Tomorrow, March 8, is International Women’s Day. The first time I learned about International Women’s Day was in college. My roommate was minoring and Russian and on March 8, she brought home a flower from class. It is customary in Russia for men to buy flowers for the women in their lives on Women’s Day. It’s an official holiday in many countries and the United Nations has made a tradition of picking a theme for International Women’s Day each year. This year’s theme is Equality for Women is Progress for All.Read More
It was deadly silent in the Young Women’s room where I was sitting as a Laurel some twenty years ago. The Young Women president, whom I loved dearly, was reading a letter. It was an open letter to the Young Women of the church, long before the days of open letters on the internet. This letter was from a woman who had been raped, and it was written to us, the Young Women of the church. She said she invited the rape because her makeup was too much, her sleeves were too little, her skirt was too short and her nails were too long. She was alone, in the wrong place, and dressed “inappropriately.” It was her fault because of her dress, she told us. She had asked for it. And she was paying for it.
We sat in reverence and shock at the close of the letter. “This girl was nineteen, but it could happen to you….” That could happen to me! I felt sick, but… something felt… wrong. Something twinged in me… because, well… didn’t the man who attacked her—didn’t he have a choice? I mean, wasn’t HE the rapist? I sat feeling confused and a little angry. I felt like I should question this… but I didn’t know why. And I was scared. Because no one wants to be raped.
In conclusion, the Young Women’s first counsellor reverently added, “Because men really do have less control in this than women.” BAM. That was it!! That is what was bothering me! The Plan of Salvation. Agency. Because I was being taught that we all had agency…. And this was teaching me that men do NOT have agency. At least when it comes to sex. And this didn’t make sense. This was not the gospel I knew and loved. This was false doctrine. But I didn’t challenge my Young Women’s leaders…. even if what they were teaching me was opposite to what I was being taught in rape prevention classes at school.Read More
Last year about this time, I began planning my almost-eight-year-old’s baptism. I’m a huge fan of religious rituals that welcome children into the community–I love a Jewish bar or bat mitzvah, a Roman Catholic infant baptism, a Mormon baby blessing, etc. I think these rituals build our children and build our communities.
But, I didn’t want my son to feel like his choice to be baptized made him better than anyone else. We have family and friends who have chosen to not be affiliated with the Church, and he had questions about that. Why was his choice to be baptized a good one? Why were other peoples’ choices not to be Mormon just as valid? Difficult conversations, those were (and will continue to be). However, they helped me frame how I wanted his baptism…as a gift from his community to show their love and the love of our Heavenly Parents’ love. After all, the covenants we make at baptism are simple and beautiful: we become members of our community, we take on the name of Christ, and we promise to keep the commandments, including helping each other and serving God.
On our backlist, one of our permabloggers has a friend whose child is getting baptized. She asked for help finding a reading that would be meaningful to her, as someone with beliefs that differ from her mainstream Mormon family, that would also be comfortable for those in attendance. Here are some suggestions from our backlist:Read More
This is an interesting visiting teaching topic. The message itself is typical, yet friendlier because inclusive brackets have been added to the text to make it more easily applicable to women, and the history section choices are examples of actions which reflect the “Light of Christ.”
But—in reading, I couldn’t help but wonder what is the “Light of Christ”? Is it the Holy Ghost? Is it symbolism of the Son/Sun giving light? I have heard the phrase so often, and it is defined in my mind… yet… I suddenly wondered if there were more that I did not know. So I looked it up in the most reliable resource I know. The Relief Society magazine. And this is what a 1965 lesson on the “Light of Christ” taught me:Read More
In a few weeks, Mormon women will attend General Women’s Meeting. This will be the first General Women’s Meeting in many years, but not the first ever. The return to the old format has brought back memories for me. When I was 12 years old, I sang in the choir at General Women’s Meeting, alongside my mother and my Primary-aged sister. We sang three musical numbers, one for each auxiliary represented. The songs were designed to complement the talk given by that auxiliary leader.
Young Women Program: Come Hold Your Torches High
I like the way this song encourages young women to be bold and powerful: “Be strong! Stand up! Lead out!” And musically, I like how the director took advantage of her multi-generational choir and had adult voices echo youth.Read More
Dear Exponent readers, The next issue of the Exponent II magazine will focus on the topic of Mormon women’s ordination. The magazine will include terrific articles on both sides of the debate, but I would love to feature your opinions on the subject in the Sisters Speak column as well. I am looking for brief (one or two paragraph) responses to the following question, and I will email some of you commenters to ask if I can quote you in the magazine. For those that would like to respond privately, please email me at carolinekline1 at gmail dot com.
Giving women the priesthood is a complicated issue for many of us. Some long for a day when our daughters will see themselves as full partners and leaders in the church alongside men, hoping ordination will lead to shifts in theology and rhetoric that will recognize women as fully human. Others desire expanded opportunities for women, but fear losing women-centered spaces if women were ordained. Many of us simultaneously experience all these hopes and fears, along with many others. What are your thoughts on ordaining women? If women were to be ordained, what is the change you most look forward to and why? What is your greatest fear about ordaining women?Read More