|Do the Oppressed Inevitably|
Imitate their Oppressors?
Logan, UT—The former and progressive Mormons that formed “Ex-Mos and Progressive Mos United” is actually rather less united than the group’s name suggests.
Group “leader” Marty Norton is still “very excited to get together with other people who have grown out or beyond their typical LDS upbringing,” but he notes that group cohesion “is not what many of us would like.”
“The first few meetings started out great,” commented Norton, “with plenty of enthusiasm, but even then we could see that this would not be easy.” When asked about initial obstacles, Norton noted that “one young man brought two 9 x 13 Pyrex pans of ‘funeral potatoes’ to be welcoming, but most of the group seemed to scoff at them rather disdainfully.” In addition, Norton explained that “several in the group brought wine as a friendly gesture,” but some complained that they either objected to alcohol for social and health reasons or they saw it as “a few going overboard to scream how not-Mormon they were.”
This was really just the first of many conflicts that have prevented “Ex-Mos and Progressive Mos United” from being really united. Other conflicts have arisen over group activities. One person mentioned how lonely she feels, since she does not participate with friends and family in LDS activities, meetings, and callings. Some in the group suggested getting together every Monday night to socialize, but others rejected the idea of what they called a “lousy, fake FHE” that was “so typical of Mormons who cannot get past imposing needless meetings on others.”
When Diana Wilson, a group member living in Cache Valley, noted how much her views have been expanded with her study of Buddhism, Islam, and contemporary ethics, her suggestions of some discussions about those traditions were loudly rejected by members who “didn’t want some new dogma to replace the oppressive one they were trying to escape.” When Wilson said that these ideas didn’t seem like a new dogma, others chimed in that they had no interest in “a mishmash of New Age beliefs formed buffet-style to prop up a privileged, white, narcissistic bourgeois ego.”
Even Marty Norton, the force behind the group’s organization, has come under some criticism. When he arrived at a meeting with ideas for bylaws, activities, and assignments, several members balked at his suggestions. As one member said, “yah, in my mind I call Marty ‘Napoleon,’ since, like Animal Farm, right after we finally throw off the farmer, people like Marty come along with rules, hierarchy, and duties, and end up doing everything the old oppressive Mormons used to do!”