Mormon, and feminist too

As a Mormon and a feminist, many people, maybe especially my own people, find me troubling. People ask, "Are you a Mormon feminist? Or a Feminist Mormon?" implying that one group must ultimately claim my loyalty over the other because these beliefs seem so discordant to them. My answer is usually just, "yes". I cannot bring myself to choose. I want to have my radical feminist bean curd and eat my Mormon casseroles too.

I come by my feminism instinctively. I seemed to come to earth with a heart attuned to injustice, chasing boys around the playground shouting out the accomplishments of women when they told me girls were lame, complaining to anyone who would listen about the comments of junior high teachers that struck me as sexist. No one in my family was overtly feminist, and they found my preoccupation annoying and melodramatic. But in another sense, I was raised by the feminists I researched as I wrote every term paper on Gloria Steinem or Sojourner Truth.

My Mormonism, too, runs deep. On one side of my family there are generations of Mormons. Connected to those legendary ancestors that crossed the plains of the United States and settled the expansive west, I feel the drive, the discipline, the sacrifice. On the other side is my mother, a first generation convert. She represented the experience of so many millions of modern pioneers, the searching, the curiosity, the longing. Both lines evince the courage to boldly risk everything in the name of what you believe.

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