I’m answering a question many people have asked me: how can you be a feminist, a Democrat, AND a Mormon?
I do not assume my experiences are universal, nor do I speak for all feminists, Democrats, or Mormons. As my editor-in-chief taught me, “Ima do me; you do you.”
This is supposed to be the point in the series where I tie everything together in a nice, neat package and help all my confused friends understand how three seemingly different ideologies can exist within the same person. Except for one thing: life rarely can be boxed up into a nice, neat package, and this is no exception.
Fact: I was born to Mormon parents, was raised in a caffeine-free, cuss-free environment. I went to church every Sunday unless I was puking, and in high school I woke up at 5 AM to attend a daily Sunday School-type class. All four years.
Fact: I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16, but my parents’ home was always open to my friends (including my non-LDS high school boyfriend, who played guitar in a heavy metal band and had hair longer than mine). I grew up assuming the only correct way to be LDS was to marry at 19, have six kids, and support my husband in his chosen profession. (Confession: I really kinda wanted to do that.)
I never felt like I was being purposely rebellious–I did go to BYU, for crying out loud–but some poor dating decisions made me start to question my faith and wonder if I hadn’t been raised Mormon, would I still be Mormon?
I attended different churches. I talked to people of all faiths. I tried to focus on why I felt at all inclined to deviate from the faith I’d been raised to believe in. And one day, I looked in a mirror, and I just knew. I could try to explain it better, but there really aren’t any words. I knew I was being stupid, looking in other places for a faith when I already had one. And I knew that no other faiths would work for me the way Mormonism did.
And once I knew that, I knew I needed to find a way for my three ideologies to work together. And here’s the thing: because of my LDS faith, I knew God loved me regardless of any crazy feminist or liberal political leanings I had, and furthermore, if I really wanted to find a way to reconcile those things–if it was really that important to me–then it was important to Him.
So I decided. Mormon for life.