Sunday in Outer Blogness: Conference Review Edition!
My faith is starving, full of nutritionless spiritual nardoo but too weak to stand, and Iâ€™m scared that our tiny baby steps of progressâ€”women praying in General Conference; pictures of women leaders hanging in the Conference Centerâ€” canâ€™t cross the desert fast enough to feed me. This is a crisis of faith too, as it ultimately means my faith isnâ€™t strong enough, doesnâ€™t have enough flesh to sustain me, but itâ€™s a different sort of crisis: quieter, slower, belonging to the ones that just fade away, that never wanted a fight, that donâ€™t have the energy anymore to keep showing up. Mine is a crisis of patience: I still hope for change, for progress, for Zionâ€”the signs are there, and from small and simple things we might get great thingsâ€”and I believe it will happen someday, but I no longer know if it that day come for me before I starve.
You’ll notice Elder Tanner didn’t balk at Brother Marchant for having the gall to voice his dissent right there in the middle of conference. Tanner responded to him with the respect you would expect from the Chair. After all, an opposing vote was asked for. Marchant’s beef was his opposition to the Church’s policy at that time of withholding the priesthood from black people. I’m certain that when Elder Hinckley (an apostle at the time) met with Brother Marchant, he was not swayed by Marchant’s arguments, but that’s not the point. I also doubt Marchant held any illusion that his minority vote would change the policy. The reason dissenting votes are important is so that the record will reflect not all members are in lockstep, regardless of how many others may or may not share their views. (Marchant was soon excommunicated for advocating a view that would become Church policy by the very next year. Go figure.)
I want to be sympathetic with J.G-W’s position, but… It seems like there are situations (eg. someone calling your family “counterfeit”) where self-respect would inspire you to say, “sorry, that crosses the line,” instead of writing a wall of excuses and rationalizations. (I guess you have to accept God’s priorities.) But I relate to this more easily:
As a LGBT member I of course felt horrified and attacked. I was meant to. The words were meant to be divisive. The words were meant not to draw a line in the sand and create a boundary. The words were meant to build a big brick wall with my believing family members firmly planted on the other side of the wall and me left out. I won’t be calling home for a few weeks because I don’t need the preaching. The preaching that believing members feel entitled and called to give because they have The Truthâ„¢.
One big theological surprise was Uchtdorf’s discussion of grace.
In other theology, bwv549 discussed some interesting points about using spiritual experiences to determine truth — specifically that they’re the entire basis for believing the church is true, and the church explicitly teaches members to reject spiritual witness when it doesn’t line up with the church. Our New Testament lesson covered types of evidence as well. (The BoM covered more war stories.)
How about books? Ever wanted to know more about Missouri and the Apocalypse? Meg Stout read The Persistence of Polygamy, Volume 1, and was very disappointed to discover that the author completely ignored her theory that it was all Bennett’s fault! (A lot of members don’t know much about Joseph Smith’s polygamy.) Living in Zion lamented that there’s no Jack Weyland for today. And the Mormon Sex Girls got it right when it comes to 50 shades:
The greatest danger we see with the 50 Shades phenomenon is not the promotion of an alternative sexual lifestyle but the promotion of what they are declaring as a modern day romance with an abusive dynamic in the name of BDSM. For adolescents trying to sort out their sexuality, they may wonder if this is in fact what a romantic relationship looks like. On the other hand, what 50 Shades has done in a positive way has prompted yet more conversation around sexuality, which in our opinion, is always a great thing.
And, not really Mormon-related, but an interesting perspective on the 20th anniversary of “The Rules”:
Of course, the thing that always blew my mind about The Rules, when I finally got around to actually looking at the book years later, which a friend left at my momâ€™s house, was how contradictory the advice was. On one hand, the authors told you that men enjoy bright, easy-going women who do not seem to need anything from them. Indeed, you are supposed to pretend to be busy when youâ€™re not in order to give the impression that you are just such a good times gal with such a full calendar that you couldnâ€™t possibly need him. You were also instructed to manipulate sexual contact to give the impression that you arenâ€™t desperate, the idea being that by holding out on sex, you demonstrated that you werenâ€™t eager to please him (because, in their minds, the only reason women have sex is to please men). Same story with their instructions to always break contact first, to give the impression that you are just such a busy person with such a full life that you couldnâ€™t possibly need him.
But outside of a few guidelines for playing hard to get, you were otherwise instructed to act like a desperate supplicant who would do anything to placate a man. Having your own opinionsâ€”or even really talking much at allâ€”was forbidden.
In personal stories, So Says Me is relieved to have a real diagonsis. As for myself, it’s been another great weekend of sharing Minecraft fun with nieces and nephews across the ocean, including believers and unbelievers (Minecrafting together!), plus my cousin Aerin (who writes for this site) and her son joined us!
I hope you’ve had a fun weekend as well — happy reading!! 😀