As many of you know, this is the final week of the “Let Women Pray” letter writing campaign in which All Enlisted, the group behind the Pants Day, has asked women to write letters asking general authorities to allow women to pray in general conference.
I haven’t written a letter. I don’t have an issue with the idea of writing letters. And in theory, I would love to see women pray in general conference. But I find myself conflicted by the campaign.
It starts with the word “let.”
While women have never prayed in general conference (see DefyGravity’s introductory post here), I think the reason men pray has more to do with the fact that there are more male general authorities. The prayers are generally offered by the 70s – serving as an introduction of sorts. The general auxiliary leaders are given rotating opportunities to speak. For me, the true balancing act would be to start asking the general board members of the primary, young women’s, and relief society to pray – not the women auxiliary leaders. Which I suppose would be nice, but to me is a much more radical change – which quite frankly I don’t know that I rank highly on the list of radical changes I want in the church.
While I guess I could put some of the above into a letter, my main concern is that I don’t like the method of mass petitioning. I’ve been put off by some of the Facebook memes. While I credit the campaign for gaining some media attention, in the end, I don’t see it as being effective. Maybe I am overly skeptical but I am not sure that the general authorities will even read the letters. I see them putting a wall up when they hear about a mass campaign versus coming across an invidual letter that isn’t as confrontational.
It’s possible that in the future there is something that strikes my passion and maybe I’ll change my opinion about letter writing campaigns but for now, I am admitting, maybe a bit unpopularily amongst Mormon Feminists, that I am opting not to participate in this campaign.
That said – I do respect the campaign. I see other people’s passion and smiled seeing Tophat’s daughter’s video. I think it is good for individual people to express their opinions. I believe calling attention to matters of equality is important. And generally, it has made me happy to see All Enlisted take the energy from the pants event (which I saw as a coming out day for Mormon Feminists more than anything) into a specific issue. I hope All Enlisted and other activist groups like WAVE will continue to tackle specific issues. Even though I wish there was a way to tackle them all at once.
I think a lot about what is the best way to go about asking for change. I really don’t know that I have better ideas. And I’ll be honest, I don’t know that I have the energy and passion to fight a long uphill battle. So for now, I will just say that I respect those who do.
In terms of discussion, I’d like to ask why have you or why have you chosen not to participate in the Let Women Pray Event. What do you think are the best ways to implement change in the church?