Inquest

I don’t know about you guys, but for me, learning and questions go hand-in-hand. The more I learn, the more questions I have, thus prompting me to search for a deeper understanding. This holds true for every opportunity I have to learn, which i’d like to think happens rather frequently.

The one aspect in my life in which I seem to have the most questions lately happens to be that of religion. As i’ve mentioned before, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As you can imagine, my progressive, feminist beliefs mix with my conservative, patriarchal religion like oil and water, leaving me with a constant state of intense internal battle, and a series of never-ending, snowballing questions.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the LDS church has been known to excommunicate those who vocalize their questions and personal belief systems if they do not comply with the Church’s teachings. To me, this is completely heart-breaking. This religion, in which we are taught that we have a loving set of spiritual parents, and that we are sent to this earth to figure out how to get ourselves back to them, does not seem to allow much wiggle room for personal inquiry.

We were given free-thinking minds to be able to learn for ourselves what we believe is true and good, and I intend to use mine. Like I said, when I learn new things, I don’t tend to just accept them the way they are without searching for a deeper understanding. In my opinion, it’s natural to have questions. As my philosophy teacher has made it abundantly clear, very few things in this life are certain, and we as humankind understand virtually none of it.

The understanding we do have, however, comes from inquiring minds who have a thirst to know more. Observations turn into questions, which turn into research, experiments, etc. I’m sure you all understand the Scientific Method. What i’m saying, is this method is wholly applicable not only to our physical world, but to our spirituality, as well.

There is an overwhelming emphasis for each member of the Church to develop his/her OWN testimony regarding the things of the Gospel. I don’t see how one can obtain such testimony without developing individual questions and searching for personal truth. Why, then, is there disciplinary action for doing so?

Not trying to be a problem-solver here, but I feel like the last thing people with doubts or questions need is isolation from their community. We all go through times where we’re not sure about what we believe, and have questioned things. Those of us with fragile testimonies need support and encouragement in finding peace and truth within our religious realms.

The God I believe in loves us each on an individual basis, regardless of our doubts or questions, and even though He does not give us all the answers we are looking for, I’d like to think that he supports our search for truth and knowledge.

These issues have been tearing me apart lately, and I have found myself more puzzled than ever. From the perspective of one who has doubts and questions, I empathize greatly with those who have received disciplinary action for voicing their questions and seeking more understanding.

I dunno, it’s hard not to get lost when you’re drowning in questions.

M.

Amelioration

Today, while I was updating my knowledge on current Feminism-related events, I stumbled across the following quote: 

Women's world

Y’know, lately I’ve been so frustrated every Sabbath when I sit down in the pews and just wait for a speaker or teacher to say something that will stir up my Feminist rage. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been attending my church meetings with the expectation that somebody will say something offensive, oppressive, or degrading about the role of women in the Gospel. It’s as if I’m subconsciously, yet actively searching for someone to affront me. 

It’s stunting my spiritual growth. 

I don’t remember who said it, but we all know that quote that goes something like, “no one can offend you without your consent.” All of this consenting people to offend me with their derogatory comments and insisting that a woman’s place is strictly in the home is getting rather exhausting.

Why do I allow these people to affect my relationship with my church and my God? Who cares if Brother or Sister so-and-so don’t approve with my views on what my role as a daughter of God are? The only approval that matters to me is the approval of my Heavenly Parents. (Notice I said parents, I’d like to acknowledge the fact that I have a Heavenly Mother as well.) 

The God I am coming to know wants me to be happy. The God I know won’t repeal the incomprehensible love He has for me if I decide to pursue work outside of the home. Because what matters to me matters to Him. 

The God I am coming to know loves me as much as he loves my brethren, and knows that I am just as capable as they are in achieving anything I put my mind and energy into, and He encourages me to reach my full potential in every dream I pursue. 

So go ahead and keep trying to nudge me toward the ‘mommy track.’ Continue preaching your Relief Society lessons on the cruciality of being a submissive, home-making, child-rearer and telling me that this is the right way for me to live my life and fulfill my role. Keep blaming me for infecting the thoughts of the men I encounter if I choose not to cover my shoulders, or wear shorts that don’t hit the knee. 

Because I’m through letting this culture we are so caught up in affect the growth of my testimony, and my ability to feel the Spirit. 

The important thing is, progress is being made. Even the General Relief Society President has acknowledged the fact that a woman should not be limited to the role of a stay-at-home housewife. 

Small steps toward equality are being made. What more can I ask for? 

Carry on, Mormon Feminists.