I was about 13 when the movie Apollo 13 came out. There is a scene in that movie where Jim’s wife has to go tell her mother-in-law that her son may never make it home. Then that old woman leans forward and says something along the lines of, “If they could find a way to make a washing machine fly, my Jimmy could land it.”
That scene hit me in a pretty powerful way. To me it seemed that in a moment that could easily be dominated by fear and worry, this mother had only faith. I’ve often thought since then that I want to be that kind of woman.
As you might expect, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; in other words, I am Mormon and have been for my entire life. My mother sacrificed quite a lot and risked being disowned to join this church. Her mother, my grandmother, is an incredible woman who married an Army man at the age of 16, moved far away from her home and family and went on to raise 4 beautiful daughters. Her mother’s mother was a farm wife who raised 11 kids through blood, sweat, and–I am certain–tears. These are women who have survived The Great Depression. These are women who sent husbands, sons, and brothers to World War II and Vietnam. These are incredible women.
I point this out because I recognize that “Mormon” and “Woman” are two separate things. Mormon or not, women share similar desires, joys, heartaches, insecurities, and love regardless of religion. I think we all feel that bond, and are aware of the power in our unity. Look at the movement we’ve made for breast cancer research and other causes. I love being a woman!
I also use the examples of my mother and grandmother and great-grandmother to share my knowledge that Mormon women do not have the market cornered on faith in Jesus Christ nor on raising strong families.
This is why when the question: What does being a Mormon Woman mean to you? was posed, it was one I couldn’t immediately answer. I thought about it while I washed my dishes. As I folded laundry. As I swept the floor, made the bed and scrubbed the toilet.
It seemed obvious to me that just as much as I am a woman –I am also a Mormon. It is in my very core. It is in my life, every day. It’s in what I do and what I don’t do. And the question Why? is equally as obvious to me: Because I know that the teachings of this church are true. I’ve studied, read, prayed, and I know. But, even with all that it still didn’t seem to answer what being a Mormon Woman means to me.
Then it clicked. It’s faith. It’s obedience. It’s more than simply knowing the teachings of this faith, it’s that I live them. Daily. It’s realizing that God has a purpose and a plan for my life and that His plan for me is perfect. It’s the promise of not only eternal life but an eternal family to share it with me. It’s about who I have the potential to become.
This gives my life meaning, even in my day-to-day tasks that may seem menial. There might not be any significant consequences for having a clean toilet or folded laundry but my family is eternal and in serving them I become a more loving and Christ-like person. Being a Mormon Woman, to me, means that I can become the kind of person who can meet terrible challenges with a heart full of faith and love.
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