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Kate Kelly, on her excommunication for petitioning the Mormon leaders to ask their god about women's ordination to the priesthood, and for raising Mormons' awareness of issues caused by gender inequality:

“I honestly thought until the very last minute that they would do the right thing,” the Ordain Women founder said Monday evening. “It feels very much like a forced amnesia, where everything you thought you knew was gone and everything you thought you were isn’t the case anymore.”

That's really an apt description, of how we felt when things turned upside-down for us. When we suddenly realized we had been betrayed, and the people we'd been told to look up to were cruel, banal, and self-serving.

Except in our case, we keep obsessively clinging to scraps of memory, trying to resolve issues from a dead person's life that simply don't matter anymore. Writing letters, that we never send, to long-dead family members. Watching, and reading, and participating in discussions about a dead church, led by dead leaders, teaching doctrines that crumbled to sand generations ago.

How do you cope? How do you adjust? How do you give yourself amnesia? Especially when the things that are going on in that world -- the great, consequential things -- seem so much more meaningful than the ones in your own, and you feel like you're trying to give your own meaning by keeping up with the struggle.

Even though your very existence is struggle, against depression and against systemic erasure of the kind of person you are.

It's hard to see our own happiness as an end in itself. Maybe if we did, this would not be so hard.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Eventually — perhaps a generation from now, perhaps two, but not much longer than that — there will be a statue honoring Kate Kelly in Salt Lake City. People there will find it confusing. Either it will confuse them because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have become more inclusive, and so the idea of excommunicating an advocate for women’s ordination will seem strange, or else because the LDS won’t have become more inclusive, and thus most people seeing the statue will have a hard time remembering what a Mormon was.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/06/25/dont-even-speak-of-the-beat-menace/

The last time this happened, with black men being ordained to the priesthood in 1978, institutional Mormonism (separate and distinct from the personal faith of a number of Mormons) was able to basically sweep it all under the carpet. You can bet the black community remembered, but they're so underrepresented within the LDS church's membership that I could have Sunday School teachers give me racist explanations for the ban without anyone challenging them.

This is going to affect roughly half their membership. Even if they make it an optional thing, that women don't get until they turn 19* or go on missions or something, it's still going to be huge. I don't know what effect the Internet will have on it, since a lot of Mormons self-censor their web usage, but there are a lot more who are informed about their history and feminist issues this time around than there were during the Equal Rights Amendment battle.

A lot of them are going to become tomorrow's leaders. The only question is whether this will happen inside of or outside the LDS church.



* Mormon boys (meaning young Mormons assigned male, since they don't "get" gender identity) are ordained to the priesthood at age 12, if they pass a "worthiness interview" which requires them to discuss their sex life with a middle-aged man one-on-one behind closed doors. They repeat these interviews at least every two years, until they are ordained an "Elder" at age 18. If they confess to masturbating, it is often (usually?) seen as a reason to deny their ordination to the next office of the priesthood, which amounts to public shaming and causes a great deal of "concern" for them.

This is how Mormon boys learn to lie.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Read all about it.

I've said some nasty, indiscriminate things about "Mormons" before, as though they're this monolithic bloc of narcissists who all caused me personal pain. But after a few years of reflection, I feel like I have more in common with the progressive Mormons on sites like Feminist Mormon Housewives and Young Mormon Feminists, than I do with the antitheists in places like exmormon reddits. All three of us picked and chose which doctrines to keep when we disaffected from the orthodox Mormon church, and a lot of the "exmos" I've seen kept some of Mormonism's worst aspects; the need to be "right" at all costs, the smug sense of certainty, the elevation of personal epiphanies to the status of universal truths, and the emphasis on purity and conformity over humaneness.

In contrast, the feminists of Ordain Women and their supporters have been trying, really hard, to make an inhumane institution more hospitable for marginalized people. For women, children, LGBT persons, and everyone that institutional Mormonism leaves out. And right now, with this blow that comes directly from people they've all been taught to admire and practically worship, they're hurting.

They're hurting a lot.

I know a lot more of them are going to leave over this. I wish that wasn't the case, not because I think institutional Mormonism deserves their talent and support (it doesn't) but because I know what it's like to do that. It's one of the most painful things that I had to do, and I still haven't recovered after more than four years on the outside. I still follow what's going on with them, and who's being affected and hurt. And I hope, and pray to Inari, that there will be a soft landing for those who have to choose this for their and their children's sake.

I hope they find true friends and families of choice, and are appreciated for who they are, and not how well they fit into a lie. About divinity, about this world, and about everyone in it.

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

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