Friday, January 11, 2013

Book of Mormon Musical Part 2

Part two of my Book of Mormon: The Musical review.

There was a message of leaving things better than when you found them.  The other missionary (Elder Price) goes on a mission to change the world…all by himself. He does not want and does not think he needs the help of anyone else. It should come as no surprise that this is the missionary who struggles the most. His mission is not what he planned. It is hard. It is really hard. It is not what he expected it would be. It is not what he was told it would be. He read the BOM and was ready to “teach” the world. But what he was never taught to do was to listen. He did not know how to listen to the people around him. The villagers needed help but not the help he wanted to give. He wanted them to listen to his every word. He wanted them to see how much better he was than they were. He wanted the villagers to want to be like him and to appreciate what he was offering them. The messenger was more important than the message. Well, that didn’t happen, and he gave up. Several times he repeated the same pattern. What he finally learned (through the “imagination teachings” of the other missionary) is that he needs to not only open his eyes and look around him, but that he needs to look around him as well. People are not the same; people have different needs. He went on his mission to change the world the way he wanted to, the way he was told to, but to really make a difference, to truly serve, he needed to open his eyes and see what the people really needed. In this case, they needed hope first, and then they needed someone to not just preach to them, but to really stay and help improve their physical lives. This was interesting to me because I did not expect it. I did not know how the musical was going to end, and the ending made me love the musical that much more. He learned that helping people means more than preaching and baptizing and leaving. It means staying to make a difference. It means selfless service, and sometimes that selfless service means to sacrifice the thing you were there do in the first place. The people heard the gospel according to Arnold; they accepted that gospel because, in the end, the gospel according to Arnold gave them the hope they  needed, gave this missionary the kick in the butt he needed to truly leave things better than when he arrived.  He ended the musical a better person. And, in the end, he and the other missionaries stay in Uganda to support them and to continue the hope they brought. They do not give them hope and leave…they stay to nurture that hope. To help it grow into something greater. Something that can be sustained even after the missionaries leave.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Book of Mormon: THE MUSICAL

First, let me say that I do not offend easily. And I was not offended by Book of Mormon: The Musical. It was irreverent. It was funny. It was intelligent. It was fantastic!

I went to see the BOM musical tonight. It was absolutely wonderful. Did it make fun of Mormons? Of course it did. Was it funny? Of course it was. But there was something even better about it than the humor. *(I will say that I do not remember the last time I laughed so hard.)

I have so many things to say about this musical that I am going to do it parts. Seriously, I have  A LOT to say! I should also say there are spoilers in my thoughts. Sorry.

Part 1: HOPE
There was a message of hope. Yes, I am aware that many people think that some of my beliefs are weird. Some people think my beliefs are just plain crazy, but does that negate the message of hope hope that my faith brings? It most certainly does not.

What was so profound about the musical was that it does just that. It takes the fiction of today and uses the vehicle of Mormon missionaries to show that it does not matter the story that is told, what matters is the hope it brings. In the musical one of the missionariesb (Arnold) has never read the BOM, and it becomes his responsibility to teach a group of people who are in need of help. He reads to them, and they get frustrated and ask, “How does this help me, here and now? How does this book tell me how to deal with                     (Fill in the blank)?”  The missionary, not knowing how to answer, adds his own imagination to the BOM, giving the people the words they want to hear. Make no mistake, the “imaginations” of this missionary are just plain ludicrous. But they give the people the hope they need. He gives them hope, and with that hope come a happier and better people. Are they suddenly transformed to a better place? No. Do they get rich and become healthy overnight? No. But what they do find is togetherness. They find hope in helping one another. It does not matter whether the stories are true or not; what matters is that the missionary (unintentional though it may be) gives the villagers hope that they can be happy even the most terrible of circumstances.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's been a while

I won't go into detail about where I have been...that is for another post...but I have been on such a journey of faith, hope, humility, and gratitude.

That said, let me get to the purpose of this post: I am a feminist. I have shuddered at the thought of making this declaration for a long time now, but after months of thinking and praying, I am, in fact, a feminist.

As an active and happy Latter Day Saint woman, let me tell you first what this means to me:

  • I do not want the Priesthood, and I do not think women should have the Priesthood. I am not the only Mormon Feminist to think so, but there is a large number who DO want the Priesthood. I am not a feminist in that category. While I understand those concerns and frustrations, I do not share that desire. I have gone through fire within myself to answer this question, and I stand by that. There is a divine plan for both sexes which I take on faith. 
  • That divine plan is not motherhood. I do not think that Priesthood and motherhood should be equated.  One is biology, the other is not. I hate it when people say, "Women don't need the Priesthood because we can have babies." Seriously, that is bunk. I am biologically created to bear children. A penis or the production of sperm does not biologically give a man the Priesthood. If it did, men would not need to be ordained. By nature of their birth (with a penis), they would have that authority.
  • I am not sure what that divine plan looks like, and I am okay with that. I take it on faith.
Just because I do not think women should have the Priesthood does not mean that I do not think that women should be treated less because they do not have the Priesthood. Yes, the church teaches the adoration of women. It praises women to high heaven. However, there is a missing element in how  people in the church treat women. Women are rarely respected as leaders. Women cannot pray in General Conference. Young boys are taught that the Priesthood leads and the rest follow. Yes, the Priesthood leads, but that does not mean that women cannot be effective leaders in the church. This is something that needs to be taught. We need to teach our young boys and young men that the words a woman leader in the church says are just as important as what a male leader says. We need to teach our young men that respecting a woman also means listening to her wisdom. That strength in a woman is a good thing. I have always gotten sideways glances at church because I am a woman who is not afraid to speak out, not afraid to lead. I also speak out when I think women are being looked over simply because they are women.

Women should not be subjected to judgement because they are outspoken, strong, and opinionated. That should be celebrated. Women should not be subjected to judgement because they choose to wear pants to church. That should not even be an issue. The Young Women's President should have just as much influence in a Ward as the Young Men's President. The Relief Society President should have just as much influence as the Elder's Quorum President. Young girls and young women should be celebrated equally to the young boys and young men when they accomplish something. The expectations that we set for our young women should be just as high as those set for our young men.

Women should not be criticized and judged because of their bodies. We are not "walking pornography" for men. Men and women need to check their own thoughts and be accountable for them. The young women of the church should be encouraged to be leaders, to get educations, to wait to get married, to go on missions. They should be taught that their worth is the same as the young men. They should be taught that their worth is never dependent on the length of their skirt.

I have so much more that I could go on about, but for now, I will just leave it as that. I am a feminist.