Saturday, December 15, 2012

Why I’ll be in Pants on Sunday

There are three points of the gospel I hold close to my heart in situations like this.

1- Our church is a church founded on the asking of questions. Joseph Smith asked God which church to join and got an answer. Matthew 7:7-8 tells us to ask, seek, and knock and we will receive, find, and have doors opened. Each member is told to ask God of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. We are instructed to ask him for guidance on the big things in life. 2nd Nephi 28:30 says, “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little…” I believe that applies not just to the individual lives of members, but to the church as a whole. I believe God gives us revelation, like blessings, as we prepare ourselves to receive it, but we’ve got to ask for it.

2- This church is a living church. It grows. It adapts. It changes. This is a blessing. The 9th article of faith says, “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” Why does it seem as though some of us have forgotten that “He will yet reveal many great and important things”? The last bit of 2nd Nephi 28:30 says, “…for unto him that receiveth [wisdom] I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” Why are some of us resisting the opportunity to learn?

3- While God does indeed want us to ask him for direction, he has made it clear that we should be able to handle the small stuff on our own. There are a great many areas we can improve on in the church regarding gender equality, and they are things well within the existing framework of current doctrine (listed here). I don’t think God feels it necessary to step in to remind us that women are just as capable as men to say prayers at General Conference, for instance. Let us handle that on our own. Doctrine and Covenants 58:26- 28 reminds us that “it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant… men should be aanxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.”
I can see no greater cause I am personally fit to be anxiously engaged in than this one and so, I will wear pants. I’ve spent a significant part of my adult life learning (informally as well as formally) to recognize the subtleties of what male privilege and female subordination looks and the problems that pair causes. I’ve learned, through experience, what forced silence and isolation does to a person as well. It’s heartbreaking. I see it in the church at large. I hear our women talk about it, even if they aren't sure what to call it.
I didn’t decide which “side” I stood on regarding this pants issue until others insisted there were sides. There are women in this church saying that they don’t feel heard or welcomed. The response they’re getting is to be quiet and do as they’re told or that maybe, if they’re not happy here, they should just leave. The side I stand with is the one that wants to listen to these women and their supporters.

I will wear pants this Sunday, quietly and reverently, to tell other women, both in my ward and not, that they are not alone, that they are not crazy, and that I hear them.