I did not wear pants to church last year. I apparently missed the memo, and I was frustrated that I did not have the chance to stand with my sisters. This year, I plan to wear pants to church with a shiny purple top. I am excited for this day. I am also afraid for this day.
I have been asked why I would want to “be like those people” who don’t come to church appropriately dressed. I have been asked why I would want to upset the order of things. And I have thought long and hard about my true reasons for wearing pants to church.
I am a born and raised Mormon. I have spent a lifetime in the Church and know what is expected of me as a Mormon woman. I spent the first thirty years of my life like most LDS women I know. I wore my Sunday best each week and went to church where I visited with my friends and served in my callings. When a woman came to church in pants, or a short skirt, or a skimpy top, I judged her. When a man came to church in grubby work clothes or jeans, I judged him. When new people came, I gave them a grace period of adjustment where I figured they just “didn’t know better” yet. When a previously active member became less active, I judged them for not being faithful. I was guilty of judging my brothers and sisters for how they came to church.
And then I became that woman. I was the woman who didn’t attend church every week. I was the woman walking the line by participating in what the Bishops handbook “strongly discouraged.” I was the woman who “knew better,” but still chose to follow my own path. I hate to believe that I never realized the judgement I passed on others until I became other. But it is what is true.
I wear pants to exemplify the other. I wear pants to show that if I can choose to belong with the homogeneous “us” or stand apart with the varied and often unaccepted “them,” I will choose “them.”I will stand as a follower of Christ, who said “love one another” and invited all to sit at his table.
And if it takes wearing pants to open the eyes of my brothers and sisters who don’t know how to see beyond the “us,” I will wear pants. And if they still do not see, that is all the more reason to wear pants.