What would valuing women as equals look like in the LDS church?
I’ve had some people ask my opinion about that question. Until now, I’ve yet to actually share an opinion, because I either get cut off with
“I’ve never seen anything more stupid”
“Well duh (or something similar)”
I’m going to share the following comment and ask what you think and why.
Relief society presidency for the entire Church chooses and calls its own board.
Relief society has equal membership on the general church correlation committee. (So if there are six members, three are women chosen by the relief society and three are men, if eight members, then 4&4, etc).
Relief society administers a budget equal to the priesthood and scouting budget.
Relief society writes its own visiting teaching messages.
“Teachings of” manuals alternate between male and female subjects/authors rather than men only year after year.
The same is true for the monthly lessons taught from conference talks and Ensign articles. They alternate month to month between male and female speakers.
That is what a church looks like that considers women equal and valuable.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree and why? Do you think the answer is obvious? If so, why?
Does this mean at a fireside I attended last night when the 70 opened it up for questions and answers he should of cut it off after 4 women asked questions and only 2 men and said I am only going to take the next 2 questions from men until we have an equal number of questions from both the men and the women? Or…Would it still be considered equal when he answered next two women’s questions without taking a question from the men because he saw their hands first?
Well this certainly would be equality (ie treating everyone the same) but is it actually equitable (getting the same outcomes for everyone)? Probably not.
It think was is less important than who speaks (those this is important) but what they speak about. We should have talks and ensign articles that focus on what matters to men, women and children in equal amounts.
Shouldn’t YW get the same budget as scouting? Or is the implication that RS would administer over YW?
That is a good start, but even that would take a generation or two for it to fully get down to the wards and branches. In fact I think the RS pres should be in charge of more (some bishops duties transferred). I think you were getting at it but to be specific – the YW budgets be equal to the YM budgets.
We should have a few less placing women on a pedistool type talks. Praise of women- absolutely!! But more genuine praise for more “real” things.
Does this mean a straw man argument?
I’m really curious why people react to this particular line of thought with either: “that is so dumb” or “that is so obvious” rather than anything else.
Btw, here is the Facebook thread with a comment from a focus group member:
“This doesn’t answer your question, but it shed some light on the role of men (and women) in the church for me. I recently had the chance to attend a focus group led by Elder Holland.
I asked him about the inclusion of female aux leaders on the general councils of the church and other efforts to make our female leaders more visible. He brought up an interesting perspective. He pointed out that general authorities are full time i.e. church service is their job. They transition from career in the world to career in the church.
He said something to the effect of “General Authorities, we’re a dime a dozen – when I die, they’ll roll me over and call someone new. But these women are volunteers, and they’re overworked as it is. Perhaps we should have called them to boards sooner, but we were hesitant to add their already overflowing plates.” This was an interesting perspective I had never considered. It was so clear to me that the exclusion of the female voice, while very real, has not been intentional or malicious…it is just the way the cookie has crumbled in a church whose structure is male-oriented. I’m grateful progress is happening, albeit slow.
Erik– that is a good question. Obviously the original author didn’t think it through completely.
Elsie– good point about the difference between equity/fairness and other concepts.
Mark– good question. Have you ever been in a mixed group church where women got to ask more than 20% of the questions? That would be fascinating to see.
Happy Hubby — excellent that local practice doesn’t necessarily follow church headquarters.
I think it has to start in the temple and go from there, otherwise it just seems like concessions being made and not real equality. (But I love your ideas! )
I agree with Q. Without addressing inherent inequalities in our understanding of gender at the doctrinal level, these will be meaningless surface gestures. So my gut reaction is more along the lines of “This is stupid” because the problem is deeper than just how many men versus women are sitting at the table.
I was in a situation a couple nights ago where we had an equal amount of men and women sitting at the table. A woman was conducting. An older guy and I (we have equivalent callings in different wards) were having a disagreement and he dismissed my argument in part because of church authority issues. There’s more to equality than just visible numbers.
I don’t think that’s quite what the author was getting at. I think they were addressing the patriarchy in LEADERSHIP, not in members. The author is looking for equality and equity in our leaders, so women have a better representation and their needs are addressed in a real way by women.
It may be hard to believe, but women aren’t highlighted in this church on a regular basis. We believe that women are important yet their voices are continually silenced by non-representation.
Re: the E. Holland focus group quote: gag. “General Authorities, we’re a dime a dozen – when I die, they’ll roll me over and call someone new. But these women are volunteers, and they’re overworked as it is. Perhaps we should have called them to boards sooner, but we were hesitant to add their already overflowing plates.” –this is the definition of pedestalization. To avoid overburdening women, maybe they could call a few more than THREE to spread the load.
I like the suggestions in your list, but there are so many more needed for true systemic change and equality. For starters, there needs to be hierarchical authority of the women’s organizations: the RS Gen Pres needs to have authority over a group of female…70’s? or equivalent who need to have authority over stake RS pres who need to have authority over ward RS Pres. The way it is now, there is no continuity of authority: the bishop is over the ward RS pres, and the SP is over the Stake RS pres.
For women to be seen as equals, they need to be given authority over men as well, not just over other women/children. A woman should give a talk in the priesthood session of conference, just as a man speaks in the women’s session. We should have approximately equal talks in general conference and stake conference and high council sundays and sacrament meetings by men vs. women.
Women should be able to preside over/conduct their own meetings.
Women should be addressed by appropriate titles (e.g. “President”).
Women should be able to conduct or at least sit in on worthiness interviews of YW or RS sisters.
Women should be able to serve as witnesses, as Sunday School presidents and ward clerks and ward mission leaders.
The covenants women and men make in the temple should have parity. Women should be permitted to pray in the ceremony and to check recommends.
Women should be encouraged to follow their own life/career path, not feel forced to fit into narrow gender roles.
Women should be able to give blessings to their children and others as they were once able to.
Women should participate in the decision making process (not just the input-giving process) on every level.
The rhetoric around modesty, body shaming, and sexual gate-keeping should be changed to reflect that both women and men experience desire/pleasure and all are accountable for their own thoughts and actions regardless of how someone else is dressed.
Bishops will be trained in how to deal with victims of abuse (disproportionately women/children) and how to avoid/recognize victim-blaming.
Oh my gosh I have so many more, but I’ll stop for now.
Mary Ann– you make a good point. ElleK — you touch on all the reflections. But I think Mary Ann is on to something about why the ideas are inherently dumb as the wrong level of change.
R– I hadn’t thought of your approach either which is that if the people claiming women were so spiritually powerful really believed it, then they would be listening to them and having them teach men.
Mark–I’m curious what the questions and answers were you heard.
Q– I like the thought that somethings look like concessions or pandering and not equality because of basic structures. Especially when there was early debate over those points that was resolved not by revelation but by a basic appeal to the bottom line belief that women were inferior.
If we embrace equality then perhaps that discussion should be revisited.
Gender isnt about equality, its about complimentation and meshing. For instance- could we properly ask why women shouldnt be as physically strong as men, or yave the same body parts as man? Or even the opposite- shouldnt man be as soft and gentle voiced as woman or have the same body parts as woman?
Equality is impossible based on our gender differences. At best, we just compliment each other in our strengths and weaknesses and mesh together as one having one voice in all things even though the physical traits of each gender are stronger or weaker in comparison in all things to the opposite gender. As such, the needs of each gender in the church are met in differing manner. As someone brought up- YM abd YW budgets the same. YM budget comprises in large part frequent outdoor hands on training whereas YW do not require large $ resources with frequent outdoor hands on training. Equality in this would be absurd. It would mean taking 12-13 year old girls into the woods to act and behave like men doing and learning man skills while 12-13 year old boys learn how to properly put on makeup and sew dresses. Its thus absurd!
There isnt such a thing as equality in the church, nor can there be such. Even in regards to the priesthood, no equality could exist. How does that work- Mary baptizing Jesus? Or, the twelve apostles being half women, half men, traveling in the wilderness creating akward sleeping and bathing arrangements? Do they still travel if they are heavy with child and continue to work long hours adminstering to the sick and afflicted just as the men in the group? Do we make them baptize the same equal amount as the men so that things remain equal?
Oh I’m so with ElleK on that Elder Holland quote. I barely know where to begin with all the problems it represents…
How about …
Are the men not also volunteers?
What is it that’s making the women so busy?
Wouldn’t the men also be busy otherwise?
And yes… the numbers… more than 3 would be a great idea!!!!!
I differ with ElleK on some of the other stuff though. I don’t think separation helps. Whilst we’re stuck with separate organisations for men and women then I do feel very much that the General RS / YW presidencies boards seem to be consistently undermined by the male GA’s (see my post on the European Women’s conference, which mentions this). It urks me no end that in both the sisters’ conference session and the general sessions the women are not mentioned by name, when many of the men are; this is particularly egregious in the sister’s session! I’d really like to see a mix of men and women working together on all issues. I’m not saying it has to be 50:50; but until it becomes the norm for men and women to work together as people first in a church setting (rather than men or women first) then the numbers will need to be looked at!
Interesting. I’m not aware of “man skills” learned from paramilitary theme park experiences that generally go into modern life.
Rob — Most scouting no longer teaches real camping skills.
Most men do no wilderness survival day to day.
The other skills seem to benefit everyone.
Hedgehog– that was a thoughtful comment.
Though if you think of young women needing only to learn how to put on makeup you might be identifying something.
For myself– I think analyzing the proposed changes doesn’t get us very far as I don’t see them connecting — I do not get the sense that proposals circulating on the outside get any interest v
On the other side I do think we can learn a lot by how people react to such things and why they have the reaction they have.
I’ve learned more from the reactions than I ever did from the proposal.
I’m curious what other readers think –and why– as well.
I agree with several others that the temple experience is key. The most profound moments in an LDS woman’s life are cluttered with language and ritual that subordinates her to a non-existent, or soon-to-be, or existing husband. Let’s change that and see what God inspires us – male and female – – to do next.
That’s not to say that other changes wouldn’t be welcome or good. I just think we need a foundational shift in how we see each other.
@Rob “YM budget comprises in large part frequent outdoor hands on training whereas YW do not require large $ resources with frequent outdoor hands on training. Equality in this would be absurd. It would mean taking 12-13 year old girls into the woods to act and behave like men doing and learning man skills while 12-13 year old boys learn how to properly put on makeup and sew dresses. Its thus absurd!”
Ever heard of Girl Scouts? Or 4-H? ‘Man things’ is not a thing, unless you have a penis and its referred to as standing to pee, and even then…..
As @Elsie pointed out, there’s a difference between equal treatment and equitable outcomes. I think it’s an important talking point when it comes to discussing ‘equality’. Every religious conservative likes to point out the non-guarantee of equal outcomes… I personally would like to see equal OPPORTUNITY, regardless of outcomes. Of note here is that changes in opportunity often lead to changes in outcomes, and I suspect the church knows this, thus their reluctance to make significant changes at the opportunity level.
And yes, one might generalize that women and men tend to have different types of skill sets, or approach things differently (brute strength vs. communicating problem solving for example), but even were this a truism, who cares? If there are two ways to do something, why shouldn’t they both be represented? Or why not the woman’s way be allowed to be better and go with that instead? Why is everyone so threatened by something that might be different…?
I think Ruth is right. We need a foundational shift. In fact, we need several:
1. Recognize that the temple teaches that women are inferior and change that language. The endowment ceremony has been used since the beginning as a reason to subjugate women.
2. Stop making women responsible for men’s sexual behavior. “Modesty” as currently taught (still, in the 21st century!) focuses almost solely on women. From YW lessons on dress, covering one’s self, etc., to the pedestalizing of women’s “virtue” to the incredibly damaging and wrong things the Miracle of Forgiveness says about sexuality in general and sexual assault in particular, we’ve simply got to stop. We should also lighten up about sex in general, btw, but I don’t want to threadjack here.
3 . Give women the priesthood. The way we prevaricate about “oh, women have the priesthood in equal partnership through marriage” is simply absurd. Women cannot give blessings, cannot bless and pass the sacrament, cannot, in fact, ever share equally in leadership positions. And the defenses of denying women the priesthood take such tortuous twists of logic that it would be incredibly amusing were it not for the fact that the priesthood is still used to keep women in a subordinate position. (see Rob Osborn’s post above for a good example of this)
4. Stop using motherhood and the notion that women are “naturally” more spiritual and nurturing than men to keep women in a subordinate position. This would also require repudiating the Proclamation on the Family. That document has done more to keep women “in their place” than anything else the church has done for a long time. We really need to lose the rigid way we think about gender roles. What’s wrong with saying something like, “Hey, family is important and all parents should do all they can to care for and raise their children. It’s up to you to determine how best to do that.” Simple, to the point, and it keeps gender politics out of it.
Stephen Marsh, you’ve done some great posts lately. You’re on a roll.
What is the relevance of an equal number of men and women sitting at a table presided over by a man? Equality in the church looks like a female President, prophet seer and revelator. Equality will simply not exist prior to this achievement because of the bias of men.
I don’t understand why the women’s top leadership positions are unpaid. Is their time worth less than a paid General Authority? Is the work they do less valuable? Or is it because the women called to these positions are all married to wealthy men, and have not had to work or had professional experience? I agree with ElleK…I’m sure if they looked hard enough, they could find plenty of qualified women to share the load.
Does anyone have access to an organizational chart that shows the structure/make-up of the operating committees of the church?
You’ve unwittingly made the case for more women in church leadership through your reductive portrayal of the young women of this church. Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.
Stephen, my gut reaction to the Holland quote was the same as Hedgehogs and ElleK’s.
It’s using a valid argument based on how things are currently run (inequitably) to justify keeping it that way and not addressing the larger problem.
I’ve run into this scenario at church before with women’s issues.
Pedastaling/Benevolent Patriarchy all in one.
Also, it’s my understanding that one of the General Primary Presidency members (prior to the most recent presidency) was released from her calling because her husband was being called as a mission president.
If that’s true, I can’t impress enough how disheartening that is as a female member of the church. Apparently general female leadership is steal beat out by local mission presidency?
Feminists moaning and groaning about gender equity are unwittingly advocating for the abolition of the family. The foundation of a free society.
Oh Mark, you’re so silly!
I agree that there will absolutely be no real equality in the church until we flesh out female exaltation. Pretty much every discussion of exaltation applies to men, and we as women just hope that we get the good stuff too. Our core doctrines are still centered around the idea that a man will become a God and a myriad of women will be his silent tools used to repopulate planets. We can deny this as much as we want, but all the revelation we’ve had on exaltation uses this idea as it’s basis.
I hit send to early on my comment. As long as there is an underlying idea that a woman’s ultimate goal is childbirth, then no one will ever take anything else she does seriously.
I was trying to explain to my husband how demeaning it is that the thing that the Church finds the very most important about me (having babies) is something that my body does without much input from me. There is no force of will, no moral power, no superior goodness that will make me better or worse had pregnancy and childbirth.
All the good things I do and talents that I possess mean absolutely nothing in a doctrine that assumes my purpose is to have children that my husband will then raise, without me.
Pete, from what I can tell none of the Auxiliary presidencies are paid: RS, SS, YW, YM, and Primary. It has more to do with the nature of the relationship between the Auxiliaries and the main Priesthood quorums rather than explicitly men versus women.
At what point does paid priesthood ‘service’ cross over into priestcraft territory? I understand that the compensation is considered a ‘stipend’ and not a salary, but to me that’s just semantics.
Why is priesthood work compensable but not auxiliary leadership?
“Why is priesthood work compensable but not auxiliary leadership?”
For the same reason that only men can be seminary teachers in places like Utah where it is a paid position, but women can be seminary teachers everywhere else where it is volunteer work. It is ok if women work outside the home as long as they don’t get paid for it. As soon as they get paid for it, they are no longer financially dependent.
After I hit post, I realized my last comment was overly cynical. I’m not sure whether what I said is true or not, but sometimes it seems really true.
Pete, that’s a very common discussion that I don’t have much interest in. But googling “general authority” “priestcraft” “stipend” will take you to a lot of discussion.
I was merely pointing out that the career vs. volunteer distinction should more properly be placed at the priesthood vs. auxiliary level.
EBK, I haven’t done any research, but I’m fairly positive that your description in #35 isn’t accurate. Even though it may feel like it is. 😉
The boy scout program is completely different than girl scouts. Its not a pissin contest. Boy scouts is a program that helps boys learn to become men and take reponsibility for being the main breadwinners in families. Generally, in a traditional family, the husband is the main financial provider. As such, more money/resources have been used to get him that training needed to be successful. Of course we dont live in a perfect world and not every person is going to fit the mold but in the church, boys and girls are generally taught the traditional family roles and as such budgets are going to be lopsided towards YM program in hopes that the added money allocated towards the program is used to better prepare young men to being the main breadwinner in their future family. If we had to evenly split the budget in terms of “equality” boys would learn less and be less prepared to be good providers and husbands and fathers while YW would only slightly capitalize on the margins as a productive gain (the few who dont fit the traditional mold) who do not marry and become a main breadwinner.
Sorry about the threadjack about priestcraft…not trying to pick a fight. Just trying to tease out the difference why administering ‘auxiliary’ programs is not compensable.
EBK, they finally changed the ridiculous rule about mothers of children under 18 not being eligible to be paid CES teachers (but could be employed as secretaries).
LDS women with children now eligible for full-time seminary, institute jobs
Modesty in general is a girl problem more than a boy problem because of the way the world has sexualized women as sex objects and created imodest clothing for women way more so than for men. The church has countered to try to bring modesty back to women so that they are not viewed as sex objects. We all know what a hooker looks like and what that look represents-sex. I have seen far too many women dress and act in like manners at church but then complain that guys stare at them. Its all conditioning. Its not the Lords way for women to dress and represent Babylon at church or in everyday life. Dress modestly and dont fall into the trap of trading virtue for being a worldly sex object.
There was a couple. The first one was how was the prophet? I should say this was asked by a man on the first row who can 90 minutes before the meeting started so he could ask. Also the two women who raised there hands right after he did declined to ask a question ( am assuming they had the same question and that is why they did not ask a question when given the opportunity…not sure how to tally those who were given an opportunity but did not ask a question.) The answer is the Prophet comes to work every day. He conducts the meeting and actively takes part in their meetings on Thursday. One of his problems is he has diabetes and it is hard from him to walk.
The second question I remember was what countries do we not have missions. Long answer but he highlighted that we have a regular operating mission in Turkey and that we have missionary couples in some sort of capacity in most countries. Examples were North Korea where they are working on farming projects with on going discussion. Uzbekistan where we are helping them organize their records. He commented that we have 40+ missionaries from China proper though no active teaching missionaries.
There was a very technical question asked by a women wanting to understand why the data bases used for genealogy gave so many false positives and why some of the corrections made in the data base did not stay. The 70 did not know the answer. Two questions later he called on a person who explained the technical problem about data bases talking to each other and when the the problem would be resolved. But what would you expect when 20% of the people attending work in the high tech field.
There was a question about sealing ordinances and who is sealed to who. He answered it by answering the question the same way that an Apostle answered it when they were in the south pacific. He said we often look at our children and see them as being in our hut and worried about our hut. Sometimes we need to understand there is a larger hut we need to be concerned about and that is being in Heavenly Father’s Hut. The local Temple Matron and President offered to answer the question in more detail if they wanted to come to the temple.
There is more but I do not want to be side tracked from this conversation about equality.
If I apply what I am reading does this mean if I have 4 children and one needs braces for their teeth they should all get braces. If the first one gets braces for 24 months then the others should have them for 24 months weather they need them longer or shorter? Or do I go back to the first one and say you need to have them on another 6 months because one of the other children needs to have them on longer and I don’t want to treat you any different?
What do you think?
Maybe a good place to start would be to drop the ‘auxiliary’ designation for Relief Society, YW, YM, Primary and Sunday School.
I hear what you’re saying. But what about that young woman when she becomes a young wife? And what happens to that wife when she becomes the victim of domestic violence and is forced to separate from her spouse? What if her husband dies or divorces her, flees and leaves her with six kids and doesn’t pay child support? Or what if they stay married and he succumbs to some devastating medical condition or permanent disability and can no longer work?
Traditional roles are all well and good until sh00p hits the fan.
Every young woman needs to have the skills (fresh job skills) to earn a *living* wage at any time just in case real life shows up and she is FORCED to become the primary breadwinner.
I speak from personal experience.
Just something to think about.
Mark A Marsh,
You have yet to bring up a valid counter argument. Everything you’ve said so far is a straw man.
In regards to your comment about the church trying to keep women from being treated as sexual objects.
I’m an active 39 year old woman, divorced single mother, because of domestic violence issues that went unresolved several years ago. I hold an active temple recommend. I’m not ashamed of my body, my curves, my hair, my eyes or anything else about me that makes me feel “pretty.”
I can dress in a way that a “hooker” dresses and still come across very classy, with demeanor and grace by the way I hold myself. People only treat me like a “sex object” if I portray myself that way and allow others to treat me as such.
Women and young girls should not be feel to be punished or ashamed of our bodies just because the overall tone of the church makes you feel that normal healthy sexual feelings are bad.
I’m glad I was convert to the church and didn’t grow up in an oppressive culture. My active temple recommend holding boyfriend loves it when I dress myself up because I feel pretty and he definitely likes it when I portray my sexuality with class, grace and chastity.
Food for thought.
Rob, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any teachings that the purpose of the YM (scouting) and YW programs are to prepare boys and girls for their future money making potential.
If you take the tradiitonal roles that you are descrbing as the “ideal” then what you are saying is that more resources should be allocated to boys because they will be breadwinners. Unequal allocation of resources (money) in this sense communicates that being a breadwinner is more important and worthy of training than being a wife and mother. What if the resources were allocated equally? We’d be communicating that both of those are equally important. And then all of those platitudes in conference talks about just how marvelous and important the work we women do in the home is would be backed up by some real resources.
For the record, my own personal views on the traditional roles as being idea probably vary from your own views, and is magnified in the way we run our household, to our preference. But I really don’t see any justfiable reason that the programs shouldn’t have equal funding, regardless of the ideology.
Not to mention the insane frustration it is for not only women, but also girls when they see such an obvious discrepency in funding. I can tell you from experience that this can cause harm to the self esteem of a young woman when she becomes aware of it.
Rob — you need to rephrase your first sentence in comment #40: “Modesty in general is a girl problem more than a boy problem because of the way MEN have sexualized women as sex objects and created imodest clothing for women way more so than for men” [My change in caps]. When a man gets aroused looking at a woman it is his fault/problem/concern. Full stop. You can and should choose to look away, no matter what she is or isn’t wearing. Men are staring at women because they haven’t been told enough to STOP LOOKING! Instead, they hear that it is not their fault, that she should have changed her clothes. If he can’t handle what she is wearing, it is his issue. Blaming someone else is exactly what the parable of the mote in the eye is about, and it is one of the largest issues relating to gender equity in the Church [well, really the world].
How about we teach boys and men to respect women and control their thoughts and actions regardless of what they are wearing. Wouldn’t that be cool? Perhaps the “greater law?”
If that becomes the norm in society (broken families) our society fails. Success in society relies heavily upon the traditional family to work and as such we should invest in that ideaology. Our society will fail if the general traditional family becones a minority.
I would like to define “duh.” Duh means that of course every office and calling in the Church would be open to women, including Apostle and President of the Church. By the same token, it would mean all offices and callings would be open to men, including Primary president and Relief Society president. It would mean that women could preside over men at every level of the organization.
Unless, of course, you want to play semantics and give equality a meaning that doesn’t really have anything to do with equality. We do that a lot as we try to dance around uncomfortable issues in the Church.
I will just say this- I certainly am not going to let my daughter dress like a hooker and go out in public. Its not proper
Ive been involved with the youth programs of the church for almost 20 years and I know without doubt that the lopsided budgets are for the very purpose of helping boys become productive fathers and stabalizing family structure. Call it what you will but when budgets get cut on the boys side to equalize the programs all you get is less productive men in society and broken homes. Ive seen it firsthand.
So… related to Mark’s argument. Splitting things evenly 50/50 just doesn’t make sense if you really want women’s voices to be heard.
Take the 2012 BYU study about gender inequality in small group participation. When women are outnumbered in a group that is based on majority rule, they will not speak up as much as they should based on their proportional representation (so, if you have a woman and four men together in a group, she won’t be using up near the 20% of the time you’d expect). Once you switched to unanimous rule, though, the women were better about speaking up and taking their proportional share. The recommendations of the study: When women are outnumbered by men, use unanimous rule; when women are a large majority, decide by majority rule. To avoid the maximum inequality, avoid groups with few women and majority rule. To minimize male advantage, assemble groups with a supermajority of women and use majority rule. To maximize women’s individual participation, gender homogeneous groups are best.
Click to access karpowitz_mendelberg_and_shaker_apsr.pdf
According to the study, then, a surface 50/50 split would NOT, in fact, provide any sort of equality in representation of gender views. Unless we were determining things on unanimous rule, which is unusual in the church.
Brother Sky (re #4) This is something I can never understand! If women are more spiritual then they should rule over and lead the men. If women are more spiritual then the men should covenant to (obey) hearken to them. That is the only thing that makes sense if women truly are more spiritual. But, if we believe that all are alike unto God, then neither sex should rule over the other.
But following your logic you are devaluing the girls’ futures, especially considering that the boys would have increased training in college/vocational school/on the job training. This would be the only training for the girls if they get married right out of high school.
What if we kept the exact same funding for the boys and just elevated the girls funding to the same number? The scouting program is developed and successful. Shouldn’t we have something equal to that for the girls?
Or is the idea that they SHOULD be lopsided, regardless of the numbers, because that reinforces the importance of males over females?
Side note, my husband and I share nurturing and breadwinning responsibilities so neither feels overburdened. Not sure if that’s what you’re referring to by “broken families” but we’re doing pretty great!
Rob, I don’t think anyone here is advocating for your daughter dressing ‘like a hooker’. Nobody here is trying to break up families or destroy society.
This discussion is about possible structural changes to remove cultural stumbling blocks that have traditionally limited women from exercising authority, leadership and participation in the church. All members, male and female, benefit when women use their diverse talents and abilities to serve in the church.
One more thing, Rob.
When I moved to my current ward my VT told me our ward was exceptionally active. She said that in the past 10 years all but just a couple of boys have served missions. Also, there have been a number of teen pregnancies, and the ward really rallied around those girls!
I don’t think she saw the irony there. Perhaps that’s another result of lopsided ward budgets.
You are correct. If broken families become the norm, society falls. I completely agree with you. However, what I was trying to point out is that there is very much valid reason to teach women to be breadwinners just as much as the men because despite the best intentions of promoting the ideal, sh00p happens. 🙂
It’s wisdom and logistics. I’m not one of the women who had “family” to help her or a “church” to rely on during that time. Now I have my own job, my education, my own money, etc…I own it. I would have loved to have had a traditional family, but I don’t get to have that. I had to survive and so my opinion may be quite biased.
And the “look of a hooker” can have several definitions and perceptions, Rob depending on how you were raised, where you raised and what you were exposed to. I also do not let my daughter dress like a “hooker.” But what does that really mean? A woman can have similar clothing to a “hooker” but not act like one. Again it’s about grace, chastity and respect…not about whether or not her shoulders are showing.
A woman is only treated like a sex object if she portrays herself that way and allows others to treat her that way. I’m proud to be installing confidence in my daughter (as well as martial arts!) and respect in my son.
I appreciate your stance on the traditional family Rob. I’m not bashing you, just trying to bring a different (real) perspective in as all. I want the young women I know to be prepared for anything, yet be able to enjoy and embrace the traditional family if they are able. If they aren’t even through no fault of their own, then they will be able to survive.
Sorry for thread-jacking. It just touched a nerve and I had to engage in healthy dialogue to make the perspective known.
If people are going to bicker about the purposes of YM/YW, let’s just put out the Handbook definitions so we can all get on the same page.
Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood (not referred to as Young Men’s, obviously)
1. Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live by its teachings.
2. Serve faithfully in priesthood callings and fulfill the responsibilities of priesthood offices.
3. Give meaningful service.
4. Prepare and live worthily to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and temple ordinances.
5. Prepare to serve an honorable full-time mission.
6. Obtain as much education as possible.
7. Prepare to become a worthy husband and father.
8. Give proper respect to women, girls, and children.
Purposes of the YW Organization:
1. Strengthen her faith in and testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
2. Understand her identity as a daughter of God.
3. Be worthy by obeying the commandments and living gospel standards.
4. Receive, recognize, and rely on the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
5. Prepare for her divine roles as a daughter, wife, mother, and leader.
6. Understand and keep her baptismal covenants.
Exactly, Mary Ann.
I see nothing on that list about preparing folks to make money.
I’m mostly out of Internet service right now as I’m hiking with my wife on a vacation she suggested. The snow quit so the rain isn’t so bad.
Mark–I think that if you have a thousand kids and give those who need them braces, you will get about a 50/50 split in which sex of child gets braces.
If you aren’t getting that kind of split there is probably a bias.
So, not every child gets braces regardless but if they get an equal shot based on need you will get an equal distribution.
Stephen, I like your list.
But I don’t know if it answers the question “What does equality for women in the LDS church look like” unless there is true female input into the administration of the church, and I don’t see that reflected on your list.
It’s cool that the general RS president would call her own board. But how would that translate to women’s voices being sought out, heard, and implemented with regards to administering the church? I’m thinking of the Family Proclamation and how it was announced at the women’s meeting, yet no woman had any input on that document.
I don’t think it’s just a matter of the manuals alternating between men and women. What about women writing their own RS manuals? Having final say on how RS (and YW, Primary) is organized in general? I read that while Chieko Okazaki was a member of the General RS Presidency the manuals were outdated and they devised a plan to write new ones, and were excited about it. But they were later informed the Brethren had already come up with the current system we now have and that ended that.
Until women have not only visibility but also true control over how their organizations are run, we don’t have equality.
“I see nothing on that list about preparing folks to make money.”
Au contraire, Maybee, you must not be looking hard enough. Purposes for the young men include serving missions and obtaining as much education as possible (ostensibly for an occupation). Those both involve money. Since the church puts the role of provider squarely in the ideal responsibilities of the father (per the Family Proc), preparing for a role of father also would imply some sort of money-making venture. Typically, financial stability is required to participate in some priesthood callings, which puts the burden on the man of making sure he gets that financial stability so that he can serve in future priesthood callings.
There is nothing intrinsic about the purposes of YW that would lead someone to conclude a woman is preparing for anything other than the occupations of full-time wife and mother. Leader implies church leadership, which doesn’t take formal education or training.
Don’t you spat your fancy French at me, Mary Ann!
You are correct. I guess I should reframe it. If one is to argue that the purpose of the YM and YW budgets is to support the Handbook purposes of the YM and YW programs, then we should recognize those purposes as equally important and provide equal funding for it. Rob’s argument that we should provide more for the boys because they are to be breadwinners devalues the purposes of the YW program as less than the purposes of the YMs.
For what it’s worth, though I hope my girls’ future YW leaders expand well beyond that list. And I hope that list changes eventually. Maybe if a woman wrote the list? 😉
I’m surprised nobody is calling out how unequal Stephen’s vision of equality is. I’ve had it explained to me that separate is not, and cannot, ever be equal. You cannot have separate but equal schools, for example. It’s apparently a fundamental principle of equality. If two things are truly equal, they’re interchangeable. Accordingly, you wouldn’t have separate meetings for men and women, or separate priesthoods. There would be no separate YM/YW budgets to equate. You’d have no issue with same-sex marriage, as any two partners would be equivalent. We wouldn’t even have the transgender bathroom issue because we wouldn’t have separate bathrooms.
Personally, I don’t feel men and women are the same. Although all human characteristics I can think of can be manifest by either sex, there exist bimodal statistical distributions based on sex for some of them. I also think there’s a beauty found in complementarity of the sexes that doesn’t exist in equality, so I’m not convinced equality, per se, is truly a worthy goal. I think separate YW/YM makes sense, for example. But if you accept they’re different, you’re accepting that men and women AREN’T equal. So the question isn’t whether things should be unequal, but how and in what ways things should be unequal, and it’s just a matter of opinion and personal preference vs. tradition.
I’ve been around the church blogs for a while, and there are a lot of people advocating equality. After all, how many things are there in our modern world in which men and women are not interchangeable? That’s why I’m wondering why these people haven’t spoken up. They can’t be satisfied with more women in leadership councils or an independent RS.
Mark, I’m more interested in the Q&A than trying to defend the post. My only interest in the post was in asking why some people agree so quickly with it and why others dismissed it so fast.
I’m not going to be able to defend it well. I’m not sure it has a good defense.
On the other hand President Monson’s diabetes problems and other things are interesting. With a choice between some internet analysis and real news, the real news trumps.
If our gospel is correct and the scriptures are generally correct, then the patriarchal order is an eternal principle where the male is the head of his family. I think what clouds our judgment in this debate is how we view equality from a worldly perspective instead of a godly perspective. Let me ask, in matters of “equal” importance, which is more important- presiding in a meeting, or carrying the seed of God in ones womb so that Gods works continue? I think from a godly perspective this whole “presiding” issue disappears and “equality” is more viewed as the husband/ wife working together as “one” in complete full support of each others equally important roles of bringing to pass Gods work and glory. In worldly views, the world demands equality between man and woman in all things including usurping man and women roles by the opposite gender and creating gender confusion and a lack of importance on the family.
Maybee, true, it probably would look a little different.
Can’t help but feel bad for those young men, though. Nothing about understanding their divine roles as sons. Nothing about emphasizing their divine parentage. If you don’t keep reminding yourself that your dad is important, how can you remember that *you* are important?
I think the various solutions/adjustments that people suggest try to address the issue in quite different ways and thus have very different impacts. I recently came across an image that seems applicable.
There are three images:
Image 1: People of different heights are given the same size box/crate to stand on in order to see over a fence with the result that still some of the people cannot see over the fence as they are still too short — Equal Treatment
Seems like this image reflects solutions like giving equal budgets to YM and YW ar having equal numbers of women and men speak in sacrament meeting.
Image 2: People of different heights are given different sizes of boxes/crates to stand on in order to see over a fence with the result that all the people can now see over the fence – Equitable Treatment
Seems like solutions focused on increased leadership development among women may fit here – an extra help to overcome long-standing barriers to participation.
Image 3: The fence is removed and people of different heights can all see ahead – Removing Systematic Barriers
Seems like EBK’s “fleshing out female exaltation” fits here.
I agree Mary Ann, I thought of that as well. Although I’d love to know what exactly is meant by “Understand her identity as a daughter of God”
In my current ward this has translated to YW activities such as makeovers. No joke, the FB post about it said “today the YW did makeup makeovers with the activity days girls. We love these activities that help them realize their true worth as daughters of God!” I’ve seen similar “divine worth” based activities in multiple wards I’ve lived in, and I’m not a fan. So other than just telling girls that they are daughters of God, how do we expand on that in a meaningful way?
Growing up I heard it over and over. I am a daughter of God of infinite worth. Lots about my worth and divine worth and divine nature. Then I went to the temple the first time and…ouch! My sense of divine worth crashed and I’d never felt less special in God’s eyes.
Also, how can we teach girls about their divine identity without teaching them about their divine potential? And how do we do that when we know almost nothing about Heavenly Mother? Sorry for the tangent.
But yes, boys and girls should both be taught to understand their identity as sons and daughters of God. But since boys get the priesthood and therefore get to act in His name in a very special way, perhaps it goes without saying. Maybe it’s a principle for the girls for the same reason we get all of those GC talks to women about just how great we are! Maybe we have to get told that over and over because it doesn’t exactly feel that way to many in our current practice.
So. They rebooted the wifi.
Mary Ann, that is an interesting analysis.
Maybe, I’m curious more about what is wrong with the post rather than what is right.
Martin–so, when you say not equal, what do you mean by that?
It is almost 3:00 here. I’m hoping that lunch will be available soon. 🙂
I’m afraid things are too spotty here.
I’m afraid I’m not going to have much to add but I appreciate the perspectives and I think I’m learning.
I apologize for commenting so much. I think it’s an interesting conversation.
Stephen, the more I ponder your question, the more difficult time I have answering it. I’m a feminist, but for me true equality isn’t really the end goal. I think Martin makes some incorrect assumptions and generalizations about feminists, but I think he’s right when he says that he’s “not convinced that equality, per se, is truly a worthy goal.” For example, I don’t advocate for equality to the extent we have a female prophet and a male prophet. Or even female ordination. I understand some feminists feel differently however.
For me a more worthwhile question is “How can we better incorporate women’s voices into our leadership?” For me, the answer would involve more meaningful administrative input by women, with real power to make changes. Or “How can we better support women in their sacred spaces?” To me this looks like women having control over the handbooks and curriculum they use in RS. “How can we help our young women feel more valued and supported during their development” would include equitable budgets and a more developed YWs program. And of course, one that is most important to me, “How can we better understand women’s divine role?” The temple is very difficult for some of us. The only way I envision an answer to this question is by our male leadership actively seeking further light and knowledge.
I realize too that these questions are of importance to myself, but may not be important to other women. Many women (such as those who frequent the MWS blog), may see the current place of women in the church as ideal.
Honest question out of ignorance, but aren’t RS budgets already much bigger than EQ or HP budgets? Every ward I’ve been in had tons of RS activities often with meals and so forth. PH always seemed pretty laid back with the occasional hot dog roast and almost never anything remotely costly.
Now get into the teenagers and I’m all with you. I would love to see those budgets to be equal.
The two comments were not strawmen. Simply to display that no matter how one cuts the budget or calls on people in class or reimburse people or…there is going to be someone who believes it is not equitable. As you pointed out if you have 1,000 kids you’ll get a 50/50 split or close enough that the difference is not meaningful. I would like to add to your numerical increase a longer time line. If both are added many of the problems become mute even if in the short run it does not seem that way.
So why the “Well duh” or “I’ve never”. I think it is a problem of looking at too small of a sample size or two short of a time frame.
So here is the question from Sunday Night fireside with the 70. He was asked why the church allows 12 year olds to get on the internet and mess up their genealogy? (Okay I have shortened up the question but everyone can get the idea.)
Here is his answer. Before the 60’s if you went to the temple you had to bring your own names. The church decided to help increase temple attendance to do name extraction. No longer were you required to bring your own names to the temple which had been approved by SLC. More names were taken through the temple and temple attendance did go up. However this created a welfare state with the majority of the names provided by the church and not the individual members. The infrastructure and change which has been pushed over the last few years, although not perfect, is seen as an improvement and as placing the responsibility back on the members. (One of the Family History Consultants was asked to work with the person so she could understand how to better document her family tree.) I am not sure the question would have even been asked if a longer perspective or a larger sample size was used.
Here is the tie in. There are many things I hope would change when I was 14 and worked on my family genealogy. Some of those things have happened in the last five years. There are other things I would hope would happen. But until those things do happen or if they never happen I believe God has the ability to concentrate all my affliction for good and that makes life something more than miserable.
Clark, the Relief Society budget is much larger in my ward. But the disparity in the youth funding is glaring. The scouting program receives corporate donations (due to several ward members who are employed by this corporation). These funds can only be used for scouting. In addition, the youth have a very successful yearly fundraiser. This allows the young men to have scout camp and high adventure fully paid for. They have their choice of several BSA operated camps with a plethora of activity choices. The young women have been mandated to attend a stake run camp that has very limited activities and run on a shoestring budget. the YW have their camp fully paid for by the fundraiser, but the quality of the camp pales by comparison. The YW are only allowed one camp activity per year, whereas the scouts can have as many as they like.
>Rob This is what “Men will be providers and need education and women will stay at home and so don’t need education” looks like
I used to run a day home out of my home (so that I could be a good mormon wife and stay at home while my husband worked/went to school).
It looks like the one woman I used to work for. Her husband left her and her five children; just walked away and never came back. She was stuck with the mortgage, five children and no education. She had bought into the whole “men will provide thing” so much that she had never even obtained a driver’s license and now had to figure out how to feed 6 people with a high school education and no car in a city with horrendous public transit.
It looks like another woman I used to work for. She worked entry level jobs and was stuck with two kids and a husband who beat her and treated her like garbage. She couldn’t leave because she couldn’t feed the kids without his income. She knew she was stuck and was terrified that one day he would kill her.
Just in case you want to argue this is all because men are not living up to their responsibilities, it also looks like my mom. When I was 12 she went back to work as a secretary to put my dad through school. My dad had worked hard labour on the docks all my life. It was good money, but his body was breaking down and it was go to back to school or be permanently crippled. Four children at home while paying university fees does not leave any wiggle room while living on secretary wages.
And it looks like me, as apparently I am a slow learner. I graduated RN six months after getting married, but rather then work as an RN, since I also graduated pregnant, I ran a day home during the day and taught piano in the evening.This way I could help put my husband through the next six years of his education while being the aforementioned good mormon stay at home wife. Fast forward several years to the economy tanking. My husband’s factory decided that it would try to preserve as many jobs as possible and instead of firing people it would slow down. So, first a year on 3/4 time. We tightened up the budget. Another year on 3/4 time. We trim a little tighter. Then the next year was 1/2 time. Him quitting was not an option as there were no other jobs to go to. As we watched our food storage disappear (yup, we drank powdered milk and survived to tell the tale, for those who are curious) we made the decision for me to work for real money. We took the last little bit of our savings, I pounded through a six month training program and I now make 2/3rd the money I would make as an entry level RN and 1/3 of the money I would make as an experienced RN (my certificate having expired years ago) but 4 times the money I made as a babysitter.
One thing we never cut completely in all those lean years of powered milk and home ground flour and cloth diapers was my children’s RESP. It may have only been a little money put away but my daughters and my son will all get an education. This money is sacred. It was sacrificed for. My sweat and tears have gone into it and it is holy to me.
How much better it is for women to do honourable, respectable, well paying work and to already have the skills and education in place so when there is a need it is already there. Instead, we teach our girls that “men will provide” and those who believe it are left scrambling when things go sideways to get skills and education after the fact. When the tornado is bearing down on you is not the time to be digging the storm shelter, but that is what so many women end up doing.
The instances you bring up is where our society breaks down. In general, the men are the breadwinners in the family and as such generally require more schooling. Im sure that we could compketely train men and women the same but if families are to be properly developed the husband should be the main breadwinner and as such will still require more ongoing training throughout life. I dont care how we cut the cake, the reality is that the majority of training for work will still be allocated towards men. Men, in general, are more equipped for being the best most efficient provider for families. Thats a fact. There are always exceptions because of circumstances, but those exceptions are, or should be, a small minority. Like I said before, our society isnt meant to work where the same amount of men and women are in the workplace or where traditional families become a minority. When or if that happens, our society will fail.
Yeah… so I was being facetious with that divine role of son. A woman’s worth in a patriarchal society is determined by the status of the closest male in her life – father, husband, son, etc. Think of how many mothers of prophets and wives of prophets we revere for their accomplishments as… wives and mothers of prophets. Typically men are revered not in their roles as husbands and fathers, but in accomplishments outside the domestic sphere.
Young men do not need to focus on their roles as sons because in a patriarchal society they have intrinsic worth, without relying on relationships to another man for identity. The role of a son is less important because they are valued more for becoming the head of their own family. In a patriarchal society, a woman has less control over establishing her own family. For many women, the role of a daughter needs to be enough to establish an identity and purpose.
Think about it this way – would we ever have young men stand up and say, “We are sons of a Heavenly Mother, and we love Her.”? Probably not. Our relationship to the Father is paramount.
Sorry, not clear. A woman’s relationship to the Father is paramount.
By the term “traditional family”, people usually mean family as portrayed on TV in the post WWII 1950’s era. That narrow era of time has nothing to do with the the longer tradition of women bringing real skills into a marriage. They knew how to run a household, they managed accounts, they managed the hired help, they managed all the fiber and cloth and clothing production. They raised fowl, small stock, huge gardens. They ran businesses that sustained households. They ran everything when their husbands traveled for business or war.
Since WWll, we have had huge changes in home mechanization. Clothing is no longer washed by hand. Other electrical devices have taken servants out of the average home. Traditionally, food was sugared, salted, brined, or dried to preserve. It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that canning came about for the military. Germ theory followed in the 1860’s. By the 1930-40’s home canning are a huge thing, and refrigerators and freezers were replacing ice boxes. Suddenly, a family wasn’t facing literal starvation if there wasn’t a wife making sure food was set aside properly for winter and famine.
I bring these things up because the role of women has changed drastically. Technology has changed how men and women work. Society has adjusted to the changes in how men work. Unfortunately, religious tradition is trying to keep women home. There isn’t enough in a home for a woman to do. The post WWll LDS answer was to suggest that families be bigger. Huge families are not an easy fit in modern society. LDS tradition is telling women to stay home in their traditional roles, but those roles are gone. They no longer exist. It is time to let women find their new roles within the industrialized world.
YM and YW budgets should be equal. Both YM and YW need to learn real life skills. Currently, the LDS youth program diminishes YW. Their time is spent in activities that lack substance. There are too many activities spent on manicure and crafts. The YW are taught through that treatment that they have no value other than as uterus. That is wrong.
YW need to know household finances, investing, budgets, home repairs, first aid, cooking, sewing, and car repairs. In a very traditional home in which the husband works and the wife is home, she handles EVERYTHING in that household. I was grateful to know how to install a garbage disposal, hang a ceiling fan, built a fence, hang a gate, pull up the toilet, and retile the shower. My husband was working .. He didn’t have time. I was home. It made sense that I did those things.
Bluntly, YW is a pathetic program in its current state. It isn’t going to improve until leadership acknowledges that women’s traditional roles have changed just as men’s roles have changed and the leadership trusts women as individuals to make excellent decisions for themselves and their families.
Single adults have six or seven women per man.
Most women will need to support themselves at some time.
If Rob and others stepped up and supported all of these women and their families at an equal level that would be one thing. Instead they try to treat the majority as edge cases.
Which reflects terrible things about their view that most women just deserve to starve.
While I don’t know that the initial comment is supportable I do know:
1). When it happens to over 50% it isn’t an edge case.
2). That more than 50% doesn’t deserve to be enslaved, thrust into poverty or to starve
3). That some may be able to construct short term examples of imbalance doesn’t mean that long term imbalances are justified.
So. One widow or abused woman starving? That is an outlier. That the majority will find themselves at risk? That is systematic.
If one group has more women or men called on in a short sample size? That is just a bad statistical example being used as anecdotal evidence (which would get you flunked out of statistics or logic class). If I look at a twenty year span of general conferences (for example) and I don’t see “spiritually superior ” women breaking my 40% of the speakers– that tells me that no one really believes they are spiritually superior.
Hope that is clearer.
So. While I don’t claim the starting comment I cited is necessarily correct — and I appreciate the thoughtful explanations of why some think it is obvious and some think it is stupid — I’m not amused at the preaching about it.
I think it has real flaws –so I’m not the person to defend it.
But I’d rather not have my intelligence insulted by people trying to bloviate rather than discuss.
Am I too cranky? May be. I just climbed over 150 flights of stairs (worth of terrain ascent) while getting rained on for ten miles of unseasonably cold weather.
At least I missed the snow flurries.
But … let’s get back to direct criticism rather than trying to make indirect points by misused statistical analysis or treating majority cases as outliers while defending a world view that existed only after 1950 and that is fast fading.
Then I can enjoy the comments and learn something. Rather than just be annoyed.
I went to graduate school. I am state licensed and nationally board-certified in my area of expertise. Those credentials matter to people who hire me. They matter when I volunteer. In human society, titles and credentials have always mattered. One thing that would help with equality in the church is those two things titles and credentials.
Male missionary — Elder
Female missionary — Sister
Head of Congregation — Bishop
Head of Relief Society — Sister
Stake President — President
Stake RS President — Sister
Mission President — President
Mission President’s wife — Sister
They are ALWAYS called as couples, she had duties, but no title. She is merely the Mission President’s Wife.
Men get titles at church. Men that are called to higher positions have their professional achievements mentioned.
All women, no matter how high up, they are called “Sister”. Their achievements are not mentioned.
In the last few rounds of women being called to auxiliary board positions, their marriages and number of children were mentioned. The church lists them as wives and mothers. The majority have incomplete educations and no work experience. That is listed as if it the Gold Standard. Those ladies have some real credentials in the world of volunteerism. The church has chosen to list their credentials in as poor of a fashion as possible. They would never do that to men.
But. Getting back to discussion –it is important to remember that tge general authorities engage with members in focus groups and really work hard at trying to fulfill their callings and care for the church at great sacrifice and personal cost.
If we are getting to actual policy (rather than discussion of the weaknesses of a bit of kibitzing) it is important to realize that in many countries the current church is welcomed by women as a *cure* for abusive patriarchy and that there is real and serious concern and effort being made to serve the entire church in every setting b
So, reality aside, I keep wondering what the responses say not about the flawed suggestions but about those who react to the suggestions –and– what they say about the real issues they may or may not address.
So many of these comments are infuriating that I’m not going to make it through them all.
Here’s what more equality looks like to me (real equality isn’t going to happen in my lifetime).
– women are valued for their accomplishments both in the home and outside the home and so are men.
– women called to leadership positions have leadership skills and education on par with the men called.
– the Proclamation on the Family is redacted to remove the utter nonsense that is presiding but equal. Marriages are equal partnerships or they’re not. Benevolent dictators aren’t equal partners.
– it’s time to get real. The economy is not based on a sole provider model anymore. Largely this is not feasible. Aside from the vulnerability this creates in women who are financially dependent on a man (who could be unable or unwilling to provide for any number of reasons or could abuse her or leave her), as Amateur Parent points out, women don’t have as much to do in the home as they did in years gone by. We’ve literally cut the workload in half and then done so again multiple times, and for some outdated reason we keep telling our YW that their place is in the home. We should hand out free lobotomies with the YW medallion. We are under-utilizing women in every way possible. What a waste!
– women need to quit being seen as a reward for men. The temple ceremony needs to change based on an understanding of Heavenly Mother that doesn’t include God being God and Heavenly Mother worshiping Him and not being a Goddess in her own right.
I was talking with a woman in our ward about our kids heading off to college. She shared that her daughter wants to be a teacher. I said so did my son, although I’m worried that we as society don’t pay teachers enough which is why we don’t attract great ones. She said it was a good career “for a woman.” Because in her mind, and in the minds of many LDS people, women are worth less than men. Let me say that again. Women are worth less. Women are worthless. How often are we saying that to our women? All the time.
Hawk–that was clear and direct.
Take a look at mission president announcements. In every single case, the husband’s profession (and most times education) is noted. Then read the bio about the wife. I have never seen anything reported about her education or work experience. Only the number of children and church callings held. This diminishes women’s experience beyond the limited scope of the home.
Case in point.
hawkgrrrl – preach it sister! Love your list. So much that should change, I’m struggling to stay optimistic.
Mary Ann – Sorry, your joke totally went over my head. If you ask Rob, he’d probably say it’s because my ovaries make me stupid, or that decreased understanding is God’s punishment for my wearing a tank top last week, or other such nonsense. Good one!
You said “The role of a son is less important because they are valued more for becoming the head of their own family. In a patriarchal society, a woman has less control over establishing her own family. For many women, the role of a daughter needs to be enough to establish an identity and purpose.”
C’mon Mary Ann. I’ve got daughters to raise in this Church, and this kind of stuff is so disheartening.
The last thing I need is light shed on yet another aspect of patriarchy I hadn’t previously understood.
Stephen #86- agreed. Despite my angst I still really respect and admire the leadership and the difficult place they are in.
Here’s my take:
Perhaps the “This is stupid” folks don’t see any problem whatsoever. Where there is no problem, there is no need of solution. So why even go there? And you’re a jerk for going there, everything is just so so true and perfect, so stop it!
The “Well duh” folks may be fed up with the current situation and sadly we’ve seen things move at a snails pace. So although attempts to come up with lists of how things could become better, they might be a bit tired of it all and don’t feel like rehashing old arguments since it just makes them remember why they were frustrated in the first place. Why come up with solutions when there’s no change in sight? And thanks a lot mister for reminding me of why I’m so frustrated!
Is it obvious which camp I belong to?
*lists of how things could be better is a nice exercise, they might…
My 2 year old is climbing all over me as I write. Sorry, Rob. I should know better than to shirk my divine motherly responsibilities in favor of intelligent internet communication.
Also, Stephen. Tell your wife to choose more blogable vacations!!!
“Stephen #86- agreed. Despite my angst I still really respect and admire the leadership and the difficult place they are in.”
Well, I’d still put myself in the “this is stupid” camp because I don’t think these solutions are solving the root problem. So you’ve got those like me as well as those who go with “this is stupid” because there’s no problem with the current system.
But I agree the “duh” folks are pretty united in a view that visible equality is the right first step. The ideas of quotas are similar to affirmative action. Big difference, though, is that affirmative action traditionally does not combine well with separate but equal systems. Maybe that’s why some of us are reacting weird to the suggestions.
Excellent summary Mary Ann. Thank you.
I live in a country where members make up less than 0.5% of the population, and many of the views presented by Rob, are not sustained by reality. Society will not collapse if his view of womens roles changes. Very little of the first world is like that, and many of the countries that are judged as happier places to live than the US are like this. Whis is broken?
Equality will come to the church when at all levels there is equal opportunity for all. When there is need for a new Bishop, SP or Prophet, all adult members are eligible and the selection is made on merit, or revelation (not limited by culture).
The first thing that has to happen so this can begin is that the next Prophet be chosen on merit, part of that merit being a vision of how to bring the culture of the church into the present. I think the Lord would be happy to choose if he were allowed, instead of the decision being made by tradions.
I wonder if having a woman POTUS might move things along, but your politics seem so extremely divided that, that might not help conservatives.
I find it hard to comprehend the arrogance that believes that men are deserving of all the positions of power. What does it take to be Prophet that a suitably qualified woman could not do? All are alike unto God,…male and female is quoted in the lead up to the declaration on the priesthood going to all worty males.
I get where you are coming from. Can I ask though can you point me to one “separate but equal system” that does end up in some sort of near equality? Serious question. The only “separate but equal” systems I know end up entrenching inequality but I may be missing one.
The only one I can really think of is say the US’s 3 branches system full of hard checks and balances. I would be ok with that type of system in the church. Say men hold the power to do ordinances and women control the finances. The issue with our current “separate but equal” system is that all hard decision rights, all financial control, all control of saving ordinances and all theological control belongs to only one of the separate but equal groups. Women don’t have a single hard decision right – meaning the responsibility of making a final decision. And if you can find one – maybe you would say the Primary President….clearly they have no where equal the amount of decision rights as men do. And we wonder why it is taking decades and decades and decades for cultural inquality in the church to change and why legitimate women’s concerns are put on the back burner over and over and over again. I say give women some of the hard power, the power of the purse so that women, institutionally are needed as much as men and see how fast that changes.
From a structural viewpoint women just are equal to men in the church in any meaningful way. Equality is not a feeling. Culturally, they aren’t equal either (thanks Rob for demonstrating the most obvious and obnoxious culturally unequal attitudes that can exist among our community).
I pray to our Heavenly Parents you have never been allowed to teach youth in our church. Sadly, you can find materials from past leaders to support your view. Fortunately, viewpoints such as your are becoming increasingly marginalized in our community. Like Hawwkgirl, I find your views toxic and infuriating, but I am appreciative of the fact that you are willing to articulate them so clearly while many others just hold them in private.
For women who want a supportive LDS community for women who are seeking support in education and career attainment and don’t have to put up with people like Rob, I recommend Aspiring Mormon Women. Check out the blog and the facebook group. Come get your professional on. We will leave Rob and his negativity behind as we create more equal, more fulfilled and financially stable families of all types in our church community by supporting women in all their aspirations! As we like to say #EmbraceyourAND.
Reading through the comments, it’s fascinating to me how people can see the world through one specific filter and work so hard to invalidate other people’s lived experiences.
I also found one of the arguments above very interesting. Since men have placed themselves at the tippy top of the economic system we have to spend more money on them so that they can remain at the tippy top of the economic system. You can talk about sacred duties and supposed gender differences until we’re all blue in the face, but the fact is that as long as men are the bread winners they are in charge. And I get it, I do, you would never abuse that position, you always take it as serious, sacred responsibility. And I applaud you for that. That is fantastic. But you have to recognize that you have the economic power, if you left, if you took advantage of your position, your wife and children would have very little recourse against you. Without meaning to you hold that over her, you have all of the power. That’s just the way it is.
Acting like that responsibility is such a burden is a little disingenuous. Yes, it is a burden, I absolutely agree, but allowing women equal opportunity, providing women an equality in funds and an equal chance for education, employment, and autonomy, you actually reduce that burden. But, and here’s the kicker, it also reduces the inherent power that comes with being the one who earns all of the money and holds all of the cards. The only way that women’s equality hurts men is by taking away the power a man holds over a woman.
The Church teaches that husbands are to preside over the family while counseling with their wives. It’s a 1:1 ratio, there is one husband and one wife and they counsel together. However, the ratio in Church leadership is nowhere near that equal. Only within the past year are female leaders able to participate in all of the important local counsels and committees, and the numbers still aren’t balanced. Women’s voices, by weight and representation alone, simply aren’t as loud and aren’t given as much acknowledgement. This is just a fact, by the numbers alone.
Having women equal men on committees is lowest common denominator stuff, it’s merely asking the Church to live by the same standards it sets for the individual family.
If we say that we value women’s voices and contributions we have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Talk is nice, talk is pretty, but talk without action is meaningless.
Also, the men have their ages reported but the women do not. What’s that about?
Oh man, I’ve never examined these mission president postings so closely before.
I wish you wouldn’t have said that about the ages, Anon. Seriously?
Following these mission presidency postings, as a woman my most important attributes are the number of children I’ve had, my past callings in the church, and who my parents are. My past career and non-home experiences aren’t worth mentioning. And now – I either need to stop the aging process completely (because beauty is of course my most important attribute), or we all just need to pretend it isn’t happening at all.
Let’s all just be the same ageless, unambitious, lovely, self sacrificing, maternal women who, as church stock photos (such as the one for this post) would have you believe, wear jewel toned sexless shapeless boring clothing because modesty.
Church endorses either Girl Scouts AND Boy Scouts, or neither.
Eagle Scout is described as being the equivalent of the Young Womanhood medallion (I’ve heard the opposite comparison made many times)
Women are allowed to raise and handle money, and can carry out humanitarian work (ie. “relief”) without permission from or oversight of men
Husbands and wives covenant to hearken to EACH OTHER, as they BOTH hearken to the Lord
Either both genders, or neither gender, veils their face during the prayer circle in the temple
A woman can be the final speaker in sacrament meeting even if she isn’t leaviing for/returning from a mission
Women have the ability to preside over groups containing men (used to be the case before they abolished the Activities Committee)
Mission Presidents’ Wives get an official title
Female auxiliary presidents are publicly referred to as ‘President’ rather than ‘Sister’ (and while we’re at it, can we not call them ‘auxiliaries’)
Completely disavow polygamy and remove all vestiges of it from temple worship
…I’m sure there are some other suggestions I’m missing, I haven’t read through all 100+ comments yet.
I regret seeing rah’s comment no. 98. It was an unkind personal attack on a fellow commenter.
The patriarchal order is eternal. If you actively fight against it you will find yourself separate and single forever and ever and ever.
On minor correction. Before mission president announcements are published, both the husband and wife are asked to review the information that the mission department has about both their past callings and are asked about their most current work/job/profession. A rough draft of the announcement is later also given to them to edit before it is published.
I don’t know about all of the other women involved, but my family member who currently serves says she limited the callings to two, non-leadership ones and eliminated her profession not because she didn’t think they were pertinent, but rather, she said, she knows that so many of her sisters read those announcements and compare themselves to the list of accomplishments or make erroneous assumptions according to that list, and she despises the idea of facilitating comparing and judging among us.
It strikes me as ironic that by doing so she may have facilitated your jumping to a wrong, judgmental conclusion about an anonymous article writer or editor.
Anyway, the women involved have the final say on what is published.
MB, I’ve read hundreds of mission and temple president announcement bios. I have not read a single one that lists an education or profession for the wife. If you can find one, please post a link for me. Thank you.
That is quite a coincidence in these announcements that every husband chooses to list his profession and every wife chooses not to.
Reply to Mark A Marsh. He used an example of braces. He suggested that it would be silly to pay for all the children to get braces — whether they needed them or not — just so that all would be equal. He was accused of a straw man argument.
Mark, under the current system, only boys and men get braces. Girls and women, whether they need braces or not, are told that they are not worthy of braces, that God doesn’t want them to have braces, that God made their teeth that way for a reason, and the money could be better spent on the teeth of a boy who will need to work outside the home someday.
Personally, I find that unacceptable. So .. How do we take these same types of inequalities within the church and make that right and just and fair.
I currently teach the youth and I enjoy teaching the true gospel doctrine about the true nature of the roles of men and women and how they do differ and are a perfect compliment to each other.
One of the big problems we face in society is the false belief that men and women are equal in every facet of life and that as such, patriarchy is void, man is no longer head of household, and each are or should be equal providers financially. But it doesnt stop there. It goes on into gender confusion issues where the roles are blended, children are encouraged to find their own “natural” sexual attractions, clothing becomes less gender specific and more provacative, children are taught they can do anything the other sex can do, etc etc…
As the traditional roles of mother and father fade, so to fades the relationship, divorce enters in, and broken families become the norm further enforcing the notion that women need to be independent of men and take over their jobs.
How exactly would we solve the issue of childbirth and raising children if men and women are equal in every facet of the workforce which must include both sexes working the same amount of time over the course of their lives? Last time I checked, if the human population is to continue, babies must be conceived, reared to maturity in the womb, then birthed, then suckled and raised until they can fare for themselves. All that takes considerable time. So how do you propose to still do all that with women and yet still allow exact equality in the workforce which must include “time spent actually working on the job, day to day, year to year”?
Interesting, but…why is the Savior a “man”? Just curious why reality of heaven shows a male patriarchy.
It is interesting that they do not choose to list their professions. Perhaps in the bustle of heading out on a mission it seems less important them. I do know that they are each sent a rough draft and asked if there are any changes that they would like to make, as I was with my family member when she edited hers.
It may be an indication of the difference between many men and women in the percentage of their self-esteem and self-identity that is tied to their professional life.
@Hawkgirl “Benevolent dictators’ – too true! Calling a spade a spade……
“She said it was a good career “for a woman.” Because in her mind, and in the minds of many LDS people, women are worth less than men. Let me say that again. Women are worth less. Women are worthless. How often are we saying that to our women? All the time.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that something is a good career “for a woman’, or “for raising kids”. That career is usually a teacher or a nurse. Both traditionally ‘nurturing’ careers. Both not CEO leadership type positions. Both teachers and nurses are severely underpaid for the work they do, and in fact, for the work we as a society SAY we value. Who gets paid the big bucks? The business leadership positions. The same thing happens in the church. Everybody SAYS they value women and the ‘work’ they do. But who gets the titles, makes the decisions, and gets the stipends and promotions? Not the people we SAY we value oh so much – nope – it’s the benevolent dictators….
There is an equal word count limit for each individual in those short announcements, so each person has limited space. It makes the choosing what goes into the article an interesting exercise, whether one uses all of that word limit or not.
Thats just ridiculous! No woman I know is worthless. My mother was a stay at home mother almost her entire life. Her value in that role far surpassed, in my mind, any worldly accredation that a job or money could have given her. Her role as mother and wife were the very strength of our home! My father was the traditional provider, worked very hard, and treated my mother like a royal Queen and taught us as well to treat our mother with utmost respect for who she was and what she did for the family and home. I know without doubt that had my mother been gone equal time in the workforce our home and family would have never lasted. When mother got Lupas she was hospitalized and when she came home she wasnt the same mentally for many years. Our family, at that point fell apart, we were not the same. Years later now, she has passed but her great legacy lives on far surpassing any worldly accomplishments of any man in the workforce in any era in the history of the earth. Of the five siblings, 4 got married and each wife is treated like a royal Queen, are stay at home wives/mothers, some with part time jobs, and after 20 years of marriage, all are happily married.
This is the pattern you seem disallusioned about or despise so I am bewildered to believe you think that women are worthless because they arent a “somebody” in the workforce
Most LDS women will work outside the home at some point. If we value women we will make sure we prepare them to have satisfying jobs that compensate them well for time spent away from their families.
Not investing enough in our girls, or teaching them they are less valuable through the poor representation they see, sets them up to be away from their families longer working lower paying jobs to make ends meet, when they could work shorter hours at something better paying that requires more skill, confidence and education.
My husband went to grad school and works as a professional. He is compensated very well. As his wife, I also went to school and grad school. Because of the profession I chose, I make more money. When I work 3 mornings a week, I still out-earn him. Nice 6 figures. 3 mornings a week. It’s just money into the joint account. In the marriage, it doesn’t matter. But for my sense of security, it is huge. If he suddenly got sick, died, or left me, I would not be left in financial ruin.
The current church culture sets women up for financial failure. YW are not taught real life skills. Daughters are not encouraged to seek out degrees that lead to high incomes, and wives are not encouraged to keep professional credentials current. When an LDS woman is in financial crisis, church welfare isn’t going to maintain her past standard of living. The ward family isn’t going to pitch in long term. The cultural expectation is that her parents or siblings will “take her back” or that she will quickly re-marry out of desperation.
The truth is that women need real marketable skills and they need examples of powerful women at the very top of the church. They need to see LDS women leaders who have real world credentials and skills and they need a church culture that acknowledges their worth for something other than motherhood.
Yes! I’m a a working professional and dropped to two days a week when my first was born. I’m still in the job market honing my skills. I have financial security and I love what I do.
I’m so grateful for the women before me who changed the work environment such that part time employment is now a normal regular thing. With so many scheduling options out there, I think we should go away from encouraging the strict traditional roles espoused by folks like Rob. Instead lets just let families figure it out for themselves. I think folks like Rob might be surprised at how many women in that situation fenagle it so they can have financial security while still being the primary nurturer in their home.
I’m sorry I was unkind in some of my above comments. I’d really like to understand your perspective, I’m trying to understand.
You said of your mother: “Her value in that role far surpassed, in my mind, any worldly accredation that a job or money could have given her.”
I don’t seek employment because I want worldly accredation. I do it because I felt a calling to practice medicine, I was good in school and wanted to continue to develop my knowledge, and I wanted financial security in case the “ideal traditional” situation collapsed. Also God told me to go for it 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, the money is great. But it’s both the security it provides and the pressure it takes off my husband that I feel has been its greatest blessing.
It’s 10:30 and so far this morning I’ve done a pap smear (hooray for preventing cervical cancer!), I’ve adjusted diabetes medications on a few patients, and I’ve had a discussion with a loving family and their elderly mother about what we can do to help ease their burden in helping her maintain her independence while making sure she gets her medications daily. This isn’t worldly accredation. I’m really helping people.
My husband is home with my kids, just like I was yesterday while he was at work. I appreciate in your comments you make the distinction that when men and women spend equal amounts of time in the workforce, families fall apart. But we don’t live in that world anymore where it has to be all or nothing! My husband works 3/4 time and I work 1/2 time. We both spend entire days alone with our kids, we both get days developing ourselves professionally and securing our financial future.
My question Rob, is do you see a problem with the above scenario? If so, please share! I really want to know.
Gehny: “The patriarchal order is eternal. If you actively fight against it you will find yourself separate and single forever and ever and ever.” Well, halle-fricken-lujah! Because I’d rather be single forever than a second class citizen forever. Why would a woman want a version of “heaven” in which she is essentially an eternal birthing machine? Only a man could envision such a thing and call it heaven. I don’t know what “fighting against it” entails. If it requires a fight, then why is it considered so “natural”? Instead, I’ll just live my life and choose what makes sense to me.
Rob Osborn: Wow, where to start? So many strawmen, so little time. First of all, crack a history book. The idea that men & women working in equal partnership to create a family together, sharing both nurturing and providing, is going to cause gender confusion is just silly. Boy children in my dad’s generation – that’s not that long ago – wore dresses as toddlers because it was more practical for changing diapers. They didn’t have gender confusion. The current gender binary in dress standards is a byproduct of the 1980s. That’s pretty recent. Yes, in the 1950s and 1940s there were differences in dress between the sexes. But then those differences were mostly erased in the 1960s and 1970s. The current push for pink for girls and blue for boys is a marketing ploy of the 80s. Recent. And dumb.
Women can have children even while having high powered careers. While the US is behind some other nations in handling maternity leave, there are great models of how to do this in Europe and Australia. And most larger US corporations follow those approaches. But when policies are preventing women from financial independence if they choose to have kids, those policies need to be challenged and changed. That’s part of equality.
I didn’t say women are worthless, nor do I think that. I said the message behind people saying that something is a good career “for a woman” is that women are worth less. These are invariable low-paid positions, usually with some nurturing component. If we valued women, we would value (economically) the work women do. We don’t. At all. The church is far worse than society on this front. The message given to YW in the church is very clear, that women are secondary and if they have a job it’s a plan B only. That leaves women completely vulnerable. It’s the kind of advice you give people you don’t care about. Nobody tells their sons that it doesn’t matter if they finish school or get a degree in a lucrative field because they can find some nice girl to take care of them.
As to the description of your mother being treated like a Royal Queen, beware the pedestal. Something about your description reminds me a lot of the description Plantation owners invented of the happy slave. They also believed that the economy of the south would fail if slavery were abolished, and guess what, they were largely right. But that’s because they didn’t deal with the emerging industrialized economy; their traditions led them astray.
Call me oldschool I guess but my honest belief is that if a husband and wife are planning to have children and raise those children with best setup for success and learning patterns, the father should be as the presiding figure the main provider for the families needs, the law enforcer and protector. The mother should be there as much as possible to birth children, nurture them and raise them to maturity. Just the process of birthing children, bonding with them and suckling them to where they fare on their own to some degree is almost a two year process. I dont see where a full time mother can be a full time provider also. I am old school where I see the importance of mothers in the homes securing the homefront when children are born and raised. I have a sister who is now pregnant with her 11th child. She is the very definition of a full time mother. As children get older I see mothers, who choose to, to go back to work to help financially. But, the main role of provider should fall onto the father. We dont have to be filthy rich to be happy. A good father in an average job makes adequate income for the entire family. But no, we live in a world now where we have added expenses of luxurious lifestyles that require more than the father himself can provide for. Couple that with fathers shirking their divine responsibilities and it begins to crumble.
I find it interesting that I have been reading about me and my wifes ancestors journals and biographies from 100+ years ago and have noticed how drastically our society has changed for the worse. The divine roles of mothers and fathers is quickly fading and as such, divorce rates are skyrocketing, crime rates are increasing, broken families are almost the norm now. My belief is that as these divine roles have diminished, there is no longer a directive to fulfill ones responsibilities, expecting the other to take more responsibility for ones lack of diligence. Fathers no longer preside, they no longer are seen as the protector nor provider. Mothers are increasingly seeking more independence from their husbands, want to also equally preside and now are wanting “equality” in priesthood and leadership. Thus, my belief that all this has led to the predicament of creating fathers destined to fail and not care.
Amateur Parent, the comment about the braces was intended to infer even if one splits everything down the line. Equal number of time spent by all the children in braces no matter their gender and need or even going back to the first post equal number of questions taken by male and female audience attendees there would still be someone who would want to define or use a different statistical model to say this is equality.
There are many things I would like. As a fourteen year old I wanted to know why my answering the same questions posed in a temple recommend would only give me a onetime visit to the temple. In those days I needed to talk to a member of the Stake Presidency. It seemed odd that instead of handing me the temple recommend it was given to an “Adult”. The only time I could go was if I was escorted to and from the temple. Well there have been a changes. Now any youth who can answer the questions will be given a recommend which they can use any time without an escort. They can seek out their own ancestor’s names to take to the temple and do not have to have anyone approve their work or chaperon them.
There were two comments made in that meeting both by sisters. One was how dare they let 12 year olds mess up her genealogy (the inference was it was not good that they would do family history and temple work and being unsupervised was a horrific idea). The other was why can’t 8 year olds go to the temple and do baptisms (the inference was my granddaughters are already doing genealogy work and if they can do that why not the rest of the process before they are 12)? Both have positions have their pro and cons. I am not sure which is right, though I understand what the current rules are and will follow them.
For me it appears when Christ came to earth he established his church three times. All three times (once in the old world, once with the Nephites, and once with Joseph Smith). Each time he did so by calling 12 men as Apostles. Now I may not like it. I may wonder why there is not more people like Mary Fielding Smith or Sister Snow called to be an Apostle or why Sister Snow’s brother did not ordain her. Then again no disrespect to her brother but maybe she should have been the person ordaining him to be an Apostle?
So I am left to wait and to go back to foundational principles of believing in Christ. Believing he is perfect. Believing all things can work together for my good and salvation. Believing in him and his atonement. Believing he has called a Prophet and he speaks with him and influences his decisions. In short I may not like all the deck hands on the Good Ship Zion but there is no other ship, there is no other name where mortals can be saved.
I patiently fulfill my duties knowing full well someone’s analysis of my actions will leave me woefully inadequate and inequitable in my actions. There are times I am filled with hope especially when I go home teaching to the Stake Patriarch. This week after the lesson I was able to ask how many of the girls he gives blessing to are told to get an education. After the half hour explanation I drove home thinking:
1. Must be an interesting meeting he has with the Stake President when they review some of the blessings he gives and the implications of what that means for stake activities.
2. Hope my son, who was with me, takes note that most of the young women are being told to obtain an education.
3. The third is sort of personal but I will share it because it addresses your question directly. Now that I have seen two of my long held hopes, genealogy and more emphasis on education don’t go trying to make God into your own image. Be patient, God is the one who is perfect, I am the one who is here to learn from him not the other way around.
A historical example of the church valuing women’s time less is back when you used to be able to pay proxies to do temple work if you couldn’t travel to do it yourself. Men received 75 cents, women received 50 cents per session.
This is where we have a paramount difference. I completely disagree that mothers with young children should be entitled to high power careers. Mothers need to be at home with children of young age. Thats their divine resposibility.
Pete, I suspect supply and demand played a big role in that discrepancy. Even today if I submit names to the temple it takes at least twice as long for male names to get done when compared to female names.
Mark, all those Family Tree issues make a lot of people angry. Adults are probably much more often at fault for messing things up than youth. Having a collaborate tree is meant to eliminate duplication of temple work, but man it’s a horrible system for keeping genealogical information reliable.
Granted it has reduced much of the duplicate work in the temple but the reason for bring it up in such length is the “Well Duh” and the “I’ve never seen anything more stupid” comes up all the time when working with individuals doing family history work.
Rob, I’ve had two thoughts as I’ve been reading your comments (a little late to the party!)
1. How do you/we know that society will fail if we move away from traditional gender roles and nuclear families? I recognize that it could happen that way. The way you write it, though, it sounds like we’re already there and we just don’t know it yet. I see our society evolving… Is that what you mean, or did you have something else in mind? Every society evolves. Even God’s, as His children learn and join Him.
2. “Traditional” is relative. If we accept what social scientists say, the nuclear family with father as breadwinner and mother as nurturer had only existed for a a few pages of humanity’s 8 (and counting) volume story (metaphorically). Before specialization of labor, everyone helped with every job. The whole clan hunted AND farmed AND raised the kids. So traditional doesn’t mean it needs to be that way… It just means it worked for some people for a while. If that particular way still works for your family, then keep it up.
Would it be better to have young women get temple recommend interviews from the relief society for doing baptisms for the dead?
Someone suggested that as a better marker of equality.
I haven’t given it much thought, but having heard the suggestion (and hoping to get this back on discussion and away from fighting) I thought I would add it in.
What a thought provoking suggestion. Seeing how many of the interviews are conducted by the councilors. Seeing how the RS president generally has been involved with as many if not more confidential conversations with their parents. I am not sure I see it as a better marker of equality as just a better method.
Rob, the number of re-marriages has not changed over the centuries. Just the reasons for them. It used to be that people re-married due to the death of their spouse. Now it is due to divorce. The actual numbers have not changed.
Violence has actually decreased consistantly over the last few centuries. We discuss vioiloence as if it is a huge growing problem in society. It is a still reall problem and some years are higher than others, but statistically it has been falling for over a very long time. Centuries. Really. It is less likely to die violently now than ever in the history of the world.
Im going a lot off the Proclamation to the world on the family along with all the teachings of our prophets, ancient and modern, coupled with the reality of todays broken homes and broken families. Facts are facts. Both anciently and today, the man has always been the presiding figure and the brute force physically to get work done. Its not rocket science to see that the physicality of the man is designed for everyday labor whereas the woman is more designed as softer, gentler and better natured to nurture and teach young children. Thats basic reality. Even in ancient times it was man who went to war and conqured, explored, and carried out the direction and work of infastructure in society.
Now that the feminist movements and “equality” have taken hold, women and men have become less dependent on each other and as such families are weakening and being destroyed. Not only that but crime is up, morality is disappearing, new families fail to form, more children are born out of wedlock, divorce is normal, etc etc…
Even in BoM times, families were very traditional where the father was the presiding figure, protector and provider (just look at Nephi and his going hunting, ship building, etc, while the wives were busy giving suck to their children).
Humm…how many hundreds of millions of people have been killed in the world in the last century?
I rest my case on that issue
Your using the term “suckling” is actually more old fashioned than your views on the family 🙂
I have many potential responses to your comment, but from what I’m gathering here’s where we likely differ fundamentally. Please, let me know if I get this wrong. I don’t mean to mischaracterize your views.
You believe the traditional gender roles of father as presiding, working, protecting, and mother nurturing and being home are fundamentally divine. They are rigid. In order to succeed, children should be thus raised. Any other structure does the children a disservice and leads to the breakdown of society. Our society is failing, and it’s because of peoplen no longer following these traditional roles. Heavenly Father wants us to live these roles and will bless us for doing so.
I believe Heavenly Father has given us guidelines on how to live and wants us to figure out for ourselves how to best implement those guidelines. Some of these guidelines include viewing men as providers and women as nurturers, but there can be overlap. Husbands and wives, counseling together with the Lord, are able to figure out what works best for their family. For many this means the “traditional” family structure you have discussed. But for others it can look different. The beauty of marriage is figuring this out together. It encourages compassion, communication, and mutual respect. Faithful couples raising their children in a church that places so much emphasis on the family understand these concepts and will find a situation that ensures everyone is cared for, loved, nurtured, and set up for success. I believe that stress is the greatest plague to families. Stress over finances, dreams or goals unmet, pressure due to lopsided responsibilities. Stress can lead to depressed parents and stressed kids. Families can find creative ways to reduce stress as the needs of their family changes, and often this involves sharing responsibilities across those strict gender roles.
Our church does have some great guidelines, by the way. FHE, family councils, etc. We have so many tools. We’re trained and ready, we just need to allow families space to do it their own way.
Also, I “suckled” each of my children to 18 months.
Stephen, I hate to say it but your temple interview question is a “well duh” for me. And also “that’s stupid” because no way will it happen since I believe worthiness must be determined by a priesthood holder.
I’m uncomfortable with my daughters having interviews alone with a member of the bishopric. The unequal power distribution is perhaps the greatest it can be in that scenario and I don’t believe it fosters a safe area where a girl feels comfortable discussing much of anything.
Rob O: “I completely disagree that mothers with young children should be entitled to high power careers.” No, nobody is “entitled” to a high power career. People who are qualified apply and are hired, and it should have zero to do with their family situation. If policies were supportive of families and women in general, the “issues” with women working would be greatly reduced. As it stands, though, the women who have high powered careers, even with young children don’t have issues with their children because they also have better support and resources (and yes, more equal marriages). They are better educated. They have access to better benefits. It’s women who are poor who suffer from the stay-at-home rhetoric. They can barely make ends meet. Their schedules don’t allow them to provide much support to their kids either emotionally, financially or from a child care assistance standpoint.
“Mothers need to be at home with children of young age.” Parents should jointly ensure that there is an appropriate caregiver for young children, whether it’s one of the parents or another qualified caregiver. When you make care-giving the sole default responsibility of one sex, you create the Susan Smiths of the world. Not all children are better off in their mother’s care. Women need choices, not guilt trips.
It was Hugh Nibley who drew my attention to the female deacons in the New Testament and Junia the apostle and such.
The great apostasy is when we ceased to have female deacons and apostles.
I think we generally agree. Im just coming from the angle of growing up as a young person in a society where traditional families was still the norm and there werent as many divorces and broken homes. Now, some 30 years later, traditional families are becoming rare with the father seen as head of household, mother a homemaker, etc. Along with that, I see more divorce and broken families. I see an increase in immorality and all other negative aspects creep into our homes.
I honestly, completely, believe that the majority of all these surmounting issues are because of the breakdown of proper divine roles of man and woman. I believe there is a direct correlation between broken families and nontraditional familial roles creeping in. The Proclamation gives us a general outline of what those roles are and the consequences of not adhering to it. And so, its a no brainer that as we are now departing from that divine instruction, our society is weakening and families are breaking up or failing to form.
Rob O: You should get a medal for hanging in there if for nothing else. The only thing I feel I need to point out is that many of the so-called good old days weren’t really that good, particularly for women. Marital rape was still legal until 1993 in some states in the US. There were fewer divorces when divorce was harder to obtain, but domestic violence was very high (and almost always under-reported) and women were expected to submit to their abusers.
Is it worse to be in the “broken home” of a divorce or the home in which the husband beats the wife? I patently disagree that the world is getting worse. On the contrary, it’s getting significantly better as more light is shed on the ugly unreported problems. Yearning for a past that was only rosy because women’s concerns were hidden, abuses were legal, and women had no recourse but to stay in dangerous situations, well, my nostalgia doesn’t stretch that far.
Not that I completely agree with how Rob presents the message but reading Dallin H. Oaks April 1989 conference talk and the talk which came after by James E. Faust might be of interest.
As for Nibley, in class when he was asked if they actually had the power and authority the church in the 20th century associates with those positions he said he didn’t know. Wish he was still around so he could be asked what he thought.
This world is not getting better its getting worse. The state of the family is far worse than it has ever been in the past two hundred years. For instance- SSM is now seen as just as healthy for couples and their children as hetero marriages and their children.
You said “I think we generally agree. Im just coming from the angle of growing up as a young person in a society where traditional families was still the norm and there werent as many divorces and broken homes.”
I understand you value traditional roles, you’ve really communicated that well. But you’ve done so from a standpoint of rigidity. So I’m scratching my head because I don’t see how we generally agree. Those two descriptions I gave are very different.
“This world is not getting better its getting worse. ”
I just can’t relate to this. I hear members of the church say it all the time, but history doesn’t suport it. For most of human history, life was brutal. Women were property, endlessly pregnant, and most babies died. Their daily lives were a struggle against starvation. Rape was common.
And very few men had lives that were better. I wonder if we look at history only from the perspective of the wealthy. Most of ancestors were serfs. Life was awful.
We live like kings and queens.
Haven’t read all the comments, but the document is not.even.close.
It addresses only symptoms, not causes. These targets are temporary and temporal. Think bigger- after all we are talking about eternal equality and value.
Ordain women – revelation in women’s priesthood
186 years of complete female leadership (to balance out the same # of male leadership we’ve had). Then, some sort of millennial co-leadership based on readyness, aptitude, attitude, service, and everything altruistic.
When asked about women and the priesthood at the law school when he addressed the students in a Q&A he brought up that women had been ordained in the New Testament. I was there and somewhat surprised to hear that.
A very quick search online supports this. My government’s website lists crime stats, broken down by category. Violent crimes are down, property crimes are down, youth crimes are down. This is not just comparing to last year, but the last several decades. Violent crimes are at their lowest since 1969. We may be more aware of crimes. We may be more afraid of crime. People can debate WHY crime rates are down. The reality is my children are growing up in a much safer world then I did.
Rob O:”I honestly, completely, believe that the majority of all these surmounting issues are because of the breakdown of proper divine roles of man and woman.”
Well … from my own perspective, the divine roles as you describe them are not remotely attractive. I don’t know many women who’d be happy with that sort of heaven. There’s either a resigned acceptance that that’s just how it is and a not thinking of what an eternity of it might mean. Or a deliberate turning away in search of something better. And the younger the person, the more likely the latter.
At some point men are going to have to consider that if that is their view of heaven, they might just find they’re going to be there on their own. A replay of Eden…
” A replay of Eden…”
I imagine my dad reluctantly leaving paradise to enter the fallen world simply because being alone scares him more than anything.
What is creating the impression that Rob has of a worsening world, is not that women are becoming more equal, but that US society is becoming less equal. The more equal the more Zion like.
In 1960 the average executive earned 20 times the average employee. Now the average executive is paid 340 times the average employee.
There are countries where the relationship is more like the 20 times, and they are happier societies, but they also value equality for all including women.
Rob, thanks for clarifying. When you start with the Family Proc/current church leaders as your main source of authority, then your argument is valid. That’s also the point where I disagree. I sustain current and past LDS leaders. I believe there’s a lot of wisdom in the Family Proc. I also believe we shouldn’t say “men are this way because men say they’re this way.” We need to accept multiple perspectives, instead of one document drafted by three older white men, EVEN IF those men are divinely inspired.
And like I said, if that way of life fits for you and your family, then keep it up. I know it doesn’t work for my family, so my wife and I both work, and we share nurturing responsibilities.
When you say that morality is failing, what does that mean? Maybe your morals aren’t common anymore. But a change in common morals isn’t the same as the absence of morals. And divorce isn’t really normal… It peaked around 40% in the early 2000s, and has become less common since then.It’s more common than it was 100 years ago, but not normal. And yes, we see different kinds of families now besides the nuclear family popularized in the 1950s. That’s the point–a lot of us think it’s time for a different kind of church experience, too.
It’s good practice to examine these things keeping in mind the privilege you may enjoy while doing so.
Civil rights today for minorities, for example, are much better than 50+ years ago.
I doubt any person who was a slave in the 1800s, or experienced segregation and racism to the extent that existed in the 1950s would say society is worse off today than it was back then.
I doubt any woman who had her law school application denied because of her gender, or who couldn’t get a divorce unless her husband permitted it, would say “things were great in my day. Man, 2016 is a wreck!”
Sorry white guys, the world was yours. That’s changing, and if it bothers you then maybe you need to wonder if what’s happening is that the world has become more evil, or if it’s just that the society that supported your dominance is starting to crumble so that other groups can rise as well.
Back to the original question for a moment, what does equality look like?
I would have the same access to handbook one as men do. Yes not all men get to read it, but every three years a new set of men get access to it. As it is now I will never read it unless I read a pirated version on line. But I get it used against me in the “but that’s what’s in the handbook” way as I get shut down or shut out. It might even be true what the man is saying but I will never ever know. I am judged out of a book I can’t read.
I would be able again to be a witness.
I would be able again to give blessing of healing.
Almost forgot: cubs and achievement girls meet at the same frequency
Better and worse are opinions. The reasons you give to show that it’s getting worse actually seem like evidence of improvement to me. Could you provide some evidence of how those things show regression?
I am currently reading a book that seems relevant to this dialogue…..
“All that said, after pregnancy, birth, and breast-feeding, nothing a mother does can’t be done equally well by a father (and plenty of fathers bottle-feed breast milk to their babies). What children need above all is love, stability, stimulation, care, nurture, and consistency. Those are things that can come from an array of caregivers. Stability is key here, no matter what the parental arrangement is. A study from Ohio State showed that children from stable one-parent homes (homes where the caregiver was always single, from birth) fared as well on test scores as children from stable married homes. Conversely, a 2013 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation demonstrates that the biggest barriers to a child’s social, emotional, and physical well-being are rooted in poverty. It’s much easier, though, for pundits to fall back on the crutch of long-held cultural norms—that children need their mothers—than it is to confront and attempt to solve the more serious, endemic issues facing children.”
“Understood as a command to men only to provide income for the support of their households, however, Saint Paul’s dictum has very different and much more negative implications. There are similar precepts in chapter 4 of the Quran: ‘Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means.’ But why does ‘providing’ or ‘supporting’ mean money rather than care? The production of food rather than the preparation of it? The growing of flax rather than the spinning of it? The purchase of a car rather than the driving of it? The building of a house rather than the making of a home?”
“I would not counsel my teenage sons to make it their life plan to marry a successful woman any more than I would counsel a daughter to marry a successful man as her meal ticket. If things go sour—a lost job, a divorce—a person of either gender who leaves the labor force for a prolonged period of time is vulnerable. But neither would I tell them that it is their job to provide for their families in the sense of bringing in income. I tell them that it is a man’s job to provide, and a woman’s too. Both are responsible for providing the combination of income and nurture that allows those who depend on them to flourish.”
Unfinished Business, Anne Marie Slaughter
Well then, there wre certainly lots of liberal religions out there. Go and find one that fits.
I disagree with the quotes from the book. What are they arguing for? That single parents are as good for raising children in society as married parents?
Rob, throughout this conversation you have consistently relied on your feelings and opinions to counter facts. That is fine, I suppose, but your feelings and opinions do not change the facts, which you seem incapable of understanding. You assert the world as a whole is degenerating into lawlessless and violence yet the facts prove the opposite. You assert that families in which both parents fill the roles they are best suited for rather than adopting rigidly defined gender roles cannot possibly succeed. Yet, millions of families demonstrate you are wrong. And here, again, you say you disagree with the very clear, scientific evidence that any family structure is capable of meeting the fundamental needs of children. Which begs the question, why should I, or anyone, care that you disagree? What is your point? You have offered no evidence, no supportable counter argument, nothing whatsoever that leads me to take you seriously. I can shout from the rooftops that the world is flat. All that shows is I am willfully and embarrassingly ignorant. I fear this forum has been your rooftop.
I’ve come late to this post and comments, but have read and pondered on them all. What a great discussion, though not always easy as we share where we are with where we hope to be from varying perspectives.
To me equality in the church means:
Women are ordained. Fully. Unequivocally. Glory, Glory Hallelujah!
The 3 times the Savior established his church on the earth were times so steeped in “men rule–women aren’t as strong, nor as competent AND were created FOR the proper care and feeding of men, AND are by nature immoral temptresses that it was prudent to ordain men. Had Jesus ordained women then, his church would not have grown, nor endured because the traditions of their fathers. Further, women did not see themselves as being capable, or even desirous of such roles and responsibilities. Even today I hear many women say they have no desire 1) for further education because it’s too hard and too much work 2) priesthood power because it’s too hard and too much work 3) men don’t find educated/career-oriented women attractive, and 4) if women are ordained and become leaders in the church, men will become lazy and weak–their egos just can’t handle it.
How long must the Savior suffer we of such little faith?
In my lifetime women have moved forward in ways most western societies now take for granted. The women in Taliban societies speak to the ways held as right and good, even divinely inspired for millennia. Yet the Savior in the latter-days established his church in a western society where the day-dawn was truly breaking for the daughters of God.
Our family lived on the East coast for a number of years. All the presidents of RS, P, and YW were women with careers and children at home. Professors, business execs, para legals, chiropractors, cardiac icu nurses, and so on. Some presidents were divorced, single moms, oh my! Almost all mothers worked, whether they were LDS or not. It’s the cultural norm there and the kids go to fabulous colleges and establish fabulous careers AND raise kids who go on missions–even the daughters long before the missionary age change.
Families hold together well when there is mutual love, respect, order, and commitment to a covenant that we are for each one, and each one is for we. We push, pull, inspire, change, adapt, lift, give, take, move, stand, grow, succeed, and love, love, love in ways that each FEELS our love. We live love.
And that brings equality in time…the true “seeing” of the fullest value and worth of every person, and acting upon that “seeing”. That is Zion.
I’ve pondered, prayed, fasted, studied—all these things, and more, for decades. It’s been an arduous, yet fascinating journey to learn many wondrous things. I look forward to further horizons of such! Glory that!!
And so, to me, equality in the church cannot be realized until women are fully ordained. And that is only the beginning of many wonders to come……
“Well then, there are certainly lots of liberal religions out there. Go and find one that fits.”
Rob , that is literally what is going on. People are leaving. They are not leaving the church due to the teachings of Christ, they are leaving due to cultural intolerance.
You are happy with how you are living your type of Mormonism. But when you are unwilling to make room for any variance, you become part of the problem. When you state adamantly that all women should be home suckling their children, and that women are not supposed to be in executive positions, that stance is rather offensive.
Church is supposed to be about following CHRIST. It isn’t supposed to be a power struggle, or judging your neighbor. It is supposed to be about helping, nurturing, loving and and caring for those in need. The fact that some men have their personal identity caught up with their priesthood position is a problem. This discussion is about an earthly organization. A church. A church that claims to represent Christ. To me, it just makes sense that it would involve men and women at the very highest level. The primitive church did. The OT and NT are a bunch of letters that were put together and modified and edited over the years. We know the words of Paul were changed. We know so much of the ancient mentions of heavenly mother were removed. We know theOT and NT were edited in a way to remove women. Christ wouldn’t be very proud of that one. Women being marginalized isn’t very Christian.. Christ allowed a women to anoint HIS head with oil. If women would good enough to anoint Christ, seems like women ought to be good enough to anoint others.
Women did so much in the early days of the LDS church that have now been removed or discouraged.
Increasing the roles of women in the power structure of the church makes sense. It allows women to have a voice, it is a Christian thing to do, it follows the original structure of the church, and it keep people from leaving.
I find it interesting that our conversation above tanked. Basically you were communicating a black and white, rigid narrative of traditional marriage, with any other model leading to the destruction of society. When I countered with a more flexible version that involves righteous parents working as partners figuring out what works best for them, which involves crossing traditional gender roles, you said “I think we generally agree.”
I have to wonder what is your real stance here? Because when you say “It’s this way or else,” as you have many times, we believe you. If you say in Sunday School that husbands should work and women should stay home, full stop, then the college age kids in the room take that in. It may affect their decisions, and not necessarily to their betterment. The professional in her 20s takes that in and wonders if she’s doing it all wrong even though she felt God’s hand in her decisions. The working mother feels misunderstood and judged.
So if you actually don’t believe, 100% that this is the only. way. it. should. be.
Then please just stop.
Sorry to come back so soon, but I’ve been unsettled all day about the comment someone made to go find “a liberal religion that fits.”
This sort of comment has been made frequently in the various wards I’ve lived in throughout the years. It shows a lack of love for those who have different hopes and deep concerns about how some things are versus how they might be. It shows lack of respect for those feelings and views. It says, “there’s no room in the inn” here for you and your perspective. It implies, “Get out!”
These types of comments are so far from love unfeigned. “…There are plenty of liberal religions out there. Go find one that fits.” Just go. We don’t love you or your ideas. We don’t want them or you.
Such comments usually cause a sudden quiet in the room. Perhaps the one who made them feels he or she said a thing so powerful it shuts the liberals up….or maybe that’s down. I know from experience that some “liberals” remain silent, even as Jesus sometimes did. If they respond they will be blamed for causing contention and/or driving the Spirit from the room. But in that sudden silence when the original comment is made, yeah, that’s when the Spirit grieves, then often leaves. How much better to say, “Come, let us reason together…” The Savior invites us all–not just conservative Mormons–to “come, follow me.”
Rockies, I won’t defend the sentiment, but I would like to offer that the sentiment is not always as unkind as you portray. I can imagine the sentiment arising in a spirit of love, from the 11th Article of Faith. Of course, I can also imagine it arising in frustration and even unkindness. However, I am surprised that you have “frequently” observed it in the various wards you have lived in — I have only observed it rarely in Sunday meetings — more often on blogs as here than at Sunday meetings.
I dont wish to be understood. Obviously there is going to be some flexibility in marriage and families based on circumstances, etc. Im not saying its black and white. What I am saying is that in general, we need to get back to the traditional roles of working fathers and stay at home mothers for the most part. Im not suggesting that all women must stay at home and all fathers must be the 100% provider. What I am suggesting is that in “general” we should teach that fathers are providers for their families while mothers provide the general nurturing and teaching of children in the home.
As we stray more and more away from the traditional roles we are just creating more problems for our families and society.
Rob, I’m saying that words are important.
It took us this long to weed out that you don’t actually believe it has to be 100% because you have presented yourself otherwise. To me, feminism doesn’t mean that I want to be like a man. I too believe gender is a divine trait. I believe there is a unique power to womanhood, sisterhood, motherhood that should be celebrated.
For me, feminism is about choice. Flexibility. Options. Security. Confidence. Trust in myself and my relationship with my spouse as we navigate our family through this world. And the view you have presented doesn’t allow for much flexibility. I’ve sat through Sunday School lessons and sacrament meeting talks with men like you, telling us women what we should and shouldn’t be doing. So when what my husband and I have decided to do, along with God’s stamp of approval, doesn’t jive with your traditional model, it hurts. And it’s insulting. And alienating. So please keep it to yourself and out of our Sunday services.
I never said women shouldnt be executives. I said I dont think its wise for a mother with very young children to be a powerful executive. Theres a world of difference there.
Im curious as to what you think of the BoM with its traditional teachings of traditional roles with the males who officiate in the priesthood, run the government of society, etc. It appears its really no different than the NT in those respects.
The issue is about fringe Mormons trying to force their ideals on the church in complete disregard for our holy prophets. If someone truly thinks the Proclamation is just the mere opinion of three old white guys ( note the complete lack of respect) and want a different church experience, then by all means- go and find a religion thats not run by three old white guys because that rhetoric isnt at all christlike with sustaining and upholding our church and its divinely appointed prophets.
Thats where I was coming from.
Both brotherhood and sisterhood should be celebrated. We should take great pride in our creation.
So, you must think our church is insulting, not just me. I am only suggesting the same thing our church teaches, nothing more and nothing less.
My reply was a simple question. I disagreed that a single parent was just as good at raising children in society as married parents. Do you think married parents are better for children or a single parent is best?
Rob, you are taking church teachings and communicating them to a rigid extreme. It’s confusing for people to hear these things at church. Life is beautiful and complex, and so are people and families. We should be given the principles and then the space needed to flourish.
People sometimes say things at church that don’t necessarily reflect the current teachings and instead reflect their own ideological views. Your discussion on this thread about men’s and women’s roles have been more restrictive than what I’ve heard from general conference over the past several years. Then you backtracked and said you were speaking in generalities, which was a shocker because that’s not the impression you had been giving.
I don’t think President Monson really cares too much if I work a couple of days a week and my husband stays home those days, in fact he might think it’s great that my husband gets so much quality time with our kids. I think he cares that we’re invested in our family and seeking God’s help. I don’t think he cares about the details as much as you seem to.
So please, just lay off. Let us do it our way.
It is very difficult to use the Book of Mormon to get any ideas of the purposes of women, largely because we aren’t there. Nephi grew up in a extremely patriarchal household. This can be observed as no matter how much muttering Laman and Lemuel do, they do actually leave Jerusalem when Lehi tells them to. Nephi really doesn’t notice women. Nephi never bothers to mention the names of his wife, sisters, or daughters. This is despite writing down twenty whole chapters of Isaiah while complaining about the physical difficulty of writing. This bias away from acknowledging the existence of women is continued through the generations all they way through the Book of Mormon. It is a history written by patriarchal men who really didn’t notice that women existed. This does not mean that this willful blindness to the value of women is God’s will. Slavery existed in the Bible and is mentioned in the Book of Mormon. That doesn’t mean that we today believe that slavery is God’s will for His children.
Jesus in the New Testament noticed women. He blessed them. He talked to them. He touched them. He invited women as well as men to follow Him, and they did. In a society where it was believed teaching women Torah diminished the Law, he taught crowds that included women. He listened the them. Women were the first witnesses of Him, both of his birth and his resurrection. We were disciples. We financially supported the building of the church in the New Testament. We were teachers. Women were such a vibrant part of the early church in the New Testament that despite the history of the church being written entirely by men we could not be completely erased.
Im not being harsh or anything. Im just saying that the general teaching of the church is still the same. Teaching young men is about raising them to be the priesthood leader in the home and providing financially for their welfare. Teaching young women is about raising them to be good homemakers and mothers. This teaching hasnt changed.
“Teaching young women is about raising them to be good homemakers and mothers.”
No Rob, it is about more than that. But I won’t get too much into that here.
I am a homemaker and a mother AND a professional. And it’s right for me and my family. It’s a blessing to all of us.
We can teach the generalities, so long as we allow for flexibility and not teach that it is a one size fits all model. That model leads to discouragement, potential missed opportunities, and confusion for our young people.
I embrace my daughters learning about motherhood at church. But I also want them to learn to rely on their relationship with God as they make important decisions about their future. We are a church of personal revelation. Most LDS girls really want to be mothers. I know I did. So when I felt inclined to study science and medicine in college, and I felt encouragement from God that it would all work out, it was voices like yours that caused me self doubt and guilt that I should never have experienced. I’m so grateful I didn’t listen to those voices.
I think we are just talking past each other. perhaps I have been mistaken.
The problems in our world come right down to fathers and mothers shirking their divine roles and responsibilities. As this world seeks to move towards this supposed “equality” of genders, it undermines Gods work and glory. It places worldly esteem, self acknowledgement and power above the marriage, family and home. When we seek in society to demand perfect equality between the sexes, it only destroys and undermines both men and women in their true proper roles. The world no longer wants the father to be the provider nor the presider nor the sole priesthood leader. This same world now demands a mother to be independent from her mate, place mothers in high paying fulltime jobs, and be given the same equality as co presider and co priesthood leader in the home.
The great feminist movements are about women becoming not only all powerful, but also completely independent of men in society. Its a bad movement that undermines all of Gods work.
Rob, it’s not just the ‘evil world’ that is claiming equality in marriage; it is the very men who are sustained as prophets in the church.
Equal Partnership in Marriage
I agree we’re talking past each other. I’m understanding your ideology, even if I don’t agree with it. I just hope that you can understand when such an ideology is presented to others in a rigid way, it undermines their individual efforts and desires that can also be good for themselves and their families.
“The great feminist movements are about women becoming not only all powerful, but also completely independent of men in society. Its a bad movement that undermines all of Gods work”
No. Feminism is about making sure women have the same rights as men. That’s it. Thanks to feminism we can vote. We can hold jobs we otherwise couldn’t in the past. We have control over our bodies. We have rights in our marriages. Feminism makes sure I have opportunities. It doesn’t care what I do with those opportunities, it just makes sure I have them. Hooray for feminism!
Peye, I agree fully with everything you quoted. I am in total agreement that a marriage is about being equal partners. That isnt my argument. My argument is that the “equality” the world us demanding is one where man and womans roles are undrmined and the family suffers for that. For instance- this fringe Mormon group “ordain women” is but one of many demanding “equality” but in reality it just undermines men and women roles and places the woman independent and superior to man.
Feminist movements are not good for society. Whats the counter to it? A male chauvinist? Suppose a group of men decided a movement to take back their believed rights, whats that called? Sexist! Thats my point. In the church, the doctrine of Christ does not support sexist groups. Feminism is one such “sexist” group.
I find this reply from Dallin H. Oaks fitting to what I am saying about feminisim –
“Feminism is clearly a point of danger to the Church because it draws the daughters of God away from a perception — or it distorts perceptions — about things that are very important eternally — marriage and family and responsibilities to posterity and so on. It has some very favorable effects in encouraging people to maximize their service to mankind [and] to develop a talent. All of this I’ve had with my own daughters, of whom I have four, and I’ve felt the benefits of feminism. But also it has some troublesome aspects. If a person grows up saying, “Well I don’t want a family, I want a career,” that goes against eternal values — so I think there’s a danger there.”
You stubbornly cling to a myopic and outdated definition of feminism. Feminism allows women to use all their diverse abilities to best meet the needs of their families, in whatever form those families may take. Not everyone subscribes to your Little House on the Prairie fantasy. You continue to assert that feminism is anti-family. That is so far from the truth, but you refuse to see that. Open your eyes, Rob. You’re missing out. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
My wife isnt a feminist, my mother wasnt, neither are my sisters or my brothers wives feminists. And, they are the most equal best treated womenn on the planet. Just looking at the LDS blogs in the blogosphere here, and by far, the most liberal extreme fringe Mormon blogs are those ones that are professed feminists. The Exponent and Feminist Mormon Houswives border on apostacy constantly in their dialogue. The one is even a staunch supporter of “ordain women” of which group is quickly becoming an enemy to the church having excommunicated members being part of that feminist group.
Feminism, in general, has no productive place in society.
Pete nailed it. I’ll just add that Elder Oaks’ quote highlights good things that come from feminism. I think the negative aspects he’s talking about are perhaps a response to extremist views of feminism that aren’t reflective of the core principle of feminism.
We all have our own value system and our church does a great job of teaching the values it espouses. Growing up in a church like ours you aren’t going to find many girls who say “I want a career, not a family.” But when girls grow up seeing the world is open to them (thanks to our feminist predecessors), they can figure out for themselves how to raise a family in this world of opportunity.
I find it easier to let the prophets speak my feelings.
Perhaps a succeeding post here could be “what does the feminist movement in the church look like and is it good or bad?”
“Feminist movements are not good for society. Whats the counter to it? A male chauvinist? Suppose a group of men decided a movement to take back their believed rights, whats that called? Sexist!”
Oh Rob, I missed this one. And now I see for sure we aren’t going to get anywhere. Because I don’t see that you’re really interested in understanding.
I also feel bad that we’ve highjacked such a fantastic post, sorry Stephen!
Men, particularly white men, have enjoyed rights for decades at the expense of others. Women don’t want rights at the expense of men, we just want the same rights and opportunities as men. Male chauvinism would take rights at the expense of women. So no, it’s not the counterpart. Feminism isn’t sexist.
I hope as you think about feminism and the issues we’ve discussed that you’ll try to have some empathy. Empathy is Christlike.
I dont see how feminist movements arent sexist in nature. For i stance- “ordain women” is all about blaming males for their problems. How is that not sexist?
…”places the woman independent and superior to man.”
In what sense does OW make women superior to men? I’ve never seen an inkling of this.
Rob, I find it so interesting that we can come from the same religious tradition and yet have such different opinions. You accuse feminists of being the fringe of our society. From where I am standing, you are the far fringe of Mormonism. Please do not take that as a compliment.
The Feminist movement has allowed women to buy and sell property. It has allowed me to open my own banking account. The feminist movement means that when I do equal work, I received equal pay. The feminist movement means that I can get on a bus or a plane without a signed note of permission from my husband. The feminist movement has allowed me to go to high school, college, graduate school and to take national boards. The feminist movement has allowed me to plan my family. I am one of those women who ovulates 2 weeks after giving birth while breast feeding. Without birth control, I would either have to give up sex, or have babies every 10 months throughout my life. I do not find either option healthy.
The feminist movement has allowed me to decide for myself what is the best path for my life. My father doesn’t get to barter my body away to the highest bidder. My husband doesn’t get to rape and beat me. I can divorce if I am abused. I am allowed equal consideration for the custody of my children.
The feminist movement has done these things for women.
When you portray feminists as bra-burning, man-hating, bible-burning cartoon-stereotypes, you are not describing real people. You keep describing some odd nightmare under your bed that is going to rise up, castrate you, take your man-card, your priesthood, and leave you weak and nutless. Whatever that bizarre fear of yours is .. Those are not feminists.
I hope that everyone would agree with Brigham Young and what is appropriate for women. viz.
“President Young caught a new vision of medicine and health care. Realizing the importance of the medical profession, President Young sent women to medical schools on the Eastern seaboard to study and learn the profession. When these women doctors returned to Utah with their degrees, they set up practices and with the encouragement of President Young, established training schools for nurses, public health organizations, and hospital care.”
Is there anyone who disagrees with women being sent to study medicine and practicing medicine?
How about women as shopkeepers or attorneys?
Does anyone disagree with Brigham Young on that point?
For a nice citation:
“Our heritage of learning the healer’s art began at the very dawn of the restored Church. Soon after the Relief Society was organized in 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith set apart “noble and lofty women . . . to go about among the sick and minister to their wants” (in “Nursing in the Relief Society,” Relief Society Magazine2, no. 7 [July 1915]: 316–17). When the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young established a Council of Health. Women went east to medical school. In 1873 (the year Linda Richards graduated in New England as the first professional nurse in the United States) President Young called for three women from each ward in the Church to study nursing. Eliza R. Snow personally traveled the valley recruiting nursing students “for Zion’s sake” (in “An Address by Miss Eliza R. Snow,” Woman’s Exponent 2, no. 8 [15 September 1873]: 63). The first classes were taught by the women doctors of the Church. Graduates “were blest and set apart for their professional work””
He also suggested that women should “keep books and sell goods” (JD 12:374-75; Widtsoe, p. 218)
Quoting from the actual Journal of Discourses:
Another thing I will say with regard to our trading. Our Female Relief Societies are doing immense good now, but they can take hold and do all the trading for these wards just as well as to keep a big loafer to do it. It is always disgusting to me to see a big, fat, lubberly fellow handing out calicoes and measuring ribbon; I would rather see the ladies do it. The ladies can
learn to keep books as well as the men; we have some few, already, who are just as good accountants as any of our brethren. Why not teach more to keep books and sell goods, and let them do this business, and let the men go to raising sheep, wheat, or cattle, or go and do something or other to beautify the earth and help to make it like the Garden of Eden
I think Brigham found women economically useful once they got settled in the valley, but I would hardly call him a feminist. His views on women and treatment of his wives was schizophrenic at best. He had little regard for the Relief Society as it was originally formed (see The First Fifty Years of the Relief Society published by the Church Historian’s press). John Turner’s biography is also instructive. But in no way did he consider women to be the equals of men.
Pete. I’m not saying he was a feminist. And I’ve written before on his use of hyperbole and his willingness to change positions often (read him on pork).
But where the metal hit the road he was willing to invest time, money and energy in promoting female doctors and nurses and to support female shopkeepers and businesswomen.