What happens if the church doesn’t want me?

From Amber Whiteley

I wore pants to church last year. It felt terrifying. I remember walking in with my husband and daughter (who both wore purple to support me) and shaking during all of sacrament meeting. Afterwards, a family friend walked up to us and said “Pants, huh? so I guess you’re one of THOSE women.”

I walked as quickly as I could to my car, my heart pounding, as I choked back tears. I said to my husband, “I want to be a part of this church, but what happens if the church doesn’t want me?”

I have always been a feminist. I joined the church when I was 16 in a small, somewhat liberal ward who loved and accepted me for the person I was. As I grew up and moved away, I found myself no longer feeling like I fit in at church any more. I was scared that no one would accept me once they got to know the real me.

During the last hour of church, a woman passed me a note. It said “I like your pants! You are welcome and appreciated.” It was just the affirmation I needed.

The hatred spewed from other Mormons – our own brothers and sisters – on the Pants Facebook page made me realize that there was a lot of misinformation out there about what Mormon feminists are truly like. Out of that hatred, I felt inspired to create mormonfeminist.org, a website that normalizes Mormon feminists.

Last year I wore pants in fear. I was scared of admitting who I was, and scared I would lose my identity. Wearing pants to church last year inspired me to fully accept who I know I was meant to be. This year I am wearing pants with confidence, to send a message to all my sisters who may have felt the way I have felt in the past. There is a place for you, you are welcome and appreciated