I have never been a fan of Monty Python or South Park kind of humor/satire. It seems to be about making fun of another person or group. I had a hard time with the first act and was glad I stayed for the redemptive second act. The real struggle came for me when the audience responded with laughter to statements like… “He fucked a baby to cure AIDS…” which is a real practice in some areas of Africa, based on a belief that if you have sex with a virgin your AIDS will be cured…
Both the Mormons and the Ugandans were looking for something outside themselves to believe, in the hope of establishing a way to solve the problems that they face in their lives. Although the Mormons “look” more civilized, both groups engaged in their own kind of “violence” based on their values/beliefs.
Religion gives us one way to solve the problems that are present in our lives and then it creates another whole set of problems… such as: the repression of Lesbians/Gays in the Mormon culture; the inability to understand and meet other groups/cultures where they are; the exclusion of what is different. These problems (former solutions) limit the multidimensional ways available to help alleviate the suffering of others, in a way that addresses the “whole of humanity”.
Elder Cunningham, the least likely to save the day for the Mormon Missionaries, comes to the rescue of the Ugandans and ultimately the Mormons. He truly understood and was present to the people he was serving and demonstrated compassion, empathy, and true service.
My understanding of the Enneagram and Spiral Dynamics helped me to bridge the gap of… “knowing” the reality of the Ugandans AND “knowing” the reality of the Mormons. These two systems and my dedication/devotion to pair them were instrumental in helping me understand both worlds. They enabled me to hold the paradox and duality of the Mormons’ experience in Uganda, and the Ugandans’ experience of the Mormons.
Dr. Deborah Ooten is the founder and director of the Conscious Living Center.