New Mormon Feminist Group Declares Dec. 16 “Wear Pants to Church Day”

Mormon women are told they must dress modestly: shoulders must be covered, dresses must reach their knees, and only one set of earrings allowed ("positioned in the usual place on the ears")

Mormon women are taught to dress modestly: shoulders must be covered, dresses/skirts must reach the knees, and only one set of earrings at a time is permitted (“positioned in the usual place on the ears”)

A group of devout Mormon women are encouraging other Mormon women to engage in a radical act on Sunday, December 16, 2012: wearing pants to church. A movement of faithful female Mormons have organized a feminist group within the church called “All Enlisted” which has decleared December 16 “Wear Pants to Church Day” as a way to openly challenge a host of gender inequalities within the Mormon church. Event organizer Stephanie Lauritzen describes some of the inequities women face within the Latter Day Saints (LDS) church: men’s voices are more prominent than women’s  in meetings, leadership positions and decision-making bodies; many prominent positions besides the priesthood — like school presidencies and mission leaders — are given only to men; women can occasionally do the same work as men, but are given different, more demeaning titles (like “Sister” vs. “President”), and only men are allowed to handle church finances. Lauritzen points out that women’s primary value within the church is linked to being a wife and mother instead of being a “child of God.” A fuller list of Mormon gender inequalities can be seen here.  Lauritzen created a Facebook page for Wear Pants to Church Day, which is drawing significant comment. The LDS cultural norm is for women to wear modest skirts or dresses when attending church services.  Lauritzen says she organized the event because she is tired of seeing female church members “die a slow spiritual death” due to the inequality they suffer in their patriarchal religion. The feminist sentiment within the Mormon church appears to extend even farther than this event. An entirely different group of Mormon women have created a website called LDSWave.org (WAVE stands for “Women Advocating for Voice and Equality”) to help advance gender equality within the LDS church.

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