Monday, May 20, 2013

My Foray Into Feminism

I think I will always consider adding the Women's Studies Minor as one of the best decisions of my life. But at the close of last semester, I realized that classifying myself as a "Mormon feminist" was not something I wanted to do. The words for this post have been a long time coming as they've sat, swirling and sifting through my thoughts everyday. So here it goes, this is why I am not a Mormon Feminist. 

"There's just so much anger."

I don't know if it was me that said it, or someone else in the group of Scott and Lauren's friends that gathered in their living room last night for the best conversation I've had in months. But that statement seems to sum it all up for me. The women that I've met in my minor are intelligent, bright, and beautiful women. But there seems to be this rage that absolutely engulfs them. I can't figure out what it seems to stem from. But that shade of rage colors every aspect of their lives, tainting the things of life that should be beautiful colors into ugly shades of black. I found myself doing this in the middle of last semester as I began to only interpret life through a feminist lens. It colored all my experiences, all my interactions. I would get worked up over the slightest things that had never occurred to me to be bothered by before feminist ideology told me I should. I would try and bring it up in every conversation. Until I realized most of my friends thought the way I did. My friends who are completely outside of the feminist dialogue usually agreed with everything I said. So what was there really to be angry at?

There's also a movement among Mormon Feminists that I have no desire to be associated with: the ordain women movement. I'm not saying all Mormon Feminists want the Priesthood, but I would say a majority do.

Plainly put. I don't agree. I've never agreed. But as last semester's discussions in Mormon Women's History class wore on me, I had questions. I would leave class with a sour taste in my mouth, sick to my stomach about the way some girls talked about the Prophets of our Church. That's when I had some real conversations with my Heavenly Father. I've always accepted my role in the church as right and never questioned it before. But as women I really respected preached the idea that they knew women would be ordained to the Priesthood someday, I felt sick. It didn't feel right when they said those things, but I respected those women so much earlier in the semester. So I prayed for understanding. I took specific questions to my Father in Heaven the week before General Conference.

And they were answered with Elder Ballard's talk in the first session, and Elder Holland's talk Sunday afternoon. It was one more testament that my Father in Heaven knows who I am, and He knows my heart.

As a temple worker, and a woman who officiates in ordinances, I have no qualms about not holding the Priesthood. I've come up with my own personal reasons as to why I don't think women will hold the Priesthood on Earth. And I could list them here, but I don't feel like the personal answers I recieved are what truly matters.

What does matters is what we know for sure from the scriptures. We know that God loves us. And because He loves us, He's given us all these gifts: prayer, our families, the scriptures, prophets, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and most importantly a Plan to return back to Him. Aspects of the gospel that all seem to be lost Mormon Feminist dialogue.

Based on my experiences with those things, I know my worth in God's eyes. While this semester has taught me to ask questions, opening the door for personal revelation (and for that, I will always be grateful), I don't want to be angry. I don't want to lose focus on doctrine that truly matters.

When I grow up I want to be a mom, and a professor. I love learning. I love being outdoors. I especially love all things Korean. 
My name is Rebekah, and I'm not a Mormon feminist.


riss said...

Oh Bekah, thank you for this! I too have been dipping my toe into the Mormon Feminist pool for a while. At first it was intoxicating; all these people who thought the same things I did! And then, the new ideas! I felt like I was learning so much! But I soon realized that for every FMH or BCC or YMF post that left me feeling uplifted and empowered, there were at least 10 more that made me feel confused, upset, angry, or just...sad. And those eventually became indicators to me that I could better use my time focusing on loving other people and building them up. And that is why I'm a Mormon, I'm a feminist, but I can't feel good about calling myself a Mormon Feminist.

Karen said...

Bekah, thanks so much for this. I have been inundated with Mormon feminism from many FB friends the past few months, and I go to a proud feminist, all female undergrad school in Boston, so I feel like I have been getting these ideas thrown at me that I feel obligated to consider because, who isn't for equality, right? Through my own studies I really feel like "Mormon Feminism" is just another veiled attack on the family. But being Mormon and feminist, sure why not? It's such a fine line. Isn't it amazing how much we can learn about the gospel when we have questions we badly want answered? It was great to hear this perspective from someone who is actually studying it and is familiar with the Ordain Women movement.

kaitlin said...

loved this!!

Maychee said...

rebekah! i love this! i just started working for a non profit feminist organization, and my eyes have been more keen and aware of whats around me. And at the same time, i felt me being Mormon, that I would soon have to take consider what I am getting myself into, with my new job. I am grateful for your post and your insights!