A Summary of the Wear Pants to Church Day Survey

I recently surveyed the participants of the Second Annual Wear Pants to Church Day to find out who they are and why they participated. In four days I received 573 responses. I’m not going to comment on the data or responses, as I think they speak for themselves.

Who participated in the Second Annual Wear Pants to Church Day?

  • Members of the church, who make up 96% of respondents
  • People who attend church regularly, with 74% of respondents attending every week or almost every week and a further 13% attending 2-3 times per month – just 5% of respondents do not attend church
  • Mostly young people, with 76% of respondents being 18-40 years old
  • Mostly women, who make up 86% of respondents
  • Lots of people from all over the US, representing 41 out of 50 states, but many individuals from other countries too, including Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, England, Germany, Japan, and Spain

How did these people participate?

  • 72% of female respondents wore pants to church
  • 46% of all respondents wore purple
  • 55% participated in online discussions about the event
  • 56% participated in real life conversations about the event
  • 32% followed online conversations about the event, but did not participate in them
  • 8% did not attend church but wore pants or purple anyway
  • 11% participated in some other way

What made these people want to participate?

“I believe church should be a safe space for all and I work to make it that way.”

“I did last year, and I loved feeling part of a community that welcomes everyone.”

“Observing last year’s hostile push back from “faithful” LDS members.”

“Joining in solidarity with my fellow sisters as well as my personal convictions about the need for more female inclusion in the LDS institutional church.”

“My daughter only wears pants and YW leaders always publicly make a point of announcing that dresses show respect for God. I wear pants about 1/2 the time regardless of pants day.”

“Because my church needs to have a visual reminder that there is diversity in its midst, and because I am a Mormon Feminist, and because I want people in my area who might feel marginalized to see someone else embracing Sunday attendance on her own terms.”

“I knew it was important for me to be more honest in my ward about how I feel about these issues. I want to belong to a church that practices inclusion and love.”

“Gender issues within the LDS church community and LDS doctrine that I disagree with, and have seen work to make people feel unwelcome and excluded.”

“I love feminism and feminist thinkers.”

“A desire to claim the Mormon Feminist community as an important part of my life; a desire to challenge cultural assumptions; a desire to show other members that I’m a little kooky and would therefore be more accepting of them; a desire to take small risks in my life to become more courageous and less worried about what people think of me. I’ll also say that I spent time in prayer and contemplation trying to know if God was on board with my decision to wear pants, and I got the clear spiritual prompting that it was a good thing to do.”

“I fear that we, as a culture, have become far too focused on how people look rather than who they are, namely children of God.”

“Because I want people to know everyone is accepted and too many times people confuse social convention with doctrine.”

“Everyone should feel welcome regardless of gender, sexual preference, financial standing, or arbitrary cultural clothing standards.”

“I want people to talk and reveal OPENLY the sexist nature of the church.”

“I wanted to make a stand for equality and inclusiveness and diversity and acceptance. Also I am inspired by the Church’s official statement -Sunday best. they don’t define it for me, therefore it is my choice.”

“The continued absence of women’s voices in my church.”

“To show my belief that my wife and daughters – and other women in the church – are as valuable and capable as the men.”

“I resigned over inequities with females in the church.”

“I participated last year because of all the negative comments and even death threats made to Stephanie Lauritzen. I wanted to participate again this year. And actually have been wearing pants occasionally ever since last year.”

“I care deeply about making Mormonism a welcoming place for people with diverse views, and this is a way to show my commitment to being the change I want to see in the church.”

“I have seen members treated poorly by other members because of their clothes.”

“There are many sexist cultural practices that need to change in the church.”

“I have nice pants for work and always wished that I could wear them to church, but my husband forbade it and I was too shy about what ward members would think. Last year Pants Day helped me break out of those restrictions. This year I wanted to wear pants more for others–so others would see me and not feel alone even if they were keeping their worries hidden.”

“It’s a ridiculous cultural norm that is distracting from learning the gospel. As a new convert in 2000, I took several weird looks when I wore slacks to church meetings on Sunday and was told ‘women don’t wear pants to church.’ To me, this just doesn’t make sense. What I wear has absolutely no connection to my relationship with the Saviour or my ability to worship. It matters not to the Savior how I dress when I approach Him in prayer.”

“To support women who struggle in the LDS church.”

How did the participants feel about their participation?

87% of respondents reported having a “Positive” or “Very Positive” experience with Wear Pants to Church Day. Just 1% reported having a “Negative” experience and no respondents reported a “Very Negative” experience.

“I felt like I would be judged because I was the only one who would have in my ward, so I only wore purple.”

“I felt a little apprehensive because I teach primary. I was a little worried of any of the kids would ask why I’m wearing pants. I felt like if I gave an honest answer about how I feel, they might tell their parents and then parents might think I was teaching my disagreeable opinions to their kids. Turns out that I worried in vain. None of the kids even seemed to notice. People were friendly to me at church. I noticed 2 up-and-down glances at me from adults. I’m glad I participated. It was nice to feel warm in church in the winter.”

“I love it! I participated last year and have worn pants all but one Sunday since. And in the last year, 3 other sisters in my ward have started wearing pants too!”

“I was very nervous last year, feeling like I was doing something bad, even though I wasn’t. That made me realize how ingrained some ‘rules’ that aren’t even rules are.”

“Great….I think it helps change the cultural expectations that have nothing to do with the gospel.”

“Empowered. Much less afraid than last year.”

“Much more comfortable in them, and I felt the Spirit.”

“Great. I’ve been wearing pants since last years event.”

“I wish I had been brave enough to wear pants, instead of purple. But I think it was good.”

Wearing pants to church feels like carrying a giant, ‘Please come talk to me – I want to be friends!’ sign. Makes me feel a little brave and empowered, but also friendly and more open.”

“Strong and bold.”

“Nervous, but also excited. Now that it’s over, I feel great!”

“I participated last year and was scared to death. This year I was not scared at all.”

“Overall, happy – but somewhat fearful of hateful comments.”

“It was a nonevent for me. Last year it was a big deal to me, but I’ve since worn pants to church many times and didn’t have the same fear as I did last year. I felt like this year was much better organized (now that we’ve got a year of Mormon feminist activism under out belts) and I really appreciated all the work that the organizers did to keep it positive.”

“I had to watch myself to ensure that I didn’t say anything that would get me in trouble with the BYU Honor Code Office. I don’t have any purple to wear, so nobody really knew I was participating.”

“I felt liberating, free, peaceful, proud, confident, and I felt love for everyone. I was so happy I did it!”