Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Authority


I love my mother very much. She taught me so much that I’m not even sure she is aware of. I remember her saying often, “never be afraid to stand up for what you believe”, “follow your gut”, “a phone call home will save you a hell of a lot of trouble”, “there’s nothing more important than your education”, “don’t lose your faith in God”, and my personal favorite, “you don’t have to put up with other people’s crap”.

The majority of my life I’ve watched my mother have a humorous on-again-off-again relationship with Pepsi. I can still remember countless times as a child walking by her craft room to see her sitting at her sewing machine with an ice cold Pepsi sweating beads of condensation on the sewing desk my dad made for her. They were very happy memories.

In the 90’s there was quite a fuss among members on the specific doctrine of the Word of Wisdom and caffeinated sodas. The debate seemed to never end, and our bishopric at the time had a strict interpretation.

When my mother went in for her temple recommend interview the questions came.

The bishop asked, “Do you obey the Word of Wisdom?”

She replied, “Yes.”

He pressed, “Do you drink caffeine?”

She casually replied, “I drink Pepsi and I don’t give a s*#t.”

She finished the interview and walked out with her temple recommend.

For better or worse she has had some influence in shaping my perceptions of authority. I learned at a very young age not to allow religious figures to overstep their bounds.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Child’s Prayer


There are times at church I can’t bring myself to choke out another male pronoun. I would attempt to sing the hymns, but I could only mouth the lyrics in silence. I couldn’t even say His name. It felt dishonest to sing praises to His name, yet the silence of my praise felt equally dishonest.

Some time ago, I can’t say for sure when, I began substituting female deity pronouns for male deity pronouns while singing. I was quite shy at first. My vocals were hardly even noticeable. Who knew what kind of social ramifications awaited me if they knew I sang praises to our female deity? However, over time, the tameness of my vocals melted away each Sunday until I was confident enough to sing out female pronouns at a comparable volume to the rest of my fellow congregants. When I sing about Her, I’m sometimes reminded that perhaps as a woman I, too, am of a divine nature. Perhaps there is more waiting to be discovered beyond the emptiness of the projected narrative. Perhaps there is more to my future awaiting my initiation.

It’s not a significant change, nor do I expect my humble voice to sway the direction of the entire choir, but at the very least my song is now honest.

Heavenly Mother, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Mother, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
"Suffer the children to come to me."
Mother, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.

Pray, She is there;
Speak, She is list'ning.
You are Her child;
Her love now surrounds you.
She hears your prayer;
She loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n.

*Adaptation of A Child's Prayer