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 Amy.
Hi, I’m Amy. I’ve been blessed with 29 beautiful, crazy, intense years Earthside. Like many of the YMF crowd, I was raised in a loving home where Mormonism was intertwined through every part of my being. My mother was a convert to the Church and my father from pioneer ancestry. My childhood was mostly peaceful and comforting. We had an incredible ward family and a great youth support system. I was incredibly lucky to be raised among individuals who lived their lives and their faith with love and valor.
When I went away to university, I had no idea the transformation that would take place in my mind and in my heart. I had always wanted an education “just in case,” but quickly found myself absolutely in love with new ideas and ways of seeing the world. One of the most defining moments of my life happened in an acting class. Our instructor put on “Angels in America.” As I witnessed the first same-sex couple of my life on screen, I walked out the door. As I sat in the hall, feeling overwhelmed, embarrassed, and overall righteously indignant, the instructor, a man I felt so much respect, affinity, and connection to, came out and talked with me. What transpired was a life-altering conversation. He talked to me about my faith, about homosexuality, about loving human relationships.
He asked, “What do you believe about gay people?”
I responded, “My church believes it’s sinful.”
Professor: “I didn’t ask what your church believes, I asked what YOU believe.”
I was silent. I had no idea. I had never considered that I might have a thought or belief that was contrary to what I was taught on Sundays.
Professor: “I ask because, well, I’m gay.”
I was shocked. I had such incredible respect for this man. I had often felt what I attributed to be the Spirit while in his course and in his presence. I was absolutely dumbfounded. How could someone so “sinful” be so incredible? How could he possibly be considered less-than, simply because of who he loved?
I credit this day as the beginning of my feminist awakening. It was the first day that I learned to search within my heart, to ask important and soul-searching questions, to know what Amy—not her faith community, not her parents, not anyone else, but Amy—what did she think/feel/know/believe?
From that moment on, I’ve always felt a tugging in my heart, an endless struggle of the soul, between what sits right in my heart and what I am taught should be there. The majority of my life has been shaped by my faith in Mormonism, from my temple wedding to my choice to put my aspirations of a music career behind me to become a stay-at-home mother. But I have learned to hear and listen to that inner voice that tells me what is right, even if it seems to be unorthodox or undesired in the Mormon community.
I am deeply bound to Mormonism through birth and through what I feel to be a personal calling to be among the Saints. I also feel bound to listen to that inner voice, the one that tells me there is more in store for the women of the Church and that tells me the work and advocacy I participate in is right with my God. I know that my advocacy for the ordination of women to the priesthood, my support of marriage equality, and my continuing questioning of doctrine and history often makes me unpopular, and even at times undesired, within the Mormon community. To be honest, sometimes I miss “fitting in” and almost wish I could just put all my questions, concerns, and heartstrings on the backburner or “on the shelf,” but I am forever grateful for the journey through which my faith and my feminism have taken me.