Exponent II: A Journey of Discovery

Fall Winter 2015 coverExciting news! The double issue for Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 is in production and will be mailed on April 30th. You don’t want to miss this 68-page celebration of Exponent II’s 40 years in publication with writings from so many beloved Mormon feminists like Gina Colvin and Lavina Fielding Anderson (not to mention the ones listed on the cover)!

Our Letter from the Editor comes from former assistant editor and Exponent permablogger, Heather Sundahl. Heather is entering her 20th year of Exponent II involvement, and there’s no one better to introduce this issue, the last piece of our 40th anniversary celebration.

Whenever people talk about Exponent II’s origin story, the word “discover” is always used. In 1972 Susan Kohler “discovered” a stack of original Woman’s Exponents published a century earlier whose purpose was to advocate for “the Rights of the Women of Zion, and the Rights of the Women of all Nations.” And as you can read in the retrospective essays of Claudia Bushman, Laurel Ulrich and Judy Dushku, within two years of that unearthing a brave group of women in Cambridge would decide that the time was right to start anew.

Read More

Guest Post: Who’s the Captain of the Ally-Ship?

by Kate Kelly

I have had several conversations that conform to the following script of late and I wanted to write to male allies regarding this familiar narrative.

Male ally: Says or does something sexist

Feminist: “That was sexist.”

Male ally: “How dare you attack me! I’m not the enemy. Can’t you see?? I’m on your side. Cut me some slack.”

Feminist: Sighs. “Sure, but UGHhhhhhhh, get a grip on reality. That WAS sexist.”

Male Ally: “You are being so rude. You are the reason lots of men eschew this conversation at all. You sure don’t know how to make allies!”

Dear male ally,

In my continuing journey to become an ally to others I have learned a about what helps and hurts in supporting a community you are not a part of. Many of these lessons I have learned from young Mormon feminists. I still have miles and miles and MILES to go in becoming a better ally myself, and you can rest assured that I will take every word I write below to heart in my own work to be an ally to communities of color, my LGTBQIA brothers and sisters, people with varying abilities, those in poverty and all other communities I stand in solidarity with. Some of the lessons I am trying to learn apply to what I’d love to see from male allies.

Read More

Who Are We Missing

“You want to know what my real charge to people is? My real charge to people is look around and see who’s missing. And try to invite that person…Look around. Who’s not here? So there’s all this, like, I’m sad that this is this way. OK. What is the one thing you could do to fix it? Go do that thing. Just go do that thing, you know?” ~Michel Martin, On Being Interview

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to canvas my neighborhood on behalf of the Mark Udall campaign. Udall is a Democratic senator in the state of Colorado and is currently in an impossibly tight race to keep his seat. As I think his opponent is a nightmare, I was happy to try and help where I could. I also had the luxury of a free Saturday and a partner at home that could watch our children while I participated in the American democracy.

There was nothing particularly eventful about my time as a canvasser. I mostly adorned my neighbors’ doors with those flyers that most of us immediately put in the trash recycling bin. A few days later, however, I received a phone call from one of the campaign field organizers asking if I could volunteer another Saturday. This time, however, my circumstances had changed. mr. mraynes began teaching an all-day Saturday class and I no longer had anybody to watch my children. I explained this to the staffer and then was treated to a lengthy lecture about women like me who were not doing enough to help Mark Udall win re-election and that I needed to get my priorities straight.

Read More

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.

Read More

Virtual Oases

(We are resurrecting our popular feature “Virtual Oases,” which Deborah did such a great job with for so many years. Now Violadiva has volunteered to collect the best of the web for Mormon feminists over the last week or two. Please feel free to share your own links to outstanding posts or articles in the comment section below.)


Given the recent media avalanche about women’s issues in the LDS church, and the Ordain Women movement in particular, we combed through the coverage and brought you some posts and articles worth reading.
  • An impressive summary of what’s transpired between Kate Kelly, her local leaders, and the Church PR department, with some helpful historical context and tons of imbedded links to follow for more details. He doesn’t mention the statement from the First Presidency, so you may want to check out Peggy’s article for that missing chapter.
  • Peggy Fletcher Stack has written extensively about recent events, and gathered many quotes from the women involved. Here is a piece about what more “Moderate Feminists” want to see happening in the church. And another about other feminists facing church discipline.
  • Rather than speaking through the church PR representatives this time, The First Presidency released a letter about priesthood and apostasy.  And here’s a thought-provoking response from Casey, (with attention to point 4).
  • Three statements we (and our daughters!) can use to challenge sexism and “mansplaining.”
  • Mormon modesty rhetoric gone horribly wrong: college age Mormons and sexual violence. 
  •  Rounding out the list with some excellent alternative literary forms: a poignant parable, a prayer, a poem, and ascreenplay.
Violadiva is an oxymoron, a musician, Suzuki violin teacher, baker of sourdough breads, proud Mormon feminist and mother of two. Browse her late-night blogging tidbits at starvingmusicians.blogspot.com


Read More