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

          Mormon women

to be exactly what the brethren happen to think their

          god wants.

I will beg for no forgiveness nor wash

          any feet.

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

          sex trafficking.

                    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.