"I had the weirdest dream last night," Chloe said.

"Oooh, tell me!" I said. I love weird dreams.

Back in high school I took a psychology class with my friend Melissa. We spent the majority of our class time bitching about how bored we were, but then one day we started a section on dream analysis.

Melissa told me a dream she had during her history class earlier that morning.

I have never fallen asleep during a history class. Chemistry class dreams, however, were some of my most pleasant.

Melissa dreamed that she was in her history class, not sleeping, and there was a golden spoon lying on the desk. She attempted to pick it up, but try as she might, she simply could not pull the spoon from the desk. It was like it was crazy-glued on. Then the golden spoon suddenly tarnished.

Off the top of my head I instantly came up with an interpretation. "What it means," I explained, "is that when you and the boy you're crushing on spooned the other night, it seemed perfect at the time. But now you're realizing that no relationship is ever going to come out of it. He's never going to actually be your 'boyfriend', so an occasional session of spooning is the most you're going to get. And suddenly, it doesn't seem so perfect anymore."

I know.

I know.

I totally kicked that dream's ass.

So ever since then I've been fascinated with hearing other people's weird dreams to see if I can interpret them. I hardly ever remember my own weird dreams (except one, but that'll be a different post). So when Chloe said, "I had the weirdest dream last night," I was all set to wow her with my dream-interpreting skills.

After doing a few basic stretches in preparation for blowing her away - never underestimate the importance of stretching to prevent injury - I invited Chloe to recount her dream. "I like to interpret other people's dreams. Tell me," I said.

"Well, it was really weird. I dreamed that I was a zombie."

"Ooh, zombies!" said my inner nerd.

"Ooh, zombies!" said I.

My inner nerd and I need to work on not speaking simultaneously.

"Okay, so, I was a zombie," Chloe said. "There was this thing stuck in the back of my head, which is how they were controlling me."

I know.

I thought the exact same thing.

But let her finish.

"So I'd be normal most of the time, but every now and then I'd turn into the zombie. Then I'd be running around doing this" (insert hand gesture that looks something like a squirrel eating an acorn) "and eating rocks."

I know.

I know.

"There was a group of us, and we were all friends. We knew when the" (bizarre hand gesture again) "was about to start, so we had to strap ourselves down so we wouldn't hurt each other. So what do you think it means?"

"I think it means you have absolutely no idea what a zombie is."



I just overheard a conversation between two coworkers. Let's call them Nancy and Chuck.

Not to protect their identities, I just enjoy fake names.

It's one of my quirks.

Chuck and I have never been particularly close, but he often stops to chat with Nancy, who sits near me. Chuck and his girlfriend have been engaged for several months, and so every few days he and Nancy discuss the various drama that comes with an impending wedding. And I eavesdrop when I have nothing better to do.

Which is most of the time.

My job is boring.

Anyway, last week the big issue with Chuck's wedding was that his parents don't much care for his fiancee. This resulted in the wedding being pushed back yet again while the involved parties attempt to reconcile their differences. So, last week Chuck was telling Nancy that they didn't know yet when exactly when their wedding would be, and it was stressing him out.

Today, Chuck mentioned that his weekend plans included moving some of his things to the house that he and his fiancee would occupy once they got married. Perplexed, Nancy asked why he was moving so soon if the wedding wouldn't be for months.

"Well, we're getting married a week from Saturday," Chuck explained.

Perk! went my ears.

"Why?" went Nancy.

"Because the girl's pregnant," went my instinct.

"She's pregnant," whispered Chuck.

Now I've never been that big on gossip, particularly office gossip. This can be attributed to the fact that most of the time I just don't give a damn about other people.

Except you.

I love you.

But Chuck is one of those sweet, innocent, round-faced, super good LDS kids like so many others I grew up around, and I have a wicked soft spot for hearing stories about how these kids react to their own transgressions.

Call it a research project, if you will.

I'm convinced that there is a large number of LDS people who, much like the Me of Years Past, feel completely out of place within their religion and culture but are just too completely absorbed in it to do anything. And hearing stories about good people who do things the church considers "bad", like having sex with their fiancee, sometimes makes me feel validated in this belief.

There will be more about that in later posts.

Moving on.

Nancy moved forward without so much as a blink. "How far along is she? When did it happen?" (As a side note, I love Nancy's straightforwardness. The woman could get anyone to tell her their deepest, darkest secrets just because of the completely bold and badass way in which she asks questions.)

"A couple weeks ago. And maybe about a month before that," Chuck responded.


"At my house." Chuck lives with his parents.

"What did your parents say?" Nancy asked.

"They still don't want me to marry her. They said it's not too late to get out of it," Chuck admitted, his voice staying remarkably even considering the weight of his words. "But it's really their fault."

SCREEEEEECH! Mental brakes. Pop it in reverse. What was that, Chuck?

"But it's really their fault."

Please, Chuck, please. Explain to Nancy how exactly you having sex with your fiancee and getting her pregnant is your parents' fault, before I lose all self-control and look straight at you so you know I've been intently listening this whole time.

Chuck delivered.

"They would leave us alone all the time," he explained to Nancy. "Like, they'd leave us in the family room and they'd be in another room down the hall."

It's moments like these that make me wish I were a sassy black Southern woman so that I could effectively and convincingly pull off a, "Honeychild, please!" So please take a moment to imagine me as a sassy black Southern woman, waving my finger at Chuck and saying, "Honeychild, please!"

Did you picture it?

Was I wearing a headscarf?

You racist.

Chuck, it is not, in any conceivable way, your parents' fault that you two had sex. Unless Moms and Poppsy dimmed the lights, popped on some Marvin Gaye and REMOVED ALL OF YOUR CLOTHING before leaving the two of you alone, their absence from the family room did not cause you to knock up your girlfriend.

Sadly, this idea that two kids having sex is somehow the fault of their parents is an idea I have heard many times before. In all those "chastity lectures" of my adolescence, we were told that it was dangerous to be left all alone with a member of the opposite sex. Especially at night.

"The Holy Ghost goes home at midnight."

The basic lesson that came out of this is that we, as a human race, are completely unable to control our sexual urges. Once the lights go out and the chaperones head to the kitchen for a snack, our libidos will strangle our common sense by the throat. We have absolutely no say in the matter.

Now, I know that sexual desires can be overwhelming. But I also am a strong believer in self-fulfilling prophecies. Telling eager young virgins that the moment they find themselves alone with someone they're attracted to the devil will take over is the surest way to make it happen. It's like a placebo effect in reverse.

Then you end up with people like Chuck, who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. "It's really their fault. My parents. They would leave us alone all the time."

Now, I am not taking a stance on either side of the abstinence before marriage issue. I am a firm believer that what's right for some is not right for all.

But I am taking a stance on the holding-yourself-accountable issue.


I have to wonder if Chuck and his fiancee had decided that because it was his parents' fault they had sex, they were still "worthy" of an LDS temple marriage. If last week the marriage plans he discussed with Nancy still involved the temple, but he and his fiancee got it on weeks before, were they more than willing to go through the temple ceremony "unworthily"?

I am no longer LDS. I don't believe having sex with someone makes you unworthy of God's love. I frankly couldn't care less who has sex and when and whether they do it with rings on their fingers.

But I do believe that if you voluntarily belong to an organization, you should respect that organization enough to obey their rules. In the LDS world, that means not going to the temple unless your local religious leaders deem you free from sin and worthy of entering.

If you don't care enough about your church to abide by its most basic rules, then why the hell do you continue to voluntarily belong to it?

I am insanely curious as to how many couples like Chuck and his fiancee fool their families and friends by going through the LDS temple wedding even though they've slept together prior to the ceremony.

How many of them convince themselves that it's okay with God because it's their parents' fault for leaving them alone?

That's a statistic I doubt the church would publish in any of their family-themed pamphlets.

Chuck, it's not my business if you have sex. It's not my business whether or not if you believe in the church you belong to. The decisions you make affect you and you alone.

But for God's sake, man. Admit that it's you who is making them.