not in Primary anymore

i’m gonna sit right down and write ruth todd a letter (and hopefully you’ll write one too)

Get up and grab a pen and paper! Some serious shiz is going down in the form of a letter writing campaign. It’s going to be crazy.

crazy feminist letter writing in action

Crazy MoFem letter writing.  It will be fun!

Okay, maybe it’s not so serious and it probably won’t be that crazy, but I encourage you to join in! The letter writing campaign is called One of Millions (click here to check out the Facebook event page) and it’s coming up this Monday, November 4th. The campaign is directed at the Church’s PR department, specifically in response to the words Church spokesperson Ruth Todd spoke concerning Ordain Women. In case you need a refresher, she said, “Millions of women in this Church do not share the views of this small group who organized [Ordain Women’s] protest, and most Church members would see such efforts as divisive.”

So apparently it’s okay in our church to dismiss your fellow church members’ thoughts/feelings/efforts if they are the minority opinion. Wait, what’s that you say, dear reader? It ISN’T okay? Great! Let it be known! Join the campaign!

According to One of Millions, the purpose of the campaign is the following:

“Even if we aren’t personally asking for ordination, we do wish for things to change for women in the church. Implying millions of women in the church all agree with the official church response ignores the many, many women who leave the Church each year when their struggles go unheeded and their voices go unheard. It ignores the thousands or maybe millions of women who still attend Church but do so in quiet pain. We are searching for answers, and we are asking our leaders to hear our questions.

[…] This event is not to criticize or attack the LDS church, nor is it organized by or directly affiliated with Ordain Women. You don’t have to want female ordination to write a letter, nor do you have to be active in the Church or even be a woman. Anyone who has issues with the gender inequality in the Church and would like to see it addressed is welcome to write.”

I love that this campaign is an opportunity for you and me to have a voice. I don’t agree with Ruth Todd’s generalization of women in the church and I don’t want her words to be mistaken for my voice. Brigham Young said, “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9: 149, bold emphasis added).  If you are troubled by the way we as a church stereotype people according to gender, let your perspective be known! Our leaders cannot read minds. Let us not have a reckless confidence that might ‘thwart the purposes of God in [our] salvation and weaken the influence [we] could give.’ Let us not be afraid to voice our honest concerns about the church!

So do you have a pen and paper ready yet? Good. Get writing.

(If the reference of the title of my post was lost on you, listen to the following youtube video while writing your letter. I promise it will get you in the letter-writing spirit.)

7 Responses to “i’m gonna sit right down and write ruth todd a letter (and hopefully you’ll write one too)”

  1. Rachael

    Thanks so much for writing a post about this! If you want to write a letter but don’t want to publicly announce so on facebook via the event, no worries. All of the information is listed on the event page. We would love for anyone and everyone to be involved. The more voices, the better.

  2. Maxine Hanks

    I hope feminists don’t overlook Todd’s positive embrace and inclusion of OW in her reception of them on Temple Square and in her statement. She gave an historic welcome of feminist activism on Temple Square (pro-ordination activism), and a warm personal greeting to OW participants. She didn’t dismiss OW, but claimed OW as part of the body of Christ — “these are our sisters and we want them among us.” She offered this during OW’s attempt to enter priesthood meeting–which signifies a significant maturation and progress in Church / feminist relations.

    Her comment seemed like an attempt to acknowledge both those who don’t support OW and those who do, rather than an attempt to dismiss OW. She clearly had an institutional responsibility to acknowledge both the majority and minority view. If two million or more women in the Church don’t agree with OW’s action on Temple Square, then is her comment technically accurate? Also, could one say the OW action was designed to be divisive, as a conscious activist strategy– to force a choice to side with OW, or not?

    Church acknowledgement of the majority view is not news–but Church acknowledgement and inclusion of a minority feminist view (women attending priesthood mtg.) IS news — especially when that minority view is described as a wanted part of the Church. I’m just suggesting, don’t overlook the positive when seeing the negative, because the positive may be bigger and better than realized.

    • S. M.

      Very wise advice. Nobody will listen to an argument which clearly ignores significant portions of what it aims to argue against. Right on.

    • Rachel Mitchell

      Hi Maxine!

      Thanks for your perspective here. I am glad that you can see Ruth Todd’s response from a more positive angle. I invite you to share your thoughts with Ruth Todd through writing a letter too, as I think it’s important to gather as many voices as possible.

      However, I still find what Ruth Todd said hurtful/dismissive and I would like to express that to her. I don’t think she claimed that OW as part of the body of Christ. I think she turned OW into an other, by emphasizing that they are a SMALL group, and then assumed that millions of women do not agree with them. Perhaps the millions figure is accurate, but it is an assumption for how a lot of people may or may not feel, and that does not sit well with me. IMO it is irrelevant to compare the size of those who feel one way to those who feel another way and I think it was only done as a tactic to try and invalidate the feelings of OW. Something similar to saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I don’t feel that way and someone else that I know doesn’t feel that way. Therefore you are wrong.” So I hope that those participating in this campaign will be better able to communicate that hurt and find some more resolve.

      Keep in mind that this campaign is not OW, just people who don’t want to be included in the ‘millions of women’ figure that Ruth Todd claimed think OW are divisive or an inference that millions of women in the church are perfectly happy with how they are treated in church.

      • Maxine Hanks

        Thanks Rachel, I feel your spirit and conviction–yes, people should speak out against harm. I’m not suggesting that feminists not write letters, one’s voice is sacred and should be shared. I’m urging a closer look at accuracy. I saw inclusion rather than harm in the PR statement–the intent of the language “these are our sisters and we want them among us” seemed to be including OW, not excluding, invalidating, or terming OW “other.”

        The views of “millions” vs. “this small group” referred to the “organized protest” or action on Temple Square — not to issues of women’s status or “how they are treated in church.” The PR statement was specifically about the event. Likewise, the numbers refer to views of the event (millions, this small group, “many” see it as divisive).

        Yes, a majority view doesn’t necessarily equate with truth, which “is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself” as Joseph Smith said. Yet it’s likely accurate to say millions don’t agree with the action on temple square.

  3. Rob

    I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment about changing the inequality in the church. I also agree that those of us who want to see changes in the church’s policies should raise our voices. I have a great and vested interest in the context of this discussion because I think that the tone of this discussion, esp among active members of the church, will have the greatest and most significant impact on the outcome of this, potentially paving the way for a whole new way of thinking about how we do things as a church. As we embrace positivity, maturity, and patience with those we participate with as we raise our voices, we’ll allow the spirit of truth, the spirit of God, to enter into the hearts of those we’d like to persuade. I have no doubt about the integrity of this movement, or the eventual outcome towards a more inclusive and complete gospel of Jesus Christ.

    On the other hand I see an incredibly frustrating outcome for us if we embrace the negativity that is more easily accessed with this issue (and others like it). I urge those of us planning on writing letters to do so with faith in God, that this is his will, and that as we pour our love and faith into our letters, that his spirit may ratify our goals in the hearts of those who we reach out to. I know that our cause is just, but it won’t be accomplished by pushing an agenda. It will only be accomplished by embracing the principles of truth. So for the greater cause, I ask that as much as possible, we set aside the negative aspects of our pain and use it instead to fuel our love of truth.

    In the spirit of Bob Marley’s encouraging ballad, “No woman, no cry”

    “I say, I remember when we used to sit
    In the government yard in Trenchtown
    Observing the hypocrites
    As they would mingle with the good people we’d meet
    Good friends we have had, oh good friends we’ve lost along the way
    In this bright future you can’t forget your past
    So dry your tears I say

    No woman, no cry
    No woman, no cry
    Oh my Little sister, don’t she’d no tears
    No woman, no cry

    …everything’s gonna be alright…”

  4. Alfonzo

    Decide the breed of dog you want to cultivate. s behavioral problem.
    s : This is the scent your pup will leave behind.


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