|Bethany Davis Photography 2010|
If you are in the west and in a heavily populated Mormon area you may have heard of 'Wear Pants to Church Day' which is coming up this sunday (if you want to read up on the subject--Joanna Brooks wrote an article of the Huffington Post which i find very well written). I am torn with this event. I am a feminist in some regards but i wouldn't say that i am in all regards. I also am not sure how i feel about a protest (even if it is a silent/non-confrontational protest) taking place in church on sunday, but then again, when and where else could it take place to get the effect that it desires?
This past year or so has been really hard in regards to religion. I had a boyfriend who broke up with me for 'not being religious enough,' i was in a ward that at times seemed stifling and judgmental and i realized that i had a lot of issues to get over from weird lessons i had in young women's when i was a teenager. What i realized the last while is that--in many heavily populated mormon areas i feel that many people are living the culture and not the religion. Things that are trivial and not doctrine are pushed to the front and participation and conformity to said cultural ideals are judged heavily, and unfortunately things like loving jesus are harder to find. There is also a severe lack of acknowledgement that things CAN change and it is not a bad thing to question things or push for things you believe in (of course done in appropriate and respectful ways).
If you don't understand what i am talking about think about these situations:
- This was a popular meme on a facebook group called 'Mormons' and almost 6,000 people thought it was a good idea. I have also heard it to the effect that if girls dress immodestly they might as well be porn. Excuse me? Also, we all know that the 'immodest' part of this statement is regarding anything that is not to the knees or covering the shoulders--they are not just talking about dresses that barely cover the butt and low cut shirts that plunge all the way to the belly button... (Did you also know that the church edited a famous Carl Bloch painting in the Dec. 2011 Ensign to make it fit Mormon ideals of modesty and wingless angels? As an artist i find that incredibly inappropriate especially since the entire article was about someone's religious experience while viewing the original--immodest--painting...)
- BYU has a honor code that stipulates what the 'appropriate' amount of hair on a males head is. BYU once stated in their paper that 'the majority of all students agree with the code and don't find any problems with it' which of course is a total lie. I have also heard students say that we shouldn't question it because the Board made the Honor Code school policy and demanding a change would be going against church leaders who make up the board. This was put into place in the 70's, times have changed and so should only letting mustaches on campus. They were socially acceptable then but more inappropriate and creepy now.
|Carl Bloch 'The Resurrection' 1873|
- How many times do you go to church on Fast Sunday, where we can get up and talk about what we believe, and hear people over and over say that they 'love Thomas S. Monson and the latter day apostles' but not one person gets up and says 'i love jesus!'?
- If you are a girl, how many lessons have you had about how you are a buffer for men because all they want and think about is sex? Has anyone ever said that 'hey, one day you might actually want to have sex and you will enjoy it, it isn't just a guy thing'? What? Never? Yeah, me neither.
- How many times have you been through hours of church where no one reads from the bible or mentions Jesus but instead only recites parts of talks from the latest issue of the Ensign and talks about things like chastity, modesty, or something you have no idea about and they don't either?
|Bethany Davis Photography 2009|
- If we are a peculiar people and like to be different, why do we celebrate Christmas on the commercial Dec. 25th and not the 6th of April which we believe to be the actual birthday of Christ? (obviously i am not pushing to change that, just an observation. But i am totally open to celebrating both, Christmas twice a year sounds like a good thing...)
- What about people being so against gay marriage, something that wouldn't even affect a straight Mormon couple? You would think that a people that once settled the west because of religious persecution--much of it surrounding the act of plural marriage that Mormons practiced and believed--would find it in their hearts to let people marry how they want. Or what about supporting civil unions for all consenting adults and leaving marriage up to religious institutions? But more importantly, where do gay people fit in to Mormonism? It is good and all to preach to love and support our family and friends that are gay, but place--if any--do they actually currently have in the church?
|Bethany Davis Photography 2009|
- Most bishops will not talk to single girls about going through the temple for the first time until they are at least 25, but if i got engaged tomorrow there would be no contest to me going through in 3 months when i get married. I think the bar is very high while you are single and then drops dramatically when you are not.
- Have you ever thought about the feminist movement and their issues? The main reasons behind the Wear Pants movement are things like: that women don't have complete say over any organization of the church even the ones 'run' by women like Young Womens or Relief Society, women do not hold any callings in regards to finances, and men are required to be present at all functions that women run or hold like Girls Camp. It is not a ploy to try and get the priesthood, it is about small and simple things that have no reason to not be equal.
- Or what about all those crazy facebook groups that popped up about getting coke on BYU's campus because the church finally issued an official statement about how (all types) soda is not against the word of wisdom? Did you ever stop to think, 'wow, if the word of wisdom was written now, soda would most likely be against it because it has no redeeming qualities and people definitely do get addicted' not to mention that there are studies about how coffee can be beneficial. The word of wisdom is great--and i follow it-- but it was written over a hundred years ago, food and drugs are nowhere near what they were then.
Obviously i have a lot of issues to get over and if you are a strong member of the Mormon faith do not think that this post is a public denunciation of the religion, i still am very much a part of it and will be my whole life. I just want to share that I think that it is important to address issues. Just because we as Mormons believe that our leaders have divine revelations from God, they are still men and not everything is divine that happens in the church. I will also stay a part of it because i feel that it is my duty to make others not feel alone if they do not conform culturally We do not need to judge because someone else sees something differently, especially if it is culturally and not doctrinally. I also feel the need to stay to help encourage much needed change.
|Bethany Davis Photography 2011|
Christ loved everyone, especially women and treated them respectfully and trusted them. He did not care if they had been prostitutes--he did not care how they dressed. He did not care if they were mothers or childless. He did not care if they supported their families or stayed at home.
He loved all.
Christ is love.