Is your marriage in trouble? Adopt a highway!

According to aMormon Times report of BYU Education Week, that first bit of litter that misses the trash can is the beginning of the slippery slope to divorce court.

That’s right. Littering, among a litany of other behaviors, is a form of selfishness, and selfishness destroys marriage.

The list included not wanting to have children, monopolizing the television remote, leaving the toilet seat up, talking in movies, going without speaking, holding a grudge, not accepting church callings, being tight-fisted with money, not participating in intimacy in older years, becoming defensive when confronted, cutting across the lawn, criticizing, even refusing to be a home teacher or visiting teacher.

Yes, more children. Just what every troubled marriage needs. And let’s not forget our good friend pornography:

He said an interest in and addition (sic) to pornography is killing marriages. Even in Orem, Utah, the percentage of men addicted to pornography is as high as 10 percent in a stake, he said.

How do they gather that statistic? Is that a temple recommend question now?

“Every divorce is the result of selfishness on the part of one or the other or both spouses,” he said.

Every single divorce! It’s ’cause you’re selfish. And apparently any form of non-cooperative social behavior is selfish.

Are you sure the divorce rate couldn’t have something to do with getting married too young, rushing into marriage to avoid sinning, being encouraged to have children before achieving financial stability, and the ridiculous amounts of time required serving in the Church instead of being with family?


Writer. Poet. Teacher. Journeyer. Living in North Carolina @leahiellio

You may also like...

11 Responses

  1. Craig says:

    “leaving the toilet seat up”

    Really? Why is leaving it down not selfish too? Seems a bit sexist/ridiculous.

    I really hate how doing anything for yourself is “selfishness” in Mormonism. Not having kids immediately and waiting until you’re financially secure is called being smart and planning a sustainable future, not being selfish.

    I love how looking at porn always immediately translates into “addiction”. Also I’d say that more than 10% of married, Mormon men look at some form of porn. I’d say it’s quite a bit higher than that.

    More and more it seems that the church is obsessed solely on scaring or guilting members into approved behaviours and away from unapproved ones. They’re reactionary.

    And I think that the belief that any two righteous people should be able to have a totally successful marriage is behind this “if you get divorced, you’re SELFISH” mantra. The church hierarchy won’t admit that it puts unnatural pressure on young people to get married, or that obeying all the church rules/commandments won’t solve all your problems.

  2. i remember when i first got married i convinced myself that i was going to lead a life of selfless sacrifice and always put my family first.

    fast forward seven years and two kids later. i’m sitting on a couch in a therapist office, and she asks me “when is the last time you did something just for you?” i broke down and cried.

  3. kuri says:

    The list included …monopolizing the television remote, leaving the toilet seat up, talking in movies, going without speaking, holding a grudge, being tight-fisted with money, not participating in intimacy in older years, becoming defensive when confronted, cutting across the lawn, criticizing…

    So… take out the religious stuff and the legitimate personal choices like whether to have children, and basically he’s saying that douchebags are more likely to get divorced. There’s a surprise.

  4. Lisa says:

    Telling my husband–BEGGING him–to not accept a church calling of EQ secretary was for our marriage and our family. I knew with his schedule he wouldn’t and shouldn’t do it.

    But he had been taught all his life to *always* say yes to a calling (even his highness Russell M. Nelson came to our stake just a few months ago and strongly “encouraged” this)

    So DH had to learn the hard way and eventually asked to be released.

    This stupid calling did nothing to strengthen our family except for when he left it.

    Or the time I was asked to work in the nursery. I had two very small children–babies–at the time and was with them, alone, 24/7. I broke down in tears once home and told my bishop the next day that I couldn’t do it. It was a revelation. Nursery would’ve quite literally broke me and it would’ve adversely affected my marriage and family. No doubt. I was bad enough as it was and would later get worse.

    God, anything to get you to be submissive and obedient. It’s disgusting.

  5. Leah says:

    Craig, I remember hearing the adage that any two people living the gospel can make it, and I think a lot of people took that to mean, “You don’t need to be too picky about who you marry because as long you’re both good Mormons, it will work out.” Add to that the belief that you have to be married to attain the highest degree to glory and that the only way you get to have sex is if you get married and I think that statement did a lot of damage.

    Unorthodox Mormon, I’ve had therapists ask me similar questions. Kids strain even the best marriages. “Not being willing to have children” is a question that should be resolved before marriage, not a warning sign in an already-existing marriage.

    kuri, awesome!

    Lisa, I know they make it seem like a calling from the bishop is in unquestionable inspired will of the Lord, but most of the time, they’re just guessing and making it up as they go. Yeah, you might grow by accepting a calling that stretches you, but you also need to know when to set boundaries with what the Church asks of you, and a lot of people don’t feel they’re entitled to do that.

  6. Madame Curie says:

    That has got to be some of the dumbest advice given by BYU Ed Week that I have heard yet. Really? Waiting to have kids until you are financially secure or have completed your education is a signal of marital decline? Wanting to spend more time with your spouse (i.e., turning down a calling) is a sign of marital decline? Wanting to be financially secure, period (i.e., not paying tithing aka “being tight-fisted with money”) is a sign of marital decline?

    However, I would not be surprised if these are true signs of temple marital decline. If someone were to lose their testimony, they are likely to stop paying tithing, stop accepting callings, etc., which in too many families evolves into the believing spouse filing for divorce 🙁

    In an environment where it is better to be TR-holding but divorced than to be married to an inactive or (gasp!) former Mormon, I’m not surprised to find so many Pharisaical rules on the list.

  7. Lisa says:

    Oooh! I think MC nailed it on the head.

    So let’s continue with this. If you don’t marry in the temple, yr more likely to leave the seat up, litter, go to bed with a grudge, “cut across the lawn” (wtf does that mean), etc.

  8. Leah says:

    What’s really sad is that the way I came across this article was having my mother forward it to me with the note, “I found this to be excellent. Perhaps you will too.”

    I don’t agree with my mother about much.

  9. Suz says:

    LMAO @ ‘cutting accross the lawn’. Fucking Mormons, used to make me feel guilty about everything under the god damn sun!

  10. Jonathan says:

    This should come as no surprise. The Natural Man is an enemy to God, and marriage, apparently. Be ye therefore perfect. Once you’re perfect, everything will be just fine. Until then, you’re on the fast track to shameful divorce.

  11. Hellmut says:

    Just to be contrarian, since love hormones run out within four years, it is probably a good idea to have children within four years of falling in love.

    Furthermore while our economy favors children later in life, our biology favors children early.

    So the “traditionalist” views of the brethren are not without merit. They are in denial, however, about current economic realities, which results in bad advice and can be devastating to young couples.

    If the brethren were serious about families and parenting, they would take steps to redesign our economy. They would fight for the restoration of the 40 hour work week and for health insurance for part time workers.

    Nothing would empower mothers more to take care of their children than universal health care.

    Instead of taking on big business, of course, the brethren prefer to fight culture wars and discriminate against gays. I am beginning to suspect that the brethren are not really concerned about children and parenting. If they were, they would support more rights and benefits for mothers.

    In reality, the Mormon culture war is about keeping women in their place. That requires among other things the preservation of homophobic stereotypes.

    In an open society, it’s a lot harder to sustain the patriarchy if you accept gays as human beings. That’s why we would rather discriminate gays than help mothers. If you don’t help mothers then families are more likely to fail and failure requires an explanation. To keep the Church and its leaders blameless, you have to shift the blame to individuals. Hence the asinine argument about selfishness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.