How many choices do we each make in a given day? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? With each of these choices, we exercise our most precious God-given right: our agency. Modern Latter-day Saint women choose to prioritize the Gospel in their lives, but for each woman that priority takes a different form. For some, it takes the form of committed motherhood, bringing souls into righteous homes. For others, it takes the form of humanitarian service. Others serve the broader world in paid industry positions or as creators of artistic works. Women prioritize the Gospel in times of crisis when they rely on the Savior or when they change their whole way of life to convert to His church.
Seven million strong, the women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints weave a tapestry of variety and strength that is unique in our world today. Mormon women stand up for their beliefs by choosing lifestyles, family structures and jobs that allow them to practice what they believe in a way that is right for them. Far from a monochrome stereotype, the beauty and variety of our women prove that there is no one right way to “choose the right”.
And yet, from my anecdotal research from a life lived in New York City, San Francisco and Boston, I have discovered that people in these urban centers see Mormon women as exercising very little agency. Because of doctrinal misunderstanding, media portrayals or our own cultural habits, Mormon women are considered stifled, funneled into a life of motherly servitude and wifely subservience with little opportunity to pursue their own dreams or contribute to the larger world community. Only Mormon women themselves can rectify this terribly erroneous caricature.
The Mormon Women Project intends to give voice to those thousands of women who have diverse cultural backgrounds, have overcome personal challenges, magnify their roles at home, or who represent us to the world in their jobs. To an audience inside the Church, these stories support the idea that we can make personal choices with God’s help that often stand apart from the pressures of Mormon culture. To an audience outside the Church, the stories show the immense strength and wisdom of our people.
Our stories are our heritage. We are part of a journal keeping culture, a blogging culture, a memorializing culture that treasures the stories of those who have gone before us. As we each work to build a relationship with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, I hope these stories from Latter-day Saint sisters will inspire every woman to make deliberate and meaningful choices in her life as she seeks to fulfill her individual mission on this earth.
Neylan McBaine, Founder and Editor
Who We Are
We are faithful LDS women anxiously engaged in the good cause of edifying our sisters and brothers that we may all gain an experiential knowledge of a joy-filled worship and a sanctifying mortal experience. We believe that the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses the lives of its members and provides the ordinances necessary for salvation. We sustain our church leaders and contribute to the functionality of our wards by steadfastly fulfilling our callings. We work within the framework of current LDS doctrine to question cultural traditions that may limit us as individuals and as a people. We view both our commonalities and our differences as strengths as we explore alternative approaches that empower everyone.
Our team came together through the work of Neylan McBaine, our Editor in Chief. We were drawn to her vision, as presented by The Mormon Women Project, the Moderate Mormon Manifesto and her paper given at the August 2nd, 2012, FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) Conference entitled “To Do the Business of the Church: A Cooperative Paradigm for Examining Gendered Participation Within Church Organizational Structure.” Individually, we each had a desire to become more involved on behalf of women in the church, and Neylan’s singular, compassionate voice and approach resonated with us. We joyfully volunteer our time, resources and talents to assist in this cause.
It is from the FAIR paper that we derive our name and the inspiration for this site. Neylan received an outpouring of responses from individuals wanting to apply her suggestions. Ward Councils, Stake Presidencies and High Councils were discussing the paper and deliberating on its applicability to their stewardship. It became clear that there was a need for an online presence where discussions on gender dynamics could take place, where stories of applications could be shared, and where resources were available for engaging in this type of work.
This website is for you. It is our hope that you will participate in the conversations, read the stories, share your own and use the resources to edify yourself, enrich your worship, and bring joy to your sphere of influence.