All posts by blain

GHL: An introduction

Group Home Life

This is a writing project I”ve had perking in my head for a few years now.  The working title is Group Home Life, because that’s what it’s about.  For all of the parties connected to it: residents, staff, parents and family, friends/romantic partners, law enforcement, judges, probation officers, social workers, teachers, counselors and therapists, doctors, administrators, and average citizens.  It’s based in my experience working in the field for more than a decade, and will contain things I wish people in all of those positions knew.  So, whoever you are, reading this, whatever your reasons for being here are, some of this is written for you.

I strongly recommend you follow the GHL category RSS feed,  so you can find out when new sections are posted.

My version of yesterday’s bannination

It started when one of the mods started a thread the day before about when it was okay for men to comment on women’s appearance, which she indicated at the top was a test.  Evidently, from later comments she made in the thread, she had a specific male  ProgMo in mind (I don’t know who) who had evidently violated this rule.  It then morphed into having to do with not just commenting on a woman’s appearance to commenting on her body, and there was much vitriol and venting of spleens, and people left the group (or were removed — I don’t know).  And people became angry at me when I gave the correct answer (“Never,” which was given in the thread as the correct answer), but also described the experience whereby I had learned that that was the correct answer (the experience when I was banninated from FMHS), and then someone told me I was “being an ass,” and I said that saying that to me was “being a jerk,” and then the walls started falling down on me.  I started asking for clarification of this rule and describing in useful detail the process of my bannination from FMHS.  And this really pissed a bunch of people off, and nobody would give me any clarification other than “read this thread.”

So I read the whole thread, more than 500 comments.  Several prominent progressive Mormon men participated in the thread, and were wrong, even when they were listening and trying to please the women dominating the thread.  Several of those women commented how there were plenty of hints that this thread was a trap, and that they shouldn’t have expected to be okay in the thread, and how dumb they were to expect otherwise.

And, after responding to what I’d seen in the whole thread, I decided to take a break from the thread.  In the mean time, a number of women in the thread told me they wanted me to just stop, including the mod who started it all.  I’m not good at being silenced.  I did get some useful pieces of feedback that didn’t really apply to what I was doing, but did give me some new insights, but none from the women who were just climbing my frame.  One of the male mods tagged me in a comment, and I responded to him and some of the other things that’d been said, including my protest of the original mod using the group for a personal vendetta.  And then, some time later, I got a PM from another mod who hadn’t participated in the thread, telling me that, since I’d been asked to leave the thread and commented in it again, I was kicked out of the group, and could reapply in 30 days.  We had a little more conversation after that, and I decided that if the mods as a group are okay with what the first mod had done, then I wouldn’t be back.

I’m not going to name names.  I can’t quote any of what anybody said to illustrate my points, since I can’t get to the thread due to my bannination.  That’s why this is my version of what happened, not some objective accounting of exactly what happened.  I’m not okay with being in a space where anybody can dictate how participants can think, or where there is only one allowed opinion.  I prefer liberalism of the “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” variety to this intolerant, doctrinaire and dictatorial variety.  As such, I’m going to recommend that people in the Hub search their souls and seriously consider leaving if they don’t approve of mod behavior like this.  Specifically, I don’t care for the trap thread, and I don’t care for being banninated with no warning that even a calm comment in the thread would result in bannination.  When I was banninated from FMHS, I was warned that repeating my horrible crime would result in bannination, but then I didn’t repeat the crime and was removed anyhow.  That was a bit crappy IMO, but not like skipping the warning.  The only invocation of the <mod> designation happened way up in the thread by the original mod, who said that personal attacks weren’t okay and would be deleted (which didn’t seem to have happened, as I reviewed the entire thread).  I don’t expect mods, or anybody else to be perfect, and power does tend to lead to abuse of power.  My problem will be if the other mods just go along with it, without creating some kind of process to prevent these abuses from happening again.  The one that notified me of the ban indicated that this wasn’t likely to happen.

I am considering opening a new Mormon discussion group that would be open to a wide variety of opinions, with no enforced orthodoxy or ideological monoculture.

Tired of CINOs and their anti-Muslim paranoia.

Why is it not a thing among those who claim the label “Christian” to actually try to follow the things Jesus said?  Why is it such a thing among those same folks to fight those who don’t believe exactly as they do?  Shouldn’t it be Christian is as Christian does?  Or is there some misbegotten notion that they don’t have to do Christian as long as they believe and are saved?  Jesus had some very strong things to say about hypocrites, for those who don’t know.

I’ve really had it with the people who get so rude and abusive at anything Muslim, and the hysteria that results from any mention of “Sharia.”  “Sharia” is a set of Arab customs not required by the Quran (but neither is abusing non-Christians to be found in the Bible, so stuff that in your self-righteousness and smoke it) which some Muslim leaders see as required of righteous Muslims.  Like the wearing of the hijab and burqa by women as a show of modesty (Mormons who are anti-Muslim but worry about little girls with exposed shoulders take note — you have more in common with some fundamentalist Imam than you think).

I’ve seen and am trying to propagate the use of CINO — Christian in Name Only to describe the people I’m talking about here.  If you’re not showing Christian love to your enemies and neighbors like  Jesus commanded, you’re a CINO.  At best.  Matt 7:21 should be reviewed immediately by any such, along with the whole Sermon on the Mount/Valley.

Deluxe Mixed Berry and Cheese Cobbler

This is based on a recipe my mother adapted from a recipe she got from her sister.  I added the chocolate chips, the cottage cheese, and the nutella entirely on my own, but she would have been fine with the vanilla extract, and with the idea of adapting the recipe with whatever innovations worked.  

Deluxe Mixed Berry and Cheese Cobbler

Melt in 9×13′ pan:
1 cube butter or margarine or butter-flavored shortening

in 4 c. measure or small bowl, mix
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 c. chocolate chips (mixed white and milk chocolate works quite well)

in 2 c. measuring cup, mix
1/2 c. water
1 t. baking soda
2 t. salt
2 t. Baking powder
1 t. Vanilla extract
Stir. Add
2 eggs
½ c. cottage cheese

Stir. Fill to 2 c. mark with
evaporated milk or buttermilk.

Stir, mix with flour and sugar. Mix well and pour into pan.

Mix 1 c. each of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries with sugar to taste, spread over batter.  Add 2 T cream cheese and 2 T Nutella or equivalent hazelnut/chocolate spread on batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until top of cake is brown. Begin serving while still warm, with heavy whipping cream, unsweetened and unwhipped.

Mom’s Pancake Recipe

2 cups flour

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup water

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Mix flour and 1 cup buttermilk. Add and mix oil, then eggs. In separate container, mix baking powder, baking soda, salt, and water. Add to batter mixture and add remaining buttermilk as needed for desired consistency.

Why this sustainer isn’t opposed to “any opposed.”

I sustain the leaders of the Church as prophets, seers and revelators.  Recently, a group of people who do not openly voted against them at General Conference, setting off a small firestorm of angry and uncharitable comments about them throughout the TBM community.  Although I disagree with their opinion on this matter, I don’t see what they’ve done as terrible or wrong.  I see it as a desperate act of those who are trying to have their concerns heard, if not addressed, and I see it as a failed effort, as the leaders of the Church, in the voice of Pres. Uchtdorf, once again refused to listen to them, and referred them to local leaders who will not pass the details of those concerns along, and will likely threaten their membership.   Continue reading Why this sustainer isn’t opposed to “any opposed.”

I’m not in love.

As much as I love the song of that title by 10cc, I mean it in a very different way than the ironic sense of the song. I am enjoying meeting women and dating, but I’m not deeply infatuated with anybody, or pushing in a “let’s get married” direction. I really want to be clear with everyone about this, so nobody gets the impression that a date means exclusive dating, and a path to engagement and marriage. Dating is, for me, about getting to know people better, including myself. And I’m doing some writing around here as a way of exploring some of the questions that are arising from those conversations. There’s something else I particularly wanted to talk about here, and I’m forgetting what it is about every half-sentence. Think, think, think.

Romantic Things.

Oh, yeah. I love doing romantic things. A lot. The problem with doing romantic things while dating around in a non-serious non-exclusive fashion is that it can tend to make things look more serious and exclusive than I am. So, if I show up for a date with a (pink, yellow or white) rose, that’s not a sign that I’m going to propose. I just wanted to bring a flower. I would use a red rose if I was going to bring a rose to a proposal, FWIW.

Physical Affection / Physicality.

I like hugging.  I don’t have to be in love to hug someone.  I have learned that just hugging people isn’t always well received.  But I’m generally open to hugs from pretty much anybody, so, if you’re reading this, you can feel free to request a hug anytime I’m around.  Or just hug me.  Probably.

Another kind of physicality I can offer is rubbing/massaging necks, backs, shoulders and feet.  I’ve been doing those things since I was quite young, and am reasonably good at them.  Feel free to request one if you have the need.

My Separation Part 3 — The relationship

The relationship started entirely innocently. Some friends planned a get-together at a mutual friend’s home and I was invited to it. As a friend-level activity, I was okay with going. And then the other friends didn’t show up, so we had a nice conversation, and I found that we had a lot to talk about. So I began spending more time around her, and there was still more to talk about, and our kids got along okay (mostly) so we began doing joint family things (like pizza and movies for Friday nights), and spending more time together. After probably six months or more of this, things took a romantic turn that was rather surprising for both of us, if not for others around us. For about two years, we made plans and I got to practice my new relationship skills, and things got a little out of hand on my part. I made some (new) bad choices, not the kind I’d made with Faith, and she ended the relationship. I was sad, but found some new things to do with my life and time (mostly dancing), and a few years later, she got married, and seems to be quite happy with where she’s at. I don’t see the relationship as a bad thing, nor her as a bad person for being in it with me, but I don’t recommend relationships before divorces are final, and haven’t had any since. She’s still incredible and I’m glad she’s happy.