Wednesday, September 21, 2011

mormon feminist conference

Jared and I have gotten pretty involved in the liberal, progressive, whatever-you-want-to-call-it Mormon community the past year. We have met so many truly wonderful and inspiring people and made many dear friends. We are thrilled and honored that Margaret Toscano invited us to be on a panel at The Mormon Women's Forum Counterpoint Conference


The Mormon Women's Forum is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 that "encourages open and honest discussion among people with diverse opinions and promotes gender equity and social justice in the context of the worldwide Mormon community." The yearly conference explores issues related to Mormon feminism--something very important to me. That said, I am definitely intimidated to be on a panel! This isn't something I've ever done before. 


For those in Utah, I hope you'll consider coming. The keynote speaker is Eloise Bell, a retired BYU professor who is sure to be amazing! And the sessions are free! (Although donations are accepted.)



The Mormon Women’s Forum
Counterpoint Conference

October 8, 2011
Panorama East, Olpin Student Union
University of Utah

The Olpin Student Union is located on Central Campus Drive on the east side of campus; Panorama Room East is on the top floor, on the west side of the building. There is an adjacent parking lot, free on Saturday.

To encourage all to attend the conference, admittance is by donation. The lunch is $15 to cover costs.

9:00-10:30— “LGBT RIGHTS AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS: WORKING TOGETHER FOR EQUALITY”

Panelists:
Michael Ferguson, PhD candidate, Univ. of Utah, college of engineering–focus on neural imaging
Nadine Hansen, semi-retired attorney, grandmother of 7, feminist writer, and gay rights activist
Kendahl Millecam, stay-at-home parent, real food blogger, works w/ Phoenix Youth at Risk
Dominique Storni

10:45-12:15— “HIERARCHY, PRIESTHOOD, AND COMMUNITY: CAN WOMEN BE INCORPORATED INTO CHURCH LEADERSHIP?

Round Table Discussion:
Mary Ellen Robertson, director of outreach and symposia for Sunstone Education Foundation
Michael J. Stevens, professor of management & business admin., Weber State; Sunstone board
Paul Toscano, bankruptcy attorney, author of Sanctity of Dissent and Sacrament of Doubt
Margaret Toscano, feminist writer; assist. prof. of classics & comp. lit., Univ. of Utah

12:15-1:15– Lunch

1:30-2:30– Keynote Speaker & Recipient of the Mormon Women’s Forum 2011 Eve Award

ELOUISE BELL— Retired Professor of English, BYU; author of Only When I Laugh; one-woman show of Patty Bartlett Sessions; Grande Dame of Mormon Feminism. Talk: “Be the Freckle: A Crone’s View on Feminism and Change”

2:45-4:15– “MEN AND WOMEN: LEADERS AND SUSTAINERS? PARTNERS OR RIVALS?

Panelists:
Jared Anderson, teaches religion at Westminster, finishing dissertation at UNC-CH on NT Gospels
Katrina Barker Anderson, wife, mom, step-mom, photographer—birth & breastfeeding advocate

Alan Eastman, chemist with GreenFire Energy by day, and musician by night
Amy Parkin, works in academic publishing, blogs for the-Exponent.Com

4:30-6:00— “FEMINISM, THE CHURCH, AND ME: HOW FEMINISM HAS INFLUENCED MY IDENTITY AND RELATIONSHIP TO THE LDS CHURCH”

Panelists:
Ellen Decoo, Belgian native, BS in sociology from BYU, applying to grad school
Vickie Eastman, retired freelance executive recruiter, gospel doctrine teacher
Derek Staffanson, feminist Mormon housewives blogger, stay-at-home parent, graphic designer

Counterpoint Conference—Registration

The conference sessions are free and open to the public! Donations are greatly appreciated and are suggeststed at $5 per session. You may show up at the door without pre-registering, but lunches must be pre-ordered.

Lunches must be reserved by October 6, 2011; you may email or call to reserve your lunch: Margaret Toscano (801-581-4768; margaret.toscanoATutahDOTedu); Janice Allred (801-225-4967; alphaATxmissionDOTcom), or by posting to The Mormon Women’s Forum, P.O. Box 581454 Salt Lake City, UT 84158 (Return Service Requested)

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this, I've put it on my calendar!

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  2. If I lived in Salt Lake, I would SO be there. Sounds really fascinating, keep up the good work :)

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  3. Hey Katrina! While it's cool that you and Jared have been asked to speak at this conference (which looks to be a big deal), I can't help but feel like the participation in an activity like this would be something the Church would counsel against. I don't mean to offend you, but as far as I know, there is only one true Mormon church, so I am confused when you refer to the "progressive, liberal Mormon community." I am definitely a strong woman and an advocate for women's rights, but I would be wary of something that is promoting women's rights and LGBT rights within the Church in the same breath. I am sure there is a lot of good things being taught at these things too, but it quite honestly sounds more like "the philosophies of men mingled with scriptures" to me. I would suggest you read this talk by Dallin H. Oaks called "Alternate Voices" that refers to conferences like these: https://lds.org/general-conference/1989/04/alternate-voices?cid=email-shared&lang=eng. I think you will find it helpful and interesting in determining your involvement in these types of activities. I'm didn't mean to get on my soapbox here, but I'm pretty passionate when it comes to the Church since like Joseph F. Smith, I'm a Mormon "dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through." I really tried not to comment, but I am not a passive women and I just had to share my thoughts on this with you. I guess my main message is: Be cautious! I hope this is taken as concerned advice and not self-righteous preaching. :)

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  4. Thank you for your concern, Lacy. I appreciate your passion.

    I don't believe it is a requirement to be conservative to be Mormon, and I don't think that by interacting with fellow "liberal, progressive Mormons" I am doing anything wrong. There are many types of people in the Church. Joseph B. Wirthlin talked about this in a great talk called "Concern for the One" (http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,49-1-851-6,00.html)

    "[Some members] may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.
    "Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.
    "This variety of creation itself is a testament of how the Lord values all His children. He does not esteem one flesh above another, but He 'inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; . . . all are alike unto God.'...
    "Brothers and sisters, if only we had more compassion for those who are different from us, it would lighten many of the problems and sorrows in the world today. It would certainly make our families and the Church a more hallowed and heavenly place."

    I do not feel like my participation in the Counterpoint Conference goes against Church counsel. In the article you sent me, Elder Oaks says:

    "Some alternate voices are those of well-motivated men and women who are merely trying to serve their brothers and sisters and further the cause of Zion. Their efforts fit within the Lord’s teaching that his servants should not have to be commanded in all things, but 'should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.' (D&C 58:27.)"

    I feel I am "anxiously engaged in a good cause" by advocating for equality, not only of women, but of my LGBT brothers and sisters too. Forums such as the Counterpoint Conference allow those in attendance to explore issues that affect all of us in a supportive, open way. I am proud to be counted among so many thoughtful, compassionate people.

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  5. I never said you have to be conservative to be Mormon. And I don't think the things you are quoting are applicable in justifying your actions. This is not a matter of wearing a crazy hairstyle or seeing rated-R movies. The topics of this conference and the complaints you voiced in your comment on Facebook are subjects that are completely contrary to the heart and soul of the Gospel and its doctrines. I really do think you are treading in dangerous territory.

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  6. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

    Hope things are well with you.

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  7. Now that is one thing we can agree on.

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