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Matt Ball, longtime activist, husband, father, and early member of the Fair Start Movement, recently published his third book, Losing My Religions. A mix of memoir, essays, musings, photography, and travel log, Losing tells the story of Matt’s efforts to make the world a better place, while offering a fearless analysis of his many mistakes.

As one reviewer put it:

[H]e plays with quotes, stories, and a wily, at times even serious irreverence. He lets us into the world of his own joys, realizations, and daily suffering. Family, religion, consciousness, health, life, reality, and everything are given a series of pulsating reflections and staggering vulnerabilities that are hard to put down.

From a professional full-time writer:

A tour de force! The narrative and visuals (everything from Death Valley to chocolate crinkle cookies) are so lively. It’s really unlike anything I’ve read before.

And from Australia:

It’s only just after 7 am now and I read the first 70 pages. It’s very unusual writing and I have found it efficient in that I couldn’t put it down – even though I repeatedly thought I’d only just read one more page.

The ebook version is free; you can get the files and learn more at LosingMyReligions.net

Matt and Anne’s child Elwen, many years ago.

Here’s an excerpt from his chapter, “God, the Greatest Murderer of All Time”:

Abortion is awesome. It isn’t icky. It isn’t a “necessary evil.” It isn’t “I personally oppose abortion, but….” It isn’t something non-politicians should shy away from. Anything that can help women have more control over their reproduction is awesome. Anything that can help make every baby a wanted baby is awesome.

Just consider what the other side is saying: They, through the powers of the state, want to control when a woman can reproduce. They don’t want every child to be a wanted child. 

We want every child to be a wanted child.

Think about it: take two pills and expel a tiny clump of cells with less sentience than a cockroach. The world is spared yet another unwanted child, and on average, poverty is reduced. The woman regains control of her life, and in the future, can bring a wanted and provided-for child into the world.

And from “Fight the Power Part 1: To breed or not to breed:”

Of the people you know well, how many were provided a happy, healthy, balanced, lie-free, totally-loved childhood? (Religion counts as a lie.)

And many parents are far less happy than you would think (or than they will let on). As is probably obvious, parents feel internal and external pressure to sing the praises of their children. But simply Google “Are single people happier?” or “Are childfree couples happier?” and you will find seemingly endless studies showing that having kids is definitely not the key to happiness. Doing this search while I write this, the top results say, “the data suggest single people are happier and more satisfied with their lives than commonly believed,” and “Couples without children have happier marriages, according to one of the biggest studies ever of relationships in Britain. Childless men and women are more satisfied with their relationships and more likely to feel valued by their partner.” And this happiness is in spite of our genetic and familial and social pressures to breed.

If you think your life would be empty without a child, your life has bigger problems than a child could or should fill. If you think your life won’t be full without a child, are you sure you want to fill it with pain, screams, worry, regret, poop, worry, anguish, apprehension, guilt, and then a topping of worry?

Matt and Anne.

I truly think that there would be a lot more happiness if fewer people got married and many fewer people had kids. Even before the pandemic, this seemed to be happening with folks currently in their twenties and thirties. So maybe more kids these days are breaking free of the pressures and doing what’s right for their own life satisfaction. 

And “Test Your Marriage”:

Getting “fixed” was yet another example of how society promotes procreating. As happened to all my friends who got vasectomies, I was questioned very seriously if I really wanted this. (YES.) (Although it was uncomfortable, and seeing smoke rising … down there … well, there were moments….) 

But no one grills you about bringing an entirely new person into the world. No one questions you about that decision at all. That. Is. Fucked. Up. Reverse that – make everyone who wants to breed pass an inquisition and let anyone who wants a vasectomy get one free and without hassle – and the world would be a vastly better place.

If you’d like to learn more from Matt’s “half-failed life of airplanes, agony, animals, basketball, bliss, cameras, chaos, cops…,” and discover how his life’s lessons led him to realize the importance of the Fair Start Movement, please check out LosingMyReligions.net. But be warned, you might have this reaction:

I am riveted. For the next 36 hours, I want to curve myself into a comfy chair and read every word, every quote, gaze at every photo…and then read it again.

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