Monday, October 13, 2014

Do me a favor and swing by The Mormon Misfit Podcast where you can listen in as two funny friends allow me to ramble and never make me feel bad about it (Episode 10).

 You will find out that I believe this is true:
 And also this:

But one of those things you already knew.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sometimes on a Friday afternoon things slow down and I find myself with a little extra time to sit and think about the ways I'm ruining my children.

One of the ways is Family Home Evening.

Family Home Evening is a fantastic program that brings a family together one night a week for music, spiritual messages, prayer and, most importantly, food.

A few months ago I finally got to give a lesson. The competition for being in charge of lessons is stiff around here and I managed to get myself front and center. My lesson was entitled "Don't follow the Prophet: Why we should Listen to the Prophet and Follow Jesus Christ".

I haven't been given the floor since.

Another time we were having a lesson about preparing to enter the temple. My daughter had gleaned her lesson from an old temple prep manual that the church library was pawning off to make room for new (significantly more awesome) publications. She had us role playing a temple recommend interview based on this page from that manual, most specifically the N. Eldon Tanner quote. I'll give you a moment to peruse, but in a nutshell, it involved making sure the interviewee understood that he or she should absolutely not be involved in any unnatural practices, then asking a bunch more questions before giving the subject extra time to reflect and really, really make sure that he or she isn't doing anything unnatural. (Hint: you probably are.)

We had a good laugh and assured the children that the word unnatural had never even once made its way into a temple recommend interview we've participated in, that no one has ever given us extra time to make sure we weren't actually lying earlier and that the interviewer/leader under most circumstances is someone who already loves you.

But I digress because I haven't gotten to the part where I ruin my children this time.

Being me, I decided this was the perfect time to explain why I am not a fan of using the word worthy in conjunction with the temple. I explained that since we are always in a state of both worthiness (of God's love) and unworthiness (as fallen beings) a better expression would be "I have qualified for the temple" instead of "I am worthy of the temple".

Well, the other day my teenage son gave me the old wink-and-elbow as he used the word qualified instead of worthy in a discussion we were having and I got really, really scared.

Because it's working.

They're listening.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

As a blogger I'm not just out to serve my reader (Dad). I also care about the internet user brought here by this blog's most popular Google search term, especially so every September to October.


I suspect you, dear Googler, are considering this awesome costume choice and that's how you ended up here at miss-adventures. I commend you for your good taste and I've bumped this to the top of my blog with you in mind.

If you want to be MacGruber this Halloween, all you need is a cheap synthetic wig, a fishing vest, and a twenty-year-old flannel shirt.

On November 1st, make sure to throw the wig away, give the vest to your grandpa, and sneak the flannel shirt into the Goodwill bag. Next, fish the shirt back out again when MacGruber insists that "he really likes that shirt" and "it's still in style" and "you're wrong, it does not have holes".

So, go on and snag yourself a Vicki St. Elmo as a sidekick and you're set for some Halloween fun in a costume that a handful of people will still actually get.

Have fun! Then come back and tell me about it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The world is full of hope and harm.

The news of Robin Williams' suicide broke and the internet exploded with grief and empathy, with profound essays full of compassion and experience.

So much hope.

The internet also exploded with opinions and advice spoken in tones of truth but containing, often, very little.

So much harm.

The last bout of depression I endured was in 2010. I wrote about it a year after it happened here.

As I explain in the post, I am pretty much always in a state of anxiety management. This is the gift my genes have given me, passed down through multiple generations. I don't suffer from bouts of depression often and they only come when my anxiety becomes greater than my ability to cope or to manage it.

I want you to know that, even though I have personal experience with depression, I am absolutely no expert on the subject. I can speak to the way it impacts me personally and that is all. When I am in-tune enough to recognize hurt in another (and this isn't always obvious or easy), I can offer my imperfect empathy, my inadequate compassion, my listening ear and a heart free from judgment... but even all this cannot be enough.

Not every time.

At the risk of saying both too much and not nearly enough, all I really want to say is this:

Stay connected, love others as much as you can, judge not even a little.

And may God bless us all.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Simpsons turns 25 this year which means that it has been 25 years since I graduated from high school, 25 years since I started BYU and 25 years since I sat in the common room of my Provo dorm anxiously awaiting the show's premiere. Just me and my poor, unsuspecting boyfriend at the time.

A fan of The Tracey Ullmann Show and owner of Matt Groening's Love is Hell, Life is Hell and School is Hell, I had no doubt that I would love The Simpsons. And I did.

From Life is Hell

The Simpsons was a hit from the start but it generated its share of controversy, particularly over its "bad role models" in the characters of Bart and Homer.

In 1989 Provo it, yet again, set me apart as a cultural misfit. Finding all the wrong things funny. Melissa, why?! Sigh.

Soon you'll be able to access every single episode or watch the longest television show marathon ever when all are aired on FXX starting August 21st.

I don't watch the Sunday night airing of The Simpsons anymore, but when I do manage to catch one it invariably makes me laugh. I'm probably still always finding the wrong things funny. 

The Simpsons isn't just D'oh and donuts though. It requires its viewers to know their stuff to truly appreciate the wit and writing. Unafraid, to skewer music, film, history, marriage, parenthood, politics and religion alike, you needed to know what was hot at the time as well as what was hot 20 years prior. One episode guest starred Elizabeth Taylor and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the same time. Everyone seemed to be game: from Isabella Rossellini to Jack LaLanne. Of course there were tons of appearances by 1980s SNL alum including Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks. Another episode featured both Sonic Youth and Peter Frampton. My 15-year-old recently got into some old episodes. I relish explaining all the cultural references that are otherwise going over his head and he returns the favor by listening to the first sentence or two before tuning me out in favor of the television. It's still a good time.

So here's my humble ode to 25 years of irreverence, epic pop cultural references, donuts, D'oh! and possibly the best bad role models ever.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I've been blocked on how to wrap up this small series of posts about faith so that I can move ever so respectfully on to other pressing topics, for example the fall television lineup.

I have six drafts so far.

In an effort to push past that block I thought I'd revisit why I started this all in the first place.

Not very many months ago Garett and I had the missionaries over for dinner. The missionaries had their iPads out and we started talking about how technology and the internet have affected the work. We asked if there was much of a "Google effect" on their efforts, meaning are there many negative repercussions to investigators being able to type "Joseph Smith polygamy" into a search engine, and if so, how did the missionaries address this?

Well, faster than I could say "I heart Happy Valley" the poor missionaries' faces paled and one of them said, shakily, "We try not to over-intellectualize the gospel."


I have three issues with this:

First, Google is not solely the gateway for intellectuals.

Investigators are going to Google. Members are going to Google. Fear of the internet will not help us combat what can be found on it. The Church itself does not fear the internet. In fact, they've done a great job utilizing its power in many ways. Why this response from the front lines?

Second, jumping to "you shouldn't be over-intellectualizing such-and-such" puts an unfair halt to legitimate questions and conversations. This response is rooted in fear. And fear, being the opposite of faith, halts progression as well as conversations.

Needless to say, we dropped the line of questioning. We didn't invite the missionaries over to torture or scare them. We have our children for that.

Third, are we to infer from this that WE, in asking, are to be considered INTELLECTUALS? Because I'd like to cite the following in my defense:


So, long story way-too-long, here's what I was trying to accomplish with my posts:

1. To show that everyday, run-of-the-mill members with average to below-average intellects (like myself) can struggle with our history while still remaining firm in our love for the church and in our devotion to God.
2. To help members who have not yet encountered this kind of experience replace fear with empathy for their fellow saints. I am familiar with many aspects of our history, yet I hope I am trusted. I do not want to drag you down any rabbit holes out of spite. Or out of anything, for that matter. When I sub for gospel doctrine I teach out of the manual (even as I sidestep all mentions of milk strippings out of respect for the unfairly maligned Brother Marsh). And when I teach CTR 6, I trust what has been prepared for me to teach. For example, this week I taught a lesson on loving animals and it was FREAKING AWESOME. It doesn't matter that this very blog has an entire label's worth of posts that may lead you to believe I have a history of not loving animals so much. I can be trusted, friends! Nevertheless, these examples aside, the struggle to square all that I have more recently learned against what I have always been taught is painful and even scary at times. It will be a happy day when those who are struggling can come out into the open for support from their ward families.
3. To hopefully show that Christ is the answer. Every time.

And now, this whole journey is such a part of me that I'm not sure I really can wrap it up. Maybe that's why I'm blocked.

But I might try to intersperse all of this spiritual angst with some pop culture musings.

Because the second most important thing I can do with this stupid blog is make sure that you're caught up on the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine before fall. (Priorities.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Self-awareness doesn't always come easily and I'm no exception to that human inclination. But just for good measure I want to state, if it's not coming across already, that I understand that the time I devote to mentally working through my faith, and the kinds of questions I ask of it, are generally reserved for people with way the heck too much time on their hands.

By this I mean that people with problems bigger than hating the color of their kitchen cabinets may not worry so much about the impact of correlated materials on an internet generation or the rhetoric of modesty in the church. How are we going to pay the electric bill this month? tends to put other concerns in perspective. I swear I get this.

I have lived a life thus far full of good luck and unearned advantages.

My patriarchal blessing repeats the word privileged five times. I counted today for the first time.

My grandmother passed away last week. Her family gathered from all directions. We all used the same words to describe her. Funny, feisty, dedicated, devoted.

One description stuck in my head. In her life she was known among her siblings as "the religious one." This isn't exactly a shocking reveal. My grandparents served five missions together. Not to mention all the time working in the temple and in family history centers. Callings. Service. She was pretty darn religious, but so was her extended family, so calling her "the religious one" is meaningful (and kind of funny to me).

Later I couldn't get it out of my head. What has it meant to be born to the "religious one"?

It meant countless prayers for intercession, I'm sure. Powerful ones. She was persistent and persuasive.

It meant that when I finished a book and declared I was going on a mission, I had parents that made that happen for me.

It meant hearing bible stories and testimonies, not only from her but from my parents of course. It meant the perpetuation of talking, rejoicing and preaching of Christ, one generation to the next, so that I knew where to look for the remission of my sins.

It has meant, most importantly, that I can ask lots and lots of questions of my religion in pursuit of truth because the most important truth has always been absolute and absolutely spoken: Christ is our Savior.

Thanks for that, Grandma. It has truly been a privilege.