You Don’t Know Me At All

So this is the first post by this black mormon female. Hopefully you read my About page, so you have a vague background on the purpose of this blog and my title theme. This title is brought to you by Ben Folds and Regina Spektor. I thought this would be a good way to start off this blog, because Im sure there are going to be people who have a lot of preconceptions about me based on my pretty bald faced title. But the truth is all you can really know about me is what I tell you and this is the first thing Im going to say – I’m pretty damn Mormon. Never drank, never smoked, no sex, temple endowed with the weird underwear, and actually believe the whole Joseph Smith story with the Gold Bible and everything. I believe in one God who created man and expects us to return to him and have all that he has. I believe in a prophet and that God still speaks to people today. I also believe the major religions of today really aren’t that far apart on the basic rules of how to treat people and what kind of people to become, and that God is probably a lot more flexible on the path to him than we humans are.

I was born and raised in the LDS church and went to Primary, Young Women’s, Seminary and Institute (for a while anyway). Ive lived in the home of Mormondom as well as the other extremes in terms of membership numbers, and have left the US for fairly long international stints and intend to go back out longer term for work as soon as possible. Im probably more sheltered from the world because of my academic background rather than my Mormon, although I have seen and heard about many of the terrible things people do to themselves and each other. I was raised by a single mother, as my father died when I was young, who taught me not to rely on anyone else to provide for me as there are no guarantees.

So Im both traditional Mormonism without being really a part of the mainstream culture. This wasnt always by choice, but I can honestly say that at this point in my life – hitting 30 – Ive made peace with the complexity of being me and while I bring up my understandings with friends and family, Ive been fairly closed mouthed in the larger sense. I have no I am a Mormon video, I dont even have a account, because I was not sure what I would say.

But, I read this post today and while I think it is incredibly well written and an example of what I wish more dialogue looked like in general these days of extreme polarity, I dont agree with the conclusion. I dont like titles, so I dont know if I would claim Mormon Feminism or not, but I do think that the process of civil discourse, as civilly as the Mormon Feminists seem to currently be going about things, is never a bad thing. My kingdom and the Lord’s may not be the same, but using God-given talents to improve an organization I assume these women love, is not hacking at the branches.

This is the ending paragraph: “And finally, it’s not that I don’t want what the Mormon Feminists want. I’m just naïve enough to believe that if the Latter-day Saints managed to accomplish the already demanding mission of the Church to preach the Gospel, perfect the saints, redeem the dead and care for the needy according the instructions already given, then they would find that the problems to be solved by feminism will have already resolved themselves anyway, or they would at least cease to be an issue. And if the work of “bringing to pass of the immortality and eternal life of man” was somehow threatened by the failure of the Church to address the feminist agenda, then I would trust the senior leadership to find a universal solution. For my part, there is work enough to do without having to take on the responsibility of pointing out to the senior leadership how they ought to fix the Church.”

People in the LDS church are asked to question leaders and to question advice and pass it through their prayers and study through the Holy Ghost that we believe gives all knowledge. When the Priesthood Ban was lifted in 1978, many voices (including senior leadership according to recent presidential candidate Mitt Romney) had previously been raised asking why this ban prevented all worthy members from participating in the blessings of the gospel. I dont know all of the goals of the Mormon Feminists, but considering agitating a bad thing merely because people are agitating, is a terrible shortcut. We all have different roles to serve in our way to perfecting the saints – who is to say considering these issues are not one path?

Anyway the comments section of his blog has an excellent discussion unfolding, so I invite you to read and participate if you wish. Reading it just made me realize perhaps there is a time and need for a voice like mine, who struggles everyday to live a gospel I love, improve a relationship with a God who has saved my life, and yet be so [many emotions] about the day-to-day aspects of being Mormon. I hope you are willing to suspend judgment long enough for me to tell you who I am and that lyric won’t be as so true.