My wife is a Mormon feminist, and I share many of her views. We have two children who we love very much and we want to raise them in a way that will keep them in the faith and close to the Spirit, while still hoping to instill in both of them progressive, compassionate views. We want them both to feel valuable and loved, by us and by our Heavenly Parents, despite whatever cultural pressures may be placed on them.
Obviously, there are some cultural elements of Mormonism that make some of these goals of ours difficult. Sometimes I look at my daughter and my son and simply don’t know how to teach them in a way that will help them find the deep spirituality and closeness to God that I have found within the core doctrines of the Church, while still helping them see and avoid some of the destructive attitudes and double standards that are applied against women in the Church. We want our son to see women as peers, as equals, as friends, not as opposites to somehow balance out prescribed, enforced gender roles. We want our daughter to feel the liberation of being her own person, living a life of intelligence, spirituality, and self esteem, feeling like she can do good both in the home and out in the wider world. We want that for both of our children.
Sometimes I find my wife crying in desperation and anguish over the conflict she feels inside. She has a deep testimony and has had many spiritual experiences that have kept her in the Church. But there is a constant tension, as she resists some of the hurtful tendencies of Mormon culture and the persistence of certain sexist attitudes. She especially feels the ache towards our Heavenly Mother. She wants to get closer to Her, this figure of Divine Feminism, whom we give quiet lip service to in the Church (but not publicly, and not too loudly). She is hidden behind a veil and She has become taboo, which wrenches my wife’s heart.
I want to help her. I want to help my children as they grow up. Frankly, sometimes I also want to help myself. These questions aren’t so easy for me either. I have put forth a great deal of prayer, and felt inspiration at times, but I would also love to hear other perspectives. Help?
Seeking a Better Way