Monday, September 1, 2014

I'm Not Fighting a Ban On Sex (Keli Byers Responds to Cosmo Article)

It's been almost three weeks since Cosmopolitan Magazine released a headliner that has received national attention because of its controversial content. An article with my name attached to it. Maybe you've seen it. It's called, "I'm Fighting BYU's Ban on Sex."

This article has received an incredible response, both supportive and positive, critical and negative. All are to be expected. I was astonished at how quickly internet businesses such as Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Think Progress, and other reporting websites picked up the story. What I didn't anticipate was the vehemence and anger and hatred which has been thrown at me from people within the LDS and Christian communities. 

I don't mean to sound rude or judgmental towards anyone who may have had choice words to say about me. I know I'm not perfect, as this article has shown. But it hurts to see so many people saying these things about me--a fellow Christian sister and imperfect human--when they don't even know all the details. So I figured today is as good a time as ever, what with school starting again tomorrow, to tell you everything you need to know concerning this article and its back-story. 

Let me take the time to clear up some common misconceptions that I've seen floating around the internet:

Misconception #1: Keli Byers is the author of this article. 

False. I am not the author, and I regret it was perceived this way. This article was written by Michelle Ruiz, a journalist for Cosmopolitan. It was written in first person based on a phone interview I had with Michelle earlier this summer. 

Misconception #2: Keli Byers approached Cosmo to write this article. 

Also false. Cosmopolitan initially contacted a friend of mine who started the BYU Secrets Facebook page and asked him/her if they knew anyone who might be willing to be interviewed for an article about sex culture at BYU. This friend then gave Michelle my name, who in turn contacted me and I agreed to an interview with her. 

Cosmo has recently had a change in their editing staff, which is why you may see the magazine altering its subject matter to address social and public issues more often in its editions lately. This is part of the reason they wanted to write an article about culture and an important issue, and I for one am looking forward to the changes Cosmo is experiencing we will witness in the near future. 

Misconception #3: Keli Byers is the new face of Mormon Feminism. 

I absolutely AM NOT a representative for Mormon feminism. Young Mormon Feminists is not some group of women who sit around bashing the church and BYU. I am only one member of Young Mormon Feminists, and YMF is only one representation of Mormon feminism, and Mormon feminism is only one representation of feminism as a whole. I cannot possibly represent all those people, as my concerns are not necessarily the concerns of others, and there are plenty of feminists who do not agree with my beliefs or choices up to this point. There are, of course, some who do. But again, I am not trying to be the face of feminism in any way, and I never said I was. The Cosmo article was a representation of one bisexual, white, middle class woman's experience and concerns. There are an infinite amount of other feminist issues that take more precedence than my own, and such topics of interest concerning sexuality, LGBTQ rights, people of color, racism, and class-ism should all be addressed as well. Young Mormon Feminists is a great support group to have such discussions, especially for those who identify as Mormon and feminist in some way at BYU and all around the globe. For more clarification, please read this statement from Young Mormon Feminists written by Hannah Wheelwright.

Misconception #4: Keli Byers was banned from church for a month. 

This is a case of editorial license and is not entirely true. I was not banned from attending church, but like many people who go through the repentance process, I was not allowed to partake of the sacrament or participate in church activities in my calling or in other ways, such as giving public talks or prayers. Cosmo paraphrased in order to fit everything into their limited space, and also to appeal to their regular audience, the likes of which would not understand LDS processes concerning repentance and disfellowship. The separate question of whether or not I should have been punished for a sin that was not mine has already been addressed, and you can read about that here. 

Misconception #5: Keli Byers is an attention-seeking whore who wants fame/infamy. 

Again. False. First of all, using terminology such as "whore" or "slut" to demean women who are assumed to be sexually promiscuous should not be a thing. Stop it. Secondly, I never had the intention of this article being about me. As I said earlier, this initial interview was about sex culture at BYU as a general topic. Yes, I shared personal experiences as examples of my own observations concerning the culture at BYU. However, I didn't initially share those with the intention of having Cosmo write an entire article about me. That's just how they chose to write the article; in the journalism world, often publication choices change and stories evolve and adapt into something different than the original idea, and that's just how it goes. Not much I could do about that. So if you think I intentionally went around trying to make the whole world aware of my personal and intimate life details, you're wrong. I would never ever willingly seek out the cruelty I have had to endure in the last month.

Misconception #6: Keli Byers is a slut who wants to be able to have sex at BYU whenever she wants. 

I am going to repeat that sluts do not exist. "Slut" is a degrading term used against women by people who are cruel, judgmental, un-Christlike, and creepy. In this world, there are no prudes and there are no sluts. There are women are more sexually liberal and there are women who are not. You don't have to agree with either lifestyle, or condone it, or accept it, or respect it. In fact, you can totally reject and hate someone's sexual choices if you want. But you don't get to demean someone, or judge them, or publicly chastise them just because you don't like what they choose to do with their body. I wrote a whole blog post about this and how slut-shaming is not okay. Go read it and then make the conscious choice to STOP BEING A BULLY. 

Even after mentioning slut-shaming in the original article, people still went on to slut shame me publicly on the internet, and it was vicious enough for the Salt Lake Tribune to contact me about it. See just a few examples from one person below (I am twitter handle GingerMormon): 




Note: This is a parody account and not run by the actual BYU Honor Code Office
As far as assumptions made that I want to have sex all the time, that was never even implied in the article and it is definitely not true. 

Misconception #7: "Sexual woman" = "I am sexually active and I have sex aalllll the time."  

Newsflash: MOST PEOPLE ARE SEXUAL. With the exception of those who identify as asexual, every person on the planet is sexual. That's how we're made. Oftentimes, it is unacceptable to admit this openly in Christian culture. It is not my fault my honesty and frankness concerning this fact makes you uncomfortable. But no, that does not automatically mean I am sexually active, and admitting to not being a virgin does not mean I am having sex at this time. So please stop assuming.

Misconception #8: Keli Byers is not following the honor code that she chose to sign, and if she doesn't like it, she should just leave. 

Addressing the first part of this misconception--yes I signed the honor code. I signed it with every intention to follow it. I do my best to do exactly that. However, I'm not obligated to like it. No, I'm not perfect. I slip up; I make mistakes; I go through learning curves. But everything I've done wrong while attending BYU has already been addressed or dealt with. Not that it is anyone's business where I am spiritually or what I do in the privacy of my own home. We would all do the world good to deal with our own struggles and issues before pointing fingers or making it our job to determine someone else's worthiness. 

For those who are wondering, I am still a student at BYU and I will continue to be a student at BYU for as long as I choose to be. I would appreciate it if people would stop vehemently telling me to leave. Doing so shows little understanding or sympathy and is a blatant disregard for others' situations. Take the time to research class-ism and class privilege. Not everyone can afford to just get up and leave. Not everyone chooses to go here. Not everyone has a mom and dad helping them. So please just stop and listen before making assumptions about people who attend BYU but aren't in love with every single facet of the school.  

Misconception #9: Keli Byers is becoming an advocate for assault victims everywhere. 

Another vehement "NO." I do not wish to be a representative or example for victims of sexual assault in any way, shape, or form. I am more than willing to share my story with others in order to assure them they are not alone. I also willingly open up about what happened to me because I want people to understand what the real definition of sexual assault is. (Meaning: if a woman or man is not of age or does not consent or changes their mind or does not verbally say yes, that is assault. Period.) However, I have turned down nearly every interview I have been offered since this whole thing started because I don't want to be made into some sort of hero. Yes, my assault is valid and important and tragic. But regretfully, I have been on the other side of the coin. I have been the perpetrator before, albeit unknowingly, and I have made some horrible decisions that have harmed others similar to the way I was harmed. I am ashamed of this, and I hate myself every day for this fact, but it must be acknowledged. If you wish to read more about that, click here. For these reasons, I do not wish to be an activist against sexual assault when I have been an assaulter. Please respect this choice and recognize that I am a human being who has made mistakes I deeply regret and I am doing all I can to fix said mistakes. Even though some can never be completely fixed. 

Misconception #10: Keli Byers wants to change the honor code and Church doctrine concerning sex. 

This is the worst misconception of all, and I want to apologize for the misunderstanding. Much of what was discussed in my Cosmo interview simply could not be included in the article due to publication issues. So the long winded version of, "I want to see a positive change take place on BYU campus where church members stop judging others based on past or present sexual indiscretions (AKA slut shaming) or on the clothes someone is wearing, so that our culture can make a transition from one which makes assumptions about an individual's character based on their outward appearance or sexuality, to one that loves everyone and is non-judgmental and is HONORABLE in the real sense of the word" was not included. 

The short of it is: I'm not trying to change doctrine. I'm not trying to re-write the Book of Mormon. I'm not trying to change the Honor Code's stance on the Law of Chastity. I understand church doctrine and the honor code and law of chastity perfectly, despite what the naysayers claim. When I state that I think BYU can be sexist and slut-shaming towards women, I'm addressing the culture, not the administration. I want to change that culture and I'm trying to make my campus, my home, a more loving and welcoming environment. Right now, I'll be honest, I don't feel like it is in a lot of ways. Slate barely touches the surface concerning this issue (although, some of the facts included about me are wrong, as I have already clarified). But that's a subject for another day and a separate blog post. Be on the look out for that one. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I want to thank those who have been loving and understanding during this stressful time. Responses that have come from women such as the BYU Confessions Babe and Brooksley are what keep me going, because, although there were still some misconceptions (very valid misunderstandings, I will admit), they have treated me with love and kindness. And for those who responded more vehemently, all it took was one conversation to change feelings like this into this.   

I promise I'm not all bad. I'm just like you. I sin, I make stupid choices, I mess up, I learn, I try again. Don't judge me for that. I'll gladly do you the same favor.

38 comments:

  1. Much better written, much more tactful, enlightening, and honest than the article which appeared in Cosmo. I personally would seek damages against Cosmo. Their writer failed to do their job correctly, in a properly professional manner.

    Otherwise, insightful. I enjoyed what you've written here. Yes, I think Mormons tend to get overly-carried away with what folks now call "slut-shaming". Between 14 and 25 or so, you learn to control the hormones, mindsets and mood swings that come along. Not being perceptive to that is something Mormons fail at. People at BYU would scream if they saw the behaviors that take place in Marine barracks on a weekend. As an Artilleryman with 1/12, I saw plenty of it. And this after serving a mission!

    The biggest changes come through education. Educate people on the difference between enjoying a good make-out session and engaging in intercourse. The first is something to be enjoyed and a natural part of courting, while the latter ought to be saved for the intimacy of marriage, because it is that powerful, and that important.

    My wife is about as Molly Mormon good girl as you could possibly find, and being married is something she has struggled with on this count, because she went from nothing intimate to having it available. 24/7. And a husband who happens to think sex is a lot of fun. But how do you reconcile all of that? How do you teach Molly Mormon that it's okay to walk into a Victoria's Secret and not be ashamed? Or that her husband likes seeing her in sexy lingerie and a pair of knee-high black leather boots? Those kinds of questions need to be addressed. We need to be able to answer them in our own lives, long before we get married, so that we're not going to places and persons outside bonds of our marriage, and breaking that sacred trust our spouse has in us.

    Item the second: this article does not make you come across as an enemy to the church the way that Cosmo did. I hope, you've learned from the backlash of that not to blindly trust reporters like that. Some are good, some are bad, looking to lie, manipulate and twist whatever they can to fit their agenda. Don't let them catch you like that again, because so long as you wrote articles like what you have on your blog here today, and can honestly possess a temple recommend worthily, you'll have the support of men like me, who for all our faults, love the Church. Why can and will support you.

    Final thought: I don't care for most of modern feminism. I think it's misguided, misandrist, and hypocritical. Articles like this give me hope that not all modern feminists are this way. You and I can agree about what you've written here today. We will probably never agree 100% on everything. It is what it is. But when I became a Marine, I swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. That includes people like you whom I might disagree with. Keep talking, keep sharing, keep educating and helping others to see what they can do to be better, more understanding human beings. Keep justifying why I gave my young adult life and my good health to protect this way of life. Anybody who comes on here and says you shouldn't be allowed to talk can go take a walk through Arlington, where my brothers are laid to rest. We say you can, so keep talking.

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    1. Nicely said Anonymous! Just one thought...as a Mormon woman who was a 28 virgin when I got married and very, very ready for the whole sex thing, I was, and am still not comfortable with the idea of knee-high black leather boots and what are ultimately really uncomfortable straps of cloth (lingerie). Some women are happy to indulge their man's fantasies and others are not comfortable doing so...neither is a better wife than the other and it may or may not have anything to do with "molly-mormanism". Men need to respect their wive's comfort level where sexual acting-out is concerned. I personally think dressing up like you suggested is reminiscent of "hookery" and I don't like the idea of my husband thinking of me in that way. But, that is just me and I don't judge any woman who is comfortable with that kind of play-acting. But I would suggest you realize that your wife may never be comfortable with that kind of thing and learn to be ok with it. Not indulging in that kind of thing has not diminished enjoyment of our sex life for me or my husband.

      And well said about "journalists". I too hope Keli has learned a really big lesson where trusting the press is concerned.

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  2. Ignore the haters, it's that simple; God loves you despite what others may think or say.

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  3. I agree with other anonymous. Seek damages against Cosmo. You may even be able to claim defamation of character. They horribly misrepresented you.

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  4. I think you are lying. How can you be trusted?

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    1. Because if nothing else, I'm an honest person and I hold great pride in that fact. I would never do anything purposely to make it seem otherwise.

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    2. Well then ask Cosmo to retract and apologize if they misrepresented you so. I have a hard time believing that you had no idea that was what the ultimate article would look like. Writing a blog post is a nice gesture but that's all it is. It looks like you want validation from everyone but none of the consequences.

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    3. I can't just "ask Cosmo to retract." That's not how journalism works. I put my future career on the line writing this response because I care about the gospel that much. But if I ask for a retraction, my name will be blackballed in the world of journalism forever. That's how it goes. Besides, even if I asked they wouldn't do it, I guarantee it. I never said I didn't know what the article said. They showed me before it printed. But it was too late to make changes because it had already been sent to publication. I could sit here and explain all the ins and outs of being a journalist to you, but I don't really see the point because it seems you're bent on not believing me anyway.
      And trust me. I've already suffered the consequences. Don't even go there.

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    4. So, I don't know about the other guy, but I believe you when you say that it would likely be difficult to get Cosmo to remove or edit the article. My question, actually, is why would you want to work for someone who would "blackball" (sorry, I've never read/heard that particular word before, but I assume it's similar to "blacklist") you for trying to preserve your honor and integrity? Whether you want to go into journalism or any other field, I would think that the good people you want to work for would applaud your efforts to stand up against defamation. Why would you want to work for an employer that encourages you to just go with something erroneous that has obviously caused you a lot of grief?

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    5. I can testify to the truth of what Keli is saying. I am a member of Keli's family and was there from the get-go of this whole horrific event. Cosmo never used quotation marks in the article nor did they give Keli the bi-line. The reason they didn't use quotation marks is because they never once quoted her verbatum. They twisted everything she said to fit their agenda. If it were up to me, I would definitely seek action against this journalist. But, that is Keli's call, and she has other priorities right now.

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  5. What Keli needs most is prayer. She's confused and needs help. Yes she is wrong in many ways. But the devil is tricky. Pray that she'll one day see the truth instead of all of the lies that the world has put into her mind.

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    1. Hello there. Please do share with me exactly what "lies" I've mentioned in this post. Because everything I've said is exactly what Jesus would tell you if he was standing here with us.

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    2. I am a different anonymous and I don't agree that everything you said is full of lies etc. however I do find it kinda funny that your defense to the statement was, "everything I've said is exactly what Jesus would tell you if he was standing here with us." Really? You know that? :)

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    3. Yes I do, because Jesus would tell you the truth.

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  6. Keli, I kine you personally. I know you wouldn't speak against the church. I also know your style of honesty is hard for many to accept. You are a wonderful girl. To those who don't believe keli she really is a wonderful person who loves the church who also happens to be abnormally honest unlike most who lie to themselves about the issues she is speaking of. I applaud you for your strength keli, but I agree with the marine when he says you rally need to think about who you interview with. The liberal media often has a specific agenda to defame the church in any manner it can. When you are out in the world you must be smart as a fox and remember all you do and say publicly can be had for good and evil and it is your job to make sure you do all you can to avoid the crowd that would use it for evil. Cosmopolitan and its fellow like style magazines are not the best forum as you know now. Just be careful in the future. I'm behind you keli. Much love from another acappella brother.

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  7. So... I'm a little confused. You say in this post that "everything [you've] done wrong while attending BYU has already been addressed or dealt with", and also claim to be "an honest person and... hold great pride in that fact". However, I saw that someone else wrote a comment urging you to come clean about how you apparently chose to start drinking over the summer, which you have since deleted. So I can't lead myself to believe that those two statements that you expressed are true.

    Needless to say, I'm very disappointed. Apparently, you're still not following the honor code which you chose to sign. In claiming that you've "come clean" about everything, you're also making a mockery of all of the BYU students who have made mistakes in the past, and then repented and changed their ways completely so that they would be able to come here, and should be ashamed of yourself.

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    1. I deleted that comment because it was cruel, crude, accusatory, and plain rude. I didn't need that perception of me broadcasted to the world and whoever wrote not only is a coward because they can't put a face to their words, but knows nothing about me or my choices. No, I did not drink over this summer. Not even once. I can count on one hand the number of times I've drank, and every time I did, it was not a good experience for myself or other people involved and for these reasons, I have decided alcohol and me are not a good combination. I just don't see why people feel the need to point out that I "started drinking" and therefore I'm a horrible person.

      You can be disappointed all you want. I don't care. Mostly because, once again, you refuse to attach a name to your comments and therefore I can only assume that you don't know me at all and are thus completely ignorant to my experiences and situations. I don't feel ashamed of who I am. I will never feel ashamed of who I am and I will never let anyone on this planet or in the heavens make to feel ashamed of who I am. Last remark to you: please show me where I ever said I'm not following the honor code, and if you can't find it (you won't, because I didn't say it) then please provide proof for such an accusation. Can't do it? Darn. Maybe focus on your own relationship with God and let me worry about mine, please. Thanks so much.

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    2. Okay, so Anonymous above made a false assumption about you, and I hope that he or she truly feels sorry about jumping to conclusions, as have a lot of other people who have commented on this blog. That said, the extremely defensive, rude tone that you use in most of your replies is uncalled for. In my experience, a more respectful reply (yes, it's possible to reply respectfully to hurtful criticism) is more likely to cause a person to see eye-to-eye with you than a hurtful one is. If you want to be taken seriously, please begin to think twice before typing out angry replies to commenters.

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    3. No one who has rude comments to say about me wants to see eye-to-eye. No one who has slut-shamed me, bashed on me, called me a liar, a whore, an attention-seeker and the like wants to be respectful or is even remotely attempting to treat me like something that isn't a doormat. So you'll excuse me if I'm a bit perturbed in my responses. I've never been rude. I've been blunt. And that is most definitely called for.

      I see what you're trying to say, and I agree with you. I try to keep a level head. Trust me; I'm censoring my responses waaay more than you think I am. But I dare you to try being me for a day and tell me that you don't want to respond the exact same way.

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    4. Watch your tone young woman! As a judge in Israel, I counsel you to respond with nothing but adoration and respect when I call you a whore and a liar. Now bow your head and say yes.

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  8. women who are more sexually liberal are called sluts because it's a bad thing. the problem with it is that you're toying with the life of another human being. that's why adultery is next to murder. God gave you the power to create life and take it. To play around sexually is the equivalent of playing with another soul's life. you're an idiot to be so boldly wrong.

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    1. So maybe to help prevent unwanted pregnancies women should only have sex with other women, and men should only have sex with other men. This way no sperm can attach to eggs! Win\win for everyone!

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    2. Yes. Because we should never have sex unless for the purpose of creating life. With that logic, married women unable to have children should not be allowed to have sex, because they're doing it wrong. And there's absolutely no such thing as safe sex. Nope not at all.
      Actually, what if I told you I wasn't able to have children? Then I wouldn't be "toying with the life of another human being" would I? So I guess I'd be good then huh.
      Oh also: being more sexually liberal is a bad thing IN YOUR OPINION. There are plenty of people in this world that are not Mormon and don't believe in any higher power. Your belief is not more important and will never be more valid than theirs.

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    3. Yep you nailed it. Sex is sacred and should only be done within marriage.

      I think if sluts feel bad about their actions, they should either stop committing the acts that make them feel bad, or they should stop worrying what everyone else thinks. But that would make too much sense. Let's have a #slutwalk! #slutPride!

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  9. Thanks for writing this. There's a lot of judging that goes on whenever anything about sex and religion is brought up publicly. I'm pretty Mormon--I believe wholeheartedly in the ideals and teachings of the LDS faith. However, Christ is the only person born to this world that has a right to judge the contents of a person's heart. The best the rest of us can do is to stick up for our beliefs and try to understand each other. You've helped me understand this whole thing better, and helped to dispel some of the untruths that I'd been believing. So again, Keli, thank you.

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    1. Thank you so much for understanding what I'm trying to say. I really appreciate it, and your comment.

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  10. I appreciate reading the many different opinions that we as a society have. I find your opinion compelling to read. It did make me think about my own testimony and why I choose to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I think one of the most wonderful parts of His church is that he allows us to choose. He wants us to understand that although He has given us guidelines, He does not force His hand. I know that He loves me personally and that is why I choose to follow Him and His guidance, not the church's. I know that He has died for me so that I can be better. When faces with a decision, I think, how would that affect Him. Again, thank you for your thoughts. I only ask that you don't believe in the "church" but instead, believe in Christ and in your Eternal Father. They are the one's who give us these commandments so that we can become like them. I believe they give us the commandment of chastity in particular so that men can learn what is more important in life and so that women will be seen less like objects and more like the precious people they are. They love you as well and want you to know it.

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    1. "I choose to follow Him and His guidance, not the church's... Don't believe in the "church" but instead, believe in Christ and in your Eternal Father."
      THIS. SO MUCH YES. THANK YOU.

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  11. Don't take this as being offensive, I'm genuinely curious... do you honestly identify as a Latter-day Saint? Or simply as one who believes in general Mormon doctrine? In other words, do you consider yourself to be a part of some third party sect of Mormonism, or part of the general body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? If you don't class yourself as LDS, do you still believe in modern prophecy (as in, beyond Joseph Smith)?

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    1. I identify as a Christian; a follower of Christ whose congregation of choice tends to be that of the LDS church. Mormon is a label and identifier for me because it's a huge part of who I am and how I was raised. But if someone asked me "are you a true believing Mormon?" The only honest answer would be no. I have many questions and doubts and certain things where I flat out disagree
      There is doctrine from other Christian churches that I subscribe to instead and there are elements of non-Christians religions that I believe in as well. But I think that's been the best part of my "faith crisis" and of growing up: I've realized you don't have to believe just one thing. There are many truths in the world and we can all learn much from each other. Pulling from multiple backgrounds and cultures is intuitive and beautiful, as well as adventurous and fun honestly. And I truly feel as if I am my own person and I can say with complete honesty that my testimony is my own and no one else's.
      I wouldn't consider myself part of the general LDS church body, in case that answer wasn't already clear, as I am not like the general Mormon member. I believe in modern day revelation for sure! I believe I am just as capable of receiving revelation as the prophet is. Only difference is God called him to deliver general revelation for the entire world. He does not have the power to receive personal revelation for individuals. I do. I receive revelation for my own life and that revelation is first and most important in my life.
      I hope that answers your questions.

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  12. Keli, just wondering, was your church "ban" because you admitted to your bishop you masturbate? If so, we're all in deep touble. ;-) Kate

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  13. Keli,

    After reading the Cosmo article, several blog posts about this and now yours, I wanted to express my most sincere apologies.

    Most people's mistakes are provided a certain amount privacy where one can quietly go and learn from them and move on. You've been denied that. It seems for the most part people have been quick to judge and revile you.

    Judging from your comments, it seems also like you gave a pretty honest interview and probably in hindsight wouldn't have said many of the things you said, or at least said them in a different way, but these were used against you in an effort to sensationalize an article.

    I can really empathize, and wish you well.

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  14. Any Mormon who is quoted in a mainstream media, even Fox News, gets used by these people to attack the church. It's what they do. There is a "whore of the earth" deserving of our contempt but it is not women; it is these media outlets. Futhermore, it appears the devil is using this issue and publicity to undermine your personal testimony.
    That said, I think what you are saying is that we should not judge people for their mistakes. Scarlet A's don't help anyone. Godly sorrow is induced by personal realization of true wrongdoing, and social shaming does not help that happen. It is good to feel shame for sin but not good to make others feel ashamed for sin. And in cases of rape, of course the victim should not feel that they made a mistake, but be treated like any victim of a terrible crime.

    On the other hand, if I have a daughter who makes a mistake I will make sure she understands it is a mistake. And if I am courting a girl and find out past indisretions, I am going to investigate just to see if she will be a good mother, if she understands it was a mistake and she is now on the right track. If I have a friend making mistakes, I am going to tell them up front, not shaming or ridiculing but just informing. But I am not going to shame or ridicule them, because I am truly confident in myself and I don't need to put others down to make myself feel better.

    If I am the victim of a crime and I feel like other people are judging me, I will first get the help I need. Counseling. Crusades don't help you rise above personal victimization, like in the Count of Monte Christo.

    ...

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    1. It is good that you realize this is a cultural problem. Utah is full of them, and from a man's perspective I can tell you there are many problems you don't see as well. It is why I transfered out of BYU. But I don't think it is a problem that victimizes women uniquely, and I defintely don't think a feminist movement is the answer. From what I have seen, men and women have just as many problems and receive just as much shame. And the label feminism is so toxic now-a-days, with all these crazies who shame a scientist for wearing a shirt they don't like on TV, or label a whole gamer revolt movement sexist because they disagree with them, etc. "Feminist" is now a euphamism with anti-femininity. I think a good solution would not be unique to men and women. Address the hypocrisy and judgementalism issue as a whole.

      I wish our culture would shed mainstream Christianity's shaming of the human body and sexuality. This is still an issue with mainstream Christianity, handed down from the Dark Ages and Platoism. It takes immense self-discipline for us to become pure and chaste in this culture we are living in, but it isn't achieved by veiling the body away or banning kisses before 18. It is achieved by realizing that it is the world that shames and demeans the body, with grotesque displays of women and unnatural values among men. Our values celebrate the body and sexuality, their values cheapen and pervert them. I wish you could see all the good that is unique to Mormon women. They are the best of women around the world, the nicest, the most beautiful, the smartest, the happiest. Women in the church are so much better because they are influenced less our horrible culture. They are still influenced way too much, and this is why I have not yet found a woman I want to marry. But they have a better understanding of femininity and live happier. I understand the pressure this creates to be perfect, but this pressure is not a result of these high values of femininity but because of the culture we have to live in.

      So I would start with where women in the church are, and rather than looking back at Western culture and "feminism" for a solution, try to stop shaming and celebrate sexuality and the human body in a truly positive way. This is what I want as well. But to do this you need to first see the corruption in the "equality" movement of today, third-wave feminism, etc. and rather than crusading against the injustice and wrong you see in the world, holding a secure self-confidence in what you know is right. Repentance is all about turning in the right direction as we stroll through life, and you don't determine you are on the right track by convincing others they are on the wrong track or shaming them. That's all the shamists are doing! Rather, confidently pursue your course and everyone else will take notice of your courage.

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  15. My beef with modern femism and this article is that they take gender neutral issues and they make them out to be misogynistic conspiracies devised by the patriarchy to suppress women.

    I can't remember which article it was, but it said BYUs honor code was an assault of women. Last I checked, men couldn't have sex either?

    Idk, it seems naive to kick the beehive and not expect to get stung. Granted, you don't deserve to be bullied, but free speech shouldn't be free of criticism.

    If I were you, I'd lay low until I graduated. Keep your activism on the DL. It would suck to get expelled.

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