Recommended by Us

She escaped misogyny by joining the Church. One woman’s sharp refute to ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’

Illustration by Eliza Anderson for Deseret News

Editor’s note: This article contains mature content that may be inappropriate for young readers.

I recently came across yet another Twitter thread reproving Latter-day Saints for taking issue with the way they were represented in the FX series “Under the Banner of Heaven.”

According to these voices, the brazen departure from facts are forgivable in light of widespread “agreement” that the Latter-day Saint community is mired in violence and misogyny. This, in their judgment, is the truth that really matters when depicting our history and tragedies.

It doesn’t even matter that there’s plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. The point is that for some influential voices, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its practicing members are guilty of a kind of cultural violence and misogyny for not more fully embracing progressive ideas regarding gender and sexuality.

In the background of this discussion are people who claim that their experiences with the church have left them “traumatized.” Certainly real abuse occurs, and there can be no tolerance for it. Christ himself demanded as much when he said that anyone who harmed a believer should be cast into the sea with a millstone around his neck. Church leaders, too, have spoken forcefully and imposed discipline on those guilty of abuse.

But in certain circles, it’s become acceptable to talk about church teachings and moral norms as a kind of psychological “violence” that leaves people emotionally “traumatized.” As someone who has actually experienced sustained trauma, misogyny and violence, these pronouncements strike me as detached from reality, so much so that they could only come from someone whose life has largely been shielded from actual violence and trauma. That shielding is often a benefit of their association with the church.

As a young girl, I grew up surrounded by poverty (at times extreme), physical violence and drugs. I don’t mean the psychological trauma of sitting through an uncomfortable discussion about the law of chastity. I mean the kind where someone chokes you after you complain that their pornographic video is keeping you awake on a school night.

The kind where you’re living in a tent and eating condiments.

The kind where you remove the car’s spark plugs so it can’t be used for another beer run and then hide in the garage armed with a boat paddle in case the adults discover what you did.

Read the rest of the article at Deseret News.

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content