Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Let the Rejoicing Began!

After almost 2 years in Primary, we were released on Sunday. It's a massive relief; I've been trying to work up the energy to ask to be released. Last time I asked my bishop, he said no. (I'm pretty sure he can't do that; it's a volunteer position after all.) When it was the New Testament, it was fairly simple to just teach Christ loving everyone. And we had some older kids who could grasp nuance and were asking good questions. But when the new year started and we started the Book of Mormon with a new class,, it was painful every week. There's some strange stuff in the Book of Mormon that's hard to teach, like Nephi killing Laban. How do you teach that murder is sometimes okay? Then there's the issue of teaching it like it's historically accurate. I don't know if it is or not (although I lean towards not) but it's difficult to teach it as though it's anything but totally historically accurate. I felt like I was setting these kids up to fail, because so many people find out about the questionable origins and lack of historical evidence of the Book of Mormon and leave. If we could teach it as allegory, as inspiring because it teaches good principles like all kinds of good fiction and theatre that didn't actually happen, then the lack of historical evidence might be less of an issue, and people who wanted to might be able to stay in the church. But the manuals and the church itself doesn't allow for that kind of view to be taught, so now I'm the Primary teacher who taught that it really happened. If they encounter anything to the contrary, I didn't give them an alternative because I didn't know how. And that makes me feel like I betrayed them.

So, now I'm done. No more small children (that really aren't my thing anyway) and no more feeling like a liar because I couldn't give them the tools to think differently about their religion. And no more obligation to show up to church if I don't feel like it. So all in all, a good thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm Trying Dangit! or, How Can You Tell When You are Being Rude?

I'm often accused of being rude. I'm perfectly willing to admit that I can be a rude person. I have strong opinions that I am passionate about and I generally think (like most people) that I'm right. Mormonism probably added to my already strong personality; the church claims that it is the one true church and teaches it's members to state that without shame. In teaching that it is the only church with all the truth, it creates superiority complexes. There's a lot of "we know more then they do, we have more truth then they do, we're right and they aren't." We often seen mocking or condescending remarks made by leaders, teachers and members about other religions; "They believe in the Trinity, but WE know better." "They say the same prayer over again, but WE know better then that." So I spent a lot of my life thinking I was right about God and others weren't.

I really don't want to be that person. I don't want to be the person telling other people they are wrong. But I also don't want to bow out and not express my beliefs because they are just as valid as other people's. So I'm trying to find a way for be kind and respectful of other people and their opinions, while expressing my own. Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes not so much. And sometimes I really can't tell. Sometimes I feel like I'm polite and respectful, but the person I'm talking to gets angry and says I'm rude because I disagree with them. So who do I trust? Do I determine my success by my own feelings or how others react to me?

While I'm trying to figure when I'm being rude or not, I'm also trying to cut myself some slack. I'm trying to be respectful, I'm trying to be compassionate. But I'm also a passionate person who is working through anger. Sometimes I'll blow my stack at someone, sometimes I'll ream someone out instead of being polite. Sometimes I'll treat others with disrespect when they disrespect me instead of treating them how I want to be treated. That's not okay, but I'm trying dangit! I'm trying, I really am. I can't do more then try.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Not Good Enough to Bless Him

My brother-in-law's wedding, the wedding I've kind of been timing my life by, was last weekend. We flew out Thursday to find that everyone in my husband's family was sick with the flu or phenomena or something. Literally, everyone was coughing and throwing up and the whole bit. So on Friday we spent the whole day setting up for the wedding reception, and were planning on going to the sealing, luncheon, ring ceremony and reception the next day. But K woke up at 11:30 on Friday night barely able to breathe. I spent the rest of the night awake on the couch to make sure he was okay.

The next morning it was pretty clear that we weren't going to make it to the wedding. K was barely able to stand, and looked ready to die. So we told his mom that he didn't feel up to it. She asked if he wanted a blessing, and he said yes. His older brother and grandfather gave him a blessing and I stood off to the side and watched.

This made me really angry. As his wife I can stay up all night with him, I can stay home with him and get him what he needs, I can worry about him, I can take him to the doctor, get him to take his pills, I can do everything but call on the power of God to help him. I'm not good enough to do that. I can take care of him physically, but I'm not allowed to invoke the name and power of God to heal him. As a wife, that made me really mad. He's my husband; he's the most important person in my life and I would do anything for him. But as a woman the church does not allow me to. They deny me the ability to bless my husband. I have to stand aside and watch while men do it.

I don't deny that his brother and grandfather had a right to bless him. They are his family and love him. If he had wanted them to do it instead of me, he has that right. I don't want to deny anyone the right to bless those they love. But I am denied that because of my gender. I'm good enough to do everything else expect use the power of God to bless. It felt so wrong to me to be excluded from that not by the choice of the person being blessed but by the rules of an institution that chooses to deny half the population the ability to access the power of God to bless the lives of others.

Many insist that women are not second class citizens in the church. This is an instance where I felt very much second-class. The only reason I could not bless my husband was because of my gender. My relationship with him, my worthiness, my connection with God were all overshadowed by the fact that I have different sexual organs then my brother-in-law. I am excluded based on my gender, which is the definition of a second-class citizen.