From the Balcony

Women's Equality Day August 26, 2014 Tweet and post with the hashtag #equalinfaith to support gender justice in religion.June 12, 1840

After crossing the ocean to attend the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and all other women were not permitted to participate. Instead, they were offered seats in the balcony behind a curtain. They could listen to the proceedings from where they sat, silenced and hidden from the men who were welcomed to the meeting, but their exclusion ignited a “burning indignation” in young Stanton.  Later that day, Mott and Stanton “agreed to hold a woman’s rights convention on their return to America. …Thus a missionary work for the emancipation of woman…was then and there inaugurated.” Reference A, Reference B

Today, modern women in many societies enjoy the fruits of the labors of Stanton, Mott and others, who acted on their belief that women should be more than silent, hidden spectators when men convene about subjects of equal concern to men and women.

And yet…

April 5, 2014

“Since these subjects are of equal concern to men and to women,

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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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Finding God Again

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By Alicia.

The tension of the past few days of Mormonism is an embodiment of the terrifying fear that maybe, just maybe, God isn’t real. Or rather, that godliness is much more vengeful and strict than we had hoped. That maybe God is less progressed than we had convinced ourselves and carved out for ourselves to functionally exist in a church that promised us such incredibly great love and space, that purported to contain all of the answers, because of all the right questions. What if the right questions haven’t yet been asked entirely? What if, in finding answers to them, we are shown that we are wrong? Where is the balm of Gilead for those whose access is restricted inherently?

In very real ways, the issue at stake in Zion is the issue of privilege, and to whom it is extended. I talked to my best loved, most well-intentioned, and most innocently faithful brother about recent events. Though I have never thrown my support fully behind the ordination of women and Kate Kelly’s activism, I will always sustain and support the seeking of truth. The news broke my heart because I took her claim to be “seeking further light and knowledge” at face value, and if that is the cause for a claim to apostasy, then I too have no place in Mormonism. The conversation became terse when I started crying over the possibility of Kelly’s excommunication.

I begged him to pause in his indignation and simply mourn with me- not to believe as I believe or change his course in any way. Simply to be my friend and comfort my need. I needed him, in that moment, to make a place for me in his heart, and thereby in the church.

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