I am a Mormon woman. That means that I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a faith often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon church). I’ve been a Mormon my whole life, and now that I’m an adult, I find even more joy and fulfillment in my faith in Jesus Christ. The role of women in The Church of Jesus Christ is often misunderstood, so I’d like to give you an opportunity to get to know a Mormon woman better. Not only are Mormon women equal to men, but we have specific and important roles in our families, church congregations, and communities. I’ve compiled a list of my eight favorite places to be as a Mormon woman. I think you’ll find that I’m not so different from you.
1. The park
I love to visit the park. Especially when the weather cooperates, I love to take my son outside and let him play. I often meet up with friends and their children. This socializing is welcome, because while I certainly love being a stay-at-home mom, sometimes I crave some quality conversation with adults. Occasionally, though, I take a walk through the park by myself. This allows me to take in the beauty of God’s creations and express gratitude for the beautiful world I live in.
2. The kitchen
This may seem stereotypical of a stay-at-home mom, but I truly enjoy my time spent in my kitchen. I enjoy cooking and baking, and this place holds endless enjoyment for my curious baby. In the kitchen I feel productive and creative, and I find satisfaction in serving my family by providing for their physical needs. Sometimes the kitchen is a place where I can contemplate and engage my mind in something tangible. When I get a craving for homemade bread or chocolate chip cookies, I head to the kitchen where I know that I can create what I want. The kitchen isn’t always a peaceful place to be–sometimes it’s downright chaotic!–but it is a place of service and productivity.
3. Temple Square
I used to live in Utah, the state where you can find the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ. During college I’d often take trips up to Salt Lake City to walk around Temple Square, the complex comprising several blocks of downtown Salt Lake. The crux of Temple Square is the Salt Lake Temple. This is a beautiful building built by Mormon pioneers and is still in use as a temple today. In fact, it’s one of the busiest Mormon temples in the whole world. I feel at peace being on the temple grounds and enjoy seeing all the beautiful landscaping. Temple Square is also home to other church sites, like the Christus in the visitors’ center, the tabernacle, the conference center, the church administration building, and the church office building. I actually used to work in the church office building, and I loved eating lunch outside among all the beauty and peace Temple Square has to offer. Temple Square is a wonderful place to visit if you want to know more about Mormons. Missionaries work in Temple Square and are always available to help answer your questions.
4. The bookstore
I love to read. It’s one of my favorite pastimes and has always been an important part of my life. Something I love about The Church of Jesus Christ is that its leaders encourage both men and women to obtain as much education as they can. Education is so important for every child of God. I love that my church leaders have always encouraged me to seek out learning. I earned my bachelor’s degree, and while I have not yet gone on to pursue further education, I have found several opportunities for extending my education in my life as a stay-at-home mother. At the bookstore I feel empowered and excited, because there are so many books available to me, and learning is literally at my fingertips.
5. The temple
Worthy members of The Church of Jesus Christ are allowed to enter temples. I love the temple. When I’m there I feel peace, comfort, and the strength of the Lord. Temples are unique places and not the same as chapels. Mormon temples are reserved for more sacred worship. Some people wonder why they can’t enter a temple like they can a chapel. Think about college. You can’t enroll in a university if you haven’t prepared and applied to it. You have to prove yourself worthy of attending a place where you obtain higher learning. The temple is the same way. If you want to enter, you must go through the appropriate prerequisite steps to prepare your spirit and mind. The temple is a place of learning, and you would be cheating yourself out of remarkable spiritual experiences if you were to go there unprepared. Missionaries can teach you more about temples and what we do there. As a Mormon woman, I seek out opportunities to attend the temple so that I can learn from the Lord and find strength to face my daily responsibilities. The temple is a beautiful place to be.
6. Relief Society
I love attending Relief Society. Relief Society is the women’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ and is the largest women’s organization in the whole world. The Relief Society meetings are a part of the weekly Sunday services. I love Relief Society because it gives me a chance to connect with other Mormon women as we learn about our Savior, Jesus Christ. I have made so many dear friends in Relief Society, some of them young mothers like me and some grandmothers. Through a foundation in Jesus Christ Relief Society connects women from all walks of life. I derive great strength in my Relief Society connections and friendships.
7. The airport
The airport may seem like a strange place to enjoy visiting, but when I go to the airport, it usually means that I’m on my way to see my parents and siblings. I don’t live close to them, and I’m so grateful for the transportation that allows me to travel great distances in small spans of time. One of the key doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ is that families can be together forever, through the power of promises made in the temple. Whenever I get to see my parents and siblings I am so grateful that I am sealed to them for eternity. Some of you may not have good relationships with your family members, and so visiting them may not be a favorite place for you. You can find encouragement, however, in the knowledge that happy families can be found in living out the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what makes my family a happy one: the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that’s why I love going to the airport so I can see them.
8. My home
I’m a homebody by nature. I love being at home. As a Mormon woman, I find great fulfillment in building a home of peace, safety, and beauty. In my home I can watch my son learn and grow, and I get to spend time with my small family. Right now, my husband and I have only the one baby, and someday more will follow. I love knowing that my home is where my greatest influence will be enacted. Home is where I will raise my children and care for them. It’s where my husband and I will develop our eternal marriage. The Church of Jesus Christ says that “only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness” (“Temple”). I won’t pretend to you that my home is always peaceful, because with a family to raise and a marriage to nurture, it’s not. But it does have the potential to be a sacred place, and some days it is. I find my purpose in building my home and my family.
I hope that you have learned a little bit more about Mormon women from my own reflections. I really do love being a Mormon woman, and I love what The Church of Jesus Christ has to offer me. Through my faith I find peace, fulfillment, purpose, and potential. If you’re interested in learning more about The Church of Jesus Christ and the role that Mormon women play in His gospel, you can talk to the missionaries. I know that the greatest peace can be found in Jesus Christ, and as a Mormon woman, I know exactly where to go to find it.
Charlotte graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in English, with an emphasis in editing. During her education she interned with the Neal A.Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, BYU Publications, and the New Era magazine. Charlotte currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son. She's a stay-at-home-mom and has been able to keep up her writing through maintaining a personal blog (smallandtrivial.blogspot.com).