There was a seventy who attended the same stake conferences where he lived, year after year. He noticed a family. The father regularly had new suits. The boys regularly had new white shirts and ties, the daughters new outfits.
But the mother always wore the same red dress.
How do you think the story ended?
- He was appalled that the husband did not take better care of his wife, or,
- He admired a woman who sacrificed so much and submerged herself?
The answer you give probably reflects your age.
I grew up in an era of “women and children first.” An era of “if you have to choose between educating your sons or educating your daughters, put your daughters first.”
I grew up in an era where church discipline was expected to be harsher on men than women. Where sexual abuse meant immediate excommunication and no re-admittance without first presidency permission.
The trend I often see discussed about the current church environment is the opposite. Where people want to “protect” boys at the expense of their victims and where abusers are often discovered after a trail of victims.
It is a strange shift, irregular in where it surfaces and so alien to me. It seems far from President Hinckley’s statements that implied a priesthood holder who did such things was headed for hell
Questions for our readers:
- What changes in the Church and its culture have you noticed?
- If you were the 70, how would you react to a family that had new clothes every year except for the wife who wore the same dress for over a decade?
- What do you think has caused the cultural shift?
- Do you agree with President Hinckley?
- What changed do you think could be made to protect victims from abusers?
Maybe that’s her special stake conference dress, and everyone in the family is happy?
Maybe some of the reaction to feminism in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s in the church reinforced the idea that good women sacrifice and submerge themselves?
Stephen: “I grew up in an era of ‘women and children first.’ An era of ‘if you have to choose between educating your sons or educating your daughters, put your daughters first.'”
This surprised me. If I recall correctly, I’m only a few years older than you, but the “era” I grew up in was one of “your daughters don’t really need an education because women are for having babies, cooking, and taking care of the house.” I suspect the difference is that our impressions are not so much of an era as they are of a style of parenting we grew up with and observed. If that’s right the cultural shift you point to is not the same one I see in progress.
Are you going to tell us how the story did end? How did the 70 react?
I agree with E. The anti-feminism preached in the 70s and 80s probably made a lot of women think that their own needs didn’t matter.
And I also agree with Wondering. My family culture growing up leaned more toward women needing an education and preparing to use it, and it was because of my parents who did not teach the same thing as my YW leaders.
I see it differently. In decades past there seem to be much more of a victim-blaming mentality. Consider Richard G. Scott’s 1992 talkon abuse:
“The victim must do all in his or her power to stop the abuse. Most often the victim is innocent because of being disabled by fear or the power or authority of the offender. At some point in time, however, the Lord may prompt the victim to recognize a degree of responsibility for the abuse.”
This mentality persisted until just a few years ago when Maddey Barney stood up to the Honor Code Office, who expelled her for being a victim of rape, eventually forcing the Honor Code Office to change, a little. Leaders now are much more careful about giving talks that come off as blaming the victim. A quote could go viral and really cause damage. People are much more reactive and vigilant due to social media. The church’s enemies can pack a stronger punch than they used to be able to.
From my perspective let me help put Richard G. Scott’s comment into context and who I think he was talking to. One of the problems I faced in my limited Church responsibility is what to do with the person who comes in multiple times with the same issue? When I worked years ago at BYU counseling department what council do you provide the student who comes in semester after semester with the same roommate problems. The names and the apartment complexes may have changed but the person continues to run into the same abusive situations. The same concern persists years later now when there are older adult coming in who are on their third or fourth marriages with the same issue. The names may have changed but the situations are the same. What council do you provide?
What changes in the Church and its culture have I noticed? Let me sum it up this way:
I was born in 1965. The Church I was born into then was much different culturally than I see today. You know what else is different? The country. I wonder if that’s a coincidence. I can’t predict the future culture of the Church with 100% accuracy but I can make an educated guess. And my guess is that the Church will change right along with the country, just 10-20 years after-the-fact (example: Civil Rights Acts of 1964…blacks get the priesthood 1978). I base this prediction on what we’ve seen in the past. Therefore, just keep an eye on society for an indicator of where the Church is probably going. Sometimes these changes will involve a big announcement. Other times (more often) the changes will simply be the result of a subtle shift.
You know what’s fun to do? Go back and read General Conference talks from the early 1970s. I’ve done 1971-1975. You’ll see plenty of messages that remind you of those cringeworthy commercials from the 50s. Women shouldn’t work. Couples should have as many children as possible. Homosexuality is a perversion.
Some of you will attribute these changes to modern prophesy and revelation for modern times. Others will view the Church and the Brethren as simply reactionary. You decide. The big elephant in the room? Will gay marriage ever be accepted in the Church? I give it a 50-50 shot once Elder Bednar passes on.
Mark A. Marsh, thanks for weighing in. Are you a trained and licensed counselor who specializes in abuse? Because every abuse specialist I’ve heard from would not say the things Elder Scott said. In fact, I’m quite sure he faced some pretty severe backlash for that talk since he ended up giving another talk on abuse without the victim-blaming.
“The names may have changed but the situations are the same. What council do you provide?”
I don’t know, I’m not a trained counselor nor have I ever worked in counseling. But you have. And in your comment you come off as helpless. Look, if the abuser has committed a crime, we need to go after the abuser, not place the burden on the victim to fix it. Saying victims bear responsibility for abuse is irresponsible. It is a defeatist attitude. Of course we should believe progress can be made and work to make that happen even if progress can be slow and full of setbacks.
The questions are not evidence of being helpless. It was a question for you to think about and respond to. In your responds you over stated my point when you indicated you did not know. Providing council and direction is a tough place to be in any one can take any council, talk, speech and find circumstances where they think it does not apply and take offense.
Back to the first question. “What changes in the Church and its culture have you noticed?” From my experience there has been a shift from the members asking what is right about what is being taught or read to what is wrong with what is being taught and said. It is a small shift but the ramifications are profound. I liked the culture where the lead question was what is right instead of the lead question being what is wrong.
I agree with Wondering when it comes to education at least. Older generations considered it a nice-to-have for women to get an education, mostly necessary so that they could find a husband who was a better provider, not so they would actually benefit from an education in their own lives and careers. When my brother went to BYU, he had his car so he could be independent and take women on dates. I was told I should try to find a nice young man to drive me around. I fought hard to get a car at school before my mission, and after it was my first priority to buy my own.
Personally, I think the shift to women being selfless ciphers is related to the resurgence in gender roles in the 80s under the Reagan administration in response to the progress won in the 60s and 70s. Wouldn’t it be great if all women would just serve the men and children in silence with no needs of their own? The worst talk I have heard in this vein was Christofferson’s talk “Let Us Be Men” (ironic title included!) about his mother having crippling pain when she ironed, so his dad skipped lunches for a year to buy her a new ironing machine. Every woman I know was yelling at the TV: “Just iron your own damn shirts!!!!” The talk was about male sacrifice for their beloved mother and wife. But seriously, what the heck. I’m sure in everyone’s minds, probably hers too, it was unthinkable for a man to iron a shirt because his penis would probably fall off from doing women’s work.
Wondering, spot on comment. I was about to write the same, then I realized you had already done so.
Angela C, thanks for mentioning that Christofferson talk. I was dumbfounded when I first heard it. And then it got featured as the home/visiting teaching message. As a man who does a lot of staying at home and taking care of my 5 and 2 year olds, I think men who can’t bring themselves to iron clothes, change a diaper, walk children, wash clothes, and cook meals aren’t very secure in their manhood. My dad and brother have called me “Mr. Mom” in the past. I politely correct them and say I’m “Mr. Dad.”
Mark A. Marsh, you’re asking me to derive sympathy for you as a counselor. I do. But most my sympathy goes to the victims of abuse. A victim is a victim. Imagine if we held victims accountable before the law for bringing about their own victimhood. Ridiculous.
Born in the early 50s here, so the church I grew up in women didn’t need an education other than how to cook and change diapers, iron the man’s shirt and so on. If she was higher class, she was taught some talent like playing the piano, you know, if her parents were rich enough to afford lessons. My mother returned to college after five kids because she wanted to divorce and still be able to support her children, she was ridiculed, gossiped about, my husband said his mother told him that she must be having an affair with a profession because there was no reason on God’s green earth that a married woman needed a college education.
The idea of if there is a choice between educate your sons or daughters, educate the daughters came about because in 3rd world countries, babies survived better and were healthier if the mother had some minimal education, so it wasn’t about the woman at all, it was about her ability to keep a baby healthy.
And child sexual abuse was simply unimaginable. It only happened in backwoods hillbilly country. The “experts” were saying one child out of a million. I know because it happened to me and so, I know what the attitude toward it was both in the church and larger society. People just refused to believe it. (This of course was before the Satanic cult scare, when people were starting to come forward and suddenly society realized that it did happen and then went totally nuts imagining it everywhere, except in the child’s own home.)
And the normal Mother’s Day talk was about the mother who always ate the chicken back so her children could have the piece they wanted, and the mother who wore the same thread bare winter coat so her daughter could have a dress for prom, and the mother who wore the same dress to church for 10 years so her growing children and priesthood husband could have new. These women were admired for self sacrifice and nobody told them they didn’t need to because the “needs” of children and husband come before the needs of the mother. I suspect the story you heard where the husband was chewed out was backlash against the “normal” story of the self sacrificing mother. Yeah, I hated Mother’s Day because after two or three of this type of story, you never never want to have kids because then you become the unimportant person whose needs come last.
But, I heard it was better than my mother was raised where her brothers got to eat during the depression because “they worked in the fields” and she went hungry and then was expected to join them working in the fields. She near died of malnutrition. She was 10 when she got sick and the doctor told my grandmother she had to make sure she had enough to eat or she would die.
So, I see some of what you describe as how church and society were as nothing but backlash from times before, the anger of early feminism, and what you are seeing now as holdovers from an earlier time, or the backlash against Feminist efforts to change.
I grew up in the DOMc era. I realised why my world view was different from the current church when I read his biography. I grew up with: Jesus has set the example, make good decisions prayerfully, be responsible for your decisions and accept the consequences. Yes, chastity lessons were a jolting exception, but the previous lessons were stronger.
The current follow-the prophet/brethren strikes me more of trust in the arm of men and contrary to my early teachings. I’ll listen to their teachings then mix them with previous teachings, my own experience and reason, and spiritual guidance then make decisions that I will be accountable for.
I’ve mentioned this here before, but for me the biggest change is the widening gap between the church & US (center, left, educated) culture on social issues.
Growing up in the 90’s, the church was just not all that different from the rest of the world on social issues (at least from my teenager / young adult perspective — I was at the time unaware of things like September 6, etc.). Yes, we had some unusual beliefs about golden plates, a sordid polygamist past, and we didn’t drink, but I felt like those were the big issues distinguishing me from my non-LDS peers (even at a fairly left, non-LDS university). And (other than the polygamous past), I was proud of those differences. In Pres. Hinckley we had an increase of ecumenicalism, an increase of “other people have good truths as well” talk (of course we were still the “one and only”, but I feel like its edges softened), and he made tremendous outreach to the media to make us look and seem normal and be more accepted. In addition, in the 90’s, most people in the US were still pretty anti-gay and sexist. Like the church. So yes, we were anti-gay and sexist, but so was everybody else.
What’s changed, especially since 2008 and Prop 8, is that the gap I see between US (center-left) culture and the church has widened significantly. We now seem like (are) total bigots compared to large segments of the US. (I recognize there are other conservatives out there, but on balance this has shifted.). We actively fight against gay rights, and we’ve improved some on our stance towards women working outside of the home, but we still deny them leadership positions within the church (and we mostly still tell them their first priority and divine role is to be a mother). Those social positions are now among the biggest differences I see between the church and society at large — and unlike the 90’s, they aren’t differences I am proud of.
@Josh H, I hear you, but I think we are more like 40 years behind on social issues. And rather than taking steps forward, I feel like recent conferences have actually been retrenching. It feels like DHO, for example, is acting like a judge delivering judicial opinions via GC and trying to set “precedent” making it harder for future leaders to walk back positions on homosexuality and women & the priesthood. I don’t see progress, I see doubling down and increasing us v. them. (Pretty sure Armand Mauss’s work explains some of this and that in the 90’s we were in an assimilation phase and now we’re in the retrenchment phase.)
Carol Lynn Pearson tells the story of working on a film on Joseph Smith’s early life for the church. Although the film was not ultimately released, it did get to the point where an early draft was reviewed by an apostle.
There was a scene where the Joseph Smith Sr. family was sitting around the dinner table. At the end of the scene, the camera went in tight on Lucy putting her hand over young Joseph’s and giving it a squeeze.
The apostle scolded Carol Lynn – “Why did you focus on the mother? It should have been on the father. This is a priesthood-based organization!” Caroly Lynn was quite taken back. This was a fictional depiction and showed a tender moment between mother and son. But the take away was to be primarily on male priesthood authority (which, ironically, had not been restored yet in the movie’s timeline).
The apostle: Thomas Monson. I think this tale highlights where church leadership places its emphasis and how it sees family and gender roles. I think that view takes so much value and contribution off the table.
Markamarsh, I am a trained counselor and have worked with abuse victims and Richard G Scott’s 1992 talk is horrible and bad bad bad advice. Yes, there are domestic violence victims who may be on their third marriage and have been abused in every one. That still does not make it the victims responsibility or her/his fault at all. They were most likely a child in an abusive home and although they hate it, they still see it as normal, so, they escape one abuser and marry another. Blaming them does not help. Telling them they need to change does not help. They need to have enough counseling that they can learn it is not normal and that they deserve better and how to spot an abusive partner before they even get into a relationship with them. There is no context where some of the things he said are helpful or appropriate.
Lots of painful things in the comment threads to read, here. A few thoughts:
1. I have a 66-year old cousin who for years did volunteer work in a shelter for abused women and their children. He told me that with the abused women he worked with, it took an average of seven times of leaving the abusive man, and then eventually going back to him, before the abused woman pulled the plug for good on the bad relationship. I guess that means for every woman who left for good, after she was abused the first time, there was another woman who returned to the abused, 14 times. Yikes.
2. I have four children, the third and fourth are girls. When we moved into a Maryland ward that we wound up staying in for 18 years, we
Became good friends with a man 21 years older than I. He was a good man who had two girls and one boy. Worked hard to provide for his family, until he died at 79. Helped his daughters through difficult divorces, took his adult daughters and their children in, until they could get back on their feet, as divorced women. He was surprised to find that my wife and I would be paying for our own daughters to go to college, and expected them to go. He came from a background where the family would scrimp to send a son to college, to get a degree to help provide for his family, but daughters had more traditional roles.
3. My wife is one of four sisters, no brothers. The attitude in her family was, of course you will go to college and get a degree. All four sisters did.
4. Earlier generations had generally different attitudes, but individual family environments were also very different—some supportive, some not of opportunities for women—as shown by the very different comments.
5. I come from a line of farming families with strong women, who did not seek permission. They pursued their dreams, despite economic difficulties, and got college degrees in middle age, after children were grown. The big task was surviving difficult economic situations. The men worked hard, and so did the women. Men and women shared in the labor, both in and out of the home.
6. The Thomas Monson anecdote via Carol Lynn Pearson is depressing. At some point, we all have to confront the reality that the men who lead us can be genial and tell great stories in GC, and still have an unpleasant side.
I was not aware that the church was republican until the internet came along . Most members in Australia weren’t that conservative. Our most conservative main party is closer to the democrats, so republican is off the charts in Australia, so members had to decide whether to go there, and the homophobia taught in conference helped to make that decision for the obedient. So in Aus there is greater division between members who stayed Australian, and those who went republican. I always voted labor which is to the left of the democrats, because they cared for the poor, v caring for the wealthy, and big business.
So Elisa, the gap is even bigger here. Our conservative party legalised gay marriage, and abortion, and no party is contesting these. To be anti gay marriage is in the same level of acceptability as being racist, which is less acceptable than it is in america at present.
We have some members who support/defend Trump. Which they see as part of being good members.
Before the internet, all we knew about church headquarters was in the Ensign. Now with the internet there is information from church blogs. It just depends which ones, you choose.
One of the things that has really disapointed me, has been that as Trump has divided the country, and taken it furthur to the right (white supremacy etc) the majority of members seem to have gone with him, and there has been nothing from the leaders saying this is a moral problem.
So there is no discussion on conservative church blogs of the president saying he will only accept the result of the election if he wins. That doesn’t seem to be a threat to democracy, but democrats = communists is seen by right wing members as a problem for democracy. As the democrats are not proposing anything I am not already living with, and it is a vast improvement on whats happening in America, for example, Our political leaders follow the medical advice, on the virus. My state has a population of 5 m, similar to Utah and Idaho combined. We now have 6 active cases, no new cases for 2 weeks, total of 6 deaths v 39,000 active cases, 1700 new cases in last 24 hours, 900 deaths so far. We have returned to normal, except for overseas tourists, and students.
I wonder about bearing false witness, and generally having moral judgement, when I read conservative church sites.
Part of what feeds into this is the leaders of the church teaching for years that scientific knowledge is not to be trusted. So many members deny the science on the virus, climate change, and in fact the democrat policies. They deny not only science, but redefine truth, as Trump does.
My wife and I drove across middle america during the Obama election, and it really struck us that a lot of church stuff is republican stuff. Middle america was a scary place then for lefties, and must be much worse at present.
I should have added that equality for women is accepted here, but the right still struggle to achieve as much as the left.
I am hoping for a democrat win in november, because I think the Church will be totally irrelavent if Trump wins, moral judgement of members and leaders will be missing in action.
For decades I have been deeply troubled by the lack of care given to, and/or possible even expected by women in the LDS community. In terms of a visual , I frequently see men attired in the suits and the required shirt and tie, but the women are frequently in ill fitting extremely worn clothing. Attending a concert at the Conference Center one winter night I saw women without coats, wearing sandals in stormy weather that was less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The men had sturdy shoes and winter coats. I am also keenly aware of college educated LDS women being told they are selfish and constantly asked when they would be getting married. For a time I was in a singles ward in Salt Lake City. Many of the women were taking advanced degrees and excelling in their careers. Many of the men were wondering where their family home evening dinner invitations had gone. I am college educated, married and have two grown children, but when I became a mother, I did not cease to be a person. Elder Christophersons’s father should have sent those shirts out!
I talked about this value shift with my Baby Boomer mom. She went to high school in the 60s, and was academically successful, but she didn’t get the same recognition for her achievements that her brothers did for theirs. She went to BYU, but with the implicit direction that her primary purpose there was to find a spouse to support her for life, so she didn’t take academics or career planning very seriously. She ended up dropping out with only a year to go (she finished her degree later in life), still unmarried, and had to find a way to support herself with no marketable skills. She spent years bouncing between secretarial/receptionist jobs, where she was poorly paid and poorly treated, before she met my dad. And even then, my dad was also a college dropout with spotty employment history, so she still had to work to support herself and her family thereafter, and all throughout her child-rearing years. She was a working mother at a time when ETB and other Church leaders were making forceful statements about women belonging in the home and not the workplace, with no allowance given for families living in the economic reality mine was in. In retrospect, she feels like these expectations (of society, culture, church and family) set her up for failure right from the start. Like the archetypal self-sacrificing mother wearing the old dress, my mom sacrificed her own ambitions for a 1950s pipe dream.
Elisa: excellent observations. I once heard it said that the LDS Church’s values used to align very well with America’s (maybe in the 50s?). And then the country turned evil (60s) and how there’s a gap and it’s getting wider. I think there’s a lot of truth in that narrative. EXCEPT: it isn’t just that the world is getting more evil. It’s that the Church is stuck in its prejudice ways. We can blame the world for being worldly or we can recognize that racism and sexism and homophobia are embedded in LDS culture even in 2020.
In fairness to the original sentiment of the post, there is a requirement for male sacrifice in the form of duty to one’s dependents that is part of a traditional mindset. However, when your vision of human potential is that men are in the public sphere, and women are limited to the domestic sphere, you can scrimp a LOT on the things that involve social capital for her. It’s less necessary to have presentable clothes, visibly good health, even possibly a sturdy winter coat or a nice car because she doesn’t earn money based on her social standing.
I’m actually a little surprised by your assertion, Stephen, given that your wife attended BYU and was often confronted with sexist assumptions about her seriousness as a student, e.g. asked to take notes (rather than male students being asked) and professors assuming she was just there to get a husband which was far from the case. It seems we get more than one type of education at BYU–the one we are paying for with tuition, and the one we pay for throughout the rest of our lives.
I don’t envision a Church culture shift unless we suddenly learn that the Holy Ghost is female (which I am inclined to believe). However, it does seem that the GAs don’t travel sans wife as much as they used to, and it’s more of a package deal…
My own experience – my wife is a child of multiple divorces but she is self-sufficient and strong-willed and seems to have weathered these emotional storms. She has always worked, at least part-time, and now is highly successful at what she does, but I wonder if some male Church leaders are afraid of her…
I have an aunt who loves to iron, and irons everything. She’s a great-grandmother now, and a widow, but she ironed everything even though her husband and kids didn’t require it and asked otherwise. She did it in love for her family, not in servitude.
@ji, that’s fine for your aunt. I like cooking for people and wouldn’t want someone to assume that cooking for someone is this subservient thing I do. But that’s all person to person and I still think that iron story sucks. The fact you know someone who likes to iron doesn’t really address the problem with the message.
@Angela C and others noting the imbalanced resources going to women and lack of adequate clothing and self-care … I’ve observed a strange thing since moving back to Utah county after many years away. I see two very extreme ends on the spectrum for female appearances — on the one hand, I see so many women with their fake lashes and heavy make up and dyed hair and high-maintenance appearances and extreme exercise and dieting to stay size 2 after having 5 kids, etc etc etc, which I think reflects the way our culture sees women as ornamental and that a woman’s job is to look good for people. On the other extreme I see a lot of women who are, honestly, just frumpy and frazzled—bodies ravaged from so many kids, ill-fitting clothing, little time for exercise or other self-care. And that may stem from some angel mother type stereotype. (Or maybe they just don’t care, which is fine, but I think most people at least want clothes that fit well and are comfortable.)
When I lived elsewhere I felt like more LDS women (and women generally) were just sort of in between.
Don’t know what to make of that. Maybe I’m being unfair. But it was a pretty big contrast I noticed when I moved here. I also found it a lot harder to find friends to go out and do fun things with because they were 100% all the time taking care of millions of kids and didn’t seem to have a lot of spousal support and seem like they think their families meet or should meet all of their social needs, again in contrast to the area I’d previously lived in where women carved out time for recreation and friendship.
I read an article a couple of years ago in a woman’s magazine – I can’t remember which one – that focused on how women in heavily patriarchal societies use their “ womanly wiles” (for lack of a better term) to exercise power in those societies – the more a woman fit the bill for whatever the ideal woman is in a given group, the more power she could leverage over the men in power. And yes, the LDS church was mentioned as one of those groups. Perhaps this explains both the size 2, heavily made-up women, as well as the ones wearing the same old red dress?
Allison, Are you suggesting that Wendy Watson Nelson may not actually worship her husband?
Angela—my wife and oldest daughter both had very bad experiences at BYU. I got my bachelors degree elsewhere but the law school was better—but then they were focused on trying to attract female students.
And I know Joseph Fielding Smith did give a talk where he chided “this may surprise you but your wives are not your property “.
I see a lot less stress on equality these days than I saw in what I read pre-1972 and heard around then.
It has been striking to reflect on.
I am intrigued that the lds church has a quite nuanced stance on abortion. It goes back to the ‘70s, that I know of.
When I was younger, I think if I’d been diagnosed with cancer during a pregnancy, I would have delayed treatment until the baby was delivered. Then I had a long-time friend in that situation. She ended up dying two years after the baby was born. She missed out on raising her children, and her children weren’t raised by their mom.
Another friend had an experience where the choice was more immediate – end the pregnancy or die.
We never expect men (or most women) to sacrifice their life for a child to live, but the possibility is sometimes the reality for pregnant women.
Now we’re letting government make the decision.
If some church historian knows, I’m interested in the background story on the decent abortion policy the church developed during a similarly polarized time, and still has.
Stephen – my intention on these thoughts is in keeping with your subject.
“We never expect men (or most women) to sacrifice their life for a child to live…”
From the earliest days of human existence (and still today), we have expected men to sacrifice their lives for their families. Both men and women have born heavy burdens. Things seem to work best when support and appreciation are freely offered without regard to sex. The human condition is universal. That’s why, when called upon, I advise that one has to play with the cards as they are dealt. I want to support them in their rational choices and decisions, and in their outcomes.
On ending a pregnancy, the woman herself has to make that decision, within whatever support system she has. I want to respect whatever decision she makes. If she ends the pregnancy, I will mourn with her. If the carries the baby and dies two years later, I will honor her memory as I support the child growing up.
Lots has changed. Garments have gone from a 1 piece covering everything to a 2 piece covering upper biceps to knees. And the fabric is now more comfortable. In the mid-1960’s, it was suggested that they be worn to bed and during sex. I don’t hear much about the latter anymore. These days, members are suggesting that garments only be worn to the temple. And they be sleeveless for women.
The temple ceremony continues to evolve. It no longer trashes the Catholic Church. It fact, Prez Oaks now suggests the “Great and Abominable” is secular humanism. (That comment hits close to home.) The parts related to women have mellowed somewhat.
Teachings like: no birth control, wives belong at home, no divorce, sex is only for procreation, etc. have quietly disappeared.into history. Most not fast enough.
Certainly the Church attitude toward rape has improved some. But it’s attitude toward women still needs big improvement. SSM was originally accused of being a threat to the nuclear family. That idea has been discredited and leaders no longer use that as an excuse for their LGBTQ+ discrimination.
And the changes will go on and on.
The main question about the pregnant woman with cancer, mentioned by Sasso, is:
Is that what SHE wanted: to carry the baby to term, knowing that pregnancy limits what can be done to treat the cancer? Or was she limited in her choices by external circumstances outside her control? Assuming that she wanted to have the baby, are we willing to honor her choice, if we are “pro-choice”? Conversely, if we are “pro-life,” and a woman in such circumstances chooses an abortion, are willing to honor her decision, or do we throw up roadblocks? Giving women the right to make the final decision, which is why I do not want Roe v. Wade overturned, can cut both ways.
My wife and I had a very scary last pregnancy (diabetes, extreme high blood pressure, real possibility of Downs Syndrome) while living overseas in China when it had very poor medical care, but abortion was readily available. She faced a lot of medical community pressure to end the pregnancy. But she (we) wanted the baby, and we were were ultimately blessed with a healthy baby. We quickly relocated to the US, and she found an OB-GYN practice of four devout Catholic doctors, who specialized in high-risk pregnancies. We were very blessed that all ended well—and lucky.
I also was acquainted with a devout LDS woman, after Roe v. Wade had become law, years ago, who suffered serious congenital heart problems. But she wanted lots of children, believing that God wanted her to bring spirits into the world. Doctors had warned her that she was putting her life at risk by having babies, and she died of her heart problems, still young, shortly after her seventh child was born in nine years. I was personally appalled. I felt that she had turned herself into a baby machine—but she made HER choice, and her choice had tragic consequences..
As much as I dislike abortion, I believe that a woman must have the right to make the final choice. Some will choose to have the baby, some will choose, because of various reasons, to end the pregnancy.
Values DO evolve—hopefully in the direction of the maximum possible individual freedom.
During lockdown BBC radio have perhaps been putting out more repeated programming than would usually be the case. Including something described as Atomic Tales 1950s American sci fi spoof. The casual misogyny, racism and colonialist attitudes are both breathtakingly awful and terrifying. It’s meant to be comedy…. yikes! And that’s the era our current crop of leadership came of age…
For what it’s worth, bank when we were attending church I was showing up in heavy makeup (blame genetics, I have NO eyebrows) and false eyelashes and dyed hair (it’s currently pink) and I’m also a woman with a STEM degree, who has worked in some way (whether part time or at home) for my ENTIRE marriage. And I own a LOT more than one dress – I sew my own (and they have pockets) so I could probably wear a different dress to church for a year with no repeats. I don’t dress this way because I am a prize that my husband *earne*d by serving a mission, or anything like that, but because I like the way I look with fake eyelashes and high heels and red lipstick and pearls.
@Joni that’s totally fair and I tried to be cautious making that comment. I like nice clothes and am plenty vain (although Covid has allowed me to wean myself of most makeup 😉 but I’ve subbed it for better skincare) and there’s nothing wrong with that. It was really more an overall demographic observation about Utah County than about any one individual woman. You keep rocking your pink hair & fake lashes, really!