Photograph by D’Arcy Benincosa, Washington D.C
Just so we’re clear: Marching is not a sin. Protesting is not a sin.
If you didn’t feel compelled to march in any of the more than 600 peaceful Women’s Marches around the world, that’s great for you. My conscience dictated that I do otherwise, and I don’t need anyone else to quote The Family: A Proclamation to the World in some misguided attempt to correct me.
Women asking to be heard and considered as fully people by their government is not against the family. Women asking for health care and for the education of their children to be protected is not against God. Women asking to have their elected representatives hear them is not against the Gospel of Jesus Christ- not in word nor in action.
I live just outside of Washington D.C. On Saturday morning, my husband and I took our children with us into our nation’s capitol and we joined our voices and bodies with the hundreds of thousands of other people who had similar concerns about being heard. There is no way to be certain of the actual number of people, but there are reasonable estimates making this the largest march in history. I was in Washington D.C. with my sisters and brothers and children, but there were marches in cities all over the world, and on all seven continents. I am clearly not alone in my feelings.
Within Christian life, there may be times when God may call upon us to complement our prayers with action. As Mormons, we know this- we preach this! Not just by faith alone are we saved, but after all we can do. If we look to Jesus as our leader, by his very example we see a Savior who spoke out, who acted, who stood up, who questioned, who defended and who challenged the status quo.
See: Luke 4:16-31, John 2:13-25, Matt. 4:23-25, John 5:16, and Mark 3:1-6.
To those who feel compelled to remind me that we have a sisterhood in Relief Society, I remind you—the Relief Society is not run by women, and the only way to join it is to be a member of the church. There are no dues, we do not manage our own funds, we do not do our own charity work any longer with those funds, and every Relief Society President, from the tiniest branch up to the General President reports to the man above her.
And finally, to my sisters who point out that they have no need for “those” feminists—you are standing on the shoulders of giants, and you are blind to the privilege of living in a garden your foremothers had the foresight and fortitude to plant for you.
Can you vote? Have you ever used any form of birth control? Can you read, write, and do you have an education? Can you walk down the street alone? Can you own property? Can you go to the doctor and receive health care for your female body? Can you file a legal suit, including filing for divorce? Can you have legal custody of your children? Can you drive? Can you have your own bank account? Can you enter a legal contract? Can you worship as you see fit? Can you choose for yourself whom to marry?
Thank a feminist.
So you didn’t march? I did. I didn’t like being up on a pedestal, and I find it much better down here on the ground, with my feet on the earth. It’s okay you didn’t march. We’re Mormon—I marched for you. You’re free to accept or reject my gift. I did it because it was the answer to a prayer, and I will continue to leave my pedestal empty, and tend that garden my foremothers planted. And I will continue to offer the work of my life because I, too, love my Savior.
I’ll see you in the pew on Sunday.