Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Notes on Being Mormon: Pants

Recently there's been some hullabaloo about a group of Mormon feminists who made a big deal about wearing pants to church one Sunday-- there were articles and blogs written about it. Facebook, apparently, exploded. I... shrugged my shoulders.

From reading about this, I learned that some people think Mormon women should be all up in arms over "inequality" in our church, but I truly just don't see it. I'm even a (gasp!) "Utah Mormon" (horrors!) and I don't have any problems with my leaders being men, or with following the guidance and counsel of men. As long as I believe (and receive personal confirmation from God) that what they are telling me is in line with God's will, why would I bother worrying about it? 

I can't speak for any other woman in or out of my church, but I can say what I believe:

  1. God does not play favorites. (The rain falls on both rich and poor, etc.) People often do, but not God. Therefore...
    1. If I believe this is God's church on the Earth (and I do) then I have to have faith that, in spite of the mistakes of humans, the work of the church is God's work.
  2. God probably does not care whether a woman wears pants to church. What you wear is your opportunity to show God how you feel about yourself, your body, and Him.
    1. I wear skirts and/or dresses to church because I feel it is a way that I can show respect and honor to God. I wear pants every regular day. The Sabbath is a time for me to dress up a little, and I want to treat church as special.
    2. If a Mormon woman truly believes (without rancor or a rebellious heart) that wearing pants is a form of dressing her best, then who am I to tell her otherwise?Go for it!
  3. God cherishes and adores His daughters. All of us. Pants or no pants. Mormon or non-Mormon
I am more concerned about the movement of "feminism" than pants. Feminism has become something very different from the movement to have voting rights or the right to own property. 
I haven't ever understood the modern feminist, and a feminist movement within my church feels... funny (not funny ha-ha, but... odd). Cut to the core-- what do Mormon feminists want? Agendas make me nervous. It's more than pants. But their agenda is unclear. Which seems... sneaky or something. Muddy at least.

I wouldn't belong to this church if I thought women weren't supported, loved, valued and equal to men in it. I guess I don't understand the need for the feminist movement, so that's where things are cloudy in my mind. Maybe I'm lucky to have never felt slighted by men.
The Salt Lake Temple
The most important thing for me is the personal confirmation from God part. How is your relationship with God? If you pray about something, are you aware when He answers? Do you feel close to your Savior, Jesus Christ? I am and I do. Sometimes. I'm so far away from perfect, sometimes I feel lost, but a few things remain strong, no matter what: 
  1. I know Jesus lives and atoned for my sins and knows what I am suffering and He is there, sending comfort, answers, love, direction, help and light to me. Always. It's up to me to look and see and let go of my pride, anger, fear, and darkness so that I can see it, but He's always there.
  2. I believe that I belong to the restored church of Jesus Christ on the Earth. It is run by people, and we "people" have been known to be very imperfect, but I think God gives us what we are able to handle-- bit by bit. And when we mess up, God is always ready and willing to help us make things right again.
  3. I believe the Book of Mormon is truth. 
  4. I believe that women and men are equal in God's eyes-- I don't need the Priesthood to prove that. I have faith, I have motherhood (womanhood!) and I love my Heavenly Father. I trust His judgment that provides the Priesthood only to men. 
Trust, faith, hope, a humble heart, and love. 

That's what being a Mormon woman is really about for me. 


trishcook said...

You always say things so perfectly!!! I whole-heartedly agree!!

Steph said...

Thanks, Trisha!

Amberleah said...

Love this! Very well thought out, beautifully written . thank you for sharing your testimony and strengthening mine :-)

Faithineverystitch said...

I agree with what you have said too. You write so well.

Sally said...

Awesome. I've really tried to understand where the "Pants Ladies" are coming from, because I feel bad that some women in the church don't feel loved and equal. But I agree with you, I'm not sure what they're hoping for. Do they want the Priesthood? Because I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen.

I can only speak from my experience, and 99% of the time, I have felt respected, valued, and even sought out for my opinion by the men that I've worked with in the church.

Are there things I would change? Sure. Little things. Perhaps some traditions and cultural things. But I'm pleased with the direction that the church is going. I believe that the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 are aware of these issues, and are working within the parameters that they have to help women feel needed and equal.

Steph said...

Thank you, ladies, for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!

Chris said...

Very nice, Steph. Thoughtful and heartfelt, and a moving testimony, all of it clear and very well written. When this "pants day" story first came to my attention I thought it was fine as long as they wore dress pants or a formal pantsuit so they could, as the General Authorities admonish us, dress with appropriate respect for the Savior on the Sabbath. Actually, I've seen women dress that way in church and no one has even taken notice. But having learned a bit more about those behind this movement and some of their long-range agenda, I'm more than a little put off. I agree with Sally that there are some cultural things the leadership could be a little more sensitive to regarding women and young women, but making demands and challenging the line of authority is not the way to bring them out.

Steph said...

Thanks, Dad. You should probably get some credit for my positive attitude toward leadership in the Church. :)