“The Family Scapegoat” – Escape Chapter 8: Newlywed

So, imagine that the only way you can go to college is by having a sister-wife so jealous of you that she’ll talk your husband into sending you away. No one’s going to let you go just because it’s the right decision for you and your family. No one cares that you want to complete your education. It’s only because your sister-wife can’t stand you that you get the chance to go at all. And your new stepdaughters, asked by your husband to spy on you at college, are all clamoring for the chance to watch your every move. It’s the only way they’ll have a shot at college themselves. Their father certainly wouldn’t give mere girls an education just because they want one.

Welcome to Carolyn Jessop’s dysfunctional new family. This is what passes for sensible in the FLDS. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 6!


Foolin’ with Pharaoh

(Exodus 10)

God is a nasty, small-minded jerk.

This is not a difficult claim to prove. One need only to turn to the 10th chapter of Exodus and read the first two verses. God straight up admits he’s a petty asshole playing power games.

Recall all of the suffering and death dealt to the Egyptian people so far – people whose only crime, mind you, was to be born in a country ruled by the Pharaoh. Recall the countless animals he’s tortured and killed just to show off his power. Recall that God keeps demanding Pharaoh release the Israelites, then laying a disproportionate smackdown on innocent people when he doesn’t.

And now, God tells Moses why all this is happening: [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: It’s the Eve of Destruction

Our third edition of In the Path of Destruction live-blogging is up! This one takes us right up to the seconds before the eruption. Some of the things that happened will leave you sputtering. Some of it will leave you wishing for a TARDIS so you can get people the heck outta Dodge.

Image shows a bearded Dave Johnston sitting in a camp chair with his feet up, smiling at the camera. A forest stands behind him.

David Johnston at Coldwater II on May 17th, 1980. Image courtesy Harry Glicken/USGS.


Help Me Make My Mount St. Helens Guidebooks More Inclusive!

I’m trying to make my Mount St.Helens guides fairly inclusive. But of course I’m a cis white able-bodied childless person, so there are things that it wouldn’t even occur to me to take into account.
So I’m asking for your help. What sorts of things do you need information on? What should I be on the lookout for? When it comes to accessibility, accommodating kids, whatever, how can I help you have a better experience?

I’ve done things like look for kid-friendly hikes and activities, wheelchair-accessible adventures, short hikes for folks with mobility issues, that sort of stuff, but I’m sure I’m overlooking the fine details that would really help people, and I haven’t even begun to consider what folks with sensory, neurological, and other issues may need. I can’t make this guide perfect, of course, but I’d like it to be much better than anything else currently out there. So if you can, please weigh in, and let me know what you need.

Thank you all so much!

Image is a slightly expanded crop of me with Mount St. Helens from May 2007. Caption reads, "Yes, I am indeed writing a Mount St. Helens book!"

For serious, folks, I am.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter Two!


And Now For My Next Act…

(Exodus 4 and 5)

Poor Moses. He’s just this regular old dude fleeing a murder rap, and now God’s selected him to be his champion sorcerer in a magic-off with some of Egypt’s most talented high priests. Of course, Mo don’t know about the magic battle part yet. He thinks he’s giving a speech and inciting the Israelites to grand larceny. He’s afraid he’ll be lousy at it, and get shouted down by a bunch of skeptics. Who’s going to believe the Lord appeared to him? (Ex. 4:1)

So the Lord begins training him for his Vegas Thebes* act, beginning with a corny but classic line: “What’s that in your hand?”

A staff,” Moses replies, probably mystified.

Toss it on the ground,” God says. [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: Liveblogging In the Path of Destruction!

So the results are in, and you were all like, “Yeah, Dana, do whatever, JUST GET US YOUR MOUNT ST. HELENS BOOK!” I hear you! So what I’m doing is reading Richard Waitt’s In the Path of Destruction because it’s rather necessary to see what he did so I can do something different. I’m really ADD at the moment, so I was sewing and my brain was popping off with, “LOL it sounded like this, you should write that down on Facebook!” And so I kind of started liveblogging it on Facebook anyway. And then I was like, “Hey, don’t Rosetta Stones readers deserve to be able to follow along, too?” So then I put everything I’ve got so far in a post, added some more, and published it for those of you who hate Facebook with a fiery passion, which used to be me before I became addicted to it.

It was really kinda fun…

Anyway, we’re up through Chapter Three, and I will continue doing this throughout the book. Hopefully by the end I’ll have figured out why the book image is ginormous instead of a sensible size like this.

Photo of my copy of Richard Waitt's In the Path of Destruction, which has a black and white photo of Mount St. Helens erupting.

I really sort of hate our new blogging platform over there, but it was necessary.

Anyway. Just to remind you:

Image is a slightly expanded crop of me with Mount St. Helens from May 2007. Caption reads, "Yes, I am indeed writing a Mount St. Helens book!"

For serious, folks, I am.

Even though I am also reviewing this one.

“The Gravity Keeping My World In Place Was Gone” – Escape Chapter 7: Marriage

All of the content warnings, people. Have your emergency kitten on standby. In the final pages of this chapter of Escape, we get a first-hand look at what a forced polygamous marriage looks like.

Two days ago, the Prophet announced Carolyn could go to college – but she has to marry virtual stranger and terrible human Merril Jessop first. Carolyn, her dad, and her two moms arrive in Salt Lake City for her wedding to a man 32 years her senior. She hasn’t spoken with him. She doesn’t even want him to touch her. But when her father only gets two hotel rooms, she realizes she’s going to be forced to sleep with Merril. As her mothers get her dressed and coiffed for the ceremony, she feels like she’s “being prepared for a ritual sacrifice.” [Read more…]

“My Future Had Just Vanished” – Escape Chapter 7: Marriage

This chapter of Escape is going to infuriate you. I would advise you to have some time set aside for self-care afterward. Find something you can hurl, and something to hurl it at that won’t break. Maybe get a stick to bite down on, or a pillow you can scream into, if you’re reading this while others are trying to sleep.

Content Note for forced marriage, child marriage, sexual abuse, and misogynistic assholes.

Carolyn is still intent on becoming a pediatrician. She’s just graduated high school and worked the following year as a teacher’s assistant while attending community college. She knows she’ll need to attend a good four-year college in order to pursue her dream. For most of us, the biggest problem would be money. As long as we’d worked our academic asses off like Carolyn did, we’d have no trouble getting in to at least one excellent school. And our parents would be 100% behind having a doctor in the family. They’d move heaven and earth to help us fulfill our dream.

Carolyn can’t even tell her dad she wants to be a doctor. The most she risks telling him is that she wants to go to college. Just stop here a moment and picture that. Imagine having a parent with the power to keep you home, one who may destroy your dream in a heartbeat, just because he may decide your only possible use as a human being will be as an incubator. [Read more…]

Fundamentalist High School Drama – Escape Chapter 6: The Nusses

After the unremitting awful that was the last chapter, it’s nice to hit a light-ish one again. This is Escape, so there’s still plenty of bullshit that will make your teeth grind, but I’ve gotta admit, it’s kind of fun to get a taste of high school drama FLDS style

There’s a new high school in town, so those folks on the Prophet Uncle Roy side of the great religious divide can finally get an education.

The split in our community was now in it’s seventh year. One of the consequences was that many families pulled their children out of the private high school so they would not be contaminated by the children of the families on the other side of the divide who supported Uncle Roy. As a result, many boys wound up working on construction jobs instead of going to high school. The girls who were forbidden to go to the private high school were confined to their homes. Most of the girls who were kept out of school were disappointed because they had wanted an education and a diploma before they were assigned to a marriage. They knew that their futures were being shortchanged.

Yep. When you’ve got your eyes on eternal salvation, you don’t give a shit about your kids’ education. You don’t care if their ignorance cripples them here on Earth, condemning them to a lifetime of misery and poverty, just so long as their souls are saved. Besides, too much book-learnin’ could lead to H-E-double-hockey-sticks. [Read more…]