Burn-Out and going viral

11 Nov

Last year, I was in definite odds with the position that my church was taking on Prop 8. It was very clear to me that the Prophet of the Mormon church and his fellow (all male) leaders were obscured in clarity on the subject of marriage, discrimination, and what it means to be gay. I understand – these men are human. They feel that their values are threatened by gay people. Their core doctrine rests definitively on the sanctity of marriage.

My husband and I disagreed with their stand. I didn’t like getting political pitches from the pulpit, being handed bumper stickers in the lobby and the conversations about gay people that ensued within the church walls. What was going on, wasn’t in keeping with Christian values, or the stand our church has normally taken on staying out of politics and “voting with your conscience”. Unlike myself, my husband was less than thrilled about wearing his politics on his sleeve. He wasn’t keen on putting a No on 8 sign on the lawn on our very visual and prominent corner lot. He didn’t want a bumper sticker on the car, even if I was the one to be driving. I respected that he felt the matter was private so I held back. He appreciated my pain and winced along with me.

I worked very hard with myself and my frustration. I donated money to No on 8. I decided that church did not have a place for me and mostly stopped going. I did loving-kindness meditations for the prophet and the brethren and myself to work through my negative feelings. I was OK doing my own things and letting the church go their own way. Problem solved.

Then, Elder Ballard gave a talk  and said:

Elder Cook reemphasized Elder Ballard’s encouragement of sharing the gospel through the Internet.

“It is my hope that you will engage. It is my hope that you will go viral,” he said.

I saw all sorts of my sweet Mormon friends who would normally never engage in public politics, posting on their family blogs. I got e-mails from people I haven’t heard from in years. The influence that that Elder Ballard’s speech had on the Mormon community was so influential.

I got angry, except this time – I was observing that anger. That anger and shock wasn’t damaging. It was a wake up call to action. That was it for me. I stopped being quiet. Go viral? Sure, now that’s something I can do! I can speak up for what Jesus taught – peace and love. Sure, I’m just a female in our church and I have no power what-so-ever, but I do have a voice. I will not blindly obey something I know in my heart to be wrong. The leaders of the church are human, they have made mistakes in the past and will make more mistakes in the future. (blacks and the priesthood? fighting the ERA?) I have to live with my own conscience, listen to the spirit in my heart.

On November 2, 2008 I felt something strange. I weird anxiety that I haven’t felt in years. It was a helplessness – I wanted to see Prop 8 fail and I wanted to see a shift in the governing party. (we needed that shift simply for balance and hope) What does a helpless feeling girl do? I impulsively ran down to Supercuts and cut off 10+ inches of my hair! I may not be able to control American politics, but, by DAMN, I can control my hair. Let me start the winds of change by cutting off years of dead weight that I’ve been carrying around.

Two days later the votes were in. My kids were on the couch with me, watching each state’s votes comes in. I’ve never swayed my kids in their politics, and even so, my 8-year old sat on the couch in dismay when the Utah votes came in, “WHAT?!!!! Why did Utah voted for McCain?” I was over-the-moon about having our first black president. (and after the previous 8 years, one that can speak articulately) It was a very sacred moment for me. It was bitter sweet as Prop 8 results came in. My heart just sunk. As I realized the role my church had played in passing the proposition, it made me so sad. I thought of my gay friends and neighbors, those who have been together longer than Dan and I, those who are raising children. I felt so sad that many of my LDS friends do not have these connections and this understanding of equality and looking out for those who are different than us. I can’t remember the last time that I’ve been so disappointed and let-down.

I get all of the e-mails from Mr. Geoff Kors, Equality California. That’s what happens when you write a check. I’ve been deleting them for a year. Bloggers have written insightful pieces on Prop 8 and analyzed the role of the church, the role of the minority vote, etc. I’ve just barely skimmed. I have been in complete and total burn out.

This morning, I read this. Salt Lake City has passed anti-discrimination legislation with support of the LDS church. My response? WHAT?!!!! It’s 2009 and they don’t already have anti-discrimination legislation? Shameful, you highly Christian and moral upstanding community! Isn’t anti-discrimination the very LEAST a community can do to protect their minority population? I remind myself that every journey starts with one step. I’m glad that the church is supporting anti-discrimination for gay people. I’m also a bit saddened that this seems to be a big deal. It’s a very overdue protection for basic human rights.

I know this is a yoga blog for the most part, but I am reminded again of Ballard’s urging, “Go viral”. Suddenly I’m not feeling so burned out any more. The shakti within me has taken on a new resurgence. Here I go again, back into that dance of life called following the spirit as your conscience dictates.

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7 Responses to “Burn-Out and going viral”

  1. Anonymous November 13, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    Interesting comments. I find it amusing that you are more than willing to send your children for “free babysitting” and to take advantage of other LDS programs; however, you are very open about bashing the LDS church at its members for what you call “blind obedience.” My obedience is anything but blind. If you don’t like it, leave it entirely, but don’t sit on the fence.

    • Carolyn Cash November 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

      Wow, does your ward have “free babysitting?” I pay 10% of my earnings to serve in my ward’s primary. We also have a non-discrimination policy in our ward where we welcome children from all family backgrounds, including families who are part-member, part-active, or who may have parents who have to work on Sundays. I also never got the memo that if someone is struggling with something or “sitting on the fence” we should just go ahead and push them off. Is that the November visiting teaching message I should bring to my less-active sisters, “If you don’t like it, leave it”? I just remember President Monson saying recently, “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.”

  2. barefootbhakti November 13, 2009 at 3:34 am #

    Anonymous, (love the name BTW!) I don’t believe that I said that anybody else’s obedience was blind, just that I wouldn’t be blindly obedient – that doesn’t sound like me. I certainly meant to make no assumptions about my LDS friends – I find their reactions are all over the board.

    I do not sit on the fence. And, as with most situations that run deep and heart-felt, my relationship with the LDS church is not simple. There is so much more peace in embracing the non-dual, and I do try to see through the all-or-nothing paradigm that many would like to present.

    Do I know you? I don’t think any of my church friends would comment under anonymous. Why do you assume that I get “free babysitting” or take advantage of other LDS programs? If you know me, pick up the phone and let’s chat. Don’t know me? Send me an e-mail. Real communication would be great.

    I do take the LDS church (leadership) to task for their role in Prop 8 and the way that they treat homosexuals within their community. I don’t apologize for that. In fact, I was encouraged to “go viral” and did just that.

  3. Brandilyn Haynes November 13, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    Laurie, I’m so impressed by the unashamed way you take a stand (no matter what snarky ‘anonymous’ commentors have to say about it). It takes guts to get that personal on such a public format, and I respect you for it 🙂 Thank you again for your blog–I enjoy reading very much.

  4. barefootbhakti November 13, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    Thanks Brandilyn!

  5. Katherine Harrison November 19, 2009 at 1:16 am #

    The comment about “free babysitting” really surprises me. I’ve taught Primary for years, currently I’m a CTR 6 teacher. I’ve never minded if a child attended my class, even if only one of their parents attended church regularly. I applaud Laurie for supporting her children’s participation at church, in spite of her own personal struggles.

  6. Melissa December 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    Well I’m glad to see that you have come back to church. when you sent me the scathing email back about prop 8. I wasn’t sure if it was you or Dan sending me the email. I just left it alone, you have definatley changed/ or become more vocal with your oppinons since college.

    We shall see how much of a god send Obama is with the new healthcare plan. Mabey it will be a good way to kill off some of the people who drag the system down. (I.E 90 yr old comatose ladys who are half dead they sink and their familys still want everything done) If this is anything like Canadas system there will be alot more people dying. for those who don’t know me I work ICU as a RN

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