#hearLDSwomen: My Name Was Changed on Church Records Without My Permission
Every time I move and have to fill out a new member sheet, there are two columns for adult household members. The one marked “head of household” asks about priesthood ordination. The other column doesn’t. I always cross out “head of household” and “spouse” and write in “equal partners” or “husband” and “wife.”
– Emily Belanger
I showed up at church after I was married and found my last name had been automatically changed as a “courtesy” to me. At that point I was not sure if I was keeping my name or changing it, but I was sure that it was not a courtesy to change MY name without asking me. “Change it back,” I told the clerk in a steely voice I didn’t know I had. He told me that there wasn’t a way to do so. He seemed taken aback and said something along the lines of “most women found it helpful.” Fortunately, my husband had been a clerk multiple times and showed him how to change it. I know many women who have had similar experiences and were told by (ignorant) church leadership that there wasn’t a way to change their names back. My husband’s take was that the clerk just didn’t know how to use the system and felt embarrassed about it, not that it was a systemic issue, but I see it differently.
– Ashley Groesbeck
My husband and I have different last names. Mine is Denison, his is Rasmussen. I was on the organ one Sunday a few weeks ago, and the Bishop said “We’d like to thank Sister Rasmussen for playing the organ.” My husband said, with a projected voice, “Sister DENISON.”
The last name thing happens pretty frequently. Also the Home Teachers who never ask me what I do because my husband’s school/work is what’s important, and the Bishopric members who ask my husband if I can have a calling. My husband is pretty good at noticing those things and calling them out. I got a good one.
– Shelley Denison
Pro Tip: Don’t change a woman’s name in the directory without asking her first, and call her by her correct and preferred name. Treat couples like they are equal partners. Remove “head of household” from ward forms.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)