Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Worst Thing Is Pants Part II

Because I'm a masochist.


Yesterday another text came from another sister. This time it was Page and it accompanied this picture of her and her two oldest girls Olivia (17yrs) and Emma (15yrs) at lunch together:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Happy 12/12/12! My girls and I are wondering if you are wearing pants to church on Sunday?

And I replied: I just wrote about this on my blog! Are you wearing pants to church on Sunday?

Page replied: We are talking/praying about it.

Isn't that a great response?

Last night Anson requested a drive to look at Christmas lights. It's sorta our thing, we get the kids in their pjs, wrap them up in flannel baby blankets made by Grandma Kendrick, and we drive around listening to COZY 106.5 looking at the lights. I had no idea how much they'd love it. When Ever sees a display that pleases her corneas she goes nuts! And exclaims in a weird human goat voice,

"OHHHHCHRISTMASLIGHTS!"

Sometimes, when she's really pleased she says,

"GORGEOUSGORGEOUSGORGEOUS!"

Anyway, as we were driving around last night I kept thinking about some scriptures in the Book of Mormon, you know, like I ALWAYS do. In particular I was thinking about when Alma invites his followers into the waters of baptism by asking them if they are ready to join with the saints in being "willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort." (Mosiah 18:8-9) And I also thought about Moroni talking about the church of Christ he says, "And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus." (Mormon 6:5-5)

It seems to me, with those scriptures combined, that saints of God have a charge to show our vulnerabilities,  our mournings, our places of empty comfort, even the very welfare of our souls. And perhaps, it is the very point of church attendance to show up ready to admit humility and weakness and together we take the sacrament, promising to love the Savior and take care of one another like He has asked of us.

I often think about a man I knew in my ward who I held up to impossible expectations. He seemed so perfect, so obedient, so zealous to do what was right. In fact, to be honest, sometimes Chup and I would say of him, we want to be good, but not THAT good. One time during Sunday School, while juggling a baby and a toddler on his lap he raised his hand and talked about his addiction to pornography. My small, narrow-mind about exploded. And I couldn't have loved him more from that point on.

I guess this is all to say, that this pants thing? It's not about the pants. Women can wear whatever they want to church. I suppose it's a gesture of showing up with vulnerability. It's a way women, in solidarity, can come to church with their hearts on their sleeves. Not so much a protest but a peaceable way to say, "I have mourned/I am mourning", "I have burdens that weigh heavy on me." And maybe we don't all share those specific burdens, but let's be human about this, we ALL have something that has hurt us. We all have a burden, we all are mourning. Like Christ, we have these emotions so that we can understand each other and apply compassion.

(And for the record: I, C. Jane Kendrick am not the light on the hill when it comes to this virtue.)

Can we show up without the pants? Can we show up and just confess our hearts? Yes of course! But perhaps we underestimate how scary this can be for some of us. We love our church and we love our fellow saints and we don't want to be perceived as apostate. And sometimes when you've lived a life of gender inequality your voice sounds so little in your head, so tiny and crackly, you'd rather wear pants than use the strength of your lungs to force words out of you.

But maybe, in the future, with enough good experiences, that voice will emerge, booming and strong.

You haven't experienced the pain of not seeing more women speaking/praying at General Conference? Great! Can you use the power of the Holy Ghost to reach into your well of empathy and show understanding for those who do? You don't know what it has felt like to be belittled because you are a woman? Then surely you will have the strength to help wrap your arms around a sister who experiences this daily. You don't understand any of this? Look for the woman wearing pants for the first time on Sunday and ask her to tell her story, take her burdens and help lift them for awhile. This actual makes charity quite easy. And charity, as well all know NEVER FAILS.

I keep thinking about Christ coming to the people of the Book of Mormon, the first thing he does is shows his people the scars on his hands and feet. After he heals them--with those scarred hands--he blesses them and later offers them the sacrament. Following the pattern of Christ, I do think showing up with our scars to church to be healed and heard, to renew our love of God, is very much reverent and very sacred.

It's not a protest, it's an outreach. And if by chance my nieces pray about it or your neighbor prays about it and the answer they receive is, "Yes, wear pants on Sunday" then who am I, or who are you, to say it's not a valid answer to prayers? Our only option at that point is to put our arms around these women and girls to say, Here I am. I see you. Let's take the sacrament together and promise to do better.

It's about our hearts. It's not about the pants.




202 comments:

1 – 200 of 202   Newer›   Newest»
Pol said...

More pants! Can I just say that in the UK we usually say trousers, and certainly in my part of the country pants means something else altogether. Keeping that in mind enlivens these two posts even more.

jai said...

Bless you and thank you, CJane.

Reyna said...

I love you and your honesty. Stay strong. And tell Page I'm worried about that crazy burrito in the window behind her....

Cheryl said...

Ah, much better!

Wonsch Family said...

Thank you, you said it perfectly. I hope it was okay but I linked your last blog to a discussion I was having on FB, and used it to explain that I thought it was more about solidarity then protest, so thank you for saying that in this post:)

M cubed said...

Ohhhhhhh I loove this post. Yesterday I didn't get it. But this one speaks to my soul and I understand now. So while I wear my fanciest dress and highest heels on Sunday (because its the only day I get to take my mommy sweats and raggedy shoes off), I will think of this post and do exactly as you -- and ultimately the Savior-- has asked us to do. Be kind. Be charitable. Be understanding. Don't judge. When I was a missionary I didn't care when my investigators came in shorts and pants... They were there and truly, that's really all that matters!

Sarah said...

I'm sure people will show up to say you're comparing yourself to Jesus (isn't that kind of the point of Christ's example, though? to identify with Him?) and a bad example to non-Mormons and whatever else.

I am not Mormon and I never will be. In fact, your life (and the lives of most readers) and mine are incredibly far apart. But I appreciate what you've written here. I've been reading a long time (since before Ever was born! and I've read a good chunk of the archives, too), and I appreciate your honesty about your joys and struggles. I think you are forging a new path, but one that was laid out for you by your foremothers. I find it fascinating, and I encourage you to keep going. Keep speaking your heart.

April said...

Anyone know why our congregations are called wards? It's a place where those who are sick and hurting come to get better. We need more vulnerability, more mourning with those that mourn. I'm glad you're a masochist, because I really enjoyed this post today.

AJ said...

I really appreciate your journey and how willing you are to share everything with us all. Your post yesterday was good in that it opened the discussion, but something about it bothered me. This reconciles it for me. I think we need to do everything that we can to make these choices with thought and lots of prayer. Thanks.

Lady Em said...

I, too, linked this to a discussion I was having on Facebook. So well said!!!!

dalene said...

I have a million thoughts, but I'll just say this. Page's response is a perfect response. It reminds me of the wisdom of our dear Jen Galan--who always reminds me pray about everything.

My hope is also that those who ponder and pray about it but choose to wear dresses because that is the best they have in which to worship or because they choose to wear their religion or their feminism in their hearts and in their words instead, that they will merit the same respect.

Catherine Dabels said...

It's really sad that you've experienced a life of gender inequality. I have been LDS my whole life too and have never once felt that way, well except for the time I was asked to the do the crafts at cubs and the male Akela did the tobogganing.

It's not about the pants, you're right. And you going to church in pants may be about YOUR mourning and YOUR wearing your heart on your sleeve but I don't believe this is what is fuelling this fire.

I think it's sad.

Beth said...

And, it's 8:30 am and I am crying already.

Thank you for sharing this and putting into words how many have been feeling.

The divisiveness on this issue has been weighing heavily upon many hearts and this is the salve we need on our hearts.

Maren said...

Thank you.

"This is not a protest. This is an outreach."

Amen!

Two Shews said...

I flat don't think God cares what we wear to church. And if God doesn't care, perhaps the rest of our congregation should also back the truck up.

kristinanne said...

Love this C.Jane. Thank you for putting into words so elegantly every thought that I had on the subject. You are the patron saint of women in the church for my generation.

Karen Sutton said...

YES

Angela Porter said...

I am not a member of your faith either, but feel people like you and others in your church are pretty PATHETIC.

You are reeking and screaming so much insecurity that you are actually hurting those around you and you don't even know it. There is no other species quite as endangered right now as a white male in this society. From our own president to all the people like yourself, you are destroying the white male. What is wrong with a male being masculine and a woman being feminine? You don't give a damn about your husband other than using his body to create life inside of you. You have stripped him of his masculinity. Trying to justify your behavior in saying that he should be and do the things a woman does. Feeling all hoity toity, like YOU have just figured it all out. Well it looks like you have been successful in being the one to wear the "pants" in your marriage. You have convinced him that he needs to stay home with you all day and share in every responsibility. You have become the breadwinner. What is he left with? You can also tell where your sis Page stands as well with her short hair and pant wearing ways. I am sure she has her hubby right where she wants him too.

What is it that you are feeling so unequal about? The only problem is that you are not comfortable in your own skin, and you have forgotten who your divine source is. You have become blinded by this idea that if you "label" yourself as someone or something such as "I am a feminist". Children don't feel the need to put labels on themselves to feel better.

The question you should be asking yourself is why am I so insecure? Why do I feel the need to label myself? Why am I stripping my husband of his masculinity? What am I really gaining from any of this?

What is so wrong about just being you? Why do you constantly feel the need to dig up your past and label everything as destructive in your life?
GET OFF THE WOMAN PITY PARTY BANDWAGON! Stop living in the past. Embrace yourself. Quit suffocating your husband!

Women are not oppressed in your church. Quit trying to make the "white males around you into bad guys. It is ok for you to be a woman, and let men be men. That is the way it is supposed to be!

Andrea said...

I've had a few relatives recently pass away due to illness. Should I wear a hospital gown to church to represent my mourning? Maybe if I do and they see me, then they'll reach out to me and want to know my story. Sounds kind of silly, doesn't it?

Lauren said...

Thank you CJane! I love your blog and I love your support for the pants (but not really the pants).

Xiong Gou said...

I just don't understand why women not praying at General Conference or speaking very often is a huge deal. The Gospel of Jesus Christ isn't about glory or praise. It's about a personal relationship with Heavenly Father, and returning to live with Him and our families forever. It won't matter who held the highest calling or spoke at the biggest meeting. There are reasons women don't have the Priesthood. Why does everything in life have to be a competition? And by doing so, are you thinking that the church will change? God knows what He's doing. And I think that turning church into an "outreach" (but really, it's a protest. let's be real.) just makes a mockery of it all, and doesn't prove any points, and just starts fires.

Christine said...

CJane, thanks. I enjoyed this post. I also think of the Savior's statement that "They that are whole need no physician, but they that are sick..." or something like that. Of course He is the Great Physician and we're all sick.

You know, I'm going to wear a dress like I always do. Wearing pants to me would be like saying I want to be like the men. AND I DON'T. I love being a woman. And NEVER have I felt like less because I am a woman. In fact, I feel like more. I loved all of President Hinckley's talks about women, and how women are Heavenly Father's crowning creation! I believe him. And I also believed it when I was told that men and women need each other, we need each other to make it. I know I won't make it without my man. Thank goodness for Heavenly Father's plan!

mj said...

I consider myself a feminist and I also consider myself one that mourns with those who mourn. I don't think anyone in my ward would have a clue I was making a statement if I wore pants on Sunday and honestly I don't have any nice pants so I will be sitting this one out, though I certainly respect anyone that does it. I have recently decided to do a lot of studying on the history of women in the LDS church, though. I feel like I owe it to my daughter (she's 3) to be as knowledgeable as possible on the subject of who we are and why we can be proud of it and that we are as valuable as men. Also my husband rocks and is a fabulous cook.

This:
"with her short hair and pant wearing ways"

was pretty funny.

Carolyn said...

My concern with the pants is that, even if intentions are good, it will strongly detract from the purpose of church...that is to renew our baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament. I just really feel strongly that this sacred meetin is not the place for any type of statement or outreach or whatever...it is a place to renew covenants or to have investigators come and learn about those covenants. And comparing investigators who wear pants to church to members doing it for a statement is silly..we all know there is a huge difference there. Of course I respect any ones right to wear to church whatever they want, but I still think this is not a reverent thing to do. It isa very sacred meeting.....

islandsundays said...

My husband is a pastor, and I loved the reminder to ask others for their story (don't I wish for mine to be heard?), that there is always a story; rather than react to a perceived point of view. May there be those who ASK on Sunday, whether you wear pants or a hospital gown ...

Rachel said...

I'm not a Mormon, and I agree that clothing doesn't matter to God.

But it does matter to the other women wearing pants. Look, some woman at your church will show up in pants. And imagine how awkward and vulnerable she'll feel if she's the only one. Wearing pants would be a huge kindness to her.

La Carter said...

Cjane, you are a fantastic "outreacher" and I admire your ability to say the things that are in your heart.

And while I usually just leave well enough alone, a little note to the people who lack the grace and decency to engage in a civil debate without making it a personal attack. You are mean, hateful, judgemental, self righteous, narcisistic, bitter and most importantly, pathetic. You should be called out by name, Angela Porter, for your display of disgrace. It is one thing to have an opinion and to follow up your opinion with a supporting argument, but how dare you come to another's blog and belittle people in this way.

Cjane, it won't hurt my feelings if you delete my comment. It's not very nice.

Jennifer said...

This is so perplexing to me. I do not see this as a way Jesus would handle helping a fellow sister or showing our scars. If you want to support a sister, call her, visit her. From the news article you posted, this is something started by a self proclaimed feminist group that "calls this a symbolic gesture to promote more gender equality in the Church". Please tell me where vulnerability came in to play? It is as political as the day is long. And I don't think I need to pray about a suggestion of what to wear to church from a group of sisters. As mentioned above, help those who need you, looking hip and trendy by engaging in this seems trite at best. I can't help but think where people who are aware of this and what their thoughts will be as they dress on Sunday or as they walk into the chapel. Could it be, I'm proud I'm helping a sister? or I'm ashamed that I'm not wearing pants. or Who will and who won't be? I personally envy those who won't have a clue. Just don't think this is how our service to others was meant to be rendered or how our chapels were meant to be used.

Jenny said...

Was it Mark Twain that said "a good compliment can keep me going for a month"? Well, CJane, I think you are fabulous and brave. Thanks for the read this morning.

Beth said...

After reading this post made me feel like my comment on your previous post was a little heartless...which was not my intention. I appreciate you doing this post. Because that really is what this Gospel is all about - that's what taking the name of Christ upon us really means. To mourn with those who mourn. And, it is a beautiful thing when the people in the church do that - when people in the world do that! But, I will state my opinion and what I feel to be right - just as the women who wear pants to church do so because they feel that is what they're supposed to do. The Gospel does not support inequality. The Prophets and Apostles, following the guidance of God, as this is His church, do not support inequality. Sometimes, though though the Gospel is beautifully true and beautifully perfect, the people are not so. And this is where the problems of inequality come from. This is why I am not wearing pants to church on Sunday. Because church is wear I go to worship God, not to bring awareness of problems to the eyes of the people around me. All the same, I will not judge those who do decide to wear pants. I will try to understand them, and hope they try to understand my point of view as well.

Don and Kelley said...

I don't understand what you are mourning. I have never felt oppressed in our Church. I really can't relate to this. Are you listening to the same General Conference talks I am??? If people want to wear pants, do it. Who cares? I think there are other concerns we should be worried about. What's next? How about wearing pants to the temple? Personally, I like to dress up for church. I am going to the House of the Lord. I love Him, and will always show respect for his house. As do my husband, and son's who wear suits every Sunday!

Megan said...

yes.

Scott and Rachel Ellis said...

Wow. Yesterday I was a tiny bit bugged. I thought c'mon ladies lets wear our dresses proudly. But today you very nicely put me in my place. And thank you for that! Please don't listen to that inner voice, always say how you feel. loves

Abbey said...

I love you. The end.

Bradford said...

I read the woman's blog who started this crusade. It did not come from a good place. Her blog & posts are so negative. I feel really bad for her. I wonder what kind of husband she must have, because I have never been belittled by a church authority. Men & women have many similarities & differences. Embrace them. Celebrate them. I know women have been treated unfairly in the past. Some women obviously have not let it go. As a 26 year old woman I was not treated the same as a women who lived during the womens suffrage movement. I can feel bad that people had to go through it or I can be greatful that people have changed. We have evolved. Things are changing all the time. Things are getting better & better. Be patient.

Kate said...

More than anything what saddens me and what worries me- it how we treat each other. Especially women. I am almost 40 and I feel like I continue to deal with drama with the women around me. Back biting, false accusations/rumors, judging, etc. etc. I agree- it is about our hearts. We need to open our hearts and be forgiving and not be offended by others. One of my favorite scriptures of all time- is Moroni 7:47. Powerful! Another person's actions cannot control how I act or react. I need to learn how to control my emotions, be ever forgiving and not be offended by what others do or say. I think of Heavenly Father and mother and Christ looking down upon us and feeling such sadness for the way we treat each other. It is not about being equal, it's not about getting revenge, it's about love. When I get caught up in thinking that my feelings of anger or resentment are justifiable- I think of Christ. What he went through. How he handled it- and what he expected of others. He didn't expect those who killed him to grovel at his feet and he didn't point his finger at them and tell them how he felt and make a statement about it. He simply said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." I think most of us when we do something hurtful- we don't realize what we are really doing and how grateful I would be if someone forgave me without question. On another note, I love being a woman! I thank my Heavenly Father often for the role that I have of mother and wife. I have a college education- I have no doubt that if need be that I could get a job in the workforce- but I am so grateful that I am able to be at home with my children and be there for them. I am grateful for my husband who sacrifices a lot and goes to work and carries the incredible burden of supporting our family. That being said- it is not for everyone to be a stay at home mom and enjoy doing it. Let's step back and remember that yes, being a woman can be hard and have it's challenges- but being a man has it's own unique challenges and frustrations. Maybe instead of complaining and being demanding- we can turn to the men in our lives and ask them how they feel. I think we would be surprised to find out that they feel much of the same- and the only difference is that they don't generally wear their emotions on their sleeves like most women do. Thank you Cjane for starting this discussion. I honestly think it is important to let others know how we really feel and then forgive one another and move on.

Cortney said...

Angela Porter- It's absolutely shocking that you would say that our president is destroying the white male. Why, because he dares be black and be the president?

Every.single.president. we've ever had has been a white male. One half black/half white man gets two terms and suddenly he, and apparently a marauding band of pants wearing, short haired, feminists are destroying the white male?

The most endangered species?

Please don't worry, because no facts back this up. This is not about opinion- you stated something that simply isn't true. Look at income, look at the percentage of men heading companies, look at the percentage of men holding elected positions, look at pretty much any marker of socio-economic status and equality- this research should assuage your fears for the future of the white male.

And okay, if, in the near future, white men are *not* on top in terms of money and power and influence- why is that a bad thing? Why is it okay for white men to run everything, but not black men? Or Asian women? Maybe white men will have to spread the social influence wealth around- why is that bad?

I fear your answers to these questions are going to be incredibly racist and sexist, but I'm asking anyway out of curiosity, so that hopefully it will spur you to think about why a status quo of white male power is okay (and clearly you agree it was the status quo, if it's now endangered) but other groups holding power is not okay.

Pam said...

Thank you. We do indeed all carry burdens that sometimes are small and sometimes are so overwhelming. It is a great Sunday when I feel that others have love and compassion for me regardless of what stupid thing my teenage son has done this time. I falsely belived growing up that church was about looking perfect so that I could pretend that I and my family were perfect, even though it was far from the truth. I have learned that by not being embarrassed about the not-so-good things in my life, I am able to receive more healing at church, and that I'm able to empathise and help others struggling too. I loved your reference to the Savior showing his wounds to the Nephites. He showed that he had suffered and that he was vulnerable, just as we are too. Again, thank you for your words.

Andrea Christensen said...

I enjoyed your perspective on what our weekly meeting is really all about. However, after reading your article yesterday, the article by mormonchildbride, and the article earlier in the week about Mormon women and feminism, I completely disagree with your putting out there that this is about 'bringing our hurt to church to be healed.'
This is about -to quote mormonchildbride, who is calling for the whole pants movement - "Starting new churches and new traditions that honor our Heavenly Parents even when the establishment condemns us as heretics." - While you may have your deep convictions of the gospel, and the Church leadership, I believe you are playing with fire when you encourage others to join this movement by masking it as a kumbaya, instead of what it really is - again in the words or mormonchildbride - "not just asking questions, but starting revolutions"

The question is: A revolution against who? Because, really, who leads this church anyway?

lindsay said...

The message for saints to bear one another's burdens is essential and I am simply a member, doing her best. The fact that I'm not on board with a call to my church leaders for change (I rose my hand to sustain them, I will let them lead, no matter what I wear) shouldn't make me unsupportive of my sisters. Why the suggestion that I don't care that there are women in pain? I support my priesthood leaders to lead and I love and want to connect with my fellow sisters. Please don't suggest that one negates the other...

millie riter said...

The only reason you should wear pants on Sunday, is if you feel they are your Sunday best. Nobody cares what you wear to church as long as you're there with a full heart and an eagerness to learn with the Spirit. The cultural hall and sacrament meeting are not your political stage. If women are feeling belittled or have these feelings on inequality in their lives, it's the men in their lives making them feel that way, not the church. We need to reach out to those women and comfort them. Actions speak louder than wearing pants. What are you hoping to prove? Are you expecting the bishop to get up and recognize your pain in front of the congregation and encourage others to reach out to the women who are wearing pants?

J said...

Hahahaha, this post is too funny. I totally agree that we should love and support each other...isn't that what you always are taught at church? Does anyone actually believe that wearing pants is somehow going to help us do that? Hahahaha! Seriously the need to "rally the troops" makes this pants wearing statement so incredibly LAME. I'll be laughing all day about this, because NOBODY CARES if you wear pants to church. Who the heck said you can't? You know what, I'm going to wear bright colored clothes to church because...nobody said I can't do that either. Thanks for the laugh!

LJ, DC and ML said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily Foley said...

I've never been upset by women not praying in General Conference but it was something I noticed. I was so surprised that a woman gave the opening prayer at the Christmas Devotional. Awesome. So much pressure!

Also, did you see this article? It was super interesting to me and I wondered what feminists thought about it. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/

Unknown said...

In reading your blog I have wondered what your life experience has been that has scarred you so deeply on the idea that women are less important than men.
When you used the example of the all male deer hunt I thought "oh I hope this isn't it". CJANE-those men in your family who make comments like "pee up a tree" etc. are neanderthals and should be laughed at!!! Do you look up to these men for direction and guidance? If not- laugh and move on and heck yes organize that all womens camping trip!!! Your Aunt who made the comment about "when your husband comes home just hand him the remote" was probably just trying to be funny. If not-- call her crazy Aunt Shirley if it makes you feel better. And start letting stupid comments be just that-- stupid comments. Charity is also taking a deep breath, rolling your eyes, and LETTING THINGS GO!!!!
And last--if you are still reading. This whole pants thing is so far from an outreach. It is an inaugural activity of a group with a much bigger agenda.
Also-I wonder how reverent our sacrament meeting is going to be on Sunday with everyone on the lookout for women in pants. You are not human if after hearing all this hoopla you are not curious who in your ward is going to wear pants. It is so divisive! Not healing one single bit! And all the hugs and kind words in the world will not heal the ache in these sisters hearts. Its a personal matter to be worked out with your Heavenly Father.

kels said...

Thanks C.Jane, for being a voice of empathy and civility in this hot mess of a pants debate. I had a similar experience as I considered on this pants thing, and wrote this article in an effort to promote empathy and open-mindedness: http://empoweringldswomen.blogspot.com/2012/12/dont-get-your-pants-in-twist_12.html. Here's to kindness and giving people the benefit of the doubt :).

Morgan Lee said...

If there is no doctrine or policy against women wearing pants then nobody here should care when, where, or why Mormon women are wearing pants to church -- whether they did so last Sunday, or this coming Sunday. Pants cannot possibly detract from the purpose of SM unless you choose to let it be, by being angry and judgemental about it.

Angela Porter, there is nothing **inherently** feminine about long hair and skirts, and nothing **inherently** masculine about short hair and pants. Those things are purely cultural. You're about a century behind on that.

Michelle R. said...

I've never commented before. I just want to say thank you for your post. You have done a great job articulating your thoughts (and I'm sure many others' thoughts) on this topic.

I've been following this whole debate and have been saddened by the lack of compassion that women have for each other in their different struggles. It doesn't matter that we haven't all had the same experiences. We're all humans. We all have our faults, we all have our struggles, we all have our heartbreaks, we all have our insecurities. It's okay for us each to have our own experiences and reach out in our own ways. Isn't a large part of the Gospel of Christ about loving each other, helping each other through whatever difficulties that we each might have, and not judging others?

It truly is not about rebellion or disrespect. I can be just as loving and respectful towards Heavenly Father in a nice pants suit as I can in a dress. Women wearing dresses is not a principle of salvation, it's a cultural principle.

Krisanne said...

C.Jane, I think I'm in love with you :) Thank you so much for your compassionate and nuanced writing. (Just as context--We met briefly at the MWP salon you held at your house a few months ago--I married one of the Knudsen boys recently.)

jodie said...

Amazing grace!

Sharon said...

I'm not sure why I suddenly thought of this, but here goes...

Mu husband comes from a family of hunters/fishers. They all (except his mom) do it, his sisters included. His younger brother is the biggest enthusiast and went on to have only girls. Three girls who LOVE to hunt and fish. We, on the other hand only had one daughter (along with 3 boys). She is great and I love her SO much!!! But, even though we lived in the same town as grandma and grandpa and saw both male and female cousins come and go during the summer and enjoy fishing trips with grandpa, my daughter was never even ASKED if she wanted to join in. NEVER! She always got to help grandma in the kitchen. When I finally go the courage to point this out to my husband, she was well past the age of "liking" the idea of fishing. She didn't get to start in the tradition before she could walk or talk. I'm not sure how many 12 year old girls are going to jump at the idea of going fishing for the first time. I certainly wish we had remedied that a LOT earlier. I'm not sure she feels slighted for that but I do in her behalf!

That said, I'm not wearing pants on Sunday. I think people should wear whatever they want!

SarahJane said...

Ooh, this is interesting. Thank you for clarifying that it isn't about the pants!
I live in Alaska and attend a multi-cultural ward (Spanish-Tongan-Samoan-Native-English). We have the occasional women wearing pants - not investigators, just women for whom pants make more sense. It is not uncommon to see "Alaska tennis shoes" (i.e. rubber boots) on men and children - we women go for more decorative boots or leave them in the foyer.
For the men and boys, if there's a special occasion(speaking, singing in sacrement meeting, primary program, etc.) a lava lava or two are sure to be seen.
In fact, when our Stake President came to visit last winter he said over the pulpit "I planned to wear my lava lava this morning, but decided it was too cold for a skirt". A directive from our Stake President that skirts should not be an expectation in every situation!

Giulia said...

Powerful, Cjane. Thank you.

erin m judd said...

I just find it so incredibly sad that anyone within or without the Church could see in it anything related to gender inequality. To me, that just demonstrates negative personal experiences and poor understanding of doctrine. It's just so sad, the joy that they are missing out on.

Christy said...

Thank you, CJane.

Jami said...

Beautiful! This is exactly what I think about this event.

C said...

For those of you who "don't get" why some women feel marginalized by the LDS church, this might shed some light: http://www.ldswave.org/?p=402#comments

I started thinking yesterday: "What if Joseph Smith had been a woman?" (CJane, I would love to hear where you could take that thought.) I personally don't think the church would exist today if Joseph Smith had been a woman, even if God himself had appeared to "her." Why does God only trust male "priesthood leaders" with precious communication and revelations for his church? Answer: He trusts women too. It is time that those in power recognize this.

Andrea said...

As a non-Mormon, I am flabbergasted at the amount of pearl-clutching and astonished gasps going on at the mere idea of a woman wearing pants. I thought we already fought(and won) this battle a century or so ago. If anyone is so weak in their faith that they are distracted during the sacrament and "lose the spirit" simply by another woman wearing pants, then that is their problem to fix. You should never, NEVER have to mold yourself into something just to be acceptable in another person's eyes. That includes not wearing pants if you simply don't like them. You can show your support for your cause and your sisters in any way you think your voice will be most heard. You are acceptable in God's eyes, in pants, a skirt, a hospital gown, jeans. Doesn't matter, He just cares about your heart, not what it's clothed in.

To the condescending women who find it just "so sad" that you experience and feel the inequality in your church, I say I find it "so sad" that they are conditioned and content to be excluded from things simply by virtue of their anatomy. The childbearing analogy is a poor one, men can't bear children because their anatomy doesn't allow it. No one has ever said that they simply don't have the mental capacity to bear children because they lack a uterus and ovaries. However, they turn around and tell women that because they lack a penis and testicles, their mental fortitude to handle such a big important job is somehow lacking as well. So, "how sad" that those women are so comfortable with basically being told to not worry their pretty little heads with such big ideas. Rock on Cjane.

DeAnna said...

I don't have an issue with the pants or the women standing as one or mourning with those that morn...because really we already do that in Relief Society every Sunday! What I do have an issue with is the hidden agenda these self proclaimed "Mormon Feminist's" have. All you have to do is read their blog and their comments & it is all crystal clear (at least to me it is). These women are not in it for the greater good, they are in it for glory & power that they feel they deserve.

Emily said...

See, I think you are wrong. I do think it is about the pants. This is a call to attention to their cause. There are so many MANY better and more appropriate ways to call for change then to wear pants in solidarity. IF that were true I would be wearing pants. But I am not. Instead of having everyone wearing pants why don't they draft a letter, send it to the church, request a meeting???

This is about the pants. This is about the women that want the priesthood to be "fair". I read a LOT of their posts. That is what the majority of the women want. This is them trying to tell Heavenly Father how he is supposed to do it.

I agree with the womens right to protest. I am not ok with the way they are doing it. Mainly because no where in the church does it say you can't wear pants. NO WHERE. It says Sunday best. So this is about the pants.

Erinello said...

I've never commented here before, and I'm not Mormon. But I love you and I love your writing.

And even though I'm not Mormon, I'm still going to wear pants to church on Sunday because I go to a church where women aren't allowed to be pastors. This has been on my heart a lot lately; I can't seem to stop thinking about it. The word "feminist" was always scary to me, but now I'm wondering more and more if it applies to me...

Have you read "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" by Rachel Held Evans? I think you would love it and want to be best friends with the author.

tana50 said...

Men in the church are not required to wear robes like Jesus did. Why not? They are allowed to follow the fashion of the day. Why are not women allowed to follow the fashion in a very respectable way? Why is change so very difficult for men when it concerns women? I don't think the men of the church are horrified to see women in pants in everyday life or hear them pray at church and at home. Why is it so wrong to hear women pray at conference or not see bare legs in church?

Roberts blog said...
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Suzanna H. said...

I must say that I am moved by your passion, and in some ways I can understand, in others I cannot. I am sorry for the hurt and injustice you have felt.
My mother's family did the same 'tradition' of the male hunting party, and I know she felt your pain. When I look around me, I see individuals and their struggles and injustices. Maybe I don't see far enough. I know, culturally, there are too many stereotypes and 'roles' and boxed-in standards that people feel forced to play, or play just because it is what they are used to.
It really doesn't bother me that women don't give more talks in General Conference, or pray more. It DOES bother me that in my borderland community, teenage girls think that the only way to be loved is to get pregnant. That their only purpose in life is to clean their homes and feed their husbands, even if they are scum bags.
I feel for people who are hurt by the lack of understanding of others, but I cannot feel that much myself. I fear I would spiral into depression if I took on every hurt, or offence others have to dish out. I know I am not strong enough.
I choose to the the light instead. The good, noble and beautiful. I will praise him instead.

Miggy said...

I wish I could really believe it was about hearts. Even if it's not really about the pants, I'm just having a hard time believing it's about hearts. Perhaps for some women it is, but for too many women I fear it will open a path of decisiveness instead of unity.

However, where I completely agree with you is on the individual reactions to each and every person out there--to sisters wearing pants for the first time, for the hundredth time or not at all. It's always our responsibility/privilege to choose how we react to others actions. To act and not to be acted upon. And I hope we all choose to be as Christlike and non judgmental as possible. And for the pant wearers, please remember as much as it is your 'right' to wear pants and make a point, others have the 'right' to disagree with you.

While I'm here I might as well explain why I'm not no on board with 'wear pants to church day.' Like many women I don't think it's the appropriate place/time/way to make this particular statement. I personally don't agree with the purpose in the first place or in feeling like I'm somehow viewed as 'less than' by the church on the whole. We all know individual members can be asses from time to time (like me, you and the rest of humanity), so I'm simply not going to make an issue of any individuals who may have ever stepped on my toes. But really my main reason stems from it just not feeling right, especially the approach. One of my favorite CS Lewis quotes is something like , "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." I feel like this is an 'aim at earth' moment. When you talked about trying to teach your children about kindness and respect for ALL people, that's something I can get behind. It's not that I don't think women's rights are important, it's just that woman aren't the only ones who desperately need the equality and a shift in perspective.

Mari said...

To comment, or not to comment? That is the question, and has been for years! But, for some reason . . . it is time!

I think you are so adorable, and I love your writing style. I feel great empathy for you as you discuss the things you have gone through in your life. Knowing your background makes a lot of your strong opinions make sense. (Isn't that true for everyone?!)

I sincerely hope you find the happiness and place of peace that you are searching for. I do not always agree with your opinions -- but I do think you are a lovely lady, and it is very fascinating to watch you search for truth.

Just remember though, there is one "Label" that trumps ALL others, and the only one that REALLY matters and that will bring you peace . . .

YOU ARE A DAUGHTER OF GOD!!

Everything else, all other labels . . . just details.

Love you without knowing you . . . best wishes!

www.vanormerview2.blogspot.com.

Catherine Agnes said...

Thank you, CJane. I was the 13th person to respond Yes on the Wear Pants to Church Day. I was nervous. Now there are almost 2,000 and I am less nervous. I love your post.

Leslie said...

I proudly have called myself a feminist from middle school and did it throughout my years at the BYU, much to the laughter and disdain of others. But what is wrong trying to teach people to be fearless and advocate with their mouths intstead of their clothes? I don't care how a person shows up to dress when they go to church, for the record. But this pants protest has become about the pants, not about the need for cultural and institutional change to give women a greater voice in our faith. And that is what happens with these kind of events, it becomes about the way of showing something, and doesn't change anyone's mind. Only thoughtful women opening their mouths and not being afraid to express their concerns does that.

Tami said...

I've never felt that woman were treated unequally in my Church, (and I'm a Mormon). Yes, we have different roles, but if I do say so myself we have the better half! This is a great article by Elder Dallin H. Oaks on how our strengths can become our downfalls and how to avoid this. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1994/10/our-strengths-can-become-our-downfall?lang=eng&query=feminist

Erin said...

AMEN!

Becca said...

I have never commented here, but needed to say that I really, really, really needed to hear this today. Because if one more woman says that "these women should just form their own church", I think my heart will just break into 100 pieces. So thanks.

Heather said...

Thank you, I appreciate this article! I do not feel that I have personally experienced gender inequality and I am not wearing pants on Sunday, but this post helped me open my heart to those who have experienced the inequality. I hope that neither I nor the members of my ward will be judgmental, but rather loving and compassionate and willing to listen. Thank you also for recognizing that this is a personal matter and for some of us the answer to that prayer may be "no" and that is a valid answer to. Tolerance goes both ways and I feel like you are respectful of that.

Jules said...

God isn't about the clothes you wear, He is about the good you do, the way you treat others and the difference you make

Jane said...

I appreciated your comment about the seemingly perfect man confessing his addiction at church. That man could be my husband, and I think I'd die instantly of overjoyed shock if he ever had the courage to talk about it publicly.

In light of this pants business a friend sent me a link to this address by the creative director of Bonneville Communication. (Neylan McBaine, a woman.) You might have read it. I'll warn you it's long, took me probably 40 minutes to read. But she makes some excellent points about the gender equality paradigm in the church. She also refutes the argument of motherhood being the counterpart to the priesthood.

http://www.fairlds.org/fair-conferences/2012-fair-conference/2012-to-do-the-business-of-the-church-a-cooperative-paradigm

Anyway, hope you like it.

Ronny said...

Thank you for leaving the comments open. That shows real courage. Your courage is the thing I love the most about this blog. But...I don't think that wearing pants to church is the right way to do what you are trying to do. I can guarantee that the message will be misunderstood and the conversation will be confused by most of those in your ward. Perhaps in a few years, maybe. But for now, it is a new born idea for most of the church, and hasn't yet had the chance to become fully formed. (other than for a few unhappy women who spend a lot of time on the internet) Church is not the place to spend time explaining yourself, it is the place to worship.
But, more power to you, sister!

arisa said...

wear the pants. but wear those same pants to your parent's house and discuss your issues with them, since they are who caused them. you're taking out your issues on sacrament meeting, and that's ridiculous. it doesn't matter what you wear to church (especially outside utah valley), but don't punish the church for your experiences.

Angela Porter said...

Cjane will no doubt in the near future be organizing her OWN religion. No PENIS' allowed. They will chant while marching and putting their arms up and down: "We have been hurt, we are hurting, we have been hurt. Men are hurting us, we have been hurt, we are hurting. Please show us charity, we have been hurt. Men are hurting us. We need to be equal, we need to be equal, we need to be equal. We now have the priesthood, we now have the priesthood, we can shoot deer, we can give talks, we can give prayers, no penis' allowed!"

Sarah Familia said...

Loved this, CJane. Thank you so much for writing from your heart and expressing what so many of us are feeling.

Danalin said...

I've never loved you more. I thought this was a perfect response. I consider myself a feminist. I've never felt belittled as a woman and don't feel in my heart that I need to wear pants on Sunday, but you better believe I will be looking for my sisters who are. I want them to feel loved and supported and heard. Thank you for this.

Lisa said...

Yes, it's about our hearts, not the pants. So, why the pants again? Because, it's the heart that matters, right? Not the pants? Heart. Not pants.

Okay, I'm being cheeky. Let me start by saying, I have been reading for awhile and I just love how you express yourself. I mean, come on. You're a writer, and a good one. I find so much beauty in what you say, and many of your posts leave me thoughtful, leaning back in my chair, deeply exhaling and just sitting. You keep learning about yourself, your soul. I love that about your posts. But, this feminist series of posts have thrown me a little. I read and think, "Okay, I can totally see where she's coming from." And then I pause and think, "But she must be exhausted!"

After reading this post, I almost feel as though I need to bow my head, raise my hand, and quietly say, "Yes, I'm one of those LDS women who has never had gender equality issues." I have never kept count of how many women speak or pray at conference. I just want goodness and well-filling inspiration and frankly, I don't care if the source is wearing pants or not.

I know you will do what feels right to you, as does anybody. I just feel like sacrament meeting isn't the venue to make some sort of feminist statement. But that is the beauty of agency, right? And, really, if I see a sister who is wearing pants this Sunday, I'm pretty sure I won't do internal whoops and hollars, nor will I gasp and have some holier-than-thou snark, but I guess I'll think, "Huh." and get back to my worship. I feel like this type of demonstration will be a distraction from what should really be happening in our hearts that day. I don't know. Because after-all, the Lord looketh on the heart. Not the pants.

Brittany Sco said...

This is beautiful. Stay strong! You are doing important work for your church and community. I am not a Mormon or a Christian, but people like you give me hope!

Cecily Jane said...

First, I think that with the screaming children and the cheerios stuck in the seats it's easy to forget that the sacrament is a holy ordinance, and that through it we are making sacred covenants. Any act of defiance or rebellion has no place there. There are places within the church for dissent and discussion, and sacrament meeting is not that place. Sacrament meeting is about unity and peace, and I can't help but see this movement as something that will take something profoundly sacred and turn it into something ordinary.

Second, I am repulsed by the idea that masculinity is superior to femininity. I am insulted by the idea that I have to look or act like a man to be considered equal to a man. So, as I'm sure you would guess, I see this whole idea as something destructive rather than constructive. We as women in the church would be much better served by a completely different approach.

Outside of the temple, sacrament meeting is my one hour a week of true, pure peace. Why would you take that away from me?

Megan said...

Interesting that the First Presidency Message for December includes the main scripture from the Book of Mormom dealing with contention. If you believe that Thomas S. Monson is truly a prophet I think you have your answer. And where does pride fit in all of this?

The Circus said...

I'm sincerely curious:
When you're all there at church in your nice pants, are you going to be focused on the spirit, on communing and learning, or are you going to be focused on the fact that you wore pants and who noticed and the statement that you hope to be making?

Angela Porter said...

You femmies have it all wrong. If you really want to make a statement this coming Sunday, you should go braless instead. I can almost guarantee you would get the attention from every man there. He would listen to anything you have to say, for however long it takes.

Maybe I will start a Facebook page asking women to go braless instead. Then we can take a tally of who went braless versus pants, or both!

Jen said...

Much better. Much, much better. Thanks CJane. Now I don't feel so bugged by this.

Greg and Michelle said...

I appreciate your take on this, but for some reason this whole thing still bothers me. I just don't feel like it is right to use the Sacrament meeting as a stage for this. I agree with a comment made earlier that while many women who will wear pants to church are not doing it in a negative way, that is how it is coming across; at least in my opinion. I can just imagine the contention that will be in the Sacrament meetings where women are putting down their foot. It is just the wrong place and time for this I feel.

Leora said...

I feel like I'm the only one who has literally laughed out loud at all this pants wearing nonsense. And I've only heard of it from this blog. It's not exactly headline news outside of Utah. And reading all the articles linked, I'm glad it's not. It's embarrassing and for lack of a better word, LAME. And this is coming from a mother of four who enjoys backpacking, hunting, camping and owns her own business. You know, "male stuff."

Give me a break.

I, for one, plan on attending Sunday wearing my Sunday best (which may or may not be pants- the Church couldn't care less) and participating in our Christmas Sacrament program by playing the piano for the ward choir and focusing on my Savior.

Ashley said...

Cjane, I have never commented on your blog before, and I don't even know if you read all of these, but I want to thank you especially for writing this one. I had a conversation with my mom today about why I will be wearing pants and why she was disappointed with that decision. I sent her a link to your post because you described what I feel so beautifully. Thank you.

GustoBones said...

Lets agre to disagree. Wearing a different article of clothing will not do much for a women who cant spend a dime without her husband's permission or who feels inferior at her place of business because of her gender or who wears long sleeves to cover bruises. Maybe instead of praying about staging a protest in the Lord's house, that time on your knees would be better spent praying for a woman you could help or serve who finds themselves in a truly vunerable position.

Lynnie said...

Thanks for being a voice without whining. I felt the spirit witness the truth of what you wrote. You're doing a great job.

pollydove said...

you are awesome.

Annalea said...

Oh, how did you know? This answers, quite perfectly, what I've been trying to figure out how to say to a dear, good friend, who sees this as an open act of rebellion . . . sedition, even.

Thank you. (And that's such an understatement . . .)

Megan said...

I recommend reading "The Friendship of Women: The Hidden Traditions of the Bible" by Joan Chittister. I think it will really speak to you.

Carrie said...

Oh man. SO many people are just not getting it. This is not about pants. It's about women having equal rights and privileges. It's about how women can lead just as well as men, and they deserve to. It's how women can lead without requiring male supervision. It's just too bad that people are so blinded and afraid of change that they refuse to believe this could ever be true.

Angela Porter said...

Here is a conversation you could engage in this Sunday wEith a Pant Wearin Stormin Mormon:

"Wow, so pants huh, tell me all of your deep hurts.

"I see...that big bad man did what to YOU?

"Those bad men said you couldn't go with them? What? Surely you could have shot just as well as them, and they could have at least given you a chance to pee on a tree! I know you, and you could have done this easily."

"I am sure if you talked to the Bishop he could let you in on all the secrets you want to know. Maybe he would even let you be the Bishop for a while."

"You are darn tootin you could wear a suit and tie to church from now on!"

"That is so unfair that even though you lift weights 5 times a week, your hubby can STILL lift more than you. What a jerk!

"He was in absolutely NO pain during the birth of your child? He wouldn't even inflict pain on himself somehow during each contraction?"

"What CAN be done about the whole priesthood thing? Well surely women will get it soon I would think. Let's just keep praying that these bad men will change their minds, or we will have to change it for them!"

"What! No milk comes out of your husbands breasts!! This is insanity! Your baby has to feed primarily off of you? Well thank Saint Mary for formula. That will teach that nasty man!"

"You mean to tell me that EVERY single time you have tried out for football, those big bad men never let you join the team? They said what?! You could be a cheerleader instead? You could seriously sue for that one."

"A big bad nasty man had the gall to ask you why you were in the Men's restroom, and further WHY you were trying to pee in a urinal? These big bad men in our lives have some nerve!"

"Keep letting it all out sister, I A M HERE FOR YOOOUUU! I have charity, I possess compassion"...

Sacajawea said...

There was so much ugliness in the responses to your original post. It made me SICK. Christ never said, "show me you love me, by keeping your neighbor in check and belittling them with name calling, intolerance, judgments and isolating comments." No HE said, Love thy neighbor.

Thank you for SHOWING those women, with this post, what TRUE Christianity really looks like.

Angela Porter said...

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!
This Sunday ALL women are to use the Men's restroom.

REAPEAT:
This coming Sunday ALL women are to use only the Men's restroom.

RORYJEAN said...

I love the compassionate approach you are advocating. I've worn pink to sacrament to support breast cancer awareness, I will gladly wear pants for feminism. I think it's important to remember that our religious heritage is rife with politically radical people- Jesus being one. Thank you for your words!

RBS said...

Just clarifying,I wrote the above comment not my better half

Carrie said...

Haha. I just have to laugh at Angela's comments. She truly doesn't get it. Bless her heart.

FINDING PEACE IN 2012 said...
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FINDING PEACE IN 2012 said...
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Delirious said...

I have been thinking about this quite a bit, and it just rubs me the wrong way. Who is the intended audience? Why do this in church? Is the intended audience the men of the church? Is it the church leaders? Is it God? What is behind doing this in church? Why not just have a rally somewhere on Saturday night? And why pants? Is it to show men that we are equal to them? Because I don't have to wear pants to show that. Is it to express some masculinity? I am just not getting the connection.
I live in China, and our little "twig" meets in my home. I am sure that I could show up in my pajamas, because afterall it is my home. I think people would cringe at first, but then they would get used to the idea that I just don't do church clothes. But I dress in my best for myself. It helps me to feel like I'm in church. I even put on my church shoes, even though most people who come, according to chinese custom, take off their shoes when they come to church in my home. But wearing my shoes makes me feel like I'm in church, not like I'm at home. It makes me feel reverent. I wonder what I would feel like if I wore pants. Would I feel empowered? I doubt it, because I wear pants every day, and it is just normal attire. Would I feel reverent? My attendance at church is about my relationship with God, not about my relationship with other women, or the leaders of the church. My time at church may be social in some aspects, but overall, it is my time to worship God. When it all comes down to it, I am not going to use church to make a political, or social point. There are times and places for everything, and I just can't reconcile letting those things encroach on my experience of taking the sacrament, and worshipping God. I would have to choose to pick a different forum.

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tallia said...

I love this post! Love! Thank you cjane. I completely and utterly do not love all the crazy things people are saying in response to the whole thing, but it happens every time anyone tries to shake things up a bit. We all just have to keep on trecking forward.

Delirious said...

Just another thought I just had. What will be next? Will gay men wear dresses to church one day, and lesbian women wear suits and ties? Will that send a message to the leaders of the church? Will that build solidarity in their ranks?

Ashlee said...

Pants? Really? I don't live in Utah so I just heard about this story today. Church is not about drawing attention to one self but thinking about others. After reading the comments I feel like women will be wearing pants as more as a statement not a plea for help. If I wore pants to church I would look like many of the new members of our congregation- no statement would be made. Utah mormons...

Miriam Jean said...

I really appreciate your open-minded attitude. We need more people like you in the world.
That being said, I just disagree. If women are really feeling "scarred" why would wearing pants help? Doing so will only take away from the spirit of the day. And I think most women I've heard talking about it DO see it as a protest. If women are really feeling scarred, maybe rather than praying about what to wear to church, they could be praying for validity and a confirmation that they are of infinite worth?

Spencer said...

I still don't get it. Pants have been worn by women in sacrament meeting for a while now. So this isn't about pants...well, I really feel strongly that whatever it is (a demonstration of desire for more equality, a demonstration of mourning or sadness as you put it), it DOESN'T belong in Sacrament meeting. We go to Sacrament to renew our covenants with our Savior, and this, I feel, detracts from that very purpose.

Jill F said...

Courtney, I have never loved you as much as I do at this moment. Gender equality issues in the church are real. I for one am terrified to wear pants to church on Sunday, but I will out of love and support for all the sisters that I love.

YES Gallery + Studio said...

Regarding both pants posts (oh, wonderful alliteration!)I offer up a point of view on the matter, shared by myself - and many other folks - who might be lumped into the often-misunderstood spiritual category of "New Age." For us, we see an energy (you would surely use other words, but it's all just semantics) called "the Divine Feminine" being heralded in at this time of December 2012. Your posts - and the pants movement, if you will - are evidence of this energy. It's a return to a place of balance. All around there is a return to an emphasis on earth, on the way we eat, on compassionate communication, on nurturing and many other inherently feminine ways of interacting. Secondly, I respectfully point out that your religion uses the word "He" when referring to God, and may contribute to a belief in male dominance. In my spiritual belief system - again, shared by many others (I mention so as to validate) - we believe that both men and women have masculine and feminine energies present and that what you call God or "the Lord" is a conscious co-creative loving being with a perfect balance of both masculine and feminine energies (one not defined by gender, but by essence.) Again, I bring this up with deep respect for you and your POV, in an attempt to offer up another way of looking at things. My heart connects with yours and knows how open-minded and soul-seeking you are. Thanks, as always, for providing a platform for discussion.

Charlotte said...

So, what happened to "One Miracle at a Time?"

Stephanie Broschinsky said...

Lovee this comment

Carissa and Jeff said...

Forgive me if I'm reading you wrong, CJane, but it seems like in the past couple of blogs that you've made the assumption that the women who can't understand/don't agree with this pants thing are the ones who haven't experiences sexism in their lives. I've experienced sexism while growing up and I still don't agree with the pants day. That's great if this movement is really about "showing up to church with vulnerability" vs. "equality with men".

However, many people, aren't going to get that. The message of the pants day seems very foggy. To me, it's just a distraction. Sacrament meeting is not a place to make a statement like that, no matter how worthy the statement might be. If women want to wear pants to church, GREAT, but I just don't think church was meant to be the avenue of making feminists statements.

Stephanie Broschinsky said...

Love this comment

Kara said...

I love your blog. You write so beautifully and eloquently. And I just want to say that I really admire you for speaking your opinion on this issue, regardless of the backlash. That takes a lot of courage.

I will not wear pants to church on Sunday, because to me it doesn't feel like quite the right message to send nor the proper place to send it. But thanks to you, I better understand the position of those who will be wearing pants, and I won't judge them for that. I hope you do whatever feels right and good to you.

FINDING PEACE IN 2012 said...

I personally do not feel inequality in the church at all. Men and women alike are subjected to commandments, and are to be submissive, meek, and humble while subjecting our will to God's. Yes, it is a patriarchal order. If that is Heavenly Father's will, then I respect and reverence that, and do not feel like I am any lesser in His eyes because of it.

We are to wear our Sunday best. That means different things to different people in different parts of the world. I personally will not be wearing pants because that is not my Sunday best; however, I know for some it is.

I'll tell you what the feminist in me has a problem with though: Why can men figure skate or perform gymnastics dressed so modestly while women wear next to nothing? This is seen through various sports. Women in the world are supposed to be liberated by feminist movements to dress how they want, be who they want, yet they choose to liberate themselves by showing off how sexy they are? Isn't that more for the benefit of men than themselves. I see some of this in the church, but mostly outside the church. I believe a truly liberated woman can be confident enough with who she is, that she does not need to prove herself, especially in such counterproductive ways.

I wish these talented, feminist mormon women would spend their time and talents tackling bigger issues like I mentioned above, rather than continually finding fault in the church.

Anna said...

I love my role as a woman! I love that my husband is the head of our household I love that we have different roles that blend so well together and make our family work. I wear a skirt to church to show respect to my Heavenly Father, who created me. Wearing pants to make a statement only detracts from the real reason we go to church. Get over yourself and show some respect to your Creator! Find a different way to scream out your frustration that you feel inferior to men.

Rebecca Curtis said...

For the record, I'm a convert and no, I'm not some mindless, brainwashed idiot who's never been oppressed. I've actually been very oppressed by my not-so-delightful ex-husband who liked to use me as his whipping boy. But this "pants" issue is inappropriate for Sacrament and has a very contentious spirit. It sounds like some women in the church with their knickers in a bunch over their lack of priesthood authority cleverly and deviously cloaked as a dress code issue, which doesn't even exist. Last time I checked, you can wear whatever you want to church. You don't have the priesthood, just like the men can't give birth. It's time to get over it - like you all know better than God himself.

Hillary said...

Thank you Anna! Well said!

Amanda said...

I have several thoughts:

First: "Too many people undervalue what they are and overvalue what they are not."

Second: Mormon Feminists, I think your next scripture study topic should be 'murmuring.' I do not say that in a judgmental tone. I say it because it recently was one of my study topics and my eyes were opened wide to what murmuring is. This 'movement' sounds a whole lot like murmuring.

Third: Plenty of prophecies of false Christs in the last days. A woman trying the change God's Church from the bottom up sounds like a false Christ to me. Yeah, I'm really eager to follow this one...

Fourth: I find it interesting that people keep commenting that there is no doctrine on how we should dress at church. Really? What kind of servant needs to be counseled in all things? I distinctly remember Elder Holland during a conference address speak about proper church attire. And he's not been the first.

Fifth: Praying about whether or not to wear pants to church. Again, really? Referencing my thought four, we have our answer of proper church clothing. Are you expecting a different answer simply because you pretend to exercise faith through an already answered prayer?

Sixth: I can't get over how selfish feminists come across regardless of their particular topic, "me! me! me! what about me?!" Well, what about you?

Seventh: All this feminist murmuring reminds me of Joseph Smith repeatedly asking to show the manuscript to an unauthorized person. The Lord finally gave in and gave him the answer he wanted and then let Joseph reap the consequences. It makes me wonder, at what point will the Lord allow women to hold the priesthood, allow gay marriage, choose your argumentative topic, just so He doesn't have to listen to complaints anymore. And then let us reap the unsavory reward as happened when the Jaredites chose a king when they were counseled not to.

Angela Porter said...

Chup has caught Cjane several times giving their children blessings...this sounds pretty iffy to me...

The Spice of Life said...

Is this a mormon Utah thing? I haven't heard about this down here in sin city. My thoughts, attending church is about worship and learning to be followers of Jesus Christ, not to gain attention for what you stand for.

Seth and Natalie said...

Yesterdays post was bothersome to me because I didn't get the feeling that you were hurt- mostly angry. I can feel empathy for those feeling this way even though I haven't felt degraded or looked down on for being a woman. I haven't even noticed all those praying things because it flat out does not matter to me. But for those for whom it does matter I truly hope you find a way to feel better.

Jessica said...

I appreciate you taking the time to write about this and express your feelings on this topic. I've never really been bothered by any cultural gender inequality inside or outside of the church because it has been super minor and not been much of a hindrance to me. That's my experience and I get that other people have different experiences. I can respect that and the fact that some women would like to change the culture of their wards or what they see as still a prevalent culture in the church at large (I don't see it, but that's just me). From what I've read, your posts seem to be speaking to cultural or administrative things that bother you. While I might not agree, I don't think that's a source of concern. After reading more about the group All Enlisted that has started this whole thing and the list of grievances on LDS wave that they point to as an "excellent" summary of the gender inequality in the church, I am very concerned. These women are not just taking issue with cultural or administrative issues, but with church doctrine. They even have problems with the temple ceremony. I would hope that you would not want to associate yourself with a movement that is trying to direct God or change doctrine. Let God direct us, through his prophets. I hope that didn't sound preachy; just saying what I feel!

Karen Turley said...

C. Jane Kendrick: What if someone wears pants to church and no one in her ward got the “memo” and she didn’t get asked to share her story? Ouch! Give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it (gotta love Princess Bride).

I have worn pants to church and to attend the temple many times. When I travel for work or fun and decide to find a ward to visit, I wear my “Sunday best” from my suitcase which many times has been a pair of jeans or dress slacks. I’ve never been treated differently for it (which is nice). Now someone is trying to make it into a statement of “mourning” so that on my next no-skirt-business-trip I might have people pull me over in the hall at church to ask me to “tell my story, take my burdens and help lift me for awhile”?

I have felt belittled as a woman in the church, like, never. Quite the opposite. And I just don’t think that God cares what gender says the prayer, for example, as long as it’s said so why should we keep track? I do, however, understand that even though I don’t feel this way, it doesn’t change the fact that some feel a burden of being “belittled as a woman” and I DO have empathy for that. But just because that isn’t a struggle of mine it doesn’t mean that I without my own burdens and hard life stories. It may get confusing…wear pants if you are mourning that a woman didn’t say the prayer, wear a turquoise hat if you are mourning due to a drug problem, wear yellow tennis shoes if you are mourning that you yelled at your kids during the week, etc. I’ll be the first to admit that I’d be in the most colorful outfit at church!

Obviously we are fee to wear what we want but if we do it with an attitude of “ask me MY burdens, ask me MY life stories” then it becomes a little selfish, does it not? I am going to consider instead “how can I strengthen my testimony and knowledge of Jesus Christ today and help uplift OTHERS?”

If Christ were going to come to my home for dinner, I wouldn’t serve him Mac and Cheese, unless of course, that was the BEST that I had to offer and in that case, it would be enough. If Christ were going to be at Church, I would want to be dressed in my best (to show respect)…if that was a pair of jeans, it would be enough. I am not saying that you need to feel this way, but as for me, if I were wearing a pair of pants in an outward show of mourning, I would quite honestly feel a selfish, like, everyone look at me…I’m mourning and since the rest of you are in skirts, you are not so please…all attention on me! When I am wear pants it is because they are the best of my choices and it has nothing to do with the burdens that I surely have.

I totally respect other people’s choices and opinions but sometimes I need to respectfully agree to disagree with no ill will.

Unknown said...

I really hope god chooses not to answer your nieces prayers, and instead answer the pleadings of the 30,000 children who are going to die from starvation that day.

melissa34 said...

I cannot help but feel that we are missing the mark with wearing pants to church. Isn't the true gospel of Jesus Christ about taking everything that is wrong with our lives, every hurt, sorrow, fear,inequality, painful experience and turning it over for Christ to heal, through the ATONEMENT? If we do this we can truly let go of it all and will never need to make a statement. We will see these trials from a different perspective and be grateful for them in our lives. I feel wearing pants to church on Sunday is not coming from faith but from fear and pain. It is saying that we are NOT willing to turn all of our burdens over to CHRIST, that he does not truly heal us. I will not be wearing pants to church on Sunday but I will be praying for everyone who is, so they can realize that Christ is the one to turn to and be healed.

Jenny said...

I was lucky enough to grow up with a dad who told me at age 5 when I dressed in a nurse outfit at preschool and told him that girls can't be doctors, that girls can do anything. He also refused to let my grandma buy me a play broom because he thought it was sexist (he wouldn't let my brother play with guns either). I am now married to a man who is providing half the care of our son while we both work part time and says he doesn't want to go back to work full time because he loves looking after our son. So I guess I have grown up to be a feminist without even realising it and am quiet frankly shocked when I hear of something of the things you write about. But I love hearing about other people's lives so I can understand everyone a bit better. Keep sharing your story. I love it.

Brooke said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I'm not sure if I'm wearing pants on Sunday either, but THIS is exactly the Christlike reaction I've been craving from others. Thank you for being so loving. Even if I don't wear pants, I want want the women who do to know I love them, I hear them, and I hurt with them.

Lori Janes-Young said...

Thank you for this. Beautiful.

Trevor said...

C Jane, you give a voice to many who feel they have none. Thank you for this post.

Jessica said...

Beautiful, Thank you

Bill said...

it seems like this post was a "back pedal" move from yesterday's post, like you're trying to pacify both sides. it was pretty genius (manipulative) of you to put the "wounded" part in there because now the people that were hating on you yesterday have changed their view. so which is it? are you a strong woman standing up for your equality, or are you a wounded soul needing people to ask you to tell your story? it just seemed like you were contradicting yourself. strong woman, or victim? if you're looking for a way out of the church you'll find it.

Elyssium Earth said...

Word.

bandanamomtoo said...

Pretty sure Angela Porter is both a man and a member of the church. Or a former member.

And wow. Some of these comments are just...I have no words.

Thanks for being brave CJane.

Sage said...

Love this comment. Amen. So silly. Makes me glad I don't live in Utah.

C. Jane said...

Just want to add...

Saying "I never felt unequal, in fact I if anything I felt better than..."

to me, is actually another form of gender inequality. I believed it for a long time, the "women are MORE special than men" because it's definitely out there. But it also goes against that core belief that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

Women are special, yes. So are men. If you have experienced the thought: men need the priesthood and women don't because women are better, I think you've experienced reverse gender inequality and I do think it has a damaging effect.


Also, I'd like to second the comment about me being the Patron Saint for women these days. If I could get someone to third it I can get a statue erected downtown of me and a billowy dress.

Any takers?

Karen Sutton said...

I was at a group meeting the other day for interfaith families for my son's bar mitzvah that is coming up in 2014. Somebody talked about women wearing the prayer shawl (tallis) in this congregation since so many were only used to seeing men wear them for prayer (in more conservative parts of judaism). There was a discussion and then the rabbi said - 'well, we let/encourage women to wear them because we are egalitarian'. And that work really hit me hard. For me, I think people get really stuck on the word feminism because of the baggage they attach to it. but EGALITARIAN is so simple and straightforward. What he was saying is why do men get to wear tallis for prayers and not women because of some rule someone made a lot time ago (he noted that there is no mention of this in the torah -- i.e. old testament). Women pray just as men do. Women hold the tallis in the same importance as men. Men and women are co-leaders in their families, etc. This isn't to say that men and women are THE SAME - that is never the point (although, men and women are much much more similar that church teachings will lead you to believe - but that's another story) -- it's that they have the same right to pray/express their faith. egalitarian. And I agree about this idea that 'women are so special they don't need to hold the priesthood' is a way to make the inequality more comfortable on a personal level. As a mormon, I know how hard it is to separate the culture from the spiritual meat -- it feels like you'll piss off too many people, etc. and is therefore not worth it. I hope many of you think about your faith much more because of this.

Stephanie said...

My problem with all of this, is the way you are representing the church to those who are not members.... I have been a member most of my life, raised in the south and I have not experienced what you are saying. We are strong southern women and no one at church has ever said not to be or made me feel less than any man. Men and women are different, it's silly to try and make us the same! It makes me so frustrated when the teachers in school wanted my boys to act like a girl and not take into consideration that they were active and they were different than a girl! I say let us all be whoever we are! We are all different and I have never felt the church tried to say women are less than men. I'm sorry if your family had stereotypes and you didn't like them, but that is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe you need to say that your upbringing and your experiences led you to feel less than and made you feel all you had to offer was marriage at a young age. I was raised in the church and experienced none of this....I was raised by a strong southern Belle, who had a strong testimony and was very feminine, but had strong opinions that were never discouraged even though my father was always in leadership. He listened to her and respected her opinions, I never saw her or myself as anything less, certainly not less than a man. They were a team made up of different strengths and weaknesses, they worked together at church and home. Please don't give people the impression that the church makes every woman feel that way, it is your opinion and many other mormon women do not feel any less or any prejudice, I just see we work together to accomplish what is needed. Heaven knows, I don't want to be the bishop!!

Karen Sutton said...

Stephanie - I'm sorry but 'boys are more active than girls' is a gender stereotype. so is 'girls/women are more nurturing'. There is absolutely no real data that supports that idea. it reflects societal stereotypes.

Alison Haasch said...

I might add, as a non-Mormon, I would never look at what someone wore to church and question their devotion to the church, their morality, or any other judgement call. I would assume that if a woman wore pants to church, but that it is because today, pants were more comfortable. She still showed up. And that says more than what she chooses to wear.

mere said...

Courtney, you nailed it. All about love. Love is all we need.

mere said...

I read this article a whole ago and wondered why we never ask men if they can have it all. My husband struggles with being away from our kids probably more than I do. Parents can't have it all. It's unfair to put the burden of work/life balance on women. We are a team and should work together to have the most fulfilling life that's works in our family. That's this feminist's perspective.

mere said...

People's pain is expressed differently. It is t always humble and meek and sad. Sometimes it turns angry. But we are taught not to judge and to Truro look on the heart. That means getting past words. As someone involved in this event, and a close friend with Stephanie. I can tell you Courtney nailed the purpose of this event. Exactly.

Anderson said...

I just find this sad. If we seek to be like men in every way, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to be the best possible version of ourselves. There ARE differences among men and women, there are suppose to be. It doesn't make any one gender better than the other. I will be wearing a dress on Sunday- to show my Heavenly Father that I love Him and that I trust His plan for me. That I trust that if I follow Him, I will be the best and happiest version of myself possible.

Karen Sutton said...

why does wearing a dress show heavenly father you love him? seriously. someone explain this to me.

Andrea said...

Let's just hope that what happens in Utah stays in Utah.

melissa34 said...

Karen Sutton, Stephanie didn't say that boys are more active than girls. She said everyone is different. Why must supporting data verify this? I can verify this every day all day long by living life. Boys and girls are DIFFERENT and always will be. Supporting data will never change this!

jadell said...

so growing up, my Mom wouldn't let me wear shorts to school. Shorts were play clothes and when I wore pants or nice skirts to school I was better prepared to learn as I was in my "learning" clothes.
Such is the same with dresses, in my mind. I wear dresses(my Sunday best) to Church so that I am prepared to learn from my Heavenly Father.
Can I learn from him in my pj's? Absolutely. But, when I wear my very best, I go PREPARED to learn more about HF. When I wear pants, I am more likely to be slouchy, and lazy, and my mind will probably wander more. When I wear dresses, I choose to be more careful about how I sit and the thoughts that enter my mind.

No, it's not about pants, but I feel very sorry for those who think that wearing pants to church is the best way to express themselves as "feminists".
Clearly, they have lost sight about what being a Mormon is all about. It's not about being the same as men. It's about enjoying the differences between men and women.

I will be wearing MY Sunday best--including nylons, as that helps me to be my best while at church. (And yes, I know, nylons are so last century! Maybe I am a TRADITIONALIST!! and quite honestly, proud to be one)

Karen Sutton said...

Melissa34 - data IS important because so much of what the church teaches reinforces stereotypes that have no basis in REALITY and can reinforce very limited roles for women AND men. For example, in the proclamation on the family the argument is made that women should focus on the raising of children and the home BECAUSE they are more nurturing. That is simply not true. It's interesting that you think you don't need to think about 'data' (like that's a dirty word) because you see it every day. pulleez. The point is the church makes decisions that affect EVERYONE based on stereotypes. And that's not right. I get that you can't really see this because you are so ensconsed in your culture. That's why I think a little shake up, a little education, etc. never hurt anyone. If you feel so strongly about your view about women's roles it won't matter anyway. But it matters to the rest of us.

Dear al, said...

In no way am I speaking with anger or condescention. But from a place of peace, after having obtained it through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I, like others, have hurt...abusive relationship and all. And for a considerable time after, I was self-admittedly wallowing in my hurt to the point where it became this crutch...an excuse to be at war...inside and out. And then a very personal revelation, I had to be accountable for my actions that led me to that point. PERIOD. I had to take my part in it. I had to self-reflect and be responsible for my thinking errors, my expectations as how I believe things should be, how I really should have never dated the guy in the first place...I couldn't blame my misery on anyone else but me. Because in the end, horrible things happen. And they continue to happen all the time in my life. Is ok for someone to treat me that way? No. Was it ok for mother and father to instill skewed beliefs about the opposite sex in my head? No. But in the end, it certainly wasn't ok for me to harbor it all. Could I change him or them? No. The only thing I could change was me. And I did. And that is where the empowerment comes. That is where the peace comes. That is where the firmest knowledge in my identity comes. And oh! I would never give up any of these experiences for the peace I feel today. I fight for love. I fight for vulnerability. I fight for those in pain. And I fight and pray daily that self-worth is taught in homes around the world. Self-worth as explained in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Look around, there are sooo many other causes to fight for. This fight revolves around self. If you are in pain...serve. If you are in pain, pray to find another that needs help. It is everywhere. Yes in our wards but also in crevaces in the world where womens rights are extinct. Where childrens rights are extinct. Where knowledge of the gospel is no where in sight. For that is the common denominator for us all. We are all His children. Christ didn't wallow in his pain. He got up and continued a life of hurt to serve his Father. Alone. I am trying to do the same. Is it easy? Nope. Everyday it seems to get harder and harder. In the end it is our reconciliation with our Father that directs my day to day perspective.

Kristin said...

CJane: I found your blog years ago through Nie's and as my own life has evolved I have found I connect much more with you than Nie. I left the mormon church over 10 years ago. I doubt if my path will ever lead me "back into the fold" but I want you to know that your words here have touched me.I was only able to find my voice by stepping away from the church but I admire your strength and will to stay in the church and still find your voice. Though I will not be at church on Sunday I will be sending strength to my sisters with a hope that we all can help carry each other. xx

Dear al, said...

As women, aren't we suppose to be each others greatest advocates? Why is there always a line being drawn? Wear your pants, I love you. Wear a dress, I love you. You aren't a feminist, I love you. You are...I love you. Holy crap. Enough of the animosity. We all think differently. We are all unique. But we are all women and should promote UNITY. Not as to what, specifically, we should be doing or thinking but that we are UNITED in the Human Race. Last comment, I swear.

Carrie said...

Yes! I would LOVE to see a statue of you in a billowy dress! Keep on keeping on, Patron Saint of women! ;)

amy said...

Wow! These comments are fascinating!

I'm a non-Mormon reader and I absolutely love these two posts. How eloquent, how beautiful.

My whole life I said "of course I'm a feminist!" but didn't really GET IT until I had my daughter. Now I really feel what that means, what I want for her to experience, what I hope the future holds.

When moms at the park or library tell their sons "Be nice to her! She's a girl!" it DRIVES ME INSANE. That would have made me smile in the past, but no more! My whole world has shifted and I think that's a good thing.

I'm guessing the women who say they've never felt inequality actually HAVE been in many situations where they were treated less than, but they just didn't FEEL it because they just don't know any different. I would have said the same thing until I really started to look over the past 30 years and realized all the instances. (And I grew up in a mega liberal, educated fam!)

Anywho. Rock on. I love the path you're on. (And I do agree that while pants might not be a big deal to YOU, the women who can't find their voice yet but will wear them anyways, would love the support i'm sure!)

Hailey said...

I am also LDS and have read some articles regarding this. I totally agree with reaching out to others and suffering with them. But I am one who absolutely does not get how women in our church feel inferior. I think inferiority may be coming from somewhere else but certainly not from the doctrine of our gospel. If particular men in your ward or family are making you feel inferior that is a deprecate issue that should be dealt with. Women are loved and praised in our religion. We are much different than men and we are supposed to be. I don't think the people who started the "pants" movement feel the way you do. I read one article that said the woman wants to be able to give her children priesthood blessings.
Anyway I think you did a great job of making the pants movement seem christlike- but I don't think that was its original intent. I could be wrong.
Anyway I hope and pray that LDS women- and women everywhere will gain some confidene and pride in our divine nature and mission. We aren't supposed to be like men or have the same roles. If we were God would just have made a bunch of men!

Paraclede said...

my thoughts:

http://paraclede.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/what-you-think-wearing-pants-to-church-means-and-what-it-actually-means/

wonderwoman1975 said...

When you entered the waters of baptism, you promised to 'mourn with those who mourn' NOT 'laugh at those who mourn.'

wonderwoman1975 said...

Exactly! We Mormons promised God, when we entered the waters of baptism, to mourn with those who mourn...NOT laugh, belittle, dismiss, or mock those who mourn.

Just like the Pharisees who did not understand Jesus Christ's message, as the least of these among us, many modern Mormons are failing to understand the what feminists (and gays, and, and, and) are trying to say.

It makes me think that Mormonism is in the mainstream becoming fundamentalist and over-zealous in its approach.

wonderwoman1975 said...

Yes, CJane, YES!

I realized how MUCH of a feminist Mormon I am when I saw how destructive patriarchy was and is on my husband. I am now raising two sons, and it is gender inequality to ever insinuate that they are 'thorns' among the flowers (girls) in our ward.

Like you said in your 'coming out post,' inantimate objects belong on pedestals, NOT feeling, thinking, human women.

Men are damaged when we say that they are so weak that they NEED the Priesthood. The argument just rings hollow.

Jessica said...

Karen Sutton, the family proclamation actually does not say that women are primarily responsible for nurturing their children because they are better at it; it just says that is what they are primarily responsible for. It also says that death, disability and other circumstances will necessitate individual adaptation to parents' roles. Other circumstances can cover a wide array of things, including that some men may actually be better at nurturing their children than their wives.

Carolyn said...

Cjane do you think women should have the priesthood???

shalane said...

It is my understanding that the purpose of this event is to bring about awareness of the inequality that some women of the church are feeling. Because of this important topic, I felt compelled to comment. I too have felt this inequality in the church. I am a woman, a wife, and a stay-at-home mother of 9 children. Interestingly, however, any feelings of being unequal have always, without exception, come because of other women in the church, never from a man. I have always felt extremely respected by and even elevated in the eyes of the men in this church and in my wards throughout this country. I am currently in the Sunday School Presidency, I have taught members of the Priesthood as a gospel doctrine teacher, and I have been asked to teach the Priesthood in 3rd hour discussions, as well as held other various leadership positions. I feel important and needed as a woman in the church. I fear that events such as these, and movements such as “Mormon Feminism,” are creating more division in the church, not just between men and women, but among women themselves. I have never felt less unified as a sisterhood than I do at this time. The Lord has told us in the Doctrine and Covenants, “…if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27). As we individually seek to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and to follow His teachings, we can feel equal, we can be unified, and we can have happiness. I know that God lives. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth through a prophet of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth today, who speaks the will of God. And above all, I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He lives! I am grateful for my relationship with Him. He is my Savior, He is my Brother, He is my Friend. I am proud to take upon myself His name. I am a Disciple of Christ. I need no other label to define me. And that is why I will not be wearing pants on Sunday.

Unknown said...

As a child of God, I feel magnificent! I have never felt "less than" or inferior to ANYONE. I trust my Father in Heaven and His wisdom.

I did not grow up in a very active, church going home. But I was always taught that we should wear our Sunday best to church to show respect for our Father in Heaven and Savior, Jesus Christ. I think after all the Savior has suffered, sacrificed, and done for me- the least I can do is try and wear my best to worship Him at church.

My best is NOT pants. Pants are casual. If I was to go to a formal event, I would wear a dress. A really nice one. The Savior means more to me than any formal event, and deserves more than casual. He deserves the best we have. For some people, the best they have may be pants- and that's okay. There's a difference in wearing pants because it's the best you have and wearing pants because you want to make a feminist political statement.
If we are wearing pants to make a statement about equality in comfort- I think we are missing the point. It's not like men are trying to get one over.

I don't like dresses, but it's a small sacrifice to make each week to show my respect for what the Savior has done for me. I will be wearing a dress every Sunday- But that's just me.

-Lisa

Lynnette said...

It's cool to see the words that have been echoing in my head and filling my heart the past few days written out so beautifully, so thanks for that. I'm not a part of this movement, but I certainly want my sisters who are to know they are loved and supported and welcome however they come.

melissa34 said...

Karen Sutton,
I am so glad that you know me well enough from a comment on a blog to make assumptions about my life and my opinions on women's roles.

Lisa Henry said...

C Jane, thank you for your courage. There are far too many of us that resemble Pharisees more than Disciples. We can all do better following the Savior in every aspect of our lives. I admire that this statement is non "rule breaking" and really should not offend anyone.

Charity Suzuki said...

I'm not a Mormon and grew up in a church where almost all the women wore pants a couple Sunday's out of the month.

But I agree with Rachel:

"I'm not a Mormon, and I agree that clothing doesn't matter to God.

But it does matter to the other women wearing pants. Look, some woman at your church will show up in pants. And imagine how awkward and vulnerable she'll feel if she's the only one. Wearing pants would be a huge kindness to her"

jani vegas said...

Honestly, I am confused as to why so many are wasting so much energy on such a trivial matter. In light of the horrific tragedy that occurred today in Connecticut, this whole debate is ridiculous. Let's pray for those suffering to find comfort and peace through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ--not about pants.

kiki said...

Courtney, is "billowy" code for "my boobs really need to pop"?

Loni said...

Philosophies of men, mingled with scriptures.....

SmileyIsles said...

This whole thing seems to be about respect from men. Not necessarily about feminism. So, how about, if a man truly respects a woman he shows up to church in a skirt or dress.

olsoeliz said...

I am very new on the feminist Mormon scene and have been reading and thinking about this topic all week. You article is, by far, the most well-written I could find. Thank you for so gracefully articulating what I feel inside... a love for and commitment to the Savior and His gospel, but a heart unsatisfied by unanswered questions. Keep it up!

Rummfor5 said...

"...real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility. Remember, it is as wrong to do things just to be seen of women as it is to do things to be seen of men. Great women and men are always more anxious to serve than to have dominion." Spencer W. Kimball
I don't care what anyone wears to church. The Lord looks on the heart. While there are issues and unfairness and inequality and a million other sorrows and injustices in the world and at church (all churches and all places where people gather and interact)... it is important to do everything we do for the right Reasons.
That is between the individual and the Lord.
My dear girl wants to wear pants to church on Sunday. I say hurrah. I'll hug anyone who wears them, and hug all who don't. Most of all I will think on my dearest Savior and renew my covenants as I take the sacrament. I love my sister... in dresses, in pants, in church, or not!

Abi from Australia said...

Beautifully said. Thank you for this post. I completely agree!

Darn It Janet said...

Somehow we've made pants the utmost in male churchwear (or everyday wear). Did the Lord ever wear pants? No. Well, at least not in any artist's rendering. It's strictly our culture's edict - men wear pants - and as SarahJane has shown, even that is open to interpretation, depending on where you're from.

Which is why I'm still wearing a dress on Sunday. Real men can wear lava-lavas and kilts without their masculinity being threatened, and I can wear a skirt without feeling like a throwback to 1910.

Darn It Janet said...

Amen. What we wear to church tomorrow seems like such a petty topic after what happened yesterday.

Carrot Jello said...

If you really want to help women, help them learn how to apply the atonement in their lives.
The Atonement is for the pain, and suffering, and anger. Christ is the one we turn to, not our pants.

Cory and Diane said...

I agree that it's not about the pants but if sisters are wearing pants to show how they feel than they don't understand the gospel. Relief Society was instituted for women to "bear one another's burdens" and to "comfort those in need of comfort." If you are feeling unequal and are having struggles talk to your Relief Society President, or better yet, talk to your Visiting Teachers. That is the very purpose of Relief Society and God made sure we had that support. So why pants?

Personally, pants are worn every day outside of church, it shouldn't be a big deal to wear a skirt/dress once a week to show respect for our Father in Heaven. We wear dresses in the Temple so why does church have to be less special or important? We partake of the sacrament, a sacred ordinance, just like the ones we take in the Temple. So why is our church building seen as less than it is?

I agree that we should show love to every sister, no matter what she is wearing. But let's make Sunday better than the rest of the week.

Gracie said...

Which would all be lovely if that was what Wear pants to Church day is about. But it isn't about solidarity as sisters. According to the organizer it is a first event of civil disobedience to express women's desire for equality. You have remade it from what was started into something else entirely. I have no problem with anyone wearing pants or supporting this event. But it is hard to take your lovely and impassioned plea for love and support as a comment on the actual event itself when you do not acknowledge the stated goals of the originators.

Jana said...

A friend in my neighborhood and ward, who is a young mother of 5 was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a ward, neighborhood and community we held a fundraiser event for her family to help them with medical bills, to raise awareness for cancer and to show emotional love and support for this sweet family. It was a huge success, we made thousands of dollars for this family, we all wore pink to support her that Saturday the fundraiser was held, and we came together and felt unified and uplifted as a community. Then the next day we went to church and focused on our Savior. We can all agree that this was a wonderful cause and event and it was done out of the goodness of many people's hearts. What if we had said instead, on Sunday we would like for all of you to wear pink in support of this sweet woman and focus on what she is going through and draw awareness to breast cancer. Would that of been appropriate to draw focus on that rather than what the whole purpose of sacrament meeting is about? For me, it is a sacred place where I go to feel uplifted, to humble myself, to find peace and comfort, and most importantly to focus on my Savior. Regardless of the cause, how good the intent is, there are other places and other ways to make your voices heard.

Karena said...

I have a hard time understanding some of these bitter comments and feelings towards the brethren and organization of the church. If anyone is truly hurting or feeling like they are being abused by inequality, turn to the Savior. He made it perfectly clear that his Atonement is available to all and calls us to take advantage of it. Making a statement in church isn't going to help you. Don't use Sacrament Meeting as a soap box for your agenda...use it to renew your covenants.

Carrot Jello said...

Here's my thought on mourning with those who mourn. Don't do it symbolically. If someone is sad, go to them. Serve them. Help them. Pray for them. Help them find peace and understanding. Love them. Accept them. Don't wear pants for them.
And, for those who are sad, go find someone with more problems of your own and serve them.

Tara said...

Wow. This is all really sad. I'm embarrassed to be a Mormon. "AH! Feminism! Pants! AH!" Meanwhile little babies are being shot in schools.

Lame, lame, lame. Forget about your stupid pants and go help someone else already. Like Jesus would have wanted you to. Jeez.

Use your digital influence for that, maybe. Pants? C'mon.

Tara said...

ETA: My first post isn't directed at Courtney. It's just so bothersome to me that a large number of intelligent Mormon women feel that this is the best way to direct their time and efforts. (Of course, I'm wasting time posting about it, so... LOL)

Cheryl said...

Amen!

Cheryl said...

It's about protesting during a time when many of your fellow sisters are looking for answers to prayer and strength through their trials. Its about taking the focus away from the savior and putting it on a"movement". I have issues with that

Gracie said...

After all that, you didn't wear pants? Seriously?

I thought the whole thing was ridiculous, deliberately provocative, and way too dramatic. I was not a supporter.

But I still wore pants to church yesterday. I did it so that no other sister would have to stand at church feeling singled out or alone.

Good grief. If people (women, men, ninjas, Ron Paul supporters or anyone) want to be taken seriously they have to stand for something.

This actually meant something to you and you did squat. Don't try the "I had no pants" shtick.

I didn't either. So I worked it out. So that no one would be alone. You have no right to write impassioned pleas for a cause that you believed in so little that you did not actually participate.

funderson said...

Lovely...as always... I haven't been to church in a bizillion years, but the pants are giving me oh so much hope.
(Even though, I agree..why PAAAAAAANTS!?!? Man, oh man do I dislike pants.)

One Fish said...

Since you mention the priesthood vs. birth thing in particular, I thought you might find this article interesting. It makes some great points about the true doctorine of womanhood and all of its blessings.

One Fish said...

Oops. Forgot the link. http://mormonscholarstestify.org/1718/valerie-hudson-cassler

Andy's Mom said...

Thank you for your thoughts, both posts on the pants. While I commend your desire to show solidarity and agree, there is an issue with inequality within the church, I still strongly feel that going to church isn't about anything and SHOULDN'T be about anything but our Savior and showing Him respect and reverence. Wearing pants distracts from our focus on Him. I'll gladly support and participate in the movement, just find another way to make our point. Sacrament meeting is sacred.

http://www.andysclan.com/2012/12/the-one-where-i-wore-dress.html

Sara said...

I think the fact that this has blown up into something that everyone knows about means that the issue has resonated with a lot of women in the Church. I just haven't heard or felt anything yet that has resonated with me personally. I appreciate your perspective of being open-minded to other's feelings, while also searching for your own.

Jessica said...

Thank you for bringing my attention to this. I am dismayed by the reactions of many of our people to this and am not terribly thrilled with my own initial reaction. I am glad that I took the time to look into this more and not just dismiss it completely, and especially that I took the time to speak to a beloved feminist Mormon sister who I know, trust and respect about this issue and hear her own tender feelings on the subject. I've been reading a lot about women and their role in the church and in the gospel today and have found it very enlightening. One of your earlier commenters suggested a link that I just finished reading that I think would be very enriching for any of our sisters to read: http://www.fairlds.org/fair-conferences/2012-fair-conference/2012-to-do-the-business-of-the-church-a-cooperative-paradigm#en8. If any of these other commenters are coming back to check updates, I would encourage those of you who don't understand what some of our sisters are upset about to read this with an open heart and mind. I feel grateful for the learning opportunity this has been for me and for having some of my notions challenged.

Kelly King Anderson said...

i'm a day late on this, but it's not to late to say that this was beautiful, rich, deep, and perfect. thanks, Courtney. i get this a bit better now and yes, i join you in striving to embrace all who come to church in whatever form they come, here in Hawaii we have 74 different countries so i get to see a whole lot of sisters and lots of circumstances, in India the sisters wear pants under their dresses, so there that's a good one. ;) xo

Katie and Co. said...

The "wear pants to church" movement has been fascinating to watch unfold and has lead me through a range of emotions. This blog post brought it full-circle for me, and taught me what I needed to learn. The broader purpose behind the pants was something that I had a difficult time wrapping my head around. Your words touched my heart and the Spirit was able to show me that it's okay if I don't understand. We all have something that makes our heart ache. We're all here with our unique burdens/blessings to bear. What matters is that we cheer each other along the way. Thank you for your courage and confidence to share. It made a difference for me.

J said...

Now you are hilarious. Time to get educated Karen! Before you start talking about supporting data, you should read more than what your facebook friends say. There are very distict male/female patterns that do include (shock) females being more nurturing than males even as young children. And yes there are many studies that show this. I always love when uneducated people throw around their facts that they've read on wikipedia, and then expect everyone to bow down to their superior knowledge.

Lissa said...

Right on! Your feelings of inferiority due to being a woman come from your family and their traditions, not the church. You're right CJane, it isn't about the pants. It's about issuing a protest at church when the protest should be waged on your knees in prayer with The Lord for understanding. No matter the number protesting, if you truly believe the Church is true then you understand that the revelation for who holds the Pristhood comes from The Lord himself, not thru anyone else. And no amount of women's pants wearing is going to change that.

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