not in Primary anymore

sunday spotlight: katrina

Sunday Spotlight is a series where we profile individuals in the Young Mormon Feminists community to hear their stories and get to know them a little better through Q&A or their personal narratives. This week we talked with Katrina.

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I was born of goodly parents 31 years ago in Bountiful, Utah. (I guess that makes me an old lady around here!) My dad joined the church at 19 and my mom came from an inactive family, so my parents were forging a new path when they married in the temple and had me 10 months later. I grew up in Ohio going to church every Sunday. I loved church. I always had great friends at church, and I loved singing and public speaking. Although there weren’t a lot of Mormons in the areas I lived, I always felt this just made my testimony stronger. I never doubted the truthfulness of the Gospel.

At 18, I went to BYU where I studied broadcast journalism. I enjoyed BYU but often rolled my eyes at some of the weirdness of Utah and BYU culture. I enjoyed my major and felt it was something “practical” that would lead to a fulfilling career, but I always felt that the most important thing I could do was to get married and have a family. I managed to make it out of Provo unmarried and moved to Salt Lake where I worked in television news. A few months later, I met the man who would become my husband via the wonders of an online dating site. Who knew that shit really worked, right?!

After we got engaged, I rather happily (all you young feminists should gasp now) gave up my career and moved across the country to North Carolina where my husband was in grad school. I had become disillusioned with tv news and was in love and very happy to have an excuse to do something else. I ended up working temp jobs at the university until the birth of my first baby.

The birth of my son transformed me in profound ways. I truly felt that I was finally “filling the measure of my creation”. Being a mother was everything I had dreamed it would be and more. It came very naturally to me. I was thrilled to spend my days with my baby. It was at this time that I also finally had the time to work on photography – something that I had always been interested in. I saved up and bought my first “fancy” camera and spent hours photographing my son, and eventually paying clients as well.

Fast forward a couple years– we had moved back to Utah, and I was preparing for the birth of my second baby. I had become a passionate advocate for birth choice and breastfeeding rights. I gave birth to my daughter at home and it was the most incredible experience of my life. Intense, peaceful, miraculous, and grounding. I realized that all women deserve to have choices in where and how they give birth. It didn’t take much to expand that choice to all areas of our bodies and health. One day I realized, “Oh! I am a feminist!”

I then turned this new feminist lens on the Church. I read Carol Lynn Pearson’s play “Mother Wove the Morning” and it forever changed me. My eyes were suddenly open to all the ways that the church was a “man’s church”. I finally saw the patriarchy I had been swimming in my whole life. I began searching for Heavenly Mother and reading about and discussing many of problematic aspects church history, doctrine, and culture. I took things off my shelf and examined them. I found other people who were questioning as well and realized there was a whole community of Mormon feminists online. In 2011, I started a feminist book group here in Salt Lake so that I could find people to discuss all these things with in real life. I found many like minded sisters right in my own valley.

My feminism eventually became incompatible with church participation. I felt wounded every time I attended and worried about the messages being sent to my children. I gave myself permission to let go. I gave myself permission to step back. And I found peace.

I have remained active in “fringe Mormonism” despite my unorthodox ways. I am and will always be Mormon. It is how I was raised. It is in my blood. My ancestors crossed the plains and were some of the first into the Salt Lake valley. I am grateful for them. I am grateful for all the ways this church forged me. I am also grateful that my journey has taken me to where I am now. I love the person I am and the person I am becoming.

Katrina is the creator of the photography project Mormon Women Bare. You can find more of her work at katrinabanderson.com

 

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