When I started to look deeper into the history of the LDS Church one of the first places this search took me was a blog called Feminist Mormon Housewives (fMh). It was here that I began to feel that it was ok to look at the ‘facts’ no matter how confronting they might be. The other source of comfort during this time of questioning was an article written by Hugh Nibley called Beyond Politics (BYU Studies 1974) where he wrote “God did not hold it against these men that they questioned him, but loved them for it…the Lord was not above discussing matters with the brother of Jared…” (p3). Ah, sweet words to a newly questioning soul.
I soon began to visit this online world for more than just information and ‘permission’ but also for friendship, discussion and above all a new and much needed feeling of belonging. The issues discussed there are varied and bold. Accompanying every thread is an almost tangible feeling of sisterhood. Wait! There is more than that. The feminist men who comment on the blog are such an integral part of the place that really the feeling is one of humanity? It is a forum where respect for each sex is the ideal.
Recently some feminist Mormons have put together a new blog called HOPE. It is linked to the WAVE website (Women Advocating for voice and equality). At HOPE women (and men), LDS or not, can write about their experiences in relation to equality for women in the Church.
Why do I, as an ex-Mormon and known by other labels such as anti-Mormon and apostate, choose to support such movements?
As much as I dislike organised religion I also dislike the idea that I would turn my back on my friends at fMh simply because we have different beliefs. There are plenty of ex-mo’, atheist, agnostic etc supporters of fMh. There was a short time when I did not visit fMh as my feelings of betrayal and anger towards the LDS Church were quite high and I did not want to blow off steam in a place that still felt like home.
Considering the pain that I experienced leaving the LDS church I feel strongly that LDS members should be allowed to look into the truth about their church’s history and I think that fMh and HOPE are good places for active members to do that. If a person then chooses to remain a Mormon then at least it will have been their choice, a conscious informed choice. The other option of course is that they choose to leave. Either way LDS members will then have been given the chance to choose what is right for them.
IMO many of the people at fMh actually comprise what I consider to be a breakaway branch of Mormonism. I am all for it. They believe in God, Jesus, love, service… they just also happen to believe that God always intended for women to have a more significant role to play in the Priesthood, an equal role even. They look to the past to inform this dream for the future. They also believe that there is room in heaven for the LGBT community. Again, not a secondary role but an equal role. They look at each person on this planet as truly equal. That is something that I can admire.
If the girls and guys at fMh can enlighten the minds of the LDS youth and provide options in an otherwise strict and unbending institution (unbending towards its members vs very flexible in its changes to ‘doctrine’ over the years!!) then I am all for it. Consider for a moment the youth suicide rate in Utah. I think that fMh and HOPE along with other such blogs are very well positioned to alleviate a lot of suffering.
The Mormon conundrum is a complicated one. I hope to lend a hand in transitioning people out of it or at least into a safer part of it.