in October 20, 2014
"I’m a mormon feminist because I’ve realized that I don’t need to compromise my beliefs in gender equality in order to be a faithful Latter-day Saint."
When I was growing up, I latched onto anything that portrayed women in inspiring roles. I loved the Disney movie Mulan and my Rosie the Riveter poster in my bedroom. I believed that I could do anything I set my mind to. I loved being in Girl Scouts, playing outside and most of all my blood boiled at any indication of social injustice! I had a strong sense of equality and believed that I had an important mission in life to revolutionize the world for the better.
In Young Women’s I knew I had different interests from the other girls. I asked challenging questions. I disliked wearing dresses and I wanted to do other things besides bake cookies for the young men. I’ve always felt like gaining knowledge in this life was an integral part of my divine purpose, but somehow I didn’t fit into the “mold” of a Latter-day Saint young woman. However, I continued to go to church because I knew that it was true and it was something that I was supposed to do.
Since then, I’ve continued with my interest in gender equality, watching documentaries, reading blog posts and writing down my own thoughts on feminism. At the same time, I also began to gain a stronger testimony in the gospel and found that I liked doing missionary work as a young single adult.
Eventually these two aspect of my life seem to run into conflict. Following an assignment as a young single adult leader, I moved to Utah to spend more time with my family and discover more about my family history. My testimony was stronger than ever before. Institute classes helped me gain more scriptural knowledge, and of course, I loved learning new things.
It was in these institute classes that I started to question female “roles” in the church. When I was presented with seemingly bizarre aspects of the Gospel that I had never heard of, I questioned my peers and institute teacher. They would state sympathy for me saying that they knew people who struggled with the same questions and adjusting to a “woman’s role” but that eventually I would realize (like them) that the only thing I wanted was to get married and have children. This was the only thing of importance that I could ever do in my life, they said. To them, any alternative would be tragedy.
Somehow in this stage of my life and early college career I was just supposed to wake up one day, enlightened, and forget about any aspect of life outside of mothering and bearing children. I felt like my worth was being reduced to my reproductive value. My confidence in myself and my testimony was shrinking. All of this within my first semester of college and I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time!
Over time I began to hear similar messages at institute, church and my peers. I spent a lot of time wasted listening to single people, complain about not being married, particularly those that had not had any serious dating prospects for a considerable durration.
All of this began to weigh on me and my hopes for my future. Let’s start with valuing people for their intrinsic worth. Let’s start with developing real friendships and being interested in the unique complexities of each other’s lives - The way that God sees us. These aspects, like marriage and children will come when it is right for me. In the meantime, I’m more than my ovaries. I think God can see that.
I cannot say how wonderful it is to come across this very website and read all of the inspiring stories that put my faith back in God and this church. Before this, I was feeling that the desires of my heart were worthless to God and that I had no place in this church. I was feeling pressured and confused about getting engaged when I’m not ready or sure. These stories from people like me have strengthened my testimony and removed me from feelings of turmoil and utter despair.
For this, I thank all of you :-)
in October 6, 2014
My name is Lori, and there hasn’t ever been a time when I wasn’t a feminist. When I was a child, it never would have occurred to me that I couldn’t do anything I set my mind to just because I was a girl. I mean, that just doesn’t make sense, right? If I wanted to be President of the United States, I could be (and I wanted to be in my youth).
I grew up in a mixed faith family, and because of that, I learned respect and love for differing belief systems. I believe strongly that there are more things that bring us together than there ever will be to tear us apart. I also learned that there is significant diversity within the ranks of our own congregation. I remember the time surrounding the 1978 revelation that allowed all worthy males to hold the priesthood (I was 11). I remember feeling like this was a BIG DEAL, and I remember being excited to go to Church and talk with others about this awesome revelation. My young mind didn’t think to question why there were restrictions in the first place. I was a little confused as to why some people were angry. The anger bothered me a great deal. I could not fathom why they would be angry. Some even stopped coming to Church. This was the first experience I remember about people striving to live the Gospel NOT being able to do something JUST BECAUSE they had different skin color (as if they picked it). And when questioned, nobody had an acceptable, understandable, or reasonable answer.
As I went through my teens and early 20s, I began to notice other things in my world. Not just within my congregation and community, but in the larger world. To some people, these things either didn’t exist (so I must be making it up), they weren’t as bad as I was thinking they were (so I must be too sensitive), or they were grossly over-exaggerated (so I must be too upset).
My career, at one point, had me training others in the travel industry and I experienced some serious discrimination when I found out by accident that I was making far less than the man I was training. When I asked why, I was told that it was because he was the breadwinner of his family. I was a single mother of two young girls at the time. There have been many many individual situations that are evidence that equality is not a reality yet.
Now I have perked my ears very carefully to the issues surrounding equality. Because I am a woman and a mother, and I want my children to live in a better world than I do. I feel strongly that It is our responsibility to do so. Our posterity should be judged in this world by the content of their characters, not by their skin color, or gender, or sexuality, or age, and I am and will always fight for these things.
I have made an uneasy peace with the knowledge that many in my own congregation think I am not living Gospel Principles, because to me, the bigger picture is more important.
I have made an uneasy peace with the knowledge that many outside of my congregation and faith think I am completely dense and are very critical of my decision to stay a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I stay because I love my Savior and I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that I have Heavenly Parents that care very deeply about me. I believe in the Restoration of the Gospel, and I absolutely love and sustain the Leaders of the Church. I am grateful for Gospel Principles and Ordinances. I know that while the Gospel is perfect, the people are not, and that includes everyone, even the leadership of the Church. Even me. Especially me.
I know that we have a lot of work to do equality wise. It should be okay to just BE (woman, man, gay, straight, old, young). It should be okay to feel like a integral part of His Gospel within our congregations and communities in spite of our sins, shortcomings, and differing opinions. We should all be welcome at His table. This is my way of trying my best to live His Gospel.
in October 4, 2014
My name is Pat, and I’m a Mormon feminist. It started at BYU in 1972, when I realized how dismissive the male teachers and students were of women. I saw consistent disdain for women’s dreams and goals (other than marrying and having babies, that is) and a 1950s-style mockery of women in general. A male professor stating in class, “I don’t see that the study of women is relevant to the study of history,” when asked why he didn’t cover the 1846 Seneca Falls convention. The constant evaluation of women by their age and looks by administrators, profs, and students. I have faith in God. I try to live the teachings of Jesus. I am active in the church and hold a calling in Primary. And I am a feminist to the core.
in October 3, 2014
It took a long time, but I have adopted the feminist title. I went back to school and started working with a lot of feminist theory, and felt like it just all made sense. And I realized, looking back on my life, that I’ve always felt this way. I remember experiences all the way back in middle school when I tried to act as a male advocate before knowing that was even a term. In so many occasions I learned that different is just different, and that you can embrace difference without subortinating any group. I finally came to a point when I accepted that I was a feminist. Once your eyes are open to the patriarchy it cannot be unseen. I’m still learning, but I’m willing to listen, and that’s the key.
in June 18, 2014
I’m Tessa, and I am a Mormon feminist because I believe that God loves men and women equally—he does not esteem one flesh above another. But some of the current policies, practices, and teachings of the church (both as an organization and as a culture) privilege men over women. I believe that we need to talk about these problematic policies, practices, and teachings and make changes to better reflect God’s equality.
Frightening people into silence won’t make these problems go away, so I’m speaking up.
in June 17, 2014
My name is Danielle and I am a Mormon Feminist.
I am a mormon feminist because no women are needed to decide on an excommunication of a woman and I am tired of people thinking that members who have questions cannot share their concerns in the public.
Control is enacted when only one gender operates the leadership, decision making and discipline of both genders.
Truth stands on its own. It doesn’t need convincing or incentives, it is truth. Only frailties and imperfections seek to be hidden.
Man is imperfect. Woman is imperfect. We are all struggling together to be more like Christ.
People who are close to the spirit cannot be led astray. It is only when people listen to others above the spirit that they stand in risk of being led astray. Everyone tries to make you in their own image. I want to be made in God’s image and frankly, he is a feminist.