Monday, January 7, 2013

Bad Mormon

I just got this call:

Caller: "Are you LDS?"
Me: "I'm not sure how that's relevant."

She then proceeds to complain about a story that is not wrong.

Why? Because I said that a bunch of members wanted to wear pants to church. Those are feminists, she said. They're still members, I responded. No, she said, it's a movement. It's not about pants, it's about wanting the priesthood. Except I never said it was about pants. Here's what I said: 
And, in an attempt to promote change, a bunch of women wore pants to church, although most of them were not in Utah County, and a bunch of people got really upset that women wanted to wear pants to church. Most of them seemed to be in Utah County.
And here's what actually happened: A bunch of women wore pants to church. A bunch of people got really upset that women wanted to wear pants to church.

Of course, this was before I knew that feminist members are not actually members.

 But there's more that is not wrong that bothered her. The next paragraph went like this:
The LDS Church also unveiled, a website designed to help members talk to friends and family members who are gay. The website clarifies the church's stance that homosexual attraction is not a sin and includes videos and stories from gay members and family of gay members. Gay rights activists called it a step in the right direction.
I was correct, she said, in that the website clarifies the church's position that homosexual attraction is not a sin. However, acting on that attraction is still a sin, and I should have written that. Thus, I told a half truth.

By a show of hands: Does that need to be clarified? Any gray area in that department?

The website, for anyone who has not been there, is a way to help people talk about gayness. It's hard, when you believe that homosexuality is wrong, to find out your child or sibling or cousin or best friend is gay. But it happens, and the more it's talked about non-judgmentally, the less likely people are to hurt themselves, cut family ties and leave the LDS Church. So really, homosexual sex has very little, if anything, to do with the website. It doesn't need to be clarified, because there's no confusion and the point of the website about which I was writing was not about sex, it was about talking to someone with a homosexual attraction.

Well, she read it to mean something else. (What? That the church had done the most unbelievable 180 ever and said gay sex is OK? You actually thought that?) I apologized that she read it that way. She said other people did too. I agreed to disagree.

I should have quoted it completely, she said. I didn't quote it at all, I responded.Then she wanted to know if this what was going to be in the paper from now on. (Truth? Facts insofar as we know them? Information relevant to our readers? Yes ma'am. Call us mavericks, but that's what we do here.)

Then, she wants to talk to somebody higher than me. If this is the direction we're going, she doesn't want the newspaper anymore. As I'm giving her the number, she interrupts me.

 "I'm guessing you're not LDS, based on your answers. You must not be because of what you wrote."

What's funny is that we both consider ourselves faithful members of the same religion and that we both consider the other to be poor examples of that same religion. At least she would if she hadn't written me off as faithless simply because my faith looks different than hers.

* I should clarify that all members of the LDS Church are not like this woman. I would even go so far as to say the large majority are not like this woman. And for that, fellow members, I thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for commenting on my blog. I also would have LOVED to have said what I really wanted to say. But alas, I don't think we're culturally to the point where that wouldn't get one put on spiritual probation....I mean, we just started wearing pants to church ;) and C.S. Lewis is brilliant, anyone who thinks he's cliche probably owns more Stephanie Meyer books than actual literature. Hope you keep reading my blog, I like yours as well!