This is my new anonymous blog. Oh, blessed anonymity. I don't know why I didn't try this long, long ago. Maybe I imagined lofty principles about owning my writing, owning myself, abhoring the disembodied discourse. Well. Screw that.
Because I have difficult things to work through, things my culture won't accept, and by culture I mean: family... mother-in-law... all manner of family-in-law... students, colleagues, ward-members...
I've just been reading the work of one of Mormonism's heretics, and I love it. I think it's brilliant. I'm way passed feeling guilty for reading these things, way past fearing that it's "dangerous." It's been liberating to come to this place, where, finally, I'm no longer afraid of ideas. I'm not afraid of exploring. In fact, I desperately need to explore, if I'm ever going to be my own authority. And maybe because I've accepted my need to explore, get some freedom, maybe that's why I'm ok with an anonymous blog. (and that's not to say that I don't still have some fear about it all. I do. It's mostly about the judgment of others, but it's also my inner TBM, that person inside who has always pleased others, and who has this conception of God that is based in fear of punishment.... .) Anyway. I got side-tracked. It's Maxine Hanks' Women and Authority, that I've been reading. And, ah, it's just a relief, to finally read something that truly describes my own experience, that pinpoints some of the problems I've seen but never had the means to really articulate.
Incidentally, last week I went to mass at the seat of a diocese, beautiful large cathedral, incredible choir. When I got home, I decided to explore some thoughts as a result of my experience there which led me to entertain the idea of being ordained. All I knew at the time was that Episcopalians ordained women, so I explored that in some depth. Since then I've learned about other Christian sects that ordain women. I'm allowing myself to explore the real affinity I've always felt to ancient liturgy, the symbolism, the ritual.
And, as it turns out, Maxine Hanks, after her excommunication, was ordained. I just learned that today. Part of me says: I want that! I think? Part of me really wants in on the ancientness of that tradition.
So... why was Maxine Hanks excommunicated? This seems like a really important question. Trouble is, we can't really know the whole story. I don't know if Hanks has even told her side of the story, and certainly The Church wont' tell theirs. Her book: I've only read the preface, introduction, and a few pages of the first chapter, but so far, she just seems like your typical Mormon feminist intellectual... Oh. Right. But what I mean is, it seems like there's more latitude these days, twenty years later, more room in the church for such thinking, if only because it seems there is a lot more of that thinking going on. Minus the excommunicating. Or, maybe it's my vantage point which is quite limited.
But if there are things in her book that are so dangerous to faithful Mormons that it merited her excommunication... Well, then, maybe I'm done. Maybe I really can't do this church anymore.
You know, I read some of the writing of Joanna Brooks, which I honestly love, but there's an element of her whole approach to Mormonism that I don't exactly relate to. That is the deep way that she identifies with Mormon history, Mormon heritage, how deeply she is Mormon. I'm not feeling that way right now. She describes being at odds within herself because some practices of the current church go against her own personal liberal, egalitarian beliefs, yet at the same time she can't "leave the church alone" because of her deep identification with its cultural heritage. Maybe I'll feel differently if I leave Utah. (Maybe I won't leave Utah?.... duhn duhn DUUUUUUUHHHHNNNN <distant screams>). But really, I really really really want to try something different. I want to take a break from Mormon culture.
Ah. Well. I already feel better. Anonymous blog, Iloveyousomuch. SO MUCH!