No estás sola (You are not alone)

No estás sola (You are not alone)

By Anya Tinajero Vega

Co-founder of Mormonas Feministas. Convert of 19 years. Inquisitor, eternal student and daughter and granddaughter of exceptional women. To question is to live. (English translation included below the Spanish text.)

Por Anya Tinajero Vega

Co-fundadora del Grupo Mormonas Feministas. Conversa a los 19 años. Preguntona, eterna estudiante e hija y nieta de mujeres excepcionales. Cuestionar es vivir.

164646_10101358201580119_8038971004578141439_n“No estás sola hermana”, fue lo que me dijo Joanna Brooks cuando terminé de contarle mi experiencia mientras mi rostro estaba lleno de lágrimas. Hoy, desde México les digo a mis hermanas y hermanos de Ordain Women que no están (estamos) solas ni solos. Caminar con ustedes el sábado a la reunión del Sacerdocio hizo que mi corazón reviviera y creciera una fe inmensa en que las cosas pueden cambiar. No estén tristes, el que nos hayan negado la entrada no debe significar que debemos bajar los brazos y olvidar lo que creemos es justo.

Debo confesarles que me tomó mucho tiempo y romper muchos miedos el decidir ir a caminar junto a ustedes. Tenía mucho miedo y eso es raro en mí. Estoy acostumbrada a marchar en manifestaciones, escuchar críticas hacia mí y mis causas, enfrentar a mis detractores, pero nunca en mi Iglesia. Por eso no me gusta leer y escuchar que lo que hicimos el sábado fue una “manifestación”. Siempre fuimos respetuosas, reverentes y amorosas con todos. Nunca gritamos, no teníamos carteles en contra de la Iglesia, no fuimos groseras, no fuimos irreverentes. Abrazamos con infinita tristeza a la hermana que nos negó la entrada a la reunión de Sacerdocio. Estoy muy orgullosa de todas ustedes y de los hermanos que con mucho amor caminaron y esperaron en la línea con nosotras.

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Rejected Offerings

Rejected Offerings

I didn’t ask the woman at the door of the tabernacle if I could come to the priesthood session. Elder Oaks had already answered my question, although he had not directed his answer to me. I strained to hear him talking to the men about me, a female member of Christ’s church who wanted to serve God as a priesthood holder. I listened through a cell phone as I waited outside in the rain, where I had been waiting in a line labeled “Standby” for nearly two hours.

It wasn’t a real standby line, even though it was labeled as such. Where I stood, behind hundreds of women hoping against hope to be admitted to the priesthood session, I saw men who entered the line behind me redirected to the real, unlabeled standby line.  A man with a Temple Square name badge was saying, “This is not the priesthood standby line, I’ll tell you that.”

There wasn’t much point to asking the woman at the end of the fake standby line if she would let me in to the priesthood session after she had already refused hundreds of other women. Instead, I asked her about Church PR. I wanted to know why the church PR department had ignored our many written requests for meetings with general authorities but responded to our request for tickets to the priesthood session with an open letter, addressed to me and three other women, with our names across the top, that was published in the Deseret News before I even received it. I wanted to know why that open letter made false claims that Ordain Women had said things that none of us had ever said.

I guess what I really wanted to know was why the church had rejected my offering. I asked to speak with my church leaders. I asked that my questions be taken to God by His prophets. I asked for the opportunity to serve my God and my church in expanded ways.  With the exception of this one woman, who had patiently received us at the end of that line, most of what I received was cutthroat PR tactics that treated me as an enemy.

I suppose that Elder Oaks answered my questions, explaining that a woman is just an “appendage“ to the priesthood. But he wasn’t speaking to me. He was speaking to other men at a session I wasn’t allowed to attend.

Serving as a missionary

Serving as a missionary

It wasn’t the first time the leaders of our church had talked about me and my female peers at the priesthood session. When I was 21 years-old, I was two months into my mission when President Hinckley, the very person who had signed my mission call and sent me to the far-away land where I was serving, gave a talk about sister missionaries during the priesthood session of General Conference. The first thing one of the male missionaries said to me after returning from the priesthood session was, “Boy, President Hinckley sure doesn’t like sister missionaries!” When I read it, I learned that the offering that I was making right then, serving my God and my church as a missionary, had been rejected by the prophet, who would have preferred that women like me stay home. Acknowledging that an all-male session was an odd place to talk about sister missionaries, Hinckley added,

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Y me dolió (And it hurt me)

By Anya Tinajero Vega
Co-founder of Mormonas Feministas. Convert of 19 years. Inquisitor, eternal student and daughter and granddaughter of exceptional women. To question is to live.  (English translation included below the Spanish text.)

Por Anya Tinajero Vega
Co-fundadora del Grupo Mormonas Feministas. Conversa a los 19 años. Preguntona, eterna estudiante e hija y nieta de mujeres excepcionales. Cuestionar es vivir.

¿Alguna vez se han preguntado cuántas veces ejercieron violencia (de todos tipos) hacia otra mujer (sin importar la edad) en la iglesia? ¿Cuántas veces vimos mal a una hermana por no llevar falda los domingos o por no querer aprender a cocinar/coser/bordar?

Esta vez quiero hablar de mí, de cómo es que después de años me encuentro escribiendo esto, de cómo desperté. Hablo de un “despertar” o de un “hasta que duele”. Me explico, yo hasta hace unos meses no me definía como feminista, tenía esa visión que predomina: que eran unas locas exageradas, odia hombres (seguramente lesbianas), amargadas, etc. Entonces un día me tocó y me dolió.

Por cosas del trabajo conocí a una organización que promueve los derechos sexuales y reproductivos de las mujeres, me hice su amiga y empecé a aprender sobre el tema. Pasaron algunos meses, hasta que la mamá de una amiga de la iglesia fue brutalmente golpeada. Entonces me enfrenté cara a cara con la violencia hacia la mujer. Lo más triste fue que cuando pedimos ayuda en la iglesia existieron muchos comentarios, pero el que más recuerdo fue: “pues es que ella estaba haciendo cosas no muy correctas, es su consecuencia”. Eso, lo dijo una mujer. No pude más que bajar la cabeza, sentir tristeza y coraje.

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A Wee Pep Talk (with Videos)

A Wee Pep Talk (with Videos)

ordain-womenThe LDS Church released this video in spring of 2013–around the same time Ordain Women launched. Some of us Exponent ladies were among the first to participate in Ordain Women. Supporting women’s ordination can be scary in our culture. Shortly before the launch, we shared this video with each other on our backlist to give us courage. Since many new people will be openly supporting women’s ordination for the first time on April 5, I am posting this video. Courage, friends.

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“Coming Out” as a Mormon Feminist in Support of Ordination—On TV

“Coming Out” as a Mormon Feminist in Support of Ordination—On TV
Photo by D'arcy Benincosa

Photo by D’arcy Benincosa (That’s me in red on the far right.)

If you would like to demonstrate your desire for women to hold the priesthood but didn’t make it out to Salt Lake City to join Ordain Women at the Priesthood Session last October,  you have another chance. Ordain Women has decided to attend the April 2014 priesthood session.

I participated in October, in spite of  my fears  about declaring my desires to participate in the priesthood so openly. Before Ordain Women, I had enjoyed semi-anonymity, using only my first name here at the Exponent.  My involvement in Ordain Women resulted in a pretty dramatic “coming out” as a Mormon feminist to  my Mormon family, church leaders and predominantly LDS local community.

The day that the Ordain Women October Priesthood Session Action event Facebook site launched, someone directed my parents to my positive RSVP.  This had the potential to go very badly, considering that we had a big ol’ fight after someone pointed out my support for  Pants to Church Day in 2012.  However, my dad sent me a short, tactful email requesting my “thoughts on this.” I emailed back telling him that I support ordination of women and included a copy of my Ordain Women profile.  My father responded with a long letter that essentially said that my parents did not know whether they agreed with the concept of women’s ordination, and that they dislike public demonstrations, but they trusted me and would not try to stop me from doing something I felt called to do.

I was one of four women who signed a letter to officials at church headquarters requesting tickets to Priesthood Session for 150 women.  The day Church Headquarters responded was busy for me. I was painting a new guest room in preparation for hosting a friend from out of state who would stay at my house during the priesthood session event.  The LDS Newsroom responded to our letter requesting tickets,  gave copies of our correspondence with Church Headquarters to the press, and announced a new policy that Priesthood Session would be broadcast live.  So the press called us.  I was on TV that day on all local Salt Lake City TV stations. My neighbor across the street called me to ask if my house had flooded, as that was the only explanation she could think of for all the TV crews at my house.

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Birth/Rebirth: Giving Miscarriage a Birth Story, Too

Guest post by Kathy

Image by Neal Fowler

Image by Neal Fowler

Kathy is a writer living in Phoenix, Arizona. The original version of this piece appeared as a guest post at freshly-picked.com.

 

Not every pregnancy gets a story. I’d like to change that.

My second pregnancy ended six months before I had planned it would.

When I reached out to people I needed, some of them surprised me. They told me about their own miscarriages—that had happened during the time we’d been friends.

Why did you not say anything? I asked them. They shrugged. One said, Well, you know. I didn’t know.

I respect experiences that are private, but I suspect that miscarriage stories stay untold because they don’t have the same pay-off that birth stories do. At the end, there’s no baby. What’s the point in telling them?

The point is that we’re humans.

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