The Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer values all voices from Zion, even exiled voices of those joyously living in sinful wastelands of despair (we’re looking at you Salt Lake and Tooele!). This week we have another epistle from our resident pissed off ex-mo (Exmormon) Howard Pinehurst.
|Anger, Oh The Places It Will Take You!|
Sick of simply “enjoying” General Conference with all the gaslit lemmings who are too afraid of cognitive dissonance to really see the truth? Well here is your easy guide to getting upset in either April or October every year for the rest of your life!
Step One: Question Authority. The first step is to say that Joseph Smith questioned authority, and because of his questions we got the Restoration. As you question authority, emphasize how humans are inherently flawed and that it is their natural tendency to abuse power (see D&C 121:39). While they might be inspired, focus on how leaders are not only human but are bound by cultural limitations.
Step Two: Question Loyalty. General Conference is a loyalty ritual. Loyal members come together, listen together, learn together, and worship together at General Conference. That feeling of togetherness can be inspiring. You can almost feel physically lifted by the music, the prayers, or the talks. Or by being around other saints. But you can exploit that loyalty’s downside. Loyalty usually makes you feel unity to your tribe, but it can also reinforce an “us-versus-them” mentality. If one feels powerfully connected to a group, focus on how that necessarily makes others outsiders. In other words, see General Conference as a twice-a-year-Stanford-Prison-Experiment! You can almost hear the footsteps of terror, of xenophobia, of homophobia, of transphobia, of arachnophobia, and of phobiaphobia (fear of fear) right now!
Step Three: Question Purity. What you will hear at Conference is authorities appealing to group loyalty to encourage purity. Yes, sexual purity is a very big deal, very big, but it is not the only purity. There is purity in all obedience, since all disobedience stains the sinner. You want to emphasize how purity is always tied up with shame, and shame is using fear and coercion to keep everyone in line. Seen in this way, the whole meeting centers around shame used by the group to encourage conformity, loyalty, and respect for authority.
Step Four: See Harm Everywhere. Now that you see powerful authorities using loyalty and shame to enforce purity, notice not only the leaders—powerful white men—but also notice who suffers harm from what is happening. Everyone who does not fit the mold will probably feel like an impure outsider. Even if others don’t feel pain, you can feel their pain for them. Even if they are too duped to realize what is happening, you can be awake to the institutional victimization that is at work.
Step Five: Feel Anger. And now, everything about the meeting will make you angry. You can see harm everywhere. Those who are not here are not here because being here would cause them harm. Those who are here who don’t fit it or are not pure are harmed. Those who should be harmed are only not harmed because they have given in to the ritual of loyalty, the joy of some set of rules for purity, and the easy comfort of conforming to authority. Those who should see what is going on and who should speak truth-to-power are duped and gaslighted into falling in line. And at the top are the leaders themselves who enjoy the power and prestige. Now that you have that righteous anger, doesn’t it taste great! Anger truly is a gift that keeps on giving! But heck, why wait until April or October—you can probably be seethingly angry during any church gathering!