"Queen of Heaven" by Gustave Dore
Feminist and Mormon
My journey towards accepting the label “feminist” kicked into high gear when I read Carol Lynn Pearson’s “Mother Wove the Morning”. It is a one woman play she wrote in which she performs 16 women throughout history in search of the female face of God. I was so very moved by this play. It is not hyperbole when I say that it has changed my life. I highly recommend reading it if you can get a copy and at least read the introduction here. Having my eyes opened to how we live in a “Motherless house” as Pearson says catapulted me on this quest for understanding about women in my Church and society in general.
I also discovered Mormon Stories which has made me much more aware of the history and issues regarding women in the Church. My husband and I have loved listening to these podcasts. There are many topics covered and we’ve had some wonderful discussions about them all.
I’m not the only Mormon woman discovering her feminist identity these days. There has been a resurgence of late among Mormon women who self-identify as feminists. Thanks in large part to the wonder of the internet, Mormon women are connecting and discussing women’s issues in ways they couldn’t easily do before. As I’ve discovered this online community, I feel my soul expanding and my mind stretching in new ways. I feel a wonderful sense of sisterhood with my fellow Saints. I feel like I am looking at the world through new eyes.
Just last week, Patheos.com hosted an online symposium on Mormon Feminism which I linked to in a previous post. Kathryn Soper wrote an articulate and thoughtful article on the convergence of Mormonsim and Feminism. She expressed so well much of what I feel on this topic. I could quote so much of it, but you should just go read it. Really. And if you have time read the responses. They are great too.
Other great online resources in this Mormon Feminist movement are the Exponent II, WAVE, and Feminist Mormon Housewives. And while we are speaking about Mormon women, I just have to mention again the Mormon Women Project which showcases Mormon women from a vast array of background and circumstances. It is not a “feminist” project per se, but it shows the diversity among Mormon women and is an amazing example of what women are doing with their talents. I also love Segullah, a literary journal and blog written by women that explores all the facets of life as an LDS woman. I’ve been reading it for years. Kathryn Soper just happens to be founder and editor.
Being a Mormon Feminist can be challenging because aspects of Mormon doctrine, culture, and practice can be at odds with feminist ideals. And yet we are the only Christian denomination that teaches we have a Heavenly Mother. Knowing she exists is an amazing comfort. As I’ve been pondering about her more and more lately, I have felt both joy and sadness. Joy as I’ve felt the Spirit manifest to me that I have a Mother who loves me and whom I can strive to be like. But extreme sadness that we ignore her. We don’t speak of her. We don’t pray to her. How sad it must be for her that her children have mostly forgotten her.
I want to remember.
Tomorrow-- Part 3, Feminist and Mother