Everyone Cries In This One (Moses 7)

Monday, January 24, 2022


Works Cited:


Full transcript available thanks to the remarkable Heather B!

Channing: [00:00:00] Hi! I'm Channing.

Elise: And I'm Elise. 

Channing: And this is The Faithful Feminists Podcast. 

Elise: [00:00:12] We focus on feminist interpretations of scriptures and follow the LDS Come Follow Me manual as a guide for study. We understand scriptures can be a tricky endeavor for readers, but we also believe sacred texts contain compelling examples of loving and liberating relationships with The Divine, others, and ourselves. We hope you'll join us in exploring the problems and promises of sacred texts with imagination, critique, and celebration to reveal what we feel is the loving and liberating heart of scripture.

Channing: [00:00:41] While Mormonism with its iconic floral foyer couches is our background, we follow our faith and our God on the winding path of spirituality over institution, and connection over condemnation.

[00:00:56] We are fellow wanderers, weavers, and doubters. If you’ve found yourself feeling a little too faithful for some and not enough for others: Welcome. We've saved you a seat on the soft chairs. This podcast is funded by our listeners’ generous donations. If you'd, like, to support our work, connect with us on Patreon or on our website at www.thefaithfulfeminists.com.

Elise: [00:01:22] Welcome back everyone. We're so glad that you're here this week. As you know, we're in the book of Moses chapter seven, just one chapter in the Pearl of Great Price. And we're not even in the Hebrew Bible this week. I think that this chapter is one that within Mormon culture, people really love and celebrate.

[00:01:38] We see the story of Enoch and I just want to give a little bit of a summary of chapter seven. In the beginning of the chapter, Enoch is sharing about how God showed him all of these visions of the world, its wars and its destruction. Enoch gets to talk with God face to face, and God gives Enoch the commandments to prophecy and cry repentance and baptize all the people except for those people from Canaan. Enoch does so and, like, throughout his efforts, they establish Zion. Zion is undefeatable in battle. And the text says that, “the fear of the Lord was upon all nations. So great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people.” And during this time, Enoch is also, like, moving mountains and the earthquakes, his voice, an island appears out of the sea and there are even some giants that make an appearance. So things get really wild and mythic. Then Zion is carried up to the mountains or high places and of this Zion community it is said that, “they were of one heart and one mind and dwelt in righteousness and there were no poor among them.”

[00:02:45] Enoch has another vision where he sees Zion being taken up to the heavens while everyone else remains on the earth and gets cursed. Verse 20 says, “the Lord said unto Enoch, Zion, have I blessed, but the residue of the people have I cursed.” 

Channing: [00:03:00] The mythic wildness does not end there because we receive this image of Satan that starts in verse 24.

[00:03:06] And that reads, “the power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth and he, [Enoch], saw angels descending out of heaven and a loud voice saying wo wo, be unto the inhabitants of the earth. And Enoch beheld Satan and he had a great chain in his hand and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness and he looked up and laughed and his angels rejoiced.” Then these angels come and bear testimony and the Holy Ghost comes and takes up so many other people to Zion. After this God cries over everything that's left, like, all of the people, all of the earth that's left and Enoch is confused by God's tears.

[00:03:47] Multiple times Enoch asks with beautiful poeticism, “God, how is it that thou canst weep?” God responds and says, “I'm crying because I made all these people and I wanted them to live in love, but they're killing each other. So I'm angry. And in my hot displeasure, I want to send some floods and kill them.” So God spends a couple of verses talking about how sad and mad they are and what God wants to do to these people and Enoch hearing this cries also.

Elise: [00:04:20] After that, Enoch has a vision of Noah and the great flood and Enoch is deeply, deeply disturbed, but when Enoch shares this upsetness that he's feeling, God is like, “Hey, you know what? Don't worry. Look over here, look, Jesus is coming.” And then we hear the voice of the earth crying under the weight of all of the wickedness of the people.

[00:04:41] And Enoch becomes very, very concerned for the welfare of the earth and for the people. At this point, God makes a promise to Enoch that there will never be another flood and then tells Enoch that Jesus will die and Enoch is like, “wait back up, back up a second. My question was, when will we get some relief?” And God is like, “oh, oh yeah. Okay. Right.” And then we hear about Jesus's second coming and then things are going to get even worse and then Jesus will come again and then everything will be fine and it'll be all better. Towards the end of the chapter Enoch's vision ends with, “the Lord showed Enoch all things, even unto the end of the world. And he saw the day of the righteous, the hour of their redemption and received a fullness of joy.” Then the chapter ends with, “and Enoch and all of his people walked with God and he dwelt in the midst of Zion and it came to pass that Zion was not for God received it up into God's bosom. And from thence went forth the saying that Zion is fled.

Channing: [00:05:40] Whew. It is seriously a really wild story. Elise and I played with the idea of, like, retelling it in a way that, maybe with, like, tell this story at, like, a campfire or at a presentation and honestly it's 69 versus it would take us all long time to do, like, a really beautiful retelling. So we hope that you'll visit the text and see just how, like, fantastic in the sense of like, it's very fantasy, like, in this story, it's really cool to see and interesting.

[00:06:12] Elise:Yeah. And like Channing said, there's some really beautiful portions of the text, right? We see some verses that have lots of poetry in them. And they really showcase the depth of emotional turmoil that the characters experience in the story, we get to see the peacefulness of Zion and the emotional depth of God.

[00:06:29] And the earth has its own character, as well as enjoy a really epic story that has all of the components of a sweaty impassioned sermon. And yet there are some really, really awful portions of the text too. We see a lot of war and death. We see racism, we see genocide, we see Satan with a big chain, like a rodeo cowboy from hell or something like that.

[00:06:54] There are really potent images of violence and destruction. We see an angry God and we see trauma here. And before we jumped in this week to actually read all of the verses inthe texts, we were excited to provide what we thought was going to be a really, like, celebratory interpretation of the text, because we remembered all of the really lovely things about this chapter: A God who weeps, a fully embodied Enoch, Zion. These things are all things that are worthy of celebration. But what ended up happening is that when we arrived to the text, we realized that it's not as simple as just saying, “oh, you know what? There's some sad things, but it's mostly all good. So let's just focus on the good part.” Because in fact, as we read and we read and we discussed, we said things, like, in our Marco Polo, we're like, “hang on 20% of this chapter is really loving and lovely but what about the 80% of it that's traumatic?”

Channing: [00:07:49] Yeah. One of the questions that I had thinking about this is like, wait a second. Why did I only remember the good things that happened in this chapter? And even as I, like, went through and looked at what the manual had to say about it, like, there was a really strong focus on, like, “God preserves the elect for the last days.”

[00:08:08] And, like,” Zion being together of one heart and one mind.” And I'm like, “that literally shows up in, like, one verse and the rest of the text is really, does not reflect those same values.” And so, yeah, it was really interesting to kind of see these things come into conflict as we were reading.  

Elise: [00:08:27] In this way, we came to the text wanting to put it in the celebration category with streamers and confetti and balloons, but then when we read it and we realized that it had had, it had a lot of really difficult challenging, bad stuff. Then we wanted to flip sides and just wanted to put it in the condemn category. After rereading and then reading again and rereading, we realized that it doesn't fit into either category completely. The text frustrated our attempts to shove it into a clean cut, clear, limited box.

[00:08:57] And I think this is a really relevant metaphor for many other things. The text is neither all good, nor all bad. People are neither all good, nor all bad. Depictions of God are not always all good and they're also not always all bad. So today we're going to look at the ways the text moves us toward love and liberation, as well as all the places where the text disregards life, contradicts itself, and gets in its own way.

[00:09:23] So if you were hoping for a clean, clear cut interpretation of Moses seven, you won't find it here. I'm very sorry, but we think that you might find something even more meaningful. At least that's what we hope. We're feeling called to wrestle with this chapter, to ask questions, to cry with it, to scream at it, to throw it in the river and then fish it back out only to dry the pages in the sun. And we hope that something will aluminate itself from within.

Channing: [00:09:49] With that, we are going to dive right into the questions that we have for the text. And these really, really sat pretty at the forefront of our minds as we sat down to prepare for this episode and, you know, try and kind of, like, crawl our way through this text.

[00:10:09] And so we have a whole list, some of the questions we answer some of the questions we don't, but as we move through, I really encourage you to kind of reflect on them for yourself. One of the questions for me that felt, like, intensely personal was the question “where do I read myself into the text?” And for me, a lot of my life, I, coming across this Enoch story I definitely read myself into Zion where I imagined myself, like, because I'm a member of the church, I'm one of the good ones. And so I get to make it into Zion because I don't want to be, like, hard-hearted or sinful. And so like, even if I'm not perfect right now, like, eventually when, you know, like, God sends all their angels to testify, definitely I would listen then so I'm going to make it to Zion. But right now I'm reading myself into the characters differently. I really find myself kind of feeling of belonging with what the text calls, the residue of humans that are still left on the earth. There's a part of me that fears that because I don't agree with a lot of what the church teaches that I don't make it into Zion.

[00:11:22] And so I fall into the category of the residue, especially in the minds of the authors that wrote this chapter. And for me, like, that makes me really uncomfortable to admit out loud, but I'm sharing it because I feel like, probably a lot of other people listening might feel the same and I definitely don't want to die, at least not in the way that this story says it's going to happen. But I also know that if I were to deny the experiences that I've had with my God that maybe don't match with the teachings of the church, that would be a death of a different kind. And the truth is I don't want to die ever, period. I really want to trust in the promise that God gives me in different places, in different texts, that God is life, but it's really difficult for me to put my trust in this God in Moses chapter seven, because I don't see God being for or with me here.

[00:12:14] And this makes me feel really sad and kind of betrayed by the text. It makes me want to condemn this chapter totally and reject this God before They can reject me. 

Elise: [00:12:25] Another, one of the conversations that Channing and I have been having behind the scenes about this chapter is the concept of compassion. And this really kind of takes form or takes light within LDS culture from a book that's called “The God Who Weeps” by Terryl and Fiona Givens.

[00:12:41] It's a really lovely text, especially if you're feeling called and kind of drawn to see a God who cries out because of the suffering of the people. And the word compassion appears in the same chapter that the Givenses write about Enoch and the weeping God. And they write, “compassion is about suffering with.” But really in this chapter, what we think we see is that we don't really feel a whole lot of true compassion coming from God's care.

[00:13:08] I think we hear God saying, “I'm suffering because of their suffering” in a handful of verses, but throughout the rest of the text, we actually see a God who does not suffer alongside, but instead reacts to God's own suffering by causing more suffering. 

Channing: [00:13:27] Yeah. And in this conversation about compassion and suffering and what it means to really mourn with, or be with those who are suffering.

[00:13:35] We were reminded of a video that we had seen a while ago, narrated by Brene Brown and the video is on YouTube. We'll share it in the show notes, but it illuminates the difference between empathy and sympathy. 

Elise: [00:13:48] Some of the lines that we really love in this video are as follows. At one point Brene Brown says, “So what is empathy and why is it very different than sympathy? Empathy fuels connection, sympathy drives disconnection.” And, “There are four different qualities of empathy. The first is perspective taking, or the ability to recognize another person's perspective as their truth. Second is staying out of judgment. Third, recognizing emotion in other people that you have also sometimes experienced for yourself.

[00:14:22] Fourth and finally, communicating to people that you can recognize and share that emotion with them.” She continues to say, “empathy is a choice, and it's a vulnerable choice because in order to connect with you I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling. But one of the things we do sometimes in the face of difficult conversations is we try to make things better, but rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.”

And so after thinking about this empathy versus sympathy video, and the way that God shows up in the text, even though there's a part of me that feels drawn to this, maybe, a more sensitive weeping God who says that they're suffering because the people are suffering, the other side of me shows up and says, well, hang on. We don't just get credit or points for suffering with, when we actually have power and responsibility to stop people’s suffering or to step in and to help people not have to suffer. And so that's kind of the knotted complex space that I find myself sitting in when I see this weeping God. Part of me wants to connect with them but part of me also wants to say, “What the heck, how come you only saved some and not all?” And in this way too, we don't actually see a truly empathetic response coming from God. We don't see much willingness to sit in the suffering with the people or alongside them, but we see a lot of fixing happening, right?

[00:15:54] “Oh, we'll just make a flood and I'll make some promises to fix all of the problems of the flood. Well, I'll send Jesus once and then I'll send Jesus again. Let me make this better and ignore the present problem of this hurts right now.”

Channing: [00:16:08] yeah, that definitely was a big theme that I feel like showed up so frequently in the text.

[00:16:13] And there was a part of me, like, I said earlier, like, I just want to throw this away. This hurts, this hurts me to read. I just want to throw it away. But I think the thing that kept both you and I coming back to the chapter and kept us from tossing it aside were the characters of Enoch and the earth.

[00:16:33] And I don't know how you feel about this Elise, but Enoch is definitely what redeems basically this entire chapter for me. Yeah. 

Elise: Yeah. Oh yeah.

Channing: We see, we see Enoch constantly in movement with the story. Enoch’s bowels are actually filled with compassion and he embodies that empathetic response, like we talked about earlier.

[00:16:53] For example in verse 41, it says, “And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch and told Enoch of all the doings of the children of men. Wherefore, Enoch knew and looked upon their wickedness and their misery and stretched forth his arms and his heart swelled wide as eternity and his bowels yearned and all eternity shook.”

[00:17:14] Again, this all encompassing grief does not come from God, but it comes from Enoch. In verses 43 and 44, Enoch saw that Noah built an Ark “and the Lord smiled upon it and held it in God's own hand. But upon the residue of the wicked, the floods came up and swallowed them. And as Enoch saw this, he had bitterness of soul and wept and said unto the heavens, I refuse to be comforted.

[00:17:40] But the Lord said unto Enoch, lift up your heart and be glad.”

And, woo, this was, like, everything up until that last sentence was like, “oh, it's so moving to me.” But I get really frustrated with the way that, like, the God of this text shows up here and is like, “yeah, well, don't worry about it, like, Jesus is coming. Everything's going to be fine, like, those people over there, they're just wicked. You don't need to worry about it. Just put on your positive pants and, like, go be happy.” And Enoch’s like, “No. I refuse to be comforted.”

Elise: [00:18:15] Yeah. I love that line. That's the line that I think I've underlined the most- “I refuse to be comforted”- because I don't read it as, like, a pouty dramatic Enoch, like, “no. Leave me alone.” Like, instead, to me, it reads as if Enoch is saying, “I'm not going to look away from all of this death. I'm not going to forget these people. I'm not going to pretend, like, this giant flood was really a good and holy act of God.” And in that way, I see Enoch also challenging God and pushing back.

[00:18:48] And Enoch who says, “What the heck? No, absolutely not. This isn't okay.” And like you I find myself really disappointed in God's response because it seems like a dismissal. It seems like a God who says, “Don't worry about the present suffering. Why don't you just look ahead towards the future? Look at all the goodness that comes from Enoch's people?” But I'm so, so appreciative that Enoch's sensitivity, like, allows him to stay with the suffering of the people and his commitment to remember them, to look at and to witness them. And so with that, I'm just asking myself, how can I also carry this commitment of refusing to be comforted into my everyday life? In what ways can I refuse to be comforted when Black people are being murdered by the hands of the state?

[00:19:32] How can I refuse to be comforted when I see a sign on the street corner that says it's okay to say no to someone who's asking for money? How can I refuse to be comforted when so many have so little? How can I refuse to be comforted by a God who weeps with me when at the same time God also seems to be causing my demise and cursing my people?

Channing: [00:19:53] Hmm. Mm. I love those questions. And I think even the thought that I'm having on the coattails of that is, you know, at least for me, like, it felt really uncomfortable to come to the text and realize that, like, “oh, the qualities that I would expect God to have are actually showing up in Enoch, and the qualities that I would expect, like, a mortal person to have are actually showing up in God.”

[00:20:22] And that was wildly uncomfortable for me, but I like the questions that you ask, like, how can I stay with the suffering? How can I refuse to be comforted? And I think even a question that I'm asking too, hearing you say that, is how can I refuse to be comforted when I'm seeing these things with my own eyes that people are saying, “Don't worry. God said it's fine.”

[00:20:43] And to push back and say, “But even if God said it's fine, is that really God's best self that's showing up here?” And yeah, I love those questions. It's really important to ask. And we've talked about before on the podcast how stories are not benign. Language is not benign. And the stories that we tell have influence on our real lived experience.

[00:21:10] And so one of the questions we wanted to ask about this story is how does the story of Enoch influence the stories that we tell about others and the stories that we tell about ourselves? For me, one of the themes that I strongly picked up on in the text was racism. We have lots of verses, like verse eight, that say, “there was a blackness that came upon all the children of Canaan that they were despised among all people.” In verse 20, “The Lord said unto Enoch, Zion, have I blessed, but the residue of the people have I cursed.” In verse 22, it reads, “and Enoch beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam. And they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain for the seed of Cain were black and had not place among them.”

[00:21:55] And in response to this, Elise and I both unequivocally want to say that racism is always wrong and its presence in sacred texts does not justify racism, but rather it illuminates the depth at which it remains present in our human experience. We wanted to shine a light on this because the sacred text is often used to justify actions in our real lived experience. And I can definitely see a potential for these verses being used to justify racism, like, both back in the past and going forward in the future. I really believe that anyone reading this section of text through a white supremacist bias will likely interpret these verses as a justification for all kinds of racist harms.

[00:22:43] So the story of Enoch with it's, like, giants and an island, like, rising out of the sea and Satan with his big rodeo chain, if it's true or not, it still has impact. And so for us, we really want to responsibly read this text and not ignore the impact that these verses will have, but instead acknowledge and address it.

[00:23:08] And so for Elise and I, as white women reading this chapter, this means that we question the text when it attempts to use race to divide and segregate people and justify violence and abandonment. This means that we listen to black voices and educate ourselves to be aware of how white supremacy presents itself, both in us and therefore our readings and renderings of the text. Our friend James Jones at the Beyond the Block podcast just released an amazing course addressing racism within the LDS culture and community. And we're really excited about it. We just really wanted to amplify and celebrate that with him. And so we encourage you to listen in and sign up for those courses because we know that it's going to be a fantastic resource for addressing some of this bias that is definitely obviously present.

Elise: [00:24:01] Turning back to the texts, like we said before, it doesn't fit in any clean, clear cut category. And so we just wanted to try and sketch or outline some of the ways that the text contradicts itself or shows up in its messiness. At times, for example, the earth is its own independent character. She speaks for herself and she voices her own experience, but at other times, the earth returns to the dead stuff of the Genesis narrative and is actually acted upon with curses of heat and flood. Another example is that we have Zion, but it's Zion at a cost and the cost is genocide and ecocide. We have Zion on earth until it's too perfect for the earth, whatever that means.

[00:24:45] And then we have this God who feels, but also a God who feels for God's self and not really for anyone else. And simultaneously we have a God who is all powerful, but chooses to use that power to help some and leave behind or ignore or hurt others. 

Channing: [00:25:04] Yeah. I'm really appreciative that you brought those up because I feel like it's one thing to say like, “oh, this text didn't really fit in any category,” and actually illuminating what the text is doing that makes it impossible to categorize. Right. So, yeah, I feel, like, that was really important to bring up. Thank you so much. Another question that we had that kind of makes an appearance, maybe a little behind the scenes of the text is how is this story limited by its authors?

[00:25:33] Remember that Moses has actually written, like, when Joseph Smith is translating the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price was written centuries after the Hebrew Bible and the mention of Enoch in Genesis. So we have this, like, big gap of time between these two stories. And I think that that's actually really significant.

[00:25:57] One, I think again, addressing the racism that we see showing up in the text here we remember that the story, this Moses chapter seven, was written in the United States when the enslavement of Black people by white people was legal. This text was also written retroactively after the birth of Jesus Christ.

[00:26:17] And so we have a lot of overlap, like, thousands of years worth of philosophical and theological influence that isn't inherent in the Hebrew text. And so for me, I'm like, “oh, this chapter, this entire text of the Pearl of Great Price really feels out of place.” I think chronologically, I understand why the church manual has paired it with the reading of the Hebrew Bible but I also, like, on the flip side of me, there's this part of me that's like, “Wow, because it was authored in a time, in a completely different time, it has themes and perspectives that belong more solidly in the 19th century.” The Pearl of Great Price is not ancient scripture. It was written 200 years ago. It has its own unique challenges that align more with the themes and perspectives that we see in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants than it does with the Bible.

[00:27:15] And so. I think that it was important for us to make those distinctions, because the way that the manual orders, the texts kind of blurs the lines between the two and kind of makes them seem like, oh, it's just this, like, really natural overlayment without really nodding to the more behind the scenes work of like, well, who wrote this? And when was it written? And those are real challenges that come to the text. And I think that we do brush up against those, even though the influences might seem subtle to the reader. 

Elise: [00:27:48] And I think finally, like, we are a feminist podcast, which is not to say that the other things we've shared so far are not feminist, like, doing anti-racism work, trying to recognize love and liberation in the text. Those are all parts of doing feminist theology. But I think one of the kind of first layers that people think of when thinking of doing a feminist interpretation, it's like, “where are the women?” And we can ask that question here too.

[00:28:12] Where are the women in the texts? And guess what they're completely absent. This is really a story or an epic story of men until we get more than, like, two thirds of the way through the text where we finally see that The Earth is referred to as Mother. And I think even with an ecofeminist reading this, the text is still not even consistent in its treatment of The Earth with full personhood. Earlier in the chapter for example, The Earth is something that's being acted upon. In verse eight, it says, “The Lord shall curse the land with much heat and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever.” Later, in verse 17, it says, “the Lord blessed the land.” The Earth trembles, mountains flee, rocks are rent, and it holds up the humanity that slowly kills the earth’s body.

Channing: [00:28:58] Yeah. And then later when The Earth does speak in verse 48, the earth gets one verse out of the 69 total verses of the text. That means it's just over 1% of the content that is given to The Earth to speak for herself. And we see through the chapter that the earth is “pained, weary because of wickedness” and The Earth asks, “When shall I rest?” Throughout the remainder of the text, we see that her cries go on and on and they last and last, they go through the flood, through the life and death of Jesus, through all of the time after, and she does not get her rest until God comes again at some future date. And by this time, when that actually happens, she has already been overcome with the shadow of Satan. She's been chained and subdued and laughed at, bearing all the while, the weight of the shadow of the human heart. And so we see in this chapter, that Enoch asks again and again and again, “when shall the earth rest?”

[00:30:04] Enoch asks God, “wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth?” And as we read through the texts, the answer really seems to resonate, “No.” It almost feels as if God says, “No rest until I say there is rest, when I come again.” And something that really bugged me reading the texts was that God really seems to put off answering The Earth’s question, “When shall I rest?” God never answers the earth directly. And Enoch has to ask, not once but twice for an answering for The Earth. And so what we think we see happening in the text is that The Earth is suffering and suffering under the weight of what God and human and Satan do to her, with this expectation that she hold it all until the purposes of God are fulfilled and only then will she receive her rest. Only when she has been a good girl, when she has held and faced the brunt of death, exploitation, and the apocalypse, only when she has suffered at the depths of everything possible, can she receive her reward. In the text, it's not God who bears the brunt of the suffering and it's not Enoch either and it's definitely not the people. It's the earth. We have to ask, “who is left behind at the Ascension of Zion? Who suffers and who receives rest and relief? Who receives the presence of God and who is chained and overcome with the wrath of Satan?”

Elise: [00:31:35] One of the ways that eco-feminism shows up here to really help us sift through all of this is that eco-feminism reminds us that it's not only a practice focused on the ecological consequences present in the text, but eco-feminism is about recognizing the connection between the oppression of the earth and the oppression of women, which calls to our attention how women and the earth share the same burdens and experiences.

[00:31:59] What we're going to do next is try to show this connection between earth and women by taking verse 48, reading it as it is, which is the way that The Earth speaks it. And then replacing some of the language to feel a little bit more connected to women. Verse 48 as it's written says, “And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof saying, “wo, wo is me the mother of men. I am pained. I am weary because of the wickedness of my children, when shall I rest?”

Channing: [00:32:30] Yes. And so our next question is what if verse 48 read instead, “And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the women of the earth. And he heard a guttural cry from the depths of their wombs saying, wo, wo are we, the mothers of men. We are pained. We're weary because of wickedness. When shall we rest?” And what if this was the case? What if the text really read that? And God's answer has to be pressed for again and again, only to receive the knowing that it's after we have been broken, after we have groaned, after women's bodies are rent and have trembled sufficiently and been veiled over with the darkness of Satan, shall we receive a mere 1000 years of rest.

[00:33:20] And what if after this promise our voice, our Enoch steward, our only defender who dared to question God again and again on our behalf, then abandoned us, ascended to be in heaven with a God who would prolong our suffering. And so our question is, “Who does this narrative really serve? And who does it abandon?”

[00:33:42] Is Zion really Zion without The Earth? Can Zion be ripped from her and exist separate from her when she was the birthplace of it? We also recognize that an ecofeminist reading of this text can't celebrate the voice of The Earth without also naming the great price required of her. An ecofeminist reading is incomplete without also extending the recognition that the experience of the earth is a mirror image of the experience and oppression of women.

[00:34:13] And as I was reading through the text, I was really reminded again, that the treatment of the earth in this narrative is not so unlike the treatment of women in patriarchy. So as we were preparing for this episode, I also remembered a podcast episode that I had listened to, on the For The Wild podcast with Tricia Hersey, who is the founder of The Nap Ministry, and she was a guest on their podcast. And in this episode, Tricia was talking about her experience in divinity school when she was really studying the experiences of enslaved Black folks. Hersey talked about how she spent so much time in the archives, reading about these enslaved people's experiences on the plantation fields, how they were being treated and how little they rested.

[00:34:59] Hersey talked about how these enslaved people were expected to work for 20 hour days, rain or shine, whether they were sick or injured or not, all of the days of their lives. And as I was listening to her, talk about this. I was like, “wow, I don't know what that's like. I don't know what that's like. And it's awful.”

[00:35:20] I also particularly remember her sharing a story of a black woman who gave birth while she was working in the field. And then immediately after, her baby was taken and she was expected to just get up and get right back to work because she still had to meet her picking quota for the day. And as I listened to Hersey talking about this woman's experience, I imagined her fresh from birth, potentially not even having passed the placenta yet, gushing blood and afterbirth from her uterus, I imagine her sore and stretched and torn and exhausted, still experiencing those really sucky afterbirth contractions, and bending over to pick cotton without her newborn baby. I imagine her knowing that if she were lucky enough to survive this, the next day, she would be required to do it again and again, and again.

[00:36:16] And I'm hearing in this story this echo from the text, “When shall I rest?” In the same episode, Hersey presented the ecological harm that the white supremacist system of slavery enacted upon the earth. The fields never rested and neither did the Black bodies that worked them. There was none of what we understand good stewardship of the earth to be. The earth asked then, too, “when shall I rest?”

[00:36:43] And for this God in this text, it takes three asks to answer as if the pain of this experience is not enough to justify an immediate response. And so I am remembering back to last week's chapter in Moses six, where we explored this story of Enoch and this really beautiful potential of a theology that recognizes the body as the meeting place of the earth, the community, and the divine.

[00:37:09] Then I also strongly feel that we have to continue to ask those same questions in the next chapter and wonder, “Why do some bodies meet God in this life and some do not? Why are some bodies supported and loved by their communities and some are not? Why do some bodies toil and plead and die and others ascend with God?

[00:37:31] Whose tears are centered here? Whose concerns are immediately addressed and whose are pushed off, not once, not twice, but three times before being acknowledged? One of the things that Elise and I talked about after we recorded our episodes about the creation of the earth and bodies is how it really appears in the text that there are so many potentials for liberating interpretations. The language is there. And sometimes it's endlessly frustrating for us to recognize that all of the necessary ingredients to make, like, a liberation cake as if it was a recipe, like, all the ingredients are there and people are just deciding not to do it. It's so frustrating. And I feel, like, that happened for me reading this text in Moses six and seven. In the previous chapter in chapter six, the potential for a really liberating and exciting theology for the body is present.

[00:38:28] But then in Moses seven, it trips over itself in anger and frustration. So as we read the text this week, I'm really hoping that collectively all of us, like, all of the people who are studying, Come Follow Me, that we can really hold these questions and ask deep hard questions of the text instead of overidentifying with Zion and this Ascension narrative and saying, “well, at least we're not one of the residue. At least we're not the earth, like, at least we're okay.” If instead we can move from sympathy and move into empathy and imagine ourselves with our compassion running, like, birthblood down our legs to the earth and crying to the darkened closed heavens, “When shall I rest?” If we can imagine that instead of sitting on our laurels, maybe we can reach down from our utopia and pull up the hands that are desperately feeling for what we have put out of reach.

Elise: [00:39:27] Like Channing has talked about, such a clear pain and grieving voice of The Earth should not merely act as, like, a background piece of entertainment in Enoch’s story. Instead, when the voice of the earth breaks through and calls to us, it should remind us where we came from and that we are borrowers and partners with The Earth, not takers or forgetters or exploiters of her. It should remind us of what Channing has called elsewhere, the cosmic mundane, or the idea that we and the earth are wrought from one another in both cosmic and everyday mundane ways.

[00:39:59] It should remind us to change our life. There’s a really powerful essay, "Enoch’s Vision and Gaia: An LDS Perspective on Environmental Stewardship" by Craig D. Galli. In the end of the essay, Galli powerfully writes, “Perhaps Enoch's inquiry to the Lord- wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth?- applies to us.”

[00:40:21] And I love this line. It's a reminder to me that compassion is not only about suffering with, it's also about doing everything we can to stop suffering. Perhaps throughout this episode, what you have heard us say is something like, “look, compassion and responsibility are two sides of the same coin and may we learn to honor them effectively.”

Elise: [00:40:47] Friends, thank you so much for joining us today for another episode of The Faithful Feminists podcast. We know your time and space is sacred and we are so grateful to have spent ours with you. If you enjoyed this episode, we'd be so happy if you left us a loving rating on iTunes and Spotify so other seekers can find us.

Channing: [00:41:06] Financial donations support the many hours of research work and devotion to each episode, as well as the everyday cost of creating and publishing the podcast. You can support us on Patreon or through a simple Venmo donation and help us create a world where creators, artists, activists, and beauty makers are valued and paid for their labor. Find us on those platforms and on Instagram as The Faithful Feminists. We're deeply grateful for your kindness and encouragement. You love you so much, and we hope to spend more time with you again soon. Bye, friends.

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