Recently on the email list for the Association for Mormon Letters the following was posted in response to some queries about if males could contribute poetry to Segulla, an online magazine of Mormon women's writings.
'We’ve established a prose column for male contributors. [?¢Ç¨¬¶] This is the sole forum available for men at Segullah. We will not accept men’s poetry or artwork. Our prose and poetry contests continue to be open to women only. [?¢Ç¨¬¶] In a religious culture which embraces the belief that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose,” we feel the atmosphere created in our journal has a unique purpose and significance.'
This started me thinking about women’s literary journals, women’s art books, women’s forums, women’s movements, and what we men could possibly get out of it all. For example, what would happen if men (Mormon men in particular) started carving out a publication space just for themselves?
Hi feminists (I’m a cheerleader for your team in my spandex shorts), I know what you’re saying: 'Historically men have established themselves as the norm (let's start with the book of Genesis, Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, and then continue down a mile long list that will include an ocean liner of Mormon GAs). This premise is so deeply embedded in our culture that most publications are inherently ?¢Ç¨Àúmen’s' publications even if they don't know it.' I would tend to agree.
However, I’m trying to talk about something different.
Feminists have done a good job carving out places where specifically female issues can be talked about skillfully in specifically female ways. They had to carve this place out amidst plenty of opposition, and it has created some fascinating insights into the human condition. Where would we be without Carol Gilligan, or Gloria Steinem, or Susan Griffin? (all female, I might point out) One of the best things they accomplished was throwing off the deeply ingrained cultural definitions of what it is to be female, enabling them to redefine themselves.
I think feminism's triumph in this area has created an opportunity for men to do the same thing.
For a long time, when men were the “norm,” we thought our point of view was the privileged one. But now we know better. Now we know that our voice is one of many.
It's true that right now there are plenty of opportunities for Mormon men to get together in an exclusive context (read: priesthood meetings in all their diversity and abundance). The problem is, as far as I have been able to see, the conversation that goes on those contexts is inundated by very old and tenacious ideas of what being a man means (the patriarchal model, the authority model, the heirarchical model). The conversation is dominated by reinforcements of that model, rather than an opening up to new possibilities.
I'm starting to wonder what a Mormon male-only publication would read like. When in a space where we can throw off conventions that no longer resonate with us, what might be the first to go? What conventions would we start tweaking? What conventions would we give more priority to?
A Mormon male-only publication – we could call it EQ with a glossy cover and – wait, I may be going down the wrong track here…
As to your questions, I’m not sure. The focused movements and publications tend to be those who have motivation to achieve specific ends or advancements. I can see how that translates into a vibrant discussion, but I wonder if such a discussion among men would be sustainable? Is there something that we, collectively, would seek with sufficient fervor to engage in the manner that would be required?
I think there are interesting and viable conversations to have – is it possible to have those in established forums? Or is this something that would require, and be sustainable in, an exclusive venue?
Yeah, good question.
Just for fun, let’s say the first issue is on erotica (a.k.a. pornography), everyone’s favorite taboo subject. Having a critical discussion about erotica without women around. Well, that would be pretty interesting. It is never ever talked about in Mormon culture except as a “plague to be avoided at all costs.”
From my own limited point of view, I think the plauge notion is one of the reasons why so many Mormon men (according to Conference talks) are so intrigued by portrayals of eros. That which is forbidden is often seductive, and if we don’t know how to approach it skillfully, it can bring us down.
It would be interesting to approach this subject as something we can actually talk about without calling each other to repentance or adjourning to Joe’s Adult Movie Shack.
One article could be about the history of erotica in sacred contexts (those crazy temples in India for example). Another about how some couples use it in their intimate life. Another on the line (or lack thereof) between constructive and destructive approaches to renditions of sexual scenarios (Rodin vs. Hustler). Another about how various religious authors have approached the subject.
The next issue could be about work.
We Mormons are freaks about work. We’re constantly at it. Our turbo charged capitalist, keep up with the Jones’, achievement-oriented society certainly has a hand in our obsession. Men are quite affected by this. They work at their jobs, then they work on civic activities, then they work on church activities, and from time to time they wonder what happened to their lives. I’ll bet some men feel trapped by the workload put upon them. I’ll bet other men just can’t get enough of it, but when they get to the climax of a job, they wonder why they don’t feel fulfilled.
One article could compare the way Mormon men work with the rest of the country. Another could focus on how Mormon men feel about women entering the marketplace – how it affects their sense of worth. Another could be a survey of how much time men spend on work vs activities they really enjoy. Another could be about men who have managed to actually find a way to enjoy their work, using it as a nourishing act rather than a sapping act. Another could compare Weber’s Protestant work ethic with the Mormon work ethic.
Then we could hit the idea of authority, priesthood, children, mid-life crises, dying we could go on and on. Of course, a blog would have to be attached to this publication so we could talk about all this stuff.
I learn a lot by hanging out with feminists. I can gripe about patriarchy and explore the workings of dominant gender stereotypes. But my presence always limits conversation in a variety of ways: I don’t have much to add to conversations about nursing babies or menstruation. Women who feel intimidated by a male presence may remain silent. I’m a big advocate of female-only spaces and male+female feminist conversations.
But I’m also a proponent of what Stephen is suggesting as well. I’d like to see the creation of spaces where men can discuss male-specific issues that break the” patriarchal/authority/hierarchical” models. We need a space where we can discuss the following:
How to become more nurturing, sensitive, empathetic, listening.
How to feel less resentful when our wives earn more or are more successful than we are.
How to draw the line between healthy appreciation of a woman’s body and sexuality and the outright objectification of women.
The costs of being a man in the LDS church and in our society. (e.g. being ‘tough’, limiting of emotional expression, pressure to be the sole fiancial provider for a family, etc.)
How to communicate by sharing experiences and feelings, instead of relying wholly on rational argumentation.
Problems associated with having more institutional religious authority and power than the women in our lives.
I think that some of these subjects could be (and have been) discussed in Elder’s Quorum, but because I think that many members would feel limited in their freedom to criticize or question patriarchal norms. I think that web-spaces like this would be ideal for this sort of conversation.
Shoot, I didn’t mean to ignore your last comment (#2), Stephen, but it wasn’t there when I started typing comment #3! 🙂
Hey John, looks like me ‘n’ you have similar ideas. You did a much better job at identifying loci of conversation than I did, though.
Are there any forums like that out there already, or does it need to be started from scratch?
So where does fight club and football fit in?
Okay, seriously, I can see the value and where you are going – but part of this would have to be balanced by an appreciation of what it is to be male, testosterone and all, right?
I do want to be nurturing, sensitive, empathetic, listening – especially as a husband and father. And I would certainly be interested in the merits and techniques of communicating by sharing experiences and feelings, but I also happen to like being biased toward rationality (note, this is NOT being written as a blanket stereotype), and I’m looking forward to sitting down tonight in front of the TV to tune in to SPIKE or ESPN and watch a good fight.
Jeez, I’m coming off here as being threatened. Am I making sense? Any Man Forum would have to address openly the challenges we face, but also celebrate our – for lack of a better term – manliness? No?
Rory, you’re making perfect sense, and let me be the first to say that while I’m in favor of challenging stereotypes of masculinity, I’m not saying that we should abandon all that defines it in our society. But I think what we’re suggesting is that the places where these attributes are valued exist in abundance. I’m not even asking for equal time for a more critical discussion–just some time, and a place.
Stephen, thank you so much for bringing this topic up–you’ve just created such a forum! Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with very many of such places–isolated blogs, mostly. One of the best resources is Hugo Schwyzer’s personal blog. Hugo is a straight, pro-life, pro-feminist, Episcopalian church youth leader and gender studies professor. He’s got a lot of cred in the feminist blogosphere, and regularly tackles male issues in ways that challenge both mainstream society’s norms and accepted feminist approaches.
Again, as has been the case in the resonses to Stephen’s article Assending and Descendiing, there are no female respondants so far. Of all the subjects for women to comment on in concert with us guys, this should be the one. I miss their voices.
Let’s see if I can inch up on this.
How many of you guys are familiar with the concept of the “anima”, i.e. the feminine aspect of the male? (Corresponding to the “animus” in the female.) We guys all have this feminine aspect, which Jung called the anima, but we are generally unconscious of it–especially good Mormon priesthood holders. When a male “falls in love” with a female, for example, that is usually an indicator of having projected his anima (an interior self-aspect) onto an exterior female. Trouble begins when the projection (his interior aspect) does not fit the reality of the external female, and she doesn’t behave like he wants or expects. The dead give away is when he finally says, “Oh, you aren’t who I thought you were.” Or, “I don’t know you anymore,” etc. That’s because the projection was unrealistic to begin with. Such is the hazard of “falling in love”. You’re listening to a guy who knows what he’s talking about. Further, it is definately not cool to marry one’s anima–it’s not fair to either party, because that’s a set-up for a big time power struggle long term. Especially for temple marrieds.
I’d be willing to bet that our old Brother Joseph unconsciously projected his anima onto a whole lot of females and tried to get those projections to stick. Some females accepted the projection, others didn’t. He had trouble with the latter type. Lots of trouble.
I suspect that most Mormon men, especially those virtuous RMs fresh off their missions, are really susceptible to projecting their animas onto the first females that smile at them, whether on or off their missions. It’s good to get acquainted with you anima before you mistake her for somebody else.
What do you think or feel about that?
I dig the idea. Where can I sign up? I like the idea of an online forum, but a face-to-face meeting with real-time conversation would also be very productive. (And it need not take place out in the woods with beating drums… but it could, I guess?) 🙂 But I love all of the topics put forth so far.
It seems at a minimum men should be getting together to talk about evolving womens roles. If 1/2 of the population is redefining what it means to be them, shouldn’t the other 1/2 discuss what is happening, not just to better understand the evolving half, but also to understand its impact on the, er, non-evolving half? When women redefine their roles does it happen in a vacuum? Certainly there is an interior component that is private — “This is who I (woman) am, not who you (men, others) say I am” — but the exterior component — how you (men, or others) relate to me (woman) — is just as important.
So, switching gears… when John talks about not having much to add to such topics as nursing babies or menstruation, I wonder if we have equivalent male topics? Are such topics sexual– like masturbation, sexual performance issues (like impotence, erectile dysfunction, etc.), sexual addiction, or uh, penis envy? Do men need or want to talk about these things? Or would an equivalent male topic be, like, hair loss.
Fascinating discussion. When I was writing my response for the AML list I was tempted to say (to the disappointed would-be contributor), “Why don’t you start a men’s journal?” but couldn’t figure out how to say it without sounding catty.
As I said in the AML post, a mixed-gender publication is no more or less valuable than agender- exclusive one, but it will inevitably be different. I’m confident that a women-only submissions policy (or close to it) enables Segullah to be something it couldn’t be otherwise. I believe the same would be true for a publication that focuses on male experiences.
I hope you guys really do start one. I’d love to read it.
Welcome Kathy! What a relief to break the feminine drought.
So, here’s some questions for you men: do you think that the very concept of getting together and talking about your experiences is something “too girly” for some? Do you think one reason why women’s spaces, journals, etc evolve more frequently is because women are more prone to gather and talk (and write) about their lives?
Kathy S. Asks:
So, here?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s some questions for you men: do you think that the very concept of getting together and talking about your experiences is something ?¢Ç¨?ìtoo girly?¢Ç¨¬ù for some? Do you think one reason why women?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s spaces, journals, etc evolve more frequently is because women are more prone to gather and talk (and write) about their lives?
Yes, and yes. I’m not sure that “too girly” is the appropriate phrase, but the fact of the matter is, men don’t like to talk about their “feelings” with anybody, let alone other men. I’m not certain if it’s a matter of brain chemistry or cultural norms, but that’s the way it is.
I enjoy watching “Dr. Phil” (so, shoot me), but I wouldn’t go on that show and talk about my life for all of the tea in China. (Not that I have anything interesting to discuss.) I’m always amazed that so many women will go on national television and “let it all hang out.”
It’s not just a Mormon thing either. I don’t know how non-Western cultures affect men in terms of such discussions, but istm that it’s a fairly common European trait, passed on to us Americans, that we “simply don’t discuss those things.”
If there were a demand for a male-oriented publication devoted to discussions of male “issues”, other than sex and hunting, there would be one by now. The only way most men would subscribe to such a publication is if it were delivered in a plain, brown envelope, and had a picture of a gun on the cover.
My husband is continually amazed (and dismayed) at the intimaticy of conversation that springs up spontaneously between women who barely know each other. We had a new couple in the ward over for dinner, and within 5 minutes I was telling the wife about how I had my toenail ripped off at the podiatrist’s. She didn’t bat an eye, but both men looked incredulous.
I think body-talk starts early for women and only intensifies as they reach childbearing age. What’s the big deal about a bloody toenail when you’re used to talking about bloody discharge and bloody nipples?
Another case in point: relationship-talk. My husband’s female co-worker was trying to squeeze info out of him regarding a male co-worker she’s attracted to (my husband works closely with this guy on a small-team project). “Is he seeing anyone?” she asked my husband. “How the heck would I know?” he said. “Well, don’t you work with him every day? How can you spend hours a day with someone and not know if they’re dating?” she said. How, indeed? But there you have it.
But it seems to me that men chat pretty freely on the blogs I read. Even about their personal lives. Why do you think that is?
A fascinating idea you have here. Clearly these are all questions we never got to in EQ in Fairbanks. The fact that as men we feel like we have to ask if it would be “okay” or somehow “acceptable” to have an all-male Mormon publication is an indication of the very fact that such a publication is NECESSARY, even vital. While it may be true that in the past, especially our past, the all-male demographic ruled the day, it is also true that in today’s world, where every sub-grouping and cult you can possibly imagine can have its own voice, would it be so wrong to give voice to the all-male Mormons who feel existential angst (however SMALL that group may be)??
Central to such a voice must be questions that address life for the single Mormon male. Why is it that single Mormon men are regarded somehow to be failures? Why must they be married to be considered equal? The most difficult issue: as a single man, why is my ticket to the Celestial Kingdom denied? Why do Mormons define manhood as being a breadwinner, getting married and having kids? Is there no other definition of “what it means to be a man”? Beyond the obvious scriptural and doctrinal restrictions, why is the Mormon culture so anti-single? When the Elder’s Quorum is full of married, have-kids fathers, what does the single man do when every week every lesson is about how to be a good dad? (And why do those Elders generally sleep through the lesson??)
You’ve heard the old saying: behind every good Priesthood holder is a better woman. In my experience, I would say that generally, this is true. So are single men BAD priesthood holders?
The greatest irony of all: how is it that Mormon women are the one’s who wear the pants? (Speaking metaphorically, of course.)
As always, Brother Carter, you get to the heart of the matter. Semper Fi.
As the feminist movement has (thankfully) progressed, the church has taken some interesting turns. We continually hear that women are inherently “more spiritual,” as if a pair of ovaries were somehow the equivalent of a Urim and Thummim. We hear talks, both local and general, that ridicule men, but never, ever women. Compare Mother’s Day vs. Father’s Day sacrament meeting talks. On Mother’s Day, you hear earthly mothers glorified. On Father’s Day, you hear a few nods toward earthly fathers (in wards that even bother to recognize Father’s Day—some don’t). Instead, you hear a great deal about how wonderful *Heavenly* father is, along with some supposedly good-natured jabs at how silly and foolish earthly fathers are. Oddly enough, most of this behavior is by men, rather than by women. The “social norm” has turned anti-male, at least in public discourse.
Yes, this is relevant to your question—let me explain. When I served in elders quorum presidencies, I was always interested to watch reactions to proposed quorum activities. These men were convinced that it was WRONG for them to have a quorum activity which consisted of only the men. Some argued that doing so was violating the importance of the family. Others (perhaps the more honest ones?) argued that their wives would be furious at such a thing, despite the fact that sisters’ activities are almost always sisters-only. The double standard is remarkable, and even more remarkable, it is enforced by the men upon themselves.
As much as I think your idea of a male journal is needed and brilliant, I suspect these attitudes would be a big obstacle.
So, Eugene, is this animus stuff the reason why men are always falling in love with strippers and porn stars and prostitutes? Because she has everything: the availble, sculpted body, the knowledge of how to get him riled up, and that accepting look in her eyes?
You’re saying he projects the female part of him on her because she’s willing to be a mirror?
“Hey, I have a good looking anima.”
I can totally see what you’re saying though. My wife and I knew each other quite well for about five years before we got married. But now, as I look back I see that in many ways I was projecting my anima on her (for some reason that just sounds perverse). She was always looking to please people, always getting A’s, working her little hiney off at work, etc. So she was set up receive that projection pretty well.
It’s only been the last few years that I’ve started discovering how much more interesting she is when she’s being herself (even when that means she’s grumpy). Maybe I was lucky and just started getting tired of the female half of myself and wanted someone a little more interesting around.
Which is still pretty egotistical. But I never claimed to be anything else.
Gotta empathize with you in post #6 Rory.
Fight Club is one of my very favorite movies. Brad Pitt’s characters kick major butt. I loved him in Fight Club, I loved him in Seven, I loved him in Mr. and Mrs. Smith (“that’s 100 percent Mr. Smith you have there, honey”) and I heard he’s going to play John Galt in a film version of Atlas Shrugged.
I don’t think I’d like Brad much in person. But his characters – I wish I could be that manly.
I wouldn’t want this hypothetical blog (EQ, I love it) to cater to only thinkabilly types. I’d want all the elements of masculinity represented. The only requirements would be that no one could call anyone else a pansy or a chauvinist, and that everything is up for questioning. You’d be welcome to say, “this is what I believe” but not, “this is what you should believe lest we question the existence of your family jewels.” Both Robert Smith and Jesse “The Body” Ventura should be welcome.
I’d LOVE to discuss why you love Spike so much. Or why you record Desperate Housewives on your TiVo.
Fantastic list of questions that require deep discussion. I hereby invite you to be a permablogger on the hypothetical but probably soon to be all too real Mormon men only blog.
Women can only post if they pretend they’re men. 😉
Let’s see, who else would we need? How about a permablogger looking at the Mormon male from a divorced point of view, a homosexual point of view, a football lovin’, WWF watchin’, wrestling coach point of view, a culture-other-than-american point of view, a postMormon point of view, a psychologist’s point of view, … who else do we need?
And what should we call this hypothetical venture? (Sorry Rory, EQ is already taken on blogger.com)
NIck, your comment is a post all in itself. We have about half a dozen comments here so far that could well bear oceans of future discussion. You’re right, there does seem to be a male-hating element to the Church doesn’t there? I think that’s partly a reaction to feminism and Mormon male’s ignorance of how it’s affecting them.
Oh boy, back in my feminist days I could’ve had a heyday with some of these comments.
The deification of mothers on Mother’s day (as well as the rest of the year) does not serve women well. This is one reason why so many Mormon women dread the occasion (and one reason why so many Mormon mothers suffer from a guilt complex).
I think it’s highly possible that in wards without a high degree of camraderie in the quorums, many men wouldn’t want male-only EQ activities because they have no idea how to relate to each other without their wives around. Not that men don’t know how to hang out, but rather that they might be more uncomfortable hanging out with guys that they’re not actually friends with (and may not be inclined to be friends with) without women there to do the social networking/lubrication. Am I wrong?
(And I for one would gladly send my husband off to play paint ball).
I don’t like the stupid-father jokes either (anyone here read the Berenstain Bears?). But any feminist could lecture you about the power play involved there. It’s like the making-fun-of-the-boss jokes that serve bosses so well–gives the underlings the illusion of power.
But since these are no longer my feminist days I’ll leave it at that.
and btw, we welcome male commentors on Segullah’s blog (http://segullah.org/blog/).
Stephen! That Desperate Housewives comment was via email – you’ve outed me! Yes, my TiVo is set to record DH every Sunday – I’m hooked. 🙂 And as far as Spike, I record the Ultimate Fighter “reality” show, a mixed martial arts bloodfest. Love it!
And Kathy, you write:
Bingo! I have a few friends, but I’m not very interested in being buddies with a lot of people. I haven’t time, and don’t want to spend the energy. With work and family the focus of attention, I’m content to have a small circle of friends with similar interests. Otherwise it seems manufactured and requires just too much effort.
So, to sum up my comments on this thread, I’m a fight loving, anti-social, reality-tv addict. How sad.
I’ll put in my vote that I think that feminists should support a male forum. There is a benefit to women for there to be a forum for men to discuss issues that are maybe a little more intimate than say you might discuss in the Ensign or other more public discourses. If we go with the premise that bottling up emotions is bad in the same way that a boiler needs a release valve, a forum for men provides the opportunity for men to slowly release that pressure in a productive manner in a different method than just beating each other up on the football field/basketball court. In the same way that women share ideas on what works for them, maybe men can do the same, benefiting themselves, and therefore benefiting their relationships.
If anyone wants a very interesting read on men and their social interactions, read “Self Made Man: One Woman’s Journey Into Manhood and Back” by Norah Vincent. Norah passed herself off as a man for a year and a half to study men. She joined a bowling league, an overtly mascule job, and a monastary. I found it a fascinating insight into gender, masculinity, social groups and perception. I would recommend it to anyone.
Kathy, I think you have broken something open for us! At least for me!
Suddenly I understand something that I didn’t get before. At last a few things are beginning to make sense to me and I hope you will stick with us (me) to help midwife (no offense) what seems to me to be new understanding.
A few folks out there know me and some of my background. Of those few I suspect many, if not most, are embarrassed by my openness. I say “embarrassed” because when I dared to tell it as straight (though often bizarre) as I know how at the recent SL symposium, I am met by silence. Not that I need anybody?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s blessings or encouragement. Actually, I had initially feared presenting that paper and being viewed as an exhibitionist. In that fear, I almost withdrew the paper before coming to the symposium. But something in me would not allow that to happen and I felt challenged to take the risk. Thanks to your insight above, Kathy (#12), I have realized that that “something in me” was my feminine self-aspect urging me on!
My God! Does this now make sense! Allow me to continue. I believe this is different from my anima, Stephen, but I?¢Ç¨Ñ¢m not going to quibble about that distinction just now.
In my above mentioned Symposium paper “Annealing and Healing” I mention having had a dream in 1964 on Joseph Smith’s birth date (December 23) where I am a beautiful woman with a bad reputation, being pursued by jealous wives and husbands and hiding under a house. Later, after eluding them, I go to the temple to get my things from my locker. A woman nearby tells me that when it comes time to stand before a judgment place, no one will be there to defend me. There are seminary people nearby who look wholesome, but they do not notice me.
That dream astounded me at the time and I couldn’t figure what it meant, since I was new to taking dreams seriously then and didn’t then know how to analyze or understand them. I was also a pillar in my community, a committed family man (wife and 5 children), a ward leader (EQ), in demand as a singer in various LDS stakes and a rising young professional scientist at a prestigious nuclear laboratory. I had also just been offered a position by the late eminent J.B. Rhine of Duke University (of ESP fame) to join his new Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man.
I had also just written my first poem ?¢Ç¨?ìPilgrim?¢Ç¨¬ù.
I had gone to see Rhine by invitation with an urgent idea I’d had the previous summer just after the death of my father. It was an idea not even close to my professional training. Since Rhine was the recognized world authority on such strange matters, I wanted him to tell me whether or not I was crazy. He responded by offering me a research position in his new foundation.
Please stay with me here, Kathy and Stephen. This blogging business is becoming more important than I had anticipated. It is where it gets weird and more currently interesting. Weird because my life was about to go into upheaval back then because of my naivet?É¬© regarding the Church. Interesting because of a surprise email received only a few weeks ago (September 14).
The email came out of the blue from Becki J, a woman I had known 14 years earlier in Ventura, who had been an early supporter in helping build the CREEI Institute, a company utilizing my dream-work concepts designed specifically for business and industry. But I had lost contact with her after having been put out of business by the local SP who excommunicated me for publicly refusing to sustain the general Church leaders.
Anyway, this woman (now out of the Church at her direction) emailed me to tell me she had come across some of those CREEI materials in her files, along with the program notes to a Relief Society program I had presented to the stake Relief Society on its 150th anniversary (March 17, 1992). She felt strongly prompted to find me and did a google search, thereby finding my website. On that site I’d posted some of my most memorable dreams. She read through them quickly and came upon the one above. The next morning she awoke with an interpretation of it, something she had never done before with another?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s dream. She had to tell me about it.
To add to the mystery, I had been recently again been wrestling with this same old dream and trying to get a new perspective on it (with JD?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s “Dream Yoga” technique) but had gotten bogged down. It was in this stalled place that I get this email! with an interpretation that rang true to me!
Here is her interpretation:
So, your dream, dear friend, (I cannot find it this morning on your site, but it is unnecessary) was the one of emptying your locker in the temple. Only a few thoughts–obviously your “leaving” the Church, being excommunicated and needing to “remove” yourself and belongings from it. Also interesting that the group of men there were seminary (education) not general authoriites, which as their titles imply, have represented the “authority” or power, not necessarily the growth or treasures of the mind. And then the fact that you were a promiscuous, attractive woman…the tempting of the base instincts of others’ desire to think freely and courageously define their own paths, as they tepidly play I-love-you, I-love-you-not with you–now standing defiantly, hypocritically aloof with, I never knew her!
Well, this is far too much for this blog, I’m sure. And perhaps some of you who have gotten this far are shaking your heads. But, Kathy, I now know something I didn’t know before your message above. Thank you.
With the realization that came to me in reading Kathy’s #12 comment, I (EK) have changed my sign-on name to my Russian name (which my Swedish wife uses for me). The name “Zhenya” (Russian version of “Gene”) can be used by either man or woman. My father named me after his oldest niece, Yevgenia (Eugenia) whom I met in 1996, not long before she died in Melitopol, Ukraine (my dad’s home town) and long after my dad died in California in 1964 without ever knowing what had happened to his family after he left his country in 1920 as a refugee of the Russian Revolution. This old first cousin, Zhenya, had always wondered whatever had happened to her “Uncle Kolya”. I had come to tell her all about it and about the strange people called Mormons that her uncle had married into and that I had grown up as.
I’m happy that you’re growing in understanding. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.
I would like to know your personall feelings about our Mormon culture (the inner reality) versus what they are for our society (outer reality). I hope that’s not too loaded. If I were asked such a question, I’d have to answer it from different parts of me: my intellectual self, my feminine feeling self and my 5 year old simple believer self (who sees guardian angels).
I want to tell you about a first time experience being moved by a scriptural passage just weeks after the 23 Dec 64 dream I mentioned earlier. That one verse began to make the dream make sense. We have been talking about women being able to share personal issues better than can men. That’s what you could do for me: deep listening.
Zhenya, you can reach me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Kathy. I wrote to your email address last night, but it bounced. Shall I try again?
Hmmm…that’s strange. Yes, try again. I don’t know what the problem could be–I get a steady stream of mail at that address.
OK, I’ll try again plus two other attachments.
Was your quick, kind response to my email a gentle dismissal? Had you actually the time to read the attachments before replying? If so, did they not speak to you? It seems not.
Surely the real challenge for us in our common Mormon culture is to truly hear and value each other?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s interior realities. You allude to yours, but do not disclose anything. I wish we could do this with each other. The challenge doesn?¢Ç¨Ñ¢t include that any one person?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s interior reality should be?¢Ç¨Äùor can be–that of another. It?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s a question of feeling safe enough to risk their disclosure. Yes, that can be daunting and swamping, not only for the discloser, but for anyone who would consider that which is disclosed. And in the face of such a challenge, dismissal is too often the watch word. The male dominated attitude that pervades our society (not culture?¢Ç¨Äùplease keep the difference clear–I?¢Ç¨Ñ¢m using these terms as Wilber uses them) is simply unaware or dismissive of such realities. It was this attitude from the beginning?¢Ç¨Äùeven among our own people–that evoked Joseph?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s lament: ?¢Ç¨?ìNo man knows my history?¢Ç¨¬¶?¢Ç¨¬ù and still no man does!–although some try, such as our Michael Quinn. But how about the women? I am not talking about feminists. I am talking about women who know their femininity (as D. H. Lawrence observed it) and don?¢Ç¨Ñ¢t need to prove their manhood.
How very bizarre to have this post come up at this time from two years ago! What’s going on? In any case, it is a perfect seguay into/from the more recent “How can we be saviors on Mt. Zion?” thread…
I never did get a follow up response from Kathy to my comment #32. Could this reactivation be it after 2 years? 🙂
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