On the 8th anniversary of Wear Pants to Church day

Image courtesy of the New York Times

Recently the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a press release congratulating the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris respectively, for winning the latest election. In their statement they also thanked the following administration for public service. This is something church leaders have always done.

On December 7th, Elder Dale G. Redlund also asked members to wear masks and not to politicize face coverings. He said that wearing a face covering during the pandemic is “a sign of Christlike love.”

What has been interesting to me are the responses I have seen from members of the church on social media for these two statements. The vitriol was so extensive and pervasive that the Church Newsroom shut down comments on their Facebook page. Members were accusing church leaders of being corrupt, led by the deep state, and falling into apostacy. These are the same people that I presume sustained the First Presidency as prophets, seers, and revelators at the April General Conference.

It’s interesting to me that on the 8th anniversary of Wear PANTS to Church day that the same people who threatened Steph Lauritzen’s life for organizing this event and called all of us who participated in this apostates who are disobeying and not sustaining the prophet, are now having a conniption over a gesture the church has always performed in American politics.

I was called an apostate and told to leave the church for many things:

  1. Wearing pants to church.
  2. Advocating for women to bear witness in sacred ordinances.
  3. Advocating for the equality of women in ecclesiastical leadership positions.
  4. Supporting women who felt uncomfortable being relegated to the mother’s room during church services.
  5. For asking my ward members to stop denigrating non-Members during church lessons. Non-members like my father.
  6. Speaking out about the harmful messages and sexual objectification of teenage girls during modesty lessons.
  7. Advocating for LGBTQ rights (I actually almost got fired from LDS Family Services for that).
  8. Speaking out against the cover up of sexual abuse in the church (e.g. Joseph Bishop, Michael Jensen).
  9. For having a career and being a mother at the same time.

I wonder if the church leaders will treat these same people as being in apostacy like they treated all of my feminist friends. It will be interesting to see what happens. I want my friends who were pulled into Bishop’s offices and interrogated over things they said on the internet to know that I’m thinking of you if this event is triggering. I’m reliving a lot of of the hurt and trauma these days seeing groups like Deznat and Fair Mormon mocking and threatening those of us who stood up for what we believed was right – equality and treating people with Christ-like charity – not facing the same church consequences we faced.

All I can do this Christmas season is hold tight to the lyrics from my favorite Christmas hymn “O Holy Night” and remember that speaking out against oppression is the way of Christ.

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name
–Placide Cappeau


Risa has a Masters and Bachelors degree in Social Work. She is an Associate Therapist who has worked in child abuse prevention, adoption, and volunteers as a CASA . She is a mother of 4 and in her spare time she is a voracious reader, snarker, and subversive cross-stitcher.

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5 Responses

  1. Elisa says:

    My favorite Christmas song and for exactly that reason! I think that discrimination in the name of God is precisely what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain.

    I’ve long thought the right is no more likely to follow the prophet against their own beliefs than the left. They just don’t have as many opportunities to disobey.

    • Risa says:

      I agree with you about taking the Lord’s name in vain. It’s interesting to me that saying “Oh my God” is taking the Lord’s name in vain to some, but abusing people, misusing funds of the church, etc. are not considered taking the Lord’s name in vain.

  2. Maren Nadaka Chen says:

    The level of hypocrisy in the church these days is truly mind-blowing.

  3. Wear Pants to Church Day was a big moment for our community and for me personally. Thank you for commemorating it here.

  4. lpf43 says:

    I have never understood the big deal about Wear Pant to Church. I have worn pants to church for 10-12 years and nobody has ever said a word. I have a calling in Stake RS and give sacrament talks in my trousers.

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