Here is an explanation from Joanna Brooks about what this was about.
Here is an awesome article that explains why some of the current policies and procedures (note: not the doctrine) of the Church make some women feel unequal.
Here is an even awesomer article that explains how men experience church culture differently from women.
The event organizers set the date for December 16th and created a Facebook event page. And then the WHOLE. DANG. INTERNET. EXPLODED.
Or at least that's how it seemed to me. Things got super, super ugly. I have to say--if the idea of women wearing pants to church (which is not against the rules) or wanting to discuss the idea of gender inequality within our culture can bring out this kind of anger, defensiveness, offensiveness, and let's not forget death threats from people who all profess to be brothers and sisters in Christ, then clearly, all is not well in Zion.
I did wear a purple scarf with my dress on Sunday to show support, and the Gentleman Husband wore a purple tie. The day before, I'd received a call from a member of my bishopric. My first thought: "Crap, how did they know I was thinking about wearing pants???"
Turns out, that's not why they were calling. They wanted to ask me to be the new Gospel Doctrine teacher in my ward.
Now . . . I've only been in this ward for about six months, and I really love it. I love the vibe, love the people, love it all. But I absolutely did not expect this. The two current teachers are white middle-aged males who are well-read, articulate, experienced, and at least one of them has a professional teaching background. I can't help but feel that I'm . . . a step in a different direction, if you will. (GH's response: "Are you sure they were asking you to teach the adults? Of course you'd be great, but are you sure it's not one of the teenage classes or somethings?") I'm going to take it as a huge compliment that they'd ask me to get up there and do my thing, even if I am beyond nervous and intimidated.
I feel very blessed to live within the boundaries of a ward whose leaders and members cultivate a sincere attitude of outreach and inclusiveness. The fact that they're calling a young female whippersnapper like me to teach Gospel Doctrine to all the Real Live Grownups is just one example of that. If I'd shown up in pants last Sunday, I doubt anybody would have had a thing to say about it. But I know that's not everybody's experience, and that there are many women who do feel marginalized, who feel that their voices are not heard or wanted, and who wonder if they really belong in our church. That's why I wore purple--to say, "I hear you," and also, "You absolutely belong here--come sit by me."
*My mom's response when I called with the news about my new Church job. Nice one, Mom. When I start teaching out of Rough Stone Rolling, I'll be sure to say it was her idea.