Thursday, February 27, 2014

Workshop Part Deux

Well that was... interesting. As promised, I workshopped my essay about being a Mormon mutant in my BYU creative writing class today. The results were varied: The majority of classmates just gave me feedback on the writing itself (which is, you know, the point of the workshop). Several gave me kudos for being so bold and open. A couple mentioned that they have mutant family members or friends. One girl who last semester workshopped a personal essay about her horrible experience dating a guy who only told her he was a mutant once they were talking about marriage (she promptly dumped him) unsurprisingly found all kinds of things to criticize in my essay--ranging from run-on sentences to pronouns with unclear referents to my apparent lack of empathy for non-mutants (and she also doesn't like my overuse of parentheticals).

The most... interesting reaction came from a girl I'll call Suzie. Suzie is a recently-returned missionary with long brown hair that she wears down and slightly frizzy. She has thick glasses and a judgmental smirk that comes out whenever someone mentions anything even remotely liberal or otherwise non-conforming, which I'm not sure she's even aware of. I suspect she's secretly attractive, but she hides it under baggy jeans and long-sleeve plaid shirts that she buttons all the way to her chin--you know, lest she cause a guy to have inappropriate thoughts. Here's an excerpt from the very long comment she left at the end of my essay:
Everyone has temptations, but you don't see normal people going around and flaunting their weaknesses. A married man who talked openly about his attraction to female coworker would just be inviting sin. A former smoker who keeps a pack of cigarettes in his pocket is asking for a relapse. There's a reason paedophiles don't get callings in the Primary. You talk about your challenge as if it's something to be proud of, even to the point of confessing past transgressions. The Lord doesn't want us to be proud of our weaknesses; He wants us to be humble enough to let Him take them from us. 

Yes, she used the British spelling of pedophile. No, she's not British. Just pretentious. I've kept her British spelling and introduced her with that description of a self-righteous Molly Mormon because I think she's kind of ridiculous and I want you to agree with me. But at the same time, her criticism has really upset me, and typically that only happens when there's at least a grain of truth to the criticism. I already know I'm driving a little close to the edge by openly claiming a mutant identity and hanging out with mutants and mutant supporters. It's a risk I'm willing to take in order to open up discussion about what it means to be a Mormon mutant. But the part I'm not so happy to admit is that I am proud of being a mutant. I'm not sure when that happened--it wasn't true four months ago, but it is now. And I think she's right, I probably shouldn't be proud. I should be humble. I should be humbly asking the Lord to take this from me.

But honestly? I don't want to.


  1. Hi there. You need to get your blog onto the Moho Directory post haste.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation, Trev! I've emailed the directory owner and asked to be added.