not in Primary anymore

part 6: the queerness of the atonement

This blog post is the sixth section of a seven part essay called “Finding the Queer Christ in Mormonism.” I’ll be posting the last section of the essay next Monday.

(You can read the first section of this essay here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, and the fifth here).

“Queerness is about affirming people as healthy, whole (even when incoherent and inarticulable) and valid; it expects definitions of gender and sexuality and the communities organized around them to continue branching, to be fluid, complex and changing. Queerness rejects the notion that anything is static, and therefore rejects ever becoming static itself (or ourselves); instead it embraces instability, and the joy of complexity and forward motion.”

Adrienne Rosenberg, “Queerness As”

“I take what he says very literally. I truly believe that he understands our lives in detail, without flinching or turning away from even the most terrible things that have happened to us and even the most terrible things that we have done. I believe he knows about the messy, complicated physical realities of a woman’s life. I believe that he understands the fear that swept my heart when I realized I had breast cancer. I think he was with me in the struggle after surgery, strengthening me as I thought through what it meant to me as a woman to be without a breast. I think he knows about childbirth and nursing.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, Disciples (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1998), 93

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.”

Alma 7:11

I can think of nothing queerer than the idea of the atonement.

Here we have Christ experiencing every experience there ever was. Christ is experiencing all genders and sex with all genders and even the experience of not being interested in sex at all. What can be more queer than such an experience?

During the atonement, Christ is experiencing gender dysphoria, bullying, ostracization, love, acceptance, devotion and every other experience a queer person may go through.

We’re not just claiming that Christ knows academically about these experiences, but that Christ is actually experiencing them.

And not only is Christ EXPERIENCING queerness, but through the atonement, Christ is LIVING IN and being manifested through queer people.

Not only is finding the Queer Christ about finding the queerness in Christ, but also Christ among those who are queer.

The atonement (where Christ unites God and humanity) is not merely a moment where Christ helps humans have Godlike attributes, but a moment where Christ helps God have humanlike attributes.

By tapping into and participating in the atonement, our queer bodies become part of Christ’s queer body; our lives become part of Christ’s queer life.

Suggested Reading

Some interesting takes on the atonement by different Mormons.

One queer theologian explains a different view of the atonement’s place in queer theology.

A Queer Theologian’s take on becoming part of Christ’s Queer Body.

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4 Responses to “part 6: the queerness of the atonement”

  1. Kelly H.

    The gender implications of Christ experiencing the atonement are interesting! Thank you so much for these posts and for the time you put into them! I for one appreciate it so much! And I love the definitions of queer. The fluidity and diversity in the universe is our greatest blessing and test.

    Reply

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