March is Women’s History month. As I think about this in the context of Mormonism, I think about how personal history is such an important part of our religious practice. This personal history becomes part of our individual narratives. Unfortunately, my attempts to collect my personal history do not extend beyond this continent. Even genealogy is a penetrating reminder of the continual tragedy of slavery and its far reaching effects. Despite this, I have realized that I have found connection to the women from my personal history through personal ritual. Sure, it doesn’t reach far beyond the continent and beyond the grips of slavery, but it makes me feel closer to the women who have gone before me.
Tag Archives: Mormon
I originally wrote this post for Ordain Women. It explains one of the reasons I support women’s ordination. This was originally posted on OrdainWomen.org on February 1, 2016.
The story of black women within the Mormon church has often been ignored. Instead, we focus on those whose oppressions are easily categorized without intersections. The racial oppression of black men through their exclusion of the Priesthood and the pious suffering of white women as they endured the sacrifices and the sexism of polygamy take center stage. At best, black women are a distant afterthought.
Sixteen years ago, prompted by a line in my patriarchal blessing, I signed up to take a family history class at BYU. The first day of class, the professor asked us each to introduce ourselves and our goals for the semester. One by one my classmates shared their ambitions to learn more about pioneer ancestors who settled towns in Utah or Idaho. With a healthy sense of humor and self-acceptance, I stood and semi-joked, “I’d really just like to trace my father’s family back to legitimate births.”
There are pockets of pioneer ancestry tucked into my lineage. There’s a street in historic Nauvoo that shares my mother’s maiden name. But the family stories that dominate my sense of identity are conspicuously lacking in quilts and covered wagons. And, my father’s side especially—the Mexican side of the family—has always been the stumpy side of the family tree. Continue reading
[This post was originally published at Feminist Mormon Housewives by Natasha Smith on February 9, 2015. The original text can be found here.]
Let’s be real, Feminist Mormon Community. We just had a major opportunity to embrace intersectionality, and we squandered it. What am I talking about? Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On that day, I watched as post after post dribbled through my social media co-opting Dr. King’s message. I saw many posts that talked about how Dr. King’s words apply to issues today as if racial inequality is not an issue today. I’m all for equality in every form, but given the current political and racial climate of the United States and the recent racial deconstruction of the Feminist Mormon Community, we needed to do better.
I had to give a talk in church yesterday. You’d think that because I give lots of speeches in lots of places, that therefore it must be old news for me now. A walk in the park, a meander on a beach… Ha. Continue reading
Content Warning – sexual abuse, discussion of HOW to prevent abuse esp within a Samoan/Pasifika context.
When I was twenty, I told my husband Darren, something I’d never told anybody else. I told him that when I was little, somebody over time, had done bad things to me. Then they threatened me. They said, ‘don’t tell anyone or you’ll be in big trouble.‘
I was scared, sore and ashamed. I was seven. I believed him. Continue reading
As you may be aware, last week several FEMWOCEES presented or participated in panels at the annual Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City, UT. We are currently in the process of transcribing some of our presentations, and this is the first of them. Three FEMWOCEES — Gina, Kalani, and Fatimah — participated in a panel called Why We Stay, and this is the first transcription from that panel. If the grammar seems a bit more conversational than normal, please keep in mind that this is what was presented orally, so it is a lot less formal than some of our other work. Also, please be sure to check back throughout the next couple of weeks, as we will be posting more presentations as they are transcribed.
“Some of you are my facebook friends, and if you are, you know that I have been agonizing over this panel. It is incredibly intimidating to be the sole no-name. I feel like there are all of these amazing, talented, well-known people…and me. I am both humbled and terrified to be standing before you today. I used to teach 9th grade before I had four babies in 2 years, which I always thought was incredibly challenging because you have to constantly do a kind of song and dance routine to keep the kids engaged and interested, but as I have had opportunities to speak and teach adults, I’ve realized that it is a lot more challenging for me to speak to adults because…y’all listen. And, like, you expect me to have interesting and relevant things to say. So, I’m going for either great and memorable…or totally forgettable!
I am the black sheep in an otherwise very orthodox family. I was born into the church, got baptized at 8, rebelled a little bit and went to the University of Utah for 2 years on a volleyball scholarship, but then my sister committed to play for BYU, and I transferred so that I could play with her. And while I am grateful for that experience, I would definitely say that I have more of a University of Utah personality. I’ve been a “questioner” for as long as I can remember. Faith does not come naturally to me, and it is important to me that I know the “why” before I’m willing to “do,” which, as you can imagine, has made my life in the church a bit of a challenge. Continue reading