The Post That Started It All
*Four years ago I posted this message to my private Facebook wall along with an honest selfie. Believe it or not, this was the post that started it all. After posting this, my bishop at the time called me into his office and told me if I didn’t stop talking about women’s roles in the church, female ordination, and LGBTQ+ issues, there was going to be a formal disciplinary council to evaluate my standing in the church. I felt very betrayed by my community. I wondered, "What is the point of being in a community that doesn’t allow me to speak?"
Funnily enough, the bishop's threat backfired. My orthodox husband, Drew, who was serving as bishop's secretary at the time, resigned from his calling and (among other reasons) began to question his religion which led him to a faith transition.
I’m now at a place where I can look back on the experience and laugh. Little did my previous bishop know, but he awoke the beast that laid dormant within me.
I’m a feminist. And some may think it’s extreme, but when it comes down to it gender equality isn’t such a crazy notion after all.
I think sometimes within our faith, particularly as women, we can mistake silence for peace—being submissive in order to be non-confrontational. I have been a victim of this mentality from time to time and thought that if I didn’t agree with everything that was said on Sunday then it was better to be quietly agreeable in my seat (or even worse, that something was wrong with me).
About two years ago, I came to the conclusion that a binary, dogmatic approach to my religion would consume me. There were too many unanswered questions about my religion, its origins and temple practices that couldn’t be explained away as I sat there silently in a pew each Sunday. I was faithful, yet unsatisfied. I served, yet incomplete. After the birth of our daughter I was forever changed. I wanted something better for her—something I didn’t have—gender equality.
I decided to try something new. I spoke. I questioned. I engaged. I researched. I challenged. I prayed. I studied. The more I did the more I came to realize I was a woman whom God had given a voice, talents, and intelligence. God wanted me to speak and ask questions. God also gave me the gift of personal revelation, divine inspiration to guide me in my search for truth. Questions are the building blocks of a greater testimony, and the more questions I asked the more knowledge I attained.
Matthew 7:7 says:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”
So I knocked.
Have all my questions been answer? No. Am I satisfied with all the practices, policies, and doctrines of my religion? No. Do I feel completely satisfied with my role dictated by my gender? No.
But I am hopeful. I am progressing. And though my religion moves at a glacial pace toward gender equality, I am taking each day in faith believing that even at times when my religion fails me, God will not fail me.
As a fellow woman of the LDS faith I invite you to use your voice. Engage regularly in dialogue, research, prayer and meditation about your questions and ideas. Confront them with strength and transparency even though it may leave you vulnerable. Never be afraid to ask “WHY?” I know that your voice is equally important. Your opinions are warranted. Your needs should be addressed. Your ideas not only matter, THEY ARE ESSENTIAL!
This Church is founded, built, and upheld upon the backs of strong, faithful, amazing women! I am one of them and so are you.