Comments on: A Few Things The Intersection of Design & Motherhood Fri, 29 Aug 2014 03:19:27 +0000 hourly 1 By: Design Mom Design Mom Mon, 17 Dec 2012 09:30:12 +0000 Hi Tori. I’ve read your comment a few times — there’s a lot packed in there — and I hope I’ve understood it. (I’ll be embarrassed if I missed the mark.)

It sounds like you’re totally on board with divisive/angsty topics being talked about in church, but you don’t like the way this movement was organized.

You bring up several topics that I was actually surprised by. You mention not knowing of any disenfranchised members. I have to say, I thought I had misread your sentence at first because I know of many, many disenfranchised members. They’ve commented on this very post. They’ve sent me emails. They’ve posted on facebook. They pull me aside in the hallway at church to cry on my shoulder. They’re not hard to find. Are you sure you don’t know any?

I was also totally surprised by your last paragraph about equality. When I read: “And who doesn’t agree with equality? Certainly not me.” I actually gasped. Hah! Because so many people who are troubled by this pants-wearing are indeed against equality, and they will tell you so. They seem to believe that inequality in our church is foreordained. I don’t agree with them. And it sounds like you don’t either. Perhaps you are on board with the pants-wearers and you don’t even know it. : )

By: Design Mom Design Mom Mon, 17 Dec 2012 09:17:28 +0000 “I feel like the negativity with which this peaceful show of opinion and support was received only validates the importance of these issues.”

I think that’s where I’ve ended up as well. The reaction was the validation.

By: Design Mom Design Mom Mon, 17 Dec 2012 09:16:32 +0000 Hi Miggy, the concept of “putting women on a pedestal” is deeply troubling to me. By putting a woman on a pedestal to be admired or worshipped, we are objectifying her and making her less than human. We’re also making her powerless to help or contribute other than by being beautiful to look upon, because there’s essentially nothing she can do from that little pedestal but stand there and be stared at or ignored. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, putting women on a pedestal is actually a very anti-woman thought. And if we examine it, it’s not doctrinally sound. We know that women are not more spiritual/important/worthy than men. We know that men are not more spiritual/important/worthy than women.

I’m glad you’ve never experienced the feeling of being less thqn at church. I’m probably one of the most confident people you know and pretty much never feel less than, but many, many women at church do. And we need to take their pain seriously, because they’re leaving in droves. The numbers will break your heart.

And I do hope you get a chance to read the comments! There’s a lot of good conversation here and I imagine you might find it insightful.

By: Design Mom Design Mom Mon, 17 Dec 2012 09:06:19 +0000 Hey, Friends! Monday has arrived and I’ve got work to do, so I’m going to close the comments now — sadly, I won’t have time today to monitor them and respond.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for maintaining a respectful tone in your comments and conversation here. I can’t tell you how much it means to me.

P.S. — If you’re craving additional uplifting conversation on the topic, read the comments on this post. So calm and sweet! They will melt your heart and make you weep. And this wrap-up was nice too!

By: Kari Kari Mon, 17 Dec 2012 04:51:33 +0000 This doesn’t look like it’s going to post under your comment, but this is the only place to click reply! So sorry if our conversation gets out of order.

I hope I’ll be able to explain my thoughts clearly. I’ve been reading about this topic for days, so my thoughts and feelings are coming from various sources. (Plus I’m doing this on an iPad, so this is trickier than cutting and pasting on a computer!)

I will start at the beginning. Stephanie Lauritzen, one of the founders, if not the main one, wrote a blog post about it that rubbed me the wrong way. This was written right before it all “went down,” I think. Here’s one of many parts that rubbed me the wrong way:

“Can you imagine what would happen if the Mormon Feminist movement stopped playing nice? If faithful, devoted women stood as Silent Sentinels outside the gates of the Church Office Building. If the women who loved the church enough to face accusations of apostasy and potential excommunication organized a sit-out, so that one Sunday no Mormon Feminists came to church.”

Then later she mentions starting revolutions. Let me know if you’d like me to explain why I don’t like those parts of her post or if you see where I’m coming from. The link to that post is:

Next! To explain who All Enlisted is, it is just the name of the group behind the event. I read on that this event will be the first of…we will see how many! Here’s a quote:

“Both women said that All Enlisted’s goal is to organize acts of peaceful resistance to gender inequality — hopefully, “Wear Pants to Church Day” will just be the first — and that they wanted to start small by confronting a cultural norm instead of some of the larger issues Mormon women face.”

Like I said in my previous comment, I’m not sure that I like where this could go. So all I can do it wait and see. Here’s the link to that article, although I’m not sure it is a post worth reading:

I have a few other thoughts regarding where they may be hoping to go with this (based off of several comments on their Facebook page, so I’m not totally sure if All Enlisted totally agrees with this or if it is just other women ), which is regarding women and the priesthood. I know it’s a topic that is out there, and it just opens a whole new thing about believing prophets and stuff like that. So I won’t quite go there.

Hopefully I’ve made some sense here. Such a complicated issue!

By: Ashley Hallett Ashley Hallett Mon, 17 Dec 2012 04:15:40 +0000 Can I just say, what a relief!
Before the shocking news of the tragedy hit, I was having my own world rocked with a tiny facebook post of my own on the pants issue. To me, it comes down to this- eiter we CAN or we CAN’T. The leaders have said CAN, so I really, really don’t understand the backlash. My facebook exploded with venom from people I either consider friends or at the very least am generally on good terms with. Real venom. It shocks me how quickly I was turned upon. And my spirituality questioned. and my Personal worthiness began to be backhandedly scrutinized.

Over the years my husband and I have realized that we have no real friends in our church. They are situational friends. they are only ‘friend-ly’. But the minute you see something differently (not even nessicarily redically or against doctrine or anything outside the box like that… just socially different) You are No Longer Part of The Group. It has been painful. The minute your life does not conform to the societal norms around here you are not to be trusted and the callings stop. The friendships stop. And you are suddenly alone in a place that used to feel like home.

I have not been to church in maybe 6 months for, well, a lot of reasons. My husband is becoming a pilot and the schedule does not match up with mormon standard life. Though we told everyone, we have faded into ‘someone they used to know’ This is not the first time this has happened because of a schedule, illness, or family trip.

Why? We have both been life long members, worthy. Husband is a friendly RM, we are both college educated. married in the temple. 2.5 kids.
And yet now. Now I am a radical because I have asserted that gender is still an issue… and that I’d really much prefer to wear pants. Especially while pregnant!

If we, as sisters can turn on each others and spew venom that quickly, and the men can turn and dismiss us with a curt “I think this conversation is innapropriate and should stop” (yeah. really.) Then, well, I think they have only given real substance and validity to the issue. Clearly, we have some things to really discuss.

By: Celeste Celeste Mon, 17 Dec 2012 03:12:00 +0000 This comment thread has been eye-opening. The horrible, negative comments and wonderful alike.

Since I was 16-years-old and told it was my place to support the boys rather than work/serve as they do, the issue of women’s roles in the church has left me with a painful mistrust for church leaders. As I’ve learned about the history of women in the church, that mistrust has deepened. It has been a difficult journey to where I am now.

Though I have signed petitions, read anything about feminism in the LDS Church I could get my hands on, attended forums and had many, many discussions about the topic, I could not get on board with this particular platform. I felt it was impossible to get empirical evidence of participation, the purpose of it wasn’t as clearly defined as I would have liked and I wasn’t sure of how seriously general authorities would take such a novel approach. Petitions, conferences and such feel more effective to me.

Now that the opportunity is past, part of me feels regret. Part of me feels I made the right decision (I taught Relief Society on an already-touchy subject and felt that any negative feelings toward me would harm the spirit of the class).

With all that said (I think I’m wandering) I feel like the negativity with which this peaceful show of opinion and support was received only validates the importance of these issues.

By: Tracy Tracy Mon, 17 Dec 2012 02:55:26 +0000 My daughter told me about this too late for me to do anything or I might have taken the trouble to get a kilt and wear it in solidarity. The ironic thing is that, in my own little protest against cultural norms, I haven’t worn a white shirt and seldom a tie ever since I heard one bishop say that a white shirt and tie were the “uniform of the priesthood.” Yuck, talk about marching in lockstep. Yet today, for a whim, I decided to dress up in a suit and tie. However, the shirt was a lovely dark blue shade.

By: Miggy Miggy Mon, 17 Dec 2012 02:45:35 +0000 ps–I LOVE what Kathryn said above about reaching out to someone we don’t know or who looks a little ‘different.’ That would be a real force for change and good.

By: Miggy Miggy Mon, 17 Dec 2012 02:41:14 +0000 I haven’t read all the comments, but here is my take.

I honestly can’t identify with this issue of feeling ‘less than’ in the church. More often than not I have felt that women are put on a pedestal. We lead, we hold callings, meetings, and many other things without a man present. (I say that because in one article I saw someone say women can’t even hold a meeting without a man being present. Not True). I have however felt the world telling me that I SHOULD feel slighted because we are encouraged to stay home with our children where possible, and because we can’t hold the priesthood. But I personally have never felt this burden.

That being said I get that some woman have felt this way. I get that some people wrestle with gender inequality in the church.

Of course I believe in gender equality. I do, but I’m not sure I see it in the way that these sisters see it. And I could not for the life of me grasp what this group was trying to accomplish. (We do not seek to eradicate the differences between women and men, but we do want the LDS church and its members to acknowledge the similarities. We believe that much of the cultural, structural, and even doctrinal inequality that persists in the LDS church today stems from the church’s reliance on – and enforcement of – rigid gender roles that bear no relationship to reality.) Which inequalities? What rigid gender roles are they talking about? The Priesthood, women staying home to raise children? Which ones do they think are doctrinal vs. cultural? I might agree or I might really disagree depending on what exactly they were talking about.

Finally, pants at church seems to miss the mark for me. While we are not told what to wear specifically other than “our Sunday best” I think for many of us dresses and skirts are our Sunday best. I don’t think this is a Mormon thing. When seeing woman walk the red carpet or other events where you wear your ‘best’ they are usually in dresses or gowns. I would say it is a widespread cultural norm (at least in the west) that dresses are ‘fancier’ than pants. That being said, I’ve lived in many, many wards where woman and girls regularly wore pants and no one batted an eye. At the end of the day we’re just glad they’re there, and often they are wearing their best…which happens to be pants. I would not and do not think twice about a woman wearing pants to church. But for me, I would have felt that I was not respecting the Lord’s house by not wearing what I know to be “my best.”

Lastly, as I read what people were posting online all I saw was decisiveness and a little snobbery on both sides of the fence. People posting their choice via instragram with comments along the “you go girl!” line while others posting a proverbial shaking of their heads. Like Dr. Suess I was finding it to be a very “stars upon thars” thing that distracted from the real purpose of Church (worshipping and renewing covenants) and whether intentional or not, seemed to create more divisions than anything else.

At the end of the day, while I wholeheartedly believe in gender equality, this particular movement was not something I could identify with. And while I don’t think encouraging people to wear pants was wrong, it just misses the mark for me. CS Lewis said “Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim and earth and you get neither.” For me, this was an “aim at earth” idea.

By: Melissa Walsh Melissa Walsh Mon, 17 Dec 2012 02:31:35 +0000 I found them to be beautiful, amazing, and uplifting!

By: Lindsey Lindsey Mon, 17 Dec 2012 01:53:38 +0000 Jennifer, I can totally identify with you! I have been going through the same thing. Don’t give up! The church needs people like you. I’m finding out that there are more people going through a faith crisis right now than we realize and we all need to talk about it together. So don’t give up! I’m trying not to. :)

I would have worn pants, but our family was all home sick today.

By: Victoria W Victoria W Sun, 16 Dec 2012 23:23:30 +0000 Julie, I’ve never experienced any rudeness with regard to my clothing or my beliefs, but I know that expectations of me as a non-member are different. It’s because of the love of my husband and his family and their full acceptance of me, regardless of my faith, that I’m open to this church as a possibility. They are an excellent example of the best the Mormon church has to offer.
I sooooo love all the conversations taking place on this page. I’ve rarely seen such respectful discussions. I usually avoid religious debate as it can turn sour so quickly, but I’m glad to see that’s not always the case.

By: tori tori Sun, 16 Dec 2012 23:08:36 +0000 You are right, Gabrielle, wearing slacks to church it is not against any church doctrine. We often have women who choose to wear pants in our congregation. They are welcome and treated kindly. However, in this specific instance, women have been asked by All Enlisted to wear pants as a statement. If they do not usually wear pants, they are being asked to “start a dialogue”, in the words of the organization’s founder, with a silent demonstration at sacrament meeting.

Ms. Lauritezen’s motivation is as follows:

“The gender norms that exist within the church aren’t necessarily doctrinal gender norms but they’re just cultural and so we do want to challenge that a little bit and say there’s others way to be Mormon,” said Lauritezen. “I think we need to go towards equality. I think that’s where we need to be going. I think that’s where we are going and All Enlisted is a way to keep that movement going.”

She is correct. Some of the gender norms aren’t necessarily doctrinal. And I would agree that the wearing of skirts v. slacks to church is one of those. If Ms. Lauritezen, or anyone else, wants to wear slacks to church, please do. However, in calling on like-minded women church-wide to wear pants to the meeting where we partake of the emblems of Christ’s sacrifice and renew our covenants with Him, she turns the meeting into a demonstration. I would be curious to know how many participating women were distracted in their worship of the Savior today by this utterly silly pretension during the sacrament? And those that participated, did they dress their daughters in slacks as well and explain to them that they were all going to take a stand today against misguided cultural norms? Please. What Mormon cultural norm will we protest next week during the sacrament? Take your pick. There are plenty to choose from. Many that I feel pretty strongly about.

I’m curious…who are the disenfranchised you speak of? I honestly do not know who they are or how wearing pants to sacrament meeting helps them. Perhaps you can explain.

Regarding whether my voice is sufficiently authentic in terms of “divisiveness”…that is a sticky wicket, isn’t it? I do happen to agree with church leaders that some political issues touch on doctrine, and I understand that the GA’s are compelled to address them. I also understand that some of those matters of doctrine that touch on political issues can be painful for many members. I have had my fair share over the years, but I have always considered that to be my problem, not the church leadership’s. After all, I am always free to go where I will not encounter that sort of conflict. I’m afraid that the First Presidency will continue to speak out on political issues that they feel overlap with church doctrine. We will need to content ourselves with their not endorsing political candidates.

Non-political doctrine can be painful/hard to understand for members as well and create a sense of conflict and disunity between the individual and the church as well as the individual and God. That doesn’t mean that the topics can or should always be avoided. I, for one, would welcome more discussion regarding Joseph Smith and polygamy. I don’t see that discussion as being divisive, but it certainly would be fraught with angst. Either way, isn’t it comparing apples with oranges? Cultural norms v. Joseph Smith and the new and everlasting covenant of marriage with all of its attendant baggage? And doesn’t the comparison trivialize the more weighty matters?

Speaking of more weighty matters, Ms. Lauritezen’s beef isn’t really cultural norms, is it? Her agenda is really “equality”. And who doesn’t agree with equality? Certainly not me. But how does she not feel equal? She really doesn’t elucidate. And I doubt that wearing pants will heal her feelings of church-induced inferiority.

By: Design Mom Design Mom Sun, 16 Dec 2012 23:06:58 +0000 Oh man, our Mormon defense muscle is strong! Even when we’re not actually being attacked, we come out fighting. : )

By: Design Mom Design Mom Sun, 16 Dec 2012 23:03:28 +0000 Yes! The pants are silk with some beading on the top. I’ve had them for almost a decade and I always feel glamorous when I wear them.

I too wish you had known other people who had struggled with their faith when you were going through your faith crisis. I’ve come to realize it’s much more common than we like to think.

It’s wonderful to hear you’re in an awesome place now. Sounds like a good place to be!

By: Design Mom Design Mom Sun, 16 Dec 2012 22:59:54 +0000 Kisses to you Apryl!

By: Design Mom Design Mom Sun, 16 Dec 2012 22:59:03 +0000 Hi Eliza. I really enjoyed reading your train of thought! I’ll bet it reflected the thoughts of many women as they heard about this for the first time.

I hope you find a comfortable place to settle your thoughts as you ponder the questions. I just exchanged emails with a woman who is so upset about this movement she can’t think of much else. So tough!

And speaking of long hair or hippie hair, I hope we can get over our Mormon aversion to facial hair too! : ) Ben Blair has been sporting his beard for just over a year now and I find it so handsome. I would miss it like crazy if he was asked to shave!

By: Design Mom Design Mom Sun, 16 Dec 2012 22:53:18 +0000 So interesting, Jennifer. I think people would be shocked at how many families that appear to be perfect LDS examples are undergoing faith crises right now. And I wish I could tell you that church is a safe haven for you to voice your concerns. I know it’s not. And I know it should be. And hopefully you saw some pants wearers today that you might feel comfortable opening up to.

I feel like the internet changed everything. Parts of our history that have been previously shushed are now out in the open. I personally think we will continue to lose members at a high frequency unless we learn to talk openly about the really hard stuff.

By: Design Mom Design Mom Sun, 16 Dec 2012 22:46:06 +0000 Hah! I love that. I remember being hugely pregnant as the primary chorister and talking about the upcoming baby during music time — then realizing they hadn’t noticed my belly at all.