Nacle Notebook 2011: 15 Posts I Loved

For the past few years, I’ve posted lists of some of the funniest comments I read on the bloggernacle in the previous year. One reason I do this is because I love to laugh. But another reason is that I hate to forget. The bloggernacle is full of all kinds of great writing on interesting topics and fascinating discussion (yes, I know, not always), but it’s also ephemeral. Today’s interesting post is a vague memory tomorrow, and will likely be forgotten by the end of the week.

So in my ongoing effort to promote remembering what is great about the bloggernacle, allow me to present a list of 15 posts from 2011 that I loved. (It was going to be 10, but I could only reduce my list so far.) With each post, I’ve included a quote that will, I hope, draw you in and lead you to want to go (re)read the whole thing. Other than the last one, which actually appeared first, the posts are listed in the order they were published.

My ward was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Amazing. Hands down most amazing ward of my life, where I was able to experience my religion in a community more meaningfully than ever before. But serving as YW President opened my eyes to so many concerns I hadn’t confronted before. . . . I was working with THE most respectful, benevolent, and soft patriarchs that a woman could ever dream of – and yet, for the first time, I couldn’t ignore the way our church structure placed them over me. . . . I felt empowered, serving as auxiliary head for the first time, believing that I was called to that place at that time for a reason, and that my voice and insight was needed. And yet, I was so far from autonomous. Absolutely any suggestion I made to the Bishop was heeded and put into action. My inspiration was never questioned. If I ever needed permission, it was always given.

And yet, I needed that permission. Because I was a woman.

As a close friend has suffered a particularly difficult miscarriage recently, I want to pause from the usual vocations of life to express solidarity to and love for the many women who have similarly suffered. . . .

There can also be in miscarriage the realization of how fragile we are as humans, how temporarily we tread upon this earth. The hope for future generations so strong within a body that every facet of a woman’s life can be affected by it is one day just gone. The Psalmist famously asked God “what are humans, that you are mindful of them?” and there is nothing quite like miscarriage to focus the impact of that question. We are in some respects all like a fetus, a dimly recognizable conglomeration of physical matter yearning desperately to be something more. Miscarriage can be the fatal frustration of that aspiration.

So let us just say that that there is this one particular person who, through no real fault of his own, Brother Agitate hits every single one of my twitch issues. Everything he says makes me want to squish him, and he LOVES to talk, and bonus points he’s got that ancient smug patriarch vibe. And the cherry on top . . . I think he’s a genuinely good person and he frequently reminds me of my lovely wonderful deeply-missed daddy.

Oh Paradox, my dear dear friend.

You know how it’s impossible to teach anything in a Gospel Doctrine class that hasn’t been said a gazillion times before? Unless, that is, it’s so speculative and far-fetched that even the tin-foil-hat crazies haven’t thought of it yet? Something new and true and somehow meaningful?

Never happens.

It did today, the only time in my teaching life that has ever happened, so I want to document it.

I find it absolutely immodest that sleeve length on a prom dress is considered the marker of a girl’s virtue, rather than the sparkle of her eyes and quality of her character. I find it absolutely immodest that the lines of my underwear can be seen by other church members and that I can be judged or questioned based on knowledge and presence of those lines. I find it absolutely immodest that little girls are told to be modest, and not left to be innocent children finding joy in the movement and glory of a body unencumbered by the projections of others.

IMO, the blessing of tithing is the blessing of detachment (or maybe non-attachment). . . . Viewing tithing as “quid pro quo” and “binding the Lord” goes in the opposite direction of detachment; it is still being attached to wealth but using indirect means to attain it.

In August, I underwent a 40-hour training to become a guardian ad litem or a “CASA” (court-appointed special advocate) for children in the foster care system. . . .

I grew up in Texas where kids often jubilantly sing, “He’s got the whole world in his hands!,” but can’t help but feel that these kids have slipped right through God’s fingers. Why are these kids in these situations while I had a charmed childhood and am raising children who have similarly charmed lives . . . ? At church I learn that we are God’s hands.  So maybe all those CASA volunteers are God’s hands . . . but they (we) seem to be coming in too little too late—trying to clean up messes after the damage has been done.

Imagine if, instead of the word “offended,” we used the word “hurt” to describe a person who had, say, become inactive. . . . when someone is hurt, then there is another party involved in the situation who is responsible in some way for the hurting. It is very easy, when we use the word “offended” to describe a person’s emotional reaction, to absent ourselves of responsibility for helping to heal this person’s wound.

Can you speak in tongues? Work miracles? Heal? Prophecy?

What would you say if I told you that you had to be able to discern Spirits to be a good Mormon? What if being able to interpret tongues was a temple recommend interview prerequisite?

[W]hen an individual’s status at the university or current/future employment are contingent on not having a bishop revoke an [Ecclesiastical Endorsement], it is a virtual certainty that such authority dramatically alters many individuals’ choices about what to and what not to speak to him about.

Angry feminists exist because we have experienced a loss in our worldview and are grieving. We can deny the sexism in our culture for only so long. Then we are hit with pain and fear: and we get angry. Yes, I was angry last week, last month, last year, but sometimes anger comes back because I haven’t finished grieving and I need to cycle through it again.

It seemed so simple once she understood, this seeing with the eye of faith, as the Book of Mormon called it. She loved its solidness and certainty; she loved the God who worked so cleanly and clearly. And she from that point on she loved going to church, where she could raise her hand and explain to others how prayer worked, how God worked, how life worked. . . . Until she couldn’t.

What if the bridegroom’s “I know you not” is not a condemnation, but an expression of regret?

[My son] Atti’s Occupational Therapist, a Seventh Day Adventist, asked if they could pray over us [at his last appointment before his surgery]. I LOVE when people share expressions of their faith with me, so I gratefully accepted and his Physical Therapist, an Evangelical, invited a friend, another Evangelical, over to lead us in prayer. . . . they gathered around me while I held Atticus on my lap, held hands, and prayed to Father God, blessing me, my child, the surgeon, that all would be go well and Atti would be healed. . . . Instead of being surrounded by staid priesthood holders, I was surrounded by women so full of love they couldn’t keep their hands off my child for the length of the prayer.

Their mouths are as the tongue of the heathen, for they do say “like” and “whatever” all the day long.  Their tongues are loosed at the rising of the sun, and at noon their words are as the sands of the sea.  In the evening, they talk without cease, and by night they plead for the instruments of speaking through the air, yea, even the phones without wires, that their speaking may be forever.

This is just a small sample of the many many posts and comments from last year that I loved. To everyone who writes so thoughtfully, and with such good humor and kindness, thanks for making the bloggernacle such a fun place to hang out.

In the comments,  please feel free link to any posts from 2011 that you particularly enjoyed.


  1. Scott B’s disappearance from BCC and the bloggernacle is like the DJ on your favorite radio station who gets fired. You listen to him almost daily and then suddenly he’s gone with no reason and no acknowledgement. Sometimes I wonder if he was just another Banner of Heaven type hoax, Steve Evans having some more fun.

  2. Steve, or someone who sounded remarkably like him, did show up ever-so-briefly on one of the conference threads a week ago, to reduce a nasty, persistent troll to his primordial elements. Scott B. is alive and well and posing as Mitt Romney when he posts Ri.Dic.U.Lous internet memes on my FB wall.

  3. Ah, that post was one I really put my soul into, it is awesome that it stood out to you. Thanks for the love, Ziff!

  4. I love your Bloggernacle anthologies, Ziff. When I was first discovering the ‘nacle, they were how I knew which posts to go back and familiarize myself with. You are an excellent judge of excellent posts. 🙂

  5. Thanks! I’m glad y’all enjoyed the list.

    Re: Steve, I thought the dominant theory was that he and gst were the same person. 🙂 I’m not sure how Scott B. fits into the mix.


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