Monday, May 12, 2008

Finally! A Place for Truth and Testimony

A friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) and other women decided they were tired of having to defend their testimonies of the Gospel and of Womanhood in cyberspace. They were tired of constantly and consistently re-hashing a reactive stance over truths in the Gospel. Personally? I don't blame them! Remember the Raging Waters post I gave a while back? Well, these women decided that they were tired of having to swim through the crud to get to the good. Tired --again--of being attacked for proclaiming the truth and bearing testimony. The worst part? Being attacked by people who claim the same beliefs.

The only blogs out there, if you search for "Mormon Women", tend to be anti-Mormon and Liberal Feminist. Very, very few represent how the majority of Mormon Women actually feel (MMW and Tales are some of the "few" that I've found.). Why is that? My friend has a theory and I think it's both poignant and hilarious:
"The people who claim that most Mormons feel this way (i.e. angst, bitterness, doubt, hatred, etc.) say that if Mormons were actually happy, they'd be letting their voices be heard by blogging. But that's not true! Mormon Women who are happy don't have time to blog! They are too busy living their lives. Why would they go searching for websites full of bitterness and doubt? What would that accomplish?" (not a direct quote, fyi).

Of course, I blog, and I'm happy (see me smiling?), but for 2 years, I've been one of a handful. But thank goodness for Elder Ballard! In Dec. 2007, at the BYU-Hawaii graduation ceremonies, he said:
Too much attention to controversy has a negative impact on peoples' perceptions of what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really is.... We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches.

Inspired by Elder Ballard's words , Mormon women (including my friend) decided to put together a website called Mormon Women: Who We Are. This website, sponsored by the More Good Foundation, is designed to be a place where women can share their voices about the joy, peace, perspective, and power they feel in their lives as members -- and particularly as women! -- of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They wanted a site that is not only a positive voice about the Church, but also includes specific content about LDS womanhood. It is a place for members of the Church (men are invited, too!) to individually share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to the gospel of Jesus Christ, through words, music, art, and other forms of expression. It's also a place to share favorite scriptures, quotes, talks, hymns, and other uplifting material. Every comment, every submission, stands alone as another independent voice. This is not a blog, so those who contribute can contribute without fear of critical comments or contentious debate. All content and submissions are moderated. If you are looking for contention, this is not the place!

Elder Ballard also said:
Gradually, accurate and positive information is rising to the top of lists generated by various search engines. Those seeking information are more likely to encounter accurate information today than at any time since the Internet began, even though we still have a long way to go. So let me pose a question. What are you prepared to do about it? If you are a member of the Church, what is your responsibility during this period of unusual attention and debate? Interest has continued at a high level and probably will for some time. If a national conversation is going on about the Church, are you going to be an active participant or a silent observer?

These women are no longer going to be silent observers. Instead of Reacting, they are Acting. Instead of Defending, they are Teaching.

Along with the More Good Foundation, LDSblogs, and Mormon Women: Who We Are, Mormon men and women can take a stance by educating and uplifting those who truly desire to know what it is that the LDS People represent: Jesus Christ.

So dear reader, go check it out and participate! And then spread the word...


Amber said...

LOVE this concept! Am heading over to check it out!

Jeanette said...

Thanks so much for telling us about this site. It looks wonderful.

FluffyChicky said...

Thanks for letting me know about the site! Awesome.

Janelle said...

Why the name mormon women? Doesn't that perpetuate the misnomer that we're "Mormons" and not the Church of Jesus Christ? I guess it's to get search engine results. I like the "Online Relief Society" much better. Oh well, anywhere that is uplifting is good thing.

Mormon Women Website said...

Thanks for this post! And thanks for the kind comments. We hope it will be a meaningful site.

janelle, your question is a good one. When the More Good Foundation first started its efforts, I had a similar concern. We have since seen that using this nickname is helpful because that is usually what people search on. You will see within the content of the site, however (we hope), that we seek to use the full name of the Church repeatedly. Thanks for your comment, will make us want to go back through and make sure we have been clear about the name of the Church.

Also, we didn't choose a name like 'online relief society' because while we hope this will be an uplifting site for women in the Church, the first purpose of the site is to help those not of our faith to understand more about LDS womanhood. It's a place for LDS women to share their thoughts and feelings, so that others can hear 'first hand' what it's like to be a member of the Church, particularly a woman of the Church. As Cheryl pointed out, there is a lot of negativity out there about women's roles and their place in the Church. We want people to hear from women who are happy and fulfilled and who feel peace, perspective, and power in their lives because of the gospel.

I hope that helps. Keep the feedback coming, though! We are interested in your points of view and how you think we can make this site better!

Mormon Women Website said...

I wanted to add another couple of things. Cheryl made a point about how many women who really are happy with their lives don't feel the need to get online, or don't want to deal with the negativity (she did it in a little more humorous way, but I do think there is some truth to that). Some are intimidated by the prospect of creating a blog, and others want to share their voices, but don't know how. This is part of why we created this site. We hope it's an easy way for people to respond to Elder Ballard's invitation, even if any other online sharing intimidates them or somehow doesn't appeal to them.

But of course, it's also for those of us who, for whatever reason, get our kicks out of blogging. :) And we certainly don't want to take away from anyone's individual efforts to share their voice in their own way. This is meant to complement all the different ways Elder Ballard said we could get involved, not to compete with them.

Never A True Aggie said...

I will check it out. I agree. I have seen the FMH site and it is iffy. I think it gets too whinny if you know what I mean. We had a good talk two weeks ago where someone stated a quote that when you dissect something you have to kill it. I think we do that too much in the church. We have to know EVERYTHING and in doing so, we kill our testimonies. It is good to question and ask, but it is personal and maybe doesn't need to be broadcast to everyone and thier dog.

Leslie said...

Thanks for the heads up Cheryl...I can't wait to check this out...I'm pretty busy just I'm proving the theory?

Jamie J said...

I've been busy the last couple days but I'm off to check it out now! Sounds like a good place to be.