Let me lay some truth on you, cookie monster.

Just a quick reminder to those writing mormon.org.

A feminist cookie is the term for the reward some men seem to be seeking for saying or doing something feminist.  A man congratulating himself on very elementary good treatment of women (for example “I saw a pretty woman, and I didn’t yell at her or try and touch her!”) is especially likely to be ungently mocked for cookie seeking. Basic feminist behavior as essentially a matter of etiquette: it is not a cause for general congratulations and acclaim.

For example, a story I’ve shared previously comes to mind.  I was taking my Sydney-based team to a dinner, and one of the male managers couldn’t join us.  The director said, “Simon’s not coming tonight.  He’s babysitting.”  I thought that was a bit odd, so I said, “Whose kids is he babysitting?” wondering whom this 30-something man would babysit.  His nieces & nephews?  Neighbors’ kids?  The director said, “No, his own kids.”  I said, “Ah, I see.  I would call that parenting, not babysitting.”

From the church’s new mormon.org Mormonism 101 listing on the Priesthood:

Far from being domineering men (as they may sometimes be stereotyped), Mormon men are compassionate changers of diapers, homework helpers, kitchen mates, and advocates of mom’s night out.

the simpsons animated GIF
Thus said the Lord: “Okely-dokely”

First of all, who is stereotyping Mormon men as domineering?  I thought the stereotype was that Mormons in general were like Ned Flanders, sans the stache, hardly a candidate for a Mad Men walk-on.  So, this statement reads like “Hey, you know that way nobody thinks we are?  We don’t think we are that way either!”

When is the husband’s night out?  Oh yeah.  Whenever he wants because he’s not shackled to the kids.  A “night out” implies it is a special occasion, an unusual circumstance.

When women change diapers or help with homework or the kitchen, it’s expected.  When they don’t do it, it’s neglect.  When men don’t do it, it’s expected.  When men do it, they want a fricken Dad of the Year medal.  That’s what a feminist cookie is.  Apparently those in charge of mormon.org, who are ostensibly the proselyting arm of the church, consider this their target audience. [1]  Maybe they’re right.

As a younger, less excommunicated Kate Kelly put it, the church engages in romantic paternalism:

It is this same doublespeak that is used to simultaneously compliment and limit women in the church. . . . There is a cohesive and powerful message to women running throughout the church. You have a (wonderful, glorious) place, stay put! This message runs throughout the history (ahem, polygamy & the ERA) and modern role models provided for women.”

Praising your wife for “nurturing” is the polite way of saying “Make me a sammich!”  The reverse equivalent is when a wife disingenuously compliments her husband’s handyman skills so he will do some sort of home repair or physical task for her. “You’re so good at this sort of thing.  I’m all thumbs!”  Or when an employer says you are “so detail-oriented” and then makes you do all the detailed work [2].  You can hear the assigned task before they even finish the sentence, like shave and a haircut . . . [3].  We praise what we want more of, and sometimes we do it so we can get out of doing it ourselves.

While we’re talking about mormon.org, they’ve posted a new quiz called What’s Your Mormon IQ?  Go ahead and take it.  I’ll wait.

You’ll be happy to know that I got “Advanced” in my knowledge of Mormonism.  After 46+ years of it, I should hope so.  Nevertheless, the “quiz” is not really a quiz but a proselyting tool.  Clever.  After each “quiz” question, it explains the correct answer in the most positive spin possible, then asks if your own beliefs are similar.  The funny thing is, even if you answer “No” to every single question, the quiz will tell you that you have many beliefs in common with Mormons.  Just as all roads lead to Rome, all quiz questions lead to the waters of baptism.  In that vein, I’ve created my own snarkalicious version of this quiz:

  1. Do Mormons believe in equality of the sexes?
    • YES – You’re right!  Mormons consider men & women equal before God.  Wow, you have a lot in common with us.  Would you like to know more?
    • DEPENDS – You’re right!  Mormons see both men & women as equal, but performing different roles.  See, you are practically Mormon already.  Shall we send the missionaries over?
    • NO – You’re right!  Men & women have different roles, and men “preside.”  Do you prefer your baptismal water to be tepid or lukewarm?
  2. Do Mormons believe in the Bible?
    • YES – You’re right!  The Bible is very important to Mormons, and we study it regularly.  Like it says in the Bible, we must all be baptized.  Are you ready to schedule that yet?
    • DEPENDS – Right you are!  We believe in the Bible, but only so far as it is translated correctly.  Gee, you’re smart.  I bet you’d enjoy talking about your great ideas with the missionaries.
    • NO – Right again!  While we do see the Bible as important, we also believe it has errors in it, and that there are other books of scripture that are important.  We also believe that the words of living prophets trump the scriptures because they are for our time.  You really get us.  Ready to join?

I could go on, but you get the idea.  Now it’s your turn.

  • What quiz questions can you create?
  • What do the explanations on mormon.org say about us as a people and how we view men & women both inside and outside of the church?
  • Does it matter?  Are we as a church aiming for the cookie-seeking target audience anyway?


[1] Might I also suggest judgmental busybodies who like to tattle on others?

[2] “Oh, I’m no good at that stuff.  I’m much more of a strategy, big-picture [4] person.”

[3] two bits.

[4] e.g. daydreaming and delegating