I had planned on running down several of the basic inaccuracies about life in Utah that Beck puts in her book. But they really are so egregious that I just can't see too many people believing it. Well some will. As P. T. Barnum once said, no one went broke underestimating the intelligence of the average American. Sad, but sadly true more often than it ought be. But I can tell anyone who reads the book that hair dressers don't call husbands for permission before giving a short hair cut to women. In fact it was a running joke when I was single and younger that women and their roommates used to convince each other to cut their hair short as a kind of dirty trick. "Oh yes, that'll look cute." But that's somewhat beside the point. Whatever aesthetic judgments some men might have towards long hair, there are plenty of short haired women around. Further I can't imagine a stylist acting in the Stepford wife mode that Beck portrays. Same with doctors and nurses. They always act professionally and I've never heard of anyone bringing up religion. (Despite the fact that Provo is more than 90% Mormon) I could go on, but what would be the point? If Beck makes a claim about Utah that seems weird, it's probably not true.
I do want to bring up a story from a psychiatrist on the whole issue of false memories. I'll be the first to admit that I just don't trust memories that much. Lost memories seems that much more questionable. Apparently Slate weighed in on the issue relative to a recent court case over a Catholic Priest. The blog Shrinkette discussed the Slate article and took a nice cautious approach. It does seem one of those issues in which both sides frequently exaggerate more than a little bit. Yet claiming recovered memories are impossible seems unlikely. But surely more than just a memory brought up by a therapist via hypnosis is in order.
I may be posting on this topic from time to time. Especially a controversies pop up. Although to be honest, now that some time has passed since I've read it, the controversy of it all seems much less that I thought it would. It truly seems like a woman with mental problems that perhaps a publisher has taken a bit of advantage of so as to earn some money through the controversy. The more I think about it, the sadder I am for Beck. In any case I've put up a single page that'll include links to all the stories I do on the book.
I probably shouldn't say this, but what the hey! Most women over the age of 35 with long hair (especially if it is the same style they had in high school) look like they are trying to recapture something they can't. Maybe that goes for a husband who doesn't want their wife to cut her hair as well.
We're about to go off on a tangent of the aesthetics of long hair I can tell.
First off, I think most people over about 25 ought to give up on the kind of styles that teenagers and people in their early 20's wear. (Well, I'll confess as a favor to my wife I spiked my hair and had my tips bleached last spring) However I think there are plenty of styles of long hair that look great on women over 35. Further there are plenty of women well over 35 with long hair ranging from Andie McDowell (47), Elle McPherson (42), Christie Brinkley (51), Sandra Bullock (42), Catherine Zeta Jones (35), Julia Roberts (37) and so on.
But I was more thinking of the discussion of younger women. And while I'm well into my 30's now, my wife is still in her 20's so I can be awestruck by her long sexy red hair that puts Julia Roberts to shame. (grin)
Well, I'll confess as a favor to my wife I spiked my hair and had my tips bleached last spring.
You are correct that there are many that have long hair gracefully with age (if not down right hotness). I would have set the threshold lower had I not feared retribution. It is just that most people are not so beautiful and not so...let's say...well cared for (both men and women).
I wonder if the hair stylists at Bikini Cuts in SLC call the husbands for permission? Or would it be the husbands needing permission from their wives in order to get their hair cut there? Does Beck deal with this?
(There was a Tribune article on this store a few months ago - that's how I know about it. I live in Texas now and swear I have never been to a Bikini Cuts!)
It's been around actually for quite some time. I remember it being advertised way back when I was still single. Of course that's Salt Lake City. They actually have a half dozen strip clubs up there. (Although anti-nudity laws mean they have to wear pasties and no lap dances or other touching allowed)
As an interesting aside, the main bar in downtown Provo had a strip club in back for a few months before the City Council changed the zoning laws. That was around 1999. It sure goes against the picture Beck paints of Utah though. (Not that I think such things good, mind you, just that they are around) The dance club in downtown Provo had a couple of large Raves there run by some of the big names from the Las Vegas club scene as well. (Once again admittedly they put up rules that stopped this) There still are three or four bars in the city though.
Admittedly probably pretty tame relative to most other cities with 60,000+ students in it. But it also is hardly the portrayal some might get from Beck's book which makes one think one is in Stepford.
In fact it was a running joke when I was single and younger that women and their roommates used to convince each other to cut their hair short as a kind of dirty trick.
Clark, were you hanging out with characters from "Bernice Bobs Her Hair"?
I'm somewhat embarrassed to have this conversation in connection with the serious discussion of the Beck book. (I'd somewhat managed to convince myself that the controversy might blow over until the various reports from this morning) But I suppose the sociology of the Provo singles scene isn't that out of line.
I think that the social dynamics in some single women apartments are rather odd. There are all sorts of petty jealousies that sometimes come out. Part of that might be because in Provo one just doesn't have the social scene one does in most other college towns. A lot of socializing happens through apartments and even church wards. Thus, as many of you know, you grab a couple of friends, head over to an apartment with some cute women, and work it.
If one is more popular than others, then sometimes the other roommates offer "suggestions" to "improve" appearance of the attractive ones. I've seen it happen quite often.
Of course that's not what you were asking John. (grin) (John's reference is apparently to an old F. Scott Fitzgerald letter from the 20's. Yes - I had to Google it.)
The reference is to a short story that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote based on a letter to his sister. Incidentally, there is a fairly good film adaptation of the story from the '70s featuring Shelley Duvall as the title character.
There's an even better quote for the situation than the P T Barnum gem: the Adolph Hitler observation that people will always believe the big lie. The same reality that made the Swift Boat attacks stick will make Beck's nonsense believable.
Interesting comments by Orson Scott Card on his Nauvoo forum and largely repeated in the Times and Seasons discussion.
Meanwhile, more seriously: Martha Nibley Beck's supposed "recovered memories" of abuse by her father are subject to the same warnings as any other "recovered memories": that "recovered memories" are more likely to be fictitious than not. I knew Martha and the rest of the Nibley family during the time when she was supposedly being abused, and she exhibited none of the signs that usually mark abused children. I find it extremely unlikely that there is even a grain of truth in what she's saying. The far more likely explanation is that in the process of therapy, she "recovered" memories that were actually supplied by suggestion or wishful thinking (not that she wanted to be abused, but rather that she wanted to have a stick to beat her father with). What saddens me most is where Martha has come from the bright, funny, delightful person she used to be, to the embittered, hostile anti-Mormon that she seems to have become.
It is a mistake, however, for anyone to try to block publication of Martha's book. Everyone has a right to speak, and suppression is almost never the answer - answering is the answer.
About the haircut. (See Beck pt 2 about this non-Mormon writer.)
In my time in Morman land (town not identified but huge majority Mormon) my wife had occasion to visit the OBGYN doc. The walls were filled with pictures of Jesus Christ. The exam room had posted on the wall a written letter to my patients from the doc explaining all the marvelous education, training, residency, etc. But, said the letter, over and above my training and skill I have something more important to offer you - the Book of Mormon. It was the kind of thing you'd expect to see in the doctor's office if the doctor was a Christian Scientist (except I don't think there are Christian Scientist doctors.) It was inappropriate in the extreme, unless of course you are a Mormon.
But that wasn't all. My wife filled out the patient info form in the waiting room. She put down her name, address, insurance, etc. Further down the form was a space for her husbands name, occupation...oops, she says, they didn't ask for my occupation. (She's a senior executive type, makes big bucks.) Yep it was true, no place for her occupation. Mormon women, as correctly and not so humorously stated in Ms. Beck's book, "Breed in Captivity."
But that wasn't all.
My wife, in the course of the examination, had some tests done. The results were sent to me. The bill was sent to me. It was her insurance policy, not mine, she covers me. Plainly put, it's none of my damn business. Legally put, in the hospital world (with which I'm somewhat familiar), this is clear violation of federal law (HIPAA).
And you think the haircut thing isn't true? Get over it, Mormon women don't breathe without their husband's permission.
Yup, I think the haircut thing isn't true. And I'm curious if you'd tell the doctor's name as I have a hard time believing the above as well. It bears no resemblance to anything I've ever seen here. But if it is true, it was indeed inappropriate and I'm surprised no one mentioned anything to them. Certainly it would be very exceptional.
Which is why I have trouble with Beck's stories (beyond the ones that are demonstrably false). She has so many of these things that all of it together is hard to swallow.
As for "Mormon women don't breathe without their husband's permission" it sure hasn't been my experience.
Again, for reader's who aren't aware. I'm non-Mormom but I lived a year in a VERY Mormon community where because of employment I was very immersed in the community. For good reasons I choose not to identify the community or the employment or the doctor's name. You can believe me or not, my life will go on just fine.
Clark, it seems clear to me that you are both Male and Mormon. So the following is written from the standpoint of a non-Mormon with a lot of Mormon experience, talking to a Mormon with little or no non-Mormon experience.
The doctor's office experience is absolutely true. It was received by our non-Mormon friends in that town with knowing smiles and by our non-Mormon friends in non-Mormon towns with dropped jaws. But, it's real, all of it.
But stories from me, and I have many, will be read by you with the same disbelief. So, go out and find and talk to a non-Mormon female or two who live in a very Mormon town. Ask them to tell you their best Mormon stories. And, don't stop her in mid-story and tell her what she's saying can't be true.
That said, I recall the book, "Tale of Two Cities" by the former Mormon turned Catholic priest, Rev. William Taylor. In it he detailed many of the problems with the Book of Mormon but concluded that showing those problems to a Mormon was ultimately useless because a Mormon couldn't hear them. I suspect the same is true of both my stories and Ms. Beck's.
For the record I grew up in Nova Scotia where there are very, very few Mormons. Further there are many things I dislike about Utah. Before getting married, I can honestly say most of the friends I hung around with were either ex-Mormon, lapsed Mormon or non-Mormon. Nearly all the women I dated in that period were likewise not Mormon. Certainly I think there are many valid criticisms one can make of Utah. It's unfortunate Beck didn't make them. Sometimes in her criticisms there was a kernel of truth, only hopelessly distorted and exaggerated. The only real criticism I found in the book that I agreed with is that sometimes Utahns are so focused on being nice that they neglect the times when one ought not be like that. But even there, that's only a subsection of the state. Not everyone is like that.
In any case, your assumptions about my experience with people in Utah and your presentation of me as sheltered is egregiously mistaken.
My apologies for assuming the details of your experience.
In the text of your reply I do not detect (perhaps incorrectly) that you ever lived in very Mormon town where you had close friends who were not Mormon. That's admittedly a tough thing to do. The society in heavily Mormon town approaches the segregation that existed in the South in the mid-twentieth century. But if you can get close to some non-Mormons, especially non-Mormon women, in a heavily Mormon town then I think it's highly probable that you would hear experiences that would be similar to those of Ms. Beck and what I have related. And, you would hear some experiences that would be very painful if you could talk (honestly) to ex-Mormons, especially ex-Mormon women.
I've often thought that there were many parallels between the LDS church and career military officers. Food for thought.
By the way, I don't think Ms. Beck criticised Utah. Heavily Mormon towns exist in other states as well.
Once again you are assuming incorrectly. The town I lived in was Provo, UT, and I have heard all the complaints of ex-Mormons and non-Mormons. As I said, there are valid things to complain about. Beck just doesn't do it. Instead she makes silly allegations of massive deletion of names in microfliche of newspapers (easy to demonstrate to be false). She makes claims about footnotes (easy to demonstrate to be false). She makes bizarre claims of wiretapping from the local church. (That's not the way phone lines work and thus it can be falsified) Everything controversial she claims that can be confirmed is shown to be false.
To the one claim you suggest is "normal" (hairdressers calling husbands for permission to cut hair) all I can say is I've never heard anyone claiming anything similar. And I've heard a lot of gripes. (Most exaggerated, in my experience) I think it can be hard for non-Mormons in a heavy Mormon area, but that's primarily due to the fact that because of church, busy Mormons tend to socialize through church. That makes it much more difficult for others to "break through" into the socialization. I think that would be a completely valid thing for Beck to have focused in on. It's unfortunate she did not.
Beck said in her book that she hated Utah valley and hated all the people in it. It was rather pronounced. If that's not a criticism of the locale, I'm not sure what is.
[Edited some typos of names and formatting -- CG]
Sadly and certainly much sexual incestuous child abuse occurs and truth must be told. But Ms. [Beck] is a typical "recovered memory" casualty who, obviously, has deep psychological problems, and who exploits her alleged "abuse history" for profit, attention, and as a means of explaining her own problems--anorexia, producing a Downs child, unstable gender identification, divorce. Accusing he her elderly, now dead,prominent father, who cannot defend himself, has big payoffs for her.
I, myself, have been the target of recovered-memory-abuse allegations by my oldest (of four) daughter, whom I always have loved deeply and have never abused in any way.
No opportunity has been given me to defend myself (this has dragged on for 16 long years, with serious implications for her two children). My daughter is intelligent, beautiful, and deeply troubled and refuses all help and any effort at healing.
Therefore, I feel sad that Ms. [Beck] is similarly ill, and sad for her family which must endure this grossly unfair public exposure.
Her book is an exercise in her own pathology. I agree that the Mormons are crazy as bedbugs in many ways and her criticism of this denomination are reality-based.
But her tales of her own abuse are clearly bogus and should be taken to her therapist's couch rather than used for obscene profit.
Sorry, I referred to "Ms. Clark" when I should have written "Ms. Beck." Don't know why that occurred. I reiterate that Ms. Beck (not Clark) should have confined her book to criticisms of the Mormon Church and culture, rather than personalizing it to her father.
Just to comment on the above. I'm not sure I'd agree that "the Mormons are crazy as bedbugs." I also think that Beck's largest exaggerations and demonstrable errors come with her "criticisms of the Mormon church and culture." That's not to say there isn't a lot about our culture to criticize. I think Mormons do a fair job criticizing it ourselves though. (grin) One needn't read too many Mormon blogs to see that there is a lot of critical self-examination going on. Could we do better? Undoubtedly. But one wishes that we can engage in these issues on a friendly open discussion rather than via the sorts of attacks Beck unfortunately makes in her book.