Jewish Journal


November 24, 2008

Mormon housewives pole dancing for good health


It appears the pole-dancing-for-fitness has made it’s way to Utah.

“If you remember this fad being big a few years ago, you’re right; I like to picture Utah kind of like the Middle East, where it takes about 20 years for pop culture to spread. The new Pat Benatar cassettes are just hitting Tehran now,” SPORTSbyBROOKS writes (hat tip: The Web Guy).

The stories scared me then—and that was before I knew guys pole danced too. What makes this even more frightening is that these folks, in the heart of Mormon country, are joining others around the world in an online petition to get “pole fitness” into the 2012 Olympics.

“It’s on par with ice skating and everything else that’s in the Olympics,” one enthusiast, ehem, says.

That’s right: softball—you’re out. We need to make room for fully clothed exotic dancing. And, oh yeah, ice skating—that’s not a summer sport; not sure about “everything else.”

I’m a bit curious as to religious limitations Mormon women would have on pole fitness. Any takers?

And in other Mormon news, it’s been a few days since someone has mentioned the role Mormons played in the passage of Proposition 8, the California ballot measure, now before the state Supreme Court, that will amend the constitution to prohibit gay marriage. Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker obliges and takes this swipe:

You might think that an organization that for most of the first of its not yet two centuries of existence was the world’s most notorious proponent of startlingly unconventional forms of wedded bliss would be a little reticent about issuing orders to the rest of humanity specifying exactly who should be legally entitled to marry whom. But no. The Mormon Church—as anyone can attest who has ever answered the doorbell to find a pair of polite, persistent, adolescent “elders” standing on the stoop, tracts in hand—does not count reticence among the cardinal virtues. Nor does its own history of matrimonial excess bring a blush to its cheek. The original Latter-day Saint, Joseph Smith, acquired at least twenty-eight and perhaps sixty wives, some of them in their early teens, before he was lynched, in 1844, at age thirty-eight. Brigham Young, Smith’s immediate successor, was a bridegroom twenty times over, and his successors, along with much of the male Mormon élite, kept up the mass marrying until the nineteen-thirties—decades after the Church had officially disavowed polygamy, the price of Utah’s admission to the Union, in 1896. As Richard and Joan Ostling write in “Mormon America: The Power and the Promise” (2007), “Smith and his successors in Utah managed American history’s only wide-scale experiment in multiple wives, boldly challenging the nation’s entrenched family structure and the morality of Western Judeo-Christian culture.”

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