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.





18 comments:

Richard McClendon said...

Well said Kylee!

Julia Murphy said...

I'm traveling from Germany to Salt Lake to attend the PH Conference session. Thank you for your love and support.

Amy said...

Thank you so much for this. I am an OW supporter and an active, faithful member of the Church. It hurts me greatly when the vitriolic attacks come, especially when those who choose to engage in honest and sincere conversation usually realize afterwards that no, I'm not Satan-incarnate, I'm not seeking to rip down the Church, and I'm not a raging lunatic. I think this world would be (and can be!) a much better place when we allow space for questions, concerns, and a variety of experiences. Thank you again.

Katie Davis Henderson: Editor and Writer said...

Kylee, thank you! As a radical Mormon feminist myself I really appreciate your kindness. The world needs diverse opinions, and part of our spiritual development should include building the capacity to appreciate opinions and beliefs other than our own. It's something I'm still working on, and you are a GREAT example. Thank you!!

Jen said...

Thank you for such a beautiful post. As a Mormon Feminist I find it so difficult to say what I really think about things out of fear of being judged. I wish more people felt the way you do.

Maggie said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I wish more people followed this great example!

Mindy said...

Absolutely beautiful and well-written. I couldn't agree more with this post.

Melanie said...

I was led to this post through a link posted on Facebook, and I agree with every single word of this post. I am very interested in women's issues, especially with the position of women in the Church; however I don't feel strongly that women need to be ordained to the priesthood. That being said, I am absolutely appalled by the hatefulness being aimed at the women involved in this movement.

Kate said...

Kylee, this beautiful post brought me to tears. Thank you so much for your compassion. You cannot know just how much it really means to have your support, despite your differences.

theresnoplacelikeparis said...

Thank you. So very very much. Thank you for this incredible example of Christ like love.

Thank you.

xoxo
The LadyMo

Carrie said...

Well said, Kylee.

Mom2Two said...

Well written, well said. :)

Lindsay said...

Please spread this message of love and acceptance (a.k.a. Christianity) near and far. We need more hugs and love. The judgments and assumptions don't do anyone any good. Loved this post so very much.

Katie Elizabeth Hawkes said...

Kylee, you NAILED it. I've been trying to formulate my own post on all of this and waiting to be in the right mood to post it. Both you and Mel (I saw that you commented on her post, and that she quoted you) nailed exactly my own thoughts on the matter. Love is more important than a difference of opinions. Hate is not Christian. It is less Christian than a bikini, a protest at temple square, or what-have-you. Thank you for getting that :) Too much on facebook turns my stomach these days. We mock what we don't understand. How dare we belittle someone else's battle? We can't possibly know their struggle. I love this part from your post: "because they are my sisters, their pains and their concerns, matter to me. This is part of my baptismal covenant."

Leah Loughran said...

The best post I've seen on the topic. Thank you.

Willow said...

I think the respect goes both ways. I have been told I am ignorant and am ignoring my true feelings.as a women because I do not protest and feel that I want the priesthood. And many other nasty things, by some of the women that support this. I support the right to have the opinion and express it, but to demean others has no place- on either side. I see Satan trying to tear the women apart and create a division among them and it breaks my heart.

Robbie said...

Thank you, Kylee. I work with your dad, and he shared this with me. He is (and feels) very blessed to have such daughters. There is something deeply holy about sitting down with another soul and asking, "Tell me your story." Your proximity to your sister provides a chance for real communion which is the key to love, I think. To know someone deeply is to love them. Blessings and prayers.

Terrence Raybon said...

I have read a few blogs and have posted questions to my FB page about this topic since I read about the OW's scheduled march on the Priesthood session. I truly am curious as to the foundational basis of women feeling it is time for them to hold the Priesthood. I have read many comments that compare this plight to that of the Priesthood being extended to all worthy males. There is a huge fundamental difference there. I would like to have a better understanding of this topic from a gospel standpoint. I don't agree with thoughts of injustice or inequality when I am focusing on the gospel itself . If there is a direction someone can point me in that would be greatly appreciated.