Sunday, November 13, 2011

Being Hit with a Patriarchy Stick

Last week was my first time going to Sacrament Meeting in probably a month and a half. It's at 9 a.m., and it's just easier for me and K to show up to teach Primary at 10. Last week was fast and testimony meeting, so I figured I'd be safe. I strongly believe that people have the right to express their connection to God, even if it's not how I would do it, and since that's what testimonies are, rather then talks about doctrine, I thought it might be okay.

It's been so long since I'd been to Sacrament Meeting that I'd forgotten how patriarchal it is. I felt like I was being hit over the head with a patriarchy stick. It was all men on the stand, minus the chorister. Men were conducting and dealing with the Sacrament. But what got to me the most was the complete lack of discussion of the female divinity. All prayers were to Heavenly Father in the name of Christ. There were many testimonies about the love of Heavenly Father, about help from Heavenly Father, about love for Heavenly Father. I don't have an issue with that, but it was so sad for me to see the lack of a Heavenly Mother, a women to get help and love from. I really felt for the first time as though half the human race was missing divinity, was missing God. I felt excluded, cut off from God. Men and power were linked, and I felt second class and powerless.

This was compounded by a conversation with one of the Elder's Quorum Presidency. Apparently it was a personal Priesthood interview, but I was there for some reason. He started going off about how K needed to be doing personal prayer because he was the head of house and would be the father one day (I love the assumption that we'll have kids) and he needed to be the strength of the family. I got pissed and walked out. Why does there need to be a head? Why can't we just be seen as two people who work together?

This was all happening in the midst of a Facebook fight, started by this post on Feminist Mormon Housewives. It's been going on for over a week with around 130 comments. Some girl I barely know is reaming me out for not accepting that women and men are different and therefore should be treated differently, even when the treatment has nothing to do with what makes men and women different. I feel like I'm being smothered in patriarchy, like I'll never get away from it. And every time I stand up to it, I get knocked down with the patriarchy stikc.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rewording Primary Songs

I've taken to changing words in Primary songs to make singing/sharing time more bearable. I've been working in Primary (the LDS church's children's organization) for over a year. It's where they tend to stick young married couples in, and after mouthing off to my bishop about my issues with the church, I guess they assume it's a reasonably safe place to leave me. It's not bad; the eight to ten year olds we teach are fun, and I can alter the lessons to teach about the love of God, compassion, that being different is ok, etc. But when the whole Primary meets together and is taught the party line of obedience to leaders, Mormonism as exclusive truth, gender roles, and on and on. So in order to not lose my mind, I try to make things more female-friendly. I got the idea from this blog

My most recent is this:
I kneel to pray everyday,
I speak to Heavenly Mother.
She hears and answers me,
When I pray in faith.

I begin by saying dear Heavenly Mother,
I thank her for blessings she sends.
Then humbly I ask her for things that I need,
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Despite the prayer structure that seems unnecesarily formulaic, the idea of a woman hearing and answering my prayer is incredibly beautiful. I never realized the lack of the Divine Feminine in my life until I started adding her to my vision of God. It gives me a connection to God I've never had before. Like Sue Monk Kidd says in The Secret Life of Bees "Everyone needs a God who looks like them."