on Super Bowl Sunday as well as attended the family funfest described by Robyn, or did Kody invite Phil to the family Super Bowl partay. No wonder Janelle's got the Monday blues!

Is that Robyn over on the right, with the glasses? And WHERE WAS KODY ????????

If Kody was there, you KNOW his mug would have been in the picture, too!!!

Okay, here's a full report of that Super Bowl party Janelle attended!

A party replete with Carrot Top, ‘AGT’ contestants, a couple of Blue Men, deep-fried Oreos … oh, and the Super Bowl

By John Katsilometes

Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 | 4:04 p.m.

You know when you happen upon Carrot Top over by the mac-and-cheese warmer that you are not attending a typical Super Bowl party.

So it was Sunday at the Henderson home of the esteemed Jeff Molitz. That Carrot Top was there was not wholly surprising, as Molitz is the personal assistant of Scott Thompson (who is, in fact, Carrot Top). Nor was it unexpected that a high volume of guests would turn out. Molitz has been hosting this party for 16 years, and the guest list has bubbled over like a stack of Oreos dumped into a Hamilton Beach deep fryer.

Deep-fried Oreos were served, yes, and, cheese-slathered spaghetti, chicken wings, hamburgers, hot dogs and other related heart-imperiling fare. At its peak, the event numbered about 200 (which would have made for a pretty nice caucus turnout, as it happens).

The quantity was spiced with quality, guest-wise, as we had a pair of former “America’s Got Talent” contestants (comic Geechy Guy and magician Murray Sawchuck); one former 'N Sync-er (Joey Fatone, in town as a star guest host of “The Price Is Right Live!” at Bally’s); famed sidekick Penny Wiggins, longtime assistant of Amazing Johnathan); a rock drummer and celebrity sex tape star of note (Phil Varone, once of Skid Row and Saigon Kick and also a two-time AVN nominee); a pair of Blue Men (Marc Roberts and Patrick Newton); a member of the percussive Vegas band Uberschall (Jeff Totora); the city’s most famous little person (Brian Thomas of Little Crue, O’Shea’s and Kiss By Monster Mini Golf); an emerging band (Avalon Landing); and an Aria lounge performer (Patrick Sieben); a NASCAR driver (Brian Vickers); and a member of the Fox 5 news team (Claudine Grant).

There also was a late report that the Sister Wives from the TLC reality TV series turned up. I did not meet them as such, but there is a fair chance one of them made off with my business card.

There were a few notes of note, naturally, around the snack line and the three big-screen TVs beaming the game:

• Fatone, who patiently posed for dozens of photos, continues his run at Bally’s through April 8. He joins such “TPIR” guest hosts as Drew Lachey and Jerry Springer. Carrot Top and he are friends from the days when both lived in Orlando, Fla.

• Geechy Guy’s “Dirty Joke Show” has closed at Hooters -- a bummer, as it was genuinely hilarious -- and he’s shopping the production to any credible official who will listen. He’s even speaking of something off-Broadway, and, baby, it doesn’t get any more off-Broadway than Hooters.

• Carrot Top is off for a week after tonight’s performance at the Luxor. He says he’s looking forward to checking out the elaborate prop work in the Motley Crue show at the Joint.

• Wiggins, known by her stage name Psychic Tanya, is walking without a limp. That information would be unremarkable except that Wiggins spent months on the mend after suffering a broken right foot after slipping at her pool in June. Amazing Johnathan is still headlining at Harmon Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood (at Krave, to be more specific).

The whole wingding takes Molitz and his family two weeks to prepare. Molitz rents a tent to cover the backyard for each of these events. And you know if there is a tent involved, a tent and Carrot Top, you’ve got yourself a party. I just wonder what the neighbors thought of it all ...

Read the article at http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/kats-report/2012/feb/06/party-replete-carrot-top-agt-contestents-couple-bl/


Mon dieu! Deep fried Oreos?!? Cheese slathered spaghetti?!? Chicken wings?!? Other heart-imperiling fare?!?

Guess this party was not on the Global Operation Detox calendar! I wonder if the wives will tweet this to their loving fans or share pic or two on their two facebook fanpages?

Who would want to party with a bunch of D'listers anyway? Oh yeah, THE BROWNS !
So that's all folks for now.

Just remember: I Scour the Internet, So YOU don't have to!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Deseret News: Sister Wives suit to go forward against Utah County Attorney

Published: Friday, Feb. 3 2012 7:09 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge Friday ruled there is sufficient evidence to allow the polygamous family of the TLC show "Sister Wives" to pursue a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of Utah's bigamy law.

However, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups determined that Kody Brown and his four wives — Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn — can only sue Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman. Their claims against Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff were dismissed.

Buhman threatened to prosecute the Browns after their television reality show "Sister Wives" debuted in September 2010, but his office has not filed charges. Brown moved his wives and 16 children from Lehi to Nevada in January 2011.

The family filed a lawsuit against Herbert, Shurtleff and Buhman in July 2011, claiming that Utah's bigamy statute violates the Browns' constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, free exercise of religion, free speech and freedom of association.

Waddoups wrote that the practice in Utah is primarily to prosecute individuals for bigamy only when other crimes are also being committed and that the Browns must show that there is a real and viable threat to their constitutional rights for the lawsuit to hold up in court.

"Although the court finds that no Utah state official has taken actions that credibly threaten prosecution, this is not the case with the Utah County Prosecutor's office," Waddoups said, explaining why Herbert and Shurtleff were dismissed from the case.

He wrote that Buhman conducted interviews with the Deseret News, The Salt Lake Tribune and People magazine where he made it clear that he intended to investigate and prosecute the Browns.

The fact that no charges have, in fact, been filed, does not matter, Waddoups wrote.

"The entirety of actions by the Utah County prosecutors tend to show either an ill-conceived public-relations campaign to showboat their own authority and/or harass the Browns and the polygamist community at large, or to assure the public that they intended to carry out their public obligations and prosecute violations of the law," the judge wrote. "Without any evidence to the contrary, the court assumes that these are consummate professionals making announcements of criminal investigations to apprise the public that they are doing their duty and seeking to enforce the law."

Because Waddoups determined that Buhman was sincere, there is reason for the Brown family to believe they could face prosecution in Utah and that could have a "chilling effect" on their ability to practice their First Amendment rights in the state. Waddoups wrote that this suit demonstrates what could happen if officials could make a statement that questions the right to free speech and then try to keep citizens from their day in court.

"Such precedent would not create a simple slippery-slope, but an unfettered path towards government harassment and abuse," Waddoups wrote. "Accordingly, (the Browns) have established standing to bring their First Amendment claims against Utah County."

In a court declaration written by Janelle Brown in October, she said the family lives in fear in Nevada and have suffered financial and spiritual losses.

"We have struggled with great difficulty to protect our children while trying to teach them our faith despite our separation from our religious community in Utah," she wrote.

The family has repeatedly expressed its desire to return to Utah once there is no longer a threat of prosecution.

Buhman said Friday that he had not yet reviewed the ruling and was not prepared to comment.



Interesting turn of events.

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, in an email, the Browns attorney Jonathan Turley wrote that they are "are both deeply thankful to the Court and appreciative of the opportunity to present their case against this statute." 

Turley also wrote in his blog that the attorneys are  "deeply appreciative the case will go forward despite widespread predictions to the contrary."

 I wonder if heads are going to roll, or was this the plan all along? Do you think Turley  and his legal eaglets have the right stuff to win this case? Or will the Browns, somehow, mess it up?

What are your thoughts?

Read the full Salt Lake City Tribune article here: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53442461-78/utah-county-state-case.html.csp

Cynical Jinx

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ask Mormon Girl: Do Mormons believe people can become gods?

I 've been holding on to this since the beginning of the year. Seems Joanna Brooks is kind of a hot commodity now as she explains some of the more controversial doctrines of the mainstream Mormon religion on her blog, in her recently published book, and in an interview with Huffington Post.


Happy 2012, friends!  May this be a healthy, happy, and prosperous year for you. It certainly looks to be a busy one, as Mitt Romney is steaming ahead if not to a win in Iowa then almost certainly to the GOP nomination.  And if he does, you can bet that questions about unfamiliar Mormon beliefs will claim a chunk of media attention.

A few weeks ago, this question arrived from an old friend now teaching at a liberal arts college in the Northwest.  She wrote:
A question came up in my class today:  do Mormons believe that people can become gods? 
Yes, I was raised to understand that this is Mormon doctrine.  But the way it’s taught on any given Sunday sounds more like this:

Mormons believe that we are the children of Heavenly Parents, that our spirits lived with our Heavenly Parents before our mortal lives, and that we came to earth on the plan that we should gain experience through mortality and prepare to return to our Heavenly Parents.  Like traditional Christians, Mormons believe that salvation from sin through Jesus Christ is what makes this return possible, but the kind of eternal experience the soul gets to share in and enjoy depends on his or her preparation.  And it is a Mormon teaching that souls continue to grow, progress, and experience throughout the eternities, and that part of that expansive experience is to become like our Heavenly Parents.

There is no lounging in the Mormon concept of heaven.  No clouds, no wings.  Nope.  We continue do the most important things that souls are capable of—learning, loving, creating—but on a more sanctified, spiritually generative level.  We have families and care for them.  Just as our own Heavenly Parents did.

So, yes, as I understand it, it is a traditional Mormon teaching that human beings can become gods, but in the same spirit that children can grow up and become parents without displacing the priority and sovereignty of their own parents.

This doctrine is viewed as heresy by the rest of the Christian world. It’s also one of the boldest claims Mormon doctrine makes, so it has been the subject of a great deal of sensationalism.  Anti-Mormon ministries that were most active in the 1980s (but continue to this day) love to sensationalize this idea. The most egregious of the anti-Mormon movies, The Godmakers, focused in on this idea, helping in part to promote the cartoonish sensationalization that Mormons believe in getting our own planets, which I’ve never heard anyone discuss seriously.

Perhaps in response to this sensationalization, LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley appeared to distance himself and the Church from this doctrine in interviews given in 1997 and 1998.  This and evidence that the concept of godhood is less frequently addressed in talks by LDS Church leaders than it was a few decades ago have led Mormonism’s most perceptive observers to wonder if the doctrine is being deemphasized.  Jana Riess recently wrote in the Christian Century:  “Does that mean that Mormons no longer believe that they can become gods? It is difficult to say. Many Mormons no longer think about the topic at all; it has become an insignificant aspect of contemporary theological expression. The idea may someday fade away, just as the church’s encouragement of plural marriage—once a cornerstone not just of Mormon practice but of its belief system—has faded away.”

But it also may be the case that this doctrine is just one that Mormons shy away from discussing openly.  I grew up hearing the phrase:  “As man is, God once was, as God is, man may become,” lines attributed to the nineteenth-century Mormon leader Lorenzo Snow.  And in preparing to write this blog entry, I read again the 1844 Joseph Smith sermon known as the “King Follett Discourse”:  “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” Smith continued:  “Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.”

Unorthodox Mormon though I may be, I am struck by the beauty of these lines and this idea.  It’s one of the most powerful and distinctive elements of traditional Mormon doctrine.  It’s one I’m glad to own.

Some of the comments left on this article were also interesting. Click on the link to read them:


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Will Mormons’ racial history be a problem for Mitt Romney?

By Daniel Burke| Religion News Service, Published: January 31


Marvin Perkins says God led him to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — but friends advised otherwise.

“Mormons, they’re prejudiced against blacks,” Perkins recalls being told.

Until 1978, the LDS church banned men of African descent from its priesthood, a position open to nearly all Mormon males and the gateway to sacramental and leadership roles. The church had also barred black men and women from temple ceremonies that promised access in the afterlife to the highest heaven.

As he explored joining the church in 1988, Perkins said he asked Mormons near his Los Angeles home about the racial doctrines. They gently explained that blacks were the cursed descendants of Cain, the biblical murderer, he recalls.

“Let’s say you have this powerful witness of God telling you that this church is truly of him,” said the 48-year-old salesman and video producer. “And then the people in that church lovingly tell you that you are cursed. How do you reconcile those two things?”

Perkins says Mormon leaders couldn’t offer an answer.

The LDS church has neither formally apologized for the priesthood ban nor publicly repudiated many of the theories used to justify it for more than 125 years.

Perkins and other black Mormons say the church’s silence not only irks many African-Americans, it could also become a loud distraction for the nation’s most prominent Mormon: Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.

“Right now is a great opportunity for the church to say, ‘Let’s clear the air once and for all,’” said Darron Smith, co-editor of the book “Black and Mormon” and a sociologist at Wichita State University in Kansas.

“But they won’t do it. And that’s going to put reasonable doubt in people’s minds about Romney and the church.”

“The curse of Cain”

The LDS church is mounting a multimillion-dollar campaign to highlight its growing diversity. In billboards, online ads and TV commercials, Latinos, Asians and African-Americans alike assert, “I’m a Mormon.”

But the church remains overwhelmingly white. A recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that blacks comprise just 1 percent of the nearly 6 million Mormons in the U.S.

LDS church spokesman Michael Purdy said Mormonism is growing in Africa and in racially diverse communities in the U.S. and Latin America.

God rejects “none who come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female,” Purdy said in a statement, quoting The Book of Mormon. “Just as God loves all of his children, wants what is best for them, and considers them as equals, so does the church,” he added.

But many blacks perceive the LDS church as racist, said Perkins and Smith. Neither were surprised to hear an African-American pastor in Florida who supports Rick Santorum’s campaign raise the racial charge recently.

“Blacks are not going to vote for anyone of the Mormon faith,” the Rev. O’Neal Dozier told The Palm Beach Post on Jan. 22. “The Book of Mormon says the Negro skin is cursed.”

The Book of Mormon says no such thing. But another Mormon scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, says, “blackness came upon” Cain’s descendants, who were “despised among all people.”

Among Cain’s heirs was Noah’s son, Ham, who was “cursed ... as pertaining to the priesthood,” according to the scripture. Mormons trace their priesthood to Adam and Noah.

“The faith of my fathers”

Questions about Mormonism’s racial history also arose during Romney’s first White House run.

In a 2007 “Meet the Press” interview, Tim Russert noted that Romney was 31 when the priesthood ban was lifted in 1978. “Didn’t you think, ‘What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?’” Russert asked.

“I’m very proud of my faith, and it’s the faith of my fathers,” Romney answered. “And I’m not going to distance myself from my faith in any way.”

But Romney also said that he had been “anxious to see a change in my church” and recalled weeping when he heard that the ban had been lifted.

“Even at this day it’s emotional, and so it’s very deep and fundamental in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God,” Romney said.

Pressed by Russert, Romney refused to say his church was wrong to restrict blacks from full participation.

Romney’s forebears were among the original Mormon converts in the 1830s, and Romney himself was a bishop in the church before he entered politics in 1994.

“For men like Romney, lifelong church members whose people were pioneers in the faith, to criticize church authority would be akin to heresy,” said Smith.

Romney’s father, George Romney, also faced criticism over the priesthood ban when he ran for president in 1968. He answered by extolling his civil rights record as governor of Michigan.

George Romney, like his son, refused to publicly criticize his church.

“The issue hurt him and it hurt the image of Mormon church,” said Newell Bringhurst, a historian and co-author of “The Mormon Quest for the Presidency.”

It may mar Mitt Romney’s campaign too, Bringhurst said. “He’ll face more and more scrutiny on the Mormon-black issue, even though the church has abandoned the policy.”

Smith was more blunt.

“The church has never done its due diligence, and guess what? Mitt Romney is taking hell for it.”

“We just got that one wrong”

Purdy said LDS leaders began seeking divine guidance about the black ban in the 1970s. In 1978, he said, “a revelation to the church’s prophet extended the blessings of the priesthood to all worthy members.”

“It was a day of great rejoicing in the church,” Purdy said.

But the 1978 statement did not address the theological background behind the ban.

In 1949, the LDS church’s First Presidency — the top tier of its hierarchy — had said the priesthood ban was a “direct commandment from the Lord.” And some LDS leaders regarded as prophets taught that black skin was punishment for souls that lacked valor in a pre-earthly existence.

“Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications,” Purdy said. “These previous personal statements do not represent church doctrine.”

But even prophets’ personal statements are taken as holy writ, and theories about blacks being cursed or spiritually lacking circulated among Mormons well after the ban was lifted.

Even under intense pressure from black Mormons, the church has refused to formally repudiate past interpretations of doctrine or scripture that tie spiritual worthiness to race.

“If the LDS church were to apologize, that would be casting aspersions on God’s prophets — the voice of God on earth,” said Richard Ostling, co-author of the book “Mormon America.”

“I don’t think the Mormon soul could countenance it.”

Perkins agreed that admitting prophets had erred would be “faith shattering” for many Mormons.

After converting to Mormonism, he began counseling fellow black Mormons and producing videos on race in church scripture. Perkins believes he’s doing his part to help the church overcome its racist reputation.

But his work alone cannot overcome blacks’ deep-seated and widespread suspicions about Mormonism, Perkins said.

“The church is going to have to make it happen by confessing that its racial teachings were wrong,” he said, “that we’re a church of continuing revelation and we just got that one wrong.”