Episode 179: Women in LDS Families

Zilpha, Chris, Melissa, Alyssa, and John discuss the role of women in in Mormon families.

Episode 179

87 comments on “Episode 179: Women in LDS Families”

  1. FullyWashable Reply

    Yay! new podcast! I was worried there wouldn’t be one this week, with the holidays. Yes, I am a Mormon Expression junkie. ūüôā

  2. Megan Reply

    Excellent, excellent podcast.

    I think the thing I find most insidious is that the church’s teachings about women strips away their individual identities. And it happens in multiple ways so the message is inescapable:

    1) We all have exactly the same calling and destiny – to be mothers.

    2) Our roles are identical because the skills that are emphasized and even the rewards that are promised are identical – and if you haven’t those skills or don’t get the promised joyful rewards then the fault is with you (and that fault should be corrected)

    3) Even if you aren’t a mother – you’re still a mother! And that is what we will celebrate about you by referring to you as a mother, by recognizing you as one, and by reminding you that your earthly service is still in that role (albeit secondary) and your heavenly service is nothing but that.

    4) Almost all of the terms used for women in the church are in reference to someone else – sister (sibling relationship), mother, wife – even priestESS and godDESS are auxiliary terms to the primary masculines of Priest and God (and remember, women are priestesses to their husbands…)

    5) By stripping away all attributes, removing and demonizing all discussion and even refusing to grant so much as a name, Mother in Heaven, in her absence, becomes the ultimate example of the complete loss of self that a woman can look forward to.

    I recognize that many intelligent and faithful women work very hard to discover wisdom and beauty in the doctrines of the church as it relates to them – but my admiration for that is for the efforts of the women and what they bring, because it is not the primary message that it found throughout the official teachings.

    • Kevin Reply

      I agree with your points, especially your last one.

      But I think there may be more to the church’s difficulties with its doctrine of a¬†Mother in Heaven. If the church fully acknowledged her, then it would also have to acknowledge a whole goddess-oriented theology. She would need at least a name, and there would need to be a way to¬†deal with her¬†through prayer and liturgy.

      This would distance Mormonism from the Christian mainstream toward which the church aspires. In fact, to some people it would make Mormonism appear as exotic as Hinduism or Wicca.

      • Farmdog47 Reply

        Did you say the church aspires toward the Christian mainstream? This seems a little contrare to the same Mormon church that claimed a prophet overhearing God call those Christian mainstream groups an abomination in his sight.

        • Kevin Reply

          It seems inconsistent to me too, but the church has been trying to swim toward the mainstream for a century now.

          • Farmdog47

            Ive been out of the Mormon loop for a while but how¬† does this work? You got a Church that was born out of the fires of reformation, that came out swingin at all the other sects, now it wants to be buddies with groups that God considers an abomination? Or do you explain it as one of those things your prophet heard wrong (from God himself no less, maybe JS couldn’t bring himself to ask the Almighty for clarification}¬†¬†To quote Ricky Ricardo “Lucy, you gotta lot a splainin to do”

          • Kevin

            I’m more of a Fred & Ethel man myself.

            I think this sort of behavior is pretty typical for most movements, religous and otherwise. Mormonism began as an upstart that had nothing to lose and everything to gain by setting itself apart as utterly unique. As it matured and grew more bureaucratic, its leaders wanted to be accepted by the people they viewed as their sociocultural peers in religion, business, and government.

            Eventually, the church’s persistence overcame Ricky’s repeated¬†cries of,¬†“No Lucy, you can’t be in the show!” Hilarity, as they say, ensued.¬†

          • Greg Rockwell

            Responding to Farmdog47’s request for “splainin”.

            One of the hallmarks of the Church’s communications strategy in the 20th and 21st centuries is to NOT explain anything. ¬†
            So, we think that there is an explanation that must be made for this type of inconsistency, and it does leave a logical hole, but the Church’s MO has been to just ignore those holes (this is, after all, a religion we’re talking about; inconsistency is the defining feature).

            The Church DOES NOT consider itself accountable to the membership.

          • Farmdog47

            In reply to Greg Rockwell

            your comment in part:

            it does leave a logical hole, but the Church’s MO has been to just ignore those holes (this is, after all, a religion we’re talking about; inconsistency is the defining feature).

            .  

            But this hole is one of those Mack truck size holes. I think that when anything (religion or political movements or philosophical ideas, etc.) evolve to the point where inconsistency is its defining feature, it then becomes absurd. When I feel the need for the absurd in my life I break out my old tapes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  

        • Anonymous Reply

          Farmdog47, after reading your comments, it occurred to me that if there¬†really were¬†a “Heavenly Mother”, and “Heavenly Father” truly loved and respected her as a good husband should, the mere fact that mainstream Christian religions refuse to acknowledge and love her, and even reject the possibility of Her existence, would alone be sufficient grounds for God to characterize those religions as “abominations.”

        • Chuck Borough Reply

          It is a contradiction, but it is also true the Church is trying to “fit” in. We don’t tell the others, however, that all their ordinances are null and void. Perhaps we should tell the world that Romney is a Mormon High Priest who may play an important role in saving the Constitution. (smile)

        • Chuck Borough Reply

          And maybe also tell them that Romney, as a 12-year-old Deacon, had more power than he will have due to being President of the United States. I remember being told that when I was a Deacon.

      • Anonymous Reply

        It is interesting to me that in many¬†(if not all) of the earliest religions, a mother-goddess or goddesses played a very important role, if not an even more important role than male deities.¬† Whether anyone likes it or not, a study of the earliest origins of religions described in the most ancient texts known to us, and the role they¬†played in the development of human civilization, clearly and unambiguously reveals that the idea of monotheism featuring a single, male deity, is a fairly late development in theological thought.¬† It is far from the earliest religion, supposedly taught to the first human beings by God himself, as advocates of today’s Abrahamic religions are determined to have us believe!

        If there were any truth to Mormon theology, and I were one of God’s wives, I would have sued Him for divorce long ago for His inconsiderate and belittling treatment of me and womankind in general, and failure to honor and acknowledge the equality of the importance of our role in creation.

        • Chuck Borough Reply

          Since we know God does not exist as a person, it is we who fail to acknowledge (metaphorically) women’s role in creation, etc. We are responsible for our religion. No God is. We make all the rules and mores. God does nothing at all. But regarding creation, neither do we. All the evolutionary processes do it all, with an IQ of zero. But even all these processes do not explain the original existence of “stuff.” On this, we must surely be only confused. Well, at least I am.

          • Anonymous

            Of course!¬† Except not all of us “know God does not exist as a person.”¬† You and I agree that it is highly improbable that God or gods exist, but, so far, those who agree with¬†that are very much in the minority.¬† Even in our case, are we justified in being 100% certain that there can be no entity or entities that could be justifiably regarded as god or godlike?¬† I am slightly less certain that there is no god at all than I am that even if there is a god or gods, she/he/it bears little or no resemblance to the Judeo/Christian/Islamic or Mormon God.¬† You and I obviously agree that it is¬†overwhelmingly more likely that we humans created or imagined God in our own image than that “God created man in ‘his’ own¬†image.”

    • Anonymous Reply

      Excellent points, Megan!¬† What you said plus the points Kevin made in reply provide the best explanation I have yet heard of why the Church is so reluctant to openly and extenseively discuss “Heavenly Mother” and her role.

    • Chuck Borough Reply

      The day will come when we will call 12-year-old girls Deacons and great women leaders Bishops. It just takes too long. I always thought it would happen in my own lifetime; now that appears unlikely.

    • Robert Reply

      Megan look at it this way…from a believer’s point of view if the church is true than obviously Motherhood is the most salient ¬†feature of women¬†being¬†women…I don’t think the leaders sit around and say how can we degrade women so they will become our second class citizens! ¬†

      Again if its true what else should the message be?¬†Don’t have kids be ur own person and let¬†spirit¬†children come down and be born to so another faith?¬†

      That’s like God telling Jesus :its okay son its ur choice you can save the world or make wooden shoes instead, its ur choice”¬†

      I walk into these podcast with an open mind and love them and the cast but I have to be honest and give my¬†opinion¬†when the message doesn’t make sense, at least to me lol, and I’m wrong most of the time so what do i know???¬†

      I don’t think the church is saying ur worthless unless you do this…I think it just magnifies the calling but again what’s wrong with that?¬†

      Men are supposed to provide for their families right? So what if some men just sit around and say f__k this I’m not listening to the church I’m collecting¬†government¬†funding to provide for kids, its my life…

      I think ME needs a little more balance that’s all…ox

      • Megan Reply

        Robert – thank you for replying.

        First, I think it’s important to point out that for many, many years I WAS a believer. So I do know that perspective thoroughly. I was raised in a strongly doctrinal home – not a cultural Mormon home but a deep-down, it’s all true, believe-to-the-roots home and that was the kind of believer I was too.

        It is from living that belief that I know intimately that the church’s teachings and practices about women are damaging. They damaged me – they damaged my husband. The fact that the teachings are presented with love and sincerity does not in any way change the fundamental problems that they cause.

        The difficulty is that you do not share the experience of being a woman in the church – and yes, you know women in the church and they say they are happy and they look happy to you. Many of them are happy and I recognize that and am delighted for them. But I said I was happy. Because God said I HAD to be happy since I was doing what God said I had to do and he said that would make me happy. If I wasn’t happy then I wasn’t doing it right which meant I was sinning – do you see the trap that produces?

        Let me try to express this again, and please, if I’m being too harsh or too confrontational let me know and I will do my best to re-phrase. Also, try to keep in mind that I am talking about myself and my experience and not trying to talk about you or your faith.

        As a young woman in the church I was given a single trajectory for my life. My parents highly emphasized education so I knew I would go to college, but not once, not EVER was my education talked about in terms of a career. Never. Post education – or during – I would marry and begin a family at which point I would be a mother. And there my trajectory ended. There was no discussion of my life, ME, past that. Which meant that I was looking forward to an end-goal that would be achieved in my early 20’s, after which I had nothing further to accomplish, from then on it would be a matter of enduring to the end, and as my children grew and left the home, accepting my diminishing role and value as a person.

        Can you see that? When your value, your spiritual AND physical value is all about your single role for a specific time of your life what happens when that role ends? And yes, I’ll always be a mum, but I’m not needed to do all those daily services for my kids that are talked about all the time in the literature and the talks – which means that my identity is getting lost.

        So, to your specific points:

        Again if its true what else should the message be?¬†Don’t have kids be ur
        own person and let spirit children come down and be born to so another
        faith?

        YES! The message should be – you are here on this earth for your own spiritual journey. Your focus should be on that first, on learning who you are and what you can do, on being a strong and brave and caring person in the way you are best suited to do. If you do not feel ready to be a mother, do not have children yet. If you do not WANT children then do not have them because there are few tragedies greater than an unwanted child and an unwilling, unhappy parent. Allow those children to go where they are wanted and realize that IF the church is true they will still have their opportunity to hear the gospel – because that’s what the church teaches.

        I don’t think the church is saying ur worthless unless you do this…I
        think it just magnifies the calling but again what’s wrong with that?

        Robert, I realize you’re expressing your opinion from your experience but from my experience I can tell you that, yes, the message many many women get from the church is that they are worthless unless they have children. Simple as that. Not every woman, but they are definitely out there.

        Men
        are supposed to provide for their families right? So what if some men
        just sit around and say f__k this I’m not listening to the church I’m
        collecting¬†government¬†funding to provide for kids, its my life…

        No, I think PEOPLE are supposed to provide for themselves and help support eachother.. And, in your scenario, why can’t the man stay home and the woman work??

        • Megan Reply

          Ugh – screwed up the tags as I was trying to hurry to finish this – sorry about the italics in the last half! Okay… off to go snow-shoeing and get away from the computer for a while!

        • Robert Reply

          Are you single? LOL! Megan I hear you, I’m a 37yr old man who cringes of going to a ward where¬†everybody¬†else¬†is married with a hundred kids!! Everything is geared toward young singles 18-31! I have nowhere to go to meet lds girls, I’m a good looking, succesful ¬† ¬†fitness¬†entrepreneur, great¬†personalty¬†and humor…why I’m I still single? Why does my Pat¬†blessing¬†say i”m going to married and have lots of children? Not saying that’s not going to happen but I think alot of LDS(me) members can find¬†doctrines¬†that make them feel like crap but should I forsake the church¬†because¬†of it? ¬†

          ¬†I hear talks about marriage, being good dads and fathers, every talk about dating is designed for 19yr olds! Okay now I’m getting depressed lol…. My seminary kids are getting married for crying out loud!!!! But should i leave?¬†

          My perspective is just as bleak as urs, I think, I mean if ur not married with kids, weather ur a guy or girl, you feel like a failure!!!! 
           
          I guess I;m just a screw up! Now its time for some UFC cage fighting! Oh wait, that’s not¬†appropriate¬†for¬†priesthood¬†holders to watch lol!! ¬†
          ps ever sense my thesis passed, I don’t proof read anything so be¬†painted¬†with my writing….

          • Megan

            I’m single Robert, but widowed – I was married (temple sealed and all) and have 3 kids. So I followed that trajectory I was given and I know exactly how wrong it was for me.

            Thanks for the perspective from the single male side – it’s really interesting to hear, and it’s not expressed very often so I think it’s valuable to have it out there!

            And no, I don’t think you should leave the church over being single, although I think the fact that you feel you’re a failure because you aren’t married (even though you clearly know you are not) is evidence that the message you are getting regarding marriage and gender roles is not a positive one for you.

            I can not and will not speak to your testimony – you know why you believe and why you stay and whether or not it is right for you.

            I did what was right for me and for my kids and it has made me far happier than I was in the church. I have family members who chose the opposite and have found happiness in various degrees in staying. Belief, or lack of it, is a personal thing and it’s a journey you have to take yourself.

            I just think it’s a good thing that we also learn a bit more about other people’s journeys and experiences so we can have a deeper understanding and more empathy for the wonderful variety of individuals around us!

            Now go enjoy some Cage Fighting if that’s what makes you happy!

        • odysseyforme yahoo Reply

          Just wanted to say that I was raised the same way.¬† It was very frustrating to know that my education was only for “in case”.¬† And I will also say that there are many painted on happy faces in the church.¬† Many women *say* they are happy because that is what they are supposed to say.¬† Besides, to complain about something is not “supporting your leaders” and we all know where that goes… It is all a big trap.

          Incidentally, I’ve been reading an excellent book about the FLDS called “Prophet’s Prey” written by Sam Brower and I am struck by how the LDS population is controlled in very similar manners that they are.¬† The women especially.¬†

  3. Kevin Reply

    This has been said before, but one of the reasons that the church emphasizes childbirth and child rearing is that the size of the church’s future membership depends on it¬†almost entirely. Specifically, future membership equals the number of children raised in the church minus the rate of apostasy.

    In spite of its apparent emphasis on proseletyzing, the church seems to be remarkably inward looking, and to have a hard time engaging the outside world. For example, the main purpose of the missionary program appears to be to give missionaries the experience of being rejected by a lot of people, while also meeting a few who will accept the missionaries’ teaching. Both of these experiences tend to reinforce the church’s boundaries.

    By the same token, anything that runs counter to the admonition to raise many children — for example, providing supports for women who work outside the home — also runs counter to the church’s interest. When viewed from the perspective of perpetuating the institution, the church’s teachings seem to make sense.¬†

  4. Nate G Reply

    Hi, guys

    I haven’t listened to this one yet, but the last podcast on modesty got me thinking a lot. I’m realizing how blind I am to the oppression of women in church and in western culture in general. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good book about feminism or feminist theory that I can go find and read to solve this problem?

    Thanks.

    • DefyGravity Reply

      Oh, there are so many… Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks might be a good introduction, as well as Full Frontal Feminism. The classic awakening text for most of the Mormon feminists I know is Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd if you’re looking for something specifically religious, or Women and Authority which is specifically Mormon, although it might be a bit outdated. Unbending Gender by Joan Williams is a good look at economic oppression, as well as family situations and employment situations.

      Those are off the top of my head. Hope that helps!

    • Alyssa Reply

      Nate, you’re the coolest. I’m so impressed with men who are open to learning more about this issue. For feminism from a Mormon perspective, I’d recommend reading the Feminist Mormon Housewives and Exponent II blogs. At those blogs (especially the Exponent), many of the bloggers are women’s studies majors and frequently tie in the things they are studying to Mormon issues in very accessible terms. I’d also recommend Maxine Hanks’ infamous “Women and Authority,” the book that was responsible for at least 3 of the September six excommunications. Also, John Dehlin’s early podcasts about feminism provide a good overview of the key issues.

      As for general feminism, I’ve never actually taken a class in it because I became interested in feminism long after my graduate studies, so other people might need to help me out here. Off the top of my head, here’s some classics that are somewhat accessible: Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble,” Mary Pipher’s “Reviving Ophelia,” Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own,” Alice Walker’s “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens,” Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible” (fiction), and the short story “Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

      Have fun reading!

      • Nate G Reply

        Thank you, Alyssa and Defy. From an initial look-see, these seem like really great recommendations. I’m adding to my to-buy list / Google Reader.

        I picked up The Feminine Mystique the day after I made my initial post and quickly got sucked in. I worried, since the book was written in the 60’s, that it would be dated, but I’m shocked how relevant it is to current Mormon culture. Whereas the intro (written in the 90’s) talked about the great advances in the Western mindset, it’s the world view crisis (mindf*ck) of the 60’s housewife that is clearly recognizable in Mormonism. In fact Mormonism has deified the feminine mystique, sold it as a directive of the cosmos.

        Education, I’m learning, had a great deal to do with women balking against the mystique and got them asking: Is this all? There’s something a little creepy to me about the Julie Beck talk discussed in the current podcast where she’s talking to well-educated women who have fallen seemingly blissfully into laundry and kissing booboos. The mother says “I know who I am.” (Read: “I know my place.”) There’s something backwards, almost regressed about that. I imagine all the women in that scene wearing behive hairdos, like one of those scenes from Madmen that are meant to drive a modern audience nuts.

  5. Mere Reply

    This reminds me of a talk I heard a couple of Sundays ago in my ward (of course she was the first speaker before the male concluding speaker). The topic was temple attendance and she told a story about how she was feeling really down in her role as mother and housekeeper and was really bugged with the monotony but then she went to the temple, and she was reminded of the eternal perspective of her role and she felt a lot better. It totally depressed me on one hand, but on the other hand, that perspective is a lot nicer than women in the same situation outside the church who don’t have that view. But I didn’t want to shake her and say, if you are bored out of your skull and depressed guess what? You should do something else!!! But instead I thanked her for her honesty in her talk, because really I thought it was a brave brave thing to do.

    • Chuck Borough Reply

      Ha. I’m male, but when I speak they always put me first. I think they want a “clean-up” speaker.

  6. Sean Reply

    On the Equation between Motherhood and Priesthood: 

    Mothering and nurturing one’s young is not, it turns out, a gift that god has given to women alone–this the arrangement with females of several mammalian and some non-mammalian species, as well.¬† Since motherhood is not only a blessing for women, then, but indeed a divine gift¬† and calling to all females of various species, we are left to wonder whether we can apply the priesthood side of the equation similarly and wonder whether there are lions and tigers and bears who hold the priesthood and whether there are elders quorums of dogs and seventies of mice and presidencies of tapirs.¬†

    • Kevin Reply

      “The lion. The tiger. The bear.” Sorry, but I couldn’t pass up the liturgical reference.

  7. Colleen Gehrig Reply

    This was a wonderful podcast. I especially liked the sidebar about what our families think of us now that we left. My husband has had a hard time understanding why my parents act the way they do, but when he heard that other people experience the same thing for the same reasons it clicked a little more for him. 

    The whole podcast really hit the nail on the head and I liked how everyone groaned at the same time when Julie Beck was mentioned:-)

    • Greg Rockwell Reply

      I agree that the explanation of the mucking up of family roles and that disruption was a watershed moment in the podcast.  

      We have had remarkably little pushback from our families and I have been wondering about that.  

      I realized that on my wife’s side, her parents don’t follow that authoritarian model with their children AT ALL. ¬†We are treated very much as peers. ¬†(Interestingly, 4 out of 5 children have left and the last is… wobblyish) ¬†There was warning and prophesying of sadness from her at first, but nothing from my FIL. At all. ¬†

      My family is dysfunctional.  I have a peer relationship bordering on inverse authority with my Dad (no pushback from him) and my mother (bless her Mormon heart) is classically passive aggressive.  All heartache has come from her, but mostly through subtle guilt trips.  There is massive pain and anguish there, which comes out in hints in the annual Christmas letter. 

      In neither case is there a fire and brimstone patriarch there to call us to repentance and levy his authority.  

      Does anyone else find correlation between types of roles parents have taken and how they dealt with filial disaffection?

  8. Greg Rockwell Reply

    Another great discussion. ¬†I wanted to bring up another prickly issue from a man’s perspective on the subject of work, fulfillment, roles, etc.¬†

    Towards the end of the podcast there was a discussion about letting women be free to make their choices about WHETHER to work or stay in the home, etc.  Where will you find the most fulfillment?

    I want to (gently) submit that the framing of that conversation is still frequently coming from a “traditional” patriarchal POV, even when it’s a woman leading the charge. ¬†

    The notion that adults be left to choose WHETHER to societally (i.e. financially) contribute or not, rather than HOW is, I think, evidence of continued subtle infantilization of women and their life purposes.

    The conversation (again subtly) presupposes that in the ideal, a man is responsible for breadwinning, and an actualized woman is responsible to figure out where she will be most happy.  From a practical standpoint, this leaves men ALWAYS feeling guilty when they are not able to achieve the (unrealistic) ideal of comfortably providing for a family of (at least) 6 without breaking a sweat.  

    It also leaves them guilty when they are trying to figure out a way to approach the subject of SAHMs working. ¬†There is simply no good way to approach the question. ¬†All approaches are an indictment of the man’s masculine role (unhealthily acculturated) and reveal the presumption of authority in the relationship (again, acculturated). ¬†

    I find myself appreciating the approach of powerful women like Oprah that start with the presupposition that women WILL work and find fulfillment in work, and that parenting is a nice thing if you want it.  It fits with the American cultural model of personal value much better. 

    (I am prepared to get blasted for this and/or to discuss it.  Trying to think through this conceptually is a work in progress for me, and I would appreciate other views.)

    • kh Reply

      Well said Greg.
      I like the idea of starting with the model of everyone needing to work and take care of themselves and then when a women and man want to start a family they can negotiate the differing duties.  This may even elevate the importance of the parenting role.

      I think another way these defined roles hurt is in our relationships with our spouse. ( I guess I should just speak for myself.)  I grew up in the church excited to be a mother and keep a house.  Little was said on how to be a wife except by  being supportive of your husband.  I prepared for and love being a mom and keeping a house.  Yes, I am one of those women who actually found joy in the monotony and love the beauty and order I can create in homemaking.  ( I love that, the art of making a home.)  That said, who else could I have been and what else could I have done and what kind of relationship would have been possible to have with a spouse? 
      I’m good at mothering so good that I mother my spouse.¬† He is comfortable with that¬†most of the time.¬† He doesn’t look to dominate or rule the family with an iron fist however; he also doesn’t feel the need to compromise or explain when he decides he wants to do something he just does it.¬† He also does so much in his life out of a sense of obligation rather than what he might really want to do.¬† Who could he be if he was¬† free?¬†
      I don’t know how much of this is due to us and individuals but I do think that by keeping people in very narrowly defined roles we do not grow up to be mature, responsible adults in deep meaningful, fulfilling relationships.

      In general, we come from homes where our mothers cared for us and our fathers provided for us to homes where we are cared for or provided for.¬† There is no place in our culture for us take repsonsibility for learning to care for and provide for our own needs.¬†¬† I’m sad for my kids.

      • Anonymous Reply

        There is certainly nothing wrong with choosing to be a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom), and no woman should be disparaged for choosing and finding complete fulfillment in that role.¬† Few (if any) vocations are more¬†honorable than that one.¬† However, I agree with Randy that even a woman who chooses to be one should become as well educated as she can and acquire some marketable skill or additional vocation that she can fall back on should it ever become necessary, due to unforseen circumstances, for her to either augment the family income or become the main or sole provider for her family.¬† Even if she never has to become the sole provider, the better educated she is, the more effective she will be at maximising her children’s potential.

        • Greg Rockwell Reply

          Forgive me for pushing back a little, not necessarily because I violently disagree, but because I want to understand the nuances of this position. 

          If no woman should be disparaged for choosing to be fulfilled as a SAHM, is the same true of anyone that chooses any other vocation that would be ultimately fulfilling, but has no power to provide for one’s own consumption?

          For instance, I would be incredibly fulfilled by being a rock and roll musician.  Am I entitled to tell my wife that since this is the thing that would be most fulfilling to me in life she needs to figure out how to keep herself and me (and all the kids) fed, clothed, and housed, etc, and that I am excused from that responsibility for the sake of my fulfillment?

          Again, it’s not that I am disagreeing with you, I just want to understand the difference between the two positions as people see it.¬†

          • Anonymous

            Good questions, Greg.¬† I find music very fulfilling too.¬† I sing tenor in two amateur choral groups that I am a member of.¬† I am not talented enough to make a living from doing that (and would probably not want to make a living that way anyway).¬† My wife supports and encourages me in this.¬† I, personally,¬†would not want to do it full time or give up my day job to do it, though (if I still had a day job, that is–I am now retired).¬†

            My brother plays clarinet in an excellent wind and brass band and finds great fulfillment in doing that, without having to do it full time or give up his day job (production manager at a piano factory).

            However, if your wife would be willing and happy to figure out how to keep the family fed, clothed and housed for the sake of your fulfillment as a full time rock and roll musician, why not?¬† I don’t think you would be entitled to demand it of her or pressure her into it if she has any misgivings about it, though.¬† If you were to do it full time, though, I would hope you would be a good enough musician to earn a living from doing it, thus relieving your wife from having to be the sole bread-winner in your family.

          • Greg Rockwell

            Trying to reply to Gunnar1961 below…

            I agree that if my wife was willing to support me in whatever role I wanted to shoot for, then everyone should be fine.  I have no issue where spouses DECIDE TOGETHER what the plan should be. 

            The question is whether I am ENTITLED to expect my spouse to support me in my dream role if there is no reasonable expectation that said role will ever provide financial remuneration. (I am using vocabulary in a very specific way here)

            I posit that the answer is, no, I am not entitled to expect that (which is distinctly different than agreeing together on a course of action).

            The decision to be a SAHM (or SAHP) presupposes the decision to have children, but the decision to have children does not presuppose a SAHP. 

            Are women (or men) ENTITLED to demand children?  If you want kids and your spouse does not, is there a moral trump available for the reproducer?

            Are women ENTITLED to declare that their purpose in life is to be a SAHM?  i.e. Is a spouse morally obligated to accept that role and support it if that is what the other wants?  

            If women are ENTITLED to that expectation, then I can see that no one should be disparaged for choosing that. 

          • Anonymous

            Entitled Greg? ¬†The only thing a spouse should feel entitled to is love and respect but not to any decision involving both. ¬†There is no moral obligation for a man to accept his wife wanting to be a mother if it was agreed upon beforehand that they would not have kids. ¬†Morality just isn’t that black and white. ¬†If a man, or a woman, feel very strongly they don’t want to have kids and the other changes their mind later, you would hope the relationship is stronger than ending over that issue but there is no moral obligation to acquiesce to the reneging spouse. ¬†If the reneging spouse would be happier with someone who wants to share parenthood with them and the other would be happier with a spouse who doesn’t, get a divorce. ¬†It’s not the end of the world and not immoral by its very nature like LDS, Inc likes to paint it. ¬†

          • Anonymous

            Decisions like whether or not to have children or who, if either, should be a SAHP should ideally be agreed upon before a couple ever decides to get married. 

            If, after they are married, there is a change of mind by one of the spouses and they no longer agree about whether or not to have children, I don’t think there is a “moral trump available for the reproducer.”¬† Unless both parties want children, they should not have them–if they intend to stay together.¬† I can’t imagine that it would be good for a child to have a reluctant parent (or for the reluctant parent).
            If a woman wants to breast feed her infants (which most pediatricians agree is beneficial to the children), she is temporarily more entitled to choose to be a SAHP than her husband, but only because it is easier, more convenient and possibly safer for a SAHM to breast feed her baby than it is for a working mother.¬† Other than that, I don’t think either spouse has¬†an inherently greater entitlement to choose to be a SAHP (or demand that the other be a SAHP) than the other, if they don’t both consent to such an arrangement.¬† Of course it still remains true that current societal norms favor a SAHM much more than a SAHD, which is arguably unfair.

        • kh Reply

          I appreciate your thoughtful response but I still do not feel that women or men really have many choices in our culture. 
          What if she wanted to be the sole provider, is that ok?
          What if her husband wanted to be a SAHD, is that ok?

          ¬†I think it’s hard to say to people in general please prepare and get educated enough for two careers.¬† I don’t know, it just seems to me that we don’t say to people in the accounting classes..you should also take science courses …just in case.¬† I think once they are accepted in the accounting program they are suppose to be focusing on the accounting program.

          In my experience we have been telling yw for years to become educated for just the reasons you stated…but the yw are hearing, by watching our actions and listening to other lessons and talks…if you don’t get married and have children right away you could be a¬†well educated¬†sweet spirit (loser).¬† Kinda like saying to ym they can choose wether or not to go on a mission.

          One last thing, no matter how much education I have as a mom how can I maximize my daughters potential if they keep getting married right after they earn their degree, and than their daughters do the same thing and so on..?

          It’s hard for me¬†to say how important it is to raise kids and than argue against having to do it.¬† Pediatricians, teachers, parents, I wish we thought more of people who work with children.¬† I wish we had better choices.

          I wish we focused on our spirituallity or relationship with God, not on showing our devotion through our lifestyle choices.

          Look at that Christmas is over and I’m already starting a new wish list.¬†¬† Oh, well, never satisified.

          • Anonymous

            KH, you asked: “I appreciate your thoughtful response but I still do not feel that women or men really have many choices in our culture.¬† What if she wanted to be the sole provider, is that ok? What if her husband wanted to be a SAHD, is that ok?”

            My answer is that both those options are perfectly OK, if that is what both of them agree to.  Why should they not be?  And what if they want to take turns being the stay at home parent and the sole provider?  I see nothing wrong with that either.  Nor do I see anything wrong with both of them having full time careers, if they can manage to do so without neglecting their children, should they choose to become parents.  Choosing not to become parents at all should also be an acceptable option. Not everyone is well suited to the role of parent. If they are childless (or even if they are not), it is probably important for both of them to have something outside the home (income related or not) to do besides just being a homemaker, to avoid going stir-crazy.

        • Megan Reply

          Couple of things to point out –

          1) education and marketable skills are not fixed things, they require constant update which means a constant investment of time. While the basics of accounting might remain static, in order to be marketable you MUST have knowledge of current software – and honestly must have some fairly fresh job experience. Managers are looking for people whom they can slot into place easily and who have a pretty steady job record.¬† It’s just the way it is. So to tell women they can ‘make themselves marketable’ by getting a degree and picking up a few skills and then, after all the kids are launched, expect to head into the job market with a hope of getting a decent job is frankly irresponsible and it bothers me enormously that the brethren imply that it can happen in any but the very rare cases.

          SAHP who wish to rejoin the job force will have to re-train, and that takes time and money, which brings me to point 2:

          2) EVERYONE should be marketable – men and women, regardless of of marital status. Should the main wage-earning spouse die unexpectedly – or should a divorce happen – the non-wage earner is going to be suddenly burdened with entering the job-market AND mourning a loss. Trying to support a family on the wages possible for someone whose degree is years old and who has no steady job-record (or market-current skills) can be devastating and no one, NO ONE should be encouraged, even pressured, to put themselves in that position.

          I’m pretty passionate about this because I had to suddenly and unexpectedly support and raise 3 kids. Fortunately I did have marketable skills and a job record but even then it was horribly, horribly stressful.

          • Anonymous

            Excellent points.¬† I realize that the difficulty of keeping one’s job skills up-to-date and marketable is a serious drawback to choosing to be a SAHP.¬† I think it is a good idea and perhaps even vital for a SAHP to try find the time and means to continually refresh and update one’s education and job knowledge–perhaps through the internet or by taking community college or correspondence courses.¬† Also, perhaps, by taking occasional part-time jobs or doing volunteer work where they can practice their skills and network and establish rapport with potential future employers, should they one day need to go back to work.

          • Megan

            Gunnar1961 –

            Yes, those are good things to do, but to present that plan as one that will mean the person will then be ‘job market ready’ is totally disingenuous.

            To take a recent hiring committee I was on. We were presented with a pool of over 30 candidates. From those we chose 5 to interview. Of the 25 rejected out of hand – with NO dissenting voice – 5 of them had only part-time and volunteer work on their resumes. They were the first to go. They simply could not compete even with the other rejects much less the top five candidates.

            The reasons were very simple. Volunteer work, as lovely as it is, does not establish a work history of value: by its nature it is non-competitive so it doesn’t show that your skills were valuable enough to be hired in a peer institution; it also usually lacks the full range of demands that are found in a paid position. Part-time work ONLY can show a lack of commitment to a job of any sort and sends strong signals of mixed priorities. Yes, you personally have your priorities straight with family and I understand that, but if I am hiring you I want to believe that my organization is going to be high on your list, not an also-ran.

            So someone who has only volunteer work and part-time will not be able to compete with peers of similar paper skills (ie training) simply because of lack of real world experience. They will be competing instead for a lower, more entry-level position which will, let’s be honest, be unlikely to pay enough to support a family – particularly a family of school aged children. Not to mention that their competitors for jobs will probably be young single people who will likely be more flexible in schedule and will be seen to be less likely to need time off for sick children and other demands.

            I’m painting a bleak picture I know, but I think it’s important to counter the rosy one that is often presented – go ahead, stay home and don’t worry because IF you HAVE to go to work, your degree and that 5 hour a week volunteer work you’ve been doing will set you up just fine to support your family.

          • Anonymous

            I agree with everything you said.  Even at best, someone who has been a SAHP for a long time is going to be at a disadvantage if he or she ever needs to seek employment, especially in a limited job market as in the current recession.  I still would not disparage someone who chooses to be and finds fulfillment in being a SAHP.  But there are steps they can take to minimize that disadvantage and prepare themselves for competing for a job, should they ever need to, as bleak as that prospect might prove to be.

          • Megan

            Gunnar1961 –

            I agree that if someone WANTS to be a SAHP then absolutely they should, if the family can afford it, take that opportunity.

            My problem is when women (usually) are pressured into doing so as a religious obligation without any regard to her skills or her desires or her personality and then she is told that of course, once the kids are older, she can always go to work, without acknowledging the realities of what that will entail. Being a SAHP is a sacrifice of many things, and in the job market it is a very large one, often meaning a loss of parity with peers that cannot be made up.

            You said:

            And as for considering the qualifications of someone who has done part
            time or volunteer work, don’t you think it would make a difference what
            type of work they did and the degree and type of skills they
            demonstrated and/or acquired while doing it, and whether the hiring
            authority is someone with whom the candidate worked and established a
            rapport during the the part time or volunteer work?

            Yes, of course it makes a difference as to the type of work that was done. However, the fact remains that, all other things being equal, when faced with a candidate who has performed those tasks and demonstrated those skills in a paid position within a comparable organization to one doing the hiring, the volunteer/part-timer is going to lose out. In a more normal job market I think someone who at least has current skills and can show some job-related experience has a shot at an entry level position (probably either slightly below the level that the skill set would normally require OR at a lower salary – in part due to a lack of salary history). But in today’s job¬† market? It’s going to be very, very tough.

            Now, if they’re moving from a volunteer to a paid position? Totally different! That’s¬† more of an internship type situation and it’s an excellent way to get a foot in the door. Same thing with part-time. But now we’re making special cases for the best success where the message is far more general and is couched in terms that are really not helpful for the SAHP!

    • Chuck Borough Reply

      Perhaps this would be more valid (the deciding whether to work or not) if it always included the same option for the men. I get the point. Almost never would men have this question before them. To put this question before women and not men is patently sexist.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I don’t have any daughters and it seems unlikely that I will at this point but I imagine the approach I would take is make yourself marketable for a good living regardless if you want to eventually settle down and be a SAHM someday. ¬†This means to me emphasizing education before marriage because it is never wise to simply rely on marrying a good man for a good living. ¬†You might fall in love with a man who doesn’t make enough, loses a great job down the road, gets debilitating injury, you get divorced, he dies and leaves nothing but debts, etc, etc, etc…

      But of course, I’m a godless secularist so this is just common sense for my ilk. ¬†But at the same time, I would emphasize the joy and fulfillment having children gives so that they don’t miss out on that if they find themselves so inclined.

    • Alyssa Reply

      I agree everything you’ve said, Greg. What makes me a feminist is that I don’t believe anyone (males included) should be restricted from doing what they want to do because of their gender. A man should be free to be a stay-at-home dad if he chooses (and has the financial means—gosh, I wish our society had more affordable day-care like the French and Swedes do). He likewise shouldn’t feel ashamed if he wants to pursue hobbies or professions that have been traditionally associated with females such as nursing, elementary education, sewing, cooking, interior design, cross-stitching, etc. I also strongly believe that it is healthy and important for men to express their emotions without fear of being seen as a “sissy.” (IMO, being perceived as an effeminate male is just as much about the negative stigmas against LGBTQs as it is about males being boxed into a rigid gender role.) In short, I‚Äôm a feminist because I believe in living free from all gender stigmas.

      So, with that in mind, I’m not sure why the podcast gave you the impression that we were saying that a man always has to be the breadwinner by default. It seemed to me like Zilpha repeatedly emphasized that men have the potential to be great parents/nurturers and that we think SAHDs are cool. The problem is that we were discussing the issue of gender in terms of Mormonism—and contemporary Mormonism begins from the patriarchal assumption that men will work and women will stay home. It doesn’t mean that we as individual panelists were assuming/advocating that men should be the de facto provider.

      I guess I just don’t understand your argument. Are you saying that men are just as boxed in by their gender as females are? If so, I agree with that. Or are you just saying that we should begin from the assumption that women should work by default—just like men do? If so, I don’t really have a problem with that either. So, I don’t see where we’re in a disagreement here… Clarification, please?

      P.S. I think John and Zilpha want to do a podcast on the males in Mormonism some time in the distant future. There’s a lot that could be said about that too.

      • Greg Rockwell Reply

        Are you saying that…?
        Yes and yes. ¬†I’m saying both of those. ¬†You did a fantastic job of distilling both of those points.¬†

        I don’t presume that we are in disagreement necessarily… and don’t want to make one that doesn’t exist. ¬†

        There was a specific moment in the conversation that prompted me to think about the issue in that context.  There were certainly other moments in the podcast for counterbalance. 

        I think my bottom line is that everyone should be brought up with the idea that they will work; that a massive disservice is done to men and women by teaching the (narrow and unrealistic) SAHM model as the ideal.  

        • Alyssa Reply

          That sounds good to me. I can get on board with that.

          Just to push back a little (not much), I will say that traditional gender roles most likely did emerge out of some past cultural necessity. (It’s easier to have the men do the more physically-intensive work in an agrarian-based society, for example.) However, in contemporary American culture the need that these gender roles used to fill has become basically obsolete. So it’s time for us to update our expectations for gender roles along with it.

          American culture has come a long way in this respect—even though there’s more to do. It’s time for Mormonism (and all religions in general) to catch up or get left in the dust.

        • Megan Reply

          “I think my bottom line is that everyone should be brought up with the
          idea that they will work; that a massive disservice is done to men and
          women by teaching the (narrow and unrealistic) SAHM model as the ideal.”

          Spot on! I so wish I had been given that message from an early age, and had also been given good advice and guidance on how to practically approach the goal of employment.

  9. Anonymous Reply

    I actually agree with Kevin’s earlier comment, that part of the reason the LDS church will not allow a more central role for a Heavenly Mother doctrine is that it would move Mormonism away from traditional Christianity. Yes, the LDS church wants to be different from the rest of Christianity, but only to a certain extent. A good deal of its converts come from traditional Christian backgrounds, and part of the appeal that those converts find is that Mormonism is “similar-but-different.” Incorporating a separate Goddess along with worship of and prayers to said Goddess would move Mormonism in a radically different direction from the rest of Christianity.

    One of the unfortunate things about the church’s treatment of women is that the LDS church has tools available to it that do not exist in other Christian denominations, tools which could bring about gender justice if the church wanted it. Historically, two of the major reasons that Christians have discriminated against women have been:

    (1) That Eve was the first one to eat from the tree and sin against God in the Garden of Eden.

    (2) That Jesus Christ was a man, and (possibly) all three members of the Trinity are eternally “hims,” and women cannot serve as pastors and priests because the pastor or priest is supposed to image Jesus Christ, which only men can do. Or in other words, the problem of “If God is Man, then Man is God” is still in play.

    The LDS church does not agree with the historic Christian take on (1). It teaches that Eve’s choice in the Garden of Eden was brave and perceptive and essentially the right course for humanity. And the LDS church could remedy (2) with its doctrine of a female deity.

    And yet, in spite of this, the church pretty much treats its women like any complementarian evangelical denomination. There is little that you’ll find in LDS teachings on the role of women in the home and church that would not fit in nicely over at the Council for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood web site.

    In any case, I just wanted to point out that the idea of motherhood and traditional women’s work is addressed by Jesus in the Gospels, and it does not agree with the LDS church’s take on it at all. When a woman calls out to Jesus, “Blessed are the breasts that nursed you and the womb which gave you birth,” Jesus doesn’t use the opportunity for an infomercial on motherhood. Instead he corrects the woman: “Blessed, rather, are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” (Luke 11:27-28) Likewise, the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 makes it pretty clear that Jesus does not consider homemaking to be synonymous with discipleship for women. It’s funny to me how the LDS church tries to tiptoe around this one. Check out Daughters in My Kingdom Chapter 1. The manual tries hard to make it sound like Jesus considered the service of Mary and Martha to be equal, but that isn’t what happens in the text at all. Rather, he tells Martha that only Mary’s type of service is needed, that Mary had chosen what is “better.”

    – Bridget Jack Jeffries aka “Ms. Jack”

    • philomytha Reply

      Openly talking about a Heavenly Mother wouldn’t just take us out of the mainstream of Christianity, it would make us freaking pagans. ¬†The very idea must scare the Brethren to death. ¬†

      • Hermes Reply

        I think we are pagans (kind of like many other Christians who conveniently ignore the origins of holy symbols they use, of festivals that they have appropriated only nominally, etc.).

        • Anonymous Reply

          Appropriation of pagan symbols and holidays is not the same thing as being pagan at all.

          That said, I don’t agree that a HM doctrine would make Mormons pagans. But it would certainly make an easier job for those who already engage in that line of argumentation based on Mormon polytheism.

          • Hermes

            Maybe my perspective will make more sense if you think of Venn diagrams.¬† I see paganism overlapping significantly with Christianity, which in turn overlaps with Mormonism.¬† Also, when I think of paganism, I am thinking of all the old, dead religions too — not just late attempts to restore them.

            I wish Mormons in general weren’t so concerned with looking good to everybody else (not that we should actively court persecution, but pretending like your past never happened is a bad way to make friends).

    • Kevin Reply

      That’s a really interesting point about the unique LDS doctrines that could be used to help overcome discrimination.

      But there’s another unique LDS doctrine that may be an insurmountable barrier to any further acknowledgement of Heavenly Mother: polygamy. The¬†first question that the church would have to address is whether there is only one Heavenly Mother or a whole bunch of them.

      If the church¬†were to say¬†that God is monogamous, then it¬†contradicts one of the central teachings of¬†all its early¬†prophets. Awkward. If the church were to say that God is polygamous, then everybody in the PR department has heart failure, Mitt Romney can’t get elected county clerk, and it’s party time in Short Creek. If the church were to say that it doesn’t know if more than one Heavenly Mother even exists, then its options for doctrinal development become pretty limited.

      • Anonymous Reply

        I completely agree, Kevin. I think a reluctance to address the question of whether there is one Heavenly Mother or many is another reason why the church avoids the issue.

  10. philomytha Reply

    This episode made me so sad. ¬†It’s an accurate description of the tragedy of my mother-in-law’s (mother’s-in-law??) life. ¬†Her whole life has been devoted to being the mother of a good Mormon family, and she’s failed. ¬†3 out of her 6 children are pretty much out of the church. A 50% success rate isn’t going to be worth much in the Celestial Kingdom — she’s going to spend eternity mourning the ones who aren’t there. ¬†It’s a sucky sort of religion that makes your eternal happiness depend on other people’s choices.¬†

    I briefly considered going back to church just so we wouldn’t break MIL’s heart, but I can’t do that to my daughter. ¬†I don’t want her being taught that there’s only one path and one right way to be. ¬†I don’t believe it and I don’t want her to believe it. Same for my son, for that matter. ¬†

    • Ella Menno Reply

      My mother is in the same boat.¬† Her whole life was given to making her children good Mormons.¬† Guess what?¬† All of her daughters have completely left the church and her son is sticking around only for marital harmony.¬† We had a huge blow up where she ended up asking me where she had gone wrong.¬† My answer to her was she didn’t go wrong at all.¬† She raised four well adjusted, intelligent adults who are willing to question authority and make their lives their own.¬† I don’t know if she liked that answer, but I hope she comes to see that, despite her children not following her path in the church, she was and is a good mother no matter what the church says.

  11. SD Reply

    Excellent podcast! Just as you would never tell all men that they should be engineers or bankers or teachers or whatever, you can’t tell 50% of the population that there is only one option for them for the rest of their lives.¬† That being said, I was surprised that the boredom of being a SAHM was addressed, but the difficulty of balancing a career and family was not addressed. I actually think a lot of working women wish they could stay at home because doing both can be really stressful.¬† Working only one job leaves little time or energy for one’s self, but working two jobs leaves nothing.¬†

    • Troy Morrell Reply

      There is a third option, that of the wife working 1.5 jobs and the husband working 1.5 jobs.  It works pretty well for a lot of couples.

  12. DefyGravity Reply

    Loved the podcast! One thing I would have appreciated is a voice from a women without kids, because not having kids in the church creates a whole different situation. I’m one of the women going to outer darkness for not wanting kids, which is it’s own problems, and a voice like that would have been interesting.¬†

  13. Ella Menno Reply

    I have shared my experience before on NOM, so excuse the repetition.  I was called to be YW President just after I had my first child.  I was super excited.  I had also applied for a job that I had wanted for a long time in a predominantly male field.  One month after I was called, I got the job.  I was required to work weekends for the first few months, but was assured the shift would change so I could attend church.  I discussed it with my counsellors and we agreed on a plan so I could take the job and stay YW Pres.  Armed with our plan, I went to the Bishop.  I explained the situation and the plan, assuring him it would work.  Unfortunately, he was not having it.  He told me I was a bad influence on the girls because I would be working, not only on Sunday, but outside the home.  I was heartbroken.  Fortunately, I took the job, which has been extremely satisfying to me and has led to some really important opportunities I would never have had without it.

    As a side note, DH became a SAHD a year ago right around the time we quit going to church.¬† He’s happy staying home, for the most part.¬† Parenting is a really tough job :).

  14. Troy Morrell Reply

    The current economic downturn has been called the Man-cession due to the loss of predominantly male positions in manufacturing and business, compared to the fewer relative jobs lost in predominantly female service industries.¬† The SAHD is going to be a more and more common occurance in the future, because male roles and expectations aren’t changing with an economy that is moving towards a service based paradigm.¬† I see it all around me now, and I see a lot of dissonance culturally for those men who don’t have a mans job or who choose to be Mr. Mom.¬† The church will, of course, be the last place anyone will be able to look to for approval.

  15. Hermes Reply

    The dysfunctional celestial family was a fun idea: Heavenly Father and Mother separate, with Mom taking 1/3 of heaven’s host (along with the original Satan?) and Dad getting us (the bad kids).¬† This reminded me of Mr. Deity and Lucy.

    As a followup to the last podcast, this one included some really good reflection on Mormon cultural stereotypes.¬† I really like what John said about the current church regime being a dead cast of what used to be a living organism (back in the days when Relief Society was run by women, for women).¬† This is true in so many ways (for men and men’s programs, too).¬† The problem is not that we Mormons create stereotypes (which we cannot avoid, really), but that we then make a virtue of clinging to these as gospel truth (trying to make them wholly true and permanent, when they are inherently impermanent and never as true as their most devout worshipers think).¬† The result is that our one-time community becomes a carcass, over which apostate wolves and believing vultures fight.

    • Anonymous Reply

      I love your way of thinking and explaining things.  Your insights and depth of knowledge have enriched me and (I am sure) many others, causing me to place you very high on my list of favorite posters to this forum!

  16. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    Why if 14 year old boys go home teaching do the 14 year old girls do not?  Why are reliefsociety President require sustaining by the full ward including the men if elders querum President and high priest group leader are only sustained by the men? If husbands and wives why are women in the temple required to give their secret name to their hasbands to be and the men are required to keep it from their wives?  Their is so much in the very fiber of how the church structures itself that is so very very unequal. 

      • Megan Reply

        ‘Cause in this one instance the girls got lucky?

        Joke…

        Poor 14 yr old boys being dragged around to home teach – sounds like a great way to turn a kid off the practice for life!

  17. Anonymous Reply

    I finally had a chance to listen to this podcast.¬† In response to Zilpha’s question about what SHOULD be taught to the young women at church:

    I think the church should shut up about whether someone should be married or have children or how one is a good wife or mother.¬† I don’t think there should be any lessons on such things.¬† Those things are available to women from their friends and family already.¬† Sure, there are some women who need help who can’t get it from their families.¬† But if the church hadn’t squashed the independent Relief Society organization, those sorts of things would be there naturally.¬† Women who need help learning how to mother small children would naturally have those resources in their RS community.¬†

    In my opinion, if the church really was inspired then we would have lessons for young women that address the real problems they face today:
    -The way girls are ruthlessly cruel to one another
    -The mental illness and self esteem issues girls face (self harm, self hate, etc)
    -What it means to be a good person (lessons on integrity – NOT sexual purity)

    There are TONS of things we could talk to girls about that would be immensely helpful to them.  Much more than the tripe about keeping sweet, finding a mate, and being a subservient mother.

  18. Apron Appeal Reply

    Just coming off the Mormon Matters “Mothers” discussion and coming here, it was very interesting to hear almost the same topics discussed but in a slightly different light. Information on both ends was incredible. LOVED IT. John, when you asked the question, “what model do we have to look to for our role as Mother’s in the eternities.” I thought, VACATION!!!!!! Seriously, Mother in Heaven….her kids have left the nest, I wonder what eternal pursuits she may be involved with.

  19. Brett Unis Reply

    Thanks in particular for speaking on the existence of nurturing fathers. This was probably one of the main reasons I left the Church as early as I did, though I don’t think I was entirely conscious of it at the time. But I knew deep in my heart that I just could not have dealt with being expected to be the breadwinner and distant from my children in ways I felt my own father was coerced into, even though, in many ways, he was/is a nurturer at heart, but one without any real social support for that, living as he does in the shadow of the Temple.¬†

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