Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Hug a Mormon Today (they're having a moment)"

It's a meme I saw the day Kate Kelly was excommunicated from the LDS Church. I liked the meme. We were/are having a moment.
I wish I could sit in the back of the room, quietly, with my hand over my brow, saying nothing. I wish I could pretend it all doesn't matter to me. That my packing list is more important. That I spent all day driving the NRV to find my son a pair of khakis and he still has none, is the biggest controversy I have dealt with this week. Those are some of my wishes.
But--insert some witty quote about wishes and dreams versus action and roads diverging (probably by Walt Disney or Walt Whitman or someone).
I am sad. Like when you find out someone you love and respect is having an affair. Like when you hear a band you love sing a misogynistic about, oh, pick something. Like when you spend a little more than you normally would on a shirt from Ann Taylor and then the first time you wash it, it shrinks. Just sad. Not like your mom died sad, just in a funk, something-is-not-right sort of sad.
One of my favorite essays from college (yes, BYU) is entitled, "Jesus was a Feminist." It has been a notion I have always stuck to and always will. It's one of the things I love about my faith. There is core doctrine. It will not change. I do not want it to change. It is doctrine not of this decade, or this century. It is biblical. It is rooted in the premise of a man who didn't feel like all the answers were here on earth so he prayed to God and God told him he was right. He questioned. There were all these great things pieces in various churches but the whole truth was not on the earth...and thus the revelations began to flow. We believe in modern revelation and a modern day prophet who gives us continual revelation. Another premise I LOVE about my faith.
Before my diatribe truly begins, I want to tell you where I am coming from on the issue of women and the Priesthood. I believe that right now women do not have the Priesthood. I do not know if that will remain forever the case, but I totally accept that it's what it is now and I am personally fine with it. Quite frankly, in a down and dirty sort of way, the last thing I want is the responsibility of the power of God. I am too busy raising a family, being effective in my job, making a mean caramel pie, and making my little community the best place it can be. Add those extra responsibilities and that would tip the scale for me. I personally have no problem accepting that idea. That said...
I have three sons. I also have a daughter. Those three sons will have wives one day. I truly believe the way "we" are handling the Kate Kelly excommunication is saying a great deal about what "we" think about women. All Mormon women, just like all Mormon men, do not have to think the same thing, act the same way, dress from the same stores and bring the same dish to the potluck. Of course we have to all believe the same basic truths. But there are some things, dare I say MANY things, that none of us know the answer to and to get self-righteous about this one issue is a bit risky in my opinion.
I have been extremely saddened by the responses I have seen from those within my faith about Sis. Kelly's excommunication. Excommunication of a sister who served a mission, married in the temple, believes, has a testimony, and who also has questions. I'm not questioning those who were her Judges in Israel. That's on them and as the wife of an ex-bishop, I know they are well aware of that fact. But I am ANGRY at the rest of "us" who have basically said, "Well, what did she expect?" or "If she doesn't like it-leave!" or "She's just causing trouble." or any other sentiment like unto it. What happened to compassion? When anyone is excommunicated or disciplined in anyway, it is sad. We should be sad. We should not keep saying "It's for her own good." This is not compassion! This is righteous indignation.
I don't know this woman. And most of us talking about her don't know her either, I would venture to say. But I am so sick of everyone seeing this moment as an "I'm right. You're wrong" sort of moment.
My "I'm voting for Obama and I'm a Mormon" bumper sticker is important to me. My identity is deeply rooted in my faith. It is also deeply rooted in other things. I don't agree with everything everyone says in Sunday School, Sacrament Meeting, and every other meeting. It's not expected of me. Moroni tells us God wants us to pray for ourselves and find out if it's true. I think culture and misunderstanding, and false traditions have seeped into everyone's experience to a certain degree.I say all this because I get it that I'm not the traditional Mormon housewife. I'm not a OW member or Molly. I fall somewhere in the middle and depending on the day or the issue depends on which end of the pendulum swings. I worked at the Women's Resource Center in Provo. I know there are Bishops who beat their wives, Stake Presidency members who steal and embezzle, leaders who make mistakes. They are not the doctrine. I have no delusion that every Mormon leader makes every correct decision. But that delusion is also compassion that every leader, every member, is just trying to do the best they can. I digress.
But whenever anyone is disciplined and is sad about, we should be sad about it too. Mosiah tells us we should "mourn with those who mourn, comfort those in need of comfort." Not "stand there shaking your finger saying 'she had to know this was coming...'!"
There. I wanted to say nothing. I wanted to post some vague status on facebook. But instead I'm writing so my children can look back on this moment in our religious history and know what I thought about it all. I think it's sad.
I'm not a writer. I'm not a philosopher. I'm not an activist but I'm not a bystander (even though I wish I could be...). And I want my sons and my daughter to know I have a testimony of the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints. And seeing those among us use this as an "I told you so" moment makes me sad.