This afternoon’s guest post is by kmillecam, as part of The Exponent and Doves & Serpents Blog Swap.
I’m not sitting in the cheap seats because better tickets weren’t available. My parents were devout Mormons, so I was born on the field. It took effort to get up here. Like most arenas, mine is shaped like a bowl and the field is at ground level. It doesn’t matter if you walk in from the street, or start out on the field, it’s roughly the equivalent of forty flights of stairs to get to my seat. Looked at from the right perspective, I’ve climbed a small mountain. I should feel like I’ve accomplished something.
–Brent at Doves & Serpents
When I read the first Mormon in the Cheap Seats, I kept nodding my head as I realized how accurately it describes where I am now in my Mormon journey. I was struck by how much I needed to hear that there were other people in my section. I wasn’t alone. Other cheap seaters had also fought their way up to the nosebleed section.
I also relate to knowing what it’s like to be down on the field. I used to rub elbows with other bigwigs in my ward who believe in the Church with their whole heart. I never thought I would leave. I don’t even think I realized I was in a stadium that had other sections. Growing up in California I saw my mother become a Relief Society president among other high callings, and assumed that I would enjoy the same trajectory as I moved from Young Womens to Relief Society, adulthood, marriage, and motherhood. I also saw my aunts and grandmother hold high ward and stake callings, and I took my callings as seriously as they did when called to Laurel president or later on as a RS teacher at BYU. I had all the answers, unless I didn’t and I put them on the shelf saying “I’ll understand that in the next life!”
After having my first child and dealing with all the fallout that comes from an abusive family of origin, I realized that the Church didn’t need me as much as I thought. I focused more on my baby, and my friends and family.
Over time I developed questions of my own about the Church. Why didn’t women have more influence? Why did black men get the priesthood in 1979? Why were so many Mormons conflating being Republican with being a faithful member of the Church? Why did I feel increasingly uncomfortable with where I was?
Before I was one of the people who might consider trekking up to the nosebleeds, I was literally unable to see that it existed. I guess I am selfish that way. I could not see where other people were until I needed that place myself.
I started to wonder about where I was standing. I started to look around. I didn’t see the cheap seats yet, but I did start to find the edges of of what I knew. What’s going on over here where the aisles start to curve upward? What do these people think?
What I found was my real tribe. When the cheap seaters talk and hang out at the game, it’s a family. We like the view, we like each other, we chose to be here. I remember the same feeling used to come from being on the field. But I knew that I could not stay down there anymore when I started to feel out of place like an intruder. Everyone wants to matter. I came to a place with my people so that I can be myself and feel truly loved.
So where are you in the great stadium of Mormondom? Are you happy where you are? Do you visit other sections? Do you have friends in other places?
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