the feminists are coming, the feminists are coming!

Gender

There’s lots going on at LDS Inc. regarding women.  Obviously the big news is that a woman finally got to say a prayer in conference, which the church is claiming was already on the schedule and had nothing to do with the petitions and letters.  Of course, in her prayer she thanked god for the patriarchal structure of the church, “We are grateful for the restoration of the gospel, and with it the blessings of priesthood power, temple covenants, scriptures, and living apostles and prophets.”  The male leadership can’t let women get too uppity before they slap them down!  I wonder how many versions of that prayer she had to rehearse before the patriarchal octogenarians approved it?!?

On the heels of this milestone comes another concession to women – Mission Leadership Councils.  These sound like nice, token efforts to pretend to include sister missionaries in the leadership of missions, without actually giving the sister missionaries any real authority, influence, or power.  Male missionaries still hold all of the actual positions, they are now just going to let two “sister training leaders” sit in on an occasional meeting with the men who actually have all the authority.  How nice of them…

Some Mormon women have, as was noted in a prior post on MSP, realized that token efforts are just that, token efforts.  They are asking for more – ordination to the priesthood.  Props to them.  I hope they get it, and sooner rather than later.  Alas, that it is all hope, with virtually no confidence that anything will come of their efforts any time soon.

But, again, the patriarchal octogenarians can’t let women get too uppity.  The new young womens leaders announced in conference have all drunk the Kool Aid.  Two are Mormon royalty – a McConkie and a Marriott.  Two had 7 kids; one had 11, for a total of 25 kids between them.  And their primary qualifications – they were good helpers with their husband’s callings.  Of the new president you get this great quote, “She has been a fantastic support for her husband in his responsibilities and is certainly capable of carrying out this important assignment, which, of course, will take her around the world.”  Not only does this illustrate Mormon nepotism, but also the inequality between men and women.  When men are called to positions, their work outside the church is usually described as helping to justify their selection.  When women are called, the emphasis is put on their ability to have kids and support their husbands, though they did at least mention that they all had English degrees.

2 thoughts on “the feminists are coming, the feminists are coming!

  1. The change in the missionary leadership is quite impressive. This post from the Exponent sums it up pretty well:

    They have gone out of their way to redesign mission leadership in such a way as to ensure that males continue to supervise mixed gender missionary groups while women only supervise other women.

    Missionary leadership prepares men for their future lives as leaders in the church. True enough. Likewise, banning women from missionary leadership prepares women for their future lives in which they will be banned from most leadership positions within the church. Yes, this is consistent. But the excuses for banning women from church leadership in general, such as rhetoric around their divine roles as mothers, ring even more hollow in the missionary setting where, by requirement, no missionaries are mothers. The new arrangement should prepare missionaries well for church service outside the mission. It is similar to the system set up in other church councils in which a certain prescribed (small) number of women and a certain prescribed (much larger) number of men counsel together, with a male leader presiding who has the right to make final decisions. I am glad that women will be at the table when mission decision-making happens, but I am nervous that women will be outnumbered and outranked, as they are in other councils of the church.

  2. For some unknown reason (probably a mysterious computer glitch) a few day’s worth of comments disappeared. I have restored the comments from this morning’s backup, but it is possible that some comments (made since the last backup) have permanently disappeared. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, and I wish I knew precisely what happened…

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