Flip Through

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The survivor's prerogative

I saw this article linked recently on Twitter, read it and enjoyed it very much, and kind of intended to write something similar from an LDS perspective.

And then I realized that my list of what not to say to a recovering Mormon would be almost identical. Even the mainstream LDS church has strands of fundamentalism, in its doctrine and its culture. This is not something I realized until I was an adult; in fact, fourteen-year-old Diana piped up indignantly in a history class when the teacher included Mormons in a list of US fundamentalist religious (just one of many reasons why "every member a missionary" is, say it with me, flagrant bullshit). Members in many areas, in Utah and the mission field, are survivors of spiritual and sometimes physical abuse. Many outsiders don't consider the LDS church a Christian institution. The jargon, the doctrine, the peculiarities of Mormonism cause it to stand out in the religious landscape, but in practice and in effect it is damningly similar to other fundamentalist Christian groups.

I don't know about you all, but "fundamentalist" was not a nice descriptor in my household, growing up. After 9/11 I heard my parents use it to refer to Islam. My older sister--never baptized, always political--spoke scornfully of the "Moral Majority" and "religious right" (it wasn't until later that I realized she was in fact including the Church in those phrases). It took some doing to rewire my understanding of the term, to get to the point where I could separate my complex feelings about my upbringing and beliefs from the reality of subtle, institutionalized manipulation. 

All fifteen of those statements linked above have been said to me--some while I was still in the Church, some as I was leaving, some quite recently. None of them are constructive, no matter how much love and insight the speaker intends. One of the most pernicious attitudes I have encountered in the last seven years, from both members and non-members, is a certain carelessness: the idea that leaving X Religion is a relief, something to be shucked with a laugh. Sometimes it was like that and I could joke with people, talk smack and shake my head. Sometimes it felt like the world was ending. My experience is my own, is the point, and it's not going to be the same from day to day, which is the survivor's prerogative.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Crescendo of gratitude

There are two parts to enjoying a live concert: the anticipation and the experience. Savoring the idea of what's to come takes up weeks or even months beforehand for me, the feeling growing as I drive to the venue. It builds and builds throughout the opening acts (Eklipse, you are awesome; Delain, you are delightful), and finally you get to let go when the headliner takes the stage. And when the act in question is your favorite in all the known multiverse, the entire shebang levels up. As mentioned in a few previous posts, Kamelot's got a new lead singer, and while they technically toured last year, that was a supporting tour. With a truncated set-list, and no new album to promote.

(Karevik and Alissa White-Gluz, taken by glitzandshadows)
But this year is different. This year is the tour of the first post-Khan album, and the band's first international headlining tour with a new singer. THIS YEAR IS A BIG YEAR. I'm so glad they chose to kick off their continental US road trip in our own Columbus, Ohio. There's a lot to be said against live music: eardrum-destroying, obnoxious people talking behind you during the ballads, waiting in all kinds of weather to get inside, $7 beers and expensive merch. But the ecstasy of a crowd and the chance to sing along and the goodwill that communal excitement fosters are more than enough reward. Live music gives you a chance to see performers' most glorious heights, but also their foibles--fumbling a bow, screwing up a lyric, recovering with a smile. Live music is cathartic. Maybe it only lasts four hours or so, but the hangover is legendary, to the point where there's no listening to other music for a few days after, for fear of blurring the amazing performance still going on in your head.
(the band, taken by marssimons)
And it was a great performance. If there was any doubt that Tommy has the stuff, this tour will kill it. If there's resentment or even apathy toward him, I didn't see it in the crowd in Columbus. We might not have filled the (relatively small) venue, but we were loud. We sang to every song, we headbanged and air-guitared and yelled. The next day at work, someone asked me if I a cold. That's a successful concert experience. May the rest of the tour be as awesome for Kamelot as Monday night was for Columbus, and may their new frontman continue to help carry and build Kamelot's legacy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...