Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wear Pants to LDS Church

Some women within the LDS Church chose to wear pants this past Sunday.

"This event is the first act of All Enlisted, a direct action group for Mormon women to advocate for equality within our faith. We do not seek to eradicate the differences between women and men, but we do want the LDS church and its members to acknowledge the similarities. We believe that much of the cultural, structural, and even doctrinal inequality that persists in the LDS church today stems from the church's reliance on – and enforcement of – rigid gender roles that bear no relationship to reality."

I have a few friends that participated. I, however, didn't wear pants to church on Sunday.

The event and purpose seemed to shift a bit throughout the week. At first, it seemed the event was a statement against LDS culture AND doctrine. I, personally, acknowledge there are some rigid gender stereotypes and expectations within the culture. I have a testimony of the doctrine taught within the LDS church and sustain the priesthood leaders.

Throughout the week, it seemed to shift into a statement about wearing pants instead of having to feel like they should wear a skirt or pants. I also saw some just making a statement about the cultural differences within the church and wanting that to change.

I chose to wear a skirt because I believe in the doctrine and also because I believe that a dress or skirt does represent my Sunday Best (to me). I know that I could wear pants if I wanted to and there haven't been any statements against wearing pants. But I like to be dressy and girly in a skirt. I feel more feminine. Sure, it's not always the most comfortable. But I am a girl and I'm so okay with that. I know some will argue that I'm just buying into the cultural expectations and stooping to a lower level by giving in and wearing a skirt. I don't feel that way.

I'm a bit of a feminist (in case you hadn't noticed), but not the man-hating kind that people usually hear about and stereotype. I think my role as a woman is complemented by Aaron's as a husband and love that we can work together in our goal of eternal families. I really loved this article about why she is a Mormon because she's a feminist.

Here's a comment I wrote on facebook about the cultural difficulties that can occur:
I have definitely experienced firsthand sexist and demeaning comments from leaders and other members of the church- even within my own family. I know that the attitude of some members is lacking and I understand how women can feel less-than. I always remember my mom telling me, "Remember, the church is perfect, but its members aren't." I don't feel like the doctrine, leaders of the church or God have ever looked down on me for being a woman. Nor, do I feel like they put Aaron up on a pedestal for being a man and holding the priesthood. I get a lot of crap for getting a higher education and doing it after I was married and then doing more after having a child and then working outside of the home right now "not being there for my son" and having Aaron "suffer through staying at home because he deserves more than that." Yes, these comments are offensive and I sometimes cry, but they are just other people saying them. Luckily I have an awesome husband who can talk me through incidents like this and I also believe I receive comfort through prayer knowing that I am doing alright. I really believe in families and that I am here to learn to work with Aaron to build a family. I'm grateful that we can complement each other in our roles, responsibilities and callings. I can't let others opinions get in my way.

I think it can be especially hard when some of these comments come from local leaders and are taught like doctrine like in your example. I see unrighteous dominion in many marriages and its horrible. I think the word "preside" is often taken out of context. I really like this even though it's a few years old -https://www.lds.org/ensign/1989/07/unrighteous-dominion?lang=eng. I think there as another one more recently that addresses similar issues.

On a somewhat related note (to me anyway), I have had many clients whose priesthood leaders instruct them to "pray harder" or "sleep with a Book of Mormon under your pillow" to cure depression or other mental disorders, but the truth is they aren't trained to know how to treat mental illness. They are human and trying to help out of kindness and will make mistakes in their effort to help others. I have been impressed by the church's efforts to help more leaders to refer to mental health providers instead of doing the counseling themselves as bishops etc. I think when church leaders find out about incidents like this, they try to act quickly because they recognize it's not okay and that practices like these are not doctrine.

A follow up comment from my cousin:
Practical faith sometimes escapes us as members. Here's a story from conference for you from Elder Oaks: "When a person requested a priesthood blessing, Brigham Young would ask, “Have you used any remedies?” To those who said no because “we wish the Elders to lay hands upon us, and we have faith that we shall be healed,” President Young replied: “That is very inconsistent according to my faith. If we are sick, and ask the Lord to heal us, and to do all for us that is necessary to be done, according to my understanding of the Gospel of salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow, without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed. It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and [then] to ask my Father in Heaven … to sanctify that application to the healing of my body."

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