Going Forward

This is a guest post by Amy Howell Oglesby

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(caption: Oglesby family, photo used with permission)

Wednesday November 9, 2016, was the morning I woke up and found out that Hillary Clinton did not win the presidential election.  I was so sure she would win that I had taken my children to the DNC headquarters in downtown SLC around 8:30pm so they would always remember that night.  It wasn’t looking great at that point and they were getting tired, so we went home and went to bed.   The rest is history.  

As a young child, I could not reconcile in my mind how Adolf Hitler rose to power.  Now I completely understand  - Fear tactics and promises that everything can and will be fixed.   

This election has been a game changer for me.  It’s sent me over the edge. I have trouble defining myself.  I have a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree. I’m a wife and a mother of 10.  I was raised as a Mormon, married in the temple, and active all my life.  I’ve been the Relief Society President, the Young Women’s President, and in the Primary Presidency.   Here’s what I love:  My ward.  My bishop.  My friends.  Here’s what makes me sad:  All the people who have allowed Trump to rise to power.  Life is short.  I’m nearly half way through my journey, and I don’t have time to waste with misogyny, homophobia, bigotry, racism, sexism, or fear based leadership.  I don’t want this from my government and I certainly don’t want this from my church.  The gospel that I embrace and love, is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our beloved past prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, was once asked why we don’t wear the cross.  His answer was that our people’s actions are the symbol of our religion.    

61% of my fellow Mormons voted for a man whose beliefs are so anti-Christian that it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.  This is real.  It’s not a joke.  People’s lives are at stake, and families will be torn apart. All this will be done in the name of “making America great again”.  

I don’t have any soul searching to do.  I know where I stand.  I know what I will do, and I know my family will be there too.  We will remain politically active.  We will fight for the causes we believe in, and we will love, support, and stand up for those who need us.  

As for my role within a predominantly republican church, I’m a truth seeker and I love the challenge of the search.  When my heart is open, I cross paths with the most interesting people who teach me about myself and help me see things from a different perspective.  I have made some great friends who happen to be Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Mormon, and x-Mormon, just to name a few.    What I love most are the universal truths that I’ve found through heart to heart conversations and through personal study. I know that loving Heavenly parents would never just impart truth to a select few.  We are all beloved children and truth is found everywhere.   

Going forward, I’ll put all of my efforts into being my best self.  I’ll be defining how that looks.  I won’t let anyone else define it for me.  I will love, serve, and offer what works for me. I’ll do it my way, guilt free. 

 

--Amy Howell Oglesby

 

 

Showing 13 reactions

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  • commented 2017-01-08 05:21:21 -0800
    I never mentioned Donald Trump. The only person I mentioned was Thomas S. Monson. I don’t get the correlation you are trying to draw. I despise the guy. I don’t look to him for any of my religious beliefs. Where does this come from? My point is, when I had a discussion with a co-worker that is an avid progressive and an active member of the church, I passed off the three R’s as a personal belief rather than a conference talk from President Monson, and was told that my point of view was “unintelligent, not thought out and simplistic”. That is what perplexes me and has since. How can I take the Prophet’s stance in this Utah society and be called stupid by another member of the Church? Here is what I would like. Donald Trump bad, Hillary good. Here is a teachable moment. I have only discussed a principle that President Monson taught us. Pick your favorite Hillary Clinton belief that is consistent with the Gospel, then describe the mechanism she does or would use to implement it. I just don’t see her as having values consistent with the Gospel, so show me where I am mistaken.
  • commented 2016-12-26 10:46:15 -0800
    If you believe that Donald Trump represents your religious beliefs, I would be horrified. You would be hard pressed to find a flawless representation of your own subjective view of your religious values in a binary political system such as ours. And if it’s same-sex marriage or abortion that you object to, there are certainly plausible and compelling cases to be made that letting individuals make those decisions for themselves rather than prohibiting them by law are perfectly congruent with one’s Mormon beliefs. Mitt Romney has articulated such views as have many other Mormons. Voting for Hillary Clinton would not have required suspending any Mormon beliefs… and in fact I believe it would have been more consistent with them in many respects.
  • commented 2016-12-26 10:32:59 -0800
    J.B. – I agree with the three Rs of choice as described by President Monson. I’m not aware of the context of your discussion where someone said that was unintelligent, so I can’t comment. I will comment however that you are indeed responsible for your choice to vote for Trump. I suspect I will still also bear the consequences, even though it wasn’t my choice. That’s called democracy. I choose the live here, so I suppose that makes it my responsibility in a sense.

    I am a person who believes in personal responsibility, but who also believes a society is better off when it invests in the well-being of its people, whether through security, infrastructure, education or healthcare. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. So unless you can explain further, I guess I am missing your point.
  • commented 2016-12-26 08:23:41 -0800
    Justin, as I suspected, someone would miss my point. How much do you listen to the Prophet?When I stated this while talking to Mr. Mormon Progressive, I was talking about President Monson’s talk on the three R’s of choice. It’s my favorite President Monson talk. But, obviously, my stance in believing his talk was unintelligent, not thought out, and an unrealistic point of view. What ever the theme, what ever the topic, we all should have the opportunity to choose, we all should accept the result and take responsibility for our choices. The progressives separate the right of choice from the results and the responsibility and want to force others out of their opportunity to choose for themselves. I stand by the words of the Prophet in that talk, and he is 100 percent right. So Justin, pull up President Monson’s talk on your mobile device, read it and tell me if I’m pro choice, and then tell me if my stance, which is his stance, on choice is wrong. Maybe to clarify it for your understanding, I could say “choosing” instead of “choice” since libs think that “choice” means abortion. I do have a stance on abortion, but not in the way that one would think.
  • commented 2016-11-25 08:30:37 -0800
    J.B. – what is your position? That you should have choice? So you are pro choice?
  • commented 2016-11-25 07:08:28 -0800
    I once stated to a Utah/progressive/liberal/democrat Mormon that we have the right of choice, the result of choice and the responsibility of choice. I was promptly told that this was an obviously unintelligent, not thought out, simplistic point of view. This is the problem. Now, is there anyone of the contributors here with their advanced academic pedigree that can figure out the problem with my statement, because, obviously I’m dumb in my unintelligent, not thought out, simplistic point of view? I must be equally as dumb as to reject Hillary’s notion that I should just suspend some of my religious convictions to follow her genius. Which I did not. I have no doubt that I will not have any takers to analyze my point of view. I have had to defend my Mormon beliefs more after moving back to Utah than I ever had to when I was in the mid-West and the South.
  • commented 2016-11-24 01:43:58 -0800
    Seriously??? You’re upset with the results of the election and you’re accusing your CHURCH of being the problem? And the tiny (in terms of number electoral votes) state of Utah? You infer that your fellow church members are moronic sycophants who aren’t living their Christian beliefs because they didn’t vote the way you did? Just for the record, I’m not a Trump fan either. But WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE. The entire country was divided in half by this election. Frankly, I’m shocked and amazed you believe you are following your Christian beliefs by supporting Hillary Clinton, a pathological liar with a corrupt past who, in addition to her many other dishonest activities, publically harassed and lied about the women who accused her cheating husband of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

    Sorry Amy, your assertion that the democratic party would, for instance, reduce the fears of immigrants is hypocrisy. Between 2009 and 2015 the Obama administration has removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders, which doesn’t include the number of people who “self-deported” or were turned away and/or returned to their home country at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection More immigrants have been deported by the Obama administration that by ANY other President.

    Trump has already stated that he isn’t interested in repealing the gay marriage decision by the Supreme Court. Nor does he, or congress, have the power to do so.

    Were Trump’s comments about women to Billy Bush back in 2005 disgusting? Yeah, they were. So was Bill Clinton receiving oral sex in the Oval Office from his intern. And his sexual assault on Paula Jones and other women. But Hillary publically attacked and lied about Paula Jones in order to protect her guilty husband. Tell me how that is any less an example of misogyny (a word democrats seem comfortable using to label anyone who doesn’t agree with their choice for President).

    You’re upset because someone you despise was elected President. But what you don’t get is, just as many Americans despise Hillary Clinton. Obviously. And for similar reasons. So PLEASE lay off the hypocrisy and stop denigrating your fellow church members for voting their conscience. The entire country is divided, and you criticizing and ridiculing your own neighbors isn’t going to encourage unity. Even liberal Hollywood is divided, as demonstrated in this short video: http://www.msn.com/en-us/video/other/hollywood-reacts-to-donald-trumps-presidency-win/vi-AAk6a8v?ocid=spartandhp

    Personally, I align most closely with the statement by Ben Stiller: “Now it is time to move forward and hope that our country can come together.”
  • commented 2016-11-23 01:10:12 -0800
    I have nothing to say about Trump, but to hold up Hillary Clinton as a paragon of Mormon values is quite ridiculous. She’s pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage (like it or not, a fundamental tenet of the church is that marriage is between a man and a woman). She’s a liar, deceitful and 100% complicit in her husbands mysogyny. Call me naïve, but I believe that the majority of Utahns that voted “for Trump” we’re in reality voting against the Clintons and their corrupt, phony foundation (it’s a package deal and always has been). We have a two party system, so some people just have to plug their nose and vote for who they believe to be the lesser of two evils. The hypocrisy of the pro-Clinton argument is embarrassing.
  • commented 2016-11-22 12:16:18 -0800
    Scott shared your post, and it helps to know we’re not alone in our anguish. We mourn with those who mourn. Thank you for penning this mourning so deeply and poignantly.

    Christ himself said that “the love of men shall wax cold” and “the very elect shall be deceived.” The Trump election epitomizes that for me. Though in so doing, my faith as a Christian and Mormon is strengthened, not diminished. Because I can still love God and love my neighbor as He loved. Love is not an important thing. It is the ONLY thing. On these two hang ALL other things.
  • commented 2016-11-21 19:09:51 -0800
    Amy,
    This is why I love you so much, and why you are my friend! Thank you for having the courage to write what, I suspect, a lot of Mormon women are thinking and feeling. I feel the exact same way, and I’m absolutely baffled and saddened that so many women (and men) justify his comments objectifying women and his misogynistic devaluation of them. I’m saddened that we are not horrified at this man, and his carnival sideshow of narcissism. I’m truly afraid for our country, and disappointed that this attitude is acceptable in our society. The homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism and hatred this man embodies will take our country to new lows it didn’t even reach 100 years ago. I’m so disappointed, and the election results have affected me on a very deep level. It is absolutely reflective of how Hitler rose to power, based on fear, shame, hate and divisiveness. The adversaries favorite tools. I will not feel guilty or ashamed or let anyone else define my views, especially those that try to bully. I will, like you, continue to love my neighbors and pray for our country.
    Love you Amy!
    Lisa Chatelain BS, ASUDC
  • commented 2016-11-21 14:28:34 -0800
    Amy, 61% of Utahans voted for Trump … not necessarily 61% of your fellow church members (though I understand the extrapolation you’re making). Trump didn’t receive my vote. And Utah was definitely not a significant factor in Trump sweeping the electoral college. There was a fundamental problem facing ALL voters nationwide, regardless of race or religion or political affiliation. BOTH major candidates lied. Frequently. BOTH have a long history of corruption … Hillary arguably even more than Trump (if you really study her past, including how she vilified and lied about women whom her husband sexually assaulted). In their greed-driven quest to attract more viewers/readers, the media loves to focus almost exclusively on the sensational. On the exception, rather than the rule … including highlighting stories of people who are bigots or racists. Yet none of my family members, and friends, and associates across the country are bigots or racists or misogynists. And undoubtedly some of them voted for Trump.

    Though I did not vote for him (and yes, I did vote), I was surprised and encouraged by Trump’s acceptance speech where he expressed a commitment to be the President of ALL Americans. Since then, his impending cabinet choices have been much less promising.

    Regarding you feeling that your “fellow Mormons” are not aligned with your desire for all people to be treated compassionately and fairly, I would suggest (because of the reasons listed above) that in many cases, they are more aligned with the feelings and aspirations of your heart than you may think.

    Barring impeachment, it looks like Donald Trump is going to be given the next four years to prove whether or not he really cares about the needs and rights of ALL Americans. After that, it is the opportunity of BOTH parties (Democrat AND Republican) to select in the primaries a candidate who truly stands for their values. A candidate who has demonstrated integrity and who people can realistically trust. NOT, as just happened, a couple of candidates who leave voters with the difficult challenge of attempting to decide which candidate is the lesser of two evils.

    During the entire election process this year, not once did my church, or any of my fellow church members, suggest who I should vote for. Or pressure me in any way, either overtly or subtly. I never once heard any of my friends promote Donald Trump at church. No doubt it occurred - just as some undoubtedly promoted Hillary inside a church building - but not around me. I applaud your determination to choose your own path when it comes to choosing a political candidate. Everyone should! Additionally, I believe it would be awesome if our next President is a woman, be she Democrat or Republican.

    But don’t you think we’ve been divided and polarized as a country long enough? Isn’t it possible that reaching out, and believing in the innate goodness of most Americans, will heal the divide far more rapidly than more divisiveness will? I’m disheartened that so many are looking for someone to blame for the results of this election. And even worse, for a ‘side’ to be on. Shouldn’t we all be on the same side? Regardless of religion or the color of our skin or whatever some people would use to divide us? Shouldn’t we all be working, as the literal sisters and brothers that we truly are, to become united? Easy words to say, I realize. More challenging to accomplish. But if we don’t begin now, when will we begin? We can’t change the results of this particular election. But we CAN begin to listen to and care about and try and understand the feelings of the people around us. To look for commonalities (including the basic goodness of most people) instead of differences. To refrain from stereotyping. To look for ways to build bridges, rather than widening the divide. Only then is there any hope of a unified and compassionate nation. And it’s up all Americans on both sides of the current divide to set the example. Contending with and blaming each other accomplishes nothing … exception further division. And a house divided against itself can not stand.
  • commented 2016-11-21 10:07:58 -0800
    Thank you Kindred Spirit Amy.
    Your words feel like they effortlessly fell right out of my mouth! You’ve represented my views as a fellow white Mormon woman with the clarity I’ve been searching for. I relate to Mormonism as a Faith based first on the teachings of Christ, and then all the other stuff. Love one another. There are other commandments, but this is the most important.
    This President elect boggles my mind. What were they thinking? Were they thinking?
    Whatever is to be learned from this experience lies ahead, and I will stay present and informed and strive not to live in fear.
    I don’t know why I was born into the privilege I have been given and why others aren’t. I know that my sheltered life puts me into this sweet bubble, where I think about this world and all my brothers and sisters generally with rose colored glasses.
    I fully comprehend that there are communities that are suffering and listen to campaign promises and the comforting(?) fear mongering, and hear his simple words, over simplified solutions and his blatant lies, and want to believe.
    But I cannot comprehend the individuals that have educated ears, claim Christian values, love their fellow men (and women), are not living in a true state of survival, and do not need to live in fear, can listen to him and hear something they want to hear, or TRUST him.
    The idea of letting “Trump be Trump” makes me throw up a little in my mouth. We are about to have an obnoxious reality TV personality lead this great Nation. Really?! I’m not convinced he even really understands or wants the job.
  • commented 2016-11-20 21:37:43 -0800
    Thank you for your words. I don’t have the ability to see a future in the church, I always thought I was stronger than that; because how I see so many justifications of why they voted for Trump. I feel lonely and without empathy from those I thought were better than that.

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