The recent success of “Wear Pants to Church Day” has inspired me to take Mormon Sabbath Day activism to the next level, namely: Arts Activism!
As many of you know, Mormon art and literature are terribly undervalued in our culture today. Too many Mormons believe that Mormon art and literature plateaued around the time of C.C.A. Christensen and Nephi Anderson and refuse to take arguments to the contrary seriously. Moreover, they actively speak out against true Mormon artistic creation, arguing that the production of a Mormon art and literature is a wastrel’s errand and an apostate’s pastime. Meanwhile, those of us engaged in said pastimes and errands are marginalized in our own communities. Rather than being called to decorating committees, or bulletin design callings, or roadshow revival directorships, we are sidelined to mundane, inartistic callings like Sunday school and Seminary teachers, Relief Society presidents, ward greeters, and secretaries in the Young Men and Young Women programs.
I think the time has come to raise more awareness of Mormon art and literature in our local congregations. Our fellow ward- and stake-members need to realize that we have read many, many books, written several short stories and novels, composed achingly beautiful poems, sculpted crushingly abstract sculptures, and mixed paint with blood and tears for the cause of Zion. Our contributions can no longer go unnoticed. We need to take a stand and let our artistic souls be heard.
The first Sunday in February–February 3, 2013–is Scout Sunday. I propose that we coopt Scout Sunday for “Wear a Black Beret to Church Day” to raise awareness about the marginalization of Mormon art and literature. As Mormon artists and literati, we owe it to future Saints–our children and grandchildren–to direct attention away from the paramilitary decadence of Scout Sunday and celebrate that which is creative and pure in all of us, i.e. Art.
Here’s what I propose:
1) If you are a Mormon artist (defined loosely), wear a black beret to Church. As we all know, the black beret is a universal symbol of the artist.
2) If you are not a Mormon artist, but sympathize with our cause, wear a maroon shirt, tie, skirt, scrunchie, or pair of socks. Again, as we all know, maroon is the color most closely associated with A Motley Vision and therefore (historically speaking) most closely associated with Mormon Art and Literature.
3) If you are not a Mormon artist, and do not own any maroon clothing, pin a plastic cockroach to your shirt front or dress. The cockroach, after all, symbolizes the analogies most Mormon philistines use to oppress Mormon artists and compromise our artistic output.
I encourage all of you to spread the word about this special day. Do not let our detractors stop you from speaking out in favor of Mormon Art. They may level death threats against us. They may call us modern-day Korihors or Radical Middlists. They may say all sorts of mean things about our loyalties in the premortal life. We cannot let them keep us down!
Remember, this is about the future. OUR FUTURE.
I hope to see everyone in their berets, maroon clothes, or cockroach pins on Scout”¦er”¦”Black Beret Sunday”!
34 thoughts on “Announcing “Wear a Black Beret to Church Day””
I have shared this on Facebook. May the chapels crawl with plastic cockroach pins on that most auspicious day.
Excellent piece of satire!
My sister bought me a black beret years ago. I think I might still have it. Time to dig through old trunks. . . .
Failing that, I have plenty of maroon stuff.
I’m not exactly sure of what to think of this post…
I agree! The Church has ignored us artists. I am wearing a black beret and my maroon pants suit!
…As a young scout, I used to wear a red beret!
I haven’t had a hair cut for three months, I never wear a suit jacket (even though I’m in the bishopric), I regularly leave the stand to sort my kids out, and my stake president’s a graphic artist. Does that count?
Hey, I could go with this because I love black and I love art. However, I hate the beret and would refuse to wear one (the same goes for cowboy hats and boots so its not alone). As activism goes, its pretty harmless and a bit fun. I could do maroon because that is a color among others that I already wear to church. White shirts is a travesty that I sometimes have to endure for my faith.
I will admit: at first I was nervous about Beret Day. But now, I know I feel the Spirit in this! I know that I will experience opposition as I stand up to the anti-arts agenda that all non-artists have falsely incorporated into our doctrine, but it is time the Church caught up with the rest of the world! I’m going to go buy a maroon suit tonight, 5 black berets, and some live cockroaches.
Since I live in the Twin Cities, I will wear a raspberry beret.
Wm wins at the internetz.
Mahonri, it’s a parody. Go with it.
Satire? Parody? I don’t know what you are talking about.
But my wife did just ask me if getting a death threat was on my bucket list…
The good news is that black berets are more affordable than I thought:
and someone actually already makes cockroach pins:
My wife, coincidentally, just happened across my beret earlier this week.
I haven’t worn it in years and years and years.
Time for all that to change.
I’m definitely buying a black beret!
I would totally look hot in a black beret.
…. but I worry that this movement will make those who already wear berets self-conscious.
A cockroach pin for those with a bit of cash to spend
A cockroach tie bar to wear with your maroon tie
a pair of earrings for those with pierced ears
or you could always go with hair clips
And I haven’t yet figured out where to get them, but someone at some point made cockroach cuff links
I think the cockroach tie clip is ideal for those who want to represent, but also fly under the radar…
If I start knitting a black beret right now, I should have it finished by choir practice.
Knit, Luisa! Knit like the wind!
I’m not sure about the cockroach thing. Shouldn’t it be Mormon crickets instead?
Moriah, I knew it was a parody. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. Granted, satire has never been my cup of tea.
There’s a difference between parody and satire. This is satire, which means it neither fully denounces what it is riffing on nor fully supports it either and what’s more, it is being both serious and not serious about the cultural issues it is addressing.
So, if I do where a beret on “Black Beret Sunday” that means the satire has both failed and succeeded, right?
Just because its satire doesn’t mean I won’t do it!!! [GRIN]
I’ve always liked satire, mainly because of the ambiguity it creates, and for the way it makes me laugh. I think it opens up great opportunities for dialogue.
Satire has to strike a very difficult balance for me to be at ease with it enough to make me laugh. I think I’m a little too close to this particular issue for this post to have that desired effect.
You’re such a romantic, Mahonri.
Sure am! 🙂
I wore my beret today. While some ignored me, and others scorned me, most treated me very warmly. I looked for other berets, albeit covertly and saw five total in the halls between meeting and ward changes. But I did see a LOT of maroon. Kindred spirits! No cockroaches. What comes next, please? We must let others stay aware of the pain we are feeling!
You celebrated early!
Since we’re Mormons, perhaps one of you could wear a beret for me vicariously? As far as fashion goes, I count as deceased.
Americans are so odd.
Reminds me of Junior High. But I could do it. I even have a black t-shirt, purchased at Goodwill, with the caption “I AM ART” on it.
What’s this about artists taking their roach clips to church?