Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Deja Vu All Over Again

The flyer said: Legislation is being debated in committee to vote on whether to send a defense of marriage act for the state of Texas to the legislature for a full vote. Members should write or call the committee members and urge them to vote to send the bill to the full legislature. Here are the committee members names. A list followed.

The origins of the flyer were convoluted. Area Presidency guy asked Stake President to let the wards know about the committee meeting. Stake Pres was to get the word out to members; he did so by advising the wards’ stake high council representatives. One of the folks along the way wrote up a flyer with the particulars.

During ward council, a member of the bishopric passed them out. I received a stack of about ten flyers. “Please announce this during your meetings, and hand these out to the adults in your organization.”

I was the primary president. I didn’t announce the information during primary closing exercises. I did hand out the flyers to the adults. I felt lousy about it for days.

A few weeks later, an interesting counterpoint arose. One of my favorite cousins is a lesbian. Her partner was not an American citizen. Partner had finished school, and had been unable to secure a green card for long-term employment here. The United States would not allow her to remain as a “spouse” for immigration purposes. However, the two of them could go the other way: the partner’s country allows the same-sex domestic partners of citizens to live and work there. Documentation of the partnership can include leases, bank statements, and letters from people testifying to their relationship.

My cousin asked me to write a letter for her. I did. I wrote that I had observed them living as a couple for five years; buying a house, raising dogs, planting a garden, planning a future. Writing the letter was cathartic. I was cleansed of the flyer.

Five years later, I feel like I’m reliving that ward council meeting. While the stage is national this time, and the request doesn’t seem so cloak and dagger, the issue is the same. My feelings about that issue have not changed.

I did not attend church on Sunday (I did not see any point in attending just to walk out). I have opted out of church attendance for a while. I don't want to get my hands dirty again. I did follow the instructions in the letter and write to my elected representatives; however, I don’t think I wrote what the first presidency had in mind.

I am not as angry as I was three days ago. Mostly, I’m disappointed. Every time I think I can make a place for myself; that the church has a pretty big tent and maybe I can worship with the Mormons as well as anywhere else, the suits in Salt Lake muck it up.

16 comments:

Stephen said...

When I first read this I read:

"a member of the bishopric passed out."

Gives the story a different flavor.

I wish you well.

Clayton said...

I daresay maybe it's not out of place for you to make some kind of objection known. We have a democratic church, and no one can give you punishment for having an opinion. Discrimination will continue as long as people remain quiet.

RoastedTomatoes said...

Ann,

Thanks for your thoughts on this. We're living through what's probably the church's defining moments for our time. Just for once, I wish we could be defined on the side of inclusion, as we were with respect to the women's rights movement of the 19th century--but I suppose it's just not meant to be.

Ann said...

IMNSHO, the church has been wrong on every important civil rights issue in the US in the last 50 years. In the case of the civil rights movement of the 60's, they didn't fix things for a decade. They've never fixed things with women's rights. Why should they get it right now?

Clayton, making objections to pronouncements by the first presidency is like barking at the moon. Sometimes, it's best just to recognize things for what they are and move on. I stuck with my first marriage for two solid years after it was obviously and irreparably broken. I think I've also given the church multiple opportunities to work. But it just doesn't.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

m said...

ann, i totally sympathize. just when i thought i could make some kind of place for myself in the church i get disappointed like this again. i supposed it's best to have no expectations in these matters if you don't want to be let down.

Wendy said...

Every time I think I can make a place for myself; that the church has a pretty big tent and maybe I can worship with the Mormons as well as anywhere else, the suits in Salt Lake muck it up.

Ann, I believe I am even more far gone from the church than you, but recently my LDS neighbors have been really inclusive of my children and my LDS friends have been inviting me to church and I thought maybe I could go, once in a while, just to try to fit in more and then the whole Marriage Amendment B.S. came into play (again). No way, no how, can I sit silently in chruch and imply that I don't feel it is a huge injustice. I wonder if "the suits in Salt Lake" even know how alienating they are to so many, or if they even care? I can relate to the members (some, not all), it's the Mormon Machine that I can not abide. Muck it up is right!

Wendy said...

Every time I think I can make a place for myself; that the church has a pretty big tent and maybe I can worship with the Mormons as well as anywhere else, the suits in Salt Lake muck it up.

Ann, I believe I am even more far gone from the church than you, but recently my LDS neighbors have been really inclusive of my children and my LDS friends have been inviting me to church and I thought maybe I could go, once in a while, just to try to fit in more and then the whole Marriage Amendment B.S. came into play (again). No way, no how, can I sit silently in chruch and imply that I don't feel it is a huge injustice. I wonder if "the suits in Salt Lake" even know how alienating they are to so many, or if they even care? I can relate to the members (some, not all), it's the Mormon Machine that I can not abide. Muck it up is right!

Equality said...

clayton said:
"We have a democratic church,"

Clayton,

Are you a Baptist or a Quaker? You certainly can't be a Latter-day Saint. A democratic church? Whaaa? Huh? Maybe I'll throw my hat in the ring next time the Gospel Doctrine position opens up. It'd be tough but I think I could beat out Brother Christensimonrasmussenson in a squeaker.

Beijing said...

Muck it up is right!

Actually, I think "muck it up" is a typo. :)

Wendy said...

Hehe... ;-D

Ann said...

I really meant "muck." As in, turn dirt into a pig wallow, where a pig can happily muck around.

I'm liking this pig thing.

I think, Wendy, that they don't care about the people this drives away. These are the last days and we're being sifted. You know. The chaff thing. We're chaff. Plus, we're in a distinct minority, so they figure that those of us who just hanging on are probably not worth fretting about anyway. It's not like I've been contributing much lately.

I guess there are believing members out there who agree with me on the issue, but for some reason, they aren't taking it so hard. I don't know why I identify with this so much.

Sue said...

Ann, I'm right there with you. I don't think I can hang in there anymore. I guess if this is my final test, as some have said, I'll get a big fat F.

I feel like I'm in a parallel universe, idealogically (sp?) and spiritually, from the other members and the leaders of our church. It's sort of heartbreaking.

Ann said...

Sue, when I read your comments on the topic on the BCC thread, it was like you were channeling me or something.

I am comforted, somewhat, by recognizing that the church has been flat-out wrong on the other major civil rights issues of the last 50 years - equal opportunity for African Americans (dupes of the communists, indeed) and equal rights for women. Since their track record is so abysmal, I'm inclined to think that they're just being true to form, and maybe in another hundred years the prophet at the time will be saying on whatever passes for mass media: "That's behind us now."

Anonymous said...

I still can't tell whether the fact that Russel M. Nelson signed onto that accursed marriage amendment draft amounts to First Presidency endorsement of the amendment draft.

Did he have the unanimous support of the Quorum of the Twelve?

Somehow, I'm not so sure. But if he did, why wasn't the official letter in sacrament meeting more explicit in how we're supposed to vote on this?

Part of me is saying, "if they couldn't be more clear about it, why bother saying anything at all?"

Seth R.

annegb said...

When I think of people I know and love, this issue is complicated for me. I want them to be happy, not to hurt them.

When I think of the larger issue, do I want legalization of homosexual marriage? No.

I don't have an answer for this, I'm torn in both ways.

Although I don't like amendments to the constitution.

Clayton, sorry, I thought the same thing. No democracy here in southern Utah. However, your last sentence is very profound. It's hard to find that kind of courage, but it's necessary.

Ann, I agree with you via the racist issues of the church. If I felt the prophet made a mistake in that case (and I think about 6 of them did, I'm not up on church history, I give JS and BY a pass). If they did, I guess these guys can. I don't think they have a solid opinion, though. I honestly don't.

Ann said...

Seth, I think the answer to "why couldn't they be more direct" is "he who hath ears, let him hear."

I don't think the FP and QoT's instructions were at all vague. They were clear without being explicit.