In Which I Reflect on Balancing in Church

i can’t sleep again. Usually, I only have insomnia when I’m about to start my period, but I’m nowhere close. 

Church went well today – I navigated the Babies of Ubiquity, skillfully balancing my responses between ignoring the lot of them, and playing small games with the cutest little ones. My inner monologue oscillated between “This is home” and “I don’t belong here” in a fairly predictable fashion. I was grateful to escape to Primary, where my class of six-year-olds don’t seem to mind that I am a liberal feminist running away from their baby brothers and sisters. They just love me, without concern for any of that, which is so good for my soul.  

Sharing Time is often painful. Last year the theme was “the family is of God”, usually taught by someone roundly maternal. That was like daggers through my heart, and I did my best to be absent during that time. Now, it’s different because they have all given birth, and no one is talking about the family anymore (at least, not usually). They’re talking about prophets – something difficult for me because i see it with more nuance than the simple primary explanation. 

I try so hard not to lie to my primary children. Today, one of my sweet girls asked me about priesthood blessings – she wanted to know what she had seen, and then she asked me if only daddies could give them, and not mommies. I hesitated before telling her “not anymore”, that only priesthood holders could give priesthood blessings. She probably missed the word “anymore”, but I wanted to be honest. Women have in the past and do still participate in such things – it’s just far more limited. It pains me that women are not equal in our church. It pains me that this little girl will grow up limited by her sex. There is no reason she should be. 

It can be very difficult to be a liberal in the Mormon Church. It can be discouraging to be a feminist in the Mormon Church. It can be bleak to be infertile in the Mormon Church. Today I rubbed up against all three of these and I managed to handle it with a fair amount of grace and poise. Most days I do not navigate this scenario with any kind of dignity at all, but today I did. Today can be a model for the next time I am at church and I feel alone. 

It’s like when I was pacing in the gym during sacrament meeting today. I had noisy high heels on, but I put one foot in front of the othet, as quietly as I could, and I kept walking, silently, pondering the muffled testimonies I could hear through the thick curtain. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere; I’m sure of it. 

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