Friday, September 30, 2011

General Conference

When I was a fledgling member of TSCC, I looked at conference weekend as a vacation from church. I didn't go to the stake center to watch any of the sessions. I spent Saturday as I would any Saturday, and on Sunday I sat around home and read bad Mormon literature. By bad Mormon literature, I mean those ghastly huge volumes of what looked like typed and photocopied stories and "poetry" that were a precursor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul type books.  I've long ago forgotten what they were called, and have no desire to remember.

Then I began attending a student ward, and suddenly I was around people who actually watched general conference, so I went, too. And my friends took journals with them so they could take notes, so I did, too. I remember writing, in one of my journals back then, that I would think I was doing pretty well, and then go to General Conference and find out what more I had to do, so I'd start working on that. I tried to word it in a positive manner, but the fact remains that I was trying to be perfect all at once.

I got married, and we were active for quite some time. While we lived in Utah, we watched general conference at home, occasionally meandering down to Temple Square to watch there. When we moved back to Texas, we would go to the stake center and watch. I felt guilty, because in the dark room I always fell asleep. Usually during Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.

And then we began watching it at home via streaming video on our computer. And I would lay in bed and go to sleep with the dulcet tones of Russell M. Nelson. Do they deliberately sound so soporific, so they can keep the Morg assimilated? Inquiring Minds want to know.

So now it's general conference weekend. I haven't gone to Deseret Book to buy uplifting church books. I haven't been listening to uplifting church talk CDs in my car. I haven't opened up the BYU streaming website on my computer, in preparation for watching it. In fact, we have BYU TV as part of our cable line-up. Did I add it to my favourites? Ha! Heck no! And when I'm not surfing via my favourites, I say "ha!" every time I pass it up when I'm flipping through the channels.

I feel like I'm awake after years and years of being asleep. No sing-songy talks by the token women to listen to. No sleep-inducing hypnotic talks by The Men In Charge of Everything. Tomorrow I'm meeting my sister in the afternoon, and we're going to go mall walking, see a movie (probably an R-rated one), have lunch, and talk about things. I don't know yet what I'll be doing Sunday. Maybe nothing. Maybe just sitting around reading the new Richard Dawkins book I bought for my nook, and eating good food.

And if my husband decides he needs to watch conference, I will be heading out of the apartment. I'll go sit by the swimming pool and get a sunburn, or else I'll go to the giant mall and walk around for exercise and watch another R-rated movie. Or I'll go sit at the bookstore near work and read.

You know what makes me just sick? Back in the day, whenever a general authority would stand up to give his talk, I would tell my husband, "Oh, I just love [name redated]!" Over and over and over.  I can't say that anymore. I don't know if these men deliberately deceive people into subservient slavery when they themselves know the church can't be true, or if at least some of them genuinely believe it. But I believe enough of them have to know they're living a lie that I can no longer say "Oh, I just love [name redacted]!" It's more like, "I wonder how much he knows about (whatever I'm thinking of at the moment)." It's, "how culpable is he?" It's, "how can you say you love the sinner but hate the sin, when you excommunicate a man who gets the courage to come out to his family of 5 children and his religion, and that man commits suicide? Because if that's love, I'll take outright hatred, thank you very much."

So now I'm going to go see what R-rated movies are showing this weekend that I want to see.

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