Monday, July 24, 2006

The Mormon Thing

This has been a Churchy kind of weekend and since I have been informed that 2/3 of my readership has never even known a Mormon before, I feel like I need to make sure I keep you up to date on that aspect of the Tangled House. (2/3, 2 out of the 3 that read!)
First off, Sunday. Well, actually that goes back to Wednesday when I returned home from my unplanned but intensely fun trip to Calif. Bald Man tells me one of our local leadership had called and wanted us to speak in church on Sunday. It is common when you have new folks move in to have them speak. The Ward, which is the smallest local unit usually consists of a few hundred peeps. Wards are geographically plotted, with the local congregation attending the ward they live in. The ward is run by a Bishop and a Relief Society President. Male and female respectively, with helpers of all kinds. Many wards make up a stake, bunch of stakes make up an Area. If you wish to locate your local ward, it is just a click away:
Meeting house locator for the US
We were asked to speak on faith. I feel impressed to use an experience our Little Man had about 3 years ago. We were attending the ward of my nephew and Parker spotted a young man in front who had brown hair down to his shoulders, curling at the ends, and full facial hair. Little Man, who was standing on the pew next to me, pointed and said, "Jesus! Mommy, it's Jesus!" This was said loudly during the meeting and I had to restrain my son from running up to this young man. What a sweet message of faith! It touched my soul deeply on many different levels. One, that my son KNEW Jesus was real and his first response was to run to Him. Run and KNOW that Jesus wanted nothing more than to scoop up my boy. Tender feelings of love and grace. A precious gift taught from a small child. So I spoke of the lessons learned, from this one, my son. It was sweet and I enjoyed sharing the story. I was told it was well done, but Mormons are known to be ultra polite, so I can't be sure!
And then, today. The 24th of July. It means nothing to most of you. But here in Utah, it is Pioneer Day. First I will have to explain it before I can even tell you why I feel inclined to talk to you about it.
Pioneer Day!
The pioneers were fleeing an extermination order in Missouri, (really! The gov of the state at that time, said shoot them all!) they came to Utah, looking for freedom to live the life they felt God wanted them to. They came under terrible circumstances, bare feet, walking on cactus, all that. On July 24th, the Church leader, Brigham Young looked down into the Salt Lake Valley and said, "This is the Place" They didn't really know where they were going until that moment. The LDS, (Latter Day Saints, another name for the Mormons) feel a strong connection to their pioneer heritage. This pride is especially strong in Utah, today is state holiday, fireworks, picnics, people dressed in red, white and blue, parades etc. Pioneer day is a bigger day here than the 4th of July. California didn't do so much, but there are fewer LDS folk there.
All this explaining just so I can tell you MY truth. Now I would not express my opinion this boldly at church for a couple of reasons. It is no use trying to tell someone else an unpopular point of view unless they asked for it and unless they were really willing to hear what you have to say. No one at church has ever asked, so I have never said. Bald Man knows how I feel though.
In fact, my opinion could possibly make you feel squirmy, uncomfortable and even guilty. If it does, I won't apologize, but I will say, I hope you will read it all, and then ask questions of yourself and of me if you need to. Please.
I HATE Pioneer Day. For me, this "holiday" does nothing more than tout the
Manifest Destiny propaganda so beloved by the conquerors of the American continent. Ugh. I hate it. Why do they all act like they came marching in here to an EMPTY place? It wasn't empty. Utah had five tribes living here, long before the Pioneers came to the valley. The Goshutes, the Shoshone, the Ute, the Piaute and the Navajo were all here, long, long before anyone of the whiter persuasion arrived. Why not tell the truth? We came, we stole, we murdered, we WON. Sure the Indians did the same in return, no one says we are perfect and the people were defending their HOMES, their FAMILIES, their LAND, few people should be able to find fault in that. History is the story of the winners. Pioneer Day is a celebration for the conquerors. Because of that, I HATE Pioneer Day and that is my truth.
**Tues update, stupid blogger, it won't publish this new post and I am frustrated. Let me try AGAIN!

4 Kids Who Want To Play:

Jenny said...

I spent a month working in Salt Lake City and was astonished by the lack of old buildings. I was told that they are torn down quite often and rebuilt to keep the city looking new. I thought this was odd in the face of such a reverence for ancestry. I was also told not to tout that I was from IL while I was there. All that said most everyone I met was very polite and open minded.

Pioneer Day... I learn something new every day.

baggage said...

That was really interesting and you made me giggle when you said you hated it. I can understand what you are saying!

A thinker said...

Hey,

Thanks for the info...it's helpful to understand. And I can totally get you hating Pioneer Day... I feel the same way about our "conquest" of America, and I am not even native. So I can understand that it must be a much stronger feeling for you...

Granny said...

A couple of the Elders dropped by yesterday (riding their bikes in our heat).