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6/17/14

They were right all along. (Guest Submission)


This is a guest post in response to the possible excommunication of John Dehlin and Kate Kelly

They were right  all along.  

by Liffey Banks


                                     
Since the news that the church was pursuing discipline against Kate, I have many friends and acquaintances that have been patting themselves on the back for being right about me and my feminist sisters and allies. At first this made me angry. But then it made me really angry. Why? Because they’re right! Everything I believed and have trusted in is non-existent. The emperor has no clothes.

I believed that the church was inclusive. I believed that the Gospel net gathers fish of every kind. You can be any kind of person with any kind of opinion and be a disciple.

I believed that the restoration was ongoing. That there were many great and wonderful things yet to be revealed. So many scriptural and historical clues pointed to the eventual ordination of women to fulfill our divine role as priestesses in the heavens.

I believed that petitioning the Lord through His leaders was a prayer not "to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them.” I believed the lesson of the brother of Jared: sometimes the Lord leaves it up to us to figure out a way forward, and then ask for a miracle.

I believed that there could be theological pluralism, that even among the top leaders of the church, there is amicable disagreement, and that was okay.

I believed that admitting your doubts was a sacred step toward Christ himself, who didn't withhold mercy and miracles even for the father who said, "help thou my unbelief."

But I was wrong about everything. This isn’t a big-tent; that’s just our PR campaign. Tiny administrative changes are our modern substitute for “revelation.” Petitioning is fine, as long as it’s private and has no chance of being heard by anyone else. Pluralism is unacceptable. If you think differently, fine, but don’t open your mouth. And for heaven's sake, don't doubt. Ever.

The church I thought I belonged to, the church I loved, does not exist. I do not recognize the LDS church anymore.

6 comments:

brad said...

That is real, heartfelt, and lovely. I'm so glad you wrote this and I hope many will read it. Thank you so much.

Melody said...

I was stunned. Blind-sided. All of the feelings about thinking the church was inclusive was how I felt. Before.

After that, I still wanted to work things out with the church. My mind happened upon "Love Runs Out" by One Republic and it became my themesong -
"'Cause we'll work it out, yeah we'll work it out.
I'll be doin' this, if you had a doubt,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
I got my mind made up, man, I can't let go.
I'm killing every second 'til it saves my soul.
(Ooh) I'll be running, (Ooh) I'll be running,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
And we'll start a fire, and we'll shut it down,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out."

But about a couple of days ago, I felt like the love had run out. I was pretty numb for a bit, trying to figure out what was left.

Then I remembered Brene Brown and her talks on shame and vulnerability, and I found this quote on her fb page: "A sense of worthiness inspires us to be vulnerable, share openly, and persevere. Shame keeps us small, resentful, and afraid." ~ Brene Brown

And I saw things for how they were: everyone that was trying to keep things quiet - the leaders, the true believers - they were using shame to try to bully us/me into getting back in the back of the bus where I belong. But I can't get back on.



Melody said...

I was stunned. Blind-sided. All of the feelings about thinking the church was inclusive was how I felt. Before.

After that, I still wanted to work things out with the church. My mind happened upon "Love Runs Out" by One Republic and it became my themesong -
"'Cause we'll work it out, yeah we'll work it out.
I'll be doin' this, if you had a doubt,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
I got my mind made up, man, I can't let go.
I'm killing every second 'til it saves my soul.
(Ooh) I'll be running, (Ooh) I'll be running,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
And we'll start a fire, and we'll shut it down,
'Til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out."

But about a couple of days ago, I felt like the love had run out. I was pretty numb for a bit, trying to figure out what was left.

Then I remembered Brene Brown and her talks on shame and vulnerability, and I found this quote on her fb page: "A sense of worthiness inspires us to be vulnerable, share openly, and persevere. Shame keeps us small, resentful, and afraid." ~ Brene Brown

And I saw things for how they were: everyone that was trying to keep things quiet - the leaders, the true believers - they were using shame to try to bully us/me into getting back in the back of the bus where I belong. But I can't get back on.



wendipooh13 said...

well written and well put, I was always hoping there was a place for everyone, where ever their trail or path led too. I was hoping that was true so I could feel like I fit in more.

Liffey Banks said...

thanks for the support! since I wrote this I'm feeling a lot less raw and desperate and I'm so grateful for this safe space to express that initial reaction.

M.L. Lyons said...

When I was little, I thought adults were very knowledgeable. Then, I started getting into arguments at a rather young age with my primary teachers who seemed to love preaching their own personal spiel instead of the lesson - things like the Mayan apocalypse and "it was OK to sin just this one time". Then I was angry - very angry for a long time and the world made no sense, and I was just mad about it. Then I grew up and realized the abuse I received as a child from adults was wrong. It took me a long time to get beyond that and learn to be forgiving and understanding, and to understand that I needed to shift responsibility for my faultiness from those who helped create it so that I could overcome it.
I could quote a lot of scriptures, but the sum of it is this. You are the person who is responsible to discern what is right for you. You must be brave enough to act on those decisions and face the consequences. Charity is greater than any authority. And perseverance takes a long time.
Women have a long history of being persecuted.
I have long been frustrated with the inequalities I and others have experienced in the church, but the church is made up of flawed people and sinners like me. It is my responsibility to do my best to overcome the troubles I find, but for a long time I have felt defeated and haven't even wanted to try - just go through the motions of religious observance because I thought I was the only one around who cared about many things. I do not join with the OW movement, but I greatly admire them. They gave me hope that our leaders would hear the voice of the few. They have inspired me to know my religion better. They have inspired me to try to love the selfish, arrogant, and contentious better. They may have not succeeded in helping me overcome gender inequalities exist in the church by opening the mouths of the prophets to bless us with answers and a better way of living, but they have succeeded in helping me renew some hope that I thought was long dead.