This subject has been touched on a couple times in my last two posts, but I feel like it hasn’t been touched on quite enough. Whether you identify with feminism, aren’t sure, or vigorously oppose it, this is for you.
As you might have guessed, I have had some interesting conversations with people since I started this blog. Sadly, most of them revolve around my having to defend the validity of many feminist views, whether I share them or not. While I do it, all I hear is how wrong it is, or how there isn’t even a problem, or all feminists need to re-evaluate their testimony of the Church, or just “follow the brethren” and keep their heads down. I haven’t been able to express myself well in these situations, because I get frustrated, and have to take the conversation elsewhere, but I’m go to lay it all out now.
First off, I want to refute the idea that feminists have a weak testimony, or are trying to put themselves above men. That idea is just wrong. Especially in the church. I challenge anyone to find an LDS feminist who thinks that they ought to be above men. I don’t deny that some do have a weak testimony, but their feminism is not the cause.
I know several feminists myself. They are all along the spectrum of feminism, from “things could be more equal” to “I want to hold the priesthood.” All of them have deep, burning testimonies of the Gospel. All of them have done their research, and their desires and complaints are well-founded, and valid. It doesn’t matter that you don’t agree. It doesn’t matter that you don’t understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. Your responsibility as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to love them, As He has loved you. It is not for you to judge them.
If you think them misguided, then you’re entitled to your opinion, but please tell me how telling them that they must not have a testimony is Christ-Like? I don’t care if you are a woman or a man, if you disagree with anything about LDS feminism, fine, but it is not your responsibility nor your right to condemn them, or to make assumptions about them. That doesn’t help anybody.
Our church is about inviting all to come unto Christ. Who would want to be part of church that says it invites all, but then acts like people who are outside the status quo ought to be shunned?
On the flip side, I feel like a lot of frustration that comes from not-feminists is that they hear feminist views and opinions stated as facts. Now, whether these things are facts or not, it often depends on your view of the situation. For some, the priesthood session of General Conference is institutional sexism. They can’t see how it could be anything else. Conversely, there are those who see it as the thing that the men need, and they don’t feel excluded at all. They don’t see how anyone could see it as exclusionary. They are entitled to their opinion. The point is, there shouldn’t be any judgement from either side. Aren’t we all trying for the same thing? How can we achieve those lofty goals if we’re angry with each other? Over our differing definitions of equality? My little brother on his mission recently said this in an email home:
Moroni 7 teaches us that we cannot have faith nor hope nor charity if we are not meek and lowly of heart. And if we dont have Charity, we dont have anything! That is so true and real. The Spirit I feel when I teach someone I truly love and have a desire to help is much different from my ability to teach someone who I am choosing to be annoyed with.
“1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
While his comments are about teaching people the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I think they can apply to this situation as well. If we don’t have charity for each other, we don’t have anything, and we fall short on those lofty goals of ours.
So basically, if we claim to follow Jesus Christ, then judging each other and making assumptions about each other shouldn’t even be an issue. It should be done with. It should be gone. It should be replaced with love and a desire to understand each other. Love and understanding will always be more powerful than judgement assumption.