Poll: Speaking up

The world has need of willing women. Women who will speak their mind when something should be corrected or brought to light, even when they know the risks. Women who aren’t afraid of turning the tide by standing up for the small injustices and righting the wrongs that occur within their sphere of influence. Women who recognize that their sphere of influence may be a bit larger than they currently see.

If change is to come, in any endeavor, in any area that needs an infusion of equality, then women need to speak up. We can’t be afraid of retaliation forever, and even in the form of loving reproval, formal discouragement can be enough to squelch any desire to make one’s controversial or counter-cultural opinion known. How about you? How do you feel when you know something just needs to be stated and a church leader is either present, or has made a point of questioning you privately, such that you must answer according to your conscience? What factors influence whether or not you can share openly with a leader? What would it take for you to tell your Bishop that you disagreed with him? Would you feel comfortable sharing your concerns with your Stake President? Do you think it’s important that we start making our voices heard more often and more clearly?

Share your thoughts with us after voting in this week’s poll.


Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

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13 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    Sometimes I feel that sharing my “different” opinion doesn’t matter because it won’t change anything, and then if I do, sometimes I end up feeling more frustrated than before I said anything. But, I do think in most situations, it’s best to share our difference of opinion in a more private setting, as I think it is less threatening to the leader, and thus would cause a greater chance they will actually listen to what we are saying.

    • Corktree says:

      I do think it’s better to share privately if you really want someone to listen and feel comfortable taking action on what you say. Good point.

  2. jenneology says:

    Do missionaries count??

    • Corktree says:

      I guess they do. I mean, I don’t consider them leaders, but I do think that we need to feel comfortable correcting them when needed and gently influencing how they view the world – they’re so young!

  3. dk says:

    I voted Other with the comment “not anymore”. Over the years I’ve spoken up on certain occasions (certainly not as much as I wanted to) and I’ve learned it’s just not appreciated. I’m slowly learning that I would have as much success in continually banging my head against a wall.

    I totally agree with Amy’s comment that sharing her opinion doesn’t change anything and she ends up feeling frustrated. That is where I am in my life right now. I’ve tried to do my best, tried to be faithful to my church while being true to myself and it’s brought me nothing but frustration and branded me as a troublemaker.

    It’s a sad situation to be in.

    • Corktree says:

      That IS a sad situation. I can only hope that as more of us speak up in small ways and become more comfortable truly sharing ourselves that this reaction will be less common.

  4. Angie says:

    I have two conflicting personality traits: an abhorrence of injustice and a need to be liked. This means that I speak what I believe is true and right, and then I cry when people don’t feel comfortable being close to me. So far, my need to fight wrongs has been stronger than my need to be liked, but it’s close!

  5. Corktree says:

    “an abhorrence of injustice and a need to be liked”

    As much as I hate to admit it, this sounds a lot like me! I completely know what you’re talking about, and while I too have managed to keep the balance in favor of my integrity, wanting approval and friends is still such a hard thing to let go of! I feel like I’m constantly battling it and trying to not care about that part anymore. Not a pleasant inner conflict, you have my sympathies.

  6. For me, it’s stopped being about whether my words will change anything. That’s not the goal anymore. When something is said in a lesson or a testimony meeting or a casual conversation that makes the Holy Ghost go “Whoa whoa! That ain’t right!”, I feel like I have to say something for (a) my personal integrity and (b) the possibility that there’s someone else in the room who is feeling the same way I am but can’t say anything (out of fear/surprise/etc.).

    I was in a stake meeting in Portland four years ago where some “That ain’t right!” statements were said by fellow members, and I couldn’t take it; I had to leave. I didn’t have the tools or the confidence back then to speak up. And so now that I (usually) DO have those tools and that confidence, I feel like it’s my obligation to raise my hand and say what’s in my heart, understanding that there may very well be someone else in the room who is in the same place I was four years ago, who can’t speak up and is silently praying that someone else will.

    Also, I feel like it’s important that people get used to the idea that there are many different personalities/political views/personal histories in Zion. We don’t all fit into the same categories, but it’s easy for all of us to have that misconception. I would hope for a day when any member of the church would feel comfortable and encouraged in sharing who they really are, whether it fits the Mormon “mold” or not. But it won’t ever happen by magic or wishing alone; I think we have to get the ball rolling by training OURSELVES to be comfortable in sharing our own differences.

    • Ziff says:

      I feel like it’s important that people get used to the idea that there are many different personalities/political views/personal histories in Zion.

      I really like this as an ideal outcome, Sara. Like Angie, though, I’m pretty non-confrontational. Actually, I should say “even more than Angie” because for me, the wanting to be liked almost always wins out and I really hardly ever speak up. Probably the most I can say that I ever do in person to try to achieve the end you mentioned is to make unorthodox sounding comments in church, or to phrase things that even the most orthodox people can agree with in unorthodox sounding ways, just to try to wedge out a bit more space for any other oddballs like me.

  7. spunky says:

    I find that when I speak up… I do follow the rule “pick your battles”- i.e. the ancient sister who says in a lesson that tablecloths need to be folded in the same manner as Brigham Young would have is a silly point to correct. But a bishop that claims that all drinking fathers abuse their children- is ludicrous and needs a correction.

    I often feel nervous right before I comment- I sometimes even feel angry – and it makes me question if I am responding with the spirit. So- I often say a little prayer before saying anything, then I blurt out whatever it was that is causing me so much spiritual, emotional and intellectual distress (I internalize way too much). On EVERY occasion I have done this, I have had at least one if not a dozen people quickly concur with me, so I have never felt like the crazy questioning freak. With this, a discussion usually opens up and a truth is taught by the spirit, which is pretty awesome. I have found that least confident teachers respond the poorest, whereas teachers and leaders seeking truth respond well. Sure, I have a reputation, but… I really don’t care what those people think of me.

  8. Two of Three says:

    I had to laugh at this when I read it. I have a bit of a reputation of being the squeaky wheel. Much to some people’s dismay, I am afraid of no one. Like me or don’t like me. Your choice.

    Recently, an minor issue came up in our stake that I (surprise, surprise) had an opinion on. When I asked the bishop about changing a certain unimportant policy, he said it wasn’t his call, it was the stake president’s decision. So, I called the stake president and gave him my two cents. I was relaying this story to my visiting teachers who, after they picked their jaws up from the floor, expressed their surprise that I would have called the stake president.

    My point is that he is a person. Just a person. Trying to fulfill his calling like the rest of us. He was kind and interested and polite. Nothing got done about the issue at hand, but I made myself heard. I am not such a boat rocker that I will continue to make a stink. But I have no problem speaking up.

  9. jks says:

    I rarely complain to leaders because they get complainers all the time. Usually people complaining about unimportant things. I figure all of these people in my ward are volunteers. If a teacher makes a mistake in a lesson (last week I mentioned Enos and she started expanding about Enoch….hardly worth correcting her).
    Occasionally someone says something I disagree with as a comment and I try to make my own comment that is more in line with what I believe to be true (and more in line with the church’s stance).
    What is important to me is that I not ever criticize people, I try to be considerate in anything I say and always have it be something I would be (almost) willing to say in front of that person. Also, I feel loyal to my self, my family, the church and God so my actions should always show that integrity.
    I guess I am lucky that I have had intelligence and considerate bishops and relief society presidents and primary presidents. I can’t really think of anything they are doing that warrants me going and calling them on it.
    If asked my opinion I will happily give it and feel comfortable giving it. In casual conversation I can give my opinion. Also, when necessary I am willing to speak up.
    For instance, there was a unique situation with changes in the youth program and I felt very comfortable emailing my bishop expressing support (it is a good change, but unique) but pointing out the unique difficulties and how they might be addressed to my satisfaction.

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