We Are Putting Our Eggs in the Wrong Basket

In the wake of Kate Kelly’s excommunication a lot has been said about the proper way to do things, the proper way to ask questions, the proper way to advocate for change. As someone who is interested in making changes regarding gender in the Mormon church my ears perk up at these suggestions–I would love to know the most effective way to see progress.

The most concrete suggestion has been to seek for changes on a local level. I don’t think this is a bad idea, there are so many little things that can be done in our local congregations that would make women’s experience in church much better.

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Guest Post: Ignoring Logic and the Misrepresentation of Ordain Women

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.27.21 AMBy LoriAnn

As I’ve thought about the issues of asking questions, faithful agitation, and looking for a much-needed change regarding gender inequality in the Church, I have come to the conclusion that we as a church don’t know all there is to know about God. None of that has to take away from the truthfulness of the Gospel, but the suggestion that the Church is perfect makes the declaration of having a living prophet seem a bit confusing. If there are not things that we are waiting to open our eyes to (which means God is waiting on us to ask him) then the foundation of the Church’s Restoration falls apart and the heavens are closed.

It offends me that we are given guidelines (albeit elusive) for just how much we can agitate, which questions we can ask, and just exactly to whom we can turn for support. The Church is not a country club that one can “just leave” if we “don’t like the rules.” Our good standing in the Church determines our salvation unto God—at least, so says the Church..

Understanding Does Not Require Agreement

The faithful men and women who align themselves with Ordain Women have each individually asked God and felt for themselves that the answer to gaining gender equality is female ordination of some kind. But wanting to hold true to the order and structure of the Church, knowing that a revelation for all must come through the prophet, they are asking him to ask God.

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Guest Post: The Message We Send

by Lori Davis

Fairly often, I read a blog expressing outrage about the message women and girls learn at church: women have no value outside the home, working women are neglecting their real responsibilities, women should always be subservient to men, etc.

I feel some sympathy here, but mostly, I feel puzzled. I’m not hearing that message at church here in the UK.

Two recent talks in Sacrament Meeting are good examples. One working mom spoke about praying over a change in her career path with good financial and spiritual results. Another talk discussed Deborah, Esther, and Eliza R. Snow, with particular emphasis on how motherhood is not what they are remembered for. Incidentally, this last one was given on Mother’s Day, which is in March here. As far as I know, no one batted an eye at either of these talks.

Strong role models are more effective than any amount of talking, so I tallied up the currently prominent women in my ward. 

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Less Obnoxious Interpretations of Adam and Eve

Adam and EveLet’s talk about Adam and Eve. So, God created Adam first because he was the most important. Then God realized Adam would need an assistant, so he created Eve expressly for this purpose. He made her from Adam’s rib because she was kind of an afterthought and He was out of other materials. God told Adam and Eve not to eat a certain fruit but Eve was naughty and disobeyed God. Then she peer-pressured Adam into sinning as well. They were both kicked out of their garden for this bad behavior but since Eve started the whole thing, she was cursed with some extra punishments, including having Adam rule over her forever after. Like Eve, modern wives are also expected to let their husbands rule over them.

In a few weeks, we will start studying the book of Genesis in Sunday School. I have never had a Sunday School lesson about Eve and Adam that was quite as bad as my opening paragraph to this post. However, it is not uncommon for something to be said during an Eve and Adam discussion that hurts my feminist ears.

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We Can Do Both

I was walking down the South Hill of BYU’s campus discussing a lecture I had recently attended with one of my only openly feminist friends. The lecturer had argued that women’s abilities were best spent at home raising children (read sons) that could then go out and change the world. For two young, idealistic feminists still trying to find their place in the world and in the church this talk was devastating. We were smart, capable, ambitious women with the potential to be a force for good in the world. I remember my friend saying, “I can do both! I should do both! Anything other than that is a cop-out. It’s me not being brave. It’s me wasting the talents God has given me.”

It was an important moment in my life, one that has stayed with me as I went on to motherhood, graduate school, and career. But that lecture was certainly not the last time somebody has declared that I am better suited at home, that any contribution I make to the world pales in comparison to what I can do for my children. Indeed, just this weekend I had a conversation with a very genuine woman who has raised and home-schooled an impressive number of children. All of those children went on to get degrees, sometimes multiple degrees, from ivy-league universities and are now making an important contribution to our society. When she heard, however, that I have four children and am trying to complete my Master’s thesis she urged me not to finish it but to pull my children out of public school and home school them instead. She sweetly argued that whatever honor I would get from finishing my degree would be nothing compared to the reward I would receive from making my children successful. Considering her record, I admit that her argument was both persuasive and guilt-inducing. I love my children, I want more than anything for them to be successful and I fear that my choices have negatively impacted them at times. 

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