Best Frenemies

by: Kristine A

June 2, 2014

Dear Brother Otterson,

I so appreciate the step you took with your latest letter.  I find a lot of hope there.  I feel so grateful that you referred to some mormon feminists in a positive light.  As a cultural group the church members try to silence and ostracize many of us.  The letter seems to be an additional step to speak to many of us with questions.  Any attempt to advance a respectful discussion in this area should be met with much rejoicing.  I hope you don’t find this inappropriate, but I wrote a dialogue about the last year or two in the Church about how things have gone for me as a Moderate Mormon Feminist.  I hope you don’t find that I’m straining at gnats, but trying to find a creative way to share my perspective.


Kristine A.
Moderate Mormon Feminist


Fem=Mormon Feminists
PA=Public Affairs
Mem=Fellow Members
OW=Ordain Women
MWS=Mormon Women Stand

A=Equitable Structure Funding and Support of Gendered Programs
B=Overemphasis of Gender roles and the Motherhood/Priesthood paradigm
C=Gender Limitations on Callings in the Church
D=Rhetoric Surrounding Teachings on Modesty and Sexuality
E=Mormon Theology of Women and the Priesthood
F=Lack of Voice of Women in the Teachings and Leadership of the Church
G=etc. etc. etc.
H=Local leaders have been insensitive and you chose to be offended
X=Ordain Women to the priesthood

Fem:    We are having a really hard time here with ABCDEFG….. {silence}
Fem:    No one is listening.  I’m going to wear pants to church.
Mem:    Blasphemy!
Mem:    Oh, great, now I can never wear pants to church because then people will think I’m a feminist.
PA:    We have been talking to women for years.  We are always doing things for women, see we put pictures of them up!
Fem:    The fact that pictures weren’t up before show there are problems, though.
Mem:    Just shut up and quit complaining!  You are apostate!
Fem:    Actually I have problems with ABCDEFG.  I really struggle with those.
PA:    We know we have a problem with H.  Those people who make you feel bad when H happens need more training.  You should be more Christlike.
Mem:     When the Brethren/PA speaks, the discussion is over.  If you ever have another opinion, you are apostate.
Fem:    I’d really like to talk to someone who can do something about ABCDEFG. Remember that statement PA put out about what mormon doctrine is? “A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal though well-considered opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding on the whole Church.”  I have a different opinion on these issues.  In fact I think it could really help retention if we began to acknowledge and address them.
PA:    We let women sit in the middle of conference and pray.
Fem:    Wow, those should have been no brainers.  Okay.  That doesn’t have anything to do with our issues with ABCDEFG though.  Well, maybe a baby step in F?
Mem:      If you aren’t happy you should leave the church.  You are just looking for reasons to be  offended.
OW:      We have problems with ABCDEFG and we have studied it and prayed about it and in our perspective see X as the only solution to this problem.  Maybe we can ask the leaders to pray about X?  Let’s go and show that we are prepared for X to happen.  There is a lot of historical, scriptural, apocryphal, and temple instruction that indicate something like X will happen in the future.  We don’t know how it will happen or look like, but we are instructed to ask before we get an answer, right?  But there is no way for us to ask.  Those in charge of asking are not accessible.  Hmm, we can publicly ask and hope they respond.  Okay, we’ll try that.
Mem:      APOSTATES!  All feminists are stoning our prophets!  If you have questions it means you don’t understand the plan of salvation.  They are Satan incarnate.
PA:      Satan, Depart (off of our property)!  You are suggestive of apostasy.
Fem:    Ouch, PA, that hurts me, too!  OW, I wish you wouldn’t still go, it might make it harder on everyone working for ABCDEFG.  I understand why you are doing what you are doing, and I understand why PA wants you to stop.  I don’t think either of you are understanding each other, I wish you would stop fighting.  You are both my friends!
OW:    We are still going to show up and ask.
PA:    They showed up and were very awful.
OW:    No, we weren’t.
PA:    Yes, they were.
OW:    No!
PA:    Yes!
OW:    That’s not true.  Lots of us were there and no one asked us to leave.
PA:    Do not call us liars!
Mem:    Did you hear Elder Oaks and his feminist smack down?  Discussion is OVER! Pack up your bags, ladies!
Fem:    Wow, that talk raises more questions than it answers.  Grateful for more understanding, praying for more!
MWS:  We despise OW, those poor lost apostates!  We have a higher understanding and no questions or doubts and will never question and doubt.  Let’s start a group that shows we will never have questions and never doubt and those people are a cancer that should be silenced and cut off.
Mem:    (Sending invites to every feminist they know to join MWS to draw a line in the sand, if they don’t join, obviously they are apostate)
Fem:    I can’t be a part of that group, they are saying mean things about my sisters who have the same questions as me.  Passive aggressive, much?
Mem:    Either you are with us or you are against us!
PA:      Let’s talk to MWS!  They are so brave and bold!  We really support the work you are doing.
MWS:  Look how holy and great we are!  Those poor women who don’t have our higher understanding. The Brethren love us!!  #Blessed
Fem:      Wow, that hurts a lot.  I have the same questions as OW, but there may be a lot of solutions to ABCDEFG.  Could someone please listen to us?
PA:      We ARE listening!  We listen at all times and in all things and in all places.  We know there are problems with H.  Go talk to your bishops about H.
Fem:      Oookay.  My bishop can’t do anything about ABCDEFG.
PA:    That is the way things must be done.
Fem:    A lot of people have tried that before and have been severely punished for expressing thoughts and questions.  There are large downsides to that and not very many upsides.  They don’t have any stewardship over ABCDEFG.  That is why we talk publicly about ABCDEFG, there is no way for our voices to reach people who can change ABCDEFG.
PA:    Hmm . . . that is the way things must be done.  Also go talk to your RS president, they can help you feel better.
Fem:    Well I think the way we will feel better is if something is done about ABCDEFG.
OW:    We aren’t going away, but thanks for trying.  We still believe in the Gospel!
Mem:    We hate you, OW!  And all the rest of you doubting feminists!
PA:    OW is making all of our discussions about women much harder.  We even tell to women go on missions instead of just telling them to get married!  We will do more things like this if you leave us alone and just let us discuss with who we choose to.
Fem:    I don’t understand why that is.  Will you talk to feminists?
PA:    We have.  We won’t ever talk to OW, btw.  Can you imagine WWJD?  Talk to the hand, sista!
Fem:    Well then why don’t you communicate that you understand our issues with ABCDEFG?  That shows that either you haven’t spoken to us or that if you have, you have not understood.
PA:    Go talk to your bishop.
Mem:    Repent, repent, all ye feminists!  Repent or leave!
Fem:    {sigh}

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16 Responses to Best Frenemies

  1. The Other Clark on June 2, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Please add notes for costuming and dramatic lighting, so this script can be performed in every stake center in the U.S. You know, in that funny room with the curtains where the Elders Quorum usually meets.

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  2. hawkgrrrl on June 2, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    {End scene. Exeunt.}

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  3. Kristine A on June 2, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    I’ll advocate bringing back roadshows if I can direct this.

    “Refreshments look real good to me,
    Red punch, white cookies, and mint candy”

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  4. Moss on June 2, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    This would work well as one of those “as told in tweets” or “as told in Facebook statuses” things. Enjoyable and astute!

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  5. Hedgehog on June 3, 2014 at 1:38 AM

    #4 yes, Or as one of those silent movie type YouTube videos, complete with the mood music and narration cards.

    #1 TOC, back when I was growing up it was the YW who had that funny room. I don’t think anyone has it in my current ward though.

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  6. New Iconoclast on June 3, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    #5 comment one, re #4 (is anyone following the notation system?) Yes! With Tallulah Bankhead as Kate Kelly!

    Well done, Kristine! This is much how it looks from a semi-outsider perspective (that is, me: a male who tentatively thinks of himself as a proto-MoFem.)

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  7. Kristine A on June 3, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    I can’t believe I didn’t get any props for quoting mormon rap!?

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  8. Geoff -Aus on June 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    I thought this was a serious attempt to point out that ABCDEFGHX are not being addressed, or even acknowledged, by “the church”.

    I am not convinced the PR dept can go much further with this because their job description is to present, and massage one side of the argument.

    I think the way forward, (now that the PR version has been debunked) is for the conversation to be taken up by someone, who has some authority, but also compassion.


    Surely it has to go to this level to address the real problems ABCDEFGHX! so why create more stress by going back and forth with someone whose job is not to understand, let alone address the problem.

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  9. Kristine A on June 3, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Geoff, you’re right, it may be tongue in cheek but it is a very seriously situation that I am in.

    I don’t know but I’ve been counseled over and over again that the only way to do it is bring it up with my bishop. I will. I have no idea how or why this will help anything. Gratefully I have a really gentle bishop who didn’t mind me wearing pants, and he said all he cares about is if I believe the scriptures. I said yes and we were good.

    So I have to go to the bishop based on all the instruction I receive, what? I don’t know. But I’m going to go ahead and meet with my bishop tonight.

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  10. Hessie on June 3, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    Well done and very astute!

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  11. Kullervo on June 4, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    I’m not really pro-OW or pro-feminist in any meaningful way, but I do think that this post nicely summarizes (and accurately skewers) the way the church has handled this issue.

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  12. New Iconoclast on June 4, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    I can’t believe I didn’t get any props for quoting mormon rap!?

    I was on my mission when it came out, and I’ve always lived outside of Utah (thank Heaven), so I missed being immersed in “Mormon Rap;” I’ve probably only heard it twice ever. Sorry! ;)

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  13. Kullervo on June 4, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    I was on my mission when it came out, and I’ve always lived outside of Utah (thank Heaven), so I missed being immersed in “Mormon Rap;” I’ve probably only heard it twice ever. Sorry! ;)

    I bought the cassingle on a trip to the Atlanta temple to do baptisms for the dead when I was 13 or so. I think I still have it.

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  14. Kristine A on June 4, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    So I was over at MMM this morning reading about someone’s take on Elder Zwick’s last talk.

    Am I the only one when I heard it that took it as an admonition between Saints on this issue? I think both sides see each other as irrational and lack empathy for each other.

    Should I just send Bro. Otterson a link to his talk, What Are You Thinking?

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  15. Johnna on June 5, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    still no movement on ABCDEFG. Well illustrated.

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  16. […] Ordain Women will have an […]

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