in March 8, 2014
Have you ever heard the term “man up”? It is frequently used among men to encourage someone to display manly virtues or traits that are not currently visible. This can include bravery or a sense of adventure. I have a virtue that I’d like to see more of: accountability. Men, it is time to man up.
I have long described myself as a true feminist. The man is not ahead of the woman nor the woman ahead of the man. We should be able to walk side by side, enjoying all the same rights and privileges as our counterparts of the opposite sex. This was my opinion as a single man, and you can imagine that marriage and the birth of a daughter have only served to strengthen these opinions. Sadly, these events have also shown me just how far we have to go. Even within the church there is a sad lack of equality when it comes to women. Nowhere is this more damaging than in the youth programs.
I remember young men’s vividly. Combined activities, scouting (I was pre-Duty to God, so we still actually did scouting), summer camps, etc. All things that eventually played some role in helping me prepare to serve a mission and start a family. I also remember the standards that were taught to me. These standards were different than those of the world but I was taught that these were to prepare me to be a worthy Priesthood holder. The standards seemed very much in line with my concept of God’s personality: firm but loving. Imagine my horror when I discovered how these same lessons were and are taught to the young women. Young women need to dress modestly so they are not a distraction to the boys?!? What happened to individual accountability?
One of the most basic tenets of our belief is that “Men [and women] will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression”. What I take away from this statement is that we are all accountable for ourselves and no one else. Any passive action I take which results in another person sinning is not going to come back on me. If I leave a cake out on my kitchen table and someone breaks into my home and eats it, am I remiss for having ruined the burglar’s diet? This logic seems absurd in this context but is it any different than the “she was asking for it” argument used to justify rape? Make no mistake; forcing the young women to cover up so the boys are not tempted is rape-culture-light.
If “her bare shoulders made me do it” was a valid argument the Bible might have played out very differently. I can hear king David now as he explains to the Lord that if it were not for that hussy Bathsheba parading around naked on her rooftop Uriah might still be alive. Similarly would it not have been easier for Joseph in Egypt to have given in to the master’s wife knowing that he was justified before God? Obviously even when temptation is before you, the Lord holds you accountable for your own actions. These men were the guardians of their own virtue.
I will teach my daughter to be modest but I will tell her that she needs to do so to respect her body and send a positive message about herself. She is the guardian of her virtue and hers alone. To the young men of the church and the older men teaching them; man up! Take responsibility for your own actions. Stop perpetuation a system that calls women the guardians of virtue and then absolves those that would take virtue from them. After all “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” The Lord did not use any qualifiers. Let each man guard his own virtue. If we wish to assist the women in guarding theirs we should focus on changing the culture that unduly places the onus on women for the thoughts and actions of men.
Im MaryLynn, I’m twenty four years old, and I’m a Mormon Feminist! I’ve been a member of the LDS church for about ten years now (since I was fourteen). While I’ve been treated with respect from the men in the church and told over and over that I’m an important daughter of God, I’ve always felt a bit “less than”. Why can’t I hold the priesthood if I’m a faithful daughter of God, when a twelve year old boy who hardly understands it can? Why am I not given the same opportunities as others simply because of my sex? The church is run by males, 100%. They give females roles, but only over other females, and always under the supervision of a male. If that’s not inequality, I don’t know what is.
Like others, when I read in the scriptures that eve was given to adam to rule over, it made me stop and think. Actually, it made me get frustrated and literally cry to my Heavenly Father. Did he see me as less? Was I destined to be a but a background character in life, there only to support the men and raise their children? After much deep and earnest prayer, I got my answer. NO.
I am equal. I know this, God knows this, but the church has yet to recognize it. The gospel is so true, and I love it with all of my heart! But the church, made up of imperfect people, is still struggling to come to that realization. Some things are yet to be revealed by God. I know equality in the church is one of them. Because I know, and God knows, I am not a background character. I AM EQUAL.
Article of Faith #9
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
in December 10, 2013
For the longest time I was extremely wary of associating myself with this organization because of all of the stereotypes & controversial publicity that came along with it. Recently, however, I’ve discovered what it means being a feminist means to me.
I was reading “The Year My Son and I Were Born”, which is a lovely & raw tale of self-discovery by Kathryn Lynard Soper. She shares her personal struggles that ensued after her youngest son was born 2 months early & was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. While I don’t have a child with Down Syndrome—or any children at all for that matter—what I found most inspiring about Kathryn’s story was her honesty. Honesty with her friends, family, & most importantly herself. This honesty didn’t happen overnight & it took a lot of work for her to become completely honest.
That is what being a feminist is to me. Being honest. I do not want the Priesthood, but I am asking that women everywhere are honest with themselves & everyone they come in contact with. So often I feel that we as women hold so much back. We hold back opinions, emotions, & ideas as if sharing them will make us vulnerable & weak. The exact opposite is the case though. If we can empower ourselves by being honest about our wants, needs, ideas, & feelings, we give others (women & men alike) permission to empower themselves through honesty.
I don’t have all the answers to what is right or wrong; to what needs to happen to make society equal or fair. I do believe that those answers will come to light if we embrace the feminist within all of us by being honest.
in November 25, 2013
I’m a dude. For the longest time, I was in the ranks of those who thought of feminists as extremist man-haters, who wanted to exact revenge on men. I was very quickly and decided proved wrong when my sister asked me a series of questions about equality. When I answered all of her questions in favor of gender equality, she told me I was a feminist. That didn’t sit well at first, but the more research I did the more convinced I became that it was true. And then early this year, I decided to actually do something about it. I created theequalityofmarsandvenus.com which is a blog about LDS Feminism. It highlights specific people, and is smattered with a few of my own musings. One of the women featured on that blog is the creator of this very site. She’s one of my good friends from high school.
What do Mormon feminists believe about Heavenly Father and Mother?
Well, I can’t speak for Mormon feminists, but Heavenly Mother is out there. She’s equal with Heavenly Father, and just as concerned and involved with out lives as He is. We can’t see her, and we don’t know much about her, but she’s there. I believe that She has just as much power, capacity for love, and glory as the Father does. She must. Otherwise, how could it be Justice? And God is nothing, if not Just.
in November 12, 2013
Hello, I’m Clarissa and I am a Mormon feminist! This is a cause that I am passionate about; it excites me and motivates me to rise to my potential as a daughter of Heavenly Parents. When women are empowered, validated, respected, and equalized—society benefits, period. Women have such potential and such amazing gifts to offer, it is truly a pity for those to be overlooked in the name of patriarchy or female submission as a “virtue”. Therefore, feminism is essential to getting women on equal ground with men.
Being a Mormon feminist has been such an immense blessing in my life; it strengthens my testimony, brings me closer to my Heavenly Father and Mother, enlightens my mind in Gospel truths, and draws me nearer to the Savior. I am committed to this work and I know that it is right.
Do Mormon Feminists hate men?
Hardly! To the contrary, we love, respect, and admire men. We who are Mormon feminists are not an alien breed of women; we are mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and friends to men. We see how instrumental they are in our lives and how much they are needed in the Plan of Salvation. We want EQUALITY with men, not superiority over them.
And just to make sure I leave no rock left unturned, let me be clear that I, nor any Mormon feminist I know, have any desire to be a man. I abhor the idea of wearing a suit to church, I find dresses far more pretty and girly. I don’t want a beard, ever, nor do I want anyone to ever mistake me as a man. Nothing wrong with men, but I love being a woman. Being EQUAL with men is in no way whatsoever synonymous with wanting to BE a man.
I love men being men (expecially manly men, let me just say “rawr”). I also love equality. You can love feminism and also love men; neither are mutually exclusive.
How did you come out as a Mormon Feminist to your friends and family?
This question is both funny and sad; funny, because it makes being a Mormon feminist seem to be radical. Sad, in that too many believe that it IS radical. Radical as in unconventional, yes; in which Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith could be considered “radical”. But feminism should not be regarded as this spooky, crazy, power-hungry, hippie movement that should be feared and viewed with contempt; it isn’t any of the aforementioned words at all.
For a little background on me, am a Latter-Day Saint who has lived in Idaho her entire life and attended BYU-Idaho for four years. So it’s fair to say that my circle is primarily fellow LDS members, mostly conservative. So “coming out” as a feminist was a bit daunting at first; some people scolded with claims I was “being led astray” or “had lost my testimony” (nothing could be further from the truth, feminism strengthened my testimony in the Gospel), others openly ridiculed, and others even stopped speaking to me over it, citing archaic quotes about feminism being the downfall to society and such.
I “came out” by initially speaking up in my religion classes at BYU-Idaho when subjects such as gender roles, “separate but equal” nonsense, and other patriarchal subjects arose. This progressed into posting feminist material on social media and encouraging a dialogue. Soon, I was talking about feminism in everyday conversations with anybody who wanted to listen and enjoyed being able to dispel the myths about feminism.
It’s really not too difficult to “come out” as a Mormon feminist. It can be a little intimidating in the beginning because you don’t know how people will respond. Will people think I’m apostasizing? Am I going to get a reputation as being some hippie nut because people misunderstand my views? Worst of all (at least to me), is will I be mocked and made fun of? Because of all ways people can express dislike for you, the sting of ridicule can hurt the most.
But guess what? Good news is, the reality of anyone harping on you for being a feminist is NEVER AS BAD IN ACTUALITY AS IT IS IN THE SCARY “WHAT IF” CORNER OF OUR MINDS. Believe me, what we can think of in our mind is far, far worse than anything that will actually happen. And when you let people know who you are and what you stand for, there’s an empowering peace that comes from it that makes everything worth it.
in November 9, 2013
Hi, I’m Sarah:
I am a mormon feminist because I believe that differences of gender should not dictate what our roles are in life but rather that we all have the same opportunities to nurture, provide, and preside the best way we can with the Lord and our Heavenly Parent’s instructions.
How do you live your faith as a Mormon feminist? I live my faith, one day at a time. At first there is this learning curve I had to get used to going from believing entirely in the way things were (Patriarchal order, men have priesthood, women have motherhood) to realizing I did have doubts and questions, and that not everything was equal. I read the scriptures, pray, and go to church, but like everything there is a healing process after disappointment and grief over a loss which causes me to take a break every now and then. This loss was the loss of what previously had tethered me to the church, my testimony. I have learned that I just need to build a new testimony based on the Atonement, on what I believe about the restoration, on Heavenly Parents who love us. It means I need to learn how to read the scriptures again from a more liberal perspective, and have confidence the Holy Spirit will guide me. In a way I live my faith the same way my Orthodox Mormon brother’s and sister’s live their faith. I live it with doubts, I live it with faith, and when faith isn’t strong enough, I live it with hope.
Most of all I live it with the prayer that God will indeed reveal more things pertaining to the kingdom of God, then already is revealed. I hope that revelation creates more opportunity for women rather than less. I hope that revelation reveals things that will shock everybody with something they didn’t expect, but brings them great joy, including me.
in November 8, 2013
My name is Charlene and I’m a Mormon Feminist because I was taught when young that I have a Heavenly Mother who cares about me and answers my prayers. I have seen the tragedy of women who have tried to fit into the church mold for women and have to take drugs to get through the day. Something is wrong. We have to acknowledge the Divine Feminine, give room for individuality, seek to really know our individual roles in the plan and stake our claim in the culture we live in and not budge. It is time!
in September 17, 2013
I’m Katie and I’m a Mormon Feminist. Why? Because I believe in women’s strength and potential and believe it should be used to it’s fullest, which currently is not happening. Anguish bubbles up inside of me because of this. I’m a feminist because I know that my Heavenly Parents do not want me to feel inferior to my brothers. I love the gospel, I love my God, and I love my fellow brothers and sisters - this is why I’m a Mormon Feminist.