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Potpourri

Happy Father’s Day! Take some time to play with your dad if you still have one. There are some truly excellent fathers out there. They are the reason why many of us women haven’t totally given up on men.

My dad was a really good guy. Not perfect. But decent, capable of learning from his mistakes, loving, and always treated each of his kids fairly.

He also cheated at Monopoly.

He made awesome omelets and fudge, and was that silly crazy dad who ran around on the front yard letting the little neighborhood kids try to catch him, laughing like a maniac the whole time.

Go make your dad laugh.

***********************

Some of you may already be familiar with Amber Scorah. A few years ago, she wrote in the NYTimes about her son’s death on his first day of daycare. The cause of death is still a mystery but Amber’s anguish was complicated by the American labor system that forced her back to work before she or her son were ready. She wasn’t allowed to work from home, her leave was up and her family’s benefits depended on her working.

That story by itself makes Amber a notable figure in our zeitgeist.

Now, she’s written a book about what preceded her son’s death. Amber Scorah was a Jehovah’s Witness. Her new book, Leaving the Witness, is a memoir of growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, being disfellowshipped for having sex (self-reporting), living in China, and finally listening to her own beliefs in a different language.

I’m putting it on my wish list.

In the meantime, you can listen to John Dehlin’s excellent podcast, Mormon Stories, for a recent interview with Amber. Put it on your phone this afternoon for a five sponge listen (number of sponges is roughly equivalent to how much you will forget you’re doing cleaning chores while listening.)

I was never baptized as a Witness but I lived like one until I was 17. Many of us JW kids could write books about how our lives were affected by this religion. I think that Amber’s is going to be the first that reaches a general audience. It sounds like a real page turner.

One notable thing: Amber did not go back to the witnesses after the death of her baby. She didn’t need them. She found there was enough kindness and compassion in the world.

*******************

One more thing: John Dehlin is a clinical psychologist as well as a famous ex-Mormon. He describes shunning as a form of psychological torture. Scorah says it’s emotional blackmail. It’s morally wrong for a religion to use it as a form of social control.

It’s also wrong when any other person uses it as a form of social control. Malicious gossip, playing the victim, relentless bad mouthing, forcing people to choose sides and stirring up resentment between family members can also lead to a form of social ostracism that is almost worse because it serves only the self and not a religious doctrine. How do you know when they’re the perpetrator and not the victim? Look at how many people they force you to avoid because of their feelings. As if no one else in the world has feelings.

If you want people to respect you, this is not the way to do it. I’d go into more detail but I’ll stop there.

Some people behave horribly and get away with it. They shouldn’t. And I’m not talking about the JWs in the family.

More on social ostracism from another Ex-JW, Lloyd Evans:

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