A Letter to fMh
I have been following your public stand to fight for equality within the Mormon church over the last few years. I applaud you and your efforts. I support the, 'Wear Pants to Church' day; the 'Let Women Pray in Conference' and the 'Ordain Women'. While I was still a member, these are all causes I believed in and these are all causes I believe women within the church should have in order to be considered equal partakers with the men.
Each week, I would get together with my Mormon girlfriends and we would talk about these things. We would talk about polygamy and how it bothered us that we were told that we would accept it once we were in the Celestial Kingdom. We would talk about our Mother in Heaven and how we knew nothing about her and felt shamed in church by wanting to have her as an equal part in the discussions with Heavenly Father. We would talk about how we wanted to hold our babies when they were blessed. We would talk about how we wanted the last say over callings in Relief Society or Young Women's or Primary, rather than the men dictating all that to us. We would talk about how we wanted a say over our budgets, and so much more. Yet, every Sunday when we walked across the threshold of the church, our discussions would come to a halt because we knew our voices would not be heard and that complete obedience and compliance was expected.
My crisis of faith became so intense, I began to drag my family around to every ward in the area, thinking that the issues I was having was just within the wards and if I found the right ward, I would be content. After several months of this, I realized how large my crisis of faith really was and I announced to my family that I wanted to attend another Christian faith. My very faithful and patriarchy husband announced that he would not follow me there.
As my crisis grew I talked with the area president and thought he understood, but then my husband talked with him and then a meeting was called with my husband, the bishop, the stake president and the area president all in attendance. I was told that I would be able to tell them about my crisis of faith. As I began, the area president cut me off, told me that this was serving nobody and that all I needed to do was submit to the bishop and my husband.
I was shocked, I just looked at him and said, 'No.' I got up and left the room. This was the beginning of the end for me. I walked away from the church, no longer wanting to be affiliated with a misogynistic organization. I knew the consequences would be great. My marriage dissolved in divorce. My Mormon friends no longer associate with me. My relationship with my extended Mormon family is strained. Yet, I feel a sense of freedom that I could not have anticipated. As a woman, I have discovered that the world does not treat me as a child that cannot make decisions on my own about finances, who I can have as my friends, my own sexuality, what I can and cannot drink, who can be my friends.
I have learned to grow up and make my own decisions and be my own boss. I no longer report to men about my sexual habits, my finances, my church attendance, or what I choose to put in my body. I learned that it is not their business and I am free to choose for myself and therefore I also own the consequences and I do not report to anyone except myself. This is true freedom and happiness.
I have learned that the church didn't care about my whining, either. Just like the male patriarchy felt they had a right to surround me with four men in suits in my own home and minimize me by telling me my thoughts and feelings didn't matter, the only thing that mattered was submitting to their will, the church patriarchy doesn't care about your causes, either, feminist Mormon housewives. The church is ran by males in power who surround themselves with YES men. They are in charge of billions of dollars. Why would they listen to some women who want change? They have all the power and money and they see no reason to change. You can form all the petitions you want, have all the protests you want, and the church may throw you a bone every once in awhile, like having one while woman pray in one general conference every six months, but real change won't happen. Why?
Because the leadership must be motivated to change. What would motivate them? Only two things:
As long as the women in the church put together their petitions, no real change will happen. Why? Because the women in the church continue to pay tithing and tithing is the backbone that makes the church run. Without the money coming in, the church cannot build its church buildings, its temples, or its City Creek Malls.
As long as the women in the church continue to attend church each week and serve in their callings, the church isn't going to listen to a word you have to say. Why? Because the women in the church are the backbone of making sure the church runs day-to-day. Without the women serving in their callings, no ward would ever have a meal served at an activity, no funeral would ever get food, no bread would ever show up to sacrament meeting, no music would get sung, the Primary would come to a halt, the young women would not get taught, Sunday school would be harmed and there would be no Relief Society. Without you, women, the church could not function. Each ward also get money based on attendance, and if women didn't show up, each ward's budget would be harmed.
Do you want to make an impact, women? Go on strike. For one month, do not pay tithing, do not show up to church, do not fulfill your church callings. Send your children with your husbands. Let your husbands deal with the unruly children during sacrament. Let the men pick up the load in young women and Sunday school. Let the men scrounge around for bread when it doesn't show up for sacrament.
Strike, women. If you really want to affect change, STRIKE.