Friday, March 21, 2014

Enduring Women

I spent a few months really enjoying my regular church attendance, but for the last few weeks, I've been struggling to attend for various reasons. In fact, certain things (which I don't feel like I should share specifically) have made me nearly certain that my path should probably be heading out of the church again.

That is until a blog post I read today.

I've been known to say that "Satan is in the conflict." I specifically used that phrase at a meeting of people with differing views on navigating issues regarding same-sex-attraction within the Mormon church (at the circling the wagons conference exactly a month ago.)

But this time I refer to a different cause and a different conversation where people have very strong feelings and for some people, those feelings reveal themselves within written comments that are not at all Christ-like.

I did not specifically post about this last fall, because I consider myself an ally to this other group rather than one of the members. The group I refer to is represented at I did briefly refer to my experience in my post about wearing pants to church just a couple of months ago.

When one becomes of a liberal mind, especially within Mormonism, there is no way to avoid meeting other people who are also liberal, but sometimes with a different focus. While my own gateway is of course my passionate support of the LGBTQ community, I have become acquainted with many Mormon feminists in addition to those passionate about other various issues within LDS culture. So a friend talked me into attending the Ordain Women event, and while my daughter and I did attend and I enjoyed doing so, I also spent time avoiding the video cameras (because I am a little bit afraid of how publicly supporting such a controversial event could affect my job), and I actually felt very awkward asking for entrance into the priesthood session. I would have loved to attend as it is always my favorite one to read in the Ensign after the fact, but I knew what the answer would be, and I honestly felt bad for the man that had to handle the situation.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about the upcoming event to try again to attend the April priesthood session, and had not yet decided what I personally wanted to do to support it and my friends that feel strongly about the inequality of women within the church.

And then the church sent a letter this past Monday to Ordain Women, asking them not to "Protest" within the temple grounds, but instead in the free speech zones outside of temple square, if they must.

News of the letter hit Facebook, news articles in local and national papers, and many blogs. Comments have been very confrontational and demeaning. All of the turmoil was another reason for me to want to leave my religion behind me. There is so much that concerns me in the way that the church handles things sometimes, and then the way some of the members go crazy with it. I have tired of reading about it over the last few days. My department chair at school, to whom I mentioned my attendance at conference last fall, asked me a couple of days ago not to participate this time, that he did not feel good about my doing so. I had just barely changed my Facebook photo to the one supporting Ordain Women as seen above, but agreed with him that I was not sure I should actually attend the event.

Today a new blog post started circulating (, one containing dialogue from an interview with Chieko Okazaki--a former general Relief Society leader who wrote one of my favorite books ever: "Lighten up!"(1993) I always enjoyed listening to her speak in conference.

For some, this blog post and the information in contains may cause further separation and criticism for the church. But for me, it brought memories of this strong, amazing woman and her testimony. If she could endure some of the things that she did in her leadership position, and still maintain ties to the church because of her testimony, then maybe I can too.

Yes, I am still trying to figure out my path with regards to the church, and it might take my entire life to do so. Some might be critical of the ebb and flow of my support of and activity in the church. But I am following my own path, and I try not to judge others who follow their own path, and hope they will give me the same respect. I know some are just concerned for the conflict and unhappiness that it sometimes brings within me. I am too, but I'm sure there is something for me to learn from it, and I am only doing what my heart tells me to do. Meanwhile, Satan is in the conflict and the judgement of one another, and stops many from taking a Christ-like approach to conversing about topics on which they do not agree. All is not well in Zion, I'm afraid.