Guest Post Invitation: Feeling “Less-Than” at Church

patriarchy450 This guest post invitation may seem simplistic.  All we’re asking for is for women (of any age) to send us a few sentences, a paragraph, or ten paragraphs (whatever seems appropriate for the experience) about a time–a specific situation, event, interaction, epiphany, etc.–when they felt “less-than” at church.

There’s been an uptick in the Bloggernacle in the chatter about women and their place in the church (for example, see http://mormonfeminist.org/, or http://ordainwomen.org/).  The following comments illustrate why we want these stories:

First, from a male commenter on one of our posts:

“My first thoughts were that I am missing some experience in the church that everyone seems to be talking about. I grew up in a mormon family and was ordained a deacon at 12. Now in my 30′s I am a high priest. Never ever have I witnessed any degradation or suppression of a woman’s opinion in church settings simply because they don’t hold the priesthood. I have never witnessed or heard a woman express that they feel inequality due to feeling closed off from the priesthood. Maybe this is a problem for certain parts of the church but not all. I have always been taught to value and listen to a Sister’s opinion on all matters when it is given. Acting in any other way is contrary to what a priesthood holder is required to do. It really does not sit well with me to think that some priesthood holders are setting themselves up as better or higher or ‘in charge’.

In contrast, read this quote from a woman from a different discussion on another forum:

“It really does hurt, knowing that you are kept out of certain aspects of your own religion simply because of your sex. I had an experience at BYU that exemplified this for me. It was small, but painful for me. One Sunday, I was up by the stand to talk to the Bishop about something. As I stood there I noticed the young man (my age) arranging the sacrament table was having difficulty straightening the cloth, so I reached over and smoothed the corner on my side. He stopped and looked at me and told me that I couldn’t help. As if my very touching of the Sacrament table cloth might contaminate it. I suddenly felt so unworthy and shameful, simply because I am a woman. This boy wasn’t mean. But he was very clear that I, as a woman, had no place in any part of that Sacrament ritual or preparation. That it would be wrong for me to be. He seemed frightened that the very fact of my touching that cloth might have destroyed the sanctity of the Sacrament. It was sickening. And even thinking back, after several years have passed, it makes me both furious and terribly sad. I know there are many people in the Church who do not feel as I do. They are not hurt by the divisions and the differences. But for me, it is extremely painful to be told I am an equally valued member of the human family, a daughter of a Divine Being, but then, in practice, to be segregated and separated and excluded. For no reason but because I am a woman instead of a man. It is incomprehensible to me. And very hurtful.”

We aren’t looking for diatribes, just a simple description of the experience and how you felt.  Nothing fancy.

We’ll be publishing these guest posts over the next 6-8 weeks. Submissions should be sent to guestposts@dovesandserpents.org (please see our guest post guide). Here is a list of past themes and archived posts:

–The Parenthood Juggle: (Invitation, Archive)
–Encounters (Invitation, Archive)
–Single Experiences (Invitation, Archive)
–Unexpected Spiritual Exerpiences (Invitation, Archive)
–Teaching Sex (Invitation, Archive)
 
Sincerely,

The Doves and Serpents Bloggers