Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Mama Dragon Project--my initial thoughts

While I love the Mama Dragon Project and the individual accounts, I find it ironic that the format of each story feeds into the stereotypical “perfect Mormon” myth by beginning each account with a Mormon Mommy Resume. Yes, I understand these mothers are trying to establish the fact that they are “devoted” members, but by doing so they assume that readers will not find them credible if they didn’t do X, Y, and Z prior to discovering that their child was gay.  It feels as though each storyteller is saying, “I was a near-perfect mother...I served husband was the bishop… I was all-in Mormon” and this still happened to ME.  And if it could happen to someone as devoted as I am, it could happen to YOU.”  I think this highlights one of the cultural imperfections in our membership--that somehow our works, our service, our callings, our payment of tithing...whatever X,Y, or Z might be, will save us from encountering situations or life circumstances that are contrary to the gospel storyline or even church policy.  

To that I can't help but ask: How arrogant are we?

My mother was what I will call a pre-generational Mama Dragon. She quietly faced this challenge some thirty years ago during a time when no one spoke of being gay--at church or anywhere really--unless it was in mockery or in jest. She went to her grave with many unanswered questions, but she never doubted her faith, she never expected the church to change its policies, and she never questioned her love for my sister--a gay Mormon. They were close friends and confidants, attending church together for family ordinances and other special occasions. They didn’t demand that people understand their circumstances because they themselves didn’t have all the answers. All that each of them asked for was love and respect.  And, really, isn’t that what we all want?  Isn’t that what we all deserve--near-perfect resume or not?

Throughout my life I have watched church policies come and go regarding race, adoption, sexual orientation, and yes, even policies regarding which widows and widowers can or cannot be married for time in the temple. All of these have affected me and people I love dearly, and I feel that these experiences have allowed me to ask tough questions...some of which I am still waiting patiently to understand. However, I have had enough experience to reach the conclusion that God is not homophobic, sexist, or racist (as some have suggested) and neither is the church I belong to. I was taught to love others by imperfect parents and by imperfect people at church (granted, sometimes by their non-examples). I have quietly waited for others to catch the vision of love and acceptance for the LGBT community, but like my mother, demanding that others see things through my paradigm isn’t my style. So...for those who are just now cluing-in to the fact that people say mean things in spite of our basic human need for acceptance, that church policies change on a regular basis (or stay the same) regardless of our circumstances, that our works don’t guarantee us or our children happy lives, and that sometimes we don’t get the answers we want immediately...I say welcome to the real world.  We’ve been waiting for you.