April Young Bennett performed a fascinating experiment on what happens when you merely point out how few women speak at LDS General Conference — particularly daring to include some controversial musings:
“Wouldn’t it be strange if we had a whole session of #LDSconf without a single male speaker?” I asked Twitter after the Saturday afternoon session, which had included six male speakers and zero female speakers.
“Considering that would mean no talks by the priesthood leadership, yes. Yes it would be weird. Or, it’s be Women’s session.” answered one man. He was right on his first point; in our church, it is considered mandatory to hear from the priesthood (i.e., men) but women’s perspectives are thought of as unnecessary or optional. He was wrong on the second point: a man speaks at every Women’s Session. In fact, usually the male speaker at Women’s Session receives more speaking time than any of the female speakers.
It turns out that the fundamental irrelevance of women is a bit of a recurring theme in Mormonism:
How many active, full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders does it take to form a ward? No, it’s not a lightbulb joke.
15 — to fully staff a bishopric with clerk and secretary, high Priests group leadership, Elders quorum presidency, young men presidency and a ward mission leader.
How many active, full-tithe-paying Relief Society sisters does it take to form a ward? Well, technically none.
Of course, the CoCJoL-dS’s more hard-core cousins are also not so keen on seeing women in leadership positions:
“It has come to a point where I have to choose between my religion and participation in city government, and I choose my religion,” he wrote in his letter dated Jan. 25. “My religion teaches me that I should not follow a woman for a leader in a public or family capacity.”
Given religion’s terrible record with recognizing women as full-fledged humans, wouldn’t it be awesome if the atheist movement were doing a great job of providing a clear alternative? That’s the future I’m trying to work towards, but for the moment, it’s more like this:
TJ Kirk AKA the “Amazing Atheist” has been around for over a decade, and he’s been this repugnant since he first popped up. He has over 100,000 followers on Twitter. He has a million subscribers on YouTube.
You want to defend the skeptical and atheist community? We’re going to have to face up the fact that the popularity and persistence of terrible people who wave the banner of atheism has already compromised us, and realize that when some of our ‘heroes’ go further and commit sexual harassment, that doesn’t mean that they’re exceptional, but are perhaps more representative than we like to admit. At the very least, we have to recognize that being a misogynistic scumbag does not disqualify you from claiming to be an “amazing” atheist.
Sam Young has turned his petition movement (against adults giving children sexually-themed “worthiness” interviews) into a non-profit. Also, you may know that one of the Infants on Thrones has worked as a sex crimes prosecutor — he shared some insights on how to best protect children and help victims of abuse and trauma heal.
Jacob Baker gave some interesting insights about the CoJCoL-dS gaslighting people on their choice of identity:
Elder Oaks’ recent talk about not “labeling” oneself gay is a case in point. You are not “gay;” at most you have certain “homosexual predilections” that must and can be contained and, if possible, re-purposed. Deciding that this is your identity is the “real sin.” Being okay with being gay, loving yourself as a gay person, wanting others to love you as a gay person, that’s problematic because you are actually not a “gay person,” you are a child of a God who would never task any of his children with the impossibility of eternal, ontological homosexuality, thereby preventing them entirely from being connected to the Great Chain of Exaltation.
And, as I’ve said before, this isn’t a case of the church trying to free us from the limitations of labels in general since they clearly don’t have a problem with me identifying as a “mom” and probably don’t have a problem with me identifying as a “software engineer” — but when it comes to people wanting to embrace identities the church doesn’t like (like gay), they’re like:
Other Mormon-related discussions include how Mormons are like fundamentalists, do blessings of healing work?, how Mormon apologetic tactics have improved, BYUI is of one of the most terrifying universities imaginable, and what does it mean to teach doctrine, and how is it different from what people were doing in Gospel Doctrine class before?
Folks — thanks for your patience (if there’s anyone left still reading this…). I hope that my little bi-weekly roundup of the most interesting Mo-related news and discussion is interesting and entertaining to you. As I’ve probably explained, the reason the content has been a little lean for the past six months is that six months ago I was promoted to CTO, and, naturally, I had to increase my hours at work. I am hoping to get the IT department into a state where I can cut my hours back down and still do this job effectively, but I’m not there yet. Maybe by this summer I’ll be able to have a day per week for projects like this blog and MAA Books — not to mention getting back to drawing my comic book (and in my fantasy universe I also do a podcast 😉 ).
Happy reading and have a great week!