So, if you read last week’s post, you are aware that I affiliate with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I’m a MORMON! If you are an American and you are reading this right now, chances are that you have encountered at least one of us Mormons in your lifetime. I sincerely hope that that was a good experience for you.
A lot of the time, I feel like Mormons have a bad image in most people’s minds, like being associated with the word “Mormon” automatically makes me a crazy woman who believes in shiny gold plates hiding in the mountains, worshiping purple socks, and having oodles and bunches of husbands. Sounds like a great time, right? Well, I personally don’t worship purple socks, nor will I ever, EVER have more than one husband. The idea of polygamy absolutely sickens me. It makes me very sad that members of the early Mormon church practiced polygamy. Fortunately, the policy has changed and now we practice normal marriages, but I digress. But as for shiny golden plates, we actually do believe in those. For the full low-down on Mormons, visit this website, mormon.org. It will tell you everything that you need to know. :)
But, what I really want you to know is that mostly, Mormons are just normal people, trying to live normal lives. We strive to follow Jesus Christ and the example that He set of love, service, and charity. Now remember, people are imperfect. Perfectly flawed. We all make mistakes, and I know that even I have not practiced what I believe in on several occasions. Luckily, we can move past the mistakes we make and try harder to do what Jesus would do next time. So the next time you meet a Mormon, I hope that you have a great experience of love and light, because mostly, that is how Mormons are.
So, what does it mean to be a Mormon feminist? Aren’t Mormon woman supposed to stay at home, make lots of babies and lots of casseroles, do lots of cleaning, and lots of lovely housewife-y things? You might think so. However, the diversity of women within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is one of the most beautiful things, and it is the celebration of this diversity that makes up the essence of Mormon feminism.
We believe that all women are daughters of God and that within them, is the potential to become a truly divine woman. We believe that all men are sons of God, and that they have the same potential to become godly. As Mormons, not only do we believe in God the Eternal Father, but we also believe in God the Eternal Mother. We believe that God is Man and Woman together, that They are co-creators in all things. Unfortunately, this concept isn’t really talked about in church settings very much, but it has been made known to us through a process called revelation that there is, in fact, a Heavenly Mother. For whatever reason, we do not speak of her in such normal terms. I personally think that this is really sad. I cannot wait for the day when I get to learn more about my Heavenly Mother, who She is, how She makes Herself known in my daily life. There have been some occasions in which I have felt Her presence, but they are very rare. The most prominent of those experience was when I took the photo that is the header image for this blog. You might be wondering what the story of the beautiful tree is. Well, here you go.
Last October, I was living in a beautiful place in Japan called Morioka. This lovely city is nestled in a basin in the northern part of Japan in Iwate Prefecture. It was fall, and fall in Japan is absolutely glorious. The mountains turn brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow, and golden. They look as if they are ablaze when viewed through the smoke of the already-harvested burning rice fields. I was visiting a local park when I happened upon the most breathtaking tree I have ever seen in my life. The leaves were all shades of burgundy, gold, and sun-fire orange. The glow of the late-afternoon sunlight was filtered perfectly though the leaves, and the whole tree appeared to be alive and dancing in the beautiful sunshine. In that moment, I was transported somewhere outside myself, and I felt a love for nature like none other I had ever felt before. I had the most distinct motherly feeling come over me; it’s kind of hard to describe. I knew in that moment that my Heavenly Mother was making Herself known to me, that She was letting me feel some of the love that She had for me, and that I was witnessing one of her marvelous and perfect creations. I wish the picture that I took did justice to just how incredible this tree was; it was as if Heavenly Mother Herself was this very tree. So, I took the picture, but it was incredibly dull. So, my friend Alicia did a bit of Photoshopping to make the colors seem more real, and I think she did a fabulous job.
So yes, I believe in a Heavenly Father AND a Heavenly Mother. Because I have this belief and conviction in my heart, I believe that ALL women have the potential to become like Heavenly Mother. I know that She loves us all dearly, more than we can comprehend. And it is from this belief that my feminism stems.
I believe in celebrating all women, no matter their shape, size, appearance, race, culture, ethnicity, social status, work status, economic status, sexual orientation, or life choices. In my opinion, to be a Mormon feminist means to see women for who they really are: divine beings with divine potential. Every woman has value. There is nothing wrong with staying home and raising a family and loving them to pieces. I have no qualms with this. There is nothing wrong with being a career woman who leaves her children everyday to go to work. I have no qualms with this. There is nothing wrong with women who choose not to get married, or have children. I have no qualms with this. There is nothing wrong with women who live their lives differently than I do. I have no qualms with this. I believe in celebrating the diversity of women all over the world.
The popular weblog I am a Mormon Feminist details the following: “A Mormon feminist celebrates the diversity of all Mormon women,” and I would go as far as to say ALL WOMEN. “As daughters of God, we are unique individuals whose gifts are precious, and our voices matter. As children of God we seek to highlight the diversity of Mormon thought while striving to speak out against oppression, violence and other harms contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As women committed to the heritage of our faith, we advocate for understanding and sisterhood while appreciating our varied perspectives and diverse gifts.”
So, there you have it. A Mormon feminist is one who celebrates the incredibly beautiful diversity of women. And yes, this is who I am and yes, this is who I want to be.