Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the Issue of Pants and Mormon Feminism

I have been moved. Deeply. In a way that I am not moved every day or every month but only on occasion. It is words that move me this time. Words spoken from an unorthodox Mormon feminist I do not know and probably never will. It is these words that cause me to cascade into tears, sitting here alone at my desk at BYU. I hide the cascade, shelter it from the boy who sits across me in his short haircut and plaid button up shirt. I am not sure why I feel this movement of sadness and ache in my heart. I think it stems from connection. Deeply, knowingly my very core is moved because I know this is my story too. I am far from orthodox. I am far from cookie cutter. My faith is not a blind faith, it is a faith that spans seas and hails God, Al-Fattah, the All Knowing, Father. It is a faith born from years of moments built upon prayer, song, and strong examples. I, who was raised with an unbelieving father and a deeply devout mother. I, who of mixed heritage, raised in an interfaith family, a liberal Mormon girl chose to come here to the Mormon Mecca, BYU. A place where I have found the best of people, not to say that in an elitist way, but in a loving deep-rooted way. The best of people because they are now my people. From the sweet, blonde boy from Wyoming to the dancing, giggly girl with pale green eyes from Utah. These are my people. I have found them, and know them to be cut from the same cloth. Because we are all cut from the same cloth.

And this is why I cry my cascade of tears for Joanna Brooks, who I do not know. Because somehow I do know that we were cut from the same cloth. I realize this is what her book is trying to say, that we are all the same even among our sparkling differences. We are all the same because whether we drink coffee or tea or not or whether we are gay or lesbian or not, we stand the same under God. Under God, we are all children, children of a loving and great Father in Heaven who may fill our very souls with sweet forgiving and teach us charity and love.

What strikes me inside is what her book does not say. She speaks of my culture, our culture, the same roots I have grown from. But she does not lay out what she believes, what she feels about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in plain English. Her testimony is not plainly stated. It is there, woven between the words and carried within her stories, and in the fact that she still clings to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Her testimony is there, and though unspoken it still sings out. So this is why I cry, because I feel of her spirit far away, struggling with deep rooted doctrinal questions that I set aside.

Because it is not my struggle to ponder on these things. It is not my personal concern. Not to say that I prefer a blind obedience or to say that I would care to remain ignorant. No, because I know the things I know in the way that I know them. Because I am not overly concerned with matters that do not pertain to my own plan of happiness. Perhaps this is selfishness, to be unthinking of matters of female ordination or progression for women within the Church or even gay marriage. But I have not felt lacking for not having the Priesthood. I have not worried that I will never be able to bless or anoint my children.  Because I have experienced that God will give me what I need. For every time that I have asked, I have received. I too, stand differently on many political issues that many members of the Church are conservative about. But, I have not been crucified for my differences. I have not felt a withdrawing of God's love for my viewpoints. No, it is not my struggle to attend to, not my battle to be fought.

I will not join those who wear pants this Sunday. Though I have often referred to myself as a Mormon Feminist, I do not agree with all the implications of this movement. I do not feel of the gender inequality that these women feel of. I do not feel like a lesser citizen of my community. So no, I will not wear pants in solidarity. But I will say, I am interested. I am both interested and deeply respectful of these women who do dare to speak out in honesty.

Certainly, I applaud the kind of courage Joanna Brooks has in the telling of her story. And I will respect those who wear pants to church this Sunday. I will respect those that wave their signs for Yes or No on this or that. I will respect my gay brother or sister. Because I have promised to do so. I have promised to give the right to choose and to express as I embrace my own right to do so.

So I turn back, away from her intense questions and inward to the battles that are mine to be had. To school, and work, and family.  To the deep knowing that I carry within myself. To the strongest testimony I have which is this: The Gospel works for me. No one can challenge that statement, it is mine to hold, and each must find what works for them and how it works for them.

And though I feel of the pain Joanna has struggled with, though I see in her brazen words flashing across the page the great struggle she has had as she ponders questions of feminism and equality. It is not mine. I must fight my own battle. I have my own things to face, my own questions to find answers to. I must find just how this Church, this Gospel, this entire religion works for me. It is an every day process. I will never weary. I will never stop. I can only say again: The Gospel works for me.

Then turn to you, my Friend, with this question: What works for you?

Monday, November 19, 2012


You bend me.
I am light filled and radiant
swimmingly soft
pooling at your feet.
Stare slowly
talk faster
time moves for us
the minute blocks shift
We plod through concrete tunnels
crawling and squirming
wriggling towards
pitch black and tar filled.
Is this what it is?
The thing they all talk about?
It feels like digging through cement.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


There's the big red book for life events.

The little handheld notebook cradled in real Italian leather.

And the spiral bound notebook with a manila cover.

Oh, and of course the olive green Moleskin.

And now: here is this navy blue practical-looking blank journal.

The greatest thing is it's blank. Just waiting.

Waiting for all my thoughts, ideas, dreams, and secrets.

It starts living today, as I breath new life with my pen.

A little piece of me is rekindled, shed my melancholic apathy and rise with new blood pumping.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dreamy Indulgences

Dreamer in the city
with my little dog
the incessant voice
screaming Run
It's quieter here.
nearly a whisper
next to the sounds of the bus
the bmw
and the couple saying goodbye.
If I could
just live here
in a small apartment
above the corner liquor
with my rockstar dog
and faux fur rug,
post it notes
above the mirror
blaring self-affirmations
and to-do list items.
If I could
my suburban mom
minivan and soccer balls
It's the predictable life
That I'm bound for.
But if I were to shut the blinds
on the window into
my next life.
This is where I would come.
the people live in color here.
they don't let life get in the way
of their living.
There's big boots and tight pants,
she's bound for her
daily soy latte frappacino.
And waiting for the light is
Man in Toms wearing hipster glasses
running to his Save America meeting.
There's the pixie who hands over my soft serve
smoothing her purple hair and smiling
that impish grin.
People watching never gets boring here.
And all the millions of lights
and sounds
they soak into my skin
Let me breath in all of this before I starve the dream
quickly gaining sustenance collected on the streets.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It was the sunset that saved me.

The way the colors
bled and ached
across the sky
matched my
ever-whirling body.
And on the left
the steep
snow-capped mountains
golden with light
and piercing
the ever blue
clear sky.
It was the sunset
that saved me.
Not your arms
or your insistent mouth.
Not your big laugh,
nor that earnest look
you have when
I babble on
for far too long.
This time--
it wasn't you.
It was this moment
I have carved
for myself
the smell of bacon
this grandma bench
and just the clear air
in. out.
in. out.
just this for now.
solid below
and liquid above.
one day
there will be peace&sweet
for hours upon hours
For now all I have is the
precious few moments.
And yes,
the sunset that saved me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

All For Your Good

And when I have
on this small plateau
the colors strike me
all at once
pierce my very
cause me to crumble
some might call
this pause
as hallowed as it is
for me,
infantile or distracted.
I choose
childlike awe
dumbstruck wonder.
It seems to all align,
for once.
the reflection of light
and the daily noisings
into one simple
beautiful Aria
sent from the heavens
the whole span of greatness
all works in harmony
in this single moment.
To top it off:
It's springtime.
I have no urge to run.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


It's been a hard month. A growing month you might call it. And it's been just another opportunity to learn for me. I thought I would share some bits of wisdom I have collected from others:

You are not what ails you.

Health is whatever works and for as long.

Happiness is a choice.

Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.

If anything is standing in the way of your education, cast it aside.

To get what you want, you must know what you want.

You get what you get and you don't throw a fit.

If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders.

If you want to be wise, choose wise friends. 

And finally:

If you are truly not afraid of doing something, you will do it today. 

I have been repeating all of these things over and over to myself. But I must give credit where credit is due by saying that none of these are my own words.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Letter to the Future

squishy mud
and melting mountains
wet black streets
and my own cold fingers
pressed to each other.
Please stop by for groceries while you're out.
And there's a list I have for you on the kitchen table:
1. Change light bulbs
2. Unclog the drain
3. Fix the step
I promise once
you hurry home
dinner will be ready
and your collar starched
for tomorrow.
If you could just drive a little faster.
I'm not terribly patient,
and the slow ticking of the clock,
solitary mug,
and unkissed lips,
they all sing for you.
Hurry home.

To the few readers out there:
It's been awhile. Months, now. But I am back. Full force and sharing again, I am back.

Yours truly,

Miss M