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U.S. Mormon feminists don pants to promote LDS Church equality

By Reuters Staff
December 17, 2013

(The LDS Church’s Mormon Temple in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, is seen January 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

Mormon feminists wore pants to church services on Sunday, rather than their usual dresses or skirts, as a symbol of gender equality and inclusiveness in the traditionalist faith.

The effort was aimed at building on momentum from the inaugural “Wear Pants to Church” day a year ago and marked a break with deeply ingrained customs for women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religion known for its patriarchal structure.

“I realize it sounds like a crazy thing. Women wear pants all the time, but sometimes at church it feels like we’re asked to adopt gender roles that are very traditional,” organizer Nancy Ross, 33, of St. George, Utah, told Reuters.

“We want to show people that we are active and faithful and that there is more than one way to be good Mormon women.”

Officially, the Mormon church does not impose any dress code for worship but many women say they feel pressured to put on a dress or a skirt for services.

Church officials offered no specific comment on the pants day movement beyond a prepared statement that said: “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.”

Mormon Jami Baayd, 31, said she was nervous walking into her Salt Lake City congregation on Sunday in black pants with her husband and three children. A self-described feminist, Baayd was not sure how her congregation might react.

“This definitely deepened my faith. It also deepened my optimism,” she said.

“There is a future for progressive Mormons, that we can do better for the gay community, for women and for people of color.”

The congregation’s leader, Bishop Thomas Denison, said he does not care how members dress as long as they come to church.

“The clothing that we wear doesn’t really have anything to do with the message of the Church,” said Denison.

Last year’s event, which was focused on gender disparities, drew backlash from members who thought women in pants at church was an insult to the religion.

“There are members of my (congregation) that were really unhappy with my choice. They didn’t make it known to me, but they complained behind my back,” organizer Jerilyn Hassell Pool, of Medford, Oregon, told Reuters.

Organizers said pants day events were to be held worldwide on Sunday, but there was no official word on how many women turned up at church in pants around the world.

Mary Ellen Robertson, director of the Sunstone Symposium, an annual forum on Mormon culture and scholarship, said: “There has been a lot of movement in the Church this year. Whether those baby steps add up to a bigger step, we’ll see.”

– by Jennifer Dobner in Salt Lake City

via Mormon feminists don pants to promote Church equality | Reuters.

Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Mormons can wear anything they want to church meetings, but it is A bit odd to say, “If you don’t let me have my way, I’m going to wear my pants to church!” Go ahead. No one cares.

Posted by Bernardo_Gui | Report as abusive
 

Yes, please, wear your pants to church if that helps you to come and if it makes you feel happy. Really if anyone does judge you for wearing pants to church, they should re-evaluate things. I’ve never felt I was forced to wear a dress and seeing as I am not a “feminist,” I’ve never had a problem with wearing a dress to church or anywhere else. I do as I please when it comes to fashion and clothing. The whole idea of feminism is silly to me! And I feel sorry for those LDS women that don’t understand their divine role and who have not received confirmation from Heavenly Father of their individual worth and His definition of what it means to be one of His daughters. Women are precious in his eyes. We are equal if not distinct from men and both genders have important roles to play in God’s plan for His children. It’s sad when people use old, worn out definitions for women and men. The very idea that women are not equal is old and needs to be retired. Feminism attempts to stir up an already settled score. It was settled in the Garden when Eve led out and partook of the fruit, and probably before that. Women are God’s crowning achievement and bring life and glory to all his creations.
We are so blessed that in the US and most places around the world, women are free to do as they please. Gender inequality for places other than in Islam,in my opinion, is a myth. Progressives, you are welcome to make “progress” in the LDS church. Just please don’t expect others to take your same view of “progress.”

Posted by Suzanne72 | Report as abusive
 

Another little self-worshiping “victims” group, attempting to warp an established institution.

Why don’t these women display the “courage of their convictions” and go start a church of their own?

Posted by unionwv | Report as abusive
 

Another thing, any man that oppresses a woman, does so because HE doesn’t understand his divinely appointed role either. Any misconception about gender does not come from God, it comes from the Father of Lies, Satan himself. Feminists are fighting a lie. I think more good could be done by focusing on God’s truths as revealed to his prophets about gender roles than on creating something or “progressing” to an equality that already exists. Sameness is not equality, it is sameness. If you want to bring more equality to the world, try sharing the beautiful truths found in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as found within his church. Here’s some of those beautiful truths I’ll share a link: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/19 96/10/the-joy-of-living-the-great-plan-o f-happiness?lang=eng&query=gender+roles

“Our Heavenly Father endowed His sons and daughters with unique traits especially fitted for their individual responsibilities as they fulfill His plan. To follow His plan requires that you do those things He expects of you as a son or daughter, husband or wife. Those roles are different but entirely compatible. In the Lord’s plan, it takes two—a man and a woman—to form a whole. Indeed, a husband and wife are not two identical halves, but a wondrous, divinely determined combination of complementary capacities and characteristics.” Elder Richard G. Scott, modern day Apostle.

Posted by Suzanne72 | Report as abusive
 

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