Feedback is Not Enough

mormon-women-leaders-videoMormon feminists have long advanced the notion that women should have the opportunity to offer feedback on policy decisions that affect women. Recent reports suggest that this message is being heard. However, an overemphasis on feedback, without female inclusion in other stages of the policy-making process, leaves much to be desired.

Recent examples of church policy-making suggest that there is more inclusion of women in churchwide policy-making today than there was in the nineties, when important initiatives such as the Proclamation on the Family and the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church curricula were advanced without female feedback. Reference D

Yet, a model in which feedback is the female role is still an androcentric model, with women excluded from both the beginning and end stages of the policy-making process. Certain women are offered opportunities to provide feedback after ideas are formed by men and before decisions are made by men but all of these women are selected by men through church callings or special invitation.

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Queer Mormon Women*: Truth

by Charmaine

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

For over 30 years I lived as if the church was the greatest truth. That one thought shaped my whole world. And it was a good thought – my world was really beautiful.

EFY 1990s

EFY 1990s

Growing up, I was a bit “boy crazy.”I dated a lot of different boys and went on a lot of group dates, but I was a bit socially awkward. I used to hear the word “intimidating”a lot. I was smart and spoke my mind, sometimes to the horror of my parents, Sunday School teachers, and/or Young Women leaders. In college I blossomed though. I dated more in the first 6 months of college than all the previous years. I had my first boyfriend and my first broken heart. I was attracted to women, but I never considered it to be a problem, because I definitely wasn’t gay – I loved boys! I loved cuddling with them, I loved kissing them, I loved talking with them and hanging out and being around them. Boys were awesome!

I remember at one point in my adolescence, my mom pointing out that Anne Frank talks about the naked female form in her diary. This could only mean that it was normal to appreciate a human body – male or female, it didn’t make you gay! That made sense to me. I always just assumed that all girls were attracted to girls in addition to boys. Even today, I am surprised when women aren’t attracted to other women in even the smallest part. I forget that some women are completely heterosexual, I’m just not.

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Queer Mormon Women*: I Don’t Like Pizza

Guest Post by Michaela

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

Michaela is a twenty year old girl with a passion for writing and film making. 

 

I want you to imagine for a second, that you have found the person of your dreams.cards

This person is fantastic.

You spend time with them, you get to know them, and you start to realize that you genuinely like this person, maybe even love them.

You talk a little, flirt a little, maybe go on a few dates.

There’s only one problem.

You don’t like pizza.

When you tell them, they laugh a little and play it off as a joke. “No, it’s true. I really don’t like pizza.” You say. Their humor turns into confusion. They don’t understand. How can you not like pizza? Everyone likes pizza. “I don’t know. I just never have. There’s no appeal to it at all.”

Ah, but of course you just haven’t tried the right kind of pizza. Or you were denied it so much as a kid you’ve convinced yourself you don’t like it. You’ll learn to like it eventually.

“No. I really don’t like pizza. I don’t think I ever will.”

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Queer Mormon Women*: Let Me Tell You About My Love

by Fluous

by Hermia Lyly

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

It’s late at night as I sit down to write this blog post, and I’m feeling tired of being queer. More tired than usual. I’m especially weary of the queer Mormon narratives that expect me to confess how downtrodden and worthless I feel as a queer person in the Church, how much I’ve struggled to accept myself as who I am, and then end with a hopeful gesture towards future reconciliation and peace. I want a different queer Mormon narrative.

Please don’t misunderstand me—there isn’t anything wrong with the queer Mormon narrative of struggle and self-acceptance. It’s a narrative that many people experience, and their truths must be told. It’s just that lately I’ve been needed something more. I’ve been craving a moment of celebration, in which I can hold hands with my faith and my identity at the same time, rejoicing in both.

So let me tell you about the best part of my experience as queer Mormon woman.

Let me tell you about my love.

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Queer Mormon Women*: Bats in the Belfry

Guest Post by Roxanne Akina Harmon

Roxanne Akina Harmon is a bisexual, body positive promoter of public health from New Hampshire.  She seeks to help humanity and gain friends along her yellow brick road to happiness.

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

Rescuing a bat in the attic involves two materials: a laundry basket and a tennis racket. batsMy family swears by this makeshift butterfly net. Once caught, the confused critter violently flaps until released into the night sky. The chaos subsides and is forgotten. My anxious thoughts act similarly to a bat in a laundry basket. They erratically shriek inside my head refusing to settle. At one point my mind was host to entire colony of frenzied bats. In situations like church I would sit in the pew mirroring the listening congregation. However, I would not hear a single testimony. The anxious thoughts flapped loudly about my conscious. To soothe this disquiet I imagined my ideal future. I saw my boyfriend and I blissfully wed. I pictured the studio apartment of our future but when visualizing the bed the fantasy dissolved. I would never share a nuptial bed with my boyfriend.

My best friend was my first love. Our emotionally intimate romance never rounded any bases. To my young Mormon mind the lack of carnality proved the maturity of our love. Learning sex was a sin my entire life had led me to conclude that sensual aspects of love were superficial. Attraction was temptation. So I agreed when my boyfriend suggested we stopped being physical. While I treasured our chaste kisses and sweaty hand holding, I understood those acts to be trivial. I let myself compromise physical touch so I could still be in a relationship with the man I loved. That night the bats crept in.  

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Queer Mormon Women*: An Update on a Continuing Journey

KathyCarlston 1by Kathy Carlston

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

In 2012, I had the opportunity to tell a bit of my story in the LGBTQ issue of The Exponent II. I wrote the piece at the end of 2011, while I was unsure of what to do with my life. Shortly afterwards, I stumbled across a story written by Blake Hoopes in Brent Kirby’s Gay Mormons?: Latter-day Saint Experiences of Same-Gender Attraction. Blake talked about how he had spent most of his life begging for God to take away his attractions. Then one day it occurred to him that he’d never thought to ask God how He felt about his being gay. He prayed with that question and described his experience in his story. I immediately dropped my book and finally asked God what His thoughts were about my life.

Instantly, I had one of the most intense, if not THE most intense spiritual experience that I’d had. I was filled with peace, acceptance, and, above all, hope. I felt inspired that God was not just all right with me being gay, but excited for me to find someone to love and live with forever. He was excited for me to spend my life finding different ways to make her laugh and make her as happy as I possibly could. But on top of that, I had an almost physical sensation of a switch being flipped in the back of my head. Suddenly, that desire and longing that I’d had to be dead, (that I’d carried since I was a kid) was turned off.

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Queer Mormon Women*: Love Isn’t Everything

Guest post by Megan Howarth

Megan is a Utah native and a current resident of Logan. She is a homebody and an activist, and writes for the Young Mormon Feminists Blog.

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

Growing up in the church female we were always told we needed to be good girls. We were taught that the boys were the ones that wanted and thought about sex; that it was our job to not let them go too far, as if they were the only ones whose minds could become clouded with passion and lust. As a teenager I never had any reason not to believe this; it matched my experience completely and I took these messages to heart.

 

Woman with pink umbrellaIn fact, I took it to extremes. While other kids in my largely Mormon junior high would skirt around the no dating before 16 rule by pairing off and holding hands while avoiding actual “dates”, I decided on no flirting before age 16, no hanging out before age 16, no giving boys the time of day before age 16.   In short, I was the model Young Woman that my leaders pointed to as an example to the other girls, and was quite smug about it. I remember judging the other girls, thinking I was superior to them for following the rules better than they did. Why didn’t they have more self-control? Why were they so boy-crazy?

 

After high school, things began to change.

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