Sisters Speak: Letting Women Witness – Crumbs

The Exponent blog is sharing guest and reader responses to the news about women and children being able to serve as official witnesses for some Priesthood ordinance (baptisms and sealings), announced 2 October 2019.  We welcome your contributions in the comments or as a guest post using this link

Granting women the opportunity to witness priesthood ordinances has long been an agitating point for many Mormon feminists, including previous posts here at the Exponent blog.  Beginning in February 2016, Ordain Women launched a campaign, “Ready to Witness,” which included a letter writing component to church leaders. We are grateful and proud of the many women who made their voices heard in these campaigns and posts.  True to our mission to elevate women’s voices, we share reader responses and feelings this week.

 

 

Crumbs

By Mindy Farmer

I longed for a feast;
Asked for a nibble.

I ached to join the banquet;
Agreed that just a taste would do.

While men gorged on
Authority, promises, endowment;
God’s literal power
Feeding their spiritual hunger,

My stomach painfully, embarrassingly, growled;
Yet, I pretended petite portions
And prettily presented sweets
Satiated my hunger.

A small, insistent voice persisted,
“God would not starve your soul.”

So, I tentatively approached the table,
Raw hunger in my eyes,
Declaring my spirit starved;
My soul begging to do, to know,
To be more.

I desired a full seat at the table,
But asked only to occasionally pull up a chair.
I didn’t want to end the feast or topple the table;
Simply take my place.

They called me selfish, attention-grabber,
Godless, unwholesome,
Masking sin
In the guise of spiritual hunger.

So, I stopped asking,
Bypassing their table,
Taking my hunger directly to God;
Seeking new sources to fill
The gnawing void inside me.

And I realized a sometimes-seat at the table
Would never fully satisfy my hunger
For the God I sought.

Now, they serve up occasional bits of goodness,
Like tossing scraps to a loyal pup,
And caution me to not become too greedy
While I patiently wait for the men at the table
To make room for me at their feet.
And for me to rejoice that they’ve shifted – even just a little –

To concede me room.

They toss me crumbs
In hopes that I’ll stop claiming I’m starving,
Without actually ever
Filling my soul.

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7 Responses

  1. Feather says:

    That’s exactly how I feel.

  2. EK says:

    Incredibly beautiful and poignant. Thank you

  3. Emma says:

    Thank you for sharing. Your words capture my feelings also, and maybe that is the point. Shouldn’t we all bypass the arm of flesh and go directly to the source? Think you are onto something.

  4. Kaylee says:

    A member of my stake presidency recently gave a talk about when Jesus taught Peter, “Do you love me? Feed my lambs. Do you love me? Feed my sheep. Do you love me? Feed my sheep.” My emotional response to the talk was: “I am *so* hungry. Why aren’t you feeding me?” Sometime later I realized that a flock of sheep is mostly ewes, and just a few rams. So the work of feeding Jesus’ sheep is mostly taking care of the females. When women are not being fed, Jesus’ commandment is being severely broken.

    I love your poem. And really, it makes me happy whenever someone grapples with the story of the Syrophoenician woman.
    https://www.the-exponent.com/guest-post-the-syrophoenician-woman-is-my-hero/

  5. Just Anon says:

    I’m printing a copy of this poem for a journal entry; it speaks straight to my heart. It’s painful but true, thank you for giving it to me.

    The notion of placating crumbs is looming large in my understanding of my mental health. Recently I’ve been seeking information about marital abuse in which there’s very little physical or verbal abuse that is clearly recognizable, instead the abuse is hidden, discussing it is stonewalled, and the gaslighting is profound. It’s sad but important that there’s a growing body of research that (among other things) identifies common behavior, and ‘throwing crumbs’ is a favorite tactic of abusive gaslighty dudes who are trying to hold on to their entitled status quo when challenged — to throw crumbs as a way to determine the minimum effort necessary to get their angry partners to chill out enough to keep serving their agenda. (As opposed to an honest effort to do their own growth, gain empathy for the pain and damage they’ve caused their partners, and begin negotiating renewed, healthy relationships with their partners as equals.)

    They also throw crumbs to generate evidence that boosts their image of a benevolent, loving, and caring presider. But the reality is they adopt subtle abuse in order to continue their addictive behaviors without the consequence of having to grow out of their false entitlement.

    The similarities with church leadership guys are sobering.

  6. Lizzy says:

    “Seeking new sources to fill the gnawing void inside me” — perfect. A patriarchal church will always pass over and not fully meet the needs of women. The gospel may have “fullness” for the men in my life, but I find it lacking for me. So I search other scripture — books I find meaningful, philosophy, other religious text. I meditate. I have deep conversations with people of all backgrounds and belief. And in those things I find truth and fullness. And I mourn that I could not find that fullness in the place they promised I would find it, even as I rejoice in the experiences I am opening myself up to.

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