Some Top of Utah women who are faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints won’t be wearing pants to church this week.
They were responding to a Facebook movement by some feminist church members this week, encouraging women to wear pants to LDS services on Sunday in a show of solidarity for women’s equality.
“They probably are not fully aware of the doctrines of the church, if that’s what they are doing,” said Sara Schmitz, 30, of Brigham City.
She was speaking of the women who organized the protest, calling their efforts misguided.
“According to the principles that we follow, I think we have fairly well-defined gender roles,” Schmitz said.
She said she didn’t believe the doctrines of the church — which reserve priesthood roles for men — put women down in any way.
Janice Bryson, 70, of Roy, said she’d seen the issue brought up on Facebook.
“I thought ‘Oh, my. Don’t we have enough trouble without stirring up more?’ ” she said.
“I just think that when I go to church, I am there to worship the God that I know and love,” Bryson said. “When we dress our best, our thoughts are a little bit higher and we act a little better.”
Bryson and other women said they understand there are women who would want to wear pants. Some even pointed out times when they have worn pants to church themselves or seen women wear them in colder locales or where cultures and economics keep women from owning dresses.
“They could go to church in their pajamas, as far as I’m concerned,” Bryson said, noting that she doesn’t believe she would judge women or look down on them if they wore pants.
“For my own feeling, it doesn’t matter what church I go to, whatever religion, I would want to be dressed in a way that shows respect. Let them wear what they want, but as for me, I will wear a dress,” Bryson said.
“It might be a matter of perspective,” said Nancy Litchford, of South Ogden, who plans to wear a dress to church Sunday. She said she believes God is more concerned about whether people worship rather than what they wear.
“Because of our age and our experience, we don’t feel threatened, we don’t feel controlled,” said Litchford, who is 65.
“I think it’s sad that people have lost gender identity,” she said. “Why don’t we encourage each other to be the best that we can be?”
Huntsville resident Laura Warburton, 50, said she didn’t believe the protest to be about clothing, but rather about the priesthood.
“It has everything to do with the priesthood,” she said. “Let’s just call it what it is.”
Warburton said if members have problems with the doctrines of the church, they are free to join other churches or to start one of their own.
But Warburton said she believes men and women already have equality in their separate roles, according to church teachings.
“Christ said it best himself when he said, ‘Neither is the woman without the man or the man without the woman,’” she said.
And Warburton said the protest scheduled for Sunday was a “waste of time,” especially during the Christmas season.
“I think their efforts can be put in a much more effective way to do good in the world,” she said. “They could be putting their efforts toward helping the homeless.”
Those in favor of the movement are lauding the hastily arranged “Wear Pants to Church Day” movement as a way to shed light on what they see as gender inequalities in the church.
“Attending church is about worship and learning to be followers of Jesus Christ,” said church spokesman Eric Hawkins in a statement.
“Generally, church members are encouraged to wear their best clothing as a sign of respect for the savior, but we don’t counsel people beyond that,” he said.
Information from the Associated Press is included in this story.