Archive | August, 2018

I’m Mormon. Hi! Did you know?

27 Aug

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I keep thinking about an article I read. An article on Mormon women and polygamy.

I’m Mormon. Hi! Did you know?

You probably knew.

I’m from Utah. I have four siblings. I don’t drink alcohol. The signs were all there! And yet, I avoided forever and ever and ever (six years) talking about it on this blog.

I didn’t want to be a Mormon Writer. I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want have to defend the Mormon church for things I disagree with it on.

In fact, I already wrote this post! Here it is:

Reasons I’m scared to write about being Mormon on the internet

  • Polygamy
  • Fielding any question at all about polygamy
  • Feeling like I must field religious questions in general
  • Judgment
  • People thinking less of me
  • People suddenly disliking me?
  • People thinking I agree with everything the Mormon church does
  • People wanting me to talk about everything the Mormon church does that I don’t agree with
  • Angry people who hate Mormons
  • Angry people in general
  • Being attacked for something that is so personal and so intricately linked to who I am, who my family is, my history, my culture, my language

Reasons I’m posting a list about being Mormon on the internet:

  • This is my experience
  • This is my story
  • I am Mormon
  • Even if I never talk about it, or write about it, or blog about it…I am already a Mormon writer, a Mormon blogger, a Mormon person

Whew, feels good to put that out there.

Or does it?

I’m wary about opening this part of my life up at all online. The internet can be a dark place. The Mormon church can be a dark place for many people, sometimes for me.

But, as a good friend pointed out to me, I am already a Mormon Writer whether I ever talk about being Mormon.

I am a Mormon. I am a writer. It informs my background, my choices, the words I write.

Whew.

Here I am.

Now, back to the article.

I didn’t think I would reveal my Mormonism by talking about polygamy.

Polygamy is something I would prefer to never talk about. Ever. Remember my list?

(And to clarify. The Mormon Church does not practice polygamy. I only have one mother, thanks for asking.)

But this article.

It’s an interview with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Mormon feminist at Harvard. She actually coined the phrase we see every women’s march, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” She talks about how the quote has been taken out of context, how she supports the new context too.

It’s an interesting article, should you decide to read it.

You should, probably!

But it’s actually the non-polygamy stuff I keep thinking about. (Surprise! Angst and embarrassment, remember?) It is the stuff she says about religion in general, and our religion specifically that stood out for me.

Recently I was on the sidelines of a conversation about religion and, well, how dumb it is. How it’s all made-up and arbitrary and it’s ridiculous that people believe and worship and follow these made-up, arbitrary rules.

I hear the people in this conversation and what they are saying.

I understand the people in this conversation and what they are saying.

And yet, Laurel said what I wish I had had the words for in that moment. What I wish I had articulated. She said:

My study…doesn’t turn me toward abstract questions about the nature of God so much as it turns me toward deeply meaningful questions about how human beings manage to live together in the world and to make reasonable lives out of inscrutable suffering. Those are such contemporary and profound questions.

“How human beings manage to live together in the world and make reasonable lives out of inscrutable suffering.”

Pow.

Wow.

She goes on to talk about her relationship with the Mormon church. She says:

It gives me many, many grounding values in my life, particularly the values of community, of sharing, of not being invested in being important or wealthy in the world. I don’t always live up to those values, believe me. I try very hard, and they – and I come back to them constantly. And it also – some of the most profound issues have to do with the universal brotherhood and sisterhood of human beings, the sense of fatherhood and motherhood of God that we’re in this together, and we’re in this world to, I think – and this is just such a difficult thing to say – but we’re in this world to make it better.

That to me is a fundamental revelation that Joseph Smith delivered. And believe me, he didn’t always make it better, but the value that he taught and that has been passed on through many generations to those of us who are privileged to have had that faith tradition is, you know – we’re supposed to try to improve things in whatever way we can in the world around us.

Well my golly, my gosh, look at me using Mormon terms here, but pow. Wow. That’s it, isn’t it?

I’m Mormon and I’m trying to be better.

I’m Mormon and I am privileged to have had that faith tradition.

I am Mormon, hey, did you know?

(You probably knew.)