Another push for Mormon women to wear pants to church

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A File photo of the LDS Church's Salt Lake City Temple.

SALT LAKE CITY — Mormon women are being encouraged to wear pants to church services this Sunday, in a statement to draw attention to women’s roles in the LDS faith.

This is the second year in a row that Mormon feminists have organized a “Wear Pants to Church Day.” The group has created a website outlining the events of December 15 — encouraging women to wear pants and supporters to wear purple.

“It kind of lets women experiment in a way that is maybe, not such high stakes, but they could show their support and solidarity for others in their congregation and you might not necessarily know who the allies, feminists and supporters are in your ward,” said Mary Ellen Robertson, the director of the Sunstone Symposium (and a participant in this Sunday’s demonstration). “This is a way to let everybody know.”

Organizers told FOX 13 they hope to highlight women’s roles in the patriarchal faith, urging them to be allowed greater duties. Some women have gone so far as to push for ordination within the priesthood.

Within the past year, they note, the first woman prayed at LDS General Conference.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said there is no rule that prohibits women from wearing pants to church, only that people dress modestly and respectfully. Supporters say the idea of women only wearing dresses is a cultural tradition that they hope to break.


  • John

    Just wondering if we can have a “Men wear Shorts to church Day” too. I mean, seriously, it’s the same thing, right? That way we can be casual and not have our pants tugging at us every two seconds. :) Or let’s do a “trade day” where men get to wear skirts. :) Any other takers?

    • katamb

      Ditto John! I’ve been to wards where a few women wear pants – and no big deal is made of it. But I’m trying to figure out what the real issue is. If these women would listen to talks from the last 3-4 General Relief Society Presidents they would know the Lord considers men and woman equal – we just have different roles.

    • Joanna Carroll

      If you want to wear a ‘skirt’ go to Scotland where manly men have always worn the kilt… and wimps and old men wore ‘trews’. Strange to note that the two most feared warriors are the Greek special ops ‘evzones’ and the Scots. and they both are known for not wearing ‘trews’.

  • Jennifer

    John, I couldn’t agree with you more! (And I’m a woman!) The way we dress shows our respect. It isn’t some oppressive, neanderthal tradition. 4 women wore pants to my ward last week. For most of them it was probably the best they had, That is all that is expected.

  • zincle

    Those that participate in this, just don’t get it and I feel very sad for them. It’s called “missing the mark”. Maybe try reading the scriptures and actually praying to understand them because if you did, you would spend your time doing things that actually matter rather than worrying about wearing pants or getting the priesthood!

    • Bartok

      Wow. I can feel the condescending tone just oozing here. So women who don’t want to be treated like second class citizens, and perhaps want a say in what goes on in the church just don’t read their scriptures and pray? Besides this is about much more than the priesthood, it’s about having equality, and having respect for this who are different than th majority. Please do your research .

  • Alex

    If some women find it necessary to wear pants and stand out and show themselves off then so be it. I mean lets be honest in most cases women wear the pants (not literally) in most relationships. I just find this whole group a joke and laugh at every time a news story is done about them. I especially enjoy seeing those followers in Sunday services wearing pants and think to myself that makes perfect sense that individual would wear pants to support this group.

  • Jim

    An interesting debate, where “some women have gone so far as to push for ordinance within the priesthood”. Those same women will bear their testimony on fast Sunday, proclaiming their absolute belief in the church teachings and principles, and their absolute commitment to follow those beliefs, teachings and principles, and at the same time, they demand to hold an office in the church, which has been prohibited by the scriptures and commandments, teachings and principles, to which they have given absolute allegiance. Its the same as perjuring themselves before God..

  • Wendy Haws

    I feel I’ve got plenty of responsibility and privilege in my role as a mother. I’ve always felt that was the most important calling I could ever have. I’m grateful that responsibility and privilege is on those that don’t get what I have. Why do we want to be a bunch of he/she’s anyway?

  • Roll on Floor Laughing

    Wow Fox 13, with all that is going around in the world, this is the only thing you can think of to write about? Ya’ll need some new reporters.

  • Hyrum_Justice

    Young men and women fighting in other parts of the world is what we define as news. This is not news. Fox13… all Mormon all the time. Fire the reporter(s) that insist that this must be news. It is not informative, but inflammatory by being so exclusive. Stop it.

  • Debra Jenson

    The comments I have seen here show two things: first, complete privilege in the church; and, second, a lack of charity. So many of you think it’s silly to wear pants or that it’s making a deal out of nothing. Well, let me tell you that when I wore pants to church I was called names and chastised. I was also called into my bishop’s office because others had complained to him. Just because you have not experienced a feeling of being different or outside at church doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    And to those of you who are calling these women to repentance or questioning their faith and testimonies, I would simply ask you to, in the words or President Uchtdorf, “Stop it.” You do not know us. You do not know our hearts. You do not know our relationship to our Heavenly Parents.

    How very sad, yet completely revealing, that your comments debase the idea of “Wear Pants to Church Day” while simultaneously demonstrating its need.

    • Kevin

      Debra, no one here is saying it’s silly to wear pants. In fact everyone has said that if that’s your sunday best, wear it! If people complained to your Bishop, that’s their problem. You do what you need to to show respect to the Lord and everyone else can deal with it.

      However, if this is some underlying need to prove some point to someone, then you are absolutely missing the entire point of the Gospel and YOU are the one who needs to do some soul searching to figure out why you’re attending church. The clothes on your body shouldn’t matter as much as what you’re learning and feeling.

      • Ryan

        Kevin, Debra’s experience demonstrates that this is not her problem. Her ward members had allowed a cultural norm to distance them from the gospel of love. If wearing pants to church does nothing more than provide a community with an opportunity to awaken to a deeper sense of love, then wearing pants to church is still something worth doing every week.

  • Tess

    @ Alex- who are YOU to judge another person because she wore pants to church? It is the judgmental LDS members like you that give people such a poor view of the LDS religion. You sit there with your self-satisfied judgements and think you know those people you judge. Take a good look at what your church teaches- compassion, kindness, tolerance. Are output a shining example of those teachings? Probably not. “Stop It”

  • Eric Anderson

    Nobody said you CAN’T, you idiots. How sheltered is your life that this is your “cause”?

    Grow up. Actual PROBLEMS exist in the world. You’re just looking for the easiest possible way to get attention.

  • Mungagungadin

    Eric, if being brought into bishops offices and threatened, having your calling or temple recommend threatened or taken…. I think that qualifies as someone saying “you can’t.”

    We aren’t looking for attention beyond having equal participation in the church.

    • Kevin

      Equal participation? Relief Society/Priesthood. Young Womens/Young Mens. Primary is all inclusive. Sacrament meeting is all inclusive. Scouts/Achievement Days. Visiting Teaching/Home Teaching. Women participate in everything I participate in, except very very rarely do I see them out shoveling the widows walkways when it snows and it’s 6 degrees outside. Would you like equal participation in that? Please give me your cell number and I can let you know when I need you to help participate in that.

      • Daniel Reynolds

        Heh, primary isn’t all-inclusive. I’m a man and I can’t teach a primary class without my wife as an escort. The rabid feminazis have decided that I’m a potential pedophile just because I am a man. How about some equality for men in the Church?

      • Bartok

        Men have to preside over the women in EVERY calling. Never the other way around . So yeah we get to have callings in the church, but men have to let us, and control every part of it.

    • Wendy Haws

      Maybe we’re not hearing the whole story. Bishops and Stake Presidents have to determine if a member sustains the prophet, and believes in the restored gospel. To outwardly oppose the Lord’s command that the priesthood is to be ordained on men, not women is probably the tip of the iceberg on your inner resentment and opposition to the principals and leaders of the church. It sounds like you are not at peace with the principals or leaders to be so angry.

    • Eric Anderson

      I’ve seen lots of women wearing dress slacks in Mormon churches and nobody even noticed, much less threatened punishment. Perhaps some Bishop got out of line, but that’s HIS problem. There is not, and has never been, a “no pants” rule. Sorry. Find something else to whine about.

  • AC

    This is all very silly – Utah silly. Having lived outside of Utah most of my life the practice of wearing pants to church wouldn’t even be questioned. The bottom line is that if the person was (is) in attendance to church that is seen as a good day.

    I find it disappointing to hear that some individuals are criticized or made to feel poorly because of their choice of dress to church. That is wrong. Everyone should be welcome regardless of dress to come to worship together. As a matter of respect for our Savior we are encouraged to dress in conservative nice clothes. That is a personal choice as to what I consider appropriate for Sunday worship.

    As a youth I remember the local farmers coming to services in their work clothes because once the Sacrament Meeting had ended they were back to their harvest (yes, the farmers, the greatest men I have had the honor of knowing, worked on Sunday). I don’t recall ever seeing or hearing anyone treat them as anything less than welcome and loved.

    I would encourage everyone to attend the church of their choice each and every week and make a conscious effort to welcome ALL those who come to worship.

    • Wendy Haws

      I don’t think pants is the issue. I think it’s a matter of respecting that this is the Lord’s church and He is the one that decides who has the priesthood, not a bunch of feminists. It’s also a matter of sustaining the prophet and believing he gets his authority through God, not through pressure from any group. I am so grateful to belong to a church that doesn’t change its belief system on the whims of public opinion.

      • Kevin

        Agreed. AND, Men and Women have different talents. There’s a reason that women cook and men set up tables and chairs when there’s a ward party. Not in every case, but quite often the women have the edge when it comes to cooking, and the men often have the edge when it comes to setting up 300 chairs and 18 tables. That’s just the way it is. The way the church is organized, we all have our assignments to help the work move along. Stopping and complaining about how someone else has it better is not going to be of any use to anyone. Put your shoulder to the wheel and do your part.

        I can’t even imagine having enough time on my hands to stop working in my Elders Quorum to watch the Relief Society to decide what I could complain about. It’s been said before and here it is again: Wear your sunday best out of respect to the Lord and his meetinghouse. If your best is levi overalls, please toss them on and come worship. If it’s some fancy dress, great. Pants? No problem. You choose to be offended. If the Bishop has a problem, contact the Stake Presidency to see how you should handle the Bishop. Worst case scenario, you might get a nice new dress on the church’s dime and YOU will receive blessings for putting on that dress and obeying your leaders even though they are being ridiculous. They will have to answer for that. If they were telling you to hurt someone, that would be different.

      • Bartok

        So what about blacks the priesthood? Or blood atonement? Yep the church never changed because of peoples opinions. Not at all.

      • Wendy Haws

        The blood atonement was no longer necessary because Jesus was the final sacrifice. After that we had the higher law of offering our broken heart and contrite spirit. As far as the blacks and the priesthood why don’t you read what the church has just addressed on that. I stick to my unshakable belief that the Lord is at the head of his church and He is not going to be ruled by popular belief. You obviously don’t comprehend God if you think he is that pathetically weak. I feel sad for you.

    • Lucy Loo

      It is Silly, I totally agree. I have been to some countries that the women only had pants to wear to church,such as Eastern Europe. But in my opinion, the entire issue is complete nonsense. Just a group of women kicking up dust and making huge issues out of nothing. No one in my ward would care if someone came in pants. But who would want to if you had a simple dress to wear instead? It’s about as much nonsense as my husband coming in my chevron skirt, just to prove a point. The point being a group of women who have some strange ideas trying to get others to jump on their band wagon. Just my opinion.

    • Eric Anderson

      It’s not even “Utah silly.” It’s not an issue in Utah either. Not that I’ve seen, and believe me I’ve been around a while.

      They’re just trying to trump up an issue where there isn’t one.

  • Shauna

    This is the Lords Church! He makes the rules. If the world changes the rules, The Lords rules still remain the same. Nobody ever said you could not wear pants to church. You should dress the way you want to be dressed to meet your Heavenly Father! These women would make a fuss about anything just to be “famous” Read your scriptures, Pray and you will receive answers to all your questions.

  • Tiffany

    I have this really vivid memory of learning, in the 3rd grade, about how the press was supposed to be unbiased. We had to write an unbiased article, to show we understood the concept. “Some women have gone so far as to push for ordination within the priesthood.” Seems this journalist could use that lesson.

    I wanted to also say, that all of these comments you are all leaving on here are reflections on yourselves, only. We really show our true colors on the interwebs, don’t we? I wonder if Father in Heaven will pull some of these fine Christian comments up, on judgement day? That would be entertaining.

      • Wendy Haws

        I seem to recall a conference talk where one of the apostles spoke on how the women’s movement has done more to liberate men than women. That whole talk really hit the mark. You may want to refer to it. After all, if you are member of the church you must believe the apostles are hand-picked by the Lord and we should follow their counsel. It just sounds, Mangagungadin, like maybe you have some unresolved anger towards men as a whole and maybe if you could soften your heart you could have peace. Men aren’t the enemy. Don’t let this issue keep you from all the peace the gospel has to offer. The priesthood is a blessing to all.

      • Brad

        Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t remember Jesus inviting any women to be ordained into the priesthood. It wasn’t “Joan the Baptist”. Being treated equally and having equal responsibilities is completely different. If we were meant to have equal responsibilities we would be created as asexual creatures who could both impregnate and conceive children and we would have matching levels of the various hormones. We are made differently intentionally for different purposes in life.

      • Wendy Haws

        Read Elder Christofferson’s talk in the last General Conference. If you will soften your heart and open your mind to what he is saying, I would think you would come to understand how significant and treasured women are in this church. I find nowhere else in this world where women are given the respect and revered like they are in our church. Our men are actually commanded to provide for ad protect their wives and children, not use and abandon them. One quote from his talk, “In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship.” This is a power given to women. Why wouldn’t it make sense that men are given the power of the priesthood, when women have the power of motherhood? I don’t understand the jealousy factor of women who feel cheated by not being ordained In the priesthood, when they are entitled to all the blessings the priesthood can give.

  • Andrea

    I’m glad I don’t live in Utah or anywhere out west. Where I live we have more important things to worry about!

  • JD

    If you don’t like the religion go start your own and leave them to there’s. You don’t have the right to ask them to change. If your Mormon and you’ve read the teachings you’d know what is expected. Educate your self and get a clue.

    • amycartwright

      JD, I suggest you educate yourself on this matter. The church has expressly stated that pants are just fine. This isn’t about changing doctrine, it’s about changing culture. Culture =/= doctrine.

      • Ryan

        JD, no one would participate in Wear Pants to Church Day if they didn’t like their religion. The point of the day is to highlight an opportunity for greater love to be developed within the community, to bring the community’s culture in line with its religion.

      • Wendy Haws

        I thought the whole point of this group trying to get women to wear pants to church and men to wear purple ties was an outward sign to protest that women don’t have the priesthood. So there is obviously some misunderstanding going on if some people are thinking it’s just because that’s all they have to wear and others believing it’s a statement protesting the church doctrine about women not being able to be ordained to the priesthood. I would say there’s a huge difference.

  • joanna

    the problem isn’t that these women want to wear pants to church, its that they want ALL the other women to wear pants to church. how about you dress how you want to and i dress how i want to and we’re both happy. what if i want to wear a skirt to church..does that make me anti woman? am i then somehow a betrayer of my gender? how ridiculous!

    • amycartwright

      Joanna, no one is asking all women to wear pants. It’s everyone’s choice what they wear to church. I’m wearing pants on Sunday so I can show that I’m a “safe person” should someone feel like they don’t fit or are excluded. No where on the event page will you see anyone telling anyone what to wear. That may be your interpretation, but it’s simply untrue. Enjoy your dress on Sunday with my blessing :)

  • David caudell

    I can’t believe the posts I am reading . I am in the Bishopric and never has there been a issue if woman can or can not come to church with pants. Heavenly Father only cares that you are attending church, There are wards in other countries that do not have the money for nice clothes and wear what they have. The important thing is be at church to learn the gospel and you will be blessed.

  • Audra

    There ARE a lot of cultural traditions that are not rooted in the doctrine. To think Christ would set restrictions on how one was to be dressed in order to approach Him – ridiculous. Please recognize, there are two separate issues here: drawing attention to cultural traditions that we SHOULD recognize as cultural [and not doctrinal] traditions, and professing to know better than a modern-day prophet. There are ways of doing things that have been divinely given – the Priesthood is not currently given to women. At the core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is seeking truth. Ask questions. Search it out for yourself. Respect others’ right to do that. And when it rings true, follow it.

  • Jane

    Following is the statement of the First Presidency of the Church made in June 1971 regarding women’s dress:

    “The Church has not attempted to indicate just how long women’s or girls’ dresses should be nor whether they should wear pant suits or other types of clothing. We have always counseled our members to be modest in their dress, maintaining such standards in connection therewith as would not be embarrassing to themselves and to their relatives, friends, and associates.

    “We have advised our people that when going to the temple they should not wear slacks or miniskirts, or otherwise dress immodestly. We have not, however, felt it wise or necessary to give instructions on this subject relative to attendance at our Church meetings, although we do feel that on such occasions they should have in mind that they are in the house of the Lord and should conduct themselves accordingly.”
    (Priesthood Bulletin, June 1971.)

    The Brethren who published this statement are prophets of God who are motivated by… a deep desire to assist us all to live happily and righteously.

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