Hey ya’ll. Moving while going to school is a good way to eliminate free time. Add months of unreliable internet to the mix and you’ve got a dead blog.
But I’ve been busy. Since moving into this apartment an abundance of produce has come out of the big garden and into my kitchen… tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, eggplant, peppers, pinto beans, and a few other things. There are also five chickens and a rooster there now, and the four ladies are currently on the verge of laying eggs.
I have also started garden-related work at my new apartment. I’ve built a compost bin and started building a deep bed for veggies out of dumpstered stone, cement, and countertop materials (like some very pretty granite). The other side of my yard is nonstop shady, though when springtime comes I plan on planting some things on that side as well.
Kiddo is doing well, although honestly some events which occurred with him and his family over the summer have also halted my writing here. Nothing really involving me, per say, but mostly things I don’t feel ethically comfortable blogging about.
One thing though, of the whole pile, which would end up being mentioned in any future posts, and might as well be coughed up now. Kiddo’s mom is pregnant with their sixth child. Now, since I live in Utah and we’re talking about Mormon culture, discussing this situation must be done delicately, but that's not going to happen because I'm unfortunately not very delicate when writing about such matters.
The LDS/Mormon Church puts a great emphasis on matrimonial reproduction. While not going so far as to endorse the insanity of the Quiverfull movement, the Church has historically encouraged having large families and has regarded birth control as deplorable. As Mormon prophet Spencer W. Kimball said in a 1970s speech on marriage, “I have told many groups of young people that they should not postpone their marriage until they have acquired all of their education ambitions. I have told tens of thousands of young folks that when they marry they should not wait for children until they have finished their schooling and financial desires. Marriage is basically for the family, and there should be no long delay. They should live together normally and let the children come. . .” Emphasis mine.
So, not only should you get married “without delay,” you should just let those babies start coming, regardless of socioeconomic situation or education. If Justin and I followed this credo, we would be living in poverty, trying to figure out where we could even find housing with enough room for kids, worrying about how we could pay for school or even have time to get an education, etc… I call it being responsible, the LDS church contends I’m flirting with sin. Whatever. Just one of the many reasons I’m not a Mormon anymore.
Kiddo’s family often heartbreakingly demonstrates this doctrine’s lack of wisdom. His parents married young, with college completion a few years off, and starting having children right away. Five in nine years, soon to be six. Their house is quite small for the amount of people living there; only two hardly-adequately sized bedrooms are available for the kids. They had to add a third when the fifth baby was born so the parents had somewhere to sleep. Now, number six is on the way, and I can’t imagine where they’ll be putting that second crib.
Last year, their dad made less than $40,000, and they rely heavily on social services so their kids can eat easier and have access to healthcare. What makes this situation even stranger is that the LDS church, especially in recent years, has inflated the role of self-reliance in their dogma. The contradiction often ends the same though, with a family making no money having too many kids and then turning to the much-hated government for help.
I was once sitting in the kitchen with Kiddo’s mom as we waited for the kids to eat snacks. We usually skirt subjects like politics and general worldview in our discussions… they usually lead down awkward roads and have to be ended abruptly. However, this time we were somehow onto the subject of the role and size of government. She made a statement about how sometimes the government does things that are nice but she really didn’t believe in the government taxing people for “forced charity. “
Like, the food the government buys for your baby? The Medicare that pays for your prenatal care, the taxpayer-sponsored dentist who cleans your kids’ teeth? The forced charity that pays for me to come here and give you time to nap, clean, or run errands?
Those words sound really bitter, but I’m really not mad at Kiddo’s family for this. These attitudes and actions are developed in a culture which makes you fear hell for not struggling to attain what are for many, ultimately, conflicting and impossible-to-reach standards, and in a monoculture like much of Utah, are very hard to break down.
Ah, unsustainable pregnancies. A constant source of frustration.