Friday, January 25, 2013

Cool Quote by Cicero

If any man cannot feel the power of God when he looks at the stars, then I doubt whether he is capable of any feeling at all. In the heavens there is nothing accidental, nothing arbitrary, nothing out of order, nothing erratic. Everywhere is order, truth, reason, constancy. Those things which lack these qualities - all that is false and delusive and full of error - such things either circle the earth below the orbit of the moon (the lowest of the heavenly bodies) or have their being upon the earth itself. But from the mysterious order and enduring wonder of the heavens flows all saving power and grace. If any one thinks it mindless then he himself must be out of his mind!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


There are certain phrases and expressions used at church that are confusing and, I am beginning to think, misused.  I am on a journey to understand what is actually meant by these expressions.  I wanted to share an insight I had about the phrase "fulness of the Gospel".  The Doctrine and Covenants says that the Book of Mormon contains the "fulness of the Gospel".  I think when people speak of this reference they speak as if the Gospel in its completeness is in the Book of Mormon.  Is that true?  Why do we have other scriptures?  Why do we have additional revelation?   What does fulness actually mean?  It means enough to be content and not want more.  When I am full from eating, I have not consumed every possible piece of food in the world, or even all the food at my disposal.  When my car's tank is full, there is still a lot of gas that is not in my tank.  My tank has reached its capacity.  So maybe saying we have the fulness of the Gospel just means that we have enough to be satisfied for now, but possibly there is much more to have.  And perhaps we should be a little less satisfied and a little hungrier for more.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Wearing Pants to Church

My heart wore pants to church on Sunday, December 16, but I wore a dress.  I am glad I did, too, because afterwards there was so much negativity online about the project (from friends and acquaintances!).  “Women aren’t unequal in our church and people who think they are are in danger of losing their testimonies and leaving the church”, pretty much sums it up.  I am really disappointed. 

I was also really disappointed with the attitudes from members of my church about the election this year. At first I thought it was just a couple of funny extremists who had the idea that Governor Romney losing the election was surely a “sign of the times”.  Based on FB and blog reactions, however, I think many members of my church thought religion was the most important factor in this presidential race. 

I think many people were confused about why women were wearing pants to church.  The purpose was to start a conversation.  I think the specific reasons were different for every feminist.  Here’s why I wanted to wear pants: 

Women and men are not equal in our church.  It is most important to me that members of our church realize this one fact.  I think it is news to most people. It was news to me when I wrote my last blog about feminism.  I thought I wasn’t a feminist because I don’t have an issue with traditional gender roles.   I have since come to understand that there is a problem in my church and that I am a feminist.  A friend of mine wrote about how happy she is that she has never been treated as less because of her gender.  Here’s the thing-I think we are all treated as less, but we expect it and accept it.  We don’t feel bad because we have heard all of the talks about how special we are simply because we are women, and we believe them.  “Separate but equal” was illegal when it came to race in our schools, so why do we accept it with roles of women and men and church?

Here’s one example of how women are not equal in our church.  Women aren’t allowed to be ordinance workers at the temple if they have children at home.  Men are.  So men can work 40 + hours a week away from their children and families and then take a Saturday once a month to work in the temple, but women can’t.  What is wordlessly being said by this rule?  That it’s never okay for women to be away from their children.  Men and women are both taught to put family first, but rules are made that force women to do so and not men.  Now some temples do allow women with children to clean the temple or do secretarial work for the temple.  These types of service aren’t strictly forbidden in the rules, so maybe these temples are trying to find a way to allow women a chance to serve.  It feels like 1950s idea of gender roles, though.

President Hinckley was asked once in an interview in Australia if Heavenly Father could ever change the rules about not having women as Priests.  His answer wasn’t no.  It was, in fact,  “Yes.  But there is no agitation for that.  Our women are happy.  They’re satisfied.” (;jsessionid=2803821D898EB321688A9873399DCE20?id=the-quote-in-context )  So, change can and does happen in our church (I think this may be news for a lot of people.  I know I had to learn within the past couple of years that policies in our church do change.), but not without revelation.  Revelation doesn’t come if it isn’t sought.  What would make the prophet seek revelation about the role of women in our church?  Agitation.  We, as women, have to admit that we aren’t happy and that we aren’t satisfied.  Wearing pants was one way for people to show that they want church leaders to seek revelation and change policies and practices about women in the church.    

Many people complained about the inappropriateness of women “protesting” at church.  Wearing pants, when women aren’t commanded to, isn’t a protest, but it is a way to agitate. 

To pants or not to pants:
When I heard feminists were wearing pants to church instead of traditional skirts and dresses, I told Ben I was going to do it, too.  Ben worried that pants may be a distraction from the purpose of church, worshipping.   I took some time soul searching and realized wearing pants would, of course, not hinder my ability to worship. If anything, it would increase my worship.  I felt humbled by the possible change in my routine that for the first time in a while the worshipping would have been meaningful instead of rote.

I got nervous, though, and went back and forth about my decision a few times.  I decided to ask myself the classic question, “What would Jesus do?”.  Hmm, well, Jesus didn’t hang with the crowd of saints who had been worshipping at church in their particular way for generations.  He was more interested in the one than the 99.  He definitely would have been all for this.  Jesus was known for his tradition-breaking. 

Here’s why I wore a dress:
I ultimately came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter to Heavenly Father or Jesus what I wore to church, but it did matter to me.  I wish it didn’t, but it did.  I have never been an envelope pusher.  I know that change needs to happen, but I am just not the one to try to break the system.  I didn’t want to mark myself.  And I knew me wearing pants wouldn’t really change anything.  (It’s not like the prophet was going to be at my church!)

What really decided it for me was a baptism I went to on Saturday the 15th.   I looked around at all the women and girls in their dresses and skirts, and they looked beautiful to me.  Of course this doesn’t mean that I think women are less beautiful if the material around their legs is sewn.  But the way people look at church is the way people have looked at church my whole life.  It looks right to me.  It looks beautiful to me.  My issue with feminism isn’t with wearing dresses to church.  Dresses and skirts are comfortable and I wear them by choice many weekdays (especially when the weather is warm).  I wear them on Sundays not by choice, but no longer by obligation.  Because of wearing-pants-to-church day I am now aware that what women and men wear to church doesn’t matter to Heavenly Father or Jesus.  I knew wearing pants, while it wouldn’t distract me from my worship, would distract many from their worship.  That wouldn’t have been my fault; people are always looking for a distraction from worshipping.  But I didn’t want to be an easy target for the mind wanderings of fellow churchgoers.  So I wore a dress.