Evidently some mormon women suffer from toxic perfectionism. So on top of being the angel in the home, they are trying to be too perfect; keep a spotless home, cook a scrumptious, frugal, healthy meal, raise perfectly coiffed children.
It’s not only mormon women who suffer from unrealistic expectations (of course) – Jerry Hall quipped:
My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I said I’d hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bitâ€
Perfectionism is something I’m familiar with. Honestly, when I remember what being a mormon teen was like, I remember feeling like I couldn’t measure up – no matter what I did. Near the end I became discouraged, if I couldn’t measure up – why bother? I wasn’t reading the scriptures enough, I didn’t have perfect early-morning seminary attendance – I fought with my parents and siblings. I was also guilty of sins of omission (does anyone outside mormonism know what those are?) – I wasn’t charitable, I wasn’t kind, I didn’t go out of my way to help poor destitute widows, etc.
So forgive me for being skeptical of this anti-perfectionist movement. Is being a perfectionist an issue for many LDS? Yes. Should that responsibility be fully placed at the individual members’ door? Is it their fault for taking what they hear each Sunday literally?
Heavenly Father is judgmental. This is a major criticism of mormonism from mainstream Christianity. No longer is grace important. Each of us needs to follow certain steps to get to Heaven. You have to physically be baptized, with a prayer said precisely, by a man of a certain age who meets certain worthiness requirements. And that’s just baptism. Everything has to be said just so (I remember the sacrament prayer being repeated four or five times by a stumbling teenager – had to be perfect).
I think of my grandfather who refused to miss church – despite being released from the hospital a few days before. He also fainted doing temple work. I can’t explain why he felt like he had to be at church no matter what. Why he had to serve at the temple despite having health problems – I can’t say. That’s certainly not a message heard from the pulpit. But many quotes can be interpreted that way.
So there’s a measurement stick, and you’re always found wanting (h/t runtu). Even if you follow all the rules; have you been doing your genealogy? journaling? Your home/visiting teaching? Family scripture study? In some other faiths, the idea is that only Christ was perfect. The rest of us have to do the best we can – which includes making mistakes. The journey is what matters, what is in one’s “heart” is what matters; not how accurate certain prayers are said. Not if we had the occasional latte or played with face cards.
I think it’s good that perfectionism and scrupulosity are being acknowledged in mormon culture. But the cultural/doctrinal part of the equation (at least for LDS) cannot be ignored. The need for perfectionism doesn’t occur in a vacuum.