Wednesday, September 12, 2012

High Time

I was studying the Daughters in My Kingdom book this past week, anxiously reading so that I can finish it in time for the General Relief Society meeting on September 29. I was reading in Chapter 4 and the book started describing how the women of the Church boldly defended the practice of polygamy (the irony of that is not lost on me – especially given the amount of discomfort and desire to explain it away by women – and men – of the Church today). The book describes how the United States government passed legislation banning polygamy due to the opinion of the rest of society that Mormon women were degraded and abused under the law of polygamy. In January 1870, a group of Latter-day Saint women decided to speak to the world – for themselves – and let them know what active, faithful Latter-day Saint women were really like.

imageImage Credit: Daughters in My Kingdom p. 44

Eliza R. Snow said of the occasion:

“It was high time [to] rise up in the dignity of our calling and speak for ourselves. . . . The world does not know us, and truth and justice to our brethren and to ourselves demands us to speak. . . . We are not inferior to the ladies of the world, and we do not want to appear so.”

I have felt in the past several months that the world does not understand Mormon women. The world still thinks that Mormon women are oppressed, somehow treated as less than men in our Church, because we aren’t ordained to priesthood offices, and because a woman will never be The Prophet. And most of the people who seem to speak about what faithful Mormon want are not, in fact, faithful Mormon women.

Two cases to illustrate my point:

One of the most vocal Mormon women about the inequalities and injustices that Mormon women face is a woman who of her own choice (so she says) has never been through the temple, has never experienced the endowment of priesthood power given freely in the temple ordinances – and then vehemently argues that women should be ordained to priesthood offices in the Church (and that the Church should embrace same-gender marriage, among other things).

Recently, on the Mormon in America primetime special on NBC, the person they chose to interview about the temple was a Mormon woman who had left the Church and had never been through the temple – again, never been endowed with the knowledge and priesthood power that comes from the ordinances and covenants made in the Holy temple.

The loudest voices these days are women (and men) who criticize Church leaders, clamor for “change” in the Church structure, and describe most faithful saints as disillusioned, unintellectual, or somehow brainwashed. If you really knew anything, you would know that the Church needs some serious change to occur before it is actually the true Church. Oh, but the gospel is true. (says these people)

I have been feeling an increased urgency to stand up and speak out. To be louder than the dissenting voices. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she made the observation that most women in the Church are not like the women (and men) who are the loudest voices of the Church. As blogger SilverRain put it recently,

“In this dichotomy [perpetuated by the loudest voices], there are two groups of women in the Church: those who see a problem with the way women are utilized and heard in the Church, have likely been adversely affected by it, and who therefore choose to “agitate for change;” and those who have never felt the pain a male-only Priesthood can bring to women, who don’t question the authority, and who therefore urge women to, essentially, “sit down and shut up” about it.

But there is another group, of women who have likely been mistreated or misunderstood by a member of the male-only priesthood in the past, or of women who have never been hurt but have still pondered these issues deeply, who would like to see hearts change, but who believe that the male-only Priesthood structure is in place at the will of the Lord, and who support the Lord’s authority structure and the Lord’s established methods for any change that will come.”

In my experience, the largest group is the third group that SilverRain points out. Also, in my experience, the most silent group is that third group. They are the women who are not writing inflammatory blog posts. Rather, they are writing stories of spiritual inspiration in their journals for their posterity who have been born in the covenant. They are not openly criticizing Church leaders or policies on very public news websites, newspapers, and news channels. Rather, they are silently sustaining those Church leaders by magnifying their callings, providing compassionate service in their wards and branches, and instructing one another in the doctrines of the gospel. They are not fighting for same-sex marriage, but rather they are ardently defending the family within the walls of their own homes, shunning pornography, protecting their children from the influences of the world, studying the scriptures, and praying with their families. They may be silent, but from what I have seen they are strong.

Image Credit: LDS Church News

We cannot be silent any longer. It is “high time [to] rise up in the dignity of our calling and speak for ourselves. . . . The world does not know us, and truth and justice to our brethren and to ourselves demands us to speak. . . . We are not inferior to the ladies [of the Church who speak out], and we do not want to appear so.”

Women of the Church – you faithful, righteous women. It’s high time to rise up in the dignity of your calling and speak for yourselves. Come join us. Come speak up with us. Come help us show the world what it really means to be a Latter-day Saint woman, a disciple of Christ.

How can you speak up in your circle of influence? How can you expand your circle of influence and be part of a “wide and extensive sphere of action”? Will you rise up and speak for yourself?


  1. Thank you for the link, and for this beautiful call to action. It is one I can completely endorse.

    Very well written.

  2. Oh how we need the voices of the silent majority today. I will do better to rise up and share my feelings about being a woman in the Lord's Kingdom. I seriously do not understand the mindset of the women who complain and want change. I have NEVER felt less than the priesthood. My parents were such a good example to me: Dad presided and Mom sustained. There cannot be one without the other. I'm reading a book about leadership and find it fascinating when viewed through the lens of the gospel. Our roles are spelled out so clearly in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. You have written so eloquently, please, please keep up the good work.

  3. Awesome Becca! Loved it! I feel the very same that it is time to stand up. I am also frusterated that the women they choose as a symbol of Mormon women are not covenant keeping women of the Church. They are dissenters in a way. You just hope that the non-member viewers can see through that. Thanks for your conviction and testimony.

  4. I agree with what you wrote, and I have so many thoughts along this line. I hope you won't mind if I segue mine into what you wrote.

    I think men and women can find completion in the priesthood, not perfection, or "equal" as the world can see it sometimes. Completion comes because both the man and the woman reach for Christ and respect each other. It's not a competition, and that's something I suppose many people will never understand

    Men who hold the priesthood and exercise it righteously need us to sustain them, but that doesn't make women subservient to them. Mistaken concepts of hierarchy, in my opinion, keep women from feeling confident enough to speak up, and then the pattern of non-vocal women keeps men from expecting women to be anything but silent. There is only one way to correct this: Women speaking up! In a nutshell, I think it's outdated social constructs we work against, as members, and not a "failed church organization".

    I agree with your call to action here: we women, especially those who are usually quiet, need to speak up. Our daughters need to SEE us be strong and determined. Meek is not weak. The Savior showed courage and spoke up when it was called for. May we women in the church who are faithful to the Savior have the wisdom to know when it is time to speak up! And then ACT!

    Ways we can extend our reach and raise our voices to proclaim the gospel include:

    Learn to talk about church(oops, I mean GOSPEL)-related topics. For so many women, we only talk about "church" topics, like prayer, scriptures, and God, on Sunday with other members. Hello! Make it real! If you can tell someone about the magical properties of essential oils or makeup or your favorite novel, you can talk about the gospel. These are not such sacred topics that they cannot be included in casual conversations, with any person, of any faith background. That is a first step. (People want to KNOW how to resolve real-life problems and we can show them how the gospel is active in our lives, helping us find solutions we need, personally, and within our families)

    Blogging is a great way to do this. Many women find their voice this way.

    Be a visiting teacher. Strengthen your partner! Talk about how being a visiting teacher blesses your life, especially in front of younger sisters and your children.

    Speak well of the priesthood-holding men in the ward. Speak well of the leaders, not nit-picking and complaining, but also not hesitate to speak openly with a church leader when prompted to by the spirit. (They don't know everything! They need to hear our side of things to gain perspective, too)

    Just speaking to someone who is NOT a Mormon is another step (LDS people tend to be pretty cloistered for many reasons, but it's of our own doing) Focus on asking what others believe and stop expecting everyone to come to FHE and then get baptized. (Yeah, I used to think that was the only way things happened, LOL)

    Let people see you in action! Talk about your callings. Talk about some of the challenges, how you overcame them, how you were able to work with other leaders, men and women, to accomplish those things.

    Just DO something! And it doesn't have to be every day, all day long, shrill and neon signs saying "It's all about ME!" It's just about not trying to blend in with the furniture.

    Those are some of the things I do.

    Anyway, this is lengthy, but I just want to commend you for speaking up yourself. We women need to be less afraid of what people will think of us if we choose to speak the truth, about ALL things, and be more willing to care about what *God* thinks of us. Let's do what he asks of us and be disciples of Christ and speak up, for His glory!


What makes your soul delight? This is my invitation to you to share your thoughts right here on my blog. I read every one of them, and I appreciate them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...