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 Julia.
Tell Us About Yourself.
I am Julia I am a 20 years old, and I live in Portland, Oregon. I am going to Portland State University as a transfer student, after fleeing BYU. I am majoring in Psychology with a Minor in French Studies. J’AIME FRANCAIS ET PSYCOLOGIE! My Dad is from Africa and my Mother is from Canada so I am a first generation American… Sort of. My mother is from a long line of Smiths all the way back to Joseph himself… So that is my complicated life. I am the oldest of six kids, there are three girls and three boys in my family, and I love my family more than anything. I love Thai food… ESPECIALLY Curry… MM Curry! And Pumpkin Curry is the best…. I mean pumpkin everything; Praise the Lord for pumpkin season!!! I am a reader I LOVE to read, and I love Doctor Who, and I also love me some Benedict Cumberbatch 😉 I mean he doesn’t like the name Cumberb****es because he says that it isn’t good for the feminist movement!
What brought you to feminism?
I didn’t realize until my Freshman Year at BYU that I was feminist. I was raised by “feminist” parents who had never told me that I was less because I was a woman. I was taught from an early age that while it might be harder for me because of my gender, and my racial background (I am a Halfrican American), but that I was never to let people treat me differently. I went to high school in the small town of Walla Walla, Washington where it seemed mandatory to get married and have a child all before turning 20, but my parents were not having any of that. It was known in my family that education came first because that was how I was going to help the world. In my Freshman Year at BYU I wrote an essay for a class about the changing world, and how we are a two income society and that we should be more open to women in the workplace. My teacher called me out in front of the class about how I wasn’t following the Proclamation to the Family and that I was going against the” Prophet’s teachings”. I realized then, that I wanted my children, if and when I have them, to be brought up in a world like the one my parents had created for me where I was equal to everyone. I am feminist because gender doesn’t determine ability
What makes you a Mormon?
I was born into the Church, but my true conversion happened around the age of 15, it was the year that I read the Book of Mormon cover to cover. The way I felt as I read them, I have never felt the same way reading anything else. I witnessed for myself the Gospel. I felt the love the Christ and our Heavenly Parents have for us. I have studied a lot of other religions, and while our Church has its problem, the Gospel of our Heavenly Family is the same. I think that we can change; I think that the Church can change to be a more inclusive and loving church. I cling to what President Uchtdorf said in the Priesthood Session of last Conference “But while the Atonement is meant to help us all become more like Christ, it is not meant to make us all the same. Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us; it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold—that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. Even identical twins are not identical in their personalities and spiritual identities.
It also contradicts the intent and purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ, which acknowledges and protects the moral agency—with all its far-reaching consequences—of each and every one of God’s children. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are united in our testimony of the restored gospel and our commitment to keep God’s commandments. But we are diverse in our cultural, social, and political preferences.”
What do you hope for Feminism?
I hope that Feminism will help change the world for the better. I think that feminism is a force for good in the world, and especially in the Church. I think that feminism will help empower women who feel like they have to fit into a roll know that they can be anything they want, because the only rolls I like are with BUTTERJ.
Why Did You Leave BYU?
I left BYU because I felt alone. I felt like no matter what I did, I was always going to be an outcast. I think differently and I act differently and I don’t fit a mold. I am not white, I am not 100 pounds wet, I am not an education major, and I am not desperate for a husband. I wanted so badly to fit in with “my people” to think like them and to act like them, but most of the time I just went hope stressed and sad.
What Is Your Favorite Hymn?
My favorite hymn, well my favorite non-hymn hymn is Come Thou Fount. I think this song so adequately explains everything I believe.