I have a confession. I have taken off my garments. (Magical Mormon underwear for the Non-Mormons)Forever. I no longer consider myself a "Mormon". I am spiritually searching, but currently hovering between Agnosticism and Wiccan.
This decision was a difficult one, and a long time coming. I have often felt empty, confused, and unstimulated in church. I felt irritated by the competing "facts", testimonies, opinions, doctrine, and culture. I was tired of being told that because I was born female, the role I should aspire to is wife and mother. I was sick of the small mindedness about homosexuality and the notions of truth elsewhere. I was bored with lessons that were the same no matter what cover picture the book had. I was irate over the gender inequalities, both in the temple, and in doctrine and culture. Most importantly, though, I was done with feeling guilty for everything. Guilty for not reading, for masturbating, for thinking mean thoughts, for swearing, for wearing bold eyeshadow and dying my hair pink. Guilt on top of guilt on top of my perception of a church that does not accept me for who I am.
So who am I? I'm a rebel. I don't like rules, and I don't play well with authority (especially male). I like loud colours, exaggerated makeup looks, raucous laughter, and shoes. I'm bisexual, but in a happy hetero normal marriage. I'm pro gay marriage, pro abortion, and pro gun. I'm smart, sarcastic, critical, and observant. I think everyone is entitled to their own spirituality and their own path.
And you know what happened when I took off my G's? It wasn't the damnation or doom or guilt that I thought it would be. I looked at my fat, pale self in the mirror and felt sexy as hell. I felt beautiful. Why should I hide behind someone else's notion of what I should wear? My body is not open for discussion to anyone but me or my husband. For the first time in 3 years (since I put on the G's), I felt proud to be a woman; proud of my curves (and rolls); proud of my body. I didn't realise until that moment just what the "security" of garments had cost. It cost my pride and my love for myself. Never again.
All that being said, the format of this blog is going to change slightly. Since I no longer identify as Mormon, I am going to tone down the critiques of LDS, INC. What I am going to do is talk about how the teachings of conservative religions hurt people, especially women. My big project coming up is a book review. I am review Michael Pearl's Created to Need A Helpmeet.
When we were first married, one of my husband's co-worker's wife gave me the book Created to Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl. They are not LDS authors, but a lot of their teachings make sense to Mormondom. For a good review of that book, please click Libby Anne's blog "Love, Joy, Feminism". Frankly, the book traumatised me. I've always felt like I wasn't a good woman, or at least a good Mormon woman. The notion of sitting at home, cleaning and cooking for my brood of children and adoring husband made me uncomfortable. My own upbringing was less than ideal, and co-worker's wife looked like she had the perfect family. So she handed me this book and said it was the best she ever read on marriage and sometimes it made her throw it across the room, but that's because she needed to work on some things. Needless to say, I read some of it and felt even worse about myself. Basically, the book is a how-to to be a "good Christian wife". Which means submission in everything to male authority. This, coupled with my very LDS background made for a huge pot of crap stew in my head that I'm just now beginning to shake.
Long story short: Though my religious status changed, my views did not. I still think Patriarchy, small mindedness, gender roles, and cultural shaming are wrong. My hope is, through reviewing "Created to Need a HelpMeet", it will show some of the negative effects patriarchy has on men, as well.