I recently met with a friend who, like me, is no longer a practicing Mormon. She watched the trailer for my film about Kate Kelly and the Ordain Women movement, gave me some fundraising tips, and encouraged my work. Near the end of the meeting, she paused and looked at me and asked: Why are you making this film? You’re no longer a practicing Mormon, you can move on from the religion, you can forget about Mormon issues and enjoy life.
I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about her question and periodically asking myself out loud “yeah, why AM I making this film?” But eventually I always come back to the reasons why I am driven to tell this story. Here they are:
I’m making this film because the journey of Kate Kelly is a great story.
I’m making this film because women in Mormonism are not equal and my film shows this inequality.
I’m making this film because I love story, I love film, and I love questioners.
I am also making this film because gender inequality was the primary issue that led me to faith transition out of Mormonism.
I am making this film because, though I hate confrontation, I hate injustice more.
I am making this film because of all the Mormon women, in and out of Mormonism, who struggle with gender equity.
I am making this film because my daughter is a young Mormon feminist and I want to do my part in making Mormonism more fitting for her.
I am making this film because, though I am no longer a practicing Mormon, I have a great affection for many Mormon people, especially Mormon women.
I am making this film because I believe there are many devout Mormon women who will probably hate my film but who unknowingly suffer from the inequality that exists within Mormonism.
I am making this film because I can’t stop. When fundraising goes dry, when I don’t get a grant, when someone criticizes my work and all seems futile, something at my core drives me to continue.
I am making this film because when I watched the first draft of my trailer, not even 30 seconds into the six-minute piece, I cried. Cried because of all the times my dad told me to question authority, cried because of all the frustration I have felt as a Mormon woman, cried because of all the years I needed to express that frustration, cried because finally I was telling a story of a woman confronting inequality in Mormonism.
I am making this film because while presenting my film at the Sunstone Symposium this past summer, I had a moment where I paused and reflected on the work I was doing. And I thought, if I were here at this conference, watching someone else doing what I am doing right now– up here talking about this film about this Mormon activist, having no experience and little support and doing it anyway - I would be so jealous. Jealous that I did not have the nerve or the confidence or the patience to make this very documentary.
I am making this film because it needs to be made and I want to be the one to make it.