Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Possible Reconsideration

I used to listen to NPR, read news magazines, and keep up with internet headlines. 

I've given up the news. That was five years ago.

The news has been particularly difficult lately. Of course I am thrilled about Egypt's first free democratic presidential elections. And it's good to see Aunt Sheila's concerns about her seventeen-year-old driving home with friends after being up all night at a graduation "lock-in" party. The recent news stories I find most disturbing have been about Mormons.

I don't fault Mitt Romney for running for president. It's his call; no big deal. The problems arise when people say, "Mitt Romney isn't Christian. He's part of a secretive, polygymist cult." "Mormons are racist, sexist, and homophobic." Or my personal favorites go something like this: "I had a Mormon boss once, and he was a tyrant. He was a bishop, too, and he treated us like children. I would never trust a Mormon to run the country." (Maybe I should refer these journalists and internet commentators to our series, The Beatles Teach Logical Fallacies. They might learn something about sweeping generalizations and guilt by association.)

It makes me want to take a long, long nap and wake up after November 6th.

I guess I want to stop composing defensive, over-reactive responses when I'm unable to fall asleep or driving to work. Maybe I just want to shout to the masses, "I'm a Mormon woman, and I'm not oppressed!" I probably think so highly of myself that anyone who tries to tell me I'm brainwashed, clueless, or naive just pisses me off.

So, I'm going to shout a little something here:

Maybe I am using this blog as my personal soapbox.

I am a Mormon woman. I am not oppressed. I have had access to excellent educational opportunities. My family has strongly supported me in my educational goals. My husband is awesome. He actively seeks my feedback on his work. He completely supports my desire to keep working and be an otherwise full-time mother. I have a sense of self, a unique identity, and a relationship with God. I also know countless amazing women in the LDS Church: they are doctors, nurses, attorneys, artists, teachers, yoga instructors, editors, therapists, photographers, office managers, and homemakers. They are tall, short, large, small, funny, serious, lively, mellow, athletic, physically limited, curious, joyful, and complicated. These are individuals. They have opinions, ideas, and energy. Anyone who has seen a group of LDS women arrange a service activity knows exactly what I mean. Even after twenty funerals in under three years, the women in my ward have continued to step up and make and serve luncheons for fifty to a hundred of the deceased's relatives. These are all volunteer hours.

Relief Society is a big part of why being an LDS woman rules. I belong to the largest and oldest women's organization in the world. We learn to serve each other, our families, our communities, and the world. We truly have the power to change the world. That kind of power can't be oppressive.

And guess what?

I got to talk about it on BBC radio today.

You know, World Have Your Say's host and producer, Paul and Richard, were such nice news fellows, I just might reconsider giving up on the news.

1 comment:

  1. I loved hearing the BBC interview. You were the best thing on it! And you got to have your say. The phrase I keep coming up against is "hierarchy." How can you belong to such a hierarchical church? My experience with this hierarchy is that it is a theocracy and those at the "top" are just as aware as those at the bottom that they are fallible and that they need the Lord's help and guidance. Being part of this church has been an experience of great love. Of course, not all of us are as capable of loving as others. But we strive to improve and I have seen people change so much, especially myself.