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Not every gospel doctrine class shows five minute clips from the Matrix, but some do. Well, at least one did. It may appear that these people are actually doing these things. It may be exciting and stimulating and entertaining, but it is not real. It is not a realistic portrayal of combat and heroism. In this way, it is like…pornography.
Any male in the LDS Church can tell you that this point about pornography Matrix analogy excluded has been made countless times in both youth and adult lessons for the past who knows how many years. It is a distilled, concentrated, hyper-sexualized fantasy created for the sole purpose of ensnaring those that behold it. It can become addictive and set unrealistic expectations for intimacy in marriage, which can lead to feelings of disappointment, inadequacy and betrayal.
One with family, the other with fantasy…Pornography draws a husband away from his family and entices him to connect with things that are not real. Look, I agree with all of these points.
No pro-porn argument here. What I want to do is draw a parallel to a different phenomenon that is as equally prevalent in the Church and Utah culture as porn is, but I feel goes largely uncriticized. It is an epidemic that hangs over the Wasatch Front like a totally super cute inversion. I begin the parallel with a story.
Rest assured, however, that this is a true story and one that probably repeats itself more often than any of us know. One last thing to do.
Braxlynn called down her nanny to momentarily deposit her young daughter in the kitchen. Braxlynn briefly overcame her fear of using her hands to do anything but work the zipper on a Louis Vuitton bag and took a moment to stand next to her daughter and pose for a treat-making photo in media res.
You see, Braxlynn is a very successful blogger, regularly posting pictures of herself in designer clothes doing designer things, like standing in the middle of public streets with one knee slightly bent and one hand lightly touching her hair or the brim of her chic hat.
No mention of Sarah, no mention of the nanny, no mention of reality. But you know what? What I want to talk about is the effect that these blogs have on the millions of people who subscribe to them.
It is a vain illusion pedaled to millions of women around the world for attention, praise, validation and wealth. These women see the palatial houses, fit millionaire hipster husbands with square rimmed glasses, immaculate crafts with kids, unspoiled kitchens with artisan foods, whimsical birthday parties, endless designer clothes, and think that this is all possible.
You can see the effect it has on people by the comments on Instagram. If they can but touch the hem of the garment of perfection then they can be cured of their life of mediocrity, budgets and Pay Less shoes. They are addicted to the prospect that this is a picture of life lived to perfection.
It is the ultimate Mormon ideal. Screw waiting until the afterlife for your mansions on high, there are people living it now, baby! In fact, as soon as they finish building one mansion, they start building a different one, because…well…they can. Any variant of perfection you can fantasize is currently being lived and blogged about by some Utah version of the Kardashians. But I would say this. Watching all of this is addictive and it sets unrealistic expectations for marriage and life that can lead to feelings of disappointment and inadequacy.
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a sweeping epidemic of Lifestyle Porn. What does it hurt to look at these Utah socialites and their designer clothes and designer lives. In the very least I get good fashion inspiration. Who does it hurt? I can promise you that however insecure a wife may be about her body or how she stacks up in the intimacy department against the distorted expectation that porn breeds, any self-respecting husband is equally insecure about his paycheck and how he stacks up in the provider department against the distorted expectation that lifestyle porn breeds.
Not every husband can pull off male skinny jeans, ok?! Are these women actually living this life? Yes they are, but not in the way we imagine it. They live a staged life, one self-imposed photoshoot after another. There have even been disillusioned fashionista bloggers that have attested to this fact link. Every moment we see blogged is lighted and posed and portrayed for maximum allure and effectiveness. We see the perfect snapshots in time and our fantasizing does the rest. We construct the narrative that fills in the gaps between these idyllic moments with an equally idyllic life.
We see these pictures and convince ourselves that we are some fly on the wall, observing their opulent life as it is naturally unfolding. It is staged, it is amped up, it is targeted all for maximum addictiveness. But I digress, and that rant is for another blog post. So why do I relate all of this specifically to Mormondom? There are surely scores of fashionista bloggers and socialites that are doing the same thing all over the world. There are, but it is no secret that Mormons dominate the blogging world.
For Mormons, this period of life is usually characterized by having 3 kids in diapers, a go-getter returned missionary husband in college, grad school, med school, law school, or selling Vivint security systems.
A disproportionate number of smart, driven, talented women are invested in being stay at home moms and not climbing some corporate ladder. Between breast feeds and diaper changes, many find release and relief in either creating or consuming social media and blogs. There are numerous mommy blogs that are awesome.
But there is another edge to that blogger blade. And this idea of reaching and striving for said perfection is distinctly Mormon. We work within different boundaries perhaps, but the principles play out just the same. Celebrating, fantasizing and idolizing about the stupidly wealthy and fashionable is about as un-Mormon of an ideal as I can think of, regardless if the fashion has appropriately lengthed sleeves, and yet here we are leading the charge.
Mormon culture, stemming from an attempt to follow Mormon doctrine, ends up being completely at odds with other Mormon doctrine. An angel basically told Nephi 2, years ago to not look at lifestyle porn. We need to raise our game.
I have a hard enough time keeping up with the Joneses who I actually see on a weekly basis, why do we need the fabricated ones online? Lifestyle porn stars feed off of and are sustained by our attention like the river of slime in Ghostbusters II feeds off of negative emotion. Put your phone down, turn to your spouse and look them in the unfiltered eyes. Deepen a connection with someone who might look a little rough around the edges, but actually cares about you.
Your lifestyle porn stars can do without your attention for the evening. And one final thought. If you do a mommy blog and you have a nanny, then there should at least be an asterisk next to your blog name. If you like what you read, please subscribe. During the early years I tried to monitize my blog several times, but quickly realized that the few hours a week I devoted to writing would be swallowed up in logistics dealing with advertisers and trying to make them happy.
Being an independent blogger gives the Mom complete freedom to take a month off now and again to spend time on more important endeavors, like my sons wedding that just happened last week. I am not enslaved by my need for traffic, nor am I in hock to readers to keep upping the ante by over sharing. That being said I am not going to point the finger of scorn at any family who is making a living blogging.
Blogging has brought a great deal of distress into my life, but I have no regrets about confronting the various entities who have worked for decades to enslave the human family. I do not know that I will subscribe to you as I enjoy reading some of the very people you are critiquing. There is so much ugliness on the web that I love seeing beautifully crafted posts that are filled with flowers, smiling babies, clean and well groomed doggies, and fit and beautiful people.
If those families are making bank and sharing the good things in their lives… who am I to question how they choose to spend their time and energy?
The worst thing is for a dedicated, opinionated mom blogger to go read her GOMI critiques and self censor or stop blogging to curb the hate. If blogging has exposed female mormondom as the vapid, worldly, materialistic broads so devastatingly depicted in 2 Nephi 13 and Isaiah 3…well, here we are. I believe those chapters claim that the Lord himself is going to cleanse the daughters of Zion of their worldliness. Wonderful that you have found blogging as a creative outlet and forum for expressing ideas with like-minded individuals!
If the example he shared of fakery is happening day after day on certain blogs, eventually the truth will come out and that Mom will be exposed as a poser. Will that mean she loses all advertisers and readers? The whole world of television is based on fake people doing fake things and billions tunes in day after day. Is the Mom who gets the coveted Kraft Mac n Cheese advertising account to be admired while the gal who writes and nabs the Macys ad is to be shunned as a faker?
When pharma reps contact me, I always chuckle to myself and wonder if they even bothered to read my content. As stated above, we all have to live and let live.
I buy my clothes at thrift stores and Walmart, so do not maneuver in the fashion world that some bloggers thrive in. At some level we are ALL faking it when we plaster a smile on our faces and scrub the dirt off our toddlers and put on clean clothes to go out shopping or to church. I do feel comfortable publicly calling out inconsistencies on certain Mommy Blogs when I notice them, but most of the time those comments are not published.
Authenticity is to be admired and praised, but we all benefit from the world being made more beautiful by the lifestyle bloggers who write about homes, gardens, and yummy food that gladdens the heart and pleases the eye. I did not bother to put pants on the four year old cutting out cookies sitting in his pullup on the table before taping. The problem is two fold: I think you missed the point of that last line. People go to instagram for inspiration, they like bright photos of beautifully designed homes.
We bloggers have to treat our blogs and instagram like the pages of a magazine.
This is just the perspective from one Mormon mom blogger. Sorry, I left out the part about the fact that I do still agree with some of what you said.
As I said above, there is nothing wrong with creating lovely and of good report photos and videos for our blogs. I wish I had more artistry on my posts, but I invest most of my blogging time reading and commenting on current events and politics. It promotes toxic comparison of others and feelings of inadequacy.
Jen can provide beautiful photos that her readers love and still promote a sense of reality that a lot of her readers can relate to. I do get it and believe me, Heavenly Father gets it. He knew earth life would be defined by vast inequalities. That is why the ten commandments have such specific directions regarding coveting other peoples houses, wives, servants etc….
This post by Mike is a good social experiment for the LDS people, and has likely lead to many healthy conversations. Or do we hate them because they compell us to realize and reconcile all of our own many deficiencies in those categories?
Perhaps Mikes next article could point to the many charities, missionary work and other good things being done by Mom Bloggers. I have been incredibly open about my struggles with mental illness and have had countless emails from Moms who told me that reading my story gave them hope.
I think this post is more of an indictment on those of us who read blogs and feel inadequate and overwhelmed than it is to those who are actually doing the crafting of the posts. I agree with Jay here. This is one of the best explanations of one of the worst plagues that has infected the growing generation. A large portion of that infection includes things like depression, including lack of motivation or desire to improve, a feeling of worthlessness or inability, and ultimately giving up.
And some men and some women as well love seeing naked people online- people who are more fit and made-up than their spouse who is watching children or working in the real world.
On the bright side, this could be the means of thousands of women truly coming to understand the struggle of men who strive to overcome their porn problem. I have a different opinion of my fellow Mormons! On Christmas eve, December , my beloved husband had surgery, then for the next 5 months he was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes until his death on May 25th. Every day various brothers and sisters took me to be with Bill in the mornings and picked me up at night until he passed away.
Two months later I discovered I had cancer, had a mastectomy, then 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week. Same thing, many, many people signing up to give me rides to hospital and appointments. So thankful to all of them, including doctors and nurses and aides. All of this taught me to want to be more charitable towards others.
Lots of us use Facebook and the only blogs I know which are plentiful are Family History blogs. Why are people now calling other stuff porn? Pornography is bad stuff and stands alone in its infamy. Mike, where do you get all your vast knowledge of Mormon women? Mike is married to a Mormon Woman, was born to a Mormon woman, has sisters and sisters-in-law, cousins and friends who are Mormon women.
He served a mission and his work has taken him to many places within and outside the US. I so agree with you Nita to compare blogging to porn is over simplifying porn. Blogging to me has nothing to do with the picture or how someone is styled for the picture. Would you rather see a sweaty slob standing behind her display? There maybe a few sites that are unreal or inappropriate but I doubt you can find few of those on Mormon sites. I have more problems with all the sites on social media who claim to be nurtionist or knowledgeable in one area or the other while taking things to extremes.
But really applying these things to filth and improper behavior is just pure deceit. Addiction comes in many shapes and sizes but I was uncomfortable with writer comparison. People your age have had much less exposure and access to the blogs that Mike is talking about in his article. As a 21 year old female, I cannot even begin to express to you how relevant what Mike has said truly is.
We have a disease, an addiction that most people choose to ignore. I dislike anything described or compared to the word porn. That is one word I hate and conjures up disgusting images. If you have had any in your life or the lives of your children affected by someone who is or had been into porn.
It is painful and disturbing. If you want to be cool and use a new word for what goes on in families find another word than porn. Real porn has no comparison values whether it is food or family lifestyles or blogging etc. Although I enjoyed some of the content in this blog….. Idolatry has its own name, use it! I know 1st hand the destructive nature of porn and what it can do to family life. The word is not misused in the slightest. It is unfortunately incredibly hyper-focused to mean only ONE thing among some out there.
Sex is one of the least of the areas in which unrealistic expectations can destroy a marriage or family. Call it porn, because that is what it IS. Literally, in the past, pornography wasnt just depictions of lewdness, it included devils, idolatry, etc. My dictionary lists two possibilities:. There are many words one may find objectionable in one context, but are perfectly acceptable in another.
This is just one of them. He uses it for effect. The exact reaction you are having to the concept of pornography is the same reaction you should have to the out of control ideals we are creating. Women are really quick to call out men for using porn, but we have our own addictions that until recently have been going unaddressed.
This IS going on in families. This IS painful and disturbing. It is having a detrimental effect on families everywhere. People who are addicted to looking at porn spend hours fantasizing, coveting, wishing for, creating unrealistic expectations. They have the same effect on people. That part made me laugh. I discovered pinterest right after my first child was born. I felt excited at the possibilities that I saw before me! This has grown over the years though to feeling like my own home is completely inadequate, since I really have no knack for such things as house decorating or even always keeping things tidy.
I usually feel self-conscious when people come over, thinking they must have seen as many beautiful homes and rooms as I have online , and judging me for it. An Incredibly beautiful woman, dressed phenomenally, with seemingly everything beautiful in her life. Children, home, food, clothing.
This is paradise, remember?! Blogging, it seems, has taken something that I thought would be worthwhile journaling, essentially , and turned it into a competition.
Not all blogs…but the ones you describe. The ones dominating pinterest, instagram, and many, many mommy blogs. Messes made and children in the thick of it, looking guilty, dirty and happy. Moms locked in pantries to sneak cookies boxed ones, not artfully crafted homemade ones because they want a break. Children having chosen their own clothing, which ends up being nothing but a Halloween shirt in May, cowboy boots and a diaper.
Or complete failures at homemaking: These ones make me feel validated, feel connected with people who are willing to share these glimpses into their relatable, completely worthwhile lives. They make me laugh at situations no one would want to find themselves in, but are so fun to hear about as an outside person. They lift me up. I have enough appropriate guilt, in trying to become more Christ-like. Anything can be porn nowadays. Now Perfection Lifestyle Porn.
Isaiah shows us that the Lord of the vineyard has servants! Awesome, thanks for subscribing. That said, I love to blog and hope that will be a good year for it. You or the women reading this might get a kick out of the spoof parenting site that mocks these sorts of staged photos: There are instagrams all about this type of issue — like http: Thanks for stopping by my blog. This Instagram is awesome!
I needed a real-life mom to follow. Like he said, this reality porn was getting me down. Way to go the. I really like your reasoning. Vapid, pointless time spent in idle envy. Well, perhaps worse for the poor people in the industry, and perhaps a little more addictive.
You have made some valid points in that unrealistic pictures of others lives do add to feelings of dissatisfaction with ones own life etc. I take exception however at you pointing a finger at Utah or Mormon culture as being the most represented in this trap. It is something that has existed for centuries thus reminding us that the Lord has warned us about envy.
But modern technology has made the source of lust and envy more rapidly available to everyone in the world. Catherine, thanks for taking the time to read my post and taking the extra time to comment. No doubt lifestyle porn as a phenomenon is no respecter of cultures, but I do still think that Utah and Mormon cultures are overly represented here for the reasons I list in the post.
I agree with Catherine. What would have been a great, well written article had it been left directed at lifestyle pornography in general love the term, btw , ended up seeming more like just another jab at mormons, which is sad because I really loved several of your points. Catherine is spot on and fakeness in the blogosphere and social media in general is prevalent everywhere, and probably much more equal than you think.
This would have been an excellent article otherwise, and I would have been a quick subscriber. Being a Mormon woman who is less than active in the church within the year age limit I personally feel like he was very accurate not just on blogging but with with the attitude surrounding women in this age group in the church in Utah. Because of what I have experienced in my life I have to agree with that there is a feeling of aarogance and holier than thou towards the women who do not fit within their circle.
I have had to stop reading so many blogs, the lifestyle porn because enough was enough. I have to agree that so much of what they show is fake but the personalities and the attitudes are for real. In other states everyone else picks on you, including people who are probably breaking minor laws to do so employers, teachers. It would be nice if she meant people full of the light of the gospel or whatever, but she specified: That fact that it exists in Mormondom at is an indictment on us.
Moroni very specifically warns the latter-day church in Moroni 8: But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. And further, what Isaiah saw in his vision of the latter-day flower that was last seen blossoming as a rose: Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!
Kudos to those bloggers out there keeping it real. You have all the more reason to hope that the fakers and poseurs out there get exposed. Those keeping it real deserve the attention. Show life as it is. That is what people really need to see in order to retain proper perspective. Live your own lives the best you know how and quit pointing your fingers at people you know nothing about. Get your noses out of ridiculous blog articles like this and into your communities so you can actually make a difference.
On the other hand it is so tiresome to be bombarded with superficial images and overinflated expectations of what good motherhood looks like.
I really appreciate your perspective. Your comments really hit home Rebekah. It really got me thinking. And I am trying to figure out how I feeI about all this. I think I see a disturbing trend, or pendulum swing in the other direction: I avoid pop culture becauae it is so far from reality as I see it….
But really, we are now getting a pat on the back. In essence we get the participation trophy- so to speak. This too is damaging just like the comparison trap where women literally die inside, ruin health, relationships, etc trying to meet an unrealistic ideal that is believed to be equivelant to righteousness.
There needs to be a direct focus on moderation. The coddling tactics of well meaning people might be backfiring. Accepting mediocrity instead of mastery and excellence and real goodness. Speaking of fire, we need to hold our feet to the fire with things that matter. Because we are headed for social collapse actually already there in many respects , that starts first with individual and family collapse. Back to 40 years in the wilderness to learn it out of us? Sorry for my rambling thoughts.
That really is just what they are. And again, thank you for yours. I have had some of those same thoughts recently.
This post intrigues me. If you would like you can contemplate this thought. There is so much information to process that Satan has an easy time flattering us into holding on to that which is more or less than the gospel.
Hold fast to those concepts that are taught over the pulpit of revelation studying it out in your mind of first how it applies to you, than how it applies to everyone else. All the while lifting and uplifting those around you which in turn does change and enhance yourself to accomplish works of righteousness.
Escapism and fantasy can be very healthy and helpful to many people. But when you start to think that you can and should be living the perfectionistic fantasies of blog-land, emotional and mental distress will inevitably abound. Thanks for your comment. I agree about escapism and fantasy. My book s will hopefully be an escape through which we explore aspects of the human condition in an environment that is impossible in real life.
Lifestyle porn is the celebration of extravagance consumed by those who aspire to and build expectations around one day attaining some same measure of said extravagance. Long live sci-fi and fantasy!! This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. The Man and His Work , Liahona April https: When I was a newlywed my husband installed security systems for Vivint, which was then called Apex Alarm.
During the iff-season he would do some installs in Utah county as he was a student at BYU. One time we went to a big, beautiful, gorgeous house for an install that had very little furniture in any of the rooms. Do these families all have 8 kids and have them share bedrooms?
I am forever grateful for the first family ward we lived in Provo post BYU graduation, not surprisingly it was the same ward we had already lived in as a married student couple, we just moved our records over to the family ward. People made improvements to their homes as they had saved up the money to do. No one went into debt to fill their small homes with furniture or remodel them. I love your opinion! Would I love to have a perfect home with a perfect income with a perfectly behaved child?
I may not be perfect, but God blesses me anyway. Gave me a bit different perspective I guess. Born and raised in Salt Lake but have lived many states away for over 20 years. Still visit family in Salt Lake very often. Still see this kind of thing in my current city. People are just people. We all need love. Absolutely agree with the article and I would love to read more of your musings on this!
The life style porn is exactly as detrimental as you explain; however i dont feel it is yet as comparable to porn porn, which is a disease and the excessively damaging depths it entails.
As for someone from Ca. Yes, the very ones who sit in YW on Sundays. Jill, thanks for reading and commenting. I left in , went to Texas for 5 years, Australia for 3 and am now in Montana. Thanks again for leaving your thoughts. I agree with you, Mike, on the Utah aspects of the problem. It was only after moving out of state that I noticed the increasing secularism and seeking for worldly perfection among my former Utah acquaintences, especially regarding appearance in body and home.
A naturally beautiful friend started getting plastic surgery and the trend soon spread among our friends. I noticed in driving to Utah that the radio ads just prior in WY to crossing the boarder were about the price of livestock, then BAM, suddenly they were about electing to have plastic surgery billboards everywhere in Utah, too. Then the conspicuous consumption, and the obsession with body image. This sums up every single reason we left Alpine, Utah.
Living in a homogenous society is challenging for any culture. Read this with my wife just now. Thanks for the reality check. This post is amazing. It really made me think. Still figuring out how to balance it with real life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Looks like you are letting outside forces decide what perfect is, to heck with that, perfect is the roiling, changing, organized mess that we the family in our home decide is perfect. Lifestyle porn and the slavish devotion to recreate it in ones own home is a product the the Mormon culture, what else do women have?
I may be wrong, but I think the picture is to prove the point of the article! I let my kids sit on the counters. Some of us live in too small of a dwelling to have extra little tables around. My kitchen is rarely spotless. I have been married for 25 years to a hardworking man.
I feel like we are successful and making it until we visit Utah. My husband has been an attorney for our entire married life and I always feel inadequate after visiting Utah and the Lifestyle Porn I am exposed to while there. Thank you from Idaho. Thank you for bringing this up! I have felt this way for years , even before social media was so big. Basically pure guilt and failure. Failure because another mothers kids all matched perfectly in their peaceful sunset, family portraits that all looked so perfect and our photo shoot consisted of my kids screaming, fighting, pouting and crying inbetween each photo.
I totally agree with you Katie. I remember as a young mom with a troubled marriage and overwhelmed with household and children responsibilities reading in the church magazine about someone who left her husband with her five children, went to school comma work full time to support her family, and was Relief Society president.
I also remember while visiting Utah a comment from a mother disparaging that a divorced mother and her children were moving next door to her, ostensibly spoiling her perfect neighborhood. Thankfully Church magazines and publications now discuss real life and real situations. It is so refreshing to know that someone else is struggling with the same issues in family challenges that I am.
It is absolutely true on every point. A definite problem I see all around me online. What I care about is someone that can share the best parts of their lives with me as they step over the dirty laundry that no one sees. Life is too short, find your happiness. I bet you run one of these blogs? Just happy with life. It cracks me up what people rant about. Just live your life people. Do what works for you and be content….. The only reason people are passionate about this is because they have been hurt by this situation.
I could never see Christ running a lifestyle blog. Live you life quietly, hubmbly, share your talents when needed to serve. Mike, I live in Northern Utah County and can attest that what is seen on blogs and Instagram is often not real. Eh…I agree that fake lifestyle blogs are dumb. Thanks for the warning. Do you even know a real human that reads that crap, much less believes it?
And I spend way too much time online. Maybe all their subscribers are outside the church or maybe they just look for the pretty pictures? But as women mature, we quickly learn for ourselves that life, husbands, kitchens etc. I do know a few starry eyed idealist earlysomething brides. But some people, even within the church, will use anything to make members look bad. Kudos to you for calling the author out on unsubstantiated opinion.
According to what study? I am no prude and I have been guilty of utilizing bad language myself, but when used in a written format, these examples reveal a lack of respect, a lack of a command of vocabulary and a hint of petulance or even anger.
Now, i do see that many of my friends and neighbors and ward members have feelings of inadequacy, but i attribute this to human nature members and non members alike , not just to mormon women. My best friend and I were just talking how instagram and dating apple like Tinder are ruining good girls and turning them into attention seekers that only want the next big thing.
I think this is all connected. So good to read comments, even ones of the opposite opinion, that are not filled with words like stupid, imbecile, moron, and a slew of four-letter and other words that should not be repeatable in either written or spoken speech.
I lived in Utah long enough only to graduate from BYU, and that was long before the word blog had even been invented. Fortunately, I have found some.
The whole world is not a fantasy. Gives us something to think about and evaluate ourselves. Reminds us not to believe everything you see and helps us return our focus to what really matters.
Thanks for your take on this issue. I have watched friends and family fall deeper and deeper into this trap. Problem-free living is a fantasy, a fallacy, and against our opportunity to progress in the Plan of Salvation. I think lifestyle pornography such a resonant term — love it! The difference being that they are now both the shamed and the shamer.
Crafty work from dark places, if v you ask me. As an insider to the blogging world, I am an interior designer who uses social media to grow my business , I rub shoulders with a lot of these women creating this lifestyle porn you speak of at events and such. Husbands are following these women too. Maybe not on blogs, but definitely places like Instagram. People have to change their obsession with perfection and I doubt they will.
Also, pretty sure I know Braxlynn. Excellent fake name choice, haha. I liked this comment. The nonchalant side boob shot is classic and yes those tend to yield more likes. I think he probably did this on purpose but if you could get his real feelings about the whole thing then you could open up a whole nother can of worms like the legalized pill popping, ponzi schemes, teen suicide rates etc, etc.
You can get jobs here. So It all kind of evens out. My biggest dillemma with me personally is I just went to my little boys baptism from an ex relationship who is remarried vivint salesman and it was a nice little event.
It was good for my kid to get that attention. The only issue I had with it is that she took my child out of state 3 years ago and I have a huge bond with my child. The Mormon religion or culture can be a dangerous thing when you throw Christ like principles out the window. You put material things ahead of LOVE people end up suffering greatly.
If my ex had to downsize here Cadillac SUV to a humble minivan and allow me to have split custody with our child she would slit her throat, even though, giving me more time with him would be the right thing to do. At first I never caught on that the thousands of Bloggers I followed were from Utah or that they were Mormon. Slowly the pieces started to add up and thr similarities started to show.
Now,without fail I can spot the Mormon Mommy Blogger in a second. Your words were spot on and gave relief to the feelings I have as a women and mother in the blogging world. Such a great read. Make no mistake, both have the ability to re-wire the brain and by doing so hold us captive. Your aside about running through the Mines of Moria is indicative of a similar issue — that of fantasy gaming.
You might want to rethink your analogy. In my opinion, Mormons in general, put way too much emphasis on the dangers of pornography in ways that trivialize other dangers. For example, in a class I took at BYU we had an ethics discussion about what lines we would draw as an employee of a company that performed questionable services.
For example, would we work for Anheuser Busch? Would we work for a company that shipped barley to Anheuser Busch? Would we work for a farm that grew barley that was shipped to Anheuser Busch? Would we work for a lender that provided loans to a company that produced pornography?
The conversation was very interesting. There was a lot of back and forth. Ideas were raised that helped people think outside of the box, etc. However, the entire conversation came to a screeching halt once the topic of pornography was brought up.
This logic is insane and from my experience, certainly not limited to this class. Pornography feels like a huge issue to Mormons, because of its prevalence within the culture much of which is arguably self-fulfilling prophecy. It is simply much lower on the list of worldwide issues than Mormons would believe. Or we could agree to try to not be so easily offended. As a wife to someone who has a porn addiction, I would say that a porn addiction is life shattering.
Why do you think conference talks so regularly speak about the evils of pornography? My point is that presumably your husband is still alive. He can dress himself and get to work. He can still be a loving husband and father. I too have friends and family members who are addicts, including substances like alcohol and opiates.
There are support groups and counselors who specifically address the devastating effects of pornography on an individual and a family.
It absolutely effects whether a man can be a loving father or a husband or woman- a loving mother or wife , it changes the brain. Pornography addiction is like any other addiction, it is a way of coping, a way of numbing the pain. BUT when you numb pain, you also numb all of your other emotions until you truly become past feeling.
To say that pornography addiction is comparable to lifestyle porn, is insensitive to those whose lives and marriages have been shattered by pornography addiction. Here are a few: While I do agree that envying and coveting and setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves and our spouses is harmful to our relationships and sinful, it does not cause the level of trauma and heartache that an addiction to pornography causes for all involved.
The craziness of the situation is that Mike is your ally. If you agree that porn is bad, then hopefully you can see how similar this other phenomenon is and that it is also bad. I think being told to suppress natural urges like masturbation and premarital sex is bad and that can be a reason why people turn to porn. He was doing plenty of those things prior to joining the church. It is a much, much deeper issue than that.
I think the comparison to lifestyle porn is pretty accurate. I loved your article. I have seen the multitudes of lifestyle blogs out of Utah, however. I have noticed that whenever we visit family in Utah, there are so many available resources to make yourself, hone and family as picture perfect as we all want to be. Stores for home goods, decor, clothing, home builders galore, etc.
As a mom blogger, this is absolutely spot on. However I would add that many of these bloggers are the main or only bread winner for the family. For me, I simply used to supplement income.
If you want lots of followers, you must post staged, perfect-lighting photos with few exceptions. In order to make money, you must have lots of followers. You are compelled to attract sponsors I. This is especially true for Instagram. Some bloggers are almost entirely instagrammers. Oh and you smell funny. You really want the job.
You will be judged for looking too good, and you will be judged for looking too sloppy. For me slowing down my blog was a personal, difficult choice which meant less income for my family. Part of it was because of what this article says, the pretending. Mostly, it was because of the time. Modeling is a legitimate career, blogging is oftentimes modeling.
And take a sincere look at how you let external factors affect your sense of value. I think his comments are aimed more at the consumers of the lifestyle porn than at the producers. Producers will always provide what sells. It can and will cause deep-seated problems in our marriages, homes, and psyches if we fall into the trap of believing, as Satan would love for us to do, that we might as well give up because all our efforts to attain the perfection we consume through lifestyle porn are in vain.
I love good design. I enjoy trying new recipes. I found this blog post from a rehash of it on Deseret News; I commented there; but realized the article writer was simply passing along the word of this blogger Mike Thayer; so I clicked over here; and was reading the comments, because I was trying to figure out where the fantasy came from. Mommy bloggers kept it real and shared the good and the bad of parenting.
They posted on their day to day activities and life; much like a journal, the realism was what I found compelling; but blogs lost their appeal to me over the years….
And your post shows me where it all went south. When blogs changed from web logs to money making schemes that is when the fakery; fantasy; over-the-top perfectionism in every regard crept in.
And all of the same. It all boils down to money. Maybe we should see that Utah does in fact consist of more than just Mormons. Pretty funny, and as much as Utahns want to shed the stereotypes — it just feeds the stereotype.
How is that harder than what I went through? I wanted to — I really wanted to!! I agree completely that putting people up on a pedestal of any kind is wrong. And I agree that faking pictures or lying to your readers is wrong. I blog for the same reason many other bloggers do. I love to share! I also love to build and to share how I did it so that I can help others on a tight budget do the same thing. I can do that!!! Women need to own their own feelings and recognize when they are feeling bad about themselves, or idolizing someone — and avoid blogs that cause those feelings.
Stick with ones that inspire you to set goals you can actually attain and help you develop the skills necessary! I am a blogger and also as the sister-in-law of the author, and am not in the least offended. Most bloggers like you and me are just trying to share things we value. But my family is pretty darn awesome even if my kids are completely crazy sometimes. It is all there in my blog. Just a mom getting through motherhood and sharing that with other parents. But one note for future reference- bicycles are pedaled, while illusions are peddled.
This is the Grammar Nazi, signing off. I think it is a shame that you would water down and delude the real danger and evil of porn. He knew what the word meant when he named that directory. When you use a blanket statement like Epidemic Mormon culture you better be able to produce the science to back it up.
Other than that this is straight up bashing a culture of people I admire. Great blog post, for all the many reasons commenters have already mentioned. As a former Provo Mormon wife and mother, I know how easy it is to get caught up in decorating your house, and dressing up your children, and perfecting your body I mean going to the gym and the hair studio and the latest whatever-is-coolest clothing store.
They are members of a church that grants them only lesser positions of authority. They are valued by their culture for their nurturance and selflessness, their home-making skills, and—without a doubt—their beauty. See the words of Brigham Young on this matter: Of course Brigham Young also said that women who aspired to should study math and medicine and become bookkeepers, etc. So of course we get mommy blogs. Of course we get beauty, crafts, homemaking skills, home decorating, fashion, money which is also associated with being deserving and blessed in the Utah County Mormon culture, no matter how hard we work to deny it done to the nth degree.
What else are they gonna do? So, yes, I agree that the values the blogs reinforce have become perverted, but they stem from the same source. Women are whole people, too. And in their very-limited cultural spheres read: But, here we are. Blogs as symptoms of a deeper hurt. I think working outside of the home helps fight lifestyle porn syndrome. Plus, it provides women with a sense of purpose and an identity outside of home and church.
Thank you for putting into words what has been nagging me for so long. Sharing this with my family! I was best friends with one blogger. I would go on trips with said friend and experience first-hand how an event was. But, however uneventful a activity or moment was, she had the gift to write it out as though the Queen of England had dubbed her Duchess and handed her a crown. This said friend then switched gears and became a instagrammer and not only continued the perfect photos and perfectly said posts, but, she has disconnected from the real world and forgotten who her true friends are.
I continue to try my hardest to keep our friendship tight, but, a girl can only try so hard. I think it is important to know that not only do people lose themselves and reality from reading these posts, but, keep in mind that the people creating these posts have lost themselves as well. Now, I get your relation with the lifestyle porn and the porn porn. However, the world nor the church would claim that this lifestyle is as destroying to the soul as real life porn can do. Lest us forget that we are to not lust after another, nor thing.
Sadly, I have fallen victim of such for a moment. Yes, jealously is a real thing and can disguise itself as something other than what it is. I say moment, because I knew and know for myself that being jealous of another does no good for my soul.
It is saddening and depressing. I would much rather live the life that is true for myself than dream of another. I can see a problem with fake, staged, unrealistic posts. Honesty and allowing less than perfection should be encouraged. Does posting or reading about treats you may or may not have made yourself change brain chemistry? Do designer hand bags cause someone to see those around them as objects rather than thinking humans with feelings? Does indulging in these blogs cause an increase in abuse, adultery, sexually transmitted diseases possibly being brought home to a faithful spouse, or an increased demand for sex trafficking???
Yet actual pornography does all this and more. Show me one person who decided to go visit a prostitute based off these blogs. Show me one blog that has unwittingly participatanfs forced into being in the photos.
Show me someone resorting to drugs and alcohol just to cope with perpetuating this fantasy for the consumption of others. Show me a talk with a prophet of God proclaiming the inherent evils of a plague of mommy blogs. Until then I say your analogy is incredibly problematic. Right on Lisa because the comparison between fake photo shoots and very real acts of pornography, which lead to other real acts, is a ridiculous comparison.
Like a lot of things, understanding this is easier if you understand men and women and the universe of differences. Women like to portray their version of the ideal, to the group. That being said Lisa, you make the common mistake of hysterically blaming porn for things that porn just did not cause. You actually did a serious disservice to your cause of being opposed to pornography. Hysterical distortions are sometimes more damaging than viewing acts that only the participants should be viewing.
Hysterical distortions about porn use, have broken more homes than anything actually attributable to porn use. Lisa, Studies have clearly shown that social media does in fact trigger dopamine highs which leads to changes in brain chemistry.
A cursory internet search will provide you with a bounty of sources. Even the hybrid names…Braxlynn? Thanks for the shout out on the LOTR reference. One must exercise self control in these things. And I loved it. Husbands can feel as insecure as wives in the respective porn. Women do not understand this enough.
You want to feel relevant and important, but the daily grind frequently makes you feel the opposite. It is easy to fall into a trap of looking to the wrong source for validation. But that brings up another interesting comparison to porn porn and lifestyle porn…fitness porn.
What starts as an attempt to lose the SAHM weight gained while eating cookies reading lifestyle blogs, easily becomes a tantalizing new religion. I have had friends that have jogged themselves right out of the church. So glad I stuck around to read this gem!!
This article was exhausting and making it half way took all my effort. Women like to display fakeness to the group? WHO is surprised by this? And by the way, watching porn is about watching real acts that are truly stimulating in a real way. So rewrite half of this article. So only women use Instagram and watch reality TV this way?
And only men watch porn?? Only men have expectations in the bedroom? Sounds to me like this article was just written by a man who is grumpy about not making as much money as he would like and not looking fly in skinny jeans.
I find many things in this article that are true. I agree with many of your points. But I think it comes off as judgemental and the undertone mean. I think the real problem is connection. The lack of connection. We are trained in the church and society to put on that smile and strive to be the best. I use to judge utah mormons and think oh they always need to keep up with the jones! Then I went through a faith crisis transition is what I like to call it now; where I was pigeon holed into a category at church.
And was mocked and judged when people talked about me but not to me. But it tore a lot of my fixed beliefs down. It made me a better person.
I see people in a different light now. Whatever mask we wear fashion, athletic, super mom, smiley, mormon scholar. Thanks for putting yourself out there. The same goes not just for blogs, but for social media accounts such as facebook, where no one sees anything but the perfect things in your life we like to display.
I love and appreciate real beauty, real struggles, and real people. As long as people paint the perfect pictures online of their otherwise real lives, I will continue to shake my head just a little and try to remember to keep things in perspective. Thanks for your article.
It is something that worries me. It trivialises an insidious evil and makes it as acceptable as looking at pictures of food. What about people who are addicted to food and it is ruining their lives? I think the author does a great job of using the word porn to describe something that people take to the extreme. The goal of this post is to gripe about Utahns and Mormons who live there. The topic is just window dressing for the real motive: Us women have been dealing with this kind of thing for years.
Appreciate your effort but…. Kind of arrogant, yeah? Good for both — those caught up in the thick of thin things and those who are trying their best and never seen to measure up.
Thank you for sharing this eye-opening piece. You have a gift. God will bless you in your struggles as you desire to help others. They started craving it, fantasizing over it, wearing, producing and consuming it, etc. Their hearts had turned to the things of the world, and the result? Read all about it in 4th Nephi. It is merely a symptom and manifestation of a deeper, much larger and perverse problem: I dunno… I can see the comparison in a way.
Lifestyle porn is a real thing, but not everyone is faking it… some people are really worth looking up to. My Barbie friend inspires me: This is a problem.
Somewhere along the way, we have stopped valuing the simple life. Or the simple ward activity. Everything must be exceptional. The unrealistic expectation alienates our real self from our conceptual self, and then depression and self-doubt begins to creep in. The destruction that comes from porn is that it causes one to covet. Coveting means disregarding the amazing, beautiful things you already do have in a delusion that you should have something else.
Glad you liked it. I appreciate your help in spreading the word. It has definitely opened my eyes to how easily I can get sucked in. I just got a flash…maybe we are thinking of what the eternal family will hopefully be like in the hereafter. Thanks for the article. I feel the need to comment on this.
I firmly believe that lifestyle blogs are out of hand. That they are setting unrealistic expectations and desires. I also wonder when looking at these blogs or Instagram posts; if people really think you can live like that.
Is lifestyle porn an addiction of escalation? Could it possibly lead to children being molested and wives being raped by the man that should be taking care of them all? Khalil is on Twitter KhaCumberbatch. Bacon is a proven leader in the not-profit-profit sector and is dedicated to transforming the lives of under-served and under-supported youth, families, and communities. As Mentor Program Coordinator of the U.
Kyle has worked in public and independent schools in Ohio, Maryland and in D. LaMonte built a strong working relationship with a local outpatient alcohol and drug treatment program which now runs onsite treatment groups for Sponsor participants. She received her GED, began to pursue a college degree, and she helped develop and facilitate many classes for other incarcerated women. She speaks candidly about the consequences of youth violence and the challenges women face during the reintegration process as well as the importance of family reunification.
Women Involved in Reentry Efforts. Lauren Johnson is the mother of three boys, the eldest of whom was born during her incarceration. She came home when he was one-year-old; he is now eleven. In Lauren completed a Criminal Justice Advocacy and Mobilization Fellowship with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin, Texas-based organization that fights to end for-profit incarceration and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education.
Additionally she is a participant in and board member for Conspire Theatre, a local not-for-profit cultural organization that works with justice-involved women. Layne returned to society in after serving twenty months in a federal institution. She is the co-owner and CEO of Revive Reentry Services, LLC where she supervises reentry specialists and engages reentering citizens in programs necessary to ensure forward progress. She is a stanch advocate for the formerly incarcerated population and works in community organizing and political advocacy.
Elder Leslie Mathews has been a minister of the gospel for over twenty years. Elder Leslie serves as Director of Outreach for Triumphant Life Christian Church in Highland Park, Michigan and is a member of the Board of Directors for Hope for the City -Detroit, part of a network of faith-based urban outreach programs founded in in the South Bronx to empower and equip the most marginalized communities.
One of her organizing focuses is criminal justice reform. He is a n African-American U. Lewis is passionate about breaking down barriers to reentry and enhancing opportunities for those who have experienced the sting of incarceration. The tour brings criminal justice reform advocates to various locations around the state where workshops are held to train and encourage participants to work to reduce the level of societal disenfranchisement of the formerly incarcerated and persons with a record in Virginia.
While studying public administration at Brooklyn College, Lillie obtained an internship that led to a year federal government career with the Internal Revenue Service, United States Postal Service and United States Defense agencies.
Her current campaigns focus on correcting two key sentencing issues of the past that remain uncorrected and affect thousands of people currently in Virginia state prisons. Though there are many legislative uncertainties, Lillie remains undaunted. Lily Gonzalez is a full time student, mother, activist and part time blogger. In her free time, Lily is a mom working to raise a teenage daughter 15 and toddler son 4. Lily writes for the La Comadre, a blog that emphasizes the challenges that people of color face and the importance of obtaining degrees in higher education.
Changing the narrative is part of her commitment and success. This has given her a platform to address issues around reentry and education and to educate people about how incarceration directly impacts children. She plays a leadership role at her university and is the co-founder of Revolutionary Scholars an on campus organization in support of students affected by mass incarceration.
Louis is no stranger to urban problems, ranging from crime to the barriers ex-offenders face upon reentering society, He was indicted by the federal government in and sentenced to nearly 16 years in federal prison. Converting Mistakes into Miracles. Their leadership, courage and hard work inspire Luke to continue to organize in the city.
He best describes his organizing skills as being a cog in a machine. If he is given an order, he will do his best to accomplish it. Luke wants to be able to expand his leadership qualities through concrete techniques and tools.
Marc is the Founder of Social Solutions, an organization devoted to crowd-sourcing tech solutions to solve intractable social problems. Maria Ford is a mother, mentor and strong advocate of successful reentry. Maria is a member of Haven Community Church in Marysville and coordinates a volunteer mentor program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women to match women from the community with women who are months away from leaving incarceration.
The goal is to build lasting relationships and provide continued support after release. Her passion is addressing mental health issues; more than half of all prison and jail inmates have mental health problems. She has served on boards and initiatives to assist those reentering the community and to prevent homelessness. Maria Morales is the mother of five children who has spent more than fifteen years fighting a war with drug addiction and the stigma that comes with it.
She possesses an intimate knowledge of drug addiction and its connection to the criminalization of people of color. But she also understands that resources and opportunities must exist for individuals to be successful. She has therefore made it a priority to find resources, fight for policy change, and empower those directly impacted by mass incarceration.
Winn is the Co-Founder and Lead Organizer of Women on the Rise, a grassroots organization led by formerly incarcerated women working for healthy families, justice for all women, and a reduction in the number of women under correctional control in the state of Georgia. Mark Renick feels like he has led two different lives in his 64 years—one before, and one after his release from incarceration in the state of Idaho in May of Quickly Mark discovered that his passion was around issues that individuals and their families face as people return to the community from incarceration.
Its mission as to be knowledgeable about all issues for returning citizens. Mark has served on the board of the Saint Vincent de Paul Re-entry Program which has led to the creation of an advocacy group, Systemic Change of Idaho.
This is an exciting project which looks to change the way Idahoans view returning citizens. Mark Rice is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who is examining the emergence and evolution of efforts to end mass imprisonment in Wisconsin. Martha Lynn Shearer is a native of Birmingham, Alabama where she still resides. Michael King is the National Director of Outreach and Engagement with Facing Addiction , a national non-profit organization with the mission of unifying the voices of the 45 million Americans and their families directly impacted by addiction.
Previously, Michael spent over a decade in the political arena, working as an organizer, campaign manager and communications director. A Connecticut native, Michael has lived in Seattle for nearly twelve years, where he was the co-founder of a non-profit organization focusing on youth voting engagement. He is an avid baseball fan, the proud father of two young children and a person in long term recovery from a substance use disorder. Misty Rojo serves as the Campaign and Policy Director for Justice Now, whose mission is to end violence against women and stop their imprisonment.
She is a survivor of domestic violence, a factor in the crime she committed that led to a ten year prison sentence and separated her from her four young sons.
She believes community solutions can eliminate our reliance on policing and prisons. She continues to fight with fierceness and love for people still suffering at the hands of the state. She has learned that true liberation only comes when we stand together and fight together.
It is important to share how I know survival is survival and not just a walk through the rain. Monica Jahner served twenty-eight years in a Michigan state prison. While incarcerated, she founded Kids Need Moms, a program to promote quality visits between children and their mothers in prison.
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Nicholas Buckingham was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Nicholas is also a criminal justice reform activist. The extreme difficulty he has had finding a job because of his criminal record propelled Nicholas into activism and leadership. FC4A would extend that rule to include private employers who receive tax breaks from the city. Its target population is individuals who are involved or at risk of being involved with the criminal justice system.
For many years Pamela has engaged in community organizing through both her church and the City of New Haven. She currently serves as the Chairperson for the New Haven Reentry Roundtable, a group she has participated in for over seven years. She studied psychology and sociology at the University of Colorado and University of Washington and has spent the last two years studying filmmaking at the Open Media Foundation.
Pam served seven years in prison in Colorado for a minor drug conviction and successfully completed parole in Pam has worked as a fundraiser and supervisor for a local fundraising organization that raises money for non-profit and political organizations around the country.
She joined the staff of CCJRC in to see collateral consequences reduced, drug laws changed, parole laws reformed and the warehousing of people in Colorado stopped. As the communications coordinator for CCJRC, Pam has prioritized voter education to make sure Coloradans with criminal records know they have the right to vote.
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It is committed to the restoration of economic, educational and political rights of those whose lives have been adversely impacted by a criminal conviction. Pamela Winn is a native of Atlanta and the single mother of two sons. She has three post-secondary degrees in nursing and is an entrepreneur. Her career was ended and her businesses were abolished.
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D student in Sociology at Loyola University in Chicago. Quintin works with the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois RROCI working with people with records and advocating for the expansion of their opportunities and for broader criminal justice reform in Illinois. He believes in the inherent worth of all people, the urgency of expanding opportunities for the most marginalized, and the paramount role of lived experience in creating strong and sustainable policies.
His research focus is male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and healing wounded healers. Share This Bio Robin W. Vander Wall was active as a campaign manager and consultant on a number of competitive municipal, state and federal level campaigns prior to his arrest in Since , Robin has devoted much of his time as an advocate for citizens required to register as sex offenders. Robin lives in Raleigh, North Carolina in a home ferociously guarded by his cat, Mongoose. Romarilyn Ralston is the Program Coordinator for Project Rebound, a California State University Program that supports formerly incarcerated students as they reintegrate into a college setting.
She has always believed that education is the key to reducing crime. He heads up their restorative justice co- mentorship program, The Good Neighbor Project, designed to shift public discourse on punishment in Michigan.
Ronald is part of the newly formed Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration in Michigan as well as a steering team member of the now-forming Returning Citizens Coalition. Ronald comes to this work from many dimensions. He served 27 years in the prison system as an engaged, thoughtful, and creative leader, founding many enrichment programs rooted in transformation, redemption, and self-accountability.
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He has worked as a staff paralegal at Prison Legal Services of Michigan. Ronald is on Twitter BeySimpson. Ryan has been called to give testimony before both the California Senate and the Assembly on juvenile justice reform measures and is intimately involved in the justice reform landscape across California. A storyteller by nature, Ryan is a regular lecturer at USC and UCLA, and has lectured on criminal and juvenile justice reform at colleges across the country.
She has been featured in the Economic Agenda booklet in collaboration with Working Families. In , she was recognized for her community engagement efforts by the City of Hartford. She received her dual degree in social work and public health while working as a graduate research assistant, analyzing complex justice issues affecting the lives of African American and Latino families.
Her work includes the prevention of violence and prevention of incarceration while promoting holistic practices and education. Imagine being born into poverty… without a mother or father. Picture growing up in the ghetto, surrounded by drugs and murder. In addition to writing songs, he writes books. Lastly, he is the subject of the critically acclaimed autobiographical documentary Tower to Tower and an influential voice in corporate social responsibility and youth empowerment.
Incarcerated for eight years, Sean was able to earn an advanced degree and pursue what many may have thought was the unattainable. He completed his Associates Degree while in prison and had several pieces of writing published.
Sean has for years been passionate about advocating for the voice of those who are marginalized, particularly those involved in the criminal justice system and youth in foster care. Sean is working on his first book, an anthological memoir. C, where she informs policies for people touched by the criminal justice system.
Shae strongly believes that systemic change happens at the policy-level which prompted her to obtain her Master of Public Administration from American University.
She has a wealth of experience from working to improve the lives of marginalized and underserved populations in the District, and sincerely believes that we are the change-agents that we are seeking. With more than a decade of problem solving experience working with families and communities in Louisville, Kentucky, Shawn Gardner has developed a keen insight into how to analyze problems and develop practical solutions.
As a community activist and fatherhood advocate he has brought together various entities to improve communities and strengthen families. In addition to working with fathers, Shawn created a youth development program, implemented in various school districts, that teaches young black males to recognize and manage conflict in their lives and strengthen their decision-making ability.
He is the Parent Engagement Manager with the Metro United Way of Louisville, Kentucky, where he aids numerous families in developing a pipeline from aspiration, to education, to occupation. Shelton became a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels in This organization, founded in , provides financial support to Kentucky charitable and educational institutions and organizations.
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She has dedicated her professional career to the agriculture industry in Washington, DC, and St. In parallel with her career in agriculture, Stephanie has also been committed to issues of justice reform and mass incarceration. In , she founded a non-profit organization that gives college scholarships to children of incarcerated parents. Stephanie has been recognized for her work with young people by the St. She is committed to lasting reform of our justice system, including lowering the prison population significantly across the nation.
Stephanie currently serves on several non-profit boards and lives in St. Louis with her family. His passion has been health education and advocacy as well as criminal justice. He started his career in within the New York State Department of Corrections while serving a 14 year sentence.
During his own incarceration Steven also went through spiritual awakenings and was involved in religious and spiritual programs as a member of The Nation of Islam and Liberation Theology. First, measurably reducing recidivism by disrupting the school-to-prison and foster-care-to-prison pipelines and diverting people from prison. Second, changing public perceptions of the formerly incarcerated through multimedia impact campaigns. And third, providing the formerly incarcerated and directly impacted with ongoing leadership development training.
Her volunteer work includes working with young women and mothers who have substance abuse disorders. Susan spent 19 years in the mortgage industry as a loan officer and in foreclosure defense. She was incarcerated in federal prison from Tari received a B. In , she received her J. In , Tari returned to Alabama, to be near her family. Tarra Simmons struggled with intergenerational poverty and incarceration, childhood trauma, and substance use disorder which led to criminal justice system involvement.
Despite the obstacles, she worked for many years as a Registered Nurse. After serving her prison sentence, Tarra decided to attend law school to reduce recidivism by helping others overcome barriers to reentry.
She interned with various public interest legal organizations, became involved in legislative advocacy, and co-founded Civil Survival , a grassroots advocacy organization led and staffed by currently and formerly justice-involved individuals. She graduated from Seattle University Law School, magna cum laude, in , and is the first directly impacted person to receive the prestigious Skadden Fellowship. Today, Tarra works as a Skadden Fellow for the Public Defender Association in Seattle where she represents individuals on the collateral consequences of a conviction, expands diversion programs, and advocates for local and state level justice system reform.
It was a month federal prison sentence for a white-collar, non-violent, first-time offense that introduced her first-hand to the criminal justice system and mass incarceration in America.
The organization strives to accelerate self-sufficiency for formerly incarcerated individuals and those facing similar discrimination due to an arrest record. This hybrid strategy allows Teresa to focus on software development expected to disrupt the People Ops Tech space. This dedication to tech to improve reentry outcomes has led to key recognition. As an advocate, she informs and engages cross-sector influencers to close the digital divide created by mass incarceration in America.
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Theresa Sweeney is fully committed to uniting with others to combat mass incarceration, which she believes is the most important human rights issue facing our country today. Her interest in the criminal justice system began thirty-five years ago when she was studying what was then a fairly new discipline — Criminology and Criminal Justice. When Theresa was sentenced to prison in , she witnessed firsthand the arbitrary and cruel nature of the mass incarceration system.
After her release, she was driven by her passion to assist others who shared a similar experience. Theresa has a vibrant communication style, which she utilizes as Outreach Coordinator for the Hands Across the Bridge Project whose mission is to provide leadership development for the recovering and reentering communities.
She currently works as a Volunteer Coordinator for Volunteers of America. Toni Bunton is a mom, business owner and passionate advocate for criminal justice reform. She believes in the power of storytelling to change the criminal justice landscape. In , a 17 year-old Toni Bunton was sentenced to years for driving the car in a botched marijuana deal. While in prison she witnessed unthinkable carnage. Toni served seventeen years in prison before Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm commuted her sentence.
After her release, she began work in Detroit as a community organizer and youth prevention advocate. Tony Funchess is an accomplished community leader based in Portland, Oregon with a history of advocating for marginalized communities.
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He hopes to continue this work and develop it into a career of consulting that is helping shape the conversation for transformative change. Venus Star Woods was born and raised in Alaska. Growing up, both her parents struggled with substance abuse and she spent a big part of her childhood in the foster care system.
Following in her parents footsteps, Venus faced her own issues with substance use which eventually landed her in prison. After her last incarceration in , she vowed to break the cycle of substance abuse and recidivism in both her family and her community.
Venus has worked in the re-entry field for over five years. She is a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor I for the State of Alaska and a certified facilitator for Moral Reconation Therapy MRT , a program designed to alter how individuals make decisions between right and wrong.. Her current advocacy priority is lobbying to bring substance abuse assessments into the prisons so individuals who are released can more easily access treatment. Its mission is to reduce crime and recidivism by equipping, empowering and restoring hope to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals affected by a criminal record through workforce development and job readiness training.
She has personally struggled with those barriers as she herself is a formerly incarcerated individual. As someone who has successfully transitioned back into the community despite not being able to find employment, she is a firm believer in being the change that she wants to see within her community.
She has a close working relationship with local employers, community organizations and law enforcement and corrections agencies, including the Department of Community Supervision — the very same agency that supervised her probation upon her release from prison in He served as the Executive Director of the Urban Angel Foundation whose mission is to empower communities and inspire men, women and children to achieve positive, stable and productive lifestyles. Attorney Office Eastern District.
He recently founded REDEEMED, a new organization focused on the elimination of systemic employment discrimination practices aimed at people living with arrest and conviction records. Help Redefine Justice in America. Where do we meet? All in-person Forums take place in New York City. How many times do we meet in-person? There are four in-person Forums. Is there a stipend?
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