“You look like a lesbian.” “Why do you want to look like a man?” “Hey, boy head!” These were just some of the responses I got from friends and family when I decided to cut off my hair. The gendered connotations that come with how one decides to wear one’s hair are an overarching signifier of the dominant culture’s obsession with normative appearances. Many religious institutions and congregations uphold normative understandings of appearance and dress. Growing up in a conservative town in rural South Georgia and being raised within a Pentecostal tradition came with many challenges regarding gender, sexuality, and dress.
In an earlier post on FAR, I described my experiences with my church and my community regarding sexuality in “Sexual Ethics and Southern Belles.” In this post, I want to further explore those thoughts to discuss modesty codes within my own Pentecostal denomination, The Church of God, and within the LDS Church. Both Mormonism and The Church of God promote modesty codes that are ultimately harmful to girls and women. Continue reading “Modesty Codes in Pentecostalism and Mormonism by Amanda Pumphrey”
Before I was born, but after I was conceived, my father had a dream. In this dream, he knew that I would be a great missionary. And because of this knowledge, (and because he a. didn’t see me in the dream and was b. Mormon*) he thought I would be a boy.
To my mom’s credit, she reminded my dad, “Girls can be great missionaries too,” and to my dad’s credit, he was not disappointed when I did indeed turn out to be a girl. He also never let go of his impression that I would be a great missionary. Perhaps because of this story, perhaps because of hearing his (and my brothers’) mission stories, I grew up sincerely wanting to serve a mission.
It wasn’t until high school that someone first told me that I shouldn’t go on a mission because I was a girl. The words were spoken by my female leader, with the explanation that men were to go on missions and women were to get married. My best friend and I were upset, because we were adamant that we were going, but we brushed it aside, letting it add flame to our desire. Continue reading “It’s not easy being a full-time female missionary for the Mormon Church by Rachel Hunt”
“We need to start examining the underlying questions of counter-cultural relationships that view one man marrying many women to be hip because we begin to see that although a polygamist idea of marriage may be sexy from a popular culture standpoint, the thought of legally recognized gay marriage always then gets likened to bestiality.”
… you have to allow polygamy, bestiality, and everything else!” The title for my post this week is a quote from an individual I used to associate with. This individual, haling from a conservative evangelical background, tried to explain to several others and myself the reasons why gay marriage would eventually lead to the repeal of anti-polygamy and bestiality laws across the United States.
The problems that I have with this particular argument are conflating gay marriage with religious freedom. Activists and scholars can draw comparisons to anti-polygamy cases such as the 1878 U.S. Supreme Court case Reynolds v United States and the 1882 Edmunds Act and 1887 Edmunds-Tucker Act that disfranchised and led to the imprisonment of Mormon polygamists. But in the end, gay marriage is not about religious freedom but rather human rights.
I often feel that there is this need both within and outside religious communities to promulgate the idea that LGBTQ individuals want to get married within the sanctified walls of “the church” just as much as heterosexual couples do. Although I do not want to disqualify those who desire to see LGBTQ equality within their faith based communities, buying into a heternormative ideal of what traditional marriage should look like needs to result in LGBTQ individuals asking why marriage should be performed in sacred spaces in the first place The normative traditions that have often defined marriage have also served as shackles keeping LGBTQ couples in the mindset that to achieve fully marriage equality with their heterosexual counterparts is to fully immerse themselves within the same traditions and practices. Continue reading ““If You Allow Gay Marriage…” by John Erickson”