Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Short Essay on Being a Mormon Woman

Yesterday I wrote:

"You know, being a Mormon woman is a lot of work."

But I was really intent on writing about bleu cheese so I didn't elaborate, but now I'd like to, if I could. Even though, honestly, I can't really remember why I wrote that sentence. But let me try again:

You know, being a Mormon woman is a lot of work.

 I think about this Joseph Smith quote a lot:
“a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”

Which I suppose can seem a little wacky to some non-believers, but I as a believer I feel like, well, it's true in my life. Like for instance, right now I am searching for a babysitter to come be with my kids while I meet with a church representative to get my temple recommend signed so I can go to the temple next week (our recommends expire after two years). After that interview, I am going to visit some women in my church congregation who just moved into our neighborhood. Chup won't be here to help me because he's shooting something for the church's scouting program. Of course, he's getting paid for his work, but mine is all in blessings sisters, all in big, brilliant blessings! I pour the blessings on my bed and night and roll around in their luxuriant promises! Blesssssssings!

I've been realizing lately though, how much Mormon my life is, how much it permeates everything. I pray with my children over all meals, in the evenings before bed and when they are hurt or "hurt." I put my hand on whatever is causing them to bellow and I say a prayer asking for the pain to go away. I even once prayed away hiccups. That's pretty Mormon right?

Whenever my friends or sisters visit, we talk about religion. I spend my afternoons working on understanding the lessons I am going teach the young women the next Sunday. And even on our date nights, Chup and I often find ourselves in discussions about what we really believe and who we want to become. Which for me, right now, can be summed up in the Book of Mormon scripture Moroni 7:45.

I could go on and on, but I really think the reason why being a Mormon woman is hard is because it's an intellectual cause. It's a daily education. Mormon women are asked to be highly knowledgeable. We do a lot of teaching, a lot of discussing and a lot of seeking. (And when I was a missionary I was asked to do all of that in French, a language I didn't speak before I moved to Quebec.) We weigh heavy matters and navigate through pressing questions. In my mind, I think a Mormon woman is first a seeker and then whatever follows after that. I mean, we certainly put emphasis on motherhood, but I think even before that, we're seekers.

And I think the life of a seeker is an extraordinary, hard-working journey. Of course, that's true of all humanity. Not just Mormons. Sometimes it's really uncomfortable and vulnerable and hard to feel like you're ever really standing on solid ground.

But at night, after a Mormony day of praying and pondering and child-rearing, I sit in that big pile of blessings and read from my twitter feed, writings of Mormon women. Some of them are feminist thinkers, some of them are conservative apologists and a lot of them are floating in the spaces between. And what they write makes me think, and you know what? It makes me extremely proud to be one.