Breast-feeding in LDS church creates controversy

WEST JORDAN, Utah — Hundreds of women are having an online conversation after a website posted a story about a Utah woman who was allegedly released from her calling, or assignment, with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because she was breast-feeding during church.

LDS women calling themselves “Lactivists” said they want to make the public more aware of breast-feeding discrimination.

The story of the West Jordan woman is told in a post on a website devoted to feminist Mormon housewives.

The identity of the woman is not revealed in the post, but the story goes on to say that the woman may lose her temple recommend if she doesn’t excuse herself from church meetings to breast-feed.

In just two days more than 300 people have offered the woman their online support, and the website has put out a call to LDS women and asked them to share their stories about breast-feeding in church. Their goal is to present those stories to church leadership in March.

Katie Gibson Jacobsen is a LDS mother from Orem who intends to make her voice heard.

“I believe the goal of the letters is to show her support, and to show the church this is OK,” she said. “It’s a cultural norm to not cover or to cover, both are OK, and we would like the church to clarify that it’s OK for women to breast-feed uncovered, and they won’t receive any reprimand for that.”

LDS church member Shelby Aiono said she thinks breast-feeding is great, but she says there is a time and place for it.

“I probably would find a room where I can breast feed in private, also just because that’s my sort of personal body and I don’t want to expose that to the world,” she said.

LDS Church Spokesperson Scott Trotter released the following statement in response to the incident:

“Countless thousands of mothers have been accommodated in church for generations, simply by everyone observing common sense, discretion and respect. We have received no information about this incident.”

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