As I was leaving my ward building Sunday December 9th, I announced to the bishop and others standing near me "remember that next Sunday is black tie Sunday", so don't act shocked when I stroll into church looking like I'm bout to go to the Christmas Ball with Jesus. I wasn't prepared for what was coming my way as a Sista in this church. On 12/12 a Wednesday facebook, twitter, and the social media highway was all a buzz about the up rising of Mormon Women. Everyone wanted to know who was wearing pants to church on Sunday? At first I thought it was a joke, it was not a joke, these Sista's were serious, they were actually gearing up to wear pants to church, on a Sunday. There was a whole facebook page dedicated to it, the news media was actually covering it, NPR reserved a whole 3 minutes to talk about it, WHAT?
I don't know what a Mormon Feminist is, friends who claim to be have tried to describe the group to me but their description of themselves aren't even the same. So, I still don't really know not 100% what a Mormon Feminist is. For example, I know that I'm a woman, I know that I'm a Mormon, and I know that I'm African American/Black (both terms acceptable to me). I don't know that I am a Mormon Feminist, you understand what I'm saying? Although I've been told several times that I am, (of course I'm scratching my head on this one). As I read comments and had my own discussions it was clear that Mormon Feminist Women should stand together and they wanted all Mormon Women to stand with them they were asking for an act of solidarity. One of my running buddies asked "don't you want equality in the church? Don't you want to feel like you have a voice"? Now, clearly she is a running friend only and we don't attend church together because she would ask me completely different questions. She said "You can get all dressy any time, this Sunday is for Sista's, it's to say I'm here if you need me, I have your back, I got'cha, you know? Letting them know you will stand with them, that's all it's about." REAL TALK: I can't do all that in a dress? Where were these Sista's from? I know what the start of a fight looks like when I see one, and this is the start of a fight. Where I'm from it's better to fight in a pretty dress then to get bet up in one!
After contemplating the pants issue I decided to dress up for Jesus. Dressing up for church was what I was taught to do, so I skipped wearing the original boring semi-formal dress that I was going to wear for something with a little more pop. The way that we dress in our church has been an adjustment for me as well, while it's not my desire to wear pants I like dressing up a little more then we do in our faith (especially in Utah) the women tend to dress a bit more casual then what I was exposed to in my youth. Which isn't completely bad, it's just different and I had to learn to adjust to things here and to this culture. However there are times when I have a desire to DRESS and when the mood hits I break out my "Holiness" outfits. They call attention to themselves, people at church always want to know why I'm so dressed up and I tell them "I dressed up for you and Jesus", they smile, I smile, all is well in zion.
I decided that I wasn't going to dress down, but as an act of solidarity I was going to dress up. I wore a sparkly black tea length dress (black for the tragedy that happened in Connecticut), a red belt and red pumps for the season (although Sista Laurel would claim it was for the UofU), a few purple braids & purple eye shadow (you can't tell in the photo) purple for women suffrage: And all my fabulous accessories. In my wonderful outfit, I was prepared to stand next to any Sista that stood in need of a friend. In my red pumps I was ready to stand strong and call out anybody who had a negative thing to say to my Sista who came in her best slacks to worship with us at OUR Fathers House. In the best black dress I could find in my closet Sunday I was prepared. I was unsure and I was afraid, but I was willing to stand with ALL those who stood in need of a Sista and I knew that at the end of whatever fight (should one jump off) there were going to be other RIGHTEOUS Brotha's and Sistas standing with me and my sista(s) who decided to venture into the house of the Lord hoping to glorify His name, in the clothing of their choice, in a space that was comfortable for ALL of God's children.
** The good news is we were able to have a conversation with some of our Feminist Mormon Sista's it was eye opening. We got more information about the Pants To Church Event. What we discovered is there is a place and space for everyone, we just have to be willing to come to the table to have the conversation. The conversation was started it isn't finished yet so we will just leave it at to be continued...
The Conversation can be heard here on SiZ Radio: Mormon Women Talk About Wearing Pants To Church
These are some of the Sistas that sat at our table:
JoAnna Brooks ~Ask A Mormon Girl
Karyn Dudley ~A Journal Black Mormon Girl
Kristina Monson ~ All Enlisted
La Shawn Schultz~A Sista In This Gospel