Did anyone listen to General Conference? I hear there wasn’t anything particularly scandalous this time, but it again highlighted the absence of women in positions of influence and authority. The doctrine of eternal gender roles is actually a little dodgy:
I have often said that the gender roles described in the Proclamation are unnecessary because either they are descriptive (meaning people naturally behave this way, so who cares) or prescriptive (meaning, people should behave this way, but if it’s not natural to them, they won’t anyway and you can’t make them).
There were a lot of fascinating discussions in blogland during the past fortnight, such as the problems with hiding information, Mormons using disinheritance as a threat to keep their descendants faithful, and how purity culture affects women:
We may, as a Western culture, look down on some Middle Eastern societies that drape their women in varied levels of physical covering- but many religious cultures in America entertain similar notions. The values that led Mike Pence to his conclusions about how to relate to the opposite sex, objectify and relegate women to a lower tier status as surely as any burka.
Plus the problem of “worthiness”:
A bit tangentially, I think the use of “worthiness” language about the temple is incredibly unfortunate in the way it gets applied in particular to non-members who are excluded from the weddings of their loved ones. Whatever you think about the theological issues at play, informing people that they won’t be allowed to attend, and then explaining that it’s because they’re not “worthy” to be there is—at least in my experience—pretty much a recipe for terribly hurt feelings and deeply negative impressions of the church.
Dave read a book on the dynamics of self-deception:
To fight these self-deceptive tendencies, we need to do just the opposite of what our biased information processing system pushes us to do: we need to seek information from sources with opposing views, check our memory against objective accounts of past events, be aware of our own biases, double-check our own motives, and critique our own constructed narratives. We are not the neutral, fair, and well-informed heroes that we think we are.
In news, The blog By Common Consent is starting up its own indie press! Also, apparently the CoJCoL-dS has opened a temple in Paris — and I’ll actually be in town during the time that it will be open for public tours (but I don’t think I’ll go see it).
I hope everyone is enjoying a lovely holiday weekend — I know I am! Let’s remember the reason for the season! Wait, which one? Maybe that story about Jesus…? He’s an interesting character. Like Paul Bunyan, it’s not entirely clear whether his legend was based on a real person or made up entirely, but the question (while interesting) is a little bit beside the point because all of the parts of the story that make it interesting and important — those parts are made up.
In closing I’d like to thank everyone for the comments and feedback on my short article from last weekend — more are coming up!