Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Mormon Phenomenon: Here Come the Girls

A Mormon Church for Everyone

Every time I look at the antics of the Salt Lake City Mormons and think, “good grief!” I know I can look across at the Independence, Missouri based Mormon Church and think, “WHAT!”

Community of Christ conventionAt a conference (above) on April 19-21, the Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Community of Christ) the recommendation was made to marry and ordain same-sex couples.

The two churches are like polar opposites, the Salt Lake Mormons patriarchal, conservative and traditional, the Independence Mormons egalitarian, liberal and modern. It seems there is a Mormon Church to fit all tastes if you know where to look. Once, that was considered a sign of apostasy but, hey-ho.

Salt Lake Mormons sneer at this group, suggesting they are “falling apart,” “riven by schism,” but it will be interesting to see how this plays out because there is a growing liberal arm in the traditionalist church as well as a feminist movement pressing for the ordination of women.

Perhaps in the future folk will see the Community of Christ as trail-blazers in the battle between traditionalists and modernists. Could Salt Lake City effect a reconciliation with Independence as culturally they move closer to their way of thinking? – Holy Moroni!

Heavenly Mother

Of course, the cause of Mormon women would be advanced enormously if Mormons were to be more open about God’s wife. The idea of a Heavenly Mother is familiar enough to Mormons but they don’t know much about her. This is usually put down to a sacred diffidence but it has more profane origins.Eliza Snow

Heavenly Mother is the product of Joseph Smith’s strange cosmology and sexual adventuring. God is an exalted man, men may become gods, gods have wives (plural) therefore – Heavenly Mother. What started as a convenient way to make men gods and women former day Stepford wives developed a theology all its own.

Eliza Snow (I love that her middle name is Roxcy, very recherche’) was Smith’s polygamous wife and wrote a poem, Invocation, saying in part:

“In the heavens are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason, truth eternal tells me I’ve a mother there.”

The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “No matter what the institution does, more and more LDS women are finding solace, empathy and identification in the notion of a Mother God. Most do not pray to a female god, but many do write, talk or whisper about her — and some unexpectedly sense her presence.”

These things do grow like Topsy and a burgeoning interest in this elusive heavenly being reflects, it seems, the frustration of Mormon women in the very patriarchal Mormon Church. What next, goddess worship? Maybe the Christus in the Salt Lake City visitors centre will be replaced by Artemis in the not too distance future.

Temple on stilts

Ogden Temple construction

People often imagine all sorts of wacky things going on in Mormon temples and Mormons are diffident on the subject. This temple, however, is looking pretty transparent. The Provo temple was seriously damaged in a fire in 2010 and what remains has been gutted and lifted forty feet in the air on scaffolding so a new two-story basement can be built.

Apparently, the 112 year old structure weighs 7million pounds. You can read about it and see more stunning pictures on the Colossal web site You can read elsewhere on the Mormon Chapbook about Mormon temples and what they really “restore.”

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