Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Church's 1st Feminist Ward!

I had a friend email this blog link to me (thanks Brandielle!) and I thought it was pretty interesting. It’s from Feminist Mormon Housewives. Remember it has been approved by church authority so there’s nothing anti-doctrine about it. I'd love to hear y'all's opinions...

Announcing: SLC Feminist First Ward

By: Artemis - April 1, 2009

As you are aware, in the last couple of weeks, fmhLisa has been in Salt Lake. What we couldn’t tell you at the time–but are very excited to tell you now– is that Lisa was holding top-level talks with Church leadership in an attempt to get permission to form a new, Feminist First Ward in Salt Lake City. We are delighted to announce its formation.

We have agreed to abide by all Church government rules pertaining to male priesthood leadership, to use current and approved lesson manuals for Primary, Relief Society, and Sunday School, and to use the current Young Women and Young Men’s lesson manuals but with some adaptations (which, we have agreed, are to come only from church-approved sources).

We are very grateful for this opportunity to form our own ward of loyal, faithful feminist and feminist-leaning Mormons. However, because this is a first for the church, we want to caution anyone who wants to attend that “going off the beaten track” too much will not be allowed. That is, while we have (for example) no rules pertaining to dress (dressy casual is welcome, including pants for women), we have (for example) no plans to agitate for a female priesthood.

Derek has graciously accepted the calling of Bishop, with his counsellors TBA. Janet will serve as Relief Society President; mfranti as Young Women’s President; Artemis as Primary President; and Ziff as Sunday School president; all counsellors TBA. Other callings TBA.

We have been given a surprising amount of leeway in making this ward work for us. In addition to the traditional callings, with Priesthood consultation, and under Derek’s leadership and advice, we have come up with the following: Ward LGBT Outreach Coordinator, Interfaith Concert Series Chairperson, Environmental Stewardship Counselor, and Community Garden Development Committee. (That will be a big one. Artemis has agreed to let us use her garden as a Community Garden space, but she can’t do all the upkeep herself. If you’ve got a green thumb, please consider volunteering your time!)

We believe that confirmation through prayer to find the right person for the right calling is important. However, we also believe that people are very much aware of their own limitations and abilities, and so if there is a calling that suits you, please speak up. The appropriate people will then pray for confirmation to see if it’s right.

This ward will function more-or-less along the lines of what is considered normal. However we are instituting a few important changes, with the blessing and support of leadership:

1. Young Men and Young Women activities will function differently. Every week, there will be two different activities, one physical and one of a homemaking or service nature. The youth are free to attend either or both depending on their interests.

2. All service-oriented chores - moving, shovelling snow, bringing meals, etc. - are to be shared equally between men and women both, with sign-up sheets for all circulated in both Priesthood and Relief Society meetings.

3. Visiting and Home Teaching will be combined, with all messages to come from the same source.

4. Enrichment meetings will be open to both men and women, and will cover a wide range of topics from Book Club to culinary arts to home/vehicle maintenance to crafts. All adults will be given the opportunity to share their talents to enrichen our lives.

5. Because we admire the Protestant tradition of donuts and coffee after meetings, we will host weekly pot-luck lunches after services. These will be traditional pot-lucks, not the Mormon variety; while everyone is expected to bring a plate (unless financial or physical circumstances make it difficult) there will be no assigning of dishes. The ward will be providing herbal teas.

We know that there are a number of people who participate here who are interested in conservation and in alternative economic forms. To that extent, we will be heavily encouraging a bartering system. This will not be a formal part of the church; however, in conjunction with our weekly pot-luck, we will be encouraging members to bring eggs, garden produce, clothes, oddments, etc. to place on a communal “free for all” table. We are trying to come up with a paper-free way of coordinating the exchange of services so that goods can be exchanged for services and vice-versa; any ideas are welcome.

6. At least for a little while, the Genesis Group has agreed to come on-board as Music Supervisors. Let’s face it, the traditional music and choirs can be a bit boring, so we’re really excited that Church leadership has agreed to let us form a traditional gospel choir! (Can I get an AMEN!) If you have any musical talents at all, please consider joining up. There is also some interest in forming a Hildegarde von Bingen special musical number group.

7. The Mother’s Room - You will all be glad to know that we are going to have a proper Mother’s Room! We’ve been trawling local DI’s looking for couches and chairs and we’ve got enough to make a really comfortable space. While you will of course be allowed to nurse in the Chapel, our Mother’s Room will have great artwork with a feminist theme (Minercha Teichardt prints - kindly donated by Janet; and a poster of Judith and the Head of Holofernes - kindly donated by Quimby). While the couches and chairs are comfortable, they don’t exactly match; if you’ve got good sewing or decorating skills we’d love your help pulling this room together. We’re also looking for a microwave, if anyone’s got a spare. (There’s one in the kitchen of the meetinghouse but we’d love to have a seperate one for the Mother’s Room.) We are looking to establish a Father’s Room with similar amenities.

Crazywomancreek has generously agreed to donate a loaf of bread every week for Sacrament. She is not a member, so this represents a considerable donation on her part for which we are very grateful. Her bread alone is reason for anyone to attend! Not to mention it will be organic whole wheat. And, we’re still awaiting approval for this next one, but we hope (fingers crossed) to be able to serve it with non-alcoholic wine. (Technically it shouldn’t be a problem since you can technically use anything for Sacrament; but it’s a bit dicey, so we’ll see.)

We hope there’s a lot of interest in this new ward and really look forward to hearing and implementing your ideas!


  1. It's a nice idea but I don't think it would really work. First - their idea of offering two different activities for YM/YW would just blow up in their face. The YM would go to the physical activity and the YW would go to whatever activity their friends are going to or wherever their latest crush is. Besides, haven't we been encouraged to cut down on the number of meetings? One should not combine Visiting and Home teaching, basically the men would slack off and do nothing - unless they are suggesting visiting as a couple, I'm all for that!

    As for Enrichment - the point is for women to get away from the house and the kids. If their husbands are invited then what do we do with the kids? Besides, women really need that bonding time. Instead I would like to see a wider variety of activities. Why can't we play basketball for Enrichment? Or work on cars? Just do something outside of homemaking skills.

    The things I would love to see are service-oriented chores be combined and a Father's room. I can lift a box just as well as the next guy. And how many times have we seen kids running around in the halls because the father's take them out and have nowhere to go? Or how many times have husbands kindly taken the baby with them to priesthood only to pop their heads into RS because the baby needs a diaper change and there is nowhere to for them to do it?

    Oh and don't even get me started on the non-alcoholic wine.

  2. This isn't true, right?! I mean, seriously, this is an April Fool's day joke...a feminist ward?! And who petitions for callings...Business casual...I'm sorry, i just think this is a load of crap and if it is true then I think the adversary will be quickly working with this ward to start petitioning for the Priesthood, etc.

  3. Oh my heck. I was like..."what?!". And then I figured was a joke. Ahhh, now my mind can rest at ease. I was so troubled for a second. (please let lib know this was a joke...i think her head is about to explode...)