Thursday, June 26, 2014

Take it Easy Now

SO not relevant.

That title is a phrase many Latinos love to use when people are starting to get a little out of line. I find myself repeating it often lately.

With this blog, I want to avoid the snark, write uplifting and empowering words. So maybe it's the high dose of steroids I'm on, coupled with my city-edge, but I'm having a hard time with my mission statement at the moment an it's entirely likely this post will be coming down soon after it's made public. All that being said, I need to get this off my chest post-haste, and who knows? Maybe I can keep it together.

The other day a friend of mine re-posted a quote from someone else who was touring Auschwitz and, after hearing a tour guide tell him/her that The Holocaust "couldn't happen again" (quote not confirmed), s/he noted that genocides and torture DO still happen and this person strengthened her resolve to fight for human freedom and rights.

That's all fine and dandy, really. The problem is, this quote was intended to bolster up women seeking ordination in the Church. Its re-posting, intentional or not, makes a parallel between asking to enter a priesthood session and politely being turned away and defying the gestapo.*

Take it easy now.

Let's all cool our jets and take a step back, shall we?

Don't get me wrong. I am ALL about working towards improvements (especially where gender disparities is concerned) in the Church. But anything and everything that happens in the Mormon bubble is so inconsequential in the broader scheme of this world that we need to be more humble about it. Truly, there is no Church-related action that will place you in the same ranks with Gandhi, the unnamed "tank man," and yes, Rosa Parks.

You might be thinking the current upheaval in the Mormon diaspora is nothing to sneeze at. - Even the big media outlets are covering it! To that I say, first of all, the word "Mormon" or anything considered "fundamental**" is all the rage these days. Our seeming backwardness in society is so "out there" that the people can't get enough. Just yesterday I was bombarded with sidebar pop-ups exclaiming that I had to see the latest Duggar girl (from the Quiver-full Christian movement) get married and have her first kiss at the altar. All I was looking for was more information on the Iraqi crisis.

So, yeah, if you think the media are covering Mormon conflicts and upheavals to help champion the cause of women seeking ordination, read the comment sections. It's more like they're encouraging their viewers to bring out the popcorn, sit back, and supplement their down-time between new episodes of Sister Wives.

Of course to them it's entertainment and to members of the Church this is a real issue causing significant pain. Again, I get that. Oh heck, I even feel that.

Why does this issue get my goat?

If you read my profile or know me personally, you know that I'm from Chicago. That is a city steeped in revolution, protests for social reform, neighborhood organizations, and, yes, severe brutality in response to all that. I was raised with this as a backdrop in my life, the sacrifices and risks involved remain fresh in my mind. It follows that likening the Mormon struggle(s) -where the worst outcome is excommunication, a term and condition that is not necessarily permanent- to other, more harrowing causes leaves me feeling a bit perturbed.

And now you might be thinking:
You just don't get it, Monique. To not be a part of the Church is one thing in Chicago(land); it's another when your whole family, community, and employers are Mormon. For many people, activism in the Church IS a big upheaval!

Thing is, I get that, too. I was Catholic, remember? Chicago is second only to Boston for its concentration of Catholics. My employers for the past six years have been Catholic. My family members are named after the "sacred mysteries" and my brother attended preparatory seminary. I'm Latina. So, yes, I know a thing or two about putting it all on the line to maintain an unpopular religious conviction. I have experienced first hand persecution and resistance towards living my faith. I know something about the heart-wrenching consequences that follow, even on a daily basis.

Yet I would never say that any of it gives me insight into wearing a yellow badge, for example. (I realize no one has made this claim about themselves, but it sure looks like we're heading there.)

Perspective, have some. 

In Chicago, there's a lot of resentment towards what's called "Suburban Savior Syndrome." This is what happens when well-off people condescend to enter the city and help the poor city-folk fix their problems.*** It appears as though such endeavors give meaning to their otherwise blah lives.--And incidentally look really good on Instragram and FB.-- Too often these suburbanites offer bursts of activity (instead of lasting commitment), feeling heroic for cleaning up the sidewalks when "Hey, a bullet could whiz by at any time, right guys?" They fail to remember that their big shining moment is taking place in someone's home, where they've been toiling for years, quietly, and without all the publicity.

When Mormon activists compare their struggle to the Civil Rights Movement, that's what they look like. It actually hurts their cause.

Where do we go from here?

For starters, take it easy.

Next, let us all refresh our minds on what's happening on a broader scale. This is why I love my friend Dana, a beautiful lady, returned missionary, and feminist like myself. We could talk for hours about the struggles and victories of being a Mormon woman, but at some point she tells me she has to hop on a plane to Senegal in order to provide safer conditions for pregnant women. "Didn't you just get over malaria?" I ask her. This is, apparently, not important to her. Off she goes.

She'd kill me if I called her Florence Nightingale.

*As an aside, there are some things that I easily get worked up about: The Holocaust, Native American Genocide, and enslavement are big on that list, FYI. Call me crazy!
**We're actually far from what I would call fundamental.
***Now I'm on the other side, it's weird. I'm trying to navigate it and stay cool.


  1. Thanks for the post, putting this incident into perspective.

  2. Oh, no problem! Thanks for visiting!