(Reprinted with Stacy’s permission)
I went to bed last night just so sad thinking about misogyny in the church. But I had the most amazing, redemptive dream. In my dream, it was General Conference but in just a stake center building. The GA’s were sitting in a pew, and the plan was that they would get up one at a time to speak. But a few active, nuanced and post-mo women had a plan. After the opening prayer and hymn, a little group of us stood up and went to to the front and formed a human chain to block the GA’s from coming up to the microphone.
This caused an uproar from the believing members in the congregation, many of whom came up to make us move, pushing us, trying to pry us apart, yelling at us, calling us apostate, but we took the beating with grace, and refused to concede. The prophet and apostles were astonished and were “commanding” us to disperse and take seats or leave. We refused. More women in the congregation joined us. They left their kids, husbands, friends, and parents and stood with the women at the front. It was so many people that finally Nelson asked, “Why are you doing this? What is it you want?” And we said, “We want to speak.” So the leaders took a seat, told the people pushing us to take a seat and told us we could speak.
So we did. One at a time, women talked to the entire membership of the church who were watching, in person, or broadcasted all over the world, that we demanded apologies for bishops who traumatized us as young women with their inappropriate questions, for the church silencing and punishing people who told “anti-Mormon lies,” which turned out to be Gospel Topics Essays, for their treatment of blacks, LGBTQ people, and women, for propagating the us vs. them rhetoric that makes no place for people who doubt and question or their family members, for claiming church policies and doctrines that hurt people are from God, making people think God wants them to hurt, for claiming they speak for God when they really just speak for themselves and the social and legal pressure they’re under at the time, and on and on we went.
At one point, Bednar approached us and spoke, getting choked up, saying how he was moved by our plight and that the spirit was telling him this was important and needed to be sincerely acknowledged. Uchtdorf looked relieved. Oaks looked disgruntled. We were finally heard. We couldn’t be dismissed with letters of “go talk to your bishop.” We were all over the news. Deseret News’ headline: “Riot at General Conference.” MSNBC and others were more friendly: “Women Uprising at Mormon Worldwide Broadcast.”
I wonder what would have happened next if I’d stayed asleep? I want so deeply for us to be heard, for the church to apologize for its abuse but they gaslight and brush it off and ignore so much that I could imagine this being the only way we could actually confront them and make them say something in the moment. I’m so tired of being under the power of these men. I’m so tired of their manipulation and control and influence breaking people, breaking families. But I feel powerless. Maybe I have to just accept that.