Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The 3 C's: Carrie, Cookies, Chastity

Ok, so there we sat (see below post) and Brother Henstrom continued to smile while I plead my case by throwing out bad attitude and examples of various sins that I enjoy.  But I'm pretty sure all he heard was...

So I took a new angle.  "Alright," I said, "I'll say yes. But ONLY if I can use tithe dollars to take the girls skydiving as part of a lesson on faith."

I knew I had his attention the moment the smile faded from his face and his chipper voice started to waiver as he stammered, "uh...I...uh."

I really thought I had him backed into the corner.  Between my love of swearing and Catholic boys I was pretty sure he's take back the offer once he realized the type of harm I'd REALLY like to put those fresh face girls in.  But he stood his ground.

So I left his office, in shock, and with a promise that if I still loved swearing and Catholic boys more than I loved working with those sweet teenage spirits, that we could renegotiate in three months.  THREE MONTHS????  The man obviously doesn't know the kind of lasting damage I can do in THREE months.

Sure,  I can teach them to bake and sew and how to crochet (the same evil tools I used on Andrea Merrill).  Hell, I could probably teach them how to build a cabin out of toothpicks and duct tape if I had to.  There's not a lot I can't teach.  BUT, what in the hell am I going to do when we get to that horrible, horrible YW lesson on chastity?

For those of you who aren't fortunate enough to know the rules of engagement in the Mormon dating world let me give you a little lesson:
  1. No dating till you're 16, even then it's only double or group dates until you're 18
  2. Girls who wear tight shirts are only liked for one thing...their boobs...because boys are weak-minded and can't control themselves, therefore it is the girls responsibility to make sure she emanates modesty and self-respect.  Because while boys like boobs, they love girls who make good wife material more
  3. Only whores kiss on the first date
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.  I remember the lessons.  Remember my YW leader comparing my virginal self to a beautifully decorated cupcake.

She asked me, the fat kid, if I wanted to have the beautifully decorated cupcake.   Of course I did!   Then she licked it and asked me if I still wanted it.  I was a fat kid, of course I wanted it!  But I said no, because I didn't want to f' up her twisted object lesson and end up back in the bishop's office being accused of fornication.  She then said that girls who did bad things with boys were like licked cupcakes, and no one wants a licked cupcake (except maybe me and my sugar addiction).

So at the age of 12, 13, 14, 15...I kind of got the point.  But now I'm 35, and I'm still expected to live by the same rules.  Now, as far as I know, my cupcake has never been licked, but rules 2 & 3 went out the window two decades ago.  God gave me boobs, and if they and their favorite tight T are going to get me free dinner every Friday night, then I'm going to let them.  Hell, we can even kiss on the first date.  Me an my precious cupcake are on the verge of exploding in total and complete whoredom.  That's just the frustrated reality I live in.
There is no way that I, and my rocking rack, can honestly tell a bunch of girls that if they stray from the ways of the Amish they are basically an icky licked cupcake that no one will ever want.  Planting that sort of guilt-ridden, self-esteem bursting, mind-warping seed goes against everything I believe in as a woman, as a citizen on this planet, and as a therapist.  There is a reason why LDS women live in miserable sexless guilt-filled marriages.  Because every time their husband makes a move on them they immediately envision their frumpy YW leader licking and offering them that cupcake.

Or worse.  How about the camel story?  You know, the one where the sultan and his camel are walking through the desert when a sandstorm hits.  And the camel wants to come into the sultan's tent but there isn't room for the both of them.  So the camel asks if he can just put his nose in, and the sultan says yes.  Then the next thing you know the camel is in the tent and the sultan has been buried alive by sand.  Moral of the story:  don't go letting camels put their noses into your tent.

Really?  This is the type of cryptic shiz we teach our future women in the hopes that they will "get the drift" and keep their cupcakes clean and their tents nose free?

AHHHHHHH!  I can't do it.  I can't teach body shame.  I can't teach relationship shame.  I can't pass on what was passed to me.

If it were up to me I'd teach them that sex is suppose to feel good.  That's the way God intended it to be.  I'd teach that they don't have to be ashamed of their bodies.  That they are only accountable for themselves, NOT for what the boy sitting next to them does or thinks.  I would tell them to dress and act appropriately, but not so they can keep their date in line, but because they respect themselves.  I'd teach them that their bodies are their own and that to love and treat them well, to protect them.  And I'd teach them that sometimes people mess up, sometimes things happen.  But that doesn't make someone trash, or less of a person.  I'd teach them that God knows we're bound to mess up, that's why he set up that awesome repentance program.  I'd teach them balance and health.

But it's not my church.  And I don't get to say what's taught or not taught.

All I know is that I plan on having a meeting with the parents of the girls that I teach.  I will tell them how I feel about the ambiguous lessons and guilt.  I will tell them about reality, that their child's classmates are giving each other blow jobs during lunch break.  That we no longer live in a time when we can have the luxury of ignoring what's happening around us.  That I CANNOT and WILL NOT, endorse the fluffy-mumbo-jumbo that the LDS culture is known for.

I will be honest...and then I'll pass around a petition for them to sign asking the bishop to have me released.



Dave said...

Rock on Sister Hans.... er.. CARRIE!

Anonymous said...

That is fantastic. You don't know me, but I stumbled across your blog from a facebook link. I appreciate this realistic approach to sensitive issues. Sexuality is something that needs to be clearly taught and understood to both girls and boys. Because there is some serious sexual dysfunction out there, for the women of the church.

The Book Goddess said...

You would make a great ex-mormon, my dear. Good luck! I hope the petition works out for you.

Kit said...

That paragraph of what you'd like to teach is the exact reason why you'll do well with this calling. (Probably not what you wanted to hear :) Teaching guilt is the culture not the gospel, and it isn't helpful for real learning. The girls are lucky to have such a wise teacher.

Natalie said...

ummm.... I think your title should be "The 3 C's: Carrie, Cupcakes, Chastity". I got the same guilt-ridden chastity talks all the way through, oh.. till when I finally left the singles ward. Luckily, my family ward doesn't really tread long or hard on the subject.

Sarah said...

the entire guilt thing is definately cultural---as in Utah/Idaho culture. we had that lesson a couple of weeks ago but instead of a cupcake the teacher offered them a piece of gum to touch and share and by the end --- the teacher explained that because of the atonement they could be given a new pack of gum. Yeah, guilt is not the object.

Carrie said...

Sarah, food + chastity lesson = stupid

Carrie said...

My vagina is not a cupcake,
I'm not a piece of gum, or a candy bar, or anything else that they use in these stupid lessons. Sure, I long for those days when I can scream "eat me"...but church is NOT the place to even slightly elude to that. How about we use real big people words and talk about it like adults?

Angenette said...

That reminds me of a chastity lesson we had when I was 14 or 15. Camilla Hardy and I were in the back, disrupting as usual. We were mocking all the "shame on you" and "only bad girls ...." until the teacher asked us "So what should you do if a boy tries to french kiss you?"
Camilla, always on pointe, yelled out, "Open your mouth!"

Armelle said...

What you are suggesting to teach is precisely what I 've been taught as a catholic teen, so of course I think you're spot on.
You could be so inspirational for young girls. Surely, you dont need to have the sex talk all the time? Take them sky diving and crocheting, teach them how to run a 5K and share your amazing baking talents with them. There're so many fun things you can do when you're a girl, when you stop obsessing about cupcakes.

rita said...

Oh my good lord carrie i love you. I love to have you teach my teens. YOU truly are a missionary in life. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

You're the type of woman I'd want teaching my daughter at church... except the skydiving part and maybe the unhealthy fascination with Catholic boys. :-)

I don't remember having these types of cheesy object lessons when I was a young man, though it's likely I was too distracted thinking about boobs. I certainly don't use them as a young men's advisor now. I hate teaching that morality lesson, but have found that tackling it head on is best. It's a hard balance between teaching the reality of sex and morality while also encouraging them to not go out and experience it.

Julie said...


Steve said...

I have heard that the church has, of late, realized how damaging these types of lessons are. I hope that's true, but I don't really have any evidence to support it. FWIW, I think the girls will be lucky to be around you. Oh, and the little word verification at this moment says "hergide." lol

Julie said...

You probably don't remember me from high school, but you've touched on a subject that matters a lot to me so I'm jumping in.

YOU are the exact type of person to have in a teaching/leadership role like the one you've just been given. You understand the doctrine better than many, so you will do a much better job of teaching it. A licked cupcake? No, a restored, whole, complete cupcake. A friend of mine was in a lesson where the teacher used the chewed up gum example when teaching chastity to teen girls. The teacher's point was that even if you repent from sexual sin, you are still like a used piece of gum. My friend was kind but bold. She set the teacher straight. Repentance restores you you. Completely. In the case of the gum, you would be a new, fresh, unchewed piece of gum. Believing anything less is misunderstanding the atonement, discounting what Christ has done for us.

My personal belief is that you can only teach at the level you understand. Having grown up in the church, I figured I had a solid understanding of the gospel. That worked fine until seven years ago when I hit some big life trials. Now, when I look back at those years, I think, "Man, that really sucked." I also realize that I have gained a much greater understanding of the gospel, of the atonement, of God's unconditional love for me. In the years between high school and my big trials, I served as a young women's leader three times in three different wards. I cringe at what I may have taught wrong, simply because I had so much to learn. I don't think I fouled up on chastity (no cupcakes or gum lessons), but I do think I taught that our worthiness depends on what we do, not who we are. I didn't necessarily say that, but it's how I was living, because deep down at a level I would have never admitted, I believed that God's love of me depended on my performance. Now I know otherwise. God loves me because of who He is, not because of who I am or what I do. And knowing that is priceless.

So, teach what you know, because you are right on. Don't teach shame. Teach how much God loves them. Teach them that they matter, even if they mess up, even if they make mistakes that require a visit to the bishop's office, even if they don't become perfect mormon wives with a perfect husband and perfect children. Because that NEVER happens. And it's okay.

And it's okay to be fond of swearing and Catholic boys. You don't have to choose between those things and your young women calling. God wants you, not a white-washed version of you. Tend to your relationship with your Father, with your Brother, and don't get caught feeling shame over the lesser things.

Teach those girls that they matter to their Father. They matter. They are loved.

Congratulations on your new calling. Those are some lucky girls.

I'll get off my soapbox now.

Carrie said...

Julie...what's your last name? You'd be amazed at what I remember from high school : )

Brenda said...

I agree with Julie. And I wish you were teaching my YW. And I'd like to be sitting next to you in RS. Or anywhere!
Can you send me your email? I have a private story for you.

Phoenix Rising said...

A friend of mine sent me the link to your blog and I am hooked...HOOKED I tell you! Keep shoveling out the straight forward, real world wisdom.

Ms. Misc. said...

It's been said but I have to say it again. You're the best person to be teaching that lesson.
I was just released from teaching YW and I was so excited to teach the chastity lesson because I knew that I would be teaching them the truth - sex is good! In the proper place.
I'm so pleased to know that there are others that understand truth over culture.