Mormon women… again :)

Women

I’ve been talking with a high school friend about the oppression of women in Mormonism on and off for about a year. I recently sent him this article by Ashley Sanders that appeared in a recent issue of Sunstone. I thought it was a good article, but he didn’t see the connections to Mormonism. In the resulting give and take, I wrote the following:

The point of that article was to say, at least as I read it, that it is often the case that oppressed people stop realizing they are oppressed over time. As the Hindu women in the ashram illustrate, they have incorporated the beliefs into their worldview and the male priest in charge no longer has to reprimand dissenters – the women do it for him. Yes, Hindu ashrams are substantially more severe than Mormonism in their treatment of women, but the idea is the same – if you’ve been raised in an environment where women are not given an equal voice in the management of the organization, it often takes someone outside the organization to point that out. Which is why the author says that it is necessary for outsiders to point out the injustices.

She also makes another good point – if you were to apply the logic of Mormon patriarchy to other organizations, would you think it was unfair? Let’s use this as an example: Let’s say we model the U.S. government on Mormon principles. Women are not allowed to hold any elected positions – Mayor, Governor, President, Congressman, Senator, schoolboard president, etc. But they are given two options that make them feel “empowered”: First, they get to give a symbolic vote of confidence in the men who are elected, but it is generally considered to be perfunctory and not meaningful. Second, they are in charge of one element of the government – welfare. They get to serve in all of the top positions, but their budget and what they can do with it are all dictated by the male overseers and they have no recourse to challenge those dictates.

I hope you don’t see this as apples and oranges, though you might. The point is, women are not “empowered” structurally within the LDS religion. That doesn’t mean you don’t treat [Angie] (name changed) fairly. That doesn’t mean Angie isn’t “king” of the home. It means Angie has no say over how the LDS religion is run: She is not consulted on who gets positions at the local level; she’s not consulted about which activities take place at the local level; she’s not consulted about how local funds are spent; she’s not consulted about appointments at the stake level, the area level, or church level; she’s not consulted about which businesses the LDS religion spends her tithing on; she’s not consulted about missionizing efforts; she’s not consulted about construction decisions; she’s not consulted about expansion; she’s not consulted on basically anything… Except, except maybe on how to run whatever she might be in charge of (e.g., a primary class, a young women’s class, relief society, etc.). And even then, she is supposed to use a manual that was most likely written by a man but most definitely approved by the male leadership.

Again, you may respond by saying, “But I’m not consulted on any of those things.” You’re right. You’re not. But is it possible for you to be consulted on these things because you have a penis? Yes. Is it possible for Angie because she has a vagina? No. Unless/until the LDS religion changes its policy on females and the priesthood, men have more power in the religion than do women.

Another argument you might offer is: Well, what is religion, anyway? It is a voluntary association and it doesn’t dictate our entire lives… True, it probably doesn’t dictate 100% of your lives, but it does dictate a large portion. What’s more, you are giving it 10% of your income. Personally, I wouldn’t give my money to anyone unless I knew exactly where it was going. A good example: We recently canceled a credit card with a bank because the service sucked. We were then presented with a number of choices for the next card we got to replace it. One option was to go with BP – it would save us 5% on gas, which seemed attractive. But the oil companies right now are raping consumers and pulling in billions of dollars in profits. Even though I never carry balances on my credit cards, I didn’t want to give the impression that I supported the exploitation of consumers by getting a credit card with BP. I chose an REI credit card instead. REI is a co-op; it’s owned by the members and, in essence, run by them. If I’m going to give my business to anyone, I’m going to give it to company’s I support ideologically (whenever I have a choice). I may not make REI much money per year (they probably make a little off me), but I care about who I support. If I were giving 10% of my income to an organization, I’d want to know exactly where it is going.

Thoughts?

45 thoughts on “Mormon women… again :)

  1. Hey, where is Ashley Sanders anyhow?? BCC stole our guest blogger — I blame John C and john f. 😉

    Great response. It seems so clear to me, but I know people have all sorts of reasons that they are okay with the status quo of women in second class position in the church. Part of this is the mind-boggling rhetoric/lip service to ‘equality’ between men and women, when even the most simplistic analysis of the power structures would say ‘equality’ is not even a gleam in the structural and cultural church’s eye yet.

    But then, I am a longtime sufferer of depressive realism.

  2. I agree profxm. It is unequal.

    But, at the same time, how do you, as a practical matter, preserve the Mormon THEOLOGICAL notion of gender distinctiveness if you make women politically the same as men within the Church?

    Is there a possible way to give women and men distinctive and separate roles in the Church that maintain the distinction, but allow each an equal political role?

  3. Just a little hairsplitting: Angie may be consulted in the management of the LDS Church. In fact, Mormon women routinely consult about that the matters that you are mentioning.

    The problem is rather that any Mormon woman does require the consent of a male leader who can overrule her at will.

  4. That’s a good question, Seth. Theology is ultimately about explaining people’s place in the cosmos. Unfortunately, Mormon orthodoxy fails to properly account for the biological and social realities of gender.

    The Family: A Proclamation to the World fails to reflect social reality at any time during human history. There may have been a time when certain people aspired to the gender roles of the Proclamation. May be, that was the case during the fifties. However, even then the majority of Americans, much less human beings, did not live that way.

    Barring a civilizational catastrophe, The Family will go the way of the Journal of Discourses within less than fifty years. It will be an embarrassment that will be graciously hidden from members’ gaze.

    The particular notions that seem to represent orthodoxy about gender distinctiveness are not essential to the gospel. They can be abandoned at little cost to the Church and its hierarchy.

    The theological challenge is rather to provide a narrative that is a useful cosmogony, which means that faith has to provide meaning to its adherents by explaining their place in the universe.

    Contemporary Mormon notions of gender distinctiveness are so muddled that they undermine this essential function of religion. The sooner they are abandoned, the stronger Mormon theology and the Church will be.

  5. Contemporary Mormon notions of gender distinctiveness are so muddled that they undermine this essential function of religion. The sooner they are abandoned, the stronger Mormon theology and the Church will be

    I agree. What’s more, it seems to me that the LDS church already has a good way to explain gender-identity issues at least.

    LdS theology teaches that each person existed and was gendered before birth. It seems to be perfectly believable to say that some people were born as the wrong gender in this life – that their spirits are not the gender their bodies are. I don’t see that actually contradicting the LdS belief that gender is inherent and eternal.

    And there is certainly precedent in the religion for believing that problems like that do happen in this life – things about being mortal that are in opposition to our true selves.

  6. Interesting idea Craig.

    Hellmut, what about Heavenly Mother? It seems to me that She is going to get in the way of any theological attempt to make men and women similar.

  7. I agree. We should not abandon Heavenly Mother. However, we know almost nothing about Her.

    There is plenty of room to adapt our theology to more realistic and more salient notions of gender.

    By the way, right now we are keeping Heavenly Mother in the closet.

    May be, She can come out of the closet when we no longer conceive of every girl as an eternal polygamous concubine. May be, Heavenly Mother can come out of the closet when Mormon culture respects her gay and lesbian children instead of obsessing about their sex life. May be, Heavenly Mother can come out of Her closet when it is possible to be a woman and an equal in Mormonism.

    When Heavenly Mother does come out of the closet, may be, She will put an end to exposing adolescent boys and girls to the intrusive inquisition by untrained, unqualified and occasionally predatory bishops.

    If we only started to get serious about Heavenly Mother, we would finally have an opportunity to address our harmful misconceptions about gender.

    The problem is not that we have to abandon Heavenly Mother to adapt to reality. The problem is rather that our refusal to consider Heavenly Mother shelters prejudice about gender.

  8. The problem is Hellmut, the very existence of a Heavenly Mother premises fundamental “eternal” gender differences. If Heavenly Mother were not fundamentally different than the Father, why have Her? Wouldn’t she be redundant or extraneous?

    Or you could just go the mainline Christian route and claim that God is some amorphous, genderless mass of happy-happy stuff…

  9. Seth R wrote, “But, at the same time, how do you, as a practical matter, preserve the Mormon THEOLOGICAL notion of gender distinctiveness if you make women politically the same as men within the Church?”

    Is it not true in Mormon theology that men and women will become priests and priestesses, yea, even gods and goddesses someday, together?

    I always wondered why, if this were so, women weren’t given the chance to practice priesthood on this earth same as the men, if they are going to be priestesses someday. It makes no sense.

    “Is there a possible way to give women and men distinctive and separate roles in the Church that maintain the distinction, but allow each an equal political role?”

    The trouble with the “roles” as laid out so clearly in the church is that women have been given a role that is a helluva lot less desireable to men to embrace. True equality means men and women both have equal political opportunity to do any role they choose. Are we agreed the church considers that a woman’s divine role she is taught to embrace is that of Mother and Nurturer of her children, and Good Wife to her priesthood holder? And his is to be Wielder of the Power To Act in God’s Name on Earth, wielding Righteous Dominion of home, earth, and gospel as his divine calling.

    Why are men able to (and are even encouraged to) be fathers AS WELL AS leaders and priesthood bearers? Why is it assumed mothers can’t be mothers as well as leaders as well as priesthood bearers?

    “The problem is Hellmut, the very existence of a Heavenly Mother premises fundamental “eternal” gender differences. If Heavenly Mother were not fundamentally different than the Father, why have Her? Wouldn’t she be redundant or extraneous?”

    Let’s talk about fundamental gender differences a moment. A man has a penis and can therefore pee standing up. A woman has a uterus and can therefore produce children. How exactly do either of these two special powers promote the idea that men are the only ones able to maintain leadership roles? Last I looked, leadership had everything to do with how a person operates, thinks, and behaves, and nothing to do with their body parts or lack thereof.

    And why do you assume that equality means making men and women “similar?” Equality means allowing men and women to have the same opportunities for choice, growth, and leadership ~ without keeping one entire gender, based solely on their gender, in a position of subservience and lesser status.

    I’m also frankly surprised Heavenly Mother was brought into a debate about Mormon women and their plight. Seriously, the way Heavenly Mother is relegated to silent, non-entity, nobody status in our theology is deplorable and embarrassing.

  10. Seth:
    You gave us a good point.
    However, the GAs/COB have consistently demonstrated that they’re ‘behind the curve’ in adapting to changes in society/culture….
    Look at the resistance that there was to admitting Blacks to the Phood….
    with (sorry) a group of elderly men in charge, how could their pre-dispositions – preferences for the status quo be overcome? What amount of energy does a change of ‘doctrine’ require?
    OTOH, Mos want A Lot of things ‘both ways’, don’t they? “equality” in marriage, yet ‘the patriarchal order… They don’t easily combine, do they?

  11. Actually Lisa, women do perform priesthood ordinances – right now – in mortality.

    Inside the temple, certain ordinances are performed solely by women. And of course, Priesthood healings were regularly performed by women in the early Church.

    So the idea that women may be granted further Priesthood duties, or what have you, isn’t exactly unprecedented or unheard of. I think it is probably inevitable that women will be granted further Priesthood participation in this Church. I just think it’s a question of how long it will take.

    Addressing your other point, I think the fundamental differences between sexes go beyond simply having an additional appendage or not. But that’s just my opinion.

  12. The institutionalized discrimination (organizational OR theological) that profxm is describing is precisely the reason I left mormonism.

    I found the idea of a loving God having so many rules and regulations – as well as discriminating against his children incongruous.

    Can separate be equal? Obviously, some single gender schools (think Scripps College) still believe so. I have read lots of studies where separating the se_xes at certain ages is supposed to help concentration and learning. Personally, I am very suspicious of these results – but I confess I haven’t fully read or digested the data.

    In terms of mormonism, I believe that a significant part of the issue is not being able to even regulate one’s own organization.

    In some wards, the RS president has a seat on the bishop’s council, but I don’t think that’s a requirement in all wards. And even if the RS president has a seat on the council – I couldn’t say if she has voting power (she may have, I don’t know).

    Another example, at girls’ camp – we had priesthood representatives present (two). There were hundreds of girls and their leaders. What does that mean? Did the women/girls need protection? How much protection could two men honestly provide? Did we need to be “monitored”? And if so, why are two women not required to attend boy scout camp? The idea makes me laugh – it would be laughed out of most LDS wards.

    I’ve also heard of some wards where women want to get together to hold book clubs, etc. – and are discouraged. Particularly if priesthood holders will not be present. I can find the general conference quote about this if needed.

    I’m thinking precisely of what Sonja Johnson describes in “From Housewife to Heretic”. She is still reviled in parts of the black/white thinking LDS community – simply for suggesting that moms should be able to “bless” their own children.

    I hesitate to comment on this thread, since I’m sure that I will offend someone in the process. I simply can’t reconcile this part of the LDS organization – again – it was a main reason why I originally left.

  13. aerin,

    I think the two-Priesthood men requirement may have some genesis in a macho impulse. But I think the more practical reason is because if one of the girls needs an emergency Priesthood blessing, you’ve got a couple of guys who can do it.

    Of course, my own private view is that two temple-worthy women should be allowed to give Priesthood blessings of healing and comfort, no questions asked. But that’s just me.

  14. Seth:
    REally???
    ‘Emergency Priesthood Blessing’? someone’e trying to pull your leg, Friend.
    ‘I may be Dumb, but I’m Not Stupid.’
    that’s facilitating a dependency.

  15. I actually like the idea of having two adult men at girls camp. My sister’s camp was once harassed by a group of teenagers. They didn’t mean any harm but it still made for an unpleasant experience for the girls.

    Seth, equal opportunity does not imply that there needs to be only one gender. Female submission is not an implication of human sexuality.

  16. I always wondered why, if this were so, women weren’t given the chance to practice priesthood on this earth same as the men, if they are going to be priestesses someday. It makes no sense.

    In fact, the temple ceremony indicates that it is the nature of women to hold the priesthood.

    The orthodox response is, of course, that women partake of the priesthood of their husbands. That’s not a reasonable interpretation of the text.

    It says priestess, not wife of the priest. It might be different if the blessing were part of the marriage ceremony but it belongs to the endowment, of course.

  17. Great that certain ordinances are performed solely by women in the temple. What about the growing up years of girls from the time they are little, watching their brothers and other boys get recognized for turning 12 and being interviewed and found worthy to hold the priesthood, pass the sacrament, collect fast offerings, go home teaching, bear the power to act in god’s name on this earth? Girls see only men in leadership positions and they internalize that somehow they aren’t made for leadership and that it’s natural that they answer to men in life. Boys see the same thing and think that women answer to them in life. They think this is natural. Then they learn for years and years that God Himself wants it this way too.

    Boys are encouraged to develop their leadership skills and their interests, and girls are encouraged to develop their homemaking skills and be nice and plient. Boys are encouraged to wield their authority and power in righteousness and love. Girls are encouraged to support and encourage boys in wielding their power in righteousness and love.

    Is it any wonder there have been countless lessons from the pulpit about men exercising unrighteous dominion over their families and sweet wives who deserve better? It’d be laughable to hear a message from the first presidency telling women to treat their men better, and we all know why. Because women are in no position to wield unrighteous dominion. They have no dominion at all.

    Seth. Do you actually argue that women are equal to men in the church?

  18. I have to say it…

    Did the girls give him a “priesthood” blessing to try to save him? If only they had the priesthood…

    (I’m only mocking the priesthood a little here – it’s actually a legitimate point, I think.)

  19. Oh, you’re horrible, profxm.

    People are people and bad things happen to girls and boys, women and men alike. Not even the priesthood can prevent that. But I know it makes many people feel comfort to “know” it’s there, just in case.

    They cut girls camp short, and many girls had a difficult time dealing with the shock. He was a really nice guy. I feel for his family and wife.

  20. Seth ~

    What problem(s) do you see arising if the church were to make it possible for women or men to lead equally?

  21. I believe in there being a distinction between the genders in some form – I also have a unformed desire that this be embodied at a symbolic level in the roles and duties of the genders within the Church. However, I’m pretty flexible on the shape that symbolic distinction takes.

    I’m worried that absolute equality would simply annihilate any distinction at all.

    The truth is, the male role is being highly marginalized in our society today. There is a real problem with malaise, apathy and lack of direction among American males. They are becoming increasingly un-invested in society and un-responsible for its future. The young male today is increasingly seeing himself as a bystander in his community, in his culture, in his church, and in his own family.

    In many Mormon homes, the dad has been completely marginalized and is now little more than a source of income. I’ve seen young husbands shoved to one side by their wives and excluded from the lives of their children. In many families it’s literally become all about the woman. That has unjust results for both genders.

    As things stand, however flawed you think it is, the LDS Church is one of the few places left in society where being a man really means anything worthwhile. I’m not saying that patriarchal authority must be maintained to make men feel special. But I am saying that Church is one of the only places left being a man is regarded as a positive thing.

  22. Anyone hear that statement that pops up in Young Womens every once in a while that the young woman is “the guardian of the relationship”? Meaning, when you’re on a date, it’s the woman’s job to keep the horny young man in check – presumably because he “just can’t control himself?”

    That’s part of the marginalization I’m talking about. Increasingly, men are not viewed as a part of the moral center of the family or the relationship. It is presumed that the woman is the righteous one, the woman is the competent one. You see this on nightly sitcoms too with the characteristic “buffoon father” contrasted with his beautiful, competent, accomplished, and thoroughly exasperated wife.

    This is a complex situation and hard to talk about without misunderstanding and anger.

    I’m just trying to make the point that it’s not only female identity at stake here. If you’ve got any ideas for making things more equitable for both sexes while at the same time rehabilitating the sorry state of male identity in the US, I’m all ears.

  23. Seth, I want to be careful how I go about saying this… First, I’m glad you want some form of equality. But, I don’t think your version of what is happening in the world today is accurate. Are men being marginalized in the world today? Well, that’s a relative question…

    If you take as your starting point absolute male dominance and then say that men no longer have absolute dominance, ergo – marginalization… Well, that’s a pretty pathetic argument. In numeric terms – men used to have 100% control, now they are done to about 75% of control – they are definitely becoming marginalized! (note the sarcasm)

    Examples:
    Women make up 51% of the US population but only 14% of congressional representatives and Senators.
    Women are the CEOs of 8 Fortune 500 Companies (that’s not even 10%).
    Women make up almost 1/2 the workforce, but make about $0.70 on the dollar to equally qualified men (with larger gaps for women at higher earning levels).
    Women do 2/3 of housework, even though they are working more and more outside the home.
    And when wives make more than their husbands, husbands re-assert their “manliness” by doing less housework.

    Moving from 100% domination to 70% domination isn’t marginalization, it’s progress!

    That said, men are doing more housework today than they did 30 years ago. Men spend more time with kids today than they did 30 years ago. Men are slowly adapting.

    As for them being made fun of in the media, I think you are cherry-picking your examples to some degree. But even if you say men as fathers are mocked, and if that is true, why is it true? Because the traditional gender norm of men as distant fathers is still in effect, not because we’ve come full-circle: men as distant fathers pre-1970, men as close fathers between 1970 and 2000, and now men as distant fathers again. What you’re seeing is the media poking fun of men who are trying to become better fathers. If men can’t handle a good ribbing about one of their significant shortcomings, well, what does that say about men?

    As far as the “women as guardians of morality” crap you hear in Young Women’s, that sounds an awful lot like the oppressive garbage that comes out of a select number of Muslim countries (not all by any means) that blame women when they are raped (e.g., the recent case in Saudi Arabia where a young woman was going to be lashed for being raped because she was alone in a car with a boy when it happened). Again, this isn’t a “coming full circle”; this is really a game of slowly making progress. For Mormonism, encouraging women to fight off groping men is “progress.” If you want to criticize what is being taught in Young Womens, criticize it as a lack of progress, not as a reversal.

    I could be wrong here, but I don’t think I am. Again, I don’t want to slam your criticisms, I just don’t see things the way you do.

  24. It’s a complex subject. I tried to be as careful as I could in making the comments above. Be sure you’re reading them carefully.

    Part of the problem is a zero-sum equation where any gain for one sex is seen as a loss for the other.

  25. I can’t speak for the other examples OR for the idea that men are being marginalized. I agree with profxm that they are not. I also disagree with Seth that the patriarchy of the LDS church provides structure for men.

    I think that it provides structure for a certain type of male. Men who don’t fit into traditional stereotypes (sports fans, businessmen, etc.) are not really accepted either (this is just my observation from my experience, heavily North American based as we’ve discussed before).

    I can actually see some of the “bumbling father” stereotype though in many current sitcoms. I think a great example is the Berenstein Bears, again a kids’ show. Or Homer from the Simpsons.

    Not trying to dissect pop culture here – the tv sitcom is really evolving/changing in the past few years (I think part of the decline in popularity is how formulaic it all has been). The only “not” bumbling father is Red Foreman from “That 70s Show” – that I can think of offhand.

    All I’m saying is that I agree that having good stereotypes even in sitcoms are useful – but there’s a point where it seems like something is just supposed to be humorous – not taken seriously.

  26. Seth ~ You said, “Part of the problem is a zero-sum equation where any gain for one sex is seen as a loss for the other.”

    I think women could lead side by side in church with men, and women could “preside in the home” equally with their husbands, and nothing would be lost from such a change. But a whole lot could be gained by way of self-worth and healthy views of women by making such a change. That’s for certain.

  27. Well Lisa, since I can’t really think of any particular way to preserve gender distinctives while still being fair, I suppose your position works as a good default until someone has a better idea.

  28. What are the gender distinctives that concern you, Seth? I’m curious what you want to preserve here. I’m not trying to be argumentative ~ I’m seriously wondering what you mean.

  29. It seems to me, being a woman who grew up in the church and coming from a very long line of women ancestors who grew up in the church, that a very large portion of the role women are expected to embrace concerns housekeeping, domestic perfection, and being nice and passive as we serve others in all we do. Serving others is the highest priority of a woman in the church: serving her god, her husband, her children, her leaders in her callings, her sisters in Relief Society.

    Why do you suppose that women are considered best suited for servitude? Do you see women that way, Seth? I think there are many many men within the church (and women too) who embrace this idea wholeheartedly.

    And do you think men are less suited for servitude and more suited for leadership and authority? I know many Mormon men (and again, women) who feel this way. It’s all they know, all they’ve ever known.

    Imagine going to another church service as a visitor and upon entering the chapel, you are greeted by women. Sitting at the front behind the podium are the women who lead the congregation. Young girls blessing and passing the sacrament. Women wielding the power to act in God’s name. Women teaching from the pulpit that women should exert their God-given authority over their men kindly and righteously. Women leaders asking men to please keep their children reverent during the meeting. Women teaching the words of the prophetess, expounding on the role men need to magnify: keeping their homes beautiful havens on earth, nurturing their families and keeping their children tidy and well-dressed at church, raising up righteous girls who will serve missions and be leaders and righteous priesthood holders someday. Women standing to bless new babies while men sit by and watch. Singing hymns in praise of Goddess and her daughter who gave her life for our sins. Praying to Goddess three times during the meeting, in the name of her only begotten daughter, asking that she watch over us and protect us all.

    Would you find this strange? I suspect you would. Just as I would. It should feel just as strange to us to have only men leading now while women cannot simply because they are women. Only it’s not strange to us.

    And that is the real tragedy.

  30. SML:
    I think you’ve hit Gold with SethR & Momism in general; Oftentimes Mos AND ppl in general are so habituated to their ways (a Rut) … that they don’t see the biases that they’re functioning with. Seeing those is perhaps justification for black studies & feminine studies work in college.
    The Mos are steeped in cultural biases; those things facilitate the ways & hows of the day-to-day ‘functioning’ of tscc.

    just my .02

  31. “Why do you suppose that women are considered best suited for servitude? Do you see women that way, Seth?”

    No.

    I see all human beings as meant for service of others. Not just women in particular.

  32. Why do you suppose the service men are expected to do in the church setup has authority attached with it and the service women are expected to do has none?

  33. I imagine that is primarily a product of tradition.

    Look, I’ll level with you. I expect the authority role of women in the Church to change in the future. I do not expect the status quo to continue on this. And I am completely OK with the notion.

  34. I like when you level with me, Seth. Heh.

    So how do you think that we can remain feminine and masculine while having true equality? It seems above you were somehow doubting that men and women can share equal roles without losing the gender distinction you value (still not sure what you mean by gender distinction requiring differing roles by men and women)…

  35. Didn’t you catch that part earlier where I admitted I didn’t know what I was talking about? I just have this vague, unformed notion that actual equality is going to eliminate the distinctives in ways that are hard to predict. Just like I think it’s doing in society at large. But I never said I had a better idea.

  36. The way I see it, gender distinctives are simply that I have breasts bigger than yours and a uterus while you have protruding no-nads and a flatter chest than me. Otherwise, the brain and personality and qualities that make you able to preside over anything are the same as mine or anyone else’s, just like your ability to pick up a toilet brush and use it properly is the same as anyone else’s too.

  37. SethR:
    trouble is, that SML and her sisters have intuitive feelings also; problem is that their female IFs have been discounted, denigrated for far, far too long ‘just because’ males had the upper body strength to do the hunting (and dragging the carcass back to the hut,cave)greater than women’s. As long as women are viewed mostly as child incubators (LDS style), that needs to change. It may hurt some in the short run, but in the Long run, we’ll all be better off. Even if some of the old-fashioned thoughts about women weren’t ‘strictly’ LDS doctrine (what is???), they were allowed to ride along because in Morland, there isn’t much of a delineation between ‘doctrine’ and culture.

  38. I can see why Seth would believe that the LDS Church values men. However, that is an illusion.

    In reality, not even a bishop can make much of a difference. Instead, correlation and the absence of fundraising autonomy reduce us to parts of the machine, a profoundly non-human condition. And if it ain’t human then it isn’t manly.

    Real men are neither Pharisees nor Levites but good Samaritans, although that can get you excommunicated. It is probably no accident that Jesus chose an outsider to model proper behavior while religious authority figures only earned his scorn and derision.

    My Catholic working class friends remark that Mormonism is an emasculating force on men. That observation is consistent with sex relations during Church history, which was less about male domination than about Joseph’s and Brigham’s domination of everyone else.

    If we are settling for the paltry version of Mormon masculinity then we might as well sell our birthright for a pottage.

    Enjoy the meal!

    I find it troubling, however, that some people need to hear that they are superior to women to feel good about themselves. It would be a more effective remedy if men would actually make a difference in other people’s life. If we want to ground our confidence onto a solid foundation, we will not put down different people but we will perform while acknowledging our personal limitations.

  39. Insofar as there are differences in the performance of men and women, they tend to be normally distributed in overlapping bell curves.

    For example, on average men are stronger than women. But a substantial share of women are stronger than average men.

    That’s why it is wasteful and unethical to stereotype men and women. Instead, men and women ought to compete as individuals. Organizations and institutions that fail to be inclusive will be inefficient and in some cases will become ineffective.

    Obviously, there are more essential differences between men and women, especially relating to procreation. There is no good reason, however, why that would justify inequality.

    Particularly, that is no justification that men to dominate women, which is not only a common phenomenon in Mormonism but purposefully promoted by Mormon leaders to such a degree that most men are opting to follow the prophet on matters of sex relations only selectively.

    Following the prophet consistently and ardently would be fiscally ruinous. We are lucky that we get to discriminate gays because that way, we can be sustaining the self-righteous illusion of our orthodoxy while Mom earns the mortgage or provides health insurance to the family.

  40. Helmut:
    Just wondering out loud here… Are you a philosopher? I thought that was ‘philo’ kinda stuff you’ve been coming up with lately…
    Good Reads, good Thoughts, all.

  41. The thinking has been done.
    Your apostate questions are not welcome.

    Now go sit down in your zip-it pews and be happily marginalized.
    (‘Invalidated’ is a good one, too)
    Will everyone shun this person please?

    “You idolize the Truth. The Truth is damaging.” – B. Packer

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