Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Are women second-class citizens in the LDS Church?

Happy meets Crazy: The Question I Posted On Facebook

My friend Cheryl wrote the above-mentioned post regarding this question she posed on facebook the other day:

Do you feel oppressed and/or treated as second class citizens in the Church? Why or why not? . . .

I knew it was in response to "an article written in the Washington Post on debunking Mormon Myths" that claimed:

thousands of progressive LDS women and men today call ourselves “Mormon feminists” — rejecting parts of Mormonism that promote inequality while holding to affirming elements of our tradition.
Cheryl noted that "there seems to be a huge gap between women: Either women are happy, satisfied, and grateful for the Church, or women are upset, angry, dissatisfied, and question everything the Church does . . . How many women in the Church truly feel like the last group? Because in the blogging world, it feels like most women feel that way."

I noticed that, too, which is why I started this blog, The Lioness at the Gate -- to give another voice to us women who are happy being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

So many of us are truly happy. Sure, we may have questions and things we don't understand about our faith and sometimes we don't feel included, but we are happy living our Christian lives as Latter-day Saints. There were some instances when people really struggle:

1. Unrighteous dominion by men who hold the Priesthood do not realize (or do, and don't care because they are PSYCHO!) what their sins will do to a woman's psyche and/or testimony. It angers me that so much abuse happens and goes on all in the name of "presiding." This is not something the Church teaches. If anything, this type of abuse is preached against at every Priesthood Session of General Conference I've ever read. But it happens. And it happens a lot. Off the top of my head I can already think of four families I know personally who have been affected by unrighteous dominion, and I know there are more.

2. I talked with women who feel like they are not good enough because they either A. Work outside the home (as the main breadwinner) or B. Are "still" single. They feel left out (play groups during the day, RS lessons centered around motherhood), looked down upon ("Why aren't you married, yet?" "Why don't you stay home with your kids?"), and treated as inferior (my single friend said: But it's as if my accomplishments would only matter if I was married, because only then would I be amazing, because I would have to not only juggle work, school, etc., but also a family. Also, usually one of the first questions I'm asked is always about my marital or dating status. Again, it's as if my worth as a woman is only valued if I were married. Again, I usually just brush it off, because it's not meant to be personal, but since there's so much emphasis on marriage in the church (again, not a bad thing), that's all I feel that I'm seen as: not married, as opposed to: (her name).).


I really appreciated Cheryl's question and the conclusions she drew.

2 comments:

Kimberly said...

I have felt like a second class citizen, but only when I was living in Orem UT. This difficulty with our place in the church is just patriarchal culture taking over the gospel where it shouldn't.

We need to remember that culture is different than the gospel, and that the Book of Mormon admonishes us to abandon the wicked traditions of our fathers (aka culture).

I personally think the gospel is the greatest source of equality the world has or will ever see. But many women in North America have been so steeped in Feminism they don't understand this about the gospel.

Emily said...

Very well said, Kimberly!