After April’s timely reminder to write letters for the Let Women Pray event, I decided to get on it.
Overhearing me mention the project, my daughter asked me about it, so I explained it.
“Some people are writing letters to say they think women should pray in conference.”
“Remember when we watch church on the computer and there is singing and the prophet and apostles speak?”
“Oh right! One time someone said we were building a new temple.”
“Yes, that’s conference.”
“I want to write a letter too!”
So she did. The sentences and pictures are all hers; my role was only to spell the words out for her. She included a picture of a girl announcing a new temple to be built and on the back she included a picture of a boy and a girl giving a talk together at conference with the audience watching. She explains it all here:
Her letter states, “I’m Margaret and 4-3/4. I thik that women can talk and pray in conference and boys can too.”
And the little child shall lead them.
This is perfect. Thanks for sharing.
I love how she tells us she is sending the letter to the “boys” at the conference center.
April, I think that is my very favorite part!
I love this for so many reasons…I love that you explained it to Margaret and she decided to participate. I’ve been afraid to do that with my boys, afraid that I might unduly influence them either way as I participate in my activist activities, so this was a good model for me.
I love her pictures and I’m impressed with how well she writes, and I’m happy that she thought to include the boys, too. Great work, Mom and Margaret!
I do try to be very aware that I’m not pushing my children into my causes. When we’ve gone to protests or demonstrations, I make sure that if the kids want to hold signs, they both understand and agree with what is written. For example, at our state’s We Are Woman march last year, my sign referenced legislative actions that encroached on women’s rights. She couldn’t have related to or understood my sign, so her sign stated, “My body, my choice.” I was ok with her holding it because we use that phrase with her all the time and she uses it herself (when telling her little brother to stop hitting or pushing). But I definitely don’t want to put words in my children’s mouths. She has refused to help write thank you letters lately, so I assumed she wouldn’t bother with this cause at all and I was surprised she wanted to.
I like that she’s adorably smart, and completely confident in what she’s doing. I also totally love the creative layout of her letter.
Where were you guys when my daughter was 4?
The layout is funny! She wrote out the sentence first and then drew the picture, but that’s probably not noticeable. When I was spelling out words for her, I think she interpreted, “New word, so leave a space…” as, “Start a new line.”
This is awesome, TopHat! I need to introduce this issue to my 6 year old and see if he is interested in writing a letter too.
Women, when I was a young mom I also tried to keep my feminist thoughts to myself. I hoped that through my example–voicing opinions, having a career, treating my daugher and sons similarly, I would “show” them the reality. I would occasionally point out small inequities within the church at Sunday dinner, but not too often. When my oldest, my only daughter, was 18 and leaving Utah for university in Boston, I began to wonder what damage my silence had done to her. Though she was now 2,500 miles away, I tried to be more mindful of letting her know how I felt. (It wasn’t until I proof-read her Master’s Thesis that I found out what a horrific year she had as a Freshman due to the sexism she faced. If only I had better-equipped her years earlier!!)
About that time a group of boys were playing basketball outside. My 16-year-old son was trash-talking with his friends and younger brothers about how powerful he is. A knife cut into my heart when I heard him say, “Yeah, well, I outrank every woman in the church!” Some apologists might say that if he thought that, he just didn’t understand what it means to hold the priesthood, or they might have muttered something about “unrighteous dominion,” but I couldn’t argue. I certainly hadn’t taught him better.
That day in 2004 things changed. I dropped the facade of total harmony with the culture of our church as well as with some of the teachings. Today, my daughter is in law school and hopes to specialize in women’s rights issues. Her master’s thesis was on our rape culture (including how some teachings in Mormonism feed it). My sons (2 returned missionaries and one about to go) attend gay rights rallies that I speak at, join me in fighting for the right for women to pray at conference, and speak up just as loudly as I do when they see inequality anywhere.
I feel like the search for equality and the desire to defend it is innate. By not acknowledging it, I was not allowing my children to recognize it or fight against it. Please don’t avoid being a proud feminist around your children. You know your thoughts come from a very real and god-given sense of right and wrong. Teach your children to spot and fight against it, too.
Seeing a sincere letter from a 4-year-old who is willing to stand up for us just melted my heart. Good job, Mom! I wish I had known then what you know now.
Thank you for sharing this difficult experience. It certainly made me think.
This is a wonderful story! Thank you for reading and commenting here. I’d love to hear more stories about your teaching your children, for example, so feel free to submit a guest post.
[…] said – I do respect the campaign. I see other people’s passion and smiled seeing Tophat’s daughter’s video. I think it is good for individual people to express their opinions. I believe calling […]