Sunday, June 22, 2014

#OrdainWomen It Feels Personal

On the topic of Ordain Women. I'm angry and hurting, and trying to figure out where the emotions are coming from and why.
It feels personal. Every attack on Kate Kelly and to some extent John Dehlin feels personal: like I am the one they are talking about. 

Up until a couple weeks ago, I had followed Ordain Women, but didn't really care to add much to the conversation. Be compassionate. Understand what they are saying and don't jump to your conclusions about what they want or who they are. I didn't feel the need to share my own feelings or even have my own feelings. 

Today, I am so angry and upset, I hurt. I feel sad for Kate. She will probably be excommunicated tonight. The process seems unfair for a woman who loves the church and wants to be a part of it as much as she does. I feel like I must mention her, even though my pain really has nothing to do with Kate any more. 
Like I said. It's personal.

I understand that not every Mormon woman is oppressed and voiceless. There are many women who are very happy with the way things are. AND the current system is definitely a breeding place for a voiceless and oppressed woman to get her start. It's where I learned to be voiceless. It's where and how I learned that it was okay to abuse and use me, and there was nothing I could do about it. And I can't help wondering how different my life would have been if the system was different. 

If women had the priesthood and were taught they were equal in authority... The night with Johnny, the Elder's Quorum president, would have gone differently. I did nothing that night, because I believed I had no right. 

If women had the priesthood and were taught they were equal in authority, my marriage to Larry would have been so different. 

Recently, on a Facebook page someone posted a picture of black men in the fifties and compared Ordain Women to civil rights. There was some backlash saying, "They aren't even close to the same thing. A few women wish they could bless their child compared to men and women that were beaten and raped."

Maybe for some, it is just a desire to bless a child, but the inequality runs much, much deeper than that. For me. If I had had the priesthood and been told I was equal to my husband, rather than being reminded of my temple covenants to obey my husband... I can't even finish the thought. If there had been women leaders. If there had been more than the bishops that gave me fucked up advice. If I had had a voice and authority. If I hadn't believed all of the stupid shit about men and women and their roles. 
The story of inequality for ME included being beaten and raped. It included being voiceless, powerless, and feeling "less than". The inequality nearly killed me. 

I don't know for sure how different it would have been, but I know it would have been different. I have had to completely deconstruct my entire belief system, and that changed me. I am different. (I'm still deconstructing old beliefs and changing myself, but I can imagine how different it could have been.) If I had been taught and believed women had just as much authority and right to their own authority, I would have protected myself. 

So, everyone that talks about why Kate Kelly should shut up.... It feels personal. It feels like they want ME to shut up and take whatever the men in my life had to offer. All in the name of God.


  1. I am so sorry. There was no other recourse but to leave. Church becomes hostile territory.

    1. It does become hostile - not for everyone, but definitely for some. I don't think it has to be that way though. I want it to be different for the little Mormon girls in the future.

  2. I found my self feeling very depressed over Kate's situation as well. It's been years since I left the LDS Church, but woman who's experienced that patriarchal culture ever forgets what it was like and also, how hard it is to leave. As Kate says, Mormonism isn't something you wash off.

    1. And with all the people who referred to people like John, Joanna (Brooks) and Kate, and said, "They have found a way to stay, why can't you?" I really thought there was more room for people that didn't fit... and I thought things could be different faster. (Even if there was no way I was sticking around and waiting for it to happen).

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and finding your voice in so many different ways. I was thinking about your post that talked about how nice it is to be asked, even if you already know the other person will agree. I think that without the chance to think about it, and without a culture of consent, we give men whose natural inclination is to abuse, a few extra tools to not only be abusive but to feel righteous while doing so.

    I was talking with a friend recently, about what things might have been different for us, and that we want to see different for our daughters. At one point we asked, although it is a question without an answer, "How many women have been silenced who had the revelation to be a prophetess, the natural abilities to lead a stake and create a more Zion like place, who instead ended up beaten and bloody, being told to "Shut up!" with all the authority of the patriarchy behind it.

    We owe the generations that come after us, to be open, honest and willing to share our Mormon experiences. Whether we are still involved in the church dies not change that we have "skin in the game," even if that skin was peeled off us long ago.

    My love and respect, for all you have been through, and the wonderful woman who you are now. I am grateful that you are still fighting for yourself and those who are just girls, and need to know that they do not deserve to be treated as you were, and that they can demand respect. Thank you for your strength and sisterhood.