Happy Easter!

Hello all! Happy Easter to you. In the land of Christendom, the Easter holiday is the most celebrated time of year, next to Christmas. Easter is celebrated to commemorate the Atonement, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Resurrection means that He physically died, but then came back to life three days later! What a feat!

As a Mormon, I very much believe in Jesus Christ. I accept Jesus as my personal Savior. There have been many times when I ask myself what that means to me: why do I believe in Jesus? How do I know that He is my Savior?

Well, there isn’t just one answer. But, I believe in Him because I have felt His healing power at work in my life. At times when I could not handle hard times on my own, I was able to cast my worries on Him, and He carried me. I’m not really sure how to explain it. But, I do. I believe in Jesus Christ.

I have had a lot of questions and doubts in my mind as of late, as I have studied the place of women in the Mormon Church. I have felt a lot of hurt and pain, and there are so many questions I have that remain unanswered. Even though I have felt all those things, I have continued to feel the love of my Savior. He knows that I am having these conflicts, and I know that He approves. He needs more people asking questions.

I love Jesus. I am grateful for this time of year to remember and celebrate Him. I hope you all have a nice holiday. :)

International Women’s Day!

Well, I just spent the last hour writing about my experience serving as a missionary for the Mormon church! But, I had written over five pages SINGLE spaced when I realized that I wasn’t even to the part where I go to Japan yet! Wow! So, I will save that for another time and place.

Instead, let’s talk about women! Yay! Yesterday was International Women’s Day! What a great opportunity we have to celebrate women from all over the world! A day to celebrate the diversity of women and how AMAZING THEY ARE!

Who are some of your favorite women? Why have they had such a big impact on your life? How did they shape you into who you are today? How did they inspire you to be the best that you can be?

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One of my favorite women is, of course, my Momma. Michelle Johnson is an incredible woman. She is full of bright-red-haired fire and passion. She is filled to the brim with love that is enveloping and completely all-encompassing. She is a woman powerhouse. She radiates light and strength and knowledge. She knows who she is. She has experienced some of the hardest trials human beings can possibly go through, and she has come out on top. My Momma is so wise, enriching those around her through her example of real love and compassion. She is one of the women in my life who has never failed to inspire me, even in times of weakness or hardship. My Momma and I have a very special bond. We are connected not only by blood, or by an average mother/daughter relationship. We have found in each other a divine sisterhood. We are blessed to have come to understand that we were placed in each other’s lives for an abundance of reasons, some of which still remain unknown to us. However, because we have found this bond of sisterhood, my Momma and I have been able to connect in ways that most Mommas and daughters can’t do. We have mutual respect for each other. We have deep love that resonates throughout our bones. My Momma has taught me about the feminine divine. She has taught me about Heavenly Mother, and Her presence in my life. She has given me the inspiration and encouragement to seek my own relationship with my Heavenly Mother, and has been a guide every step of the way. Through my Momma, I have come to know feminine divinity more deeply. Through my Momma, I know that women are inherently divine. The impact my Momma has had on my life is indescribable. She has inspired me to become whomever I desire to be. She has given me the wings to fly to the moon, and has supported me every step of the way. My Momma has given me blessings and calmed me in times of grief, sorrow, and heartache. She has fought for me and defended me like the most fierce of Momma-bears. She has counseled with me and helped direct me towards greater light and knowledge. I hope that one day, I can become half the woman that she is.

I hope that you all had a little time to thank the women in your life for what they have done for you. If you have a moment, leave in the comments a little blurb about a woman that has impacted your life for the better.

Remember, we are all in this together. Let’s get out there and LOVE! Happy International Women’s Day. :)

So, you think you’re NOT a feminist?

Feminism. FEMINISM. Women for women. MEN for women. People fighting for the cause of PEOPLE.

In today’s day and age, the word feminism is used in lots of different ways. It can be viewed as a “dirty” word. But it can also be hugely empowering.

What do you think feminism means? What image do you have in your head about what it means to be a feminist? I have some friends that hear the word feminism and automatically think of super-butch lesbians with short haircuts marching topless down city streets picketing for the cause of women. I know some people who think that people who are feminists think that WOMEN ARE BETTER THAN MEN, GOSH DANG IT, LET’S LET THEM TRAMPLE MEN!!

Really? C’mon guys. That is NOT what feminism is.

But, what does the word ACTUALLY mean? Let’s take a look.

Google thinks that feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

According to Mirriam-Webster, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

Urban Dictionary says that feminism is the belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men. These people can be either male or female human beings, although the ideology is commonly (and perhaps falsely) associated mainly with women.

Hmmm. That’s interesting. Feminism is NOT the notion that women are better than men. Feminists aren’t JUST super-butch topless lesbians. Feminism is the concept of GENDER EQUALITY. Feminism is the notion that men and women ARE EQUAL, and were created EQUAL. A feminist is someone who believes in having gender equality be an actual thing. A feminist doesn’t HAVE to be a woman; in fact, the biggest feminist I know personally is none other than my loving father.

I don’t know about you, but in my book feminism = HUMANITY.

So, I don’t think you were wondering whether or not I am a feminist, but in case you WERE wondering, YES! I am a feminist. With every fiber of my being, I BELIEVE THAT ALL HUMANS WERE CREATED EQUAL!

I come from a very religious background. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or as everyone knows us, the Mormon church. I was born into a Mormon family, but we were very nontraditional (and still are, for that matter). Yes, we attended church on a regular basis, yes, we donated 1/10th of our money to the church as a tithe, no, we didn’t drink coffee or alcohol or tea (except for herbal tea). In many ways, we were very traditional; however, my mother was not a stay-at-home mom, like women in the Mormon church are encouraged to be. My parents both worked several jobs at the same time in order to provide life for my older brother and I. My mother worked her butt off EVERY DAY (and still does). Both of my parents taught me the value of hard work. Ever since I was a little girl, my parents taught me to be a power-house woman, and that I could achieve ANYTHING that I put my mind to. I was raised to understand that I am EQUAL to men. I have the capacity to do the things that they do, and that I am just as intelligent, just as qualified, just as good as the men around me. My parents are so wonderful.

Meanwhile at church, I was taught that a woman’s “role” is to stay home and take care of and raise the children while the man was out working hard to provide for them. I was taught that a woman’s rightful place was within the walls of a home and that the most influence she could have in life would be on her children. Whenever I would hear this in church, I would think to myself, “But, my Momma works every day. She provides for me too. She doesn’t have to stay home in order to take care of me. She can work just like Daddy can.” From a very young age, I remember being aware of the gender-based injustices that were prevalent within the Mormon church.

As I have grown up, I have become even more aware of gender inequality, and not just within the context of my religious affiliation. Everywhere I look, I can see it; within the work-force, at school, among my friends, among my colleagues. There are little inequalities within my own life that happen every single day, and to be quite frank, it makes me very sad.

You might be wondering what the point of all of this is. Honestly, I’m not sure I even know. However, I know that I am passionate enough about this subject to write about it every week. I know that I want to help people understand why it’s necessary to have gender equality. Feminism isn’t a dirty word, and I want to help people understand what it really, truly means, as a concept in it’s most basic form: equality. Love. Respect. Recognition.

To me, that’s what it’s all about. :)