Occasionally, something will strike me as so odd or ludicrous that I feel an almost crushing obligation to comment on it in some form or another. So before I get to the main purpose of my post today, I feel the need to get one of these items off my conscience.
-Over the weekend, one of those “cause posts” showed up on Facebook that almost caused me to vomit through my gales of laughter. Apparently, in Utah (of course) a woman was released from her calling as a Young Women’s adviser because she repeatedly would nurse her child in church meetings, including sacrament meeting, without the aid of any kind of covering. According to the report, she was asked repeatedly to excuse herself to the Mother’s Lounge or to use a blanket of some kind to cover herself. She repeatedly refused. So now, the Feminist Housewives of Salt Lake City or some ridiculously named group like that has taken up her cause for being discriminated against…Where do I even begin?
To be clear, I could easily go on for a full post on this, but I won’t. I will just hit some high points:
Discriminated against? As compared to who? I’m fairly certain if I took my shirt off in Sacrament meeting I would also be released from my calling. And possibly jailed…And rightfully so.
Does this woman realize where she’s worshiping??? Umm…WE”RE MORMONS!!! Outside of the Amish, we are the closest link there is to the puritanical movement of the 1800’s. Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that is a bad thing.
The group claimed that lookie-loo men in the congregation, as holders of the priesthood, should have higher standards than to gawk at a naked breast providing nourishment for a baby-the main purpose designated for that body part. Further, they stated that only in America is the female breast objectified as a sexual object and that in other nations, this beautiful, natural act is not looked upon shamefully the way it is here. Three things…
1. Coughing sound(bullcrap)Coughing sound!!! Please provide any and all proof for any of that tripe. My comment box is waiting breathlessly.
2. Even if LDS men should somehow be expected to hold themselves to a higher standard, what about the hormone-filled teenage boys found in our congregations. Oh Yeah. Forgot about them, didn’t ya?
3. Urination is also a natural function, and yet, I don’t hear many people calling for urinals to be installed at the end of each pew. I’m just sayin’…
Anyway, this group was calling for Mormon women everywhere to step up and provide support and stories of similar discrimination so that they could send these on to Church headquarters. I just love it when a small, small minority wants to defend the so-called “rights” of a group of which the majority doesn’t want the “right” to begin with. And let’s face it, this whole controversy ends quickly as soon as the following happens:
A twenty-year-old blonde bombshell, whose body shape morphed back to its high school glory within two weeks of giving birth to her first child, releases her now somewhat swollen left-side filling station in the middle of sacrament meeting. I guarantee you that over half of the .05% of women who are behind this movement would drop their support in a heartbeat. Higher standards my rear-end. That’s a lit match in the middle of a gasoline refinery right there. And everybody present would know it.
After my mission, I continued with my education at Eastern Arizona College. Some of my greatest memories are of my time spent in Dr. David Lunt’s choral program. I met some of my best friends there and consider that time to be the most “fun” I’ve ever had in my life.
One of the people I met was a fresh out of high school baritone named Brad Hull. Compared to his best friends, Lan Allen and Josh Mack, Brad was fairly quiet and unassuming. And we got along very well.
After that one year at EAC, Brad left on his mission and I got married and we really didn’t see each other again except at the odd college or high school reunion. (My wife and Brad were in the same graduating class of Thatcher High School.) We had heard that after his mission and college, Brad had moved to Nashville with the idea of breaking into the music business. When we heard that news, we nodded appreciatively and silently wished him luck, but didn’t give it too much more thought. I mean, after all; what are the odds someone we knew fairly well would become a well known musician.
Fast forward several years and now Brad is part of the Nashville recording group known as Due West. And while Due West is still waiting for the hit that will provide super stardom, they have a recording contract, their songs are heard on the radio, and they have even been invited to perform on the Grand Ol’ Opry. To me, that is a pretty good definition of success.
All three members of Due West are LDS and are a founding part of the group The Nashville Tribute Band. The NTB is a group of musicians in the Nashville area who come together to perform LDS-related songs set to a decidedly country sound. In short, they are amazing.
So, when I finished my book and was thinking of people I would like to share it with in the hopes of receiving an endorsement, one of my first thoughts was of Brad Hull. We hadn’t really spoken in several years and I knew that the group is constantly on the road and very busy, but I took the chance and contacted him with my request. To my extreme appreciation, he agreed to read it.
Last week, Due West came to the Gila Valley where I live for a charity concert. At this point, I hadn’t heard back from Brad on his final evaluation of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. I was a little nervous. But I love their music and so a friend and I went to the concert with no expectations of even speaking with him.
In the middle of the concert, a drawing was held for a future concert at the venue we were at. Due West was in the middle of their performance when they were asked to announce the winner. Shock of all shocks, my name was announced. As I started walking up to the stage to pick up my tickets, Brad said a few words about how he knew me and then proceeded to say to the entire audience that he had just finished my book and how awesome it was. I was floored. It was a very nice gesture on his part.
After the concert, my friend and I waited around to say thank you. When he had the time, he came over and we talked for a bit and he again expressed how much he enjoyed THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. He also told me that he had sent an e-mail with his endorsement, but that he hadn’t had WiFi for a while and so it was sitting in his outbox just waiting for a chance to be sent.
Two days later, I received the following message:
So I’m on a plane to Arizona right now and I just finished the book. I am completely blown away. First of all, thank you again for letting me be a first reader. I am so happy for the success that I see this book bringing you. From the first few pages of the book, I was into the story and by about page 50, I felt a total connection to the characters and their stories. I now close the book feeling like I’m saying goodbye to some good friends. You did an incredible job of telling a story that every Mormon needs to hear. These characters may not be real, but the issues are and I related to each one of them to different degrees and felt a powerful message being taught. I found myself both laughing and crying at different times. Anyway, all that to say THANK YOU!
He then added this endorsement:
“This is a powerful story told superbly… from the very first page, THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER made me feel so many emotions and by the last page, I didn’t want those feelings to end.” -Brad Hull, Member of The Nashville Tribute Band and Nashville Recording Group, Due West.
Brad, I cannot express my appreciation strongly enough. You guys who make up Due West are some truly talented individuals and I am honored that you took the time to weigh in on my book. You are an amazing musician and an even better friend. Thanks again.
THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER releases August 13, 2013. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.com today. You may also “like” Ryan Rapier, Author on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/ryanrapierauthor, to receive updated information and previews of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER.