Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Response to the Standard Journal Article

Welcome if you are here from the Standard Journal newspaper article (I could have never guessed that wearing pants would be worthy of first page news, but I digress).

The editor of the newspaper asked if I would be willing to come in for an interview.  I felt more comfortable just sharing the opinions I stated earlier on my blog, but I talked to my husband and we agreed if the message was just about the things I shared on my blog we didn't see any harm.  It turns out what I thought would be a short feature on an inside of the newspaper turned into a front-page article, using a picture from this blog without permission.  I'm aware that I don't have a copyright statement on my blog - but that is not necessary as Blogger's Terms of Service clearly state I retain all ownership and rights to content and only Google is granted a license to use the content I share.  The point being is that by using the picture on my blog without permission (taking a picture my husband snapped for me that I asked him to as we were packing up to leave church -- so that I could keep one in my memory book) it makes the impression that the picture was taken at my church so I could be in the newspaper.  That is entirely not the case and was never my intent.  

I also wanted to state I believe there is a mis-statement in the article published about me.  I expressed that I felt I was the only feminist in Rexburg and it felt lonely sometimes.  The reporter assured me that he thought there were others out there that felt the same way and would I like to know them?  I said, sure I would love to know that I'm not the only one!

The middle and conclusion of the article states:

She feels there are other people in this region who share her feelings and hopes they will reach out to her in an effort to bring the issues to the forefront — and to be able to discuss it openly.

"Anderson said one of the reasons she wants to share her story is that she hopes to connect to other people in this area who share her views.
“I hope to connect with people locally,” said Anderson.
She is hoping anyone who might want to talk to her will visit her blog site where they can then send her an email. Her site is"

I do not agree with that.  I do not want to start a movement or  get people to connect or bring issues to the forefront and start something.  It is nice to know I'm not the only one in Rexburg, so go ahead and comment and say hi.  But leave it at that.  I'm not trying to get blog followers - I post about once a month.  This is a very personal thing where I decided to share opinions to be a part of the conversation, not to be an activist. 

 In an email to the editor, I said "Would you mind ending with this quote instead of saying my goal is to make connections, but instead to share this message?

"There may be others out there with opinions like mine.  I would say to them it is possible to follow the prophet, be a faithful Mormon, and a feminist!  Others may reject you or decide not to associate with you, but you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and you belong here!  You are welcome.  Do not let negative interactions with others be a stumbling block and keep you from full fellowship.  Don't hold feelings of anger or bitterness, but be full of love and faith in the future.  You are not alone!"

The editor left the message about making connections.  I wanted to apologize to any local neighbors and church members who may feel that this was an issue where manipulation was used to get attention and publicity.  Truly and sincerely that is not the case.  I am not apologizing for wearing pants - that was a matter of prayer for me and I have no regret attached to that decision. 

Kristine Anderson

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why I Wore Pants

I wore pants to church today.  I did not participate in the pants event last year, the stated purpose last year was "to bring attention to gender inequality".  This year the purpose is to "celebrate the inclusiveness of the Gospel" and I decided to this year.  I cannot control what other people think about me, or why they assume I do the things I do -- that is out of my control.  But since I did receive a question about my motivations today, I thought I would share.

(I saw someone else share their reasons this way online so I wanted to borrow it)  Here are NOT reasons that I wore pants. 
  1. Because I think women should be ordained to the priesthood.  No, I do not believe this.  I do believe women already exercise Melchezidek priesthood authority in our temples, which proves that priesthood is not gender exclusive.  I also believe there is more to be revealed regarding women and the priesthood, and how the priesthood functions in the next life.  But I do not support the Ordain Women movement.  There may be women who believe this that are wearing pants, I am not one of them.
  2. Because I think there are no innate differences between men and women.  No, I believe there are essential physical and spiritual differences and gifts to men and women.  I don't believe those are best described by the words "leader" and "nurturer" -- but I believe there are differences and I have no problem with gendered organizations and meetings, ie Priesthood Quorums, Relief Society, etc.  I also believe that perfection in Godhood is realized by Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother becoming one.
  3. Because I want to protest at Church and be in everyone's face about an "issue".   No, I'm not protesting anything.  I came to church to worship God and partake of the sacrament.
  4. Because I'm a liberal/democrat Mormon.   No, you may be surprised to know I've never voted for a democrat, although I would describe myself as politically centrist.
  5. Because I have a lot of friends all wearing pants together as a group.  No, I was the only woman I know of in Rexburg-land wearing pants.  I'm sure there may be others.  I saw hide nor hair of them today.
  6. Because I think all women should stop wearing dresses and skirts to Church and wear pants.  No, we should wear what we all decide is best for us to church wear to church.
  7. Because I wish I were a man.  No, my nine-year-old self used to feel this way when I was forced to wear my first training bra; but no, I'm very happy being a woman.
I am a practical girl at heart, I wear what keeps me warm, comfortable, and happy.  Any fellow Rexburgians out there can attest to the fact I wear my large furry Russian winter hat indoors and out whenever I feel cold - even throughout the whole ward Christmas dinner.  Because cold.  So there are many reasons why I wanted to wear pants - these are listed as items 3-7.  The reasons why I chose to wear pants are 1-2, because when it comes down to it, I truly am a practical pragmatist.  
  1. Because it is so, so cold in Rexburg.   Truly, I am more sensitive to cold than most people I know.  I wear jackets in 70* weather and don't wear shorts until it's 80* outside.  Last week I also wore pants when it was -20* windchill and exposed skin was at risk for frostbite.  I wore pants again today at 22* and it wasn't too bad.  I think from now on my personal rule is if it's below zero, the pants come out.  
  2. Because in Primary sometimes I'm crawling on the ground.  As a Primary Chorister it is easier for me to feel confident I'm not flashing anything to anyone.  I have friends who serve in nursery who find it infinitely easier to live the principle of modesty while doing their callings in pants.  As an aside, I also think sister missionaries should be allowed to wear pants because it's often cold and they ride their bikes.  Who thinks it's safe, appropriate, or modest to ride a bike in a skirt or dress?  Yikes, the stories of accidental flashings and bike crashes!
  3. Because I'd like to celebrate and create inclusiveness in the LDS church.  Because there is not one right way to be a good Mormon woman.  Because I'd like to support those who have ever felt excluded at church for whatever reason.  This reason hits several points for me.  First, I have never felt like an outsider until I was not able to have children, and then end up living in a ward with many young mothers.  It was often awkward, painful, and frustrating.  Especially when it seemed every RS lesson would start with, "I know today's lesson is about "faith" (or "prayer" or "tithing") so I decided to teach my lesson about how to teach your children "faith" or "to pray" or "to pay tithing".  There are a myriad of reasons to feel like you do not fit into LDS culture, be you single, working mother, childless, liberal/democrat, feminist, black, LGBT, etc.  Over the past year since feeling prompted to start my blog about my "feminism" I've been called apostate, told that I was destroying others' faith, that I'm not qualified to teach youth lessons on priesthood, that I'm attacking the Prophet, etc.  Last year some women received death threats for wearing pants to church.  This is one way for me to support others and love and include others and say all are welcome here. 
  4. Because I personally have come to realize there is a difference between LDS cultural expectations and the pure Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The only reasons I had NOT to wear pants to church is because (1) what other people would think of me and (2) because "it's not what girls are supposed to do".  In other words, it's a cultural expectation or norm.  I do not believe I have to wear a skirt or dress to be feminine.  All angels and people in the afterlife in LDS art and movies are depicted wearing robes, regardless of gender.  Our Savior challenged the social norms of his day.  He interacted and loved people the religious leaders shunned: women, prostitutes, publicans, Samaritans, lepers, etc.  He often broke rules that others considered sacred, that weren't based in scripture nor the Gospel.  He fought against the religious people whose outward dress and behaviors were supposed to measure their spirituality.
    The worst sinners, according to Jesus, are not the harlots and publicans, but the religious leaders with their insistence on proper dress and grooming, their careful observance of all the rules, their precious concern for status symbols, their strict legality, their pious patriotism... the haircut becomes the test of virtue in a world where Satan deceives and rules by appearances.
    Hugh Nibley, Waterman, Brian and Kagel, Brian Kagel. The Lord's University: Freedom and Authority at BYU. Signature Books. 1998
  5.  Because I want to live by the principle of wearing my "Sunday Best" to church, and I don't think that requires a dress or skirt.   I consider my nice pants to be dressier than quite a few of my skirts and dresses.  In the past when I needed to be warm at church I wore my really long, ankle-length jean skirt (looks kind of pioneer style).  My black pants are much more "Sunday Best" than that skirt.  Also pants are not a masculine form of dress.  During the week when I wear pants I'm not dressing like a boy, pants are now gender neutral in our culture.  So factoring in that I don't think wearing pants is any show of disrespect in sacrament or Sunday - and there is no rule or guideline that women must wear pants, it all just comes down to a decision between me and the Lord about what is appropriate.  Based on my beliefs on modesty I shared earlier, if I feel Heavenly Father accepts what I wear, I don't need to worry about anyone else.     p.s.  Scott Trotter, an LDS spokesman, responded to last year’s event by saying “Attending church is about worship and learning to be followers of Jesus Christ. Generally church members are encouraged to wear their best clothing as a sign of respect for the Savior, but we don’t counsel people beyond that” (Dec. 11, 2012). 
  6. Because even though I believe in differences in gender, I don't believe gender roles should be taught so exclusively.  I've shared before that my life was infinitely blessed when I realized we are all sent here as individuals to use our talents to build the Kingdom of God and NOT just to fill our roles as men and women.  For most people that includes men providing for their families and women raising the children and that is wonderful.  Personally, for me, it would have been easier to follow God's path for my life if I had not believed in gender roles so fervently; but if I had been more open to the fact that God very often leads you on a path that is different than the norm.  That it isn't a bad or negative thing to experience, only to be endured to the end, that it can be embraced and celebrated.  That we should spend more time teaching about how to receive and recognize personal revelation in our lives, and less time already assuming what God's will is in our own and others' lives. 
  7. Because I feel that is another step of me being who I genuinely am.  That I can outwardly dress and share who I am and what I believe on the inside.   Others don't have to share my opinions or thoughts.  But I should be who I am, and I shouldn't hide or hesitate or apologize.  I should not be abrasive or in your face, but loving and kind and open. 
So that pretty much sums it up - because it's not an easy answer . . . there are many reasons.  There may even be more that I haven't articulated even to myself yet, but I'll stop there - for all of our sakes.
Remember, Love each other!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Claim Your Space

I believe this is from a national poetry slam competition, and it speaks to everyday nuance that shapes our world.

It reminds me of how I was at a high school girls basketball game recently and observed that usually Girls BBall players biggest weakness is lack off confidence, while Boys BBall players tend to suffer from the opposite. I remembered when I was at ISU Bball camp at 16 and my team was playing in the camp tourney I didn't feel it was my place to shoot instead of pass, and the one time I shot the ball my team and coach all cheered for me.  For the mere field goal attempt.  Many of you wouldn't recognize me then, as I've changed and since decided to claim my space.

Last week I went home teaching with Darik, and after he shared his message I asked if I could say a few things.  Afterwards we climbed into the car and Darik looked over and said, "I'm so glad I'm married to a woman with a brain."

I couldn't have received a better compliment.