The author wishes to note that this poem was inspired by Litany, by Mahogany L. Browne
Today I am a Mormon Woman in New England
& I am singing pioneer trail songs like lullabies.
They sound like:
The mothers walked in thick and heavy skirts —
babies on their hips and in their wombs,
birthed and left in shallow graves.
Tears along that old trail: the walk to the West.
Each child a duty left behind from the rape,
the lovemaking, the apathy,
and each, a flesh cut from the mothers’ hearts.
Today I am a Mormon woman in a hopeful state.
I will not meet with any bishop nor ask for any aid
with this mouth that dares spit real truths in poems instead.
I will tell the angels that I know no god exists who teaches
to be exactly what the brethren happen to think their
I will beg for no forgiveness nor wash
I will not wait or want for blessing male hands to rest
upon any “little” heads.
Today I am a Mormon woman in a body of strength.
I am burning and the brethren are learning the power of the name — Woman.
I will spew our fury, I will speak our better fate,
I will tell the brethren to remind that god
to whom they pray that there is an industry called
They say their god is omniscient,
but I say they are their own god
and that in their egocentric ease, they forget
and women and children pay.
I will teach that our sons are not sinners:
I will preach that the lasciviousness of pornography
is not in its viewing but
in the hurt that comes to models in its pictures.
The say their god knows everything,
but I say their god forgets what they forget.
I will use media to force the brethren to take notice that women and children are listening
and that what hoary and decrepit authority proclaims from podiums sometimes hurts.
I love like this loudly and not too loudly, some Mormons
think I am unforgiving and bitter.
I tell them they are right and that I should be —
and that they should be too.
Today, I am a bold New England, a storm
beyond brewing, a deep Utah red rock heat wave of a woman wearing
sleeveless shirts with no hidden temple garments to the pyre of my church.
Today, I am a mother & Mormonism is burning
I have helped stoke the fire and taught my children to
turn their backs on its flames and live.
— I’m too in awe of how beautiful they look
free from this inferno and the ashes I am scattering.
Anne McMullin Peffer is a sixth-generation Mormon who no longer self-identifies as Mormon and who does what she can about sexual violence and harassment within Mormon communities. She is a survivor, an activist, and an all-around supporter of LGBT Mormons and Mormon women.