Here’s a striking post from Heather Armstrong which begins to address the intersection between power and sexuality. Whilst Armstrong’s observations amount to a candid dislike of the Mormon church along human rights lines, her post opens up issues of how pastoral power is used in conjunction with the creation of sexual identities.
I prefer not to use such long quotes, however the manner in which Armstrong connects homosexuality, polygamy, and monogamy as a problematic for relationships of power within the church is rather striking. What is also worthy of note is the way Armstrong here carefully renegotiates a new boundary to her subject position. In previous posts she stepped back from saying anything overtly political about the church, but here she is directly critical and asserts a position whilst reinforcing a subject position that is respectful to her parents beliefs as practicing Mormons.
“Mormons believe that polygamy will be practiced in the afterlife, and what I can’t help thinking is that when the civil right of marriage is ultimately extended to homosexuals and then to polygamists, why wouldn’t the Mormon Church start practicing it again? And when they do start practicing it again, how are the members of the church going to handle it? If Mormons truly believe their religion they have to believe that polygamy is their destiny, so why are they always trying to distance themselves from it? I think that many of them don’t want to ask themselves that question because they might be terrified of the answer: they aren’t okay with it.
It was this very issue that started me on my way out of the religion, this issue and that of the role of women in the church. I realized that I valued myself too much to ever be okay with sharing my partner with anyone else. I deserve all of him, and he deserves all of me, nothing less. I had a hard time reconciling the fact that my father (although he has a civil divorce from my mother) is married to both my mother and my step-mother in the Mormon temple, but my mother, unless she gets a temple divorce from my father, can never remarry another man in the temple. She doesn’t have the same rights as a man in the church. That isn’t okay to me.”