Monday, September 19, 2016

FGM and Mormons



Last month an article I wrote about female genital mutilation (aka as female genital cutting or female circumcision) and Mormons was published in an on-line journal called Square Two which deals with "faithful LDS thought on contemporary issues." You can read that article here: http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleEmmettLDSFGM.html

The gist of the article is that there is evidence of the mildest form of FGM (stage IV)--pricking of the clitoris--being practiced on some LDS girls in Indonesia. The question then arises that if it happens among LDS girls in Indonesia might it then happen among Mormons in Africa where FGM is also commonly practiced among all religious groups--including Christians. I was unable to confirm if FGM has been practiced among Mormons in Africa so there is more research that needs to be done. What I did find out is that many other Christian Churches with congregations in Africa have spoken out against FGM. Within the Mormon Church I was able to find examples of Church leaders condemning cultural practices from Africa, like paying a bride price (lobola) or spending exorbitant amounts on funerals and weddings, but nothing about FGM. In fact I have not yet found any official mention of FGM by Mormon leaders (in conference talks, Ensign articles, the Handbook of Instructions, letters from the first presidency).

In the conclusion of the article I made these recommendations:

"Since FGM/C has been practiced among Mormons in Indonesia and might be practiced in Africa, it makes sense to consider ways to make sure that Latter-day Saints understand that this is not part of the gospel culture.Possible actions to be taken might include: 1) seeking out information from local Relief Society and Young Women leaders (in Africa, Indonesia and in any country where there are immigrant communities who come from areas where FGM/C is practiced) as to whether or not FGM/C is practiced by women and girls in their ward/branch; 2) determining the severity of this cutting and then deciding if all forms of FGM/C are not in keeping with the gospel cultures or if the ceremonial prick of Stage IV as practiced in Indonesia is acceptable: 3) suggesting other coming of age activities/ceremonies that are in concert with the gospel culture, if a ceremonial prick is considered unacceptable. Additionally, even if FGM/C is found not to be practiced among Mormons, the LDS Church should still join the chorus of other Christian churches in openly condemning this harmful practice."


Since the publication of the article two positive developments have come to my attention.



In a September 11, 2016 address (minute 3:41) at Windsor Castle, Elder Jeffery R. Holland, an apostle in the LDS Church, spoke out against FGM (perhaps the first mention of this practice by a church leader) as one of many forms of violence against women. 

He said: “Unfortunately violence toward women is not limited to times of war. Instances of female genital mutilation, removable [sic] of bodily appendages, and honor killings persist during times of peace….Surely God knows of their suffering and weeps with them. As Isaiah [22:4] lamented: Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.” (transcribed from his on-line speech)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raHYOLu0uck&feature=youtu.be 
 

Sadly, this important statement was included at the first of a speech that mainly focused on two other important and current issues--helping refugees and religious persecution, both of which have received considerable attention over the past year by Church leaders. Unfortunately this ground breaking statement about FGM did not get mentioned in either of the main Church produced articles about the speech including a Church News article (image below) that briefly mentioned women's issues including "sexual violence against women," but did not include mention of specifics like FGM, and an article in the Deseret News that mentioned "sexual violence" against women: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865662516/At-Windsor-Castle-Elder-Holland-joins-international-leaders-in-talks-on-religious-persecution.html)




Last week I was contacted by a staff member of US Senator Harry Reid (a Mormon and a Democrat) from Nevada. From this staff member, who had some questions about my article, I learned that for over two decades Reid has been at the forefront of US government efforts to curtail the practice of FGM. He first learned of FGM in 1994 and was the author of the 1996 law banning FGM in the US for girls under 18. He also sponsored the Girls’ Protection Act, which banned vacation cutting. This law passed as part of the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.  He also initiated two broad and comprehensive reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which were just released, looking into how the US is addressing FGM. http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/676833.pdf. http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/678098.pdf.



I applaud the long time efforts of Senator Reid and hope that the speech by Elder Holland might be the beginning of Church efforts to help stop the horrible practice of FGM.

5 comments:

  1. Huzzah! I learned about FGM as a kid and was horrified, but then you get caught up in life and since it's not an issue that's very prevalent in community, it went out of my mind...a few times. I'm enraged by the thought of it, but thus far have not acted.
    Way to DO something about it!! And I'm so glad it's starting to cause motion in leadership bodies. You're an inspiration to just speak up!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You wonder if FGM is done by Lds people in Africa? Yes it is we were witnesses to the fact. we served as senior missionaries to Sierra Leone 2010–2011. We taught a part member family with four vivacious girls and one strong son. We arrived at our teaching appointment with them only to find that two of the older girls and their parents were gone to a nearby village. We were informed that this procedure was going to be performed on the two girls. We were heartsick. It is so ingrained in their culture that it will be many years before it disappears. Even though there are laws against it this still goes on in the remote villages in Africa. I am relieved that Elder Holland has spoken against this And that you write so well against this dangerous assault on children.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Diana, Thanks for this information. I kept trying and trying to verify whether or not FGM was practiced by Mormons in Africa. Yours is the first confirmation of what I suspected. I hope that information like yours will result in additional efforts (particularly by the LDS Church) to stop this horrible practice.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your work is important in making efforts to stop FGM. I hope the same kind of work can be done to stop male genital mutilation, namely, routine infant male circumcision.

    ReplyDelete
  5. THE BUTCHERS OF WOMANHOOD- FGM ( THE COVENANT OF THE FLESH). When God told Abraham to sign the covenant of the flesh, he circumcised all the male children and he was circumcised. The message was direct and in plain language. GENESIS 17: 1-27. The agreement was strategically initiated and the male child grew beholding daily his agreement with God at every call of nature throughout his married life. The covenant of the flesh for a man is with ease to behold with no ill feelings or regrets without medication required afterwards in life. When God warned in spiritual language and told Moses that the Children of Israel shall not mutilate girls in honor of the dead ( satanic sacrifice since there is no circumcision of girls in God), the message was well understood and was given in a spiritual language which bears two warnings, Leviticus19:28-29. The Israelis parents shall not sexually mutilate daughters and fathers we commanded not have carnal knowledge (incest) of daughters making them prostitutes. Fgm prostitution is a prime satanic sacrifice for a woman prohibited by God, of secrecy with miseries and constrains of disgrace to behold accompanied by many cases of traumatic child delivery requiring medication. Fgm sin of crime of honor humiliation for womanhood persists for many girls globally. There is no open fold of a foreskin in a sexual organ of a woman to cut round that hides dirty stuffs that stinks. There are no undue growths that warrant scrapping. Esther4: 1-17. The King of Persia and Media had a law also on women and only the king's favour on a wife's uninvited paid visit to inner court would save her from eminent death punishment by his held out golden scepter an act of favour and approval. This law had sexual control on womanhood. From the fall of man from the garden of Aden man's further fall from grace was subjected to demonic competitive lust to womanhood in polygamous marriage ( which later turned to enmity against womanhood also in form of fgm) which was not in favour with God and He reduced his old age to 120yrs Genesis 6:1-7. Satan has convinced men and parents to demand and shift girls' natural Divine onset to maturity from monthly period to fgm castration in honor of the dead. As far as parents remain the relentless heinous bedrock of fgm pursuing ensured satanic cultural sacrifice honor offered, there is no equal reprieve for girls from onslaught on womanhood in honor of the dead by parents hell bent on executing falsely claimed benefits in fgm to men in deviated demonically controlled sexual life style in marriage. It is the most sadly unfortunate tragedy for Christians parents being involved in fgm satanic cultural sacrificial goals honored which sin will follow them beyond the grave unless they repent and get saved. I have heard men say women like children and in Christians marriages women encourage the brides to take their husbands as their first born. Initially the two statements were too contradictory to each other and crushing in my mind but I found women forthright and forthcoming. The bridegroom is first satisfied with her blessed fountain of love and her breasts before any child birth. Proverbs 5:18-19. Fgm dehumanized and deforms womanhood being the worst satanic cultural religious sacrifice of honor for the dead taxed on womanhood globally. Fgm heinous atrocities destroy the divine sexual entity and dignity of man that establishes him honorary more culturally religiously in demonic world. All men must be saved from satanically tailored cultural honor in fgm slavery endorsed by cultural elites. Fgm remains a satanic sexual sacrifice honorary prescribed and endorsed by men in tearing down the helm of womanhood from the apex.

    ReplyDelete