My friend and fellow SHAFTer Jack was recently interviewed for the “I am an ex-Mormon” video series. In his interview, he discusses his experiences as a bisexual woman in the LDS Church and his life now as a transgender individual.
Jack, you’re an incredibly courageous person. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story! I regret not having gotten to know you better while at USU.
The USU SHAFT blog has been active now for two years; the first post was published August 13th, 2009. I want to thank all of you who have followed us from the beginning, and welcome those who have just recently stumbled upon our blog.
Despite my being less prolific as of late, the site still enjoyed increased traffic this year. And, like last year, we also won several Brodies (the Oscars of the Mormon/ex-Mormon blogosphere) for 2010: “Best News Reporting”, “Best LDS Church Watch”, and “Best Science Piece”. SHAFT has won a total of five Brodies, more than any other website.
Originally published at The Student Review by Hunter Schwarz and shared here with permission.
The first issue of the revamped Student Review will create buzz across campus when it is published in September, but it will hardly be the first time that sort of excitement was felt at Brigham Young University over an independent student paper.
BYU’s first newspaper was created before it was even a university. In 1891, students at Brigham Young Academy, as it was called at the time, read the BYA Student, a paper “managed exclusively by the students.” The paper lasted five months.
In 1897, the White and Blue published its first issue, running such controversial stories as words grandmothers would be shocked to hear their college-aged granddaughters say (Some of the phrases were “dog gone,” “rubber neck” and “hot time”).
I have generally celebrated the success of “The Book of Mormon” musical. I enjoy irreverent satire, and the musical’s creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have finely calibrated their satiric sights for over a decade with “South Park.”
That said, the musical did get several things wrong about Mormonism, especially where its history and theology are concerned. The musical was guilty of the fashionable claim that Joseph Smith never let anyone see or handle the gold plates, instead (quickly and conveniently) returning them to the angel Moroni. The implication, of course, is that Joseph Smith never had the gold plates; a point Stone and Parker also belabored in the South Park episode “All About Mormons.”
The story of Mormonism’s origins and the gold plates is vastly more nuanced, however. In this post, I’ll argue that Joseph Smith actually had gold plates (or a passable substitute). Contrary to popular belief outside of Mormonism, Smith did reveal the gold plates to a number people—namely the 11 witnesses, but a few others as well.