Friday, September 13, 2013

I Am My Sister's Keeper

I honestly don't know what to call myself.

I don't think I can actually call myself a Mormon Feminist because there are so many things that Mormon Feminists are passionate about and want to change that I don't feel the same drive towards. However, I am extremely passionate about people being heard and the opportunity for people to voice their opinions and concerns.

I guess you could say I'm a Mormon Feminist sympathizer.

I am also a Social Worker, an Adolescent Wilderness Therapist, a Co-Founder of a non-profit, an Author, and the sister of a very prominent Radical Mormon Feminist. Through my sister I have met some of the most beautiful, brilliant, articulate, and passionate Mormon Feminists.  I have eaten with them, listened to them, read about them, and even done some research on many of them. I love each and every one of them. They are my sisters in the gospel.

It is important to note that I do not agree with everything they have to say and my heart and head are not as concerned about some of their deepest and impassioned causes. As I am sure they are not concerned with some of the things that consume my heart. However, because they are my sisters, their pains and their concerns, matter to me. This is part of my baptismal covenant.

I have been silent for too long on this matter. I am appalled at some of the things I have heard and read from Mormon women about Mormon Feminist women. I don't understand it. Don't get me wrong—not everyone needs to agree with or be a Mormon Feminist (remember how I stated earlier that I am not) but when is it ever okay to be so patronizing, vitriol, degrading, and divisive?

Today on FB a friend of mine asked about the "Mormon Feminist Protest" and in response I posted the link to Ordain Women—that was it on my part. I didn't comment about it, didn't remind people it wasn't a protest, didn't state my opinion—just posted the link. What followed after that link was embarrassing. One woman after another belittled, joked, made fun of, and villainized other women. Even better yet were the awful comments from some men. And, this FB thread was VERY mild compared to other things I've heard and read.

I understand having a difference of opinion (I have 5 fiercely opinionated sisters). I understand feeling content as a Mormon woman and not understanding why other Mormon women aren't. I understand being uncomfortable with what the Mormon Feminist women are feeling, doing, talking about, organizing, etc. What I don't understand is the hate.

I am my sister's keeper. It is my responsibility to hold her heart and be aware of her concerns. I may not understand why she decided to wear pants to church or why she wants to go to the Priesthood session, but I can certainly learn about her cause and concerns before I demonize her.

I can choose to find and build on common beliefs and things we can agree on rather than pick at things we disagree. I can educate myself on the issues, become aware of those in my ward who are longing for support, and I can love them.

We are stronger as women and children of God when we stay in the church with all of our flaws, dreams, hopes, imperfections, passions, and provide each other support and opportunities to learn and grow.