Excerpts from presenting the trailer for An Unruly Faith at Sunstone Symposium, 2017

You know those moments when you have an awakening and you remember every detail of the moment because it is so altering for you?  I had that moment reading Sonia Johnson’s book, “From Housewife to Heretic” about her support of Equal Rights Amendment for Women, and her excommunication from the Mormon church because of it. She wanted to bear her testimony in her ward right around the time she was excommunicated. She wanted to thank her friends and say goodbye to the ward. And they wouldn’t let her.  When she stood to speak they blocked her and made her sit down. I was in my parents green station wagon when I read that, my mom was driving. I was wearing a white dress with little pink and blue flowers on it that I had sewn for an MIA project. It was late afternoon and the sun was bright and in our eyes.  It was my first awareness of gender inequality in the Mormon Church…

In 2008, when I learned of the church’s involvement with Prop 8, my shelf broke and I stopped practicing Mormonism.  That upheaval to my marriage and family and friendships and social structure left me incredibly broken and lonely. Counseling, hard family conversations and time kept my marriage and family together and a few friendships intact… 

Then, one Sunday afternoon, when I was sitting at home alone while my family was at church, I had another one of those clear moments. I was in my bedroom, sitting in our green oversized chair wearing a black cotton dress and thought out loud “I want to make a film”.

In February 2014, I was online and read about a woman, Kate Kelly, who had started a group called Ordain Women. They had organized a march on Temple Square the previous October to ask to attend the temple session. My first thought was “this is not a typical Mormon woman”.  I found Kate’s contact info and called her. Very nervously I asked if I could follow her with a camera. She said yes…

Kate did not get word about her excommunication the night her court was held. As scheduled, my crew and I went to the OW board meeting to film. We filmed for the hour we had agreed upon and I was sensing we should wrap it up but I couldn’t bring myself to stop it so we filmed a few more minutes. At the same time, my DP, a Muslim Senegalese man, felt a voice telling him not to take the camera off Kate. His camera had four minutes of battery left. At that moment Kate received her excommunication email. We had one camera directly on her and another side camera on her. It’s a very strange experience to be devastated by the events you are thrilled to be capturing on film.