Thank you for taking time to respond to my comments. I will confess that when I woke up the next morning after posting, I felt a pang of regret, wondering if what I offered to you was a bit too much, so I felt reassured when I read your reply.
Is it not refreshing to be able to agree to disagree . . . like . . . agreeably? When, why and how did that become a bad idea in some circles, and one circle in particular?
From your reply, it’s clear that I was not clear with my terminology “The Brethren.” The capital letters indicate the Big Boys, as in Big-15, not the male membership at large. I see “the brethren” (little boys) as suffering with a different set of symptoms vis-a-vis the sisters. I don’t have to tell you that when the males of the species are largely deprived of authentic female companionship, everyone suffers.
As a consumer (and supporter) of Mormon Stories for years, based on eye witness accounts, I have perceived a pattern of behavior and demeanor among the brethren (little b) in attendance at disciplinary council hearings aka courts of love. In many cases, the target being disciplined knows and loves many of the men in the room convened to revoke Church membership from someone they know and love as well.
Amy, these are, for the most part, good and decent people who have the extreme misfortune of being coerced by the power structure in which they operate to do what? To do what, Amy? To engage in aggressive, hurtful, and totally unnecessary character assassination of a fellow human being they have personally grown to love and respect (in many cases). In other words, these brethren are being coerced by The Brethren to violate their own personal Core Values in their official capacity as Priesthood Leaders. The awkward silence and shocking lack of personal engagement in these proceedings speaks volumes about the secret, unexpressed thoughts and feelings and gut wrenching conflict that must be tormenting the hearts and minds of those convened, nothing of which can be acknowledged out loud.
Why? Because the Core Values of The Brethren (Big Boys) are trumping and neutralizing (stomping on) the core values of the brethren (little boys).
I am sure you will resonate with the label “toxic environment” applied to the Mormon Church in general. As with a literal hazmat spill, not everything in the area is contaminated, but remaining onsite can be hazardous to your health. Your choice to remain “onsite” with your fellow members can either be seen as an act of heroic selflessness or perhaps some level of self-delusion.
(All of us humans are self-deluded to varying extents, yours truly included.)
Amy, I can only respect your decision to choose your battles as you see fit and remain within Mormon society, although your liberated psyche is clearly no example of homogeneity . . . like a drop of water floating solo in a vial of consecrated oil.
Permission to speak frankly, Amy?
You are not a Mormon. Blunt, but very true. Going to Church at your local ward house does not make Amy Allebest a Mormon any more than sleeping in a garage makes you a car. Your heart and soul is clearly not LDS. And I mean that as a high compliment and hope you hear it as such.
The unknown in your story is how Eric feels about the Church. Based on what you have shared, he seems very supportive of his “eternal companion”, who has opted out of participation in the sacred-not-secret aspects of Church membership. If Eric’s personal investment in Mormonism and his Priesthood remains intact, that has to be a nontrivial ingredient in your perspective on your own level of participation. Spouses do (and should) have great influence on one another.
By the way, I think it is totally wonderful that Eric is able to financially fully support his family. Your bandwidth and availability to personally raise your daughters will turn out to be one of your most valuable contributions to Planet Earth. If only more children should be so fortunate to have you for a Mother.
I will end this by reiterating my respect and admiration of your courageous voice of honesty and authenticity, Amy. For sure, the Church is far better off with you inside than outside. As long as that continues to work for you, then your corner of “the vineyard” is a kinder, gentler corner than it would be if you left. From that perspective, I salute and support you, Amy.
All the Best to Allebest!