READER POST: I have a flag that sits atop a silver flag pole which is mounted on the deck of my home, overlooking a peaceful blue pond, with mountains and a green field where deer come out in the evening to graze. The flag has shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and unfurls pretty in the wind as it flies high.
I don’t have the energy today to unpack a lot of this. I fought back tears after sitting in shock reading what one of the favored apostles said today in an address to BYU student body.
Here are some of direct quotes from Elder Holland’s address:
“I would like to hear a little more musket fire from this temple of learning.”
“Yet, I fear that some faculty are not supportive of the Church’s doctrines and policies and choose to criticize them publicly. There are consequences to this.”
“I am grateful we have scholars today who can handle, as it were, both trowels and muskets.”
“Musket fire? Yes, we will always need defenders of the faith, but “friendly fire” is a tragedy
“. . . wounding students and the parents of students who are confused about what so much recent flag-waving and parade-holding on this issue means.”
“. . . show empathy and understanding for everyone while maintaining loyalty to prophetic leadership and devotion to revealed doctrine.”
“My Brethren have made the case for the metaphor of musket fire, which I have endorsed yet again today.”
This is my alma mater. This is my church. This is my culture. This is my identity.
Calling for musket fire on those who support gay people. What in the literal hell is this?
I am so tired. So tired of the constant hate speech and discriminatory rhetoric pedaled by those who call themselves leaders. Of a damn church.
I am angry. This makes me sad, frustrated, disappointed, and hugely disgusted to be quite honest. I’m tired of marginalized people getting the shaft in coded language sewn and cleverly weaved within speeches from the pulpit. I’m tired of those who love differently than others being called unrighteous and made to feel unworthy and unloved.
I’m tired of those representing Christ—even claiming they have magic authority that enables them and them only to know the will of God—instruct members to quite literally take up muskets to defend a faith that is dying in so many ways because of it own inequities.
I identify with these members. Members who are on the fringes. Whose names are whispered within the congregation. Whose names are added to the prayer roles in the temple, by well-meaning patrons who think that they can pray gay away. Members who grew up like me and like you who found and honored a personal part of their identity. That should be celebrated—not berated.
I identify with them, because I have my own fringes. Parts of me and my identity that are not accepted, not welcomed, not honored, not loved. And I am not strong or open or out about many of my fringes—because of words like this that crush me every time I hear them. And at risk of the obvious here: We all have fringes.
Besides being in outrageously bad taste, considering the social climate of today, it is a poor and cheap metaphor to employ literal warfare language to make a point about defending traditional marriage. I’m sorry I have no other more eloquent words to mismatch with my shock today. I do not have words to describe how harmful this is.
I noticed that my flag—the one with colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple—which sits atop a silver flagpole, mounted to the deck, overlooking a peaceful blue pond with mountains and a green field where deer graze, is tattered and torn. It looks faded and tired, exposed to the elements day after day. But it is still flying in the wind. That’s all the metaphor I need.
Lesley, a repeat contributor, is an RN by trade. She is a single mother to four young children, all of whom love art, Play-Doh, and dance parties in the kitchen. She comes from a heritage of Mormon pioneer-stock and appreciates her roots. She is an advocate for abuse survivors. To find her other submissions on SQ, please use the search tool, using her first name.
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One Reply to “I Have Words, too, Elder Holland”
Thank you for sharing your words and feelings Lesley! They are eloquent in their heartfelt sincerety and much appreciated. Your words matter. Your outrage and pain are valid. Your compassion and tender heart are what a Church of Jesus Christ should be solidly built on. I stand with you and all who are being marginalized. An attack on one is an attack on us all.