not in Primary anymore

sunday spotlight: kathryn

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 Kathryn.

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I’m Kathryn. I’m 23 years old. I was born and raised in a small Appalachian town. I have degrees in Political Science and Communication. I’m currently working for a local non-profit. I love storytelling, Mormon bloggers, warm biscuits, and old gospel songs.

I’m a Mormon…

Because Mormonism is my home. It is my first language of spirituality. This faith is weird, but beautiful. It is challenging, but life-changing. Growing-up Mormon taught me that nothing good comes without hard work. I’m a Mormon because it was through my faith that I first learned about eternity and Heaven and I’m rather fond of the Heaven we teach about. This religion taught me how to recognize Divinity- in the world, in myself, in others. Even when it is has been difficult to hold onto all parts of my faith, it has been the teachings most particular to Mormonism to which I continuously cling.

I’m a feminist…

Because it never occurred to me that there were jobs women couldn’t do. I was raised around empowered, educated women- lawyers, scholars, and doctors. I knew that women could do those jobs because I saw women doing those jobs. I’m a feminist because as a child, I wrote about women for every report and every project. Even at the age of 8 or 9, I felt a great desire to give voice to the stories of magnificent women who had been pushed aside by history. When I was 20, I read When Everything Changed by Gail Collins for an ethics class. Her stories of the changing lives of American women were exactly what I spent so much of my childhood wishing someone would share with me. I left the class with a clearer understanding of feminism. Even though I didn’t always know it, I think I have always been a feminist.

I’m a Mormon Feminist…

Because once I started labeling myself as a feminist, I wondered how that would affect my faith. In reality, it was already affecting my faith. Church had become harder and harder and I often found myself wondering why I put myself through such turmoil on a weekly basis. I was riddled with difficult, big, confusing questions that I was too scared to ask. I felt alone and forgotten inside my faith community. I was wary of going to the internet for help, but one day, by accident, I came across an interview with Joanna Brooks. I was so fascinated by her outspokenness about the hard parts of being Mormon and her identity as an unorthodox Mormon feminist was intriguing to me. I went Ask Mormon Girl, and I poured through the letters, weeping on the floor of my bedroom until the early morning. Finally. Finally someone was saying exactly what was inside my soul. I wasn’t the only person in the world to feel like this! It was a revelation. I found more and more wonderful writers and thinkers of Mormon feminist thought. The work Mormons all across the internet were doing to make the church bigger was such a relief. It felt like hundreds of women wrapped their arms around my shaking spirit and said “You can stay. We need you here. You can stay.” Mormon feminism taught me that I don’t have to hold on to the painful parts of the Church. Mormon feminism taught me that “all are alike unto God” and taught me what that really means—that we have the same potential and access to salvation as anyone else; regardless of race, gender, or anything else that mankind uses to classify and discriminate. Mormon feminism gave me the vocabulary of faith transitions, and the resources to keep my faith transition from becoming a total collapse. Mormon feminism introduced me to a world of hard-working Mormon women who know that nothing good comes without effort, and that sometimes the hardest work you will ever do is save your own testimony. 

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