Sunday in Outer Blogness: a woman’s worth edition!!!

On the even of the most dreaded holiday for women on the Mormon liturgical calendar, Elizabeth Smart made a statement explaining what’s wrong with object lessons teaching girls that after having sex, they’re used-up and disgusting, like chewed-gum, sparking lots of discussion (including about other unhelpful chastity lessons). But since it would be unimaginable for Mormons to drop object lessons altogether, some folks have come up with some more positive metaphors illustrating that your worth is not diminished by a few scratches, and alternative reasons to wait until you’re ready before having sex. And despite some excuses, it appears that part of the problem is a Mormon scripture which claims that rape deprives women “of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue.”

It’s rather timely, considering that it’s Mothers Day:

A few years back, an enthusiastic Mother’s Day speaker shared with my ward the story of how his mother had always gotten up to cook breakfast from scratch for the family, even when she was sick. With tears in his eyes, he then thanked his wife for being just like his mom.

It is nice to set aside time to celebrate our mothers — the angst seems more a result of treating motherhood as the be-all-end-all of womanhood. So when I read this list of people who have reason not to love Mothers Day:

  • Married women who suffer from infertility
  • Single women
  • Single mothers
  • Women who birthed babies who were then adopted by others
  • Women whose mothers have died
  • Women whose mothers were abusive
  • Mothers who never feel they will ever add up to what has been dubbed as the perfect mother in many a Sacrament Meeting talk
  • Fathers who suffer from infertility and hate to see their wives feel pain
  • Single fathers
  • Men whose mothers have died
  • Men whose mothers were abusive
  • Fathers who see their wives suffering when they feel they will never add up to what has been dubbed as the perfect mother in many a Sacrament Meeting talk.

… I felt like it should even include women who are happy to be mothers but don’t like being treated as though motherhood is the sum total of their value as humans. But I immediately dismissed this idea as a foolish exaggeration. Then I saw this little Facebook turd:

And I agree with Heather’s response:

I am LOVING watching y’all grow up. You are ambitious and hard-working and kind and smart and funny (oh, so funny) and quick-witted and curious. And you are also needy and demanding and sometimes I feel beleaguered by trying to fill all of your needs. And I tell you as much, which I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be doing, but maybe I’m doing you a favor: if you become a parent, you’ll go in eyes wide open–thanks to me!

Quite simply, I am your mom. Imagining my life otherwise is just crazy talk.

However, motherhood is not the essence of who I am. It does not define my identity.

And there were a bunch of interesting related topics: Mothers in the Bible, the next natural step in the current gun-rights discussion, Heavenly Mother as the unique doctrine Mormons won’t stand up for, women are the root of all evil (or is it helicopter parenting), the Mormon murder trial is ever creepy, and if you’re still married to your dead spouse why is it OK to marry again?

In other topics, good work for a worthy cause, here‘s the first time I’ve seen Canada compared to a cult, the US Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation is seriously considering treating religions like any other non-profit, poverty and judgement, the BoM chapter that is so bad it’s funny, and hatin’ on fat people as a marketing strategy. Oh, and I really enjoyed Daniel Midgley’s podcast about the Navajo language.

It is also teacher appreciation week! Time to think twice about the policy of teaching to the test. In other education issues: teaching is hard and some helpful advice for those who stop believing while attending BYUI. And I’d like to wrap up with a hilarious overview of Mormon-style sex-ed:

My mother’s advise when I first got married (she still hadn’t figured out that I was two months pregnant) was, “Well, Sister (she always calls us “Sister” so she doesn’t have to remember which one of us she’s talking to), just think about IT as if you’re canning peaches. By the time you’ve scalded the skins and peeled them it’s over and you can just go clean up the sticky mess and go back to sleep. It’s your duty and a chore, but usually over very quickly. I’m so sorry for you, Sister.” She once admitted that she wasn’t sure if she’d ever had an orgasm. That’s a guarantee you haven’t. If the back of your head doesn’t explode, lightning shoot out the tips of your toes and fingertips, and stars rotate around the ceiling, leaving you spent and trembling, it’s a good sign that you haven’t yet experienced a good orgasm.

Go read the whole thing and see how much you can relate to!! And good luck to you on surviving this joyous holiday!!


C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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3 Responses

  1. Chris F. says:

    As Dave Ramsey said (talking about credit card companies) “…I am in awe of their marketing.”

    They are so good at it that they’ve managed to make the targets of their belittling, not just parrot their message of their one dementional gender role and indentity, but actually believe it enough to spread that message with conviction.

    That is some incredible marketing.

  2. visitor says:

    I think you should add to your list people who have concerns about the sincerity of being recognized by demand of the calendar.

    I am fortunate. My husband is appreciative on an ongoing basis. My kids have gown up with that so I get lots of spontaneous expressions of gratitude within a meaningful context. For example, my daughter will have some story to tell about something her 3yo son has done and will relate it to something she remembers growing up and how I treated it then. That stuff is a truly human moment and pure gold! But when Mothers’ Day rolls around it still makes me want to be invisible for the day and when I can’t the programmed “being adored” is just too uncomfortable and too much and not nearly what it’s intended to be.

  3. chanson says:

    @1 I agree, but I think part of it is that one-dimensional roles work for some people. It can be stressful to be confronted with so many possibilities, and comfortable to other people make your choices for you and praise you for doing as you’re told.

    The CoJCoL-dS is a self-selecting population. Those who don’t fit the mold are more likely to leave, and those who do are more likely to stay — and to feel proud of how righteous they are to stick with it when others leave, and consequently to feel that much more conviction about the rightness of their position.

    @2 So true — spontaneous appreciation is so much better.

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