Sunday, July 29, 2012

For Feminist Mormons

When Joseph Smith created the Relief Society the women voted for their president. The women ran the Relief Society. They chose their activities, gave healing blessings, and they had their own magazine. One of the concepts brought forward was that of a Heavenly Mother which is supported in Genesis where it says "let us make man in our image". A Heavenly Mother is in one of our old hymns.

Through the years women have lost their voice. We are called "the largest women's organization in the world" yet we are run by men. We do not choose our leaders. We have to have approval by men for our activities, and women giving blessings is long gone. At one point the R.S. raised and controlled their own money, now we have to ask for money. We are told not to speak much of Heavenly Mother and we're not given any reasons why. The R.S. had their own magazine, run by women until 1970. But the church discontinued it and replaced it with the Ensign, a magazine, that although valuable, does not have much for women's voices.

As women became stronger in the world, we became weaker in the church. At one point the church was excommunicating women for supporting the Equal Rights Ammendment, and feminists were part of the a group in the nineties who were excommunicated for speaking out.

When a woman gets excommunicated she has to face a board of men - alone.

When a woman has a problem even if it's sexual in nature, she has to talk to her bishop - a man.

Girls are forced to talk about sexual matters to a man.

When a woman needs surgery she has to have a man give her a blessing who will most likely ask her what her health problems are before he will give her the blessing.

When there is a he said/she said the priesthood bearer will be believed.

Although not church policy, there were several temples that told young women who showed up at the temple to do baptisms, that they couldn't if they were having their periods. For many of these YW a temple trip is not common. Not everyone lives near one. These YW were forced to sit it out, watching and feeling humiliated. Christ did away with the Mosaic law, yet it appears that they were practicing a form of it.

Although women are over half the LDS population, we are not represented. The voices at conference are men with maybe one or two token women who more than likely are speaking after having their talks approved by men.

So where can we find LDS women's voices?

There is a magazine that dares to do this. The Exponent II which is named after the first R.S. Magazine. It is not controlled by the church, but it is an LDS women's magazine. The voices are real. They are different. They are intelligent. It is run by women and only women. The writers are women. You can order hard copies or download it for free. There are past issues.

Exponent II

From their website:

The purpose of Exponent II is to provide a forum for Mormon women to share their life experiences in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance. This exchange allows us to better understand each other and shape the direction of our lives. Our common bond is our connection to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and our commitment to women. We publish this paper as a living history in celebration of the strength and diversity of women.
Exponent II is a non-profit organization that is made possible by countless volunteer hours and the generosity and support of our faithful readers. Your involvement and financial gifts help assure a strong future for this safe haven of discussion, learning, and sharing. Ours is a forum dedicated to the diverse voices and ideas of Mormon women.

I am not advocating replacing the Ensign with it, but I suggest it as further reading.

And for more women's voices:

Although some of the views might be considered outside usual Mormon culture and even doctrine, it is not anti-mormon. Rather it accepts women and their views no matter where they are on their spiritual journey.

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