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 Mica McGriggs.
Who are you and what are you up to?
My name is Mica, and I am a 3rd year PhD candidate in Counseling Psychology at BYU. I fill many roles as a part of my program: student, researcher, therapist, instructor, and examiner. In short, I keep very busy. My academic work is primarily in the field of multicultural sensitivity in psychology; my dissertation is on ADHD and working memory. Persons with disabilities (especially learning and/or attention disorders) are not the first group that is thought of in regards to multiculturalism; however, persons with disabilities are a protected class. Ability privilege is alive and well. Conducting research with the potential to make life easier for people with ADHD is exciting and fulfilling.
When I am not on campus I enjoy life to the fullest. I love for my weekends to be filled with family, friends, and fun. I can usually be found at a local farmers market, museum/gallery, theatre production, concert, festival, or shopping mall. I love learning and spend a lot of time attending conferences and academic lectures, as well as listening to lists of podcasts! If I am feeling extra adventurous you can find me at the lake in the summer or skiing in the winter.
I have a passion for travel and have seen/visited many countries, and several of the beautiful United States. Let me soak up local culture and come away more developed and understanding. A quote by Victoria Erickson articulates my feelings on travel perfectly – “Let’s not travel to tick things off a list or collect halfhearted semi-treasures to be placed in dusty drawers in empty rooms. Rather we’ll travel to find grounds and rooftops and tiny hidden parks, where we’ll sit and dismiss passing time, spun in the city’s web ‘til we’ve surrendered, content to be spent and consumed. I need to feel a place while I’m in it.”
What makes you a Mormon?
Besides my love for funeral potatoes…Mormonism is my history and my home – I was born here, raised here and am here for the long haul. My mom grew up in Montana, she attended church in her small town’s post office, primary school gym, bank, and even the local bar. A building can’t be built until a quota of consistent member attendance is met, thus her tiny branch agreed to clean up the beer bottles from Saturday night at the bar if they could hold Sacrament on Sunday. During those years of church being held in random locations in town, my grandparents home-taught 40 families every month, 10 families were visited each Sunday afternoon. My grandparents served, cared for, and eventually reactivated these families. A building was built. This town of around 1,000 people now has an LDS chapel and thriving branch. I love this story, I love that this is part of my family history. The gospel of Jesus Christ is pretty great, and has been delivered to me in a “Mormon package.” While I see flaws in my church, I still love it.
What makes you a feminist?
I was born a feminist. I was born with a desire for independence and equity. I have always strived to have a life where I am in control of me and respected by others. I didn’t know that I was a feminist until college; that word had a negative connotation in my mind, attached to it was misunderstanding and stereotype. Once I understood that the things I wanted were things feminism fights for, I embraced the title completely. I want equity, and justice, human rights, fair treatment, and the ability to openly experience the full spectrum of emotion for both women and men, as well as for all disadvantaged groups. I see myself as a womanist concerned with intersectionality and restorative justice.
What makes you a Mormon feminist?
I am concerned with the intersection of Mormonism and feminism. I see the systemic and organizational patriarchy and hierarchy in the Church. As Kate Kelly so eloquently articulated, equality is not a feeling, but a fact. The facts are in front of us, and it is vital that the members become aware and work with leaders to improve the “ship of Zion.” Harriet Tubman once said, “I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” There is a need to educate our people about the patriarchy in our organization and how it holds us back from truly meeting our potential to be Christ-like. I believe in order to truly become like Christ I must love as he loved, which was perfect and all inclusive. Not an easy task, but I’m working on it, and feminism helps.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In ten years I see myself living in a diverse city with my career as a licensed psychologist in a stable and fulfilling place. I see myself advocating, teaching, and mentoring. I see my book (currently in the works) published and selling. I hope I will have found a life partner who is a feminist and Christ-like man who can handle all the crazy ambition that is me haha. I see myself traveling, finding new grounds and roof tops to experience.
Any parting words for us?
Learn. Be open to discourse. Recognize privilege. Check your bias. Practice loving the intolerant. Accept all truth.