Friday, June 30, 2006

For Christ's Sake

Sophie has been invited to a Primary activity.

Of my vast readership, (you know--all 10 of you) I'm assuming that about 4 of you know what that means, and maybe half that know what it means to me.

Basically, Primary is the children's section of the LDS (Mormon) church. Primary is where Mormon kids go on Sunday to learn about Joseph Smith and following the prophet and families can be together forever and Jesus wants me for a sunbeam and genealogy and going to the temple and repentance and all that other wacked out shit.

Occasionally, the Primary has an activity during the week--something fun but definitely church related. Kids are encouraged to invite "non-member" and "inactive" friends, in order to "fellowship" them. One of the basic tenents of the LDS church is "Every member a missionary."

So--yesterday, when Emily's mom came to pick her up, she asked, very sweetly, if Soph wanted to go with Em to the Primary activity tomorrow/today. PROBABLY Em's mom assumed that we're LDS. PROBABLY she was being her very sweet self and just wanted Em to have someone to hang out with. OR she caught on to the fact that I'm a Mormon in Recovery and thought she'd do her part to get me back in the fold--via my daughter.

Erik's mom asked a while back if she could start taking Soph to church. I said, in my head, not only no but HELL NO. Out loud, I said, thanks, but no thanks. What I should have said, to steel some writing from a little fiction I've been working on is, "Look you guys, I appreciate all you've done for me and for Soph, but frankly, I think your religion is crazy. It's oppressive toward women, and creates an environment of hypocrisycy and duplicity. Plus, Joseph Smith was a total sociopath, and Brigham Young did it ALL for the nookie. Your god is an asshole. Mine? Well, she's a little more understanding. "

From here on out, it's just going to get worse and weirder. I remember being in church, and thinking of the poor kids whose parents were inactive, how we would try and call them, and include them, and kind of feel sorry for them, and think we were all benevolent and so doing the right thing. It makes me want to absolutely hurl to think of anyone thinking of Sophie in that way.

On the other hand--she would be out of the house, and out of my hair for most of the afternoon.


~A~ said...

*sigh* that is a toughy. You don't want to offend Em's mom but at the same time you need to stand your ground. With family it's a little easier to tell them where to stick it because in the end they're stuck with you anyway. Friends on the other hand can go away forever.

Hmmmmmmmm, I dunno. I haven't been there. I've had some touch and go with other fundy Christians but no outright invites. Heck the LDS boys won't even walk up my drive way. Either they heard about my last blow out when they told me that the kids and I were going to burn in hell. *heh* that was a good one, I was quick that day. Or else my faeries are keeping them back.

Melessa said...

"On the other hand--she would be out of the house, and out of my hair for most of the afternoon."

ROTFL! It is comments and like this that keep this LDS lurking mama coming back for more! Don't worry, there are no ulterior motives in my reading. I just love the way you write. The fact that you live in Utah makes you a braver woman than me.

JJisafool said...

Oh, yeah, MJ, I'm feelin' you here. In mycase it is mostly in-laws I have to negotiate this with, as my ma-in-law in particular is born again into the cult of Christ-was-an-awesome-dude. Sympathize with the pragmatic "free babysitting?" angle, too.

Wish I could have seen the A vs LDS (battle of the abbreviations!) throwdown. I had a Mohawk best friend back east that saw them coming up the driveway, quickly took off his shirt (6'4" and fairly ripped 230), let down his hair (nearly to his ass), and threw open the door screaming war woops. I got to witness that one. Good times.

amandak said...

Oh boy. Mom called me yesterday to remind me to pack a dress for Madeline, just in case they might have to take her to church. WHAT was she thinking? It was all I could do not to scream, "Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME??" into the phone.

Soo, Clark's under firm instructions not to let that happen. Hold firm, cause you know if you give them an inch, they'll take a yard.

thelyamhound said...

Damn!! I can't seem to pull my writing together today . . .

Sorry for the (2nd) delete and repost, but I looked at the thing after I posted it, and realized I'd take a chimpanzee with a concussion (which is apparently precisely what I am this morning) to task for such egregious grammar.

I hope you made it clear in your "thanks-but-no-thanks" that you're NOT LDS, so as to avoid any confusion. In fact, I'd try to spread that word out as much as possible, so that any such future "subversions" can clearly be identified as attempts to convert your daughter against your will. Then you'll know exactly how much patience and deference you owe.

My in-laws have, to their credit, managed to accept their manic-depressive, pantheistic/nihilistic, bohemian son-in-law despite their fervent (if occasionally confused) beliefs. I wonder, though, what happens if and when we succeed at adopting children, and we raise them as Nichiren Buddhists. That's gonna be interesting . . .

NME said...

Maybe you should take that little speech and have it printed on business cards to give to friends and neighbors. Hell, give Soph a stack to carry in her book bag.

Stine said...

Dude, no.

So the last few months, I "had" been seeing the visiting teachers. I told them everything about me...EVERYTHING...told them I was bisexual, a Buddhist, an actress, and a Democrat. So who knew, it didn't scare them off. I told them I would talk to them if there was NO talk of me going back to church. I told them that if they wanted to discuss spirituality, and have an exchange of ideas and information, I'd be happy to talk to them. They came for a few months, much idle chitchat followed. I finally told them two months ago that I expected them to have a spiritual message to deliver and that I wanted to discuss my views on it. They got excited and said fine.

Cut to a few weeks later, missionaries show up at my door on a Saturday afternoon while I'm giving a rub. Called the sisters and told them that I didn't appreciate it and that the visits needed to stop because I knew that me coming back to church would ALWAYS be the bottom-line motive in speaking with me, and that this wasn't acceptable to me.

Cut to a week later, a female missionary calls me at 8:fucking30 in the morning on a Saturday asking for "Sister White"...

I lost my shit. Moral of this very long tail, don't do it man, because you, I, Mandy know, that there will always be a bottom line desire to fellowship you.

My very long .02

Katy said...

I wasn't going to say anything because well...anyway. I just want to say that the bottom line isn't always to fellowship someone. The bottom line is that they, we are good people. True there are the crazies out there that feed the stigma that we're all a bunch of bible thumping lunatics. Do what you want, but try not to get bogged down in stereotypes that you know aren't always the case.

JJisafool said...

I wonder, though, what happens if and when we succeed at adopting children, and we raise them as Nichiren Buddhists.

Well, that's easy, Ly. Said children will burn in a lake of eternal fire.

Missuz J said...

Love you Katy.

Obviously many of my favorite people on the planet are LDS.

That said, I think that I'm close enough to this issue to address it without stereotypes. I'm not suggesting that all Mormons have more than one wife (which they don't) or are brainwashed (which they aren't) or any of a number of other things that people believe erroniously about "the church."

BUT, I am in a better place than you to know how those of us who have "left the fold" are perceived and treated.

I do have anger toward the church as an institution--but not toward individual members. I hope you know that.

Stine said...

Just to clarify K, I know Mormons aren't all crazies, the visiting teachers I spoke with were very nice women.

Perhaps I should have been more specific in saying that in my 36 years of experience, generally speaking the Mormons I have encountered have had the intention of fellowshipping most people they meet. Doesn't mean this is always the case, and some Mormons are very happy to live and let live. I hope you understand where my comment came from, after asking over, and over again to not have missionaries visit me or call me, no one would listen. It gets a little frustrating.

That is all.

And JJ, they'll have two strikes against them, they will be adopted AND Buddhist.

the beige one said...

I'm not suggesting that all Mormons have more than one wife (which they don't)


Man, that was the one thing that would've brought me over...

Erik said...


You didn't tell me my mom asked if she could take Sophie to church.

Regardless, please don't think my parents will always have an underlying "missionary" intention.

Remember, they did allow all the kids to make our own religous choices by age 12.

A decision they honored as you well know. Both Heather and I never went back.

My dad even allowed - or better put - "turned a blind eye" to big sis smoking Marlboro Reds in the back yard at age 14.

Also remember that I can count the active LDS church members of my family on one hand...

I guess what I'm saying is, my mom may have wanted to expose Sophie to some shit - but ultimately, she's definitely not walking around thinking our little family is going to "burn in the afterlife."

She's cool.

thelyamhound said...

Sweetest Katy, I sympathize with your plight. Trouble is, dogma has poisoned this whole well, and it's hard--night to impossible, really--to avoid second-guessing everyone's motives.

That said, I think the fact that the function to which she was being invited is, if not exactly suspicious, at least reasonably worthy of some analysis. If the shoe were on the other foot, only it was a Wiccan inviting your (hypothetical) daughter to a neo-pagan family function, would you not have misgivings? It's sometimes hard to differentiate between such misgivings and outright intolerance; I think the real difference is in the mode of expression, which is why we have to be careful in terms of how we say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

We actually had some members of 'Stine's family walk out on a show we were in quite a number of years back . . . before MY scene, no less, which turned it from a mere rude gesture to something I had trouble not taking as a personal affront. Now our show wasn't necessarily a religious expression (except in that I have a religious fervor for all art, that which I consume and that which I help to create), but their leaving it was. To me, their "thanks, but no thanks" was delivered in an awkward confrontational matter. On the other hand, they may have wondered why we invited them to so decadent a show (funny enough, 'Stine and I have been so distant from such terminal squareness for so long that it never even occurred to us that it would have been offensive, or have been seen as "religious"--or rather, "irreligious"--in nature). Just goes to show that sometimes there's no way to navigate these waters without someone getting wet.