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Radical Heresy Part 1

In the Middle Ages, it was considered appropriate and absolutely necessary to physically torture heresy out of individuals who did not conform to the local divine standards. The eternal well-being of these individuals was considered to be at risk. Heresy, these Inquisitors thought, was like a virus spreading through populations – akin perhaps to what athene referred to in their last post.

The world has updated the torture standard (some government or religious bodies aside) and their desire to “fix” other people, stamping out “dangerous” ideas on behalf of an unknowing or unquestioning populace. They draw the lines of an arbitrary box around their only true path and scribble out those who fall outside. This same world raised me, and where I have not been met with distance and suspicion, I have been met with outright fear. It was not so much that I held hazardous ideas about my experience with my body, but that I chose to live as myself and to share my experience with others. People just like me who might otherwise have stayed within the hastily drawn lines of the box. A variety of alternative torture methods were employed to try and prevent me from doing so. Nothing’s worked yet, unfortunately.

The new torture standards leverage societal pressure to return deviant persons to the herd. We ostracize people, minimize or dismiss their experience, and outright dehumanize them. Those who are not “normal” certainly cannot be permitted in polite society, now can they? And if these anomalies continue to disrespect the arbitrary rules, the modern extremes are activated. We simply strip them of their autonomy and lock them up: in prisons, mental institutions, and addiction to drugs.

Individuals born here are not offered the opportunity to evaluate various possible codes of conduct – many of which would be more than acceptable in polite society – and choose. The choice is stripped from them, often without their knowing it, and the option remains to conform. Conform, or have any heresy tortured out. It is no wonder so many of us flee.

If you could, would you have chosen anything different?

Patriotic Inebriation

We have come to implicitly accept that ideas spread like viruses. When we describe some idea as “going viral,” we conceptualize it as a microbe that infects host after host until it reaches epidemic proportions. Some experts argue that this is not an entirely accurate way of understanding the process. But ambiguities are an inevitable result of any argument from analogy. (The beauty of language—for me, anyway—is how it…

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Introducing Lucenti for Listening! Episode 1: Community

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“If the right words existed,” the old saying goes, “the music wouldn’t need to.” This is basically scripture to those of us who practice a spiritual relationship with music. Just as religion is supposed to connect people to a world beyond this one, music reveals thoughts, feelings, and insights otherwise unknown to language and therefore to us. Music does what lucenti describes. It lights up the darkness. Growing up,…

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I’m the type of person who likes to “do.” I volunteer and get my hands dirty, and I speak up when I think there’s indecisive silence. I’ve had a penchant in the past for sharing lots of material with my peers, hopeful they would read the same things and arrive at similar conclusions. I’ve become intentionally selfish for myself of late. I retired from all leadership positions – largely…

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Bloggus Interruptus

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My Danish ancestors arrived in Utah dreaming of utopia. The Mormon Church played a more socialist tune back then and attracted followers as discontent with the emerging capitalist order as with traditional Christianity. But what my ancestors found when they arrived was a utopia under siege by theocratic pressure and political instability. Over time, they learned the hard way that utopianism rarely delivers on its promises. I reflect on…

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Toxic Masc4Masc

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Geneva Country

My parents lived in a trailer park in Utah Valley when I was born. I have since spent most my life in Spanish Fork, Springville, Provo, and Orem—cities Mormons built in the space between the Wasatch Mountains and Utah Lake. Some people say, “that’s sad, don’t you want to experience the world.” They phrase it without the inflection in their voice to imply a question, too, as if travel…

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