why I stay in the church as a feminist
I’ve been called apostate because I waited in line to get tickets to Priesthood Session. I was told I was being intentionally mean for wearing pants to church. When I speak my mind about sexism in the church, I often feel like the response from the person I’m speaking with is to ‘Just leave!’
Why don’t I just leave? It’s a rational response and I think about it often. Why do I stay in this church? Why do I stay in a place that devotes more time and resources to its young men than its young women? Why do I stay in a place that is proudly patriarchal? Why do I stay in a place that tells women that our bodies are inherently pornographic? Why do I stay where my Heavenly Mother is taboo?
I feel many frustrations with the church, but I still have faith in the gospel.
I have faith in Jesus Christ. I have hope in his words “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I believe that one day our souls may all have rest through Christ. I feel truth and love in his words. I have hope in the atonement. I hope for life after death. I hope to speak and laugh with friends, family, and ancestors when I leave this world.
I feel peace when I read the book of Third Nephi. I love to think that Christ visited people in America. It tells me that God cares for and loves all people, for all are alike unto Him.
I believe that the ordinances that we have in our church are true and help connect us to Christ. I have felt unexplainable feelings of peace as I have attended baptisms of kids in my primary class. My anxieties melted away for a moment, even as I held a fidgety toddler in my lap.
So though I sometimes hear a voice in my head that says ‘Just leave!’, I also can hear the voice of President Uchtdorf saying, “Stay yet a little longer. There is room for you here.” I stay in this church because I feel the truth of the gospel and I hope for egalitarian changes in the church. And I hope that President Uchtdorf is right, that there is room for me here.
8 Responses to “why I stay in the church as a feminist”
I have often wondered, as I read these testimonies, why you authors all seem to continue to love this church and stay a part of it, despite your vast disagreements and questions. I do understand why, but I eventually left anyway. I got tired of defending and justifying my doubts to myself. I started doing research into church history, bible history, other religions’ experiences, the logic of Jesus as messiah…. Everything. It all pointed in one direction: that this system of belief is a lovely, culturally supported fairy tale. It was so hard to cut my ties, and so hard to put my spiritual feet back on solid ground, but now that my transition is complete, I truly feel so free! I encourage you all to look with a skeptical eye, more deeply into what we’ve been taught is the Truth. You may be surprised, it may be a lonely, painful journey, but it’s so worth it. May you all find true freedom….
I agree with you completely, Teresa. I am still transitioning out, but each step is easier than the last. It is truly unbelievable what happiness you can find when you are not tying yourself in knots over all the things you “should” be doing, thinking, believing and being. I should have done it long ago.
Oh, I wish you the same peace and fullness that I have found, dear sister.
My husband has asked me the same question, too. Although I have a wavering testimony of the ‘Church’, I can’t ignore the peace I feel when I attend sacrament meeting. I learned the simple truths of the Gospel in this church, and so far, I can’t toss it away because of other teachings and behaviors from leaders and members that drive me bonkers.
Oh, I just can’t not answer you! Obviously this subject is so dear to my heart… Just a little comment to the peace you feel when you attend a meeting, I know exactly what you’re talking about! But I feel compelled to mention a different aspect of that peace: it is a universal human feeling when doing many different religious practices. Buddhists feel that same peace, so do Hindus, Muslims, wiccans, Catholics… And it’s just as genuine and deep for them as it for you. It’s not a Heavenly Father or Mother or Saviour or Spirit. It’s chemicals in our brains that are responsible for that feeling of peace. I know some would say I’m straight from the devil for saying that, (I promise I’m not) but it’s the real Truth. And that peace can be found in many ways, which I’m so grateful for 🙂
I like your comment about finding peace. I don’t understand all the sources of peace, but any way a person can find it, it’s sure a good thing.
I completely understand how hard it is to be a feminist, and yet still love the gospel. For a long time, like you I dealt with those issues, and stayed. But as time went on, I finally found my way out. I now attend a nondenominational Christian church where there are female leaders, where mothers can bless their babies, and gay couples can hold each other’s hands and feel welcome. I thought I would never find anything to replace the LDS Church, but I did!!! I have never been happier!!! Because now I can follow Christ, and not constantly fight the issues that the LDS Church brought upon me. I finally feel free. I hope you find that perfect happiness one day.
I stay in the church because after I read the Book of Mormon I paryed to God and asked if the book was true. The result of that prayerful question was an undeniable witness from the Holy Spirit that the Book of Mormon was true. I have never felt anything like that experience before and have only felt so limited times since. Yes I feel peace at church but thats not the same feeling I felt when my prayers were answered as I searched for the truth. I don’t stay because I feel peace at church, I stay because I had a special experience when communicating with God and I can’t deny it. I know my prayer was answered and I know the Book of Mormon is true. That is why I stay. I don’t agree with everything said and done at church, but I don’t go or not go because of others. I go because I had my own witness of the truth. Thats it.