Sunday, September 14, 2014

Why I Speak

On Sunday it *may* have been the last fast sunday in my current ward. Since mormon open mic day is one of the few ways my voice and testimony is heard, you may see my face up there about 50% of the time (this was the first time I was never asked to speak in a ward I lived in).

I bore my testimony about telling the story of how I hate scratching backs. It's just really annoying to me. But my husband loves it and often asks for a back scratch, esp cuz I have killer nails. So I scratch his back and do something I don't want to do because I love him, because I want to show my love for him.  Similarly sometimes the church "experience" is hard for me and other people, whether they be LGBT, single, divorced, etc. Even my mom said it was difficult to go back to church after my younger sister died. And even though it's hard, I show up because I love my Savior. I want to show my love for him.

For the rest of the meeting I felt there were topics covered that could have been considered rebuttals: ie if you just read your scriptures you won't be confused, just obey and don't have questions and you'll always be safe, etc.  I felt like there were similar rebuttals given after I was on the front pg of the Rexburg paper for wearing pants to church.  There was a definite uptick in the number of topics of "obedience is the first law of heaven" and "don't have any questions" in church talks after that.  Now whether any of these have any correlation or causation is anyone's guess.  I guess whether they are or not is beside the point. 

The point is, is that it is hard to speak.  It's hard to be a minority opinion.  It's hard to disagree with a majority and know that you are doing good in this world when they see you as wrong and harmful.  A few weeks ago I asked for comments to be submitted from readers if they felt me sharing my story had helped them at all.  (1) reading these definitely helped me because I'm going through a "tired" period right now and (2) hopefully those who disagree with me can see I can still do good in a different way then they can.  We're all just here building the kingdom in our own ways y'all:

You have helped me see that it's okay to ask questions. It's okay not to know the answers. Mostly, though, you've showed me what it is to love. Even in the face of open hostility, which is something I greatly admire. I think we need more open thought, discussion, inclusion, & yes -LOVE (the very kind Christ himself espoused in sermon after sermon). I am thankful for your thoughtful discussion, insightful study, and Christlike spirit of love towards matter their reaction to you (which can be hard, I admit). You've also made it possible for me to see that we don't have to agree to talk & then still be friends. :) The world needs more of that. The world needs more Kristine!

Hi Kristine! I for one do not want you to stop blogging or speaking out. Venturing into this world of Mormon Feminism has been scary and downright lonely at times. I have found a kindred spirit in you, and I appreciate that I can reach out to you across the internets when I'm feeling isolated in my own ward. I especially appreciate your experience with your Bishop that you shared on BCC. It gave me hope that someday I can talk with my priesthood leaders without fear of punishment. I'm really struggling with this fear in the Kate Kelly excommunication aftermath. Should I speak out about inequalities that I believe are so hurtful to our youth? Or is the risk of rejection from my family or the risk of punishment from my ward too great? Keep writing. Keep thinking. Keep feeling. I like having you around.  -Elaine

Just having a friend who is MoFem helps me. Knowing that you struggle with the same sorts of questions but find a way to make it work helps me keep going. Your blog has led me to articles that have helped me articulate my feelings on feminism as it applies to churchy things. 

Over the last few years it has been such a relief to find an entire community of like minded people when it relates to the gospel/church. I've always struggled with some of the positions the church has taken on topics such as gay marriage and women's issues. Contrary to the beliefs that more "liberal" blogs like these cause people to stray, I have found my testimony to be strengthened. Knowing that there are others with the same concerns as me who have managed to maintain a positive relationship with the church, hold a calling and stay active in the temple gives me hope. It shows me that there is room for me in the church. I completely believe, as you said Kristine, that there is more than one way to be a Mormon, and that it's important to have every kind of Mormon in our congregation. I am grateful for your words, and even more grateful for your courage. I know that what you do is not easy and has caused pain, but I have definitely been strengthened by your words, especially since they are filled with so much love.  -Teresa

I have really enjoyed your blog. I was randomly googling a few months back and found this site. It has definitely made me feel less alone. I only wish you blogged more often! I was excited to see your post on By Common Consent and have since enjoyed your "Kristine A" comments on different sites.  To further encourage you (or maybe freak you out a little), you have even become a household name in our home. When talking about my online reading with my husband, I describe you as "my Kristine" and the Dialogue editor Kristine as "the other Kristine". We have both cheered "my Kristine" on as you have bravely asked important questions and exposed yourself to criticism. Go Kristine go!  On another note, you also helped me discover Rachel Held Evans, whom I now love. So thank you for everything and keep up the great work!

I've enjoyed your writing, both here and in comments on all the blogs. Sometimes I need to hear someone being calm and reasonable instead of only angry about the deficiencies in the church. I can do angry on my own very well! So it helps me to have people who can discuss issues without bringing in all the hate we're seeing too often in the blogosphere. I'm not as moderate as you seem to be, but I love discussions where we can all look at each other's ideas respectfully.

Your blogging has helped me! I have had similar feelings in and about church for a long time. I just felt like I was the only one, which shows me there are probably many who feel this way. I have felt a connection to everything you have written about. I've been through too much in my life to not have shaped some of my views. Sometimes I think the people with the 'Let it go' sentimentality have simply never experienced much of life outside their bubble.

So I love reading your blog because you ask the right questions and you are looking for answers in the right places, like through prayer and contemplation. You rationally try to see both sides of the issue. You give me hope that one day I will have the courage to actually tell people my true inner thoughts when the difficult subject of feminism comes up in conversation.

Although I can't say that I've really been struggling in the time that I've known you and been reading your blog, I know that I have been inspired and intrigued by many of the ideas you've shared and discussions you've started. I remember when we first became friends on Facebook I felt very defensive about some of the negative comments that were being made to you and about you -- I felt defensive about someone I had never even met! I believe that the main reason for that (besides generally not wanting people to be hurt) is that I could sense your goodness and sincerity right from the start. I'm so glad you're you and you're here, on the internet, so that our friendship can keep growing even from a distance. -Lindsay

Kristine, you have helped me to see the importance of communicating with clarity, effectiveness and

compassion. I know that this is a weak spot for me so I have become determined to improve. You have shown me that we can disagree without being disagreeable. Thank you for your example, I truly appreciate it. Our friendship means a lot to me. -Annette


  1. I'm so frustrated by this testimony meeting. That is SO RUDE. Ugh. You were just being honest. I feel like the hardest part about sharing my struggles with sexism is that my very real pain is minimized and brushed off as me not getting along with my Bishop once, or not being humble or spiritual enough. Argh. Have you read Flunking Sainthood? I repeat the Jesus prayer (from the book) whenever I'm feeling angry about a self-righteous comment or talk. It helps me be more merciful and forgiving when I remember that I am a sinner, too. Also, my Primary calling has prevented me from having to do that as often. Thank heavens for that calling.

    1. I read flunking sainthood at the start of my faith transition and it really helped me. I need to go back and reread that part!!

      I'm grateful for primary now, too - but also think I'd like to try youth again - either SS or YW or whatever. 7 years is a long time in primary.

  2. I'm catching up on your blog! It's so great. I'm glad to know you. Keep it up!!!

  3. Keep the "faith." Having just discovered your blog, this morning on the bus, from MMM, I have already passed out your blog twice. Every blog is spot on! Your voice needs to be heard. And it will be and is. I used to be pretty Peter Priesthood, knew everything was perfect and infallible, but have grown to the point that it makes me sad to think the general LDS populace believes the hierarchy above bishop walks on water. There is a reason that we are told to pray about what we learn and hear about.
    There is a great dissonance and eventually the Lord will harmonize it all for our betterment. Unfortunately, it's on the Lord's timetable.
    Keep pushing/pulling your handcart. The "train" is coming for sure (at some point.)