The Work of Woman

The world is forever ending,

every generation chasing the same

catastrophes and atrocities their parents

learned before them. Migrating in search

of herds of hatred, anger, and fear to feed upon.

 

But for each inky night that swallows up hope,

there is a woman who stands up,

though her soul is broken,

and crosses the room to light a fire

and places a potato in a pot

or the very last grains of rice,

because stomachs must be fed

and laundry doesn’t care for cataclysm.

 

A woman who, in her grandad’s pickup truck,

her forehead resting against one chapped hand

as she mouths the music on the radio,

drives to the bank for the loan,

because the chemo won’t pay for itself.

 

A woman who rises early for work at the factory

and pins a yellow Star of David on her coat,

because the rent is due, and it’s been almost a month now

since they took father and Misha away.

 

A woman who has watched a thousand men

ascend the ladder ahead of her, but who shows up,

measures her smiles and speaks calmly, firmly,

because her message is important and must not be dismissed.

 

A woman who weeps and arranges the shattered

pieces of her heart into the shape of a poem

to send out into the crumbling world,

because somewhere in the desolation

are the ears of others listening for signs they’re not alone.

 

A woman who leans over the cradle of an infant

she did not birth and will not raise,

but who she will pick up and comfort and feed,

becoming for only a moment a mother

in place of the mother who didn’t make it through the night.

 

A birthright, this numb inertia

that keeps life slowly wading forward

through the scalding lava of destruction

as the world ends

and ends

and ends

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The Work of Woman

Open Letter to the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Dear President Monson,

I’m writing today to thank you for the recent change in policy regarding homosexuals.

The new policy states that LGBT individuals are apostates.

It bars the children of homosexuals from receiving church ordinances.

It prevents them from entering into the church until they are 18 years of age, they no longer live with their parents, and they are willing to condemn same sex marriage.

Thank you for putting this policy into place.

You see, I was confused there for a couple of years.

Way back in 2008, when you were pouring huge amounts of members’ tithing into backing Proposition 8 in California, I said to myself, “This is a perfect example of what the LDS church represents.”

Then Prop 8 was overturned. With a new election cycle, it became obvious that Mitt Romney would be the GOP candidate.

Here at last was another chance at the political power Mormons have craved since the church’s inception.

This is where things got confusing for me.

Suddenly the church was accepting homosexuals, albeit with a stipulation of celibacy.

Openly homosexual members were paraded around to firesides and stake conferences to talk about how accepting and loving the church has been to them.

No longer was the church forcing the horrible practice of “aversion” therapy on its gay members.

No longer was straight marriage and prayer touted as the “cure” to homosexuality.

What an exciting time it must have been for LGBT people of the Mormon faith!

It must have seemed, for a brief moment, that the church was finally starting to progress toward inclusion.

Romney lost the election. Still, for the gay members of the church, they had the sweet relief of no longer having to live in the closet. Of being openly accepted for who they were.

It was very confusing for me. Was this the church I was raised in?

The church that so condemned homosexuality that I witnessed friends endure brutal bullying from the same righteous members who, in Christlike holiness, sat in sacrament meeting taking bread and water?

The church that, as recently as the 1990s, warned members that homosexuality was a disease?

The church that forced cruel and physically painful therapies on homosexual members?

President Monson, your decision to exclude children whose parents are in loving, healthy, stable homosexual marriages, affirmed for me the decision I made when I was 14 years old: to have nothing more to do with your church’s bigotry.

It’s difficult for non-members to understand the impact your policy will have on families within the church.

The church is a pervasive presence for its members.

High schoolers attend seminary daily.

Members attend services or activities several times per week.

Members are “called of God” to serve the church in volunteer positions.

Basic ordinances, like naming of infants (similar to a Christening), baptism, confirmation, the laying on of hands, receiving the priesthood, and temple endowments, are essential within church doctrine for a member to attain the highest kingdom of glory in the afterlife.

With this new policy, gay church members and their children are not just being cut off from a church.They are being cut off from their families, friends, communities, and, essentially, a tremendous part of their own identity as people of faith.

The church uses a highly coordinated communications plan to reinforce predetermined messaging in every aspect of its members’ lives: Sunday School lessons, Relief Society and Priesthood lessons, Young Men and Young Women achievement plans, firesides, conferences, seminary, news outlets, social media, and in home lessons known as Family Home Evening.

In this way, the church both implicitly and explicitly tells members what to read, listen to, watch, think, how to vote, and who to shun.

The most recent of their themes is: “Doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith.”

It’s a pretty way to say, “Don’t question your leaders.”

The church I was raised in taught members to explore their doubts.

We were admonished to “search, ponder, and pray.”

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Church leaders must have figured out that too many people were doing just that: thinking for themselves and recognizing the church’s hypocrisy.

President Monson – I hope this new policy awakens millions of members to abandon your wrong and immoral doctrine.

I hope it becomes a sore that will fester and hurt your brand marketability for decades to come.

I hope that the thousands of active gay Mormons who you just slammed the door on, run as far away from your church as possible and never look back.

I hope too that these members know that there are places of love beyond the church. Places where they will be accepted and loved without judgement.

If love is wrong, I will be wrong.

For I would rather be wrong for the sake of compassion, than righteous in hatred and exclusion.

Thank you for giving me a reason to do what I should have done years ago.

I no longer wish to be formally affiliated with your church.

I am an apostate.

Remove me from your rolls.

Open Letter to the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints