Mormon Feminists: Who Stays, Who Goes
Here’s my theory: feminists are more likely to choose to stay active/partially active in the Mormon church if they fall into these two categories.
1)They are drawn to Jesus. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they dwell a lot on the mystical aspects of the atonement, but at the very least, they appreciate Jesus as a teacher, they focus on his social gospel message, and they appreciate the way in which he reached beyond social boundaries to empower and uplift all he comes into contact with. Additionally they may be drawn to the symbolic aspect of the Christian message – that of transformation, change, reconciliation, and redemption.
2)Their spouse (if they are married to a Mormon) is invested in activity in the Church. I’ve been learning a bit about feminist ethics, and one train of thought (though this is disputed) is that women often choose relationships over principles. So even if a woman doesn’t really believe in Mormonism’s truth claims, she might make efforts to remain active or partially active for the sake of her relationship with her spouse.
This doesn’t apply to those feminists which were excommunicated. And of course there will be many who don’t fit my theory. I can think of some women who choose to not practice Mormonism even though they do fall into one or two of these categories above. But I’m pretty sure that these categories do hold for most of the Mormon feminists I know who have chosen to remain active.
Is there another criterion I’m missing? I thought about adding a category about believing in or at least being open to Joseph Smith’s claims about gospel restoration. I think a lot of active Mormon feminists I know would fall in there, but there are some who don’t. I suspect Jesus is more of a lynchpin than Joseph.
What do you think? Does this theory hold true for you or the Mormon feminists you know?