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Episode 29

The JV Club

Cara Santa Maria

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The JV Club #29: Cara Santa Maria

Think an episode with a scientist will be all about genetics, space travel, and neurons? Think again. Janet and guest Cara Santa Maria (Talk Nerdy To Me) delve into their shared experience of a childhood attending LDS church, ballooning raver pants, and the puzzle of sexual identity, finding a partner who can stand you, and the appeal of androgyny.
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24 comments

  • I loved this episode. I considered myself extremely scientific and extremely open to many possibilities and trying to weave in my faith will always be difficult. I think following anything blindly is idiotic, be it science, faith, or politics. If a young child is in church and has questions you need to be ready to answer those questions with more than a “god works in mysterious ways”. That kid will call shenanigans and leave your church forever. People act like you are suppose to follow things just because they told you to. You need to have a bases for following something, weather its a mile long list of facts, or something that you feel in your heart or a combination of both. Form your own ideas from that information. Trying to force your ideas on someone else is the lowest, most indecent thing a person can do. If you have chosen a path, own it, live it, love it. If you encounter people on that same path enjoy the company, but if you start trying to force people to your path, they have every right to fight you tooth and nail.

  • I too am an ex Mormon from DFW who went to UNT. I did manage to get stricken from the lists though. But was sealed to my family in temple. So I get a pass maybe? great show, thanks

  • I was a member of the LDS church before I got tired of doing mental gymnastics to make everything make sense and to justify the historically homophobic and racist doctrines and teachings of the church. I got so tired of hearing “oh, that doesn’t matter to your salvation” or “god works in mysterious ways” whenever I ask questions. I have a lot of relatives still in the church and they try not to mention the church in front of me any more. I had let them know early on that if they tried to preach to me again about the church, I would argue my point of view and use the church’s own history against them. They really don’t want to let you go. I was so glad that you spoke about having cried at the testimony meetings because I think that helped me to understand my own feelings when I did the same things. You put into words the what I had felt but could never describe to other people. To hear that someone out there, especially someone that I admire and listen to on a weekly basis, has the same feelings and understanding of the church as me makes me feel less alone.

  • I’m sure you were nervous about this episode because you get really heavy into the religion but I, like many others who previously commented, am (recently-ish) ex-mormon and I really appreciated hearing this discussion. Living in Utah, 99% of the people I deal with are mormon and the other 1% tends to hate it passionately so I can’t have any reasonable level-headed discussions about it with….Oh, you know, anyone. Anywho, thank you, this was a great episode :)

  • I love Cara Santa Maria. I always feel like episodes with her are way too short. Both this and the Nerdist episode left me wanting more. She just feels like the type of person I would like to talk to for as long as she’s willing to talk.

  • I was at my ex’s family’s house when her LDS father (her mother was Episcopalian, as I recall) was being visited by young men in their missionary service, and one of the missionaries wanted everyone to know about this great Mormon writer he’d just read for the first time, C. S. Lewis. I told him that Lewis was actually an Anglican, then had to explain that that was the Church of England. He seemed to take that in stride, but after he left, Donna told me, “Oh, he didn’t believe you.”
    Thanks yet again…

    A

    Then again, OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET is rather a better choice of reading than BATTLEFIELD EARTH or ATLAS SHRUGGED, but that’s just me. (I’ll plump for Avram Davidson or Joanna Russ or Damon Knight or Ursula K. Le Guin ahead of any of the previous three, but that’s also an esthetic judgment…)

    Likewise, I think some women and some men might insist that some men, at least, are actually prettier, but I can’t make that argument myself…but certainly imprinting will tend to make all of us, in our earliest post-partum days, inclined toward women, I suspect…

    Another fine episode, and somehow I’d been missing Santa Maria’s posts and such, and now will correct that oversight. Thanks, folks.

  • Wow, this one went in a totally unexpected direction and I loved it! It was a great discuss of a religion that many non-believers don’t get to hear much about. As someone who’s been in “the religious changing room” quite a few times, I found it fascinating to find out how much I didn’t know about LDS!

  • Another outstanding show! Most of what I know about Mormonism comes from that South Park episode, so this was chock full of educational goodness! Partially, but not totally, inspired by this show, I have 2 potential guests in mind: Chelsea Handler (you both have SO much in common!) and Marie Osmond (who I think is completely fascinating!). Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s great!

  • That was a great discussion! I loved the heavy religion talk because I’ve had my own struggles and frustrations with religion in the past (and present I suppose) too. I was raised catholic (Irish and Italian; twice the saint, twice the sinner) and honestly never knew much about Mormonism accept that a hugely popular guy at my high school was Mormon and so there was this weird thing where everyone thought it was ‘exotic’ or something. Maybe its because of that that I never thought to think that Mormonism was weird, but either way, I truly do think that the conversation was both illuminating and interesting. Also, kudos to both of you about being so open about so many topics, it’s honestly a bit inspiring.

  • I didn’t grow up knowing much at all about the LDS church. My grandmother, who was really in genealogy, used a lot of records that Mormons had tracked down and organized, but then the only other times I’d hear about them was when that splinter group in Bountiful, BC was being investigated for polygamy and tax fraud.

    Like you guys mentioned, there’s something really appealing about a church that says that it has all the answers, and from some perspectives, it does. It has a strong focus on community and personal health, and its members really do seem like nice people. But what makes it tragic to me is if it takes a shortcut to that kind of personal development through exclusion or persecution of some minority group.

    Growing up in a household that never went to church, I do feel like I missed out on the sense of belonging to a tight-knit group, but then when I slouched into agnosticism and then atheism, I never had to feel that sting of rejection from my family, even if it was buried under their love.

  • I totally agree about the power of music when it comes to religion. I wasn’t raised Christian but went to a school which wasn’t overtly a ‘Christian school’ but basically was (though I went there for the general quality of education and not their faith practices). We were taught hymns which we sang in the weekly school assemblies and there are some hymns that, to this day, still make me tear up. There are some really boring hymns, granted, but there are also some extremely beautiful ones and it’s amazing how much they can have an effect on you even if you don’t buy into the religious messages therein.

  • I loved this episode- hearing about the Mormon church was really interesting. I’m an atheist myself, but I am intensely interested in religious ritual and practice, etc.

    I also was really struck by what Cara said about being more sexually attracted to women and intellectually attracted to men- which basically explained exactly how I feel in such a succinct way that I was just floored by the statement. So thank you, for that!

  • Well thanks ladies, now I can’t get “I Wonder When He Comes Again” (…. will herald angels sing? Will earth be white with drifted snow…) out of my head.

    What a great episode! At certain points I thought both of you were plucking thoughts from my own head. I too am a former Mormon with loved ones I respect still in the church. I had my name removed about 12 years ago. I have many. MANY. problems with the LDS church, but one of the things they do really well is instill a love of music in their members. As a young cellist with tape still on her fingerboard, the ward was always encouraging, which got stronger as I began to sing. Even years after leaving that church, music is definitely a portal to the numinous for me, but now I prefer singing Mozart and Faure to Janice Kapp Perry.

  • Roman Catholicism is the One True Church, you know, because the Pope’s infallible, every sperm is sacred and all that. Plus it’s the religion of Stephen Colbert, JRR Tolkien, Galileo and Anthony Burgess. All these great guys (except the Pope, because Ben XVI ain’t no JPII) can’t be wrong. ; )

    Nothing much else to say for now (still listening to this podcast), but I wandered here by chance (followed a link to HuffPost live and surprised to see the voice of Korra in the next segment) and I really enjoy these discussions.

  • Interesting the “psychology” of it, great dialog. First the acceptance of displacement of emotions, what a great way to start! accepting, introspection at it’s best! If those emotions were placed appropriately (towards the father, or the divorce, etc) I wonder if the results were the same? (impossible to know obviously) Are those feelings still unresolved? (sorry, too personal perhaps?)
    Perspective is so interesting as to what colour we paint anything and how reinforcement works once we choose our colour …
    The Mormon doctrine in which I believe (big difference I must add a caveat of what real doctrine is vs what Mormon convention/culture is), resembles so much the two of you! a religion where intelligence is the pinnacle of life; the LDS church could surely benefit from women like you!
    I have to say: what a great conversation! in this world of hatred because differences you two have come soooo above that! You are my kind of people (Mormon or not)
    God speed, or should I say live long and prosper, or may the force be with you? :)