Recently, my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has been making headlines for its decision to excommunicate Mormon activists who are pushing for equality, inclusion, and acceptance for women and gay/lesbian community.
Heartbroken: The only word in my extensive vocabulary that I can think of to encompass my feelings toward these events.
Latter-Day saints are representatives of Jesus Christ, and as His representatives in these latter days, we are expected to strive to progressively become more and more like Him. Charity is the pure love of Christ, and an attribute that we are all aspiring to master.
The God I know loves all of His sons and daughters equally, regardless of how we sin in this life. So shouldn’t we do the same? Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly?
Clearly, the way His children get along with one another is of great priority to our Father in Heaven. After all, the second commandment is to love thy neighbor as thyself.
Not just your straight neighbors.
Not just your male neighbors.
Not just your neighbors of the same faith.
Granted, we are all human, and will never be able to love everyone perfectly as He does, but the point is, we are supposed to try.
We are not trying nearly hard enough.
It is so easy to judge one another, and it grows increasingly difficult when the people we are judging are vastly different than we are.
I want everyone who walks through the doors of my chapel to feel that they are welcome, loved, and accepted from the second they sit down in the pews, regardless if they’re gay, didn’t serve a mission, are female, what have you. I want everyone who attends my church meetings to be able to feel the pure love that Christ has for them, without feelings of guilt, shame, resentment, judgment, etc. from members of the congregation.
There was a time, in the 1980’s, I believe, when a general authority stated that women are “discouraged from working outside the home.” The Proclamation to the Family states that a woman’s primary role is that of a mother and homemaker. Granted, the times have changed significantly since the ’80’s, but that attitude of the role of women in the church is still predominantly taught as the “right way” to live.
I am a young woman with huge ambitions and goals that surely don’t involve my getting wifed-up and making babies any time soon. I have prioritized my life in a way that varies from the mold that seems to have been laid out for me by the culture of my church. Yet, as a woman of the LDS faith, I am taught repeatedly from my youth that there is no better or more fulfilling way for me to spend my life than becoming a wife and mother. We spend our Young Women’s activity nights learning how to bake and crochet and all of those domestic tasks that will aid us in our homemaking futures, while the boys go on scout trips in the middle of the winter and river rafting in the summer.
Ask me again in a decade from now, but as it stands, I don’t believe that I will be happiest being a stay-at-home mommy for the next 20 years of my life. Contrary to my gender’s mold, I am most empowered by gaining an education and sense of independence and strength through finding a meaningful and successful career.
It’s frustrating to hear all this talk of how women are the stronger gender because we can give birth and have a nurturing intuition and all that jazz, but are then expected to devote our lives to pursuing that route of mother and homemaker, regardless of our differing interests.
People within my local church community have been expressing concern with my lack of desire to have children at all. May I remind you, I am only 19 years of age. I have my entire life in front of me, and an abundance of child-bearing years left. So what’s the rush? I intend to achieve my academic/career goals first.
My main issue with all of this is that what I want out of my own life is not as important as my predestined role. Men can-and must, according to the church-be the providers for their families. They are free to get a degree and a powerful career and after their 8-5 shift, they can come home and play catch with Junior while Mom slaves away in the kitchen. Best of both worlds.
But rarely is that the case for a woman. Every situation is different, and a lot of women have to work in order to support their families. I feel that the Church tries to make everything a one-size-fits-all, rather than recognizing that its members are individuals, and that there is no blanket-solution to the right way to set up your family.
I just want to be treated as an equal member of the human race, and for all of my spiritual brothers and sisters to, as well.
I find relief in authoring my frustrations. Agree, or don’t-it’s up to you. But also, have respect for my beliefs.