Saturday, October 18, 2008

10 Things a Believing Feminist Can Contribute

I wrote this back in July as a response to another post somewhere that I can't now remember. I didn't post it then, because I felt it was too contentious. Now that the embers of that has died, I went back and read it and realized that there is a lot worthwhile in this beyond simple rebuttal. It contains useful perspective I have gathered in my not-always-peaceful years in the Church.

1. Make smart, insightful, and charitable comments in SS and RS.

2. Volunteer to teach lessons and give them an empowering, subtly faithful twist. (quote church leaders as much as possible and use examples of great people throughout.)

3. Be charitable when something offensive is done. Remember that when you have a lot of toes to step on, your feet will probably be crushed unknowingly. Discuss your concerns with leaders or those responsible. Don't take it upon oneself to change another person's work without their knowledge.

4. When something offensive is said or done in lessons and talks, pray for the Lord to soften your heart and grant you His Spirit and then address either the speaker or RS president and voice your concerns, with the intent to come to a greater understanding between you and the speaker. Chances are people have been offended by you, and you never knew.

5. Be open about who you are. If you are a working mom and loving it, be open about that and talk about why that works for you. Mention it in discussions where appropriate. Rejoice in similar comments from others, even those who stay home to raise their children and love their choice. Be certain to share other aspects of your heart which might help you and others come closer in the worship of Christ. Be willing to support sisters who may need a break from their children to take a class, go to lunch or date their husband, even though your time is limited. Be willing to accept the same help from them.

6. Write. Blog. Learn how other smart people are shining the Light of Christ and contributing in a positive and loving way.

7. Start a book group with all other women in your ward. Discuss issues which concern you. Gain others' opinions on topics and increase your own consciousness of other perspectives, as well as sharing your own. Read and discuss articles of all sorts, particularly those which deal with issues you might have.

8. Tell people about places they can go to share their perspective and gain others' perspective as well. A lot of women have concerns but don't know how to learn about them. Make yourself and your home a safe place for discussion of all aspects of discipleship.

9. Volunteer a lot in your ward. If you build up credibility as a generous giving person, people will give you the benefit of the doubt when you speak up in RS in a thoughtful way.

10. Don’t be afraid to do things a little untraditionally. If you are uncertain about the propriety of an action, counsel with your bishop or other priesthood leader before making a decision. Obedience and humility walk hand in hand with learning and progression.


  1. SilverRain,

    Although your post is directed to women, I am one man who finds your suggestions very useful. I like your approach to working within the system to make changes you deem worthwhile. As someone who is not shy about voicing opinions in church, your recommendations are ones which would serve me well.

    Your teaching advice (no. 2) is right on the mark. Teachers are given 40 minutes of people’s undivided attention. How often does that happen? What better forum could there be for sharing your faithful and progressive views. A good and brave teacher can change the way his or her student think. I think you also have to know your audience. I probably would be served better with the use of subtlety as you suggest.

    I also really like No. 5 about being who you are. My wife is a working mom and I go out of my way to try and support working moms in the ward. I also make comments in Priesthood meeting which stress comments by Elder Ballard and others about the acceptance of working moms.

    You advice for volunteering (no. 9) and being charitable (no. 2) are spot on. If you people know that your intentions are good they will cut you a lot a slack when you feel the need to say things that are a little off the wall (in may experience as least).

    Anyway, thanks for the list.


  2. Thank you, Sanford, but I can't take credit for everything. I took the ten things from another post, though I can't now remember where I saw it. I just tried to change them from agenda-pushing to Spirit-following, and in a way I have found to be more in line with the Lord's will.

    I think the first step to teaching others is to learn from the Spirit. If a person is so focused on one issue or opinion they can't hear the Spirit's whispers, they are not working with the Lord, but against Him.


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