I'm a feminist.
And an active, fully-participating LDS human person.
(Insert immediate pearl clutching horror here.)
Really though, come on folks.
Poor misunderstood feminism has gotten a really rotten rep.
It's NOT that bad, I promise.
I'm pretty quiet about it because I have been so afraid of scrutiny, of judgement, and even of it reflecting poorly on my husband.
But, when I write it out like that, those are silly reasons.
Because it's true. It's MY truth.
And there isn't anything wrong with that.
See, here's the thing: I believe that there are things that are fundamentally sexist within the church as it exists today.
Beyond practice or culture (which have their own serious sexism issues) I feel like there are certain aspects rooted in the church *not the GOSPEL* that make it so that women are naturally subjugated.
We are not equal. We never have been. When it boils down to the dregs, what is true is that no matter where a woman serves in the church, she will NEVER be able to serve in the same capacities (or even COMPARABLE capacities if you want to be nit-picky) as her male counterparts. Never.
I don't know why. I can't understand it.
I do not care for the argument, "We already have SO MUCH TO DO, why would I want more responsibility?"
Nope. Not buying it.
Why WOULDN'T I want the deep honor and privilege that comes from a more serious commitment and call to the cause?
I have no idea why anyone would poo-poo the idea of MORE service, MORE love, MORE giving, MORE blessing the lives of others. Really? If it was offered to you, free of charge, simply as a covenant-keeping human, you'd be all like, "Thanks, but no thanks, I'm good."
Maybe, I suppose. And if that's your truth, that's cool too. Different strokes, right?
I wouldn't though. If full church participation and equality was offered to me, I'd take hold so tightly, so fast.
I also can not understand the idea that "It has never happened to me, I've never felt it, so what's the big deal?" is an ok thing to think. For real? I've never felt A LOT of the human condition, but that doesn't make others' experiences invalid, or not real. SO WHAT? You are blessed, but that doesn't stop the very vivid pain that exists for many sisters. So many sisters.
Maybe even your own sister.
I do know that the inequality breaks my heart, and causes me to want to weep at times because the hurt is so real and so searing and so very very deep.
So deep in fact that there was a LONG time that I really wondered and worried that perhaps... my deepest fears about myself were true, that God really actually TRULY thinks that women are less than men. Simply because of sex and gender, spiritual identity even, that God trusts me less. That I am less.
That pitch black darkest fear might be true?
The thought makes reason stare, and yet, there is actual evidence that it might be true.
Does the one whom we call "Kind", "Gracious" and "Father" really ACTUALLY like me less than my brothers?
HOW COULD THAT BE?
How could my Father create me to be less?
The practices in the church that cause these questions are ones we can not discuss here, but if you've ever felt that pang, that discomfort in those most quiet and sacred moments, like I have, then you can get an idea of what I mean.
It was so much that I wrestled.
So much discontent filled my soul that I thought, "If this is IT, if this is really how it's going to be, then I want no part of it. I'll just be happy not achieving eternal progression, because I don't want any part of a God who thinks I'm second-class."
So many questions.
More questions than ever.
BUT! There is hope. There is knowledge. I didn't give up on God, though I was sorely tempted.
I have come to know that the Lord God, who is all powerful, who creates all, would never ever create me in HIS image if I was less than.
So, I cling to my Lord and Savior. When I can not deal with things that make me ache and beg for further light and knowledge, I lean hard on Him. I know He lives. I know He died so I can live too.
I do not know the answers. I will not pretend to.
Nor will I leave. For my Jesus is the living water, and I know this is HIS church. HIS gospel brought to fruition.
The ache? It remains. I would surmise that it will remain all the days of my life. I can't see that changing. (Believe me, I tried to pray it away.) The only thing I can think is that God intends me to walk this path--this path that is so full of goodness, of love and of redemption. As I stumble on the things that make me question, I simply dust myself off and keep on.
I am a Mormon feminist. I love the Lord with all my heart. I am not going anywhere. There is room for all in the true Gospel, the Gospel who is the living, breathing Savior of the world, Jesus.