One Word Title: Chef

January 24, 2015

I’m a sucker for food trucks. At my old place in Provo, UT they recently started a “Food Truck Round-Up” Thursday nights on the south end of town. Whenever we go visit we try to stop by for dinner one night. Jamie always goes for the pepperoni pesto pizza from Pyromaniacs. Me? I always go for the ABC sandwich from Cravings Bistro. That’s granny smith apple slices, candied bacon and mounds of melted cheddar with a side of some sort of tomato soup with cream. Even writing about it makes me excited for the next time we’re up there on a Thursday. I’m not sure why food trucks always seem to make better food. It might be the simple, yet unique twist that they put on classic dishes. I like to think, however, that it has something to do with the passion that these cooks have for that specific type of food. Opening up a grilled cheese sandwich shop cannot be the most exciting culinary venture available. There has to be a passion for grilled cheese, which is great for me because I have a passion for eating grilled cheese. More on this passion in a minute.

To open the first ever film challenge we watched films with one word titles. A lot of people watched Boyhood or Birdman, but I went to something different: Chef. Writing titles is hard for me and I admire Jon Favreau’s boldness with one word titles. SwingersSmogMade. And now there is Chef. I don’t know if I’m bold enough to present my stories in a single word. It takes some guts to keep it simple because with simplicity comes the potential for vagueness. (What is Swingers about anyway?)

Yet, Chef is surprisingly simple. Favreau pulls the reigns on the big budget films he’s directed lately to get back to his roots, small independent films about relationships. At his heart, the things I’ve loved about Favreau’s films are the relationships at play. That’s at least one of the reasons that Cowboys and Aliens and Iron Man 2 didn’t do as well. Their scripts didn’t have complex and deep relationships. It seems that relationships are where Favreau’s passion lies. Well, that and food.

And that’s what struck me about this film, passion. Favreau studied with food truck genius Roi Choi and other gurus to make sure every detail of the film is authentic. This passion and authenticity is contagious. About halfway through the film Jamie and I proclaimed that we needed to cook something. Or at least eat something.

Passion breeds passion. Watching someone pursue their passions pushes me towards mine. So if you’re hungry for motivation take the time to watch Chef. Just make sure to eat first. If not you’ll regret it.

 


If you’re interested is participating in the 2015 Movie Challenge with me, check out the list of categories here and join our Facebook discussion group here.

Next weeks category is “A Film a Friend Recommends.”

Women’s Meeting Analysis

September 29, 2014

Women's Meeting CriticismLast Saturday the LDS Church held its first session of General Conference, the newly organized “Women’s Meeting.” This meeting is meant to be a parallel to the all-male priesthood meeting that will take place the following week, however, after reviewing the meeting I noticed some differences between it and the traditional organization of the priesthood meeting. First, the meeting was 90 minutes long, compared to the 120 minute long priesthood meeting. That difference alone is enough to raise questions of the proper comparison of the meetings. I decided to break down the minutes of the meeting to see the trends at play in the meeting.

The breakdown is below:

Song by the choir: 5 min
Dorah Mkhabela, Invocation: 1 minute
Video of Korean Mormon girls singing: 5 min
Linda K. Burton, General President of the Relief Society: 10 min
Song by the choir: 7 min
Jean A. Stevens, 1st Counselor of the General Primary Presidency: 13 min
Video about the Temple: 5 min
Neill F. Marriott, 2nd Counselor of the YW’s General Presidency: 10 min
Choir/Congregation Hymn: 5 min
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor 1st Presidency of The Church: 19 min
Song by the choir: 5 min
Amy Caroline White, Convocation: 1 min

Excluding transitions between speakers, songs and videos this amounts to 86 minutes of time dedicated to content. I’m going to interpret some of this data for the purpose of exploration.

The meeting was 31.3% music (I am counting the video of Korean Mormon Girls as video rather than video). It was 60.3% speaking and 5.8% video. This breakdown is a bit on the musical edge over priesthood, however, since it is a meeting that includes 8-12 year old girls this is expected. One interesting note is to look at the breakdown of gender among the speakers.

The longest speaker was Dieter Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency. He spoke for 36.5% of the total time that speaking occurred. The next closest speaker was Jean A. Stevens at 25.0% of the total speaking time.

All of these statistics make me wonder about the place of the Women’s Meeting. While I understand the cultural basis for having a member of the First Presidency speak at a women-only meeting. Our patriarchal structure states that men must preside over women by keynoting the meeting. Men are to have the last word, and not just the last word, but the longest word. These meetings are carefully calculated because of broadcast restrictions. Rather than adding 5 minutes on to all the female speakers and cutting down Uchtdorf’s address down to simple closing remarks he speaks for nearly 31.6% longer than the longest talk by a woman.

I know a lot of people pushing for a complete ban of men during the women’s meeting. I’m okay with them in the meeting, but I’m not okay with a women’s only meeting dedicating the most speaking time to a man because he will not understand women’s issues as well as a woman will. If we are really going to compare the Women’s Meeting to the Priesthood Meeting then we need to put the focus on women teaching women.

Mormon Heretic: Documentary

September 22, 2014

This summer I felt a shift in the Mormon faith. With the excommunication of Kate Kelley, the culture of the church divided into two camps, the “faithful” and the “heretics.” The faithful saw Kate as an evil apostate who received her just-desserts. They supported the prophet with absolute dedication. The other group had questions. The other group was confused. The other group became heretics.

Mormon Heretics and ApostatesA heretic is a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted as true. According to this definition, I am a heretic. I question much of the culture of the church. However, I’m also faithful. I believe in modern prophets. I believe in the gospel and yet I question everything. This has lead my to work with Mormon feminism. I am comfortable there. I can explore there. I wade through the mud. I realized that’s what heretics do, they dig. They dig through the muck and mess from church history and still hold on.

More than anything, the pain of my friends has motivated me to create an audio documentary where these heretics can share their stories. Hopefully by wading through the mess with them we can all gain a better understanding of their pain. Hopefully we can learn about our doubts and our failures. And maybe, just maybe we can come out as better people.

Join me as I muddle through these stories over the next few months. The expected release date is mid-December. I hope you join me for an exploration through darkness.

 

Apostasy: Darkness or Many Lights

September 15, 2014

One of the key elements in discussing the LDS gospel is exploring the presumed loss of light, or apostasy, that occurred after the death of the apostles and the change in the structure of Christ’s church. Often these discussions are framed in the general lack of understanding or even a deliberate manipulation of the gospel. On occasion these discussions also discuss shifts in society that allowed for freer expression of religious dissent, however, they typically go back to the idea that these Protestant religions did not have it right. Also, these discussions discuss Guttenburg and his printing press, Franklin and other Founding Fathers and the general atmosphere in America at the time of the restoration. Now, it would be unwise and unfair to state that I have never heard a discussion in the Mormon church praising reformers like George Whitefield and Martin Luther, however, the discussion always ended with the idea that they had it wrong. The apostasy was still in full swing and it wasn’t until Joseph prays in Palmyra that The Great Apostasy cracked open like a egg.

apostasyAs I look into religious history and the protestant reformation for myself, then I do not see a compilation of failure on the part of the reformers, instead I see a group of people desperately trying to figure out their relationship with God. Isn’t that what we are trying to do? Isn’t that why we are here? Didn’t these men and women expand and explore the nature of God on their own, without prophetic authority and direction? That is admirable. That is amazing. These men and women got the foundation of the Gospel right. The understood the concept of agency and of the Atonement. They were passionate about the life of Christ and His gospel. Why are we talking about how how these men and women were committing priestcraft or trying to push out the commoners? We view The Great Apostasy as an extension of The Dark Ages and as such we short the reformers of their rightful place as servants of God.

One of the privileges that I have in life is to create media. My favorite aspect of production of a film is to light the scene. There is a principle of lighting for film that I believe applies to lighting the world with Christ’s gospel. If you want to remove shadows from a scene, then you need to have multiple light sources. By lighting scenes with the standard three-point system then you’re able to reduce the harshness of the shadows, if not completely remove them. Applying this to the Light of Christ, we need to remember that there are in order to remove shadows we need to have multiple sources of light.

Now, I’m not going to discuss the lives of these great reformers at this time. I am going to make a bold statement. As a faith, we need to stop focusing on how other people are wrong. We need to find commonalities and celebrate our shared truth. All of us have access to truth and God won’t ever deny honest seekers of truth.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Extroverts

September 8, 2014

I am an introvert through and through. In fact, last time I took the Myers-Briggs test I was told I was 93% introverted. At first this fact bothered me, but I’ve started digging into what it means to be an introvert. First of all, it does not mean to be shy. While I do not enjoy talking to people my work requires me to talk with new people nearly every day. I have to make phone calls to strangers and consistently answer my phone while I am there. While it’s not my favorite part of my job I deal. Being introverted simply means that I gain energy and work better when I have the ability to be and work alone.

Mormon IntrovertHowever, the worst part about being an introvert isn’t my job, it’s my faith. We live in a world where the outgoingness and extroversion are hailed as the most important skill that one can have. Susan Cain, the godmother of introversion, calls it the Culture of Personality and the Extrovert Ideal. If someone is about to speak in front of large groups of people and shake hands with everyone in the room then they’re seen as successful. In fact, there have even been studies to suggest that simply by speaking louder people believe you have more authority that someone who is soft-spoken.

This pattern can be seen in the LDS church and it is getting worse. I took the last two General Conferences as a sample and explored for two phrases which, I believe, are the heart of religious extroversion and introversion: “preach” and “study.” As I looked for references in talks which mention these words (and close variants) I noticed what I believe to be a disturbing trend. The word “preach” was used in 61 talks during the April 2014 and October 2013 General Conferences. On the other hand, “study” was used a mere 22 times. Preach was used a whopping 277% more often than its introvert counterpart.

So why is this an issue? Why does it matter? Aren’t we all supposed to spread the gospel and “flood the Earth” with the truth? Well, yeah. However, is that the most important thing? That’s the big question. I don’t know the answer, but I know what feels right to me.

According to the many interpretations of “The Plan of Salvation” we have two purposes in this life. First, we came to Earth to gain a body. Second, we are to learn and grow. Learning, growing, personal development, gaining testimony: these are all branches of our second purpose in life. It would seem to me that these activities, activities central to our purpose in life, are activities based in self reflection. Then why are we spending so much of our time on  teaching about activities which do not directly relate to our salvation. Yes, it is true that many people gain stronger testimonies through sharing what they know is true. However, placing the focus on extroversion leads to outward expressions when there is no inward commitment. It is the inward commitment that matters the most. It’s the inward commitment that brings us to Christ. God does not look at the outward activities. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). We should change our rhetoric to focus on the heart and true conversion.

6 Thing to Never say to Ordain Women Supporters

March 20, 2014

Mormon Women have been in the news a lot recently, especially with the upcoming event happening in Salt Lake sponsored by Ordain Women. I’ve been shocked and confused by the reactions to Ordain Women. Members of the LDS Church, who claim to be following Christ’s example, are lashing out and making horrible claims about these men and women. I can personally attest that these men and women feel like the church mistreated and abused for them for their cause and opinion.

I wanted to write to the opposition to the Ordain Women movement. You are not normally mean or vindictive. You are not normally rude. I know that you have many harsh thoughts towards the Ordain Women action. However, please understand that they are trying to live a Christ-like life, just as you are.

Here is a list of six things that you should never say to a supporter of Ordain Women. Please take them to heart.

Ordain Women, Priesthood, LDS, mormon,

1. Why don’t you just leave the church?

This is perhaps the most hurtful thing that anyone can say to another person. Think about what this actually means. “Your question and desire to receive revelation from God is so wrong that you ought to just leave the church and forfeit all of the eternal blessings that you believe that you will receive. Do you want to live with your family eternally? Sorry, just because you recognize some of the actions of the church as sexist and un-Christ-like then you are not worthy of that.”

Please take the time to realize how this message destroys lives and pushes good, strong people to the brink of giving up.

2. If God wanted the ordination of women then it would have happened.

The concept of revelation is an interesting one. It can be summed up with the scripture, “Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened, seek and ye shall find.” The predicate to receiving revelation then is to ask, knock or seek. These are action-oriented words. Thus, in order to receive revelation then we need to do something about it.

Now, many people think that the action that Ordain Women is inappropriate because it is disruptive or too public. The purpose of the movement is to demonstrate their faith. They want to show the prophet that they have the faith that their prayer will be answered. They are knocking at the door of the tabernacle, peacefully and humbly, in order to get a seat to hear the prophet’s voice. I hope that the leadership and members of the church will understand and respect this desire.

Putting it in a different context, this statement is akin to saying that we should not do any missionary work because “If God wanted them to be baptized, then they would already.” It does not work that way. It has never worked that way.

3. You just need to pray/attend the temple/read your scriptures more, then you’ll understand why you’re wrong.

Inherent in this statement is the assumption that these women have not prayed/attended the temple/read their scriptures before coming this their decision. While I cannot speak for all of them, the individuals that I know have spent many, many hours on their knees, studying the issue out and privately asking God if this is right. They feel that God has answered their prayers. Most of them continue to ask God if they are doing the right thing. I believe that we need to trust them in their claims of revelation. They are not making the claim that they have received revelation on behalf of the church, however they are acting on the promptings they have received.

4. I’m a woman and I don’t feel unequal in the church. Ordain Women, Mormon, LDS, Priesthood

First, I think that this is wonderful. I am extremely happy that you have not experienced oppression or injustice in the church. Perhaps the best response to this statement is twofold.

First, on of the powerful ideals in society today is that two people can feel two different emotions and both of those individuals can be right. To throw in a sports metaphor, someone may be happy that the underdog of a game wins. However, there are always individuals that are sad about the outcome. Is one of these people wrong? Of course not. They are both right in the context of their standpoints.

Second, Kate Kelly addressed this issue last October. She said, “Equality is not a feeling.” Recognizing this idea then it does not matter if you have never felt unequal or oppressed. This is not to discredit your feelings, but rather to request people to objectively assess the situation. I’d like to point you to a wonderful blog series that highlights many of the factual inequalities that exist in the church.

5. If women receive the priesthood then men will not do anything. They will lose their purpose.

I have more faith in men. As a man myself, then I take offense with this statement. There are many responses to this statement that I could go into, but for the sake of space, I will just counter with questions. If someone needs exclusive access to the priesthood, then why do women do the work they do without it? If all men are inherently lazy, is the priesthood simply a guilting agent to push them? If women are inherently more selfless and humble, wouldn’t God want to give the Priesthood to them because of their righteousness?

6. What if God responses and says “No”? Would you disband Ordain Women?

This is one of those questions that has no answer because it is based in the hypothetical. If God were to respond and say, “Yes, female ordination is appropriate” what would you do? Would you continue to fight against ordination or make claims that God is not a part of this action?

From what I have heard these men and women would privately seek the answer to why they will not be ordained. They would request more information. They would petition for understanding and clarity. God does not work in simple answers. God would use the opportunity to teach and to enlighten on the nature of women. Revelation is about revealing light and truth. We can assume that there has been not revelation received on the matter because nothing has been revealed with the world. God does not work in secret.

This list is not a complete list of statements to avoid. The rule of thumb has always been to be respectful. Before you judge any issue please take the time to research it and think about it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to learn more. There is nothing to lose.

I support: LGBTQIA Rights

January 28, 2014

I have been thinking lately about being more honest. As a defense mechanism I often stay quiet and do not share my opinions when I am with groups of people I know do not share my believes. I think it is time to become honest with myself and with others.  So I am going to start a blog series focusing on the reasons I support certain issues. This is not to encourage or persuade anyone, but rather to just voice my support for important issues.

I support LGBTQIA rights.

What I Mean

LGBTQIA Rights Mormon Church LDSYes, I am a Mormon. Many people may feel that my support of LGBTQIA rights and my belief in the Mormon faith is contradictory, but it is my study of the fundamental doctrines of the church that fuel my support. Perhaps the first place to begin is what I mean when I say I support LGBTQIA rights because this is often misinterpreted. This is more than simply “gay marriage”. While I do support the right to marry I support more than just the right for gay and lesbian folk to marry.

When I say I support LGBTQIA rights I mean that I support equal rights for everyone. I support the ability to identify with the gender a person subscribes to, even if it is different than their biological sex. I support people who feel they are gender queer and feel the rigid gender guidelines for men’s  and women’s dress or appearance does not work for them. I support someone’s right to reject gendered pronouns. Most of all, I support the right to make everyone feel comfortable, despite their identity.

Why I Support: The Doctrine

Now that we have this out of the way I support LGBTQIA rights. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus is asked what are the two most important or the greatest commandments. He replies simply that they are to love God with all our heart and love others as we do ourselves. I believe that these are still the two most important commandments for us to follow. If we do not follow them, then we are lacking in every aspect of our lives. It doesn’t matter if we keep every jot and tittle in line, if we do not love God and love our fellow humans as ourselves then we are falling short because “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40).

Many believe that this message either doesn’t apply to LGBTQIA folk or that it doesn’t apply to the right to marry because of many statements made by the LDS church. It took me a while to cement my rationality about this idea. The moment came to me while reading statements made by former prophets and apostles about interracial marriage.

“We must not inter-marry with the Negro. Why? If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would oil be cursed as to the priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the priesthood? If there is one drop of Negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. There isn’t any argument, therefore, as to inter-marriage with the Negro, is there” (1954, Mark E. Peterson, “Race Problems-How they affect the Church)?

“Your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and white races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs until now…. there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine” (1947, George Albert Smith, Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview).

“We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background” (1976, Spencer W. Kimball; this was included in the Youth Sunday School manual until 2013).

These are only a sampling of statements made by church leaders denouncing the evils of interracial marriage. The church does not currently believe that interracial marriage is a sin, or that it should be avoided. There is no current stance on interracial marriage. So, When I think about some of the statements that are currently made about the church’s idea of marriage these statements are on the forefront of my mind. If the church changed its mind on interracial marriage then will it change its mind on its current views of marriage?

Putting the doctrinal issues aside, in the United States we believe in a separation of church and state. While our religious views will always take out political views, it is oppressive to make laws based on our religious beliefs. I often like to reverse a situation to determine if my beliefs are oppressive to a marginalized group. If there was a law stating that I was required to drink one shot every day at noon (something that is against my religion) or else I couldn’t obtain a certain status in the government I would be appalled. I would fight it. I would oppose the law as a violation of my rights.

How is it any different to state that one’s innate sexuality will determine their government status and the rights associated with that status?

Why I Support: The Science

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Queer Theory and other theories on gender, sex and sexuality. Now, to present any social movement as one unified group of individuals is erroneous and untrue, but there are a couple of unified threads of thought that exist within these movements. First, sexuality and gender social constructs. Pretty much this means that our current framework of gender roles or sexuality has been constructed over a few hundred years and these roles are bound to change. Even the definition of family has changed throughout history and will continue to change. For many cultures family was a fluid notion and children were raised by a village. For other cultures family was a husband, his wife and children and his mistresses. The current model of family (husband at work while the wife stay home with the children) has only been emphasized for around one hundred years. Before the industrial revolution women worked side by side in agricultural settings and men often “worked from home” instead of commuting into work.

So to say that any form of marriage or that any form of sexuality is “traditional” is false. Under Roman law pedophilia was permitted. Polygamy was legal in many cultures for years. Marriage itself has only been romanticized for a few hundred years, before that it was often a system of business. Notions of love and marriage have not always existed and that in and of itself shows the changing nature of marriage as an institution.

Society and history is rarely as neat and clean as we like to think of it. Its a muddy, messy pile of confusing details and contradictory statements. We are wrong to think that our system of beliefs has always been the dominant system or that our current institution of power is the “right” or “proper” one. So yes, I am a Mormon and I support LGBTQIA rights, including the right for them to marry.

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Feminist Allies

October 23, 2013

Feminist Allies I’ve been thinking the past few months about what it means to be a feminist, specifically, can men be feminists? It’s been argued that they cannot because men “should [not] presume to speak in women’s place or ‘decide what feminism should be about.’ That’s just a baseline principle” (source). I agree with that. I don’t try to define what it means to be a feminist in general. I don’t attempt to label anyone, whether they say they’re a feminist or not. In order to include men, many groups label men as feminist allies because “To be a full participant in the movement, one needs to be able to take sides in those disputes. That puts a man in the impossible position of either telling half the feminists that you’re wrong and I know better, or else smiling and saying “well you both make very good points” like a liberal vicar trying to intervene in a pub fight” (source). However, this label bothered me because I don’t identify as an ally, I am a male feminist. Now, some would say that I should feel marginalized and need to deal with it. I can see their points. I get that feminism is not about me. However, marginalizing half of the population is not the answer. On top of that, the dichotomy between feminists and feminist allies relies on a gender binary to hold water. Either you’re a female feminist or a male ally. The marginalization of a valuable resource and reliance on a gender binary are fallacies that make the dichotomy of feminist/ally damaging to feminism.

While avoiding the trap of defining feminism for everyone, I’m going to give my personal definition of feminism. Feminism is about providing equal opportunity. In an egalitarian sense it is impossible to obtain true equality while simultaneously assigning labels to individuals from an outside perspective. Labels are useful. Labels provide easy cues to identify with others. However, labels should never be given to a person. Labels need to come from the inside out. By demanding the label, ally, be applied to all male feminists we are demanding that they be viewed as unequals, something that goes against many feminist organizationsmissions.

Now, I understand that this is not the only definition of feminism. However, this is my understanding of the movement. Please, if I am wrong let me know.

Feminist Ally MaleThe next issue with the term ally is far more damaging because it goes against another principle of feminism: gender is socialized concept that holds different meanings in different cultures. By adding the trans* population the term ally becomes infinitely complex. What if I am sexually a female that identifies as a man? Can I be a feminist? Or if I am sexually a man who identifies as a woman? Or even if do not identify as a man or woman? Am I a feminist or a feminist ally? Now, I admit, I have not talked to many trans* folk about how they feel about the label, but the theory seems sound to be. Please, if there are any trans* readers, please contact me, I would love to have your input.

Labels are wonderful. However, labels that are given to any person or group of people are damaging because it goes against every principle of self identity out there. Our time would be better spent working towards equality rather than assigning labels that can damage individuals or limit movement.

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Why don’t you just leave?

October 3, 2013

Okay, it’s pet peeve time.

There has been a lot of talk about the Ordain Women movement recently with their upcoming decision to have women stand in line during the General Priesthood meeting this Saturday. I’ve never seen people become as bitter and just plain mean as they have when someone posts a discussion starter on Facebook or Twitter about the movement. While both sides can take a lesson in charity and cooperation, the opposition to the movement is, in my opinion, much harsher than the support.

These responses vary from “These women just need to pray and God will tell them they’re wrong” to “If you don’t like the way the Priesthood is organized, then why don’t you just leave?” While both responses are arrogant and show a remarkable amount of close-mindedness the latter is the response that is upsets me beyond words.

Here is what they’re really saying, especially if they’re active, temple going members of the church.

“By having a different opinion than the majority of members of the church you are so far gone that you may as well break all of your covenants and condemn yourself to an eternity of misery without your family.”

Doesn’t that sound… um… harsh? Especially considering the steps that the church has taken to be more accepting and clarify doctrine about accepting people from different backgrounds and beliefs. President Dieter Uchtdorf spoke during the last Priesthood session
English: , the Second Counselor in the First P...

We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold—that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. Even identical twins are not identical in their personalities and spiritual identities.

 

I’ve been told many times that because I am a feminist and because I think that women need to be more empowered in the church that I don’t have a testimony and don’t really believe the church is true. As much as I realize that the words are spoken out of ignorance than vindictiveness it confuses me about why members of the LDS church would even begin to think that statement is appropriate.

Aren’t we supposed to be charitable? Aren’t we supposed to be missionaries? Aren’t we supposed to celebrate that our differences rather than condem someone for a belief?

It is not our place to condem anyone. It is not our place to question someone’s faith.

It is our place to love and support our friends, family, and our fellow men and women.

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I’m not a Feminist but…

September 5, 2013

The topic of feminism is a frustrating one. For people who either do not understand or choose not to identify with feminist philosophy they preach about the evils of feminist thinking or proceed to instruct feminists on what feminism really is. Now, that’s probably a large generalization, but over the past few weeks I’ve read all sorts of articles where people say, “I’m not a feminist but…” and you can fill in the blank with anything.

“I’m not a feminist, but I’m really tired of people criticizing Miley while praising Robin Thicke.”

“I’m not a feminist, but I’m tired of the way women are represented in the media.”

“I’m not a feminist, but I believe that it’s not right for women to earn less than men.”

Feminism, Justice, EqualityI think that it is great to identify with feminist issues while not choosing to identify as a feminist. You become, at least on some level, a feminist ally. I welcome you. Please, hold to whatever it is that bugs you and help fix that problem. We need more men and women helping to fix some of these blatant injustices.

 

 

However, don’t say, “I’m not a feminist because men and women are not equal” or “Who wants everyone to be equal, isn’t that the same as communism?”

I read this morning an article by Matt Walsh claiming that he is not a feminist because he doesn’t believe that anyone can be equal.

They mean equality by its dictionary definition: Sameness. Outside of religious philosophy, two things are “equal” when they are the same. We hear a lot about this kind of equality, and, unless we’re listening to a math lecture, what we’re hearing is false and ultimately destructive. Mathematical equations have equals, but humans do not. We are not numbers; we are living, changing, vibrant entities. We are not equal to anyone else. I am not equal to you, you are not equal to me, men are not equal to women.

You know what? You’re right. We can’t be equal. However, that’s NOT what feminist is all about. When we preach for “equality” we’re not saying that men and women are the same. Umm… hello, pregnancy, birth, and a host of other biological differences are really hard to deny. What we are calling for is equality in opportunity or in respect. That, Matt, is not happening worldwide.

You mentioned that Christianity has been teaching this kind of equality for thousands of years. Maybe at its most pure these teaching are correct. We are all sons and daughters of heavenly parents who have the ability to progress into the infinities. However, looking at a basic history of Christianity it’s pretty easy to find a lack of women leading the church or even a lack of writing by women. Yeah, there are a few awesome examples, but these pale in comparison to the number of men who have lead.

Now, I’m not sure if you’re LDS or not. So this is where I digress into Mormonism a bit. Even in our Faith a Relief Society President, even at the general level, is referred to as “Sister” when a Deacon’s quorum president is referred to as “President”? Or the fact that young men often receive 2-3 times the budget as young women because they “need” it more for camping and high adventure stuff. Or how about the fact that it was a huge deal that a woman prayed in General Conference for the first time ever last April. Or, perhaps the most frustrating thing of all, that women, specifically their bodies, are responsible for the way that men think.

But I digress…

Feminism, at its roots, is about equality, not sameness. Equality is more directly related to fairness, balance or even justice than it is to sameness. In fact, I would venture to guess that there are more anti-feminists that are promoting sameness than feminists. But fairness, balance, and justice? I would venture to think that you believe in those things to. It’s not fair that women earn 70% of men for doing the same job. It’s not fair that a female leader is a “Sister” while a male leader is a “President”. It’s not balanced that there is a 10 to 1 ratio of male executives to females. There is no justice in any of this.

There is no equality.

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