Monday, July 25, 2011

Mormon Boxing Day

In the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Boxing Day is celebrated the day or two after Christmas Day. It's primarily a day for shopping, very much like the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. In the UK, the tradition often includes actual boxes which contain gifts.

On this day after Pioneer Day, a uniquely Mormon holiday meant to commemorate the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in what is now known as the Salt Lake Valley, I've thought up a new holiday for those with ties to Mormonism but who are less-traditional in their approach to the LDS Church.

I propose we celebrate Mormon Boxing Day. It would be a time to take down from the shelf those boxes in which we store our experiences, frustrations, good times, traumas and all the rest that come from our time as more traditional Mormons, whether or not we were ever true-believers. We don't have to take down all the boxes or completely unpack them. We can decide how much we deal with at any given time. We can also just recognize July 25 is the day for doing so, but just let the day pass for another year with the boxes undisturbed.

I first considered calling this "Happy un-Pioneer Day," but I really do value and honor the sacrifices of my ancestors who became part of the church in its formative years, who crossed the Great Plains in the 1840s, and who somehow carved out an existence in the middle of the desert. I don't want to disparage their sacrifices and integrity. Also, I didn't want the Lewis Carroll-esque "un-Pionner Day" name to make people think I was using opium during my blog writing time. (If I'm going to hallucinate, I want to be completely sober.)

One of the purposes of this blog is to examine and challenge what it means for me to have Mormon heritage, especially in light of being a gay man. Hopefully, this gives you, dear readers, something interesting to think about related to your own experiences in Mormonism. But as time goes on, I'm beginning to wonder how often I'm really going to be thinking about my Mormon existence of my own initiative. Knowing the kind of person I am, I'll always have reactions and responses to things that happen in Mormondom. But I think even the frequency and intensity of that will become smaller over time. So, setting aside one day per year as a possible time to sort through some things that I might use again, throw out or simply re-pack is something that appeals to me right now.

In any event, Happy Pioneer Day, one day late. Drive on.

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