Sunday Spotlight is a series where we profile individuals in the Young Mormon Feminists community to hear their story and get to know them a little better through Q&A or their personal narrative. This week we talked with Katie.
1. What’s your name, what do you do, and what do you want to be doing?
My name is Katie Chollak. I live in Rock Springs, Wyoming. I will be a senior in 2014 and I hope to know what I want to do with my life by the time I graduate. This week my life plan is to graduate high school, go on a mission, go to college and get a degree in something, and then, serve in the Peace Corps.
2. What events or issues led to your feminist awakening or consciousness?
My parents are both die-hard liberals. I inherited their bleeding hearts ideas, this means that every time politics were mentioned in church, I was on the opposing end. My mom brought me up with fairly feminist ideas, but the real ground work was laid in situations when I was young. When I was five my dad stayed at home, while my mom was the breadwinner. It wasn’t wrong, it was just what worked best for my family. My extended family is not active, or have never been members. It was always hard for me to live in a church that places so much emphasize on families without having the same experience that it seems that everyone else was having. I always felt like an outsider looking in on the “normal” Mormon experience. Last year, these combined with other factors and I became very depressed. I was very angry because I felt like I was told time and time again that if I stayed close to the gospel, I would be happy, and that just wasn’t true. This culminated in me being suicidal in April. Around June, the clouds started to lift, but my outlook on life was very different. I remembered I have a testimony, but I felt like the orthodoxy of Mormonism had hurt me more than it had helped. I felt like I couldn’t return to the happy world I once had. I found Feminist Mormon Housewives, and things I had always believed were now being put in a Mormon context. I had found my people. I found where I belong.
3. What issue/issues get you riled up most and why?
Modesty! I feel like modesty has really gotten away from being humble, and not being proud, to being about hemlines and necklines. My motto I have been trying to live by since my awakening is “My body. My Rules. Their Body. Their Rules.” Who’s place is it to tell me how to feel when I wear something? They are not me.
4. What would you say to people new to Mormon feminism?
Welcome. I am sure that you will find someone in the community that will agree with you. You will also probably find someone in the community that you can relate to where they are coming from. You will also probably find someone that does something or believes something that you would never do, but the great thing about it is that you can probably find some common ground to agree on.
5. What brings you the most joy about the Gospel and Church?
Often I think I could sing hymns all Sunday, instead of going to Sacrament Meeting or Young Women’s. I love everything to do with Christ, especially the Atonement. I have always loved the Plan of Salvation and the ability to progress.