Monday, March 28, 2011

Why I Am a Mormon Feminist

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.
1 Peter 3:15
I blew it today. I was given a perfect opportunity to explain how I can be both LDS and feminist, and because I was caught off-guard, I totally messed it up.

I'm taking a class this semester in Islamic Law. I really enjoy the class, and I've found it useful in providing me with interpretive models to deal with some of my own issues. Today was definitely one of those days. The topic was feminism. At one point, the professor asked whether people should use religious arguments to advance feminist causes. I said yes and alluded to my participation in the Bloggernacle. I mentioned the tension I feel - that some conservative church members find feminism to be incompatible with church affiliation, and that some secular feminists find religious affiliation to be incompatible with feminism.

He asked me for clarification on how I deal with that tension at church. I completely bungled the issue because I hadn't been prepared for the question and I was caught off guard. I made some remark about how I deal with the tension by being myself. (i.e. single way past the typical LDS marrying age, career-minded, etc.) I realized right after I said it that I gave the totally wrong impression. It's absolutely possible to be LDS, feminist, and married with children. I'm not any more feminist or any less LDS as a result of the life path God has guided me on. (Plus, I think I accidentally gave the impression that I'm opposed to marriage, which I'm not. I just haven't found the right man yet.)

Here's how I wish I had answered the question:

I'm just as LDS as the people who think feminism is destroying the church. Just like non-LDS people have misconceptions about LDS people, many church members have misconceptions about feminists. I live my life in such a way to dispel those misconceptions.

I'm not out to destroy the church. I attend services every week. I keep the Sabbath day holy. I hold a temple recommend and live by the covenants I made there. I served a mission. I was the nursery leader in my previous ward! Basically, I have LDS street cred.

I am a Mormon feminist because I believe that the Bible is the word of God.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29 (emphasis added)
I am a Mormon feminist because I believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
[God] 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; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God.
2 Nephi 26:33 (emphasis added)
I am a Mormon feminist because I covenanted in the waters of baptism to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places. God loves His daughters as much as His sons, and by being feminist and LDS, I am standing witness to that truth. Sure, there are problems, but those problems are a function of the culture, not the doctrine. Pure doctrine, correctly understood, promotes the equality of every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth.


Deborah said...

And I am so glad you are part of my tribe! Beautifully said.

Keri said...

Thank you, Deborah.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this really thoughtful article. I'm really glad you're enjoying the class and that it's giving you so much to think about--that's always the goal of every professor. And, for what it's worth, I don't think you blew it at all in class yesterday! Your Professor.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I found your blog. I've been reading The Book of Mormon, and it feels good. But I'm very strong-willed and career oriented, in a male dominated profession. Whenever I ask a Mormon about women in the church, the women seem uncomfortable, and the men seem to talk around my questions. I'll be back.

Keri Brooks said...

Anonymous at 1:05 AM - Welcome! I'm glad you enjoy my blog. If you have any specific questions you would like answered, I'm always in the market for blog post ideas!