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12/14/12

the end



Did you guys know that Jessica Simpson might be pregnant again? I saw an article about her today. Her baby is one month younger than mine? Holy cow.

Also, I caught up on Covert Affairs tonight, and good heavens, half-naked Auggie frantically trying to get dressed so he can run after his fiance, only to fall down and cry into his perfectly sculpted cheekbones.

I cried. I'm not ashamed. I cried.

I may have been a little emotional today, I haven't spent much time on my usual pursuits lately: cross-stitching while watching bad TV and reading celebrity gossip. I've been busy.

Before being busy though, a few months ago, I went to a member-submission Art Show at the Church History Museum. I cried a little then too, because the art was so beautiful, particularly the large painting of a man receiving instruction from a female angel. The description explained that the artist often felt like his mother offered him revelation and guidance, despite passing away.

There were pictures of Jesus teaching women, and women celebrating the news of his Resurrection.

The art represented everything I loved about Mormonism. I felt myself being called home. If Mormons could create art that transcends the cultural and yes, even doctrinal inequities and quirks of their own religion, couldn't there be a place there, for me?

When my friends and I organized All Enlisted and Wear Pants to Church Day, the motive was pure, and rooting in a simple desire to point out inequities within the church, and to stand in solidarity with the many, many men and women who feel simultaneously constricted and ostracized by a religion they care about. We wanted to question, but we wanted to love, as well.

It was a simple way to introduce action to a Mormon Feminist movement that raised a generation of women and men devoted to the church, but devoted to equality too.

The support and kindness we received was overwhelming. The sense of community reminded me of what I felt when I looked at the art created by my Mormon siblings. Maybe there was a place for me here, in Sacrament meeting, with my pants.

What better place than Church, the place where we promise to be more like our Savior, than to practice what we promise? If not church, where? Where better do we learn? In a place dedicated to a Messiah who frequently challenged social norms and angered many in the name of love, what better place?

When things got bad though, when the threats came, and the phone calls, and the media explosion, my soul told me something different. Every fiber in my being told me to run from the group of people who simultaneously condemn me to hell and bear testimony of the Savior.

A long time ago, I learned that questioning my testimony is hard.Today I learned that is is infinitely more painful to question the testimony of your tribe. While I understand, and even empathize with their anger, I can't forget that feeling, that desperate need to run far away from the people who a few weeks ago, may have seen me standing in the Church History Museum and seen me as a sister.

I don't generally feel regret, and I don't regret standing up for a cause I believe in, and a cause I still hope for. But I can't help but feel regret my loss of innocence. My pure and innocent belief that no matter what, I could always come home again.

I question my motives, I want to believe I am good and kind. A week ago, I knew that. A week ago, my biggest problem was wondering if Jessica Simpson really was pregnant again. What a beautiful life.

My long-term, looking-toward- the-future-brain wants to feel hope. I hope I did some good today. Have I made anyone feel glad?


But my weary, weary heart says "Perhaps I have failed, indeed."


All I know is that I have a husband who loves me, and a child who loves me, and a beautiful life, here on the other side of the Pantspocalypse. (Did the Mayans know about PANTS?)

That is my new home. With my family and my needle and thread, and the art I guess I will have to create on my own.

Welcome home.


71 comments:

Tristin said...

You've changed things forever for a lot of people, Stephanie. That's a success. And I hope you have been told over and over again that you are not mourning your loss of innocence alone. I'll bet hundreds, if not thousands, of us have wept in the last few days. And we have changed. And we have learned something about ourselves and our church. And we are grateful to you for sparking it. Thank you thank you thank you.

Jess said...

It's been an amazing couple of days, Stephanie. Thanks for taking this step forward. You know how it goes, one step forward, two steps back, but still that step forward is needed. Thank you for your courage. We're in your corner. Now, go get some needed rest and respite.

JKomp said...

First of all, you helped start a conversation that has desperately been overdue. It's not that others haven't had the same desire, we lacked the inspiration. You found it. Treasure it.

Second, people responded passionately. That is actually a relief to me. I had thought most too far gone to even care anymore and you found a way to invoke radical honesty! The first step is talking at all, then you can enhance the conversation and answer the real questions.

I hope to do at least as much with my life.
Here is something a sister shared with me that might brighten your day. It changed my life because it finally showed us the path your movement is seeking (I think), where to begin seeing Her.

http://mimobile.byu.edu/?m=5&table=jbms&vol=9&num=2&id=223

turleybenson said...

I haven't really prayed in a really long time but I prayed hard tonight. I prayed for you by name. I feel so strongly that Heavenly Mother is crying with us tonight. I lost my innocence too this week. But I have hope that something beautiful and important can yet come of this.

gloria vazquez said...

You are courageous. God bless you.

Abby (Diligent Joy) said...

I just really look up to you. I think you are smart and brave- smarter and braver than I've ever been. When I struggled with issues with the church, I just walked away because I didn't feel like I had a right to question. I miss being a Mormon. I miss a weekly church meeting. I miss the friendship that comes from other members. I miss the music. But I don't feel welcome at church and I don't know how to be a Mormon when I question so many things. I don't know how to take my daughter to church when I feel like I'd have to debrief her every week. I want her to know and love the church that I grew up in but I also want her to know and love all churches and to believe in equal rights for all. I want her to understand that truth can be found in many places and that I don't believe that Mormons will be alone in Heaven.

It's just all really confusing for me and I feel so inadequate. You always put things so clearly and I appreciate that you are so devoted to this. I know it can't be easy but no worthy cause ever is.

I'm not making much sense but I do want to say good for you and thank you for standing up for those of us who weren't strong enough to stand up for ourselves.

TheOneTrueSue said...

"You've changed things forever for a lot of people, Stephanie. That's a success." YES.

I'm so impressed with how brave you were to do this. I'm a coward, I have been a coward for a long time, and you've inspired me (and a lot of others) to start speaking up. Thank you for that. xoxo

Erin said...

Like @TheOneTrueSue said, I have been a coward for a long time, and just this week (thanks to you and your efforts) I have started speaking up as well. And I have cried too. Much love in sisterhood. Thank you for all that you have done.

Christina said...

You have not failed. They have failed you. I have a feeling the past few days will end up doing more than any of us ever thought was possible. Thank you so much for putting your heart on the line. We love you.

Colt said...

Amen.

Breeanne said...

Doing hard things sucks but the part that hurts is ultimately what makes it awesome. You've changed the conversation in a way that won't soon be forgotten and there will be a whole lot of us that will be the better for it. You've got a lot of courage.

Thank you for standing up and taking heat for literally thousands of men and women that don't quite match up the the standard script of Mormonism. You'll always have a home with us. Carry on!

Holly said...

You rock, Stephanie. I'm very proud to know you.

Ru said...

When the dust clears, I think you're going to feel really comforted by the fact that (crazies aside), you did something important and stood by your convictions. We've always known there were nuts in the church -- I think it came as a big surprise to everyone how many there were, and the depth of their delusion.

Not that it's much comfort, but there are far more people who supported you and this idea than there were detractors. And quantity aside, I'd rather have one of our supporters by my side than a thousand of the other. Sorry to say, I just think they're made of better stuff.

Nama said...

Oh, Stephanie. You haven't been far from my mind over the past few days. Your light and spirit and courage has uplifted me time and time again, and the last few days have been no exception.

I empathize painfully with your feeling of losing a home. I've mourned that realization lately and feel like a spiritual orphan. And it hurts. More than any testimony-bearing, wearing-pants-is-a-slippery-slope person can possibly know.

Welcome home, my friend. My new home isn't far away from yours.

Xan said...

Thanks for giving a voice to so many women who felt voiceless and alone.

You have done a lot of good in the world today, you have helped many indeed. You have cheered up the sad, and made many feel glad.

You have NOT failed.

Anastasia said...

Your courage helps me, the quiet girl, feel ready to stand up and speak out. Thank you.

Shells the Mom said...

I'm late entering the scene of this discussion, but not in thought. My sister introduced me to C. Jane's pants blogs, which pointed me to your blog, etc. I am a self-proclaimed Mormon feminist but differently. I grew up in the East, I had models of feminism everywhere and I also whole-heartedly love Jesus Gospel for the miracle he had already created in my young and difficult life. When I got to BYU, I was thrilled that there was a Women's Studies program and I loved it! The mentors and models in the program were inspiring. Everything I know about breastfeeding and the global economic impact of the decision of women came from those classes. But a gem came from one class, where a beautiful professor shared with us that when we got to the temple, we would know, our place would be known. She encouraged us to be patient and prepare to enter the House of the Lord. Somewhere a long the way, I left my need to burn bras, yet was shocked to hear of professors who advised female students to quit programs because she knew her place. However, those seemed rumor mill because in 1996-2000 I saw more women pursue their academic dreams, goals, and also marry and find love and peace in entering the New and Everlasting Covenant of marriage. So when I entered the House of the Lord myself, and received my washing and anointing at the hands of a woman who bore authority to do so, and declared it to me, the Spirit cried out to me, "This is it! This is your place as a woman in the Kingdom of the Lord." And I wept openly. And it whispered, that this is not all, there is so much more to a woman's place. From that moment on, I stopped looking for who gave prayers, why we weren't ordained, why our missions were later and shorter, I stopped listening for those off-handed or unintentional comments from men that may have been less inclusive (or potentially hurtful) to women. When I heard a man (not the Lord) make a comment, it no longer bothered me in that hurtful way, (although I felt sorry for him in a Christ-like way) because I was sure of my place--not understanding it, but knowing that it was divinely more important that this existence. Kind of like not getting lost in my job, or the exhaustion of laundry, meal planning, budgeting, and house keeping. There is SO much more! I knew there was something bigger and more special for me as a woman, and I began to patiently let this womanhood unfold, as a mother and a wife, I stopped (read: lessened) ranting and complaining, and read a magical Christian book called the Power of Praying Wife (Stormie Omartian) and saw that my infinite power came from my quiet resolve; my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ; and my ability to bear all, like my pioneer sisters, through yoking with Jesus Christ and my amazing husband and eternal companion. Though I'm only 34, I have seen pain and tragedy in my own life. There is so much power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ for women. You find it if you look for it. I encourage you to seek after it, pray for gifts of the Spirit as they are listed in DC 46:13-26, and spend your energy in this pursuit. Oprah inspired me a couple of years ago when she said, "If you find yourself swimming upstream in your life, it may be time to turn around and go with the flow." There is peace and power from embracing the organization that a living prophet who is communing with Jesus Christ has organized for us.

Anna said...

Stephanie,
When I first heard of the movement, I rolled my eyes. I don't feel the need to wear pants(except they might be warmer), I'm not sure pants makes much of a statement.
Then I looked at the FB page, and while I saw some reasonable thought out conversation, there was a lot of absurd flaming. I realized I wanted to shake hands with a sister wearing pants to church on Sunday, so I could show my support. I wanted all the sisters to know that I understand this isn't coming from rebellion, but a need to be heard. To make a quiet statement about a subtle issue.
Then I saw the KSL clip and learned this movement was your baby. And has cost you much. Cost you more than anyone who feels that surge of hope should pay. If I can find a pair of pants to wear appropriately on Sunday, I'll wear them.

Anna said...

Stephanie,
When I first heard of the movement, I rolled my eyes. I don't feel the need to wear pants(except they might be warmer), I'm not sure pants makes much of a statement.
Then I looked at the FB page, and while I saw some reasonable thought out conversation, there was a lot of absurd flaming. I realized I wanted to shake hands with a sister wearing pants to church on Sunday, so I could show my support. I wanted all the sisters to know that I understand this isn't coming from rebellion, but a need to be heard. To make a quiet statement about a subtle issue.
Then I saw the KSL clip and learned this movement was your baby. And has cost you much. Cost you more than anyone who feels that surge of hope should pay. If I can find a pair of pants to wear appropriately on Sunday, I'll wear them.

Tani stevenson said...

Don't listen to the mean people. They are afraid. If you feel the spirit and feel that you are doing good, then trust that.

Cadence said...

I can only imagine how you must be feeling - this week has been painful and exhausting for me, and I'm just a participant and supporter! But please know how vital I think this effort of yours has been, how much hope I see for bigger and better dialog, for insistence upon that dialog without fear of reprisal. This is critical, it is desperately needed, and you put out a call to action that reverberated around the world.

You did that. Thank God. Because before you did I didn't feel that anyone could do anything, and now I know that I can continue to try and do even more.

I talked to my mother last night, sobbed really, about how much I hurt over such a small issue. And if something this small caused such a backlash, what kind of an avalanche was going to fall when I raised my voice for more and bigger issues? She asked me if it was worth it, if I believed that I was right. I said yes. She said, "Then let the mountains fall."

Wherever you must go, whatever you must do, please know that YOU HAVE NOT FAILED. You have succeeded. Stunningly.

lifeofdi said...

I don't go to church anymore and don't have any desire to for many other reasons than gender inequity.

However, I remember being a young teenager who was ALREADY frustrated by the treatment of women in the church. And I hope that your contributions to Mormon feminism make the church a happier and safer place for the girls and women who do feel called to stay.

artemisandollie said...

that was really sweet and generous, anna. i'm not a mormon but i have such deep love and respect for you women, willing to put your heart on the line.
-cwc

Gretta Whalen said...

Bless your heart.

lifeofdi said...

"She said, 'Then let the mountains fall.'"

That was beautiful and powerful.


Jen said...

This was a success. I'm sure you will see this! Love your blog & I think you are great! Bless you.

CatherineWO said...

Thank you, Stephanie, for taking a stand. I am so very sorry that the cost has been so dear. This past week, for the first time in several years, I have not felt ashamed to call myself a Mormon, because of you and the other sisters who have been willing to call it like it is. Hugs and much love to you and your family.

annette said...

Amen to Anna as well as to Shells the Mom. Especially to Shells comments. I too have been able to calm myself, knowing that what exists here on earth, at this time, is not all there is for women in the church. We all experience the thoughtless comments and acts of others.
I followed because I have a daughter-in-law who is very much with you. Although, I cannot agree with everything you stand for, I am most sorry for the un-Christlike comments and behavior of others in their posts.(on both sides) It is regretful, very regretful, that one should have to be accosted by others for expressing ideas. I won't be in pants, but I love the women who will be. Our testimonies must be stronger than the whirlwinds and insults around us.

La Yen said...

You make me think, hard, every time you type something. I think yours is an amazing gift. Thank you.

The Atomic Mom said...

I second Shell The Mom's comment. (We are actually friends in real life and she is a very wise woman).

I get there are sisters who are unhappy in the Church, but an action in Sacrament Meeting was not appropraite. Here where I live in New Mexico many in my ward wear pants for various reasons: medical, personal, financial. To wear pants as a protest would have been hurtful to them.

It does not matter what you wear to church, what matters is the spirit you attend your meetings with, and if you are there to, as 3 Nephi 11: 29 states, "to stir the hearts of men to contend one with another", that's the Devil's work. I'm not saying that you all are Devils in any way, shape or form, but Satan wants us to be a divided house.

There are other, better, ways to have our needs met and addressed. And to the people that sent you threats, they are just as guilty of stirring up contention as well and they are wrong to do it.

I have always found the Chruch to be a place of equality and love. As Shell The Mom mentioned in her comment, about the Temple and the ordinances there. As sisters we have the ordinances of the Gospel administered to us in the same manner as the brothers, and it is at the hands of women that we recieve the ordinances of the temple, thru the direction of the Priesthood, which is the power of God on Earth. I am quite humbled and sobered when I think about it. The Church could not function, nor could our families function without the sisterhood. So please don't ever feel that you are second class or unequal. Equal does not need to mean "the same".

To those sisters who do not feel equal, please council with the Lord about your troubles, and your bishop or RSP. He does understand you perfectly, and trust that he might not show you everything you want to know, right away. All things will be made known in his time.

J Day said...

I would hope that the title of this post does not mean the end of your membership in the church. Although I do not necessarily prescribe to the same train of thought as you, I would hope that you would not let some people, most of whom I would assume you never met, keep you away from the gospel. Please remember that the church is full of imperfect people, but the gospel is true. I am sure that there will be gossip in your ward and some of the people will support you and some will not. But Christ was also persecuted by the very people who were supposed to be the leaders of the church. Joseph Smith was also persecuted in like manner. But neither turned from the gospel or their church meetings. I can't promise you a smooth road, but I can promise you that the destination is worth any bumps you may experience. Please keep going every Sunday. Don't give up. You don't know me and I don't know you, but I love you as a sister in the gospel.

LC said...

You've been an interesting subject of discussion in our house. I disagree with your movement and especially the way you went about turning a sacred meeting into such a scene.

Equally troubling to me are the threats you received and how unsafe you likely now feel.

You really strike me as someone who recognizes the perfectness of Christ's teachings. And obviously, you weren't messing around when you agreed to bear one another's burdens.

When I don't understand something, I turn to Heavenly Father for solace and answers. And sometimes, I simply have to have faith that He is acting in my best interests, and cultivating qualities I may not even realize I'm building yet.

If you still choose to try to find a home in the church, my prayer is that you will find love there, and perhaps that you'll also find it in your heart to continue having an open dialogue with those of us who are wonderfully happy in the gospel and quite certain of our equality.

Michelle said...

Even though I don't feel the need to wear pants, and I may disagree with you on some points, I really hope you don't give up hope. I seriously debated wearing pants on Sunday, not because I've felt belittled or treated like a second class citizen, but because I know that everyone is different and experiences things differently. While I don't get upset by the issues you've brought up, I know that some women really are genuinely worried about it. And I know that men are FAAAAAARRRR from perfect ...many still feel subconciously, or also very conciously, feel they are superior to women and will do whatever their ego says in order to help them maintain that. I just really want to say that I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. And while I don't always remember it, or fully understand it, I know that if I keep an eternal perspective everything will turn out perfectly in the end. I don't need to worry about things here on earth if I know I'm doing my best to do what He wants me to do. And who knows, maybe he wants these issues brought up. But I also have a testimony that the prophet and the apostles love the women of the church just as much as our Heavenly Father and Savior. I don't think they'd ignore promptings just because their ego tells them they're superior to women. I really hope you keep your faith in your Father and your Savior because I know they love you and are hurting because of the horrible things imperfect people have said to you. Thank you for trying to help, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. :)

LC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abigayle said...

Please come back. The church needs people like you. But they need them strong and active, so that when you shut down others' silly misogynistic biases, they have to respect you because the spirit testifies of your words. The justice of God is on our side in this fight. You know, I know, we all know that God loves His daughters and aches to see their sorrow. We can't let the backward, sexist types of "Christians" who would send women like you and me death threats hijack the kingdom of God. If we see something wrong in this kingdom, let's change it. But you can only change it from the inside.

Mary Summerhays said...

A gaping wound is sometimes the only way that sunlight gets to that place. You are experiencing a trial that few in the Church have the opportunity of experiencing. Now is the moment. Will you allow yourself to be purified by the furnace? Prayers are with you.

hmsgofita said...

Hugs and love, Stephanie! You are beautiful inside and out and yes the world is a better place and you have made so many feel glad!!!! No failure, indeed. Loves :)

Stephanie said...

@LC

I never, nor did anyone ever, intend to turn anything into a spectacle or protest.

The people who have reacted loudly and unkindly are the only threat to Sacrament Meeting.

I can think of no better place to show that I love my brothers and sisters than my wearing pants as a sign of solidarity.

That said, I am glad we have always been able to talk and be "friends" despite differences.

Dorothy said...

At what point are people going to stop blaming Stephanie and ask, "Is it I?"

Suzie said...

Hi Stephanie! Thanks for your post and for bringing the subject into the public conversation. I was so sad to read this. It reminds me of how I felt a few years ago. It's cliche, but though the members aren't perfect, I fully believe the ordinances work, prophets are real, and powerful and beautiful things happen in Temples. I clung to a few simple truths and it got me through the wrench. I hope you come out of this alright too.

Mrs. Clark said...

Stephanie, I am so sorry your efforts have brought you so much vituperation and intolerance. You can wear your pants to church--for whatever reason you want-- and I will welcome you and you can sit right next to me!

Thanks, too, for your mom's post. I hope this will not be the end of Mormon Child Bride! I would miss you very much.

Happy said...

First of all, I'm very, very sorry that you have been hurt by people through thoughtless comments. I don't mean this in a disrespectful way, but with the spirit of truly trying to understand yours and others' pain in all of this. Can you be more specific in what you are trying to achieve? Are you trying to recieve the priesthood? I might just be lucky or be more of a let it roll of my back kind of person, but I have in no way ever felt less than any man because I am female. I feel privilaged in my responsibilities as a female mormon. I truly am trying to see your point and others in the same situation as you. Can you expand on the things that you would like to see happen specifically?

Thom said...

I wasn't as surprised as you were at the response—chalk it up to age, cynicism, or what have you—but I still feel so sorry that you have endured so much pain out of such pure motives. I'm sure you don't remember me asking if I could hug you and thanking you for your talk, last June, but you moved me then and you've moved me again this week. In spite of my cynicism, you inspired me, and I won't forget that. Thank you.

Femme Facetious said...

You've made more of an impact than you know. Your bravery means a lot to a lot of us who never felt we had a voice. And I'm so sorry you're being treated this way and I hope things improve soon.

Kimberly Wilson said...

I feel at a disadvantage because I didn't catch the group you were starting on fb, or follow it, as it's just not something that bothers me; I feel a great deal of equality from my perception. But I still respect you and hoped all would go well for you.

I'm just sick to hear, from what I can gather from your posts and the comments, that there has been public backlash, and most likely huge misunderstanding of your intent.

I hope you and I can always agree to disagree and yet still be loving and respectful. Had your opposers of your group been calm and respectful even in disagreeing, and remembered you are a child of God just as much as they are, I would hope that people would have sought to understand first, and then still not rush to unkindness.

I don't know what happened, and I still feel badly for you; I always wish you the relationship you want to have with God and your family.

So, after all that, I do have a question--by "the end," what do you mean? That you're either not allowed to go to church via public shaming, or specifically not allowed, or won't because of the unkindness of those who claim to be Christlike? Or do you mean it's the end of your blog? Or the end of a specific way of voicing your plea for equality? I just didn't know what "the end" meant, at least, not for sure. I'm guessing it's that you don't feel welcome in your own ward, which is a travesty in itself.

Kimberly Wilson said...

Still trying to figure out what's going on/what's happened from all the comments, and am just not getting all the puzzle pieces.

But you were threatened? Seriously? For wanting to do a peaceful resistance? I do not understand. Sigh.

I'm so sorry, Steph. That's just not right (of the threateners/harsh judgers).

Breanne said...

Hey, sister. You are loved.

Savannah said...

This post hurt my heart. I can't even imagine what you are going through. Please know that you have made a tremendous difference in a good way. A HUGE way. It's easy for anyone to say "ignore the hurtful comments." But the truth is, they pierce your very soul. I do have to say, though, that because of your courage to start this movement of peaceful action, I was so excited to go to church (in PANTS! Hooray!) for the first time in months. After reading all the backlash on Facebook (even some from my own family, how embarrassing!) I lost a great deal of hope. I thought, if this is truly an accurate representation of my religion, I want no part in it. But then I turned to the All Enlisted group that YOU spearheaded. I found peace, courage, friendship, and the spirit. Though I do not know if I will go back to church again after this pantspocalypse, I know that I am not alone in my desire to see positive changes. I know it because you have had the courage to put your heart on the line via this blog. Thank you for that. Your courage is powerful, graceful and beautiful. No wonder so many fear you. I, on the other hand, love you to death (in a non-creepy stranger way) and I'm so grateful for what you've done here. Please don't leave us now.

rae said...

Stephanie,

Boy have you been on my mind these past few days! Girl, what is going on?!!! This is CRAYzeeeee. And this is coming from Rae with alter ego PAM speaking, so that's got to count for something right?! ;)

After I calmed down from my own hotheaded reaction to what I've read regarding this movement I wanted to say a couple of things that have struck me.

First, I am in deep, respectful disagreement to this approach. I'm just not on board with what I feel is an ineffective way to begin a thoughtful conversation.

HOWEVER...BIG HOWEVER...after reading blog comments, facebook comments, etc...I am struck by how differently we all view things. And you, my friend, should not be dismayed because I think you are reaching so many people who AGREE with you. And for those people, it is wonderful because they know they are not alone in their thoughts. It is like manna from heaven when you read something someone else says and think, "Yay! Somebody gets me! I am not alone in thinking/feeling this way!".
So sure, someone like ME might feel more alone after reading your opinion on things, because they differ from my own, but THEY don't. And in some cosmically beautiful way, might all these differing opinions be necessary and needed?

I am completely troubled that people would lash out with death threats, or that you feel hurt. I am also troubled by the hurt I think that you cause well-intentioned, non pants wearing LDS folk to feel. I am also troubled that anyone, on either side of the issue, feels less at home or welcomed in the sanctuary that Sacrament meeting should be.

It is clear that we are all different, but that difference serves different purposes with different people at different times. How complex, how nuanced, how amazing!

And from what I've come to see from you, I know that your intention is to help - not to hurt. So keep your chin up, it's much harder and braver to jump into the fray than be the critic standing safely on the sidelines. I commend your bravery: bumps, bruises, and all!

Rae





Jean Peters said...

Please don't question your pure heart. God wants us to see through darkness especially when it is in the church. Questioning the church is NOT a bad thing!! Jesus questioned the religious people "Pharisees" all the time!!!!. Please......only rely on the Bible. Christians should never answer to ANY other book than the Bible. Though respect is due to any human being, leaders of the church do not give us final say on where we stand with our Lord. Jesus has set us FREE!!! Take ahold of that freedom from religion, get out of bondage, and dive into the BIBLE (New Testament and Old Testament), and NO OTHER BOOK. Jesus was ANTI-RELIGION and PRO-RELATIONSHIP! The truth will set you free. Love,
A Sister in Christ

Butterfly Fire said...

I am shocked that wearing pants to church could create so much commotion. It's pants. Why should that be a big deal? I feel like this is the movie footloose or something. Does wearing pants really make someone less mormon or less of a woman? Are men and other mormons so threatened with change that they are this upset about pants? I understand that the pants symbolize more than just clothes, but if people can't wear pants to church, then the church has a long way to go. God and Jesus have one strong true message: Love. That's all that matters. I hope the church can find some room in their hearts to allow the power to be spread around better - so everyone can feel like they belong - so everyone feels equal - so everyone can help make decisions - so everyone feels loved. People who have spoken with poisonous words should feel ashamed of themselves. Apparently they think they are perfect to be casting such stones. Don't let them get you down Stephanie. People are crazy. People who see the world in black and white do not have room in their head for thinking and change. Martin Luther King dreamed of changed and he received a lot of hatred as well. Plenty of other examples could be listed easily. The hatred does not weaken the cause, but shows how much it is needed. Fight the good fight. Fight it with love.

bunkersdown.com said...

I would just like you to know how much your blog has helped me. I am a Mormon who feels completely fine in my religion. I have no issues with it. But because of your writing I have learned that other people sometimes do. And that doesn't mean one of us is wrong, it only means we are different.

Earlier this week when all this pant crap hit the fan, so many of my "friends" were bashing the whole pants-to-church thing. But I didn't and I won't. Your blog made me realize that is is important to so many woman that I call my sisters. I may not understand or agree with their feelings or motives, but there is no way I would dismiss or belittle those feelings and motives.
Your blog taught me to react this way. You have done good in the world.

Debbie said...

Truth and peace, guided by the spirit. Thank you for your thoughts and thank you for the beauty that you have shared and owning so proudly and humbly those rights that Heavenly Father granted us before we CHOSE to come here at this time. You have provided calm in this storm.

whit said...

Dear Stephanie,
As I sit and waiting in my patterned tights and skirt for my baby to wake up so I can join my family at church, I ache for what you have gone through. Your viewpoint is so needed in this discussion. Your voice, I feel, is not coming from a place of anger or need to stir the pot, but from a place of love and support.

While I have decided to wear my skirt to church (mostly because all my pants are casual and not what I feel is my best dress, although I did wear pants to church while in college) I have had a prayer in my heart all week for this cause. Although I have not had these feelings of inequality in the differences of men and women in my time in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I realize others have. That makes me sad. Sad for anyone who has made others feel this way and sad for anyone who has felt this way. But what makes me even more sad is the negative response you have gotten. Horrible. Totally horrible. And while I too, not to this extent at all, have felt mean-spiritedness from those I am supposed to be in sisterhood or religious familyhood with, I always remind myself that those in the church are, for better or worse, not the Gospel. Some come so close to portraying that true and everlasting gospel and so many more are like me - trying. And then there are those passionate tirades of others that are so far from the teachings of Jesus Christ and are misguided in their efforts. Do they not see the irony?
I am not a gifted writer, nor am I able to put down in words all the things I am trying to convey correctly, but I can tell (as your mother pointed out) that you have a soft, sincere and compassionate heart. I hope you know that there are those of us who may not understand your experiences or feelings, but love the strong and questioning and pure voice you bring to women everywhere - in any church. I am proud of what I am on this earth to do. I am proud of my membership in this church. I am proud of courageous souls like you.

Mary Banks said...

Hi Stephanie, I have to start off saying I adore Auggie and I totally sobbed during that episode. Anyways, my name is Mary Banks, I was in your mom's English class for two years and also had the opportunity to have her as my young women's president. She is an amazing woman who changed my life and I see that same passion in you. I wish I would've found out about your cause earlier-I didn't even realize today was the pants day! But reading about your cause has made me smile and cry and feel so mixed up inside because being, in my case, a sixteen year old girl in the church can be really difficult. There are moments when I feel like I can't truly be happy without it in my life, but then there are times when I feel like I will never be truly happy because its in my life. The religion I love conflicts so much with the political movements and passions I love and finding a balance between those things has been overwhelming. But when I see people like you who really believe in something and are willing to take a stand about it, it gives me hope that things will change, and that I too will be brave enough to start a discussion about things like this. Most of my political/religious debates take place by myself in my head because I feel alone in an inbetween world. You make me feel less alone. Thank you.

Britt Hanson said...

I'd like to echo bunkersdown.com - while I feel comfortable in the Church, and don't always agree with the things you write - having read your blog for the last three or so years has helped me change my attitude and viewpoint on how differently we all think, and how we need to reach out to all around us, for we don't know who might be struggling, and everyone deserves to feel at home at church.
I'd like to agree with most of the above comments - you are a strong lady, with a huge heart, and you have not failed.
Thank you for your courage to do what you feel is right. Please keep searching and looking for answers. I admire you in a big way, and am proud to call you my sister.

Nathaniel and Sarah said...

I think you should write a post about WHY you think "we" women are unequal in the LDS church. Truely I am curious! (and a bit baffled by this)

Jenny said...

My heart hurt today too. Hugs. I'm not sure I want to go home again. Too many women being way too congratulatory about their superior spirituality. Surprisingly no men.

Jenny said...

My heart hurt today too. Hugs. I'm not sure I want to go home again. Too many women being way too congratulatory about their superior spirituality. Surprisingly no men.

Sadie said...

I appreciate your honesty. It's really hard to question things privately let alone publicly. I admire your courage.

Following your blog has helped me understand a perspective I had frankly not been aware of since I've been able to carve out my LDS female identity and worth in a way that did not lead me to an uncomfortable relationship with Church doctrine. As a result of learning about you and your perspective, I feel I can engage in more meaningful discussion of the fundamental concerns that underlay what you feel and promote.

Thanks for educating those who are willing to hear you out. I find myself engaging in self-reflection and reaffirming my personal beliefs as I think on topics you address. It's led me to more exposure to articles and discussions addressing this particular topic and encouraged me to investigate doctrine and distinguish it from culture. Thanks for that.

There's one essay by Dr. Valerie Hudson I discovered recently that I'm interested to hear your honest opinion about. I'm still trying to digest it and form my own opinions about the content. Maybe you're already familiar with it, but if not would you be willing to read and reflect on it on your blog some time? It can be found here: http://mormonscholarstestify.org/1718/valerie-hudson-cassler. It's a couple years old, but it seems apropos in light of what has recently transpired.

nargyle said...

I am so sorry people treated you like this. I just wanted to tell you what I got from this experience. Before when I read where people said women in the church weren't being treated fairly, told not to get an education, made to feel they were less than men, etc. I think I just thought they were lying, because it was so different than my experience. But this has made me realize that just because my experiences were good, doesn't mean that other people's were. I will listen more now when people tell me they feel this way, be sad for what they have been through and love and support them. Wearing pants to church didn't resonate with me but i was hoping someone would so I could give them a hug and tell them I support them. Again, I am so sorry for what you have gone through.

melissa34 said...

Stephanie,
I have to say that I do not agree with a lot of your opinions or your "wear pants movement".However, I really don't agree with the people who were mean and threatening even more. We can respectfully agree to disagree. I can still love you even if we do not agree. I can still pray for you even if we do not agree, and I will pray for you. I will share why I do not agree and hope it may help you see the other side of this. 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. I hope we can all realize that Christ is the one to turn to and be healed.

Amy said...

As long as you feel like your intents were pure and righteous not else matters. I personally don't feel there is a need for change in the church. I think our roles as men and women in the church are different, but equal. After reading all the discussions you sparked, my beliefs are still the same, but I am more aware of the women around who are struggling in theirs. So thanks for opening my eyes, and I pray that you will find peace and happiness in your journey!

The Carmona's said...

I've never understood why faithful members of the church who have strong testimonies are always so eager to judge others for their faults and struggles. It is easier for some to live the gospel than it it is for other's. However none is free from sin and therefore we should all love and accept each other and just realize that no one is perfect. Jesus was perfect and he loved us all inspite of our imperfections. I can't say I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and turn around and cast judgement on other's. I am sorry Stephanie for all the judgement you have endured. I hope you will one day be able to "come home".

tallia said...

for every crazy person threatening you and everything you stand for there is another not-so-crazy person who is thinking critically about this issue for the first time. i really believe that this has made a huge difference and started a dialogue that will change things. its so hard to see how everyone reacted. so so hard. but seriously i would wear pants every week if it helped others feel more included in our faith, and i am actually thinking of making it at least a monthly thing. i know its not about the pants though, but i really do think you are making a difference.

Kristin said...

I am so sorry you have been threatened. Really?? That blows me away. I quickly read a headline about the pants thing as I was walking into walmart one night. Kind of laughed at it. Thought, that would only be something in Utah. In wards and branches outside of Utah (I didn't grow up here) women do wear dress pants. And other things too. Utah is a special place for sure. I have seen a few things on FB. I am one who has never felt any inequality in the church. Being a mormon in Massachusetts and NC it just didn't affect me. But I respect that others have had different experiences. It is what it is. I admit to feeling a little confused and unsure why a "protest" would be scheduled for sacrament meeting. But didn't put too much other thought into it. Got the link to your blog from CJane--didn't know you were behind this. And really appreciated your thoughts and reasons and feelings. I should have researched more before calling it a protest in my head. Did I wear pants to church on Sunday? No. I'm cool in my skirt. Would I love a woman if she did? Yeah, even more than I did before. We forget so easily what matters, don't we. Well, I hope you don't feel like you have to run for too long and for too far. I think you have a lot of value to offer so many around you. Don't lose heart. You aren't alone.

Brooke said...

You made such a difference! Got me back to Relief Society. And I think there's more that be with us than with them. I wore purple yesterday and so did my husband. You have absolutely made someone feel glad.

And I echo the comment above about feeling like a "spiritual orphan." That puts into words what I've been feeling but can't describe. Thanks for helping a band of misfits find a way to belong.

Brammer Family said...

I thank you, from the depths of my soul, for what you have done. I tend to run, and not attend, and then worry and agonize about what it is my daughter has been taught that day that might change the way she looks at herself and the world. But thanks to you, I know I have to go, have to have a voice, have to participate in the church I love and know that my daughter loves as well. I am so sorry for the way you have been treated. It's terrible. But I wanted you to know that I have been blessed, my daughter has been blessed, and your daughter, with those amazingly chewable chubby cheeks, has been infinitely blessed. You are amazing, and I can do better thanks to you. Please, please carry on.

Drees009 said...

It is a very commendable thing that you expressed your heartfelt and totally valid opinions. Thank you. I am honored to brag to people that I know the woman who orchestrated All Enlisted. -Shannon

MJ said...

You. Are. Awesome.

I hope you continue to blog. It would be a huge loss for us if you stopped.

Melody said...

"I have met brave women who are exploring the outer edge of human possibility, with no history to guide them, and with a courage to make themselves vulnerable that I find moving beyond words." ~Gloria Steinem.

Okay, so maybe pants to church isn't the outer edge of human posibility for the rest of the world. But in my corner of Utah County Latter-day Saintville, you're damn right it is.

Carry on, sister.