Saturday, June 1, 2013

Unrighteous Dominion

Every time I think I might make it back to activity as a Mormon, something like this happens, and I realize that I cannot run the priesthood gauntlet.  I cannot live at peace in a community where my standing is constantly hostage to the whims of another man who thinks he speaks for God more than I do.  I can be respectful and even politely deferent to peers, people whom I can respect without obeying subserviently, but I cannot submit my moral autonomy unilaterally to another person, no matter what calling he claims.

I cannot refuse to express my perspective on reality honestly and openly when people ask for it.  I cannot pretend that I think it evil and wrong where I do not.  To do so appears to me profoundly immoral, and such abject obeisance was never part of Mormonism as I aspired to practice it before realizing that my ideas of the religion were impossibly naive--and unpopular with the current crop of LDS Mormon leaders.  Judging from the experience of Tom Kimball linked above, they have it in for people like me; if we come back into the fold and try to participate honestly, then they will run us out as wolves in sheep's clothing.  I don't have the stomach to play Bruno to their Inquisition.

Forced to choose between speaking my truth (which I do not aim to speak to exclusion of other viewpoints) and participating in the church, I pick the former.  I cannot lie about myself, about my life, about reality as I live and breathe it.  I cannot let people assume I endorse ideas that I do not endorse, that I see myself as evil or degenerate for standing apart from practices or preachments that my experience finds more harmful than not.  I am not anti-Mormon, but neither am I anti-me, and I will not be so.  I do not believe that goodness or God demands such self-loathing.  My life teaches me the opposite.  Learning to love others non-pathologically requires learning to treat yourself with respect, too.  I cannot extend to you the trust I refuse to have in myself, ever.  I cannot submit to your judgement usefully if I have no opinion of my own, if you own my integrity more than I do always and without question.  I am the only one responsible for me.  I answer for my sins.  Not you.  And I answer to my conscience, to God, and to the community where my actions have meaning.  Not to you.  I need good counselors, not dictators or tyrants (like Tom Kimball's priesthood leaders).  Leadership is no excuse for bullies to run roughshod over the lives of people just as human as they are.

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