Someone To Talk To All the Time

Who’s That Girl?

Marcella Torres grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. A Latina ex-Mormon learning to wear tank tops. Sculpture BA and Art History BFA from University of Utah. Currently attending Performance MFA program at School of The Art Institute Chicago. She has worked as an art educator for the last 8 years, holding positions with Utah Museum of Contemporary Arts, CUAC Contemporary gallery and Arts Bridge. Just trying to figure things out.

Someone to Talk to All the Time | 2013 | Projected Video Essay 

Someone To Talk To All The Time is one part of the essay series Pionero Americano. This series is a collection of memoir essays I have written that recount my experience of being raised in the U.S., specifically in Utah as a Mexican American in the Mormon (Latter Day Saint) church. Each essay unpacks ideas revealed through numerous events and theories connected to religion, society, philosophy and personal confrontations.

Someone To Talk To All The Time, describes how falling in love with a Caucasian American conflicted with my predefined theories on identity and continued genealogy. This act allowed for both my husband and I to realize we no longer believed in our organized religion, and more than anything we doubted its morals. The title Someone To Talk To All The Time refers to our experience of finding a partner and this phenomenon replacing the need to pray. In creating this film I hoped to put to rest any ideas of guilt I felt in leaving the religion of my family, and hoping that by saying what I needed, they and myself would understand the intent of my actions.

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Wherein we see proof that Mormons aren’t Christian

Frances_Hook_Jesus_with_Little_ChildrenApparently the Church has recently issued an update to the leadership handbook that equates same-sex marriage with apostasy and bars children from same-sex households from receiving baby blessings, baptism, and priesthood ordination until they are 18 and no longer living with their parents. Want more details? See the Salt Lake Tribune article.

(I’m going to spare you the several chapters I could write about how I believe that the Church’s doctrines and policies on homosexuality are harmful, divisive, misguided, uninspired, and actually at odds with Christ’s teachings. We’re just not having that debate today, all right?)

Because this is the least Christian thing I’ve ever seen come from the LDS Church. Did Jesus not say, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven“?

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Guest Post: Women, Scholarship, and the Maxwell Institute*

By Blair Hodges

* NOTE: I work at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute but this post represents my own quick overview and my own thoughts. While most people at the Institute share my concern and my interest in seeing more women become involved, I speak only for myself here and not in my capacity as an Institute employee.

Brigham Young University established the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship in 2006. It began as a sort of grab-bag miscellanea, a group of loosely related projects which needed a firm institutional home at BYU. The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies had evolved from a volunteer non-profit group in 1979 to a well-funded constellation of scholars and publications by the late 90s when BYU acquired it. Other projects—the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, and the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative—were brought together under the name of Elder Maxwell, who was especially interested in the life of the mind and spirit, and in employing scholarship to defend and increase faith. FARMS was subsequently absorbed by the Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies when the Willes family made a generous donation with an eye toward improving Book of Mormon research. Another donor helped create the William Gay Research Chair. The Maxwell Institute: Books, journals, research updates, lectures, co-sponsored seminars, and translation projects.

It’s somewhat difficult to explain how all of these projects hang together, given that some of them are geared more to the academy and others more toward Latter-day Saints, with some overlap. I think the Institute’s basic mission statement gets at the heart of it:

Our mission is to deepen understanding and nurture discipleship among Latter-day Saints and to promote mutual respect and goodwill among people of all faiths through the scholarly study of religious texts and traditions.”

For more background on the parts that make up the Institute, see here.

With that background in mind, it’s clear that there haven’t been enough women involved in the work of the Maxwell Institute and its predecessors. Let’s look at the numbers.

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Mormon Women Express #FaithInWomen with Art…and Keys

This living sculpture by Ginny Huo was featured in the Exponent II in July 2012.

This living sculpture by Ginny Huo was featured in the Exponent II in July 2012.

About 10,000 people from 80 nations who are members of 50 different faiths will descend upon my hometown of Salt Lake City for the Parliament of the World Religions on October 15-19. The Parliament began in 1893.  It has taken place in a variety of cities across the world, most recently in Melbourne, Australia in 2009.

This year is exciting to me not only because of location of the Parliament, near my home and the headquarters of my own faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormons), but also because for the first time, the Parliament will include a Women’s Assembly, providing an opportunity for women to address the responsibility of the world’s religions to affirm women’s dignity and human rights and empower women. (Follow the Women’s Assembly on social media with the hashtag: #FaithInWomen)

Several months ago, when I was a member of the board of Ordain Women, organizers of the Inaugural Women’s Assembly of the Parliament of World Religions reached out to us and invited us to participate in the event.  For some time, we had already been discussing the possibility of developing a community art project, using house keys to represent priesthood keys, as a way to express our desire for full equality within our church.  Now we had the opportunity to expand that vision to include women of many faiths.

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What does your husband do? Not that question again…

Sulking by Edgar Degas

Sulking by Edgar Degas

When I was in college, people would start conversations with me by asking, ”What’s your major?”  It wasn’t a very creative way to start a conversation but it was effective as an invitation to talk about my interests.

Now that I have long since graduated, people don’t ask me that any more. Most ask me about my job. It’s the grown-up equivalent of “What’s your major?” and it works just as well.

But I have noticed that a significant minority of people–mostly Mormons–don’t ask me about my work. Instead, they ask, “What does your husband do?”

This question doesn’t work as well for me. I can answer the question. I know what my husband does. But then the conversation drags to a halt because I am not terribly interested in my husband’s occupation. He does valuable, meaningful work. There’s nothing wrong with what he does. But I didn’t choose to go into that field myself because it doesn’t interest me personally. And because it doesn’t interest me personally, it’s not the best conversation-starter for me.

Once, at a Mormon wedding, the stranger seated beside me made a valiant effort to start a conversation with me and I tried as hard as I could to engage. First she asked me, “What does your husband do?” She followed that with, “What does your father do?” and then went on to “What does your brother do?”

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Movie Time: It’s not about the nail


(Note: If you are reading from a feed reader, you will need to click through to the actual site to view and participate in the poll.)

*Note: Regardless of what I “should” think as a feminist, I love this video. Hope you enjoy it!

It’s not about the nail by Jason Headley

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