in April 3, 2014
The only thing I ever wanted to be was a Mother in Zion; barefoot and pregnant with 6+ kids. I understood God sent women to be mothers, and I would be obedient and follow Him. It seems Heavenly Father decided to play a joke on me. After 12 years of homeopathic and medical intervention (we do have one child from IVF) and foster care and a failed adoption in attempts to fulfill my gender role: I needed a break. Due to financial circumstances, I found myself an educated, full-time working mother with no desire to have more children. I came to realize working full-time did not lessen my ability to mother effectively. In no way did extra work and responsibility lessen my motherhood. Of all people, I – the woman with unexplained infertility of 12 years – cherished my motherhood.
As a walked this new path, I felt the Spirit confirming to me that this was His will. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace when I was not trying to have children and fill my gender role, that I was sent here with my unique talents and skills to build His kingdom. I felt like I had been so converted to gender roles, I spent 10 years without seeking His will for me. All of the certainty I’d lived with before vanished, and when my lived experience and personal revelation conflicted with teachings of the Church – I had to repack how I saw the Gospel and the Church Organization. I saw that they were separate, and I never questioned the core doctrines of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ … but I had a lot of questions for our culture and organization. Especially in my role as a mother, I was concerned about the opportunities available to my daughter.
Why do we teach motherhood = priesthood? My husband’s fatherhood is equal in every way to my motherhood. Why aren’t the funding and structure of our programs similar for boys and girls? Why can’t I serve as a financial clerk or a stake auditor or in the Sunday School Presidency? Why can’t men and women serve respectfully in callings side-by-side (like at my workplace) without seeing each other as sexual objects? Why does my church culture use fear and shame to teach modesty and sexuality? Even if priesthood is to only be used by men for completing saving ordinances – why can’t women serve on any board in equal number to the men in decision making roles? If women are innately unique and are different – wouldn’t it only strengthen our decision making boards to have a 50/50 split that represents a full-breadth of experience in the Church? Why can’t a woman serve as a spiritual leader to women and men, and not just to women only? Why do we publicize the name of every man called as a mission president, but we don’t even know the names of the women serving on our general leadership boards? Why don’t we have curriculum materials about teachings of the female leaders of our Church? Why have the opportunities for women in the church shrunk and lessened, instead of expanded? Isn’t the pattern of revelation to desire first, study it out ourselves, and then ask God? Despite my questions I have a burning testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ – I have questions and yet choose to believe.
During this time I struggled with the label feminist, I was terrified to use the f-word in Mormonism, even though I was sympathetic to their causes. There finally came a point where I felt like I wasn’t living authentically without claiming the label. I had to decide to let go of fear, embrace vulnerability, share my story, and be authentic. I felt prompted to start blogging to share my story, at Confessions of a Moderate Mormon Feminist. I found that calling myself feminist brought comfort and companionship at a time when others were rejecting me, calling me apostate, and loving me conditionally. I found I could attempt to break down barriers and stereotypes about what a Mormon feminist is. While not all of my interactions have been positive - I focus on responding to the promptings of the Spirit and loving others and inviting them to Christ.
My name is Kristine, I am a Mormon feminist, and I will follow God’s plan for me.
I’m Jamie, and I’m a Mormon Feminist.
My parents’ goal was to raise us to be strong girls. I was always taught that I was smart and capable. My parents taught me that I was blessed with a brain, so I had better use it.
I always have been a feminist; it just took me a while to realize it. As a child and teenager I would devour books full of young women who could be described only as strong. It was expected that I get a college degree; I saved for it from the time I started kindergarten. I was raised in an environment that nurtured the feminist in me. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I assigned the name feminist to what I have always been. I put the title on like a comfortable jacket; it just fits in every way. I already knew the feeling I just needed the name.
Once I started seeing the small injustices and inequalities in Mormon culture, I couldn’t stop seeing them. I started asking why. Why can’t the Young Women do the same activities as the Young Men? Why are young women considered more accountable for the chastity in a relationship? There is no doctrine in these things; it is simply just how things are done. I have found my place as I try to repair the culture. Men and women have so much more value when both are treated fairly.
Viewing the Gospel as a feminist provides so much richness and depth. My love and testimony of the Gospel have only grown since I started looking as a feminist. I could see that it was a place where I could grow, and I could create a place for myself and others to learn and change together all while growing closer to each other and our Heavenly Parents. I can help improve the church I love just by doing what I am passionate about. I am able to see a place suited just for me.
in April 2, 2014
Hi, My name is Karen and i am a Mormon Feminist. I’m pretty sure I’ve been a feminist my whole life. When I was about 12, I wanted to get my Patriarchal Blessing. When I talked to the Patriarch that day, he asked me about my feelings towards the Equal Rights Amendment. i don’t think he expected me to have any strong feelings, but he was wrong. Even when he asked me questions about things like drafting women into the military, I didn’t want anyone to have to go to war.
The older I got, the stronger my opinions became. In high school, I was one of the few girls I knew who really felt strongly about women’s rights. I was outspoken. My father, who was actually fairly conservative, taught me from the time i was young that it was okay to be strong, to be smart. I didn’t have to pick a traditional “girl” career if I didn’t want to. Most of my friends felt like they needed to go to college to find a husband. Even though I got married right out of high school, I knew I had other options.
I had four children, three girls and one boy. I tried to raise them to understand there was nothing wrong with being a girl. I tried to instill in them it was not appropriate to call someone a “sissy” or say they did something like a girl. I work in a junior high school today. I love the student I work with. It is so common to hear people bash each other, using being feminine as a slur. Boys still think it is okay to force a girl to have sex if she doesn’t want to, just because she went on a date with him.
I think, by being a feminist, i am honoring the gifts my Heavenly Parents have given me. I know, without a doubt I am a daughter of Heavenly Parents, who love me, the same way I love my children. They want me to be successful and happy.They want me to use my talents to help myself and to help others.
I am a Mormon feminist because there is still a certain population of men who think they can explain to me and to my girls why we need to live according to their rules and not what is actually in our best interest. I am a Mormon feminist because I am capable of making decisions for myself. I am a Mormon feminist for my father, my children and my grandchildren and for all the children I work with. There is little I can do to change the world. But this? I can do this!
in April 1, 2014
To find value in the service women provided in the home. I am grateful for this upbringing because I appreciate the work mothers do to raise their children the best they know how.
Unfortunately, I was ONLY raised to be a mother. To ONLY find value in the service women provided in the home.
Motherhood was womanhood.
Womanhood was motherhood.
I am not a mother. God knows I tried. And because my worth as a woman was intertwined with motherhood I started to question my worth.
If motherhood was the highest calling a woman could have, why did God not trust me enough to have the best? Trust me with His children? Something must be wrong with me.
While I believe I have the ability to nurture the children that come across my path, I struggle with the notion that my womanhood is seemingly defined by my relationship with children.
Expanding the definition of mother to encompass all women merely expands our concept of motherhood. It keeps the womanhood = motherhood paradigm intact.
I want an expanded definition of womanhood— one where motherhood is one of many choices we can make to express our divine femininity.
My name is Paula and I am a Mormon feminist.
in March 31, 2014
I’m Abigayle. Growing up, I didn’t think there was a need for feminism anymore. I thought all of those battles had been fought. Any sexism I encountered in the church I attributed to individual ignorance. It pains me to admit that it wasn’t until my endowment that I began to see the sexism in the doctrine, structure and culture of the church. Once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it, try as I might. These inequalities have caused me a lot of pain, sorrow and confusion but I finally got to a place where I had to hold on to what I knew. I know I’m a beloved daughter of divine Parents who are just and loving and good. They are not respecters of persons. All are alike in Their sight. That’s why I am a Mormon Feminist. Because by the same way that I know that Jesus is my Savior, the Book of Mormon is true and the priesthood is real, I know that sexism is not of God and that there are some things in the church that need to be fixed, clarified, expanded and corrected to be in harmony with the nature of the just and loving God I worship.
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.