This one’s it.
For all of my friends who exuberantly encouraged me to speak loud and proud as an LDS progressive, I apologize. I am still very much progressive, and still feel the need to vent. However, there are more important things in life. Such as life.
I haven’t been blogging because of my anxiety. This last election left me angry and reeling. I’ve had a lot to process, and a lot on my plate including a move halfway across the nation, and embarking on a grandmothering adventure that I never, ever expected. Yep. It looks like I’ve become a “mother” again. Just the move and becoming a full-time grandparent can be stressful, but adding to my generalized anxiety disorder is my age. In the past couple of years I have suffered bouts of arrhythmia spurred on by age, weight, and anxiety. In an attempt to avoid further health complications, I have been trying to avoid all triggers including Facebook and politics. I haven’t been too successful in avoiding Facebook, but if I am not talking politics, at least I’m avoiding arguments, right?
But I am angry and I can’t let this blog die quietly. I want my readers, friends, and family to know where I stand before I go.
First, let me clarify my anger. At first my anger was directed at voters. I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that people whom I would normally consider level-headed and stable would actually vote for a person as personally and morally corrupt as Donald Trump. I never, ever, considered him a solid business leader and I thought it was obvious that the man acheived his “greatness” through bullying and financial manipulation. When you can afford the best of deviant lawyers, you can do anything you want. I do mean anything.
Which leads me to the second reason for my anger. Once I realized that greatness could be bought, I became angry at Trump himself. He has the money to buy his way to the top, and money to keep himself there. Right, wrong, legal, or illegal. It doesn’t matter. He can pay those deviant lawyers, remember?
But Trump’s hot air and money can only go so far. You would think that the overwhelming majority of morally-minded Americans would not be able to stand for it, but as large numbers of protestors show up to exercize their first ammendment right on a recurring basis, the nation becomes more divided. The people who love him have become even more devoted, while those who don’t become even more disgusted. It looks to me as if we are on the brink of a second civil war. And while the nation tears itself apart from within, our commander-in-chief is working to bring down the forces to tear us apart from without.
Come on, people. You really couldn’t see this coming?
And so the third reason for my anger: partisan politics. George Washington warned that a two-party system would be the downfall of our nation:
However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” (Farewell address, paragraph 18, Saturday, September 17, 1796)
At first, I registered as a Republican. That was back in the day when I was easily swayed by popular opinion, and hadn’t really yet formed a political opinion of my own. As my first marriage progressed (regressed?), I began to form opinions–about male subversion, the patriarchal order, and the rightness (unrighteousness) of “war” in the Persian Gulf. When George Bush Sr. declared “victory” following the freeing of oil fields in Kuwait, I realized my loyalties did not lie with Republicans, so I later registered as an independant. But the unravelling of a never fully stable marriage put the seal on my political leanings. I could never, ever support any establishment that claimed male dominance over women. I became fully feminist, knowing that I had the right to be treated with equal respect as a spouse, a parent, a sibling, and as a child of God. I felt that as an independant thinker with progressive ideals, I would be best served by joining the Democratic party. Unknowingly, I had become an expendable pawn in America’s political system, and it didn’t really matter which side I aligned with.
I really had no control over any of it. This did not become fully evident I registered as a Democrat for the sake of voting in the primaries. I had heard that Utah had a reputation for “losing” Democrat registrations, so I registered a few months before the primary election and made sure to attend the local primary to make sure that my registration would be fully in place by the time I cast my vote in November. I was not at all surprised when I arrived at the primary polling place to find that my registration was not in the system. I was sure Utah’s Republican Party was responsible. I reregistered at the primary, and my vote was taken by hand. No box, just a piece of paper with Bernie’s name checked. I didn’t have any other problems until the final DNC election resulted in Hillary’s nomination. What? The overwhelming majority of Democratic voters I knew wanted Bernie!
Then I saw UNCOUNTED: The True Story of the California Primary, a YouTube video describing the chaotic conditions of California’s primary election. What I saw looked exactly like the process I experienced in Utah. It was obvious the DNC primary was stacked against Bernie from the very beginning. It was not Utah Republicans screwing with my vote, but my own chosen party. Now I am not even sure that I will remain registered as a Democrat. I do so now, only because it’s easier for the sake of voting. Under our two-party system, I feel like I really have no choice and no voice.
Finally, church members: Anti-feminism in Relief Society. I’ve moved out of the Utah County frying pan and into the Bible Belt fire. Maybe Kentucky’s culture feeds into it; I dunno. I hadn’t been here for more than a couple of months before one of the women in Relief Society spoke up to blame the ills of the world on feminists. Voices near me and behind me murmured their agreement.
There ya go, the same argument I’ve heard leveled over and over again on liberals in general. I admit that it is so hard for me to want to go to church these days, but I still go. I have learned, though, that when I disagree or find offense in off-handed remarks such as these, to just get up and walk out of the classroom. It’s easier and feels safer to me than leaving the church altogether.
Please don’t give up on me. I haven’t given up. My testimony is firmly rooted in personal revelation following the acute trial of my own personal faith. I can’t leave. I, like Joseph Smith and the apostle Paul, can firmly claim that I have gained that personal witness, it was real, and it is true. A Joseph Smith himself said, ” I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation. (Joseph Smith History, 1:24-25 )” And so it is with me.
The noose around this blog’s neck is the sweet little girl that has become a daily part of my life. My nest is no longer empty, and I simply do not have the time to adequately address the issues that bother me. I now work from home, and don’t have time to spend writing three different blogs. (Yes, I have three, and I still want to write books!) I now have to choose my battles, and unfortunately the only ones worth fighting are the ones that will keep this family financially stable and functional. Just like when I was a young mother, I just don’t have the time and the energy is nearly nonexistent.
I hope this isn’t goodbye forever, and I do hope that someday there may be a resurrection of sorts. For now, the voice that dares to mix politics and religion must find expression in other ways. In the meantime, those of you who kept reading until the bitter end know and understand my struggle. I still know and understand yours. I’ll keep you in my prayers. I’ll keep this nation in my prayers. I’ll keep our new church leadership in my prayers. I hope you’ll remember me in yours.
On Sunday night The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued an official statement in response to the recent violence in Charlottesville – decrying racism. I blogged about it here. Beginning that same night, and spanning through Tuesday morning a very unanticipated thing happened. Mormon racists. I’m depressed to learn there are a bunch […]
The second U.S. civil war began in 2015 as a war of words and the polarization of political parties. No one even took one candidate in particular seriously until he unexpectedly won his disunified party’s nomination. He rose on the back of extremism, repeatedly touting “the good old days” when words were countered with physical violence. Voters watched in horror as the candidate’s xenophobic rhetoric turned to phallic comparisons and graphic misogyny. But many still supported him. Some embraced the candidate’s boldness, while others claimed that if elected, the candidate would quickly tone it down and become more presidential. But this was an election year unlike any we had ever seen, and I was embarrassed for our country. I was sure that voters on both sides of the aisle would have been able to see Donald Trump for the narcissistic autocrat that he is; it seemed pretty obvious to me. By October, though, it became clear that no one cared enough about violence, xenophobia, mysogynism, or even democracy. All of the Trump supporters I talked to wanted just one thing: to keep Clinton out, and even though she won the popular vote by more than three million, most voters seemed content to let the defunct electoral college rule the day. Instead of blaming Russia or gerrymandering, each political side was more than happy to point fingers at the failures of the other.
As 2017 unfolded with the White House in complete disarray, our commander-in-chief drew the battle lines. He was not to blame for the troubles besieging the presidency, he of said, it was Obama, Clinton, or the Democrats. Despite his demonstrated lack of leadership, like soldiers preparing for war, politicians fell immediately into a carefully strategized construction with one group on the right and the other on the left; the front lines running directly through the house and the senate. Continue reading
It’s headlined in national news this morning–the first thing I saw when I checked the news app on my phone. I was shocked. Not because the news itself is shocking, but that the news media felt it was important enough to position the story first before the North Korean Threat, #45’s latest antics, or the recent attack on French soldiers in Paris. I wasn’t sure that my news app is actually smart enough to know that I’m Mormon, and therefore any news about church members would be that important to me, so I went to my PC and checked AOL, which I almost never use. It appeared third after #45’s latest antics in relation to North Korea and the attack in Paris. Maybe the media actually does think that this is super important news.
So here it is: Continue reading
Digging around on the internet, looking at other LDS democrat postings, I was reminded of Mormonsandgays.org, a website created by church leadership, which, I thought had been removed following the Nov. 2015 handbook change. One of my gay LDS friends had been featured on that site, and I wondered if it was still there.
I punched in the old URL, and was immediately taken to LDS.org. I was relieved to see that it had not been removed from the internet, but assimilated into the church’s official website. Mormons and Gays has become Mormon and Gay, and church leadership has lovingly taken the site and welcomed it just as I wish we could lovingly welcome LGBT members and investigators into our congregations.
In response to my post from two days ago, I found this:
It says everything I hope families and leaders of LGBTQ members will hear regarding Savannah’s situation and others like hers.
For Savannah’s sake, and the sake of those experiencing discrimination in their wards and stakes, please share liberally.
Coming on the heels of Utah’s gay pride celebration, I guess the timing could have been worse. This video showed up on my Facebook news feed this morning:
Of course, I was dismayed. I still feel, as I have for many years, that we have a long way to go when it comes to being inclusive at church. Unfortunately, technology has far surpassed church officials when it comes to bringing change to our sacrament meetings, and cell phones are a great example.
I usually use my phone to read conference talks or scriptures as the sacrament is passed, or to supplement what is being said over the pulpit. It was simply a matter of time, though, before someone managed to catch good intentions gone wrong over the LDS pulpit on video. I don’t think that was Savannah’s original plan, though. One commentator to the post seemed to have some inside knowledge to the reason Savannah had her testimony filmed: Continue reading
If we want them to listen to us, we need to listen to them.
He’s right, ya know.
Early last week (just after my last blog post), my husband and I sat at the edge of our bed and said our morning prayers. Things have been tough in our house, living with a recovering addict and helping to raise our beautiful, sweet granddaughter. I can’t remember who said the prayer, but I do remember that we asked for guidance, as my husband’s job security was in peril, and I am working for temp agencies while I try to work out critical career decisions. My daughter just wants to get through school, and to find some emotional and mental balance. Of course, we all want to feel a sense of belonging at church, and only my husband feels comfortable there, despite the fact that he is a convert from Chicago and hates living in Utah.
We asked our Heavenly Father to help us to make the right decisions as we are working to achieve our goals of finding job security, moving to a larger place accommodating to the needs of this extended and blended family, and feeling a sense of belonging in this conservative stronghold. It’s been almost year since my daughter moved in with us, but nothing is really coming together for any of us. I could see a light at the end of the tunnel, but we didn’t seem to be getting any closer, and my daughter often voiced the fear that the light was from an oncoming train. Continue reading
I’m reentering the conversation.
First of all, let me be clear about my church membership. I haven’t left. I guess you could say I’m working my way back, even though I never fully left in the first place. If you were under the impression that I had left, I apologize that I wasn’t fully clear in my previous blog post. It’s just with so many active members vocally celebrating the election of a man who fell under broad LDS condemnation over his misogyny, racism, and general moral inappropriateness during his candidacy, I seriously needed a lot of space.
I could not even be in the same room as anyone in Utah talking politics after November 8. From that time, until the inauguration, the amount of angst I was experiencing multiplied. It got to the point where I studiously avoided Facebook, and I could not even retreat to the relative safety of blogging. I did NOT want to deal with any thoughts or opinions on the man many call our president. I still can’t bring myself say the words president and Trump in the same sentence. (Looks like I just did it–and to be honest, I didn’t like it at all.)
I really struggled with acknowledging the actual validity of this election, when it was so obvious that there was interference, and given the man’s penchant for taking pecuniary advantage of people, I’m sure there was money involved. After all, money talks, and people were listening, especially old white men. And if you are an old white man who is offended by that remark, I have just one question; why are you reading my blog? Continue reading