There is something that has been troubling me greatly lately, and I’ve struggled to know if I should use this place — my blog — to address it publicly. It concerns issues that are happening among the women of my church, and I hesitate because I don’t want to paint the members of my church in a bad light. I also really strive to make my blog a place where anyone — Mormon or not — can understand the issues I talk about.
But I know many of my readers are Mormon, and this is an issue I feel so very passionately about that I’m going to close in my scope on this here li’l blog for a minute and speak to Mormon women.
I identify myself as a feminist, and if we’re getting really specific here — as a Mormon feminist. I love the church, and after years of studying, questioning, wondering, doubting, praying and listening, I have come to a very happy and personal conclusion: My feminist beliefs fit completely into the doctrine of Jesus Christ. There is absolutely a place for me in this church, and I take it proudly, happily and surely.
Growing up with five brothers, you can imagine the teasing that was heaped upon me. No matter what my brothers believed personally, they loved to goad me into feminist arguments. I always took their bait because I was on a mission to steer them to the path of enlightenment – naturally.
Last year, I was visiting my parents with three of my brothers. One night, we sat around the dinner table, and I brought up feminist issues. Let’s be honest: I was probably looking for a round of good-natured debate.
One brother took my bait, and we were off and running in this round-and-round discussion when an older brother interrupted and said,
“But Rebecca’s hurting. How do we help her?”
I was shocked into silence. Validation was not something that I had experienced before from my brothers on this issue.
It felt so amazingly good.
The tone of the conversation then immediately shifted. It was a completely new conversation. My brothers listened to me — really listened to me. One brother had actually, in recent years, been having similar thoughts to what I’ve always expressed. It was so refreshing. We bounced real discussions around that table; we agreed in many areas which was so encouraging, but what’s probably best — we were able to agree to disagree in other areas. We left that conversation feeling peace and love for each other.
I left that conversation feeling like I didn’t have to fight. I knew I was loved and that my feelings mattered. And because of that, I was able to help my brothers see my point of view.
And I suppose I learned a thing or two myself.
My point is, this debate within our church is ugly with a capital U. Here, I’ll show you: Ugly. Look how ugly that word is. Yuck. Let’s all agree to step out of the ugliness. Let’s say to ourselves, “But my sister is hurting. She’s hurting. My sister. How can I help her?”
That’s what Jesus Christ is all about. That’s what Relief Society is all about.
When we do this, we find that it really doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong — and we may even find that we’re all a little right. And look at that! — suddenly we don’t care so much about the wrong anymore.