Exponent II: Sharing the Truth of our Lives
Exponent II has been my spiritual and emotional salvation for the last decade or so. I found Exponent II in my mid 20s when I was wrestling daily with my Mormon and feminist identities. These two identities felt, at times, like they were going to rip me apart. After talking to my visiting teachee about my questions regarding Mormon gender roles – the idea that my husband was to preside over me and expect my hearkening was particularly painful and violating to my soul — my visiting teacher handed me a stack of old Exponent II magazines. I was floored. Mormon women forthrightly grappling with issues of gender? Mormon women actively carving out a broader and more expansive identity, with a kind of nuance and grace I had never seen before? I had finally, finally, found my people.
Over the next ten years I went to fantastic Exponent II retreats and met some of my Mormon feminist heroes like Claudia Bushman and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. These women, and so many others in the organization, modeled for me compassionate, open-minded, and fearless ways to navigate a Mormon feminist identity. I also found kindred spirits here on the Exponent blog, which has so often served as my beloved virtual Relief Society, my forum for writing and grappling with the questions and issues that I felt I couldn’t bring up in other places. I particularly love that every month hundreds, if not thousands, of non-feminist Mormon women come to this blog to read our Relief Society lesson plans. These women-focused, discussion centered lesson plans are slowly but surely changing the kinds of conversations we can have at church.
Now that I am nearing the end of PhD program in religion, I have a new profound sense of appreciation for the thoughtful beautiful magazine that Exponent II has published for over 40 years. The historian in me loves that printed physical copies of Mormon feminist thought will be forever archived in libraries around the country. In the next thousand years when scholars want to know about the Mormon feminist movement in the 20th and 21st centuries, I know that the Exponent II magazine will be a primary resource for them.
If you would like to continue to see Exponent II thrive and produce terrific content, please consider donating a few dollars to this fundraiser. I so desperately want this blog and this organization to stay alive. Exponent II continues to have important work to do. I dream of another forty years of Exponent II providing Mormon women a forum to eloquently, bravely, and fiercely share the truth of their lives.
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