#hearLDSwomen: I Was Yelled at By My Bishopric and Told My Opinion Wasn’t Welcome Because I’m a Woman
One of my ward callings was doing the Sunday bulletin. I wasn’t allowed a key to the library to copy it, so every Sunday morning I had to interrupt PEC meeting to get a key from a member of the bishopric.
One Sunday I walked in to hear them congratulating themselves over the fact that a deacon in the ward had made his entire family late to Sacrament Meeting – and miss the sacrament – because he needed a white shirt. I happened to know the family and knew that they had picked him up from a friend’s house and just inadvertently forgot the white shirt, but they turned around at the insistence of their son to get one, making the entire family late.
I asked them if they were really congratulating themselves on enforcing a rule so strenuously that they caused an entire family to miss partaking of the sacrament just so their son could wear a white shirt to church.
The response I got? A member of the bishopric pointed his finger at me and shouted, “this is a priesthood matter and you are a woman. You don’t get to have anything to say about it. Get out of this room now.”
– Lori LeVar Pierce
My stake president walked into Relief Society for an AMA (Ask Me Anything).
I raised my hand and asked about what we could do to help support women in better balancing church calling work with our lives, and I mentioned that I had several children that I homeschooled, and that that directly conflicted with the tasks I was expected to do during the week by the church. This was a really vulnerable thing for me to ask about and was close to my heart because I wanted *so* *much* to be a really good mom AND a really good Mormon.
The stake president smiled and said, “I don’t think that’s a real problem. Next question?”
I smiled back and then fled the room in tears.
I have also received many a lecture that I was selfishly homeschooling when I owed that time and effort to the church first.
More than one mother in my ward pressured me to put my kids in school, like they had, so that I’d be available during the day.
– Rebecca, Washington State
Many years ago during my mission, I was in Relief Society one day, and one of the sisters commented about how we shouldn’t be blindly obedient. I really liked her comments because she really thought things through and went into depth. But then one of the counselors in the bishopric came in and sat down. When the sister made a comment, he would tell the teacher to continue with the lesson. Later I went to this sister’s house, and she told us that the bishopric member had come to Relief Society because of her, to make sure she didn’t get the lesson off topic, and that it had happened before. I was surprised because I thought her comments were really good and that she hadn’t said anything wrong. I liked that this sister wanted to discuss things further and to not blindly accept everything that she was told.
Currently, my bishop, who doesn’t care for dissent from anyone, won’t even talk to me. It’s not that I’m trying to “tear down the leadership” as he put it in a personal email exchange he CC’d to the bishopric and YM presidency. I’m simply trying to offer alternate viewpoints on how ward policies affect the youth (particularly my sons). Rather than listen to our requests to make more room at the table, he insists on conformity and in the process is pushing otherwise willing disciples of Christ out of activity.
– Natalie Ware Gowen
Pro Tip: Treat women like peers and like people. Take women’s concerns, input and questions seriously.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)