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The other day, one of my friends posted an article from Tech Insider titled “This fearless Mormon feminist is doing something very brave and very dangerous.” I groaned inside, but took the bait and clicked the link anyway. As may have been expected from the title, the article ended up being a fairly sensationalized piece whose primary source was the Mormon feminist. I think one other individual was quoted and even then, just once. I don’t quite consider myself a journalism professional, but having had five years of news-writing experience, I was pained by the lack of professionalism and credibility exhibited by the writer of this piece. It bothered me more than the “very brave and very dangerous” feminist did.
After reading the post, I scrolled to the comments, hoping to see that someone was clearing up misconceptions, biases, and mistruths this article showcased. What I saw angered me in a different way. There were your typical “MORMONS ARE A CULT!! DON’T BUY INTO THEIR FAIRYTALE GOD!!!” comments. There were your typical “Mormon leadership is a bunch of greedy white males trying to build shopping malls from your holy money” comments. But the comments that bothered me the most came, surprisingly, from members of the church. These commenters attempted to defend their beliefs, but before doing so, almost every single one of them began their comments with a variation of the following phrase:
“If you don’t like the church, why don’t you just leave it?”
I cannot begin to number the times I have heard this phrase used by members in their attempts to defend the church. I’ve read Letters to the Editor telling opinion writers that they should get out of Utah if they don’t like the Mormon influence. I’ve read comments on Facebook following the Ordain Women movement that told women who think they’re being treated unfairly to just leave and start their own church...