Guest Post — Splitting the Sky: A YouTube Series about Mormon Women
by Amber Richardson
A couple of years ago, I guest blogged at Exponent to share some thoughts about an amateur film endeavor I helped produce called Women of Faith. I produced that piece with the help of two of my best friends, Anna Hargadon Peterson and Camlyn Giddins.
Camlyn left on a mission to Mississippi weeks after we wrapped filming, so Anna and I carried the banner by writing guest posts and screening the film at little firesides. The firesides had a substantial conversational component, and they were very instructional for us. At these firesides a common bit of feedback we received went something like this: “Hey this is great, but I’m really curious about what Mormon women are up to now?”
We’d often refer people to The Mormon Women Project, but the seed was planted. It took a thunderbolt moment in the temple for us to really examine the idea. That thunderbolt was aimed an Anna initially, but the electricity of the event eventually came and gave me a bit of a shock too. Yes there was The Mormon Women Project, but nobody was telling the stories of Mormon women using video as their medium.
The original idea has evolved quite a bit since 2014, but many of its core pieces have remained intact. One of those was a desired focus on sisterhood. That April Bonnie L. Oscarson gave a talk called “Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other” that clarified our focus. We love what she says about women in the Church:
There is nothing worth losing our compassion and sisterhood over. We just need to relax and rejoice in our divine differences. We need to realize that we all desire to serve in the kingdom, using our unique talents and gifts in our own ways. Then we can enjoy our sisterhood and our associations and begin to serve.
And so Splitting the Sky, a YouTube series made by, for, and about Mormon women, was born. We’ve worked for the last three years developing the idea, honing our film skills (although we regrettably still lack real sound expertise), and interviewing women. The real goal of the project is to honor and strengthen the 30 women that we’ve interviewed, but we’ve decided that if we can create a space where viewers feel honored and strengthened—and maybe expanded a bit too—that would be a pretty good bonus.
We’re grateful for Jesus Christ for the role He plays in being our peace, making us one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition between us (Ephesians 2:24). We are hopeful that He will help us do that here.
We’re excited to invite you to share this journey with us. We launched the first video in the series on March 24th, 2017, and we’re now at the very beginning of releasing the interviews. We put one online every Wednesday, and will continue to do so for about six months. Each video (aside from the introduction video) features a new woman and her story. We’ve also woven our own stories into the project (sisterhood, right?), and if you follow the project you’ll also be able to follow our personal journeys, as we meet and capture our Mormon sisters.