THE MORMON CURTAIN
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WOMEN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 3
Women in Mormonism are not allowed to hold any priesthood power or major authority positions in the Mormon Church, excluding Relief Society and lower Church callings. Mormon women are often thought of as second class citizens in Mormonism. Men in Mormonism make all of the desicions from the top hiearchy of the LDS Church from the Prophet down to the Bishops. Even though women are allowed to run the Relief Society, they must still be responsible to men. All decisions are made by men regardless.
| The blog that Jim Huston was posting on has got me thinking about times in my young adulthood where I was bewildered that *anyone* would see LDS women as disempowered.
Of course, I was 19-21ish, going to school, and unmarried.
After getting married, the more years that passed where my peers were bearing children, while I was still childless and in school, the more I understood what outsiders could already see. All of these 20 something women dropping out of school while their husbands stayed in, living at the poverty level and raising children. And always, *always* putting a good face on it, despite private expressions of depression, despair, and regret.
Which, of course, got externalized at *me* from time to time. Other women wished that *they* were still in school, or that they had finished their degrees, and some of them dealt with it by asking pointed questions about when I would have a baby.
I wasn't very open about my fertility issues. Left to my own devices, I would have joined them and prematurely ended my education. I almost did at several points, but those pregnancies did not result in living children.
By the time I had my first living child, my friends all had 2-3 children, and were at home. I remained in school, and finished my Ph.D. Following that, I "opted out" and became a full-time SAHM.
Which was a *disaster* I was intellectually unstimulated, depressed, and unchallenged. People can and likely will politicize this comment, but caring for one child all day in a tidy little house in the suburbs in mind-numbingly boring and relatively easy. I was going crazy slowly. I was planning meals out a month in advance, and had Martha Stewarted the hell out of my life. I had too much time, and not enough challenge.
Soon after, for entirely different reasons, I left the mormon church, and found my way back into the world of work. My husband remarked that I had returned to "normal." I was happy, energetic, and enthusiastic again. I became pregnant with our second child. I continued working in different capacities and at a couple of different positions. And, what I found in my personal experience is what many vocational psychologists already empirically knew. Vocation is a primary source of self-esteem and self-competence in people's lives. If my vocation had been as a homemaker, I may have been much happier as a SAHM. But it wasn't for me (or for my kids, for that matter. And, as I got better, everything else got better.
I work a compressed week, so that I can spend more time with my children. At this moment while I am typing, I am listening to them laugh and play in the next room. I do not feel depression, regret, or doubt about my decisions to work. I'm not here to say what other people's choices should be. All families are different, and have different needs and different resources/opportunities. But, I do know that if I had followed the "counsel" of the mormon authorities and traditions of mormon culture, by this point in my life I would be an emotional wreck, and trying desperately to portray the opposite.
I know that I got to this point through a great deal of luck, and due to some unconscious part of me that constantly sought to preserve my self-hood in the middle of enormous pressure to deny it.
And I know, without a doubt, that had I allowed the LDS church and culture to exchange my inner voice for the voice of the "spirit" I could not have survived my LDS experience intact.
| Years ago, I could not get a ride to the location where the temple bus was located, 5 miles from home. The bus trip took 3 hours one way.
I called around and found out that only males were going; the mothers had Mom duty.
But, I could not get a ride to the pick up spot because the males could not take a female alone in their car.
Finally, in despiration, I called the bishop for a ride. He was going, but couldn't pick me up either. I explained, "But I'm going to miss the temple trip!"
He replied, "God will understand."
Me: "But I *really* want to go.
Bishop: "I cannot take you."
No one offered to pay for cab fare. I certaintly wasn't going to pay for it since one of the brothers going lived one street over.
Here we are at the present situation: I signed up to help out at the Christian youth camp.
I'm going to be driving alone for three hours because the other person scheduled to go and serve the youth is a male. OK....
So...We can't travel in the SAME car together.
The male's response: "I (meaning him) don't drive alone in a car or be anywhere with a woman. If I don't, I don't put myself at risk. If we don't travel together, then I am not at risk."
I responded, "See you there!"
At risk for what?
What offends me is that I have more respect for MYSELF and the other person to NOT put him (anyone else for that matter) in a compromising position.
I even explained the need to avoid the appearance of evil, but that my DH and I have no problem with me picking up ANYONE in route to the camp.
The person in question is nearly 70 years old. I haven't had any wet dreams about humping the guy.
He lives one parallel road off the main drag through town, and it wouldn't take 5 minutes to get to his home.
I'm venting. I respect his decision, but there are times when these types of situations have that "stupidity factor."
This is one of them.
| The first time someone ever told me "It's okay if you're not married; heavenly father will assign you a husband in the CK!"--I was 19 years old.
Yes, 19. With a "1" in the front. Nine-TEEN. And they thought I needed to be consoled because of my unmarried status.
I should have gotten the big clue and run like heck, but I didn't. After all, I was dating. A lot. With long-term relationships, and everything. I wasn't worried.
So I just blew it off.
I wish I'd run...
Rather than go back through all of the stories I've recounted on this board (don't worry; I'll repeat them if they're topical), I'll give a big summary:
The mormon church treats all unmarried members as if they are children.
(Note: In my stake, that refers to 'never-married' only; divorced folks, unmarried moms--both are higher up on the 'have a right to live' scale. I've heard otherwise from some folks, but in my stake, never-married meant "lower than a snake's belly.")
Amusing anecdote: A 15-year-old girl in our ward became pregnant. I was home from college (where I'd been baptized) and working full-time. The ward held a baby shower, but I didn't feel that I ought to attend; I'd never met the girl, personally, and wasn't making a ton of money, myself... The Sunday after the shower, I was accosted by a woman in the ward:
"Why didn't you come to Betty Boop's shower, and bring a gift?"
I was caught completely off-guard, and stammered, "Well, I...I...I don't even know her, or her family, really, and I didn't think I'd be missed...she doesn't know me..."
"Nonsense!" the woman thundered, "since you're both the same age!"
I was 25--ten YEARS older than the teen! But, as an unmarried woman, I was deemed her equal.
Ward and stake singles' activities are planned and held the way Primary and YM/YW activities are: Everyone meets at the church building; rides are arranged by the "leader," (or the event is held at the church building); all events must be on a 'calendar' a year in advance--which eliminates most seasonal or community events, since the dates can't be determined before they're announced. During my stints as singles' ward activities chair, or stake singles' activity coordinator (before we had the singles' ward), I tried to inject some life into the same old grind of board game night, movie night, dance, Fast-Sunday dinner...and again the next month...and again the next month... (Even the movies had to be Disney or old, old classic...'Wuthering Heights' from 1939 had to be stopped in the middle, so we could be admonished that Cathy Earnshaw should *not* be drinking an alcoholic beverage to ward off a chill, when she's brought into the Linton's home, injured...)
We had one bishop who delighted in bringing his family's home movies of their vacations for all of us to watch, as a "fireside" or "FHE." I made sure I was on the refreshment committee for those nights, with lots and LOTS to prepare...!!
Anyway, all changes that would make the activites more age-appropriate and fun were either complained about or totally forbidden... Meet at a theater, to buy tickets to a current movie? No way! Schedule an all-day outing to Point Pelee Park in Canada (not very far...and long before 9/11...)--shocking! (but we did it!)
I was met with opposition at every turn, until I was finally released when I flat-out refused to comply with a bishop's demands.
Activities such as decorating the inside covers of copies of the BoM for missionaries--with crayons, markers, glitter, and Polaroid photos of ourselves...and testimonies, of course (I'm in doing refreshments, again!); making love-bombing cards or treat plates for inactives; "parties" where you're not allowed to sit and converse, but must play long games like "Trivial Pursuit" or "Pictionary" in teams all night; museum "field trips," where we all walk together in a big lump from one exhibit to the next; putt-putt golf (again, in big, clumpy teams)...all things you could easily do with a Brownie or Cub Scout troop--these were the activities the singles were supposed to enjoy.
Our comments and opinions were not respected in RS; rolled eyes, and even audible comments like, "What does SHE know? She's not even MARRIED!" were common.
Lack of respect for college-educated women who were supporting themselves: Weekly comment in the 'family' ward (I'm not kidding!), "So, do you still work at that...uh...PLACE?" Me: "Yes; it's called a school, and I am the teacher..." They persisted in treating me as if I were some migrant fruit-picker, who roamed from job to job as the seasons turned. I worked at the same job for 23 years. I swear to God, *every week* in the family ward, that dialog played itself out.
As the years went on, and I wasn't married (and was eventually booted out of the Singles' ward that I helped create), my self-esteem eroded until I no longer recognized myself. I was, one day, shocked to realize the difference between the 'me' I saw on Friday and Saturday night, singing in coffeehouses or at jams with non-mo friends (who I found after being kicked out of the singles' ward...but that's another story)--and the 'me' of Sunday morning, directing the music, then shuffling off with my head down (often out the back door, to get a bagel and herbal tea durning Sunday School!), slinking into RS (if I came back), and then hopping out the back door before anyone noticed me--and made a crack about why I was single, or why I didn't do this, that, or the other thing; why I didn't donate more money/time/free music lessons/whatever to their cause-'o-the-moment...
As I said, I was shocked. And scared. If I kept going to church, would the real 'me' disappear altogether?
It seemed likely.
So I left--and never looked back.
Whew!! That was a long one!
| As I distance myself from the church I am finally able to really see the shit I accepted as reality. I am really seeing the damage I allowed the organization to inflict on me through my choices which I based on following the prophet. And I am pissed.
For example…when I had our first kid I quit my job and stayed home because that is what the prophet said I should do. We definitely could have used my income since DH was in school full time. I stayed at home for at least 13 years…my only friends were ward members, I mostly read church books, saw no R-rated movies, we even had church leaders saying not to watch the news. I had totally shut myself off from truly normal society.
Don’t get me wrong, staying home with my kids was wonderful and I am glad I was there for them, however I am seeing the damage… time for myself lost, friendships lost, personal growth lost. I think women in the church are damaged unless they are able to break free of the cloning mentality and really expand themselves beyond the church, which is so hard to do because being a good mormon woman totally controls your whole life.
I am realizing that as I leave the mormon lifestyle behind I really didn’t have as many true friends as I thought, it is a sad realization that this organization had such a negative effect that I am still just figuring out how deep it really goes.
I am so glad to be putting all the bullshit behind me!
| Maybe some of you ladies that went through the YW program can chime in and agree or disagree with my wife and I.
We were having a conversation at lunch today about our wedding. Even in our TBM days we used to joke about what a horrible day it was. The only slot we could get in the assembly line that is the SLC temple wedding machine was 8AM. Which means we had to be at the temple at 6AM. Neither of us are morning people and it made for a groggy morning that got worse as the morning went on.
Anyway we started talking about how that temple wedding is built up to the YW from the time they are 12. They are indoctrinated to believe that their temple wedding will surpass any wedding they could imagine outside of the temple. To us this is a complete scam.
Most of these girls have been to civil weddings and seen how beautiful they are and what a special day it is for the bride, their families and friends. They are then told how much more wonderful their wedding will be inside the temple. We estimated that 90% of women married in the temple have never seen a sealing before, they really have no idea what they are in for and take their leaders words as gospel that it is far and away
more special than a civil wedding.
Then they arrive at the temple at 6AM, too tired to comprehend what is going on. They are dressed in strange clothes and escorted into room where their husband to be is dressed like the bastard child of a masonic french baker.
The ceremony itself is devoid of any expression of love or affection for your spouse, instead you are given some instruction by some old guy dressed in white that neither of you know and then you answer yes to something read directly from DandC.
This is a classic bait and switch. For now these YW are magic underwear wearing members of the masonic endowment club. The day most of them have been dreaming of becomes, like my wife, just a blur of confusion and let downs that you cannot discuss with anyone.
| There were two things that really made me look closer at the church with a critical eye as a TBM. I was really and UBER-church-history buff and for several years I spent two or three days of my work week in the Church Historian's office looking at old documents (this was well before the serious security crackdowns on those materials).
The two items of historical interest that I think EVERY mormon should read are these:
While every latter-day saint has sung "O My Father" a million times that is about as far as most people have gotten in discovering the beautiful poetry of Eliza (even if you don't agree with her sentiments). She has been the only female in mormonism designated a "prophetess" -- and yet VERY few mormons even know much at all about what she wrote about.
- Women of Mormondom
- Colleted Poems of Eliza R. Snow (2 vols.)
Her works taught me (as a TBM) the beauty of the Adam-God doctrine (which is very, VERY un-Christian if you ask me) and what is more, in Women of Mormondom, her voice isn't the only "testimony".
These books illustrate how thinking mormons thought about their religion in the late 19th century -- and it is a far FAR cry from ANYTHING being taught in the church today (which is pretty easy now-a-days now that the message is: pay tithes and hate gays and vote GOP). The Church has taken considerable efforts to make sure these materials are very hard to come by -- and I witnessed those efforts first hand.
Fortunately the "Women of Mormonism" is such that one can still find copies, -- the volumes of poetry, unfortunately, is quite completely in control of the church and so one would be very hard pressed to gain access to these collected poems today -- the Church just doesn't want you to go there. I feel happy (for myself) that I was able to see and read these things and know how much the Saints of the 1890s believed Adam was God -- Heavenly Father, and how their notion of creation so differs from what is taught today.
| 1. The church teaches that husbands "preside" over their wives. See the Proclamation on the Family. The Dictionary definition of "preside" is "to exercise authority or control." My husband does not exercise authority over me or control me.
2. The church teaches that wives are to "hearken" to their husbands. See the endowment ceremony. Prior to 1990, the wording was "obey." I do not "hearken" to my husband nor do I obey him; we mutually and lovingly submit to one another according to each others' needs.
3. The church teaches that only men hold priesthood authority. There is no such thing as equality without equal access to authority. I don't believe that my husband holds any power or authority that I cannot hold.
4. The church teaches that leadership in the home is supposed to be "patriarchal." "Patriarchal" means "rule by men." My husband does not rule in my home at all, let alone by virtue of being a man.
5. The church teaches that women should choose homemaking and childrearing over having a career. I am in graduate school training for a full-time career with my husband's blessing and he nurtures and cares for our daughter every bit as much as I do. There's even a possibility he will be a full-time SAHP someday.
I agree that many, many individual Mormon families functionally ignore what the LDS church teaches about male headship in the home. That is because our society is trending towards egalitarianism and they are following society's trends, not because the LDS church is leading the charge.
Many LDS church manuals still contain quotes about male headship and female submission.
| I’ve never been good with change, and any decision for me takes a long time to think over. Even while I am making purchases, I will agonize on whether I should actually buy something for weeks before I take the step to actually make the purchase. I am very calculated and I study and read constantly, so to this day, my conversion to Mormonism is shocking and can only be attributed to the fact that I was still suffering from a personal trauma.
I experimented in Mormonism in high school because I had lots of Mormon friends and it was a great place to be social, plus it was very interesting to me. As I continued to read into Mormonism I became more and more turned off by the sexism, the racism, and the homophobia, just to name a few. I was also sick and tired of lessons with the missionaries and I was sick of them asking me to be baptized, but I went off to college in the fall and with that I left Mormonism behind me.
I thought I was done forever when I got to school, and for the entire year, I was right. I had friends who I could be my liberal-non-modest self with and I was very happy. My year seemed to go very well until I was brutally attacked and raped by a close friend. When I returned home early from school I was a wreck and the only people home were all my Mormon friends, so naturally I flocked right back to the church ,and when I was asked if I would commit to be baptized I said yes and was baptized a week later. I was so in need of being in control of my life, having control over something, I chose to be baptized and little did I know, that the church would not help me get over my rape, or help me regain control over my life. I should have known though.
My friends could tell that something was wrong with me, I was no longer the girl accepting dates left and right, I was no longer the loud, energetic, adventurous and lovable Caitie they used to know. So finally I broke down and told one of my friends whom I was very very close to. Things started to get better and as the summer went on I started to become my normal self, so much in fact that I was distraught and almost caught off guard to see myself in the church again, in fact actually a member of the church. For the rest of the summer the Bishop kept me on a watch of some sort due to my associations that were “troubling”. I volunteered at Planned Parenthood and I worked for two gay men, and I was a vocal supporter of Gay rights on Facebook and social events outside of the church.
When everyone left to go back to school, I stayed home. I was not ready to return to my college yet and I was in no rush to do so. But once all my friends left, I stopped attending the church. In my absence I was often love bombed with cookies and scripture quotes and candles and assorted methods many Relief Societies tend to utilize. I left the church alone, but they didn’t leave me alone. Two weeks ago I received a call from my Bishop asking for an appointment to meet with me, and wanting him to call off the love bombs I consented.
When I arrived at the meeting he began with the typical small talk and then started asking me if I was following the law of chastity, the WoW and all of those regular questions. I was caught off guard but I answered all truthfully, that yes, I was following all those rules, because naturally they come to me, not because I was a practicing Mormon. His face grew angry and then he started to admonish me for lying to him, that he has heard from a reputable source that I have broken the law of chastity and have engaged in an abortion. He listed off such personal details I started to cry. He was reciting my rape experience, except in a way where I was the party to blame, the loose one. I was in complete shock that my friend had betrayed me so much, but also that my Bishop was blaming me for my rape. He was trying to tell me how I have disgraced my good name when I got up and left the meeting. So far he has tried to contact me since that meeting, but I am furious. At the moment I am in a state where I am not sure how to react to the church but I can’t say I am too surprised.
| And now you know why I resigned.
I was raped at 15 by my 30-year-old, priesthood-holding stepbrother. He was never prosecuted. He was excommunicated. I was also put through a bishop's court (as a minor, with no parental guidance or supervision) and disciplined by the bishop. I believe I was put on probation (half a step down from disfellowship) for six months. After six months, I approached the bishop to ask to be reinstated. He told me he didn't think I'd forgiven myself yet and he'd reinstate me in a few months when he thought I'd properly repented. I remember blinking at that a few times and then asked, "Forgive myself for WHAT, exactly? I didn't take advantage of anyone; what do I have to forgive myself for?"
Because there is no reasonable answer to that question, he told me to pray for the answer to it, and left me standing there, boiling furious. I left the church as soon as I turned 18. When the Elizabeth Smart case came up, I heard Ed Smart say her bishop told her she was still pure and chaste. The double standard -- a cute, blonde, high-profile Utah mormon vs. a "mission field" kid who was the child of nobody parents -- the inconsistency in church policy, all of it brought back every bit of that white-hot livid rage at being blamed and punished for my own rape and made to feel like a filthy whore for not fighting to the death.
So yeah. It happens a lot. I'm sorry. Go to www.rainn.org, find yourself some counseling and if you think it's right for you, leave the church. Do not allow the bishop to try and convict you for this. He will. I would even consider retaining an attorney, if you can, and sue him for... something. Too bad "blame the victim" isn't against the law. You could sue for slander if you hear anything about your case from the ward grapevine. Or libel if you can get a copy of anything he wrote down and distributed (like copies of his notes from the interview).
| This is what I experienced. The reason women opposed the ERA were very personal and they were made personal by the fears of Mormon housewives. I was living in Pleasant Grove and it was 1973 and I was a single mother raising five children.
Word came through Relief Society that a woman in Richfield had done some research and formed a PAC called the Hot Doggers. She claimed that women were being offered a "hot dog" instead of a "steak." She was exposing the truth behind the Equal Rights Amendment. The Richfield group distributed mimeographed sheets (purple ink) listing the various reasons this proposed Equal Rights Amendment was BAD for women--and that we MOrmon women had to stand up and save the family. We were being tricked by feminists.
A group of us drove down to Richfield and met with these women. It really was just a bunch of housewives who were pretty worked up. There argument was that women had a privileged place in society and this ERA was going to tear that down and make us the same--they were going to take away our privileges:
*the privilege of the presumption of custody of children going to the mother in divorces.
*we would have to compete with men on equal footing as to who could provide the best home for the children. Women are plunged into poverty after divorce and we can't earn as much, so they could show a judge that they could afford a live-in nanny and could afford to keep the children in the same home. Divorced women would all be replaced by professional nannies.
*history has shown that equality means the lowest common denominator. We would lose the couches that employers are required to provide in women's restrooms in the workplace. Now no one, men or women, would have a place to lie down.
*unisex bathrooms means you would have to take your children into a men's bathroom. Men are pigs--have you ever looked inside a filling station men's room? Its where they have that homosexual activity.
*men will stop opening doors for women.
*the ERA is unfair UNTIL wages are equal. Women shouldn't be saddled with the same responsibilities without an equal ability to meet those responsibilities financially.
*our young girls will be drafted into the military.
*mothers with babies will be drafted and since there's no preference for the female as a caregiver, the father can choose to care for the baby and avoid going to war that way.
*our young women will be forced into combat.
*our daughters will be raped in the military.
*our daughters would risk becoming POW's and living the live of a sex slave, if not killed or mutilated outright.
These are just the ones I remember off the top of my head.
The Richmond group and our Pleasant Grove group met at the Eagle Forum for their next monthly meeting and Phyllis Schlafly was there. She had basically appropriated all these arguments and added the over-arching "This threatens the family" title and the mobilization began in earnest. The Richfield woman's name faded into the dust and Phyllis became the spokesperson for the preservation of preferential treatment for women.
I hope this explains some of what has dimmed over time and why so many women, including me, opposed the ERA. It appears to be irrational from today's perspective, but it was just your basic cult fear mongering.
| Of all the programs in the LDS church, I have to rate the YW as the absolute worst. I am biased because I have daughters who have participated to some degree.
The new young women's president in our ward called me one day when my youngest daughter was laurel age. She knew I wasn't active and I am sure it took some courage on her part to call me and be upfront about the church. We were friends before her calling and hopefully still are. I appreciate her call so that we could have a truthful conversation about my daughter and the mormon churches desire to indoctrinate her.
She asked me what I wanted my daughter to gain from the Young Womens Program. I told her we are part of the neighborhood and I want the girls to be friends and that is all.
On the occasion my daughter wants to attend it will be her choice, but there really isn't anything that YW offers that I want for my daughter. Nada.
I told her I am especially bothered by the church encouraging young marriages and not encouraging girls to get an education before getting married. I don't care if my daughter marries in the temple or not, I would just as soon she didn't. I certainly don't want her to feel like a failure if she doesn't.
She admitted that LDS girls are getting married awfully young and that there are a "few" lessons on marriage. (She has a graduate degree and is very talented.) I told her I had looked at the personal progress book and noted that the main objective of the program was to prepare teen girls for early temple marriages. This starts at age 13 and it isn't really what I want for my daughter.
My daughter attended a few times but then came home one night and said she wasn't going anymore. I asked what happened. She said they always call and tell her they are having a super fun activity, she decides to go and then it turns into something like scripture reading or a church lesson. She isn't familiar with BOM scripture so she just feels stupid. It was just bait and switch and it wasn't ever very fun.
So please if you are considering letting your daughter attend this creepy toxic YW program get all the materials and read through them first.
Here is a link that is just an example what they are being taught.
Thanks for letting me rant.
| Not that there aren't plenty of other stumbling blocks, but this is going to be a biggie.
I knew a woman in Utah who worked as an engineer for Rocky Mtn Power. Her job was to work with companies building factories to determine what power they needed and how it should be delivered - 110V, 220V, two phase, three phase, how many transformers, feeder lines, that sort of thing.
She said it drove her nuts to work with Mormon corporate officers, particularly in Utah County (south SL County and central Utah were her primary areas) because many of them had no idea how to interact with a woman.
Some were completely incapable of making eye contact, and the concept of asking for advice from a woman and then taking it just made their brains freeze up.
Of course, inside LDS Inc, you will never see a woman "preside" at any meeting containing any priesthood members - i.e. any male over the age of 12 that is minimally active in LDS Inc.
Contrast this to the outside world where having a female supervisor, shift manager, project manager, general manager, lawyer, doctor, or coworker with authority and responsibility equal to a male coworker is the norm, and in some cases is the more likely case, rather than exception, these days.
Most people born after 1970 or so are going to look at the social organization of LDS Inc and think WTF.
LDS Inc is a lot like the Amish, except instead of freezing itself culturally in the early 17th century, they have frozen themselves at 1957.
It didn't look that odd at first to be frozen at 1957, but as that time recedes farther into the past, we are starting to reach that WTF moment. As in: "Women have to wear dresses to services, and can never be in charge of a group unless it is 'just' other women and children? WTF?"
There are a lot of academically and athletically talented women at BYU. Why their heads just don't explode from cognitive dissonance is beyond me.
| "Tonight I am attending with a son, sons-in-law, and grandsons. Where are their mothers? Gathered in the kitchen of our home! What are they doing? Making large batches of homemade doughnuts! And when we return home, we will feast on those doughnuts. While we enjoy them, these mothers, sisters, and daughters will listen intently as each of us speaks of things he learned here tonight. It’s a nice family tradition, symbolic of the fact that everything we learn and do as priesthood bearers should bless our families."
- Apostle Russell M. Nelson, "Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women," Ensign, May 1999
Brigham Young would surely sustain Nelsons words, and chastize any woman not pleased with her lot:
Sisters, do you wish to make yourselves happy? Then what is your duty? It is for you to bear children... are you tormenting yourselves by thinking that your husbands do not love you? I would not care whether they loved a particle or not; but I would cry out, like one of old, in the joy of my heart, ‘I have got a man from the Lord! Hallelujah! I am a mother...’”
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 9, p. 37
Outrage you say? Surely the woman who loves her children and her God would stand by her man and feed him donuts and give him his props for being her ticket to the Celestial Kingdom:
Do you uphold your husband before God as your lord? "What!–my husband to be my lord?" I ask, Can you get into the celestial kingdom without him? Have any of you been there? You will remember that you never got into the celestial kingdom without the aid of your husband. If you did, it was because your husband was away, and some one had to act proxy for him. No woman will get into the celestial kingdom, except her husband receives her, if she is worthy to have a husband; and if not, somebody will receive her as a servant.
Author: Erastus Snow
Source: Journal Of Discourses
Perhaps this seems harsh dear sisters, but do you really deserve the love of your Priesthood holder? And what of you, you holders of the Priesthood, do you deserve to be loved by your wife? No, not unless you provide her with salvation in the heavenly kingdom:
When the wife secures to herself a glorious resurrection, she is worthy of the full measure of the love of the faithful husband, but never before. And when a man has passed through the vail, and secured to himself an eternal exaltation, he is then worthy of the love of his wife and children, and not until then, unless he has received the promise of and is sealed up unto eternal lives. Then he may be an object fully worthy of their affections and love on the earth, and not before.
Journal of Discourses Vol.3:360
So wives, make those donuts for your lord, and men, be faithful so that you can get your wife into heaven and eventually earn her love. And may we find true future happiness in the next world as a reward for following the words of our prophets and giving up our happiness in this world...
| My daughter's YW leader dropped by her information for camp - not that my daughter has expressed the slightest interest in going away with the Mormons for a week. But of course, the leaders don't let that stop them. But since daughter has a couple of friends going, I thought I'd let her decide if she wants to go and hold my breath that she'd decide not to go. No worries. Daughter was completely turned off of camp when she saw that 6 of the first 8 items on the packing list were:
Scriptures - Personal Progress Book - Strength of the Youth Book - May 2011 Conference Ensign - Journal - Pen.
Geez, they aren't even subtle about it. Right off the bat, you know you are going to get trained in Mormonism. Camping is secondary. If you are a YW, the church leaders are just taking you off into the wilderness, away from your family, to have Mormonism pounded into your head.
And, they are only going for 3 nights - Tuesday p.m. to Friday a.m. The Boy Scouts (i.e. Young Men) go from Monday a.m. to Saturday afternoon.
| When looking for proof of the indoctrination of Mormon youth to ostracize, shun, and live lives of intolerance, one need look no further than the official lessons.
Here are a few gems of enlightenment from a the young women's manual.
"What will people be doing throughout eternity?
Civil: Those who have the opportunity to receive the covenant of eternal marriage in a holy temple but choose to be married outside the temple may enter into the celestial kingdom or one of the other kingdoms. But they cannot be exalted and live eternally with their families. They will live as single people and ministering servants to those who chose to follow God’s plan. They will lose great blessings because “they think more of the world and its covenants, than they do of God and his covenants”
Temple: Those who marry in the holy temple and are faithful to the covenants they make there will become gods and goddesses.
What will be the state of the family in eternity?
"Civil: Those who are married only for time will have no claim upon their family members in the next life. They will live as single people. This will be a source of great sorrow for them.
Temple: Those who are married in the temple and live worthily throughout their lives will be united with their righteous parents, brothers and sisters, and children for eternity."
Other favorite phrases: "Sacred Triangle."
If it's not already obvious what does this teach a young woman? It teaches her that her marriage is trash if she's not married in the temple. It teaches her to prioritize her wedding location over the qualities of her spouse. It teaches a young woman that if she marries a non-Mormon she is doomed. What an uplifting little message!
Also, the lesson doesn't say it directly (but it implies it), an unworthy or non-believing spouse is not worth having.
Teach em while their young and you can get em to believe all kinds of great stuff. You know, like, "Youth, trained girls as physically fit future mothers and homemakers." And of course, "Youth leaders used tightly controlled group activities and staged propaganda events such as mass rallies full of ritual and spectacle to create the illusion of one national community..."
| I love how Mormons draw the most attenuated links to fit their standards.
"Whether you agree with her stance or not, you have to respect and admire her commitment to her faith, especially when it would be so much easier for her to give in to pressure, living half a world away from home."
I don't have to respect and admire her at all. So, if a religion doesn't allow a woman's face to be uncovered and she wants to play basketball, Team Burka will appear on the scene?
I admire her dedication and commitment to basketball, not her religion. I think she is silly. Why did Steve Young play football on The Sabbath Via? Huh? No article about me having to respect and admire him in his sports playing?
"The young man made the observation that someone who didn't heed the prophet's counsel on something so seemingly trivial as earrings may be a portent of one unwilling to make more important sacrifices as a future spouse."
I do admire and respect people with firm convictions religious or otherwise, but when you mix them together with obvious contradiction and you do it willingly like the woman playing basketball and requiring her whole team to adhere to her standards for their team to play is just a silly contradiction. It is like a musician with a religion that prohibits the playing of music just not the creation of it. All of the sudden I HAVE TO respect his not attending a debut concert of his own music for fear he would hear it?
Why people admire the absurdities human life creates in following its various and often nonsensical beliefs is beyond me. I admire their personal convictions when they are personal. when they become public spectacles I do not admire them.
I actually admire the young man who is willing to follow his prophet in a totally ridiculous standard more than I would ever admire a young woman forcing her team to ape her for her religion.
| 5. The Relief Society President came to your Beehive class and handed out copies of Daughters in my Kingdom, 'cause its not too long before you turn 18.
4. The SP's son, who just got his mission call to Africa, wants you to hold his "quad" for him until he returns.
3. All your Mogas (mormon girlfriends) are exited about the "Temple Dress Tryouts" coming up next week.
2. You feel especially virtuous after the Licked Cupcake lesson in YW and very rigorous worthiness interview with the Bish on Sunday.
1. You got the "Dog Food" gift from the Young Woman yesterday.
| If I read the entire talks, I know I will get very angry.
TSM "told the female audience how living their lives in harmony with this year’s theme, "Arise and Shine Forth," would help them live rich, meaningful lives."
The only way to have a rich, meaningful life is to choose your own path as an individual. Life may turn out bad, but at least you know you did your best to live, and enjoy it, and it was YOURS. When anyone tells you to follow their one-size-fits-all directions, there is a problem.
And telling them to "believe, obey and endure" is more propaganda. TSCC is ALL about obedience - so he tells these children to obey so they will become TBM full-tithe payers, who will raise their children to be the same. TSM tells them to beLIEve the fairy tale they are constantly being sold by indoctrination.
It's particularly disgusting that he ties in the normal challenges of being a teenager with the fairy tale battle between Satan, and the Lard. He instills fear that if they do not follow TSCC's specific rules they will not be with their family or gawd in an imaginary afterlife. This is manipulation, and teaches them to rely on TSCC's one-size-fits-all directions for problem solving, and making choices in life, instead of actually using their own reason, and logic. There is no one magic formula for happiness.
The biggest lie of all:
"Wonderful, glorious things are in store for you if you will only believe, obey and endure."
Before he mentioned celebrities portraying "sin" without consequences. This is black and white, all or nothing thinking. TSCC is not all wonderful, and promising them happiness if they will "believe, obey, and endure" is disgusting brainwashing. This is what gets members into the pattern of blaming themselves when things go wrong in life, instead of realizing that bad things happen to everyone. Life is often pain, and random pain too. We can make good choices, and bad things will still happen through no fault of our own. He is teaching them to pray more, obey more, believe more, because they will think they have done something wrong, and that they are not good enough. They will try to solve life's problems with obedience to a useless superstitious formula, instead of using actual solutions.
Most people on this board understand how TSCC's obedient plan for happiness can tear families apart, divide communities, set up false friendships, etc. Loyalty to a church, and its nonsensical rules alienates outsiders as well as anyone who discovers the truth about the fraud, and leaves. Obedience to a lie is more important than truth, and integrity.
These girls should have a meeting on how JS made it up, who was Helen Mar Kimball, and other girls her age that JS coerced into "marrying", and how to live your own authentic life, and not live for others or for a twisted dogma.
Yes, girls, don't even question why a bunch of old, white guys know exactly how you should live your life in detail - including the length of your skirts, your sleeves, earrings, choice of footwear, what is "uplifting", when you should marry, whom you should marry, when you should have children, what you say, drink, and eat, etc., etc. Your male gawd only sends geezers just like him to tell you what to do. Gee, cannot imagine how anyone would mistake this for a cult, especially when obedience to their rules will always separate you from 10% or more of your income, your time, your individual self, etc.
| I've really struggled with this and am still trying to sort out my feelings. I'm a female, converted as a young adult. I had always known that when I had children I would like to be a SAHM or at least only need to work part time. The church was such a comfortable fit, with support and praise for those aspirations. In fact, after my first was born and I was still working FT and largely supporting us as my husband finished college I felt guilty for working, questioning as to whether it was more responsible to work or a higher calling to quit and see how god would take care of us! Luckily I remained rational on that one but I really took it hard until I was in a position where I could be a SAHM.
While I was in college I took a philosophy of sex and love class -obviously I'm not a BYU grad. I remember really struggling with some of the ideas discussed - especially a concept that putting women on a pedestal appeared to elevate them but was actually demeaning them. For example, if a man opens a door for a woman because she is a woman - as in not because her arms are full - he supposedly shows that he reveres her womanhood. Actually the message may be that she is inadequate and should rely on men to perform for her tasks that she is capable of. I felt so "elevated" as an LDS woman, that I had an important role, was endowed with special spirituality, that the world was against me but the church was my support. I couldn't see at that time how that pedestal was actually a weight bearing down on me, sinking me below the priesthood.
When I got married I felt the first part of that weight - the covering of my face in the prayer circle, the bowing of my head and saying yes, sharing my temple name but not learning my husbands name. After I had several children and continued in full earnest activity I remember a nomo neighbor asking how I dealt with all the requirements/limitations placed on me by the church - sending my husband off to do church business when I was overwhelmed at home, babysitting (for free) other people's kids when I was overrun with my own because they needed the service, preparing lessons when my time would be better spent teaching my own kids, spending 3 hours at church and then fending off all social invitations so we could keep the sabbath holy. Not really participating in the world outside of the Morg. At that time I could not understand what she meant. I was blessed, the leaders supported me. I did hope that raising spiritual offspring in the CK was a bit more glamorous and easy than raising earthly children. Now that I'm out, I feel fairly used. I had a promising career at one time that I completely gave up. I had interests and desires that did not fit the LDS mold and I didn't act on them. I let the church bully me into decisions that I shouldn't have like marrying in the temple without any of my own family or serving in callings that caused my family difficulty.
What bothers me is that at the time, I would have gone toe to toe with anyone who said that the church was demeaning me. I was to be a priestess and a queen - and now when I read JS's descriptions, I see a virtual porn scene with one guy and a harem of women competing to relieve him of his seed! In my lds days, if I had felt at all confined by the church, I would have studied to find the inspiration to think another way about the opression. I feel sad that there was a part of me that wanted the church to line out my life so that I did not have to. How much of this was my doing? How much the Church's? Why did I think the pedestal was uplifting? How come I could not see the weight it placed on me?
| The paper draped over the examination table crinkled loudly every time I took a breath. Was table the right word? It had something resembling a mattress, which made it more like a bed. I wondered why they had to use such noisy paper. It made me self conscious, like trying to unwrap a candy from stiff cellophane in a quiet theater. I kept waiting for the doctor to shush me, but instead she kept talking about the bridges we would cross in the future. |
A week earlier I had sat on this crinkly table bed thing and went through a series of tests, some of them painful. Now that the lab had finished the blood work, I was back to hear the results. But it seemed like a wasted trip. The doctor wasn't telling me anything I didn't already know. No one who had dealt with the women's health issues I had for the past three years would expect anything different, which is why I was slightly bored, thinking about crinkly paper, only half-listening when the doctor told me I would never be able to have children.
I was 19.
A few weeks later was Mother's Day. I drove home from college to spend the weekend with my family, and so spent that Sunday at the ward where I had grown up. At the end of sacrament meeting, the bishop stood at the podium and asked all that all women 18 and older please stand up so that the deacons could pass out carnations.
I stayed in my seat. It wasn't an act of rebellion, or because I was embarrassed. In a very logical way, I knew that this little token for "mothers and future mothers" didn't apply to me. I was not a mother, and I would never be a mother. Therefore, no pink carnation for Judyblue. No biggie.
To the women surrounding me, however, it WAS a biggie. My old Laurels adviser was in the pew in front of me. "Judyblue, stand up! Get your flower!"
"That's alright, I don't really want one."
Another woman from my YW days leaned across the aisle. "Judyblue, come one. Get up. You're a woman, you deserve a flower!" The Relief Society president behind me reached down and tugged at my sleeve. "The flower is to thank you for choosing to become a mother one day, even if you aren't one yet!" Even my own mom nudged me. When I begrudgingly got to my feet, all these women beamed at me, like they were proud of me for accepting my inevitable motherhood.
A year later, once again spending the weekend at my parents' house for Mother's Day, I was back at that ward. This time, when the bishop asked all the women to stand to receive their pink carnations and I remained seated, it was because I felt ashamed. I was unworthy of such an honor.
In the year between those two Mother's Days, I had been through hell. It was a rough year. As I watched friends of mine getting married right and left, I had my heart broken twice. I had become increasingly paranoid that no man would ever want to be with me, knowing that I couldn't give him children. After all, the scriptures and general conference talks and Ensign articles that I turned to in times of sadness made it pretty clear that I would be missing out on the only thing worth having in life - motherhood.
When I thought about it, this made sense. After all, God didn't think I was worthy enough to receive answers to my prayers for a testimony. He didn't think I was worthy enough to feel the Spirit. Why would he think I was worthy enough to become a mother, which the church assured me was the greatest and most noble calling one could have?
Over time, I was able to numb myself to those feelings of inadequacy. But every time Mother's Day rolled around, I would duck out of sacrament meeting during the final speaker so I wouldn't have to face the humiliation of accepting a flower unworthily. Each year left a painful memory behind. I couldn't even see a pink carnation without an accompanying stab of guilt.
I have no memory at all of the first Mother's Day after I left the mormon church. I'm sure I spent it with my wonderful mom. I'm sure the family got together and ate good food and played cards and laughed. I don't remember the next year, either. Or the next. Those days aren't significant - they're just lovely Sundays spent with my family, much like any of our other monthly Sunday get-togethers.
I will never get to have children of my own, and sometimes that still hurts. But I will also never again feel like that fact of my biology makes me less of a human being. I will never again feel ashamed when I see a pink carnation.
| 1. How my first ward that I grew up with and all the people that I loved as my friends and family could suddenly be broken apart and I NEVER saw many of those people again due to newly drawn ward boundaries. It was like someone cut off a piece of my soul and all the "love" I'd been taught about was gone as I could not understand why even as a child all these people I loved and was totally comfortable with were suddenly out of my life.
2. My new ward was in a rougher part of town, I knew no one and had to start completely over with friendships. This was really hard on my young mind.
3. The pressure to get baptized.
4. Turning 11 and going to Merrie Miss and having my first lessons on how when I graduated high school I was to marry an RM and do his dishes, iron his clothes and do all the housework so he could go into the world and fulfill his duties. This terrified me. I was a budding yound woman, good at sports, had a great voice and my entire life was to be based soley around a man. This was terrifying to me.
5. Turning 12 and going to church week after week and hearing the same lessons over and over in YW about marrying young, having many babies, and then in Sunday School about the same stories of JS that I'd already heard a million times. I was at the time watching my mother go through 11 miscarriages and the realities of multiple pregnancies was terrifying to me as I saw what could happen and how tired and angry she was all the time.
6. Feeling like I had to have this extraordinary personality because the older I got the more the people around me were dumbing down and I refused and therefore had to be super human.
7. Turning 16 and hearing that my job as a mother meant I had to sacrifce ALL my desires even staying physically fit to be there for my children and husband. Also being taught that I had to accept polygamy when I died, and that the boys were so insecure with their lot as "men" that they had to be given the priesthood, therefore I was not to show them up with my intelligence, talent, or appearance or else I'd make them feel bad, Jesus feel bad and/or cause the boys to sin. Those dang boys just could not get their self esteem together without controlling the women.
8. Realizing that there was no RM to marry after high school graduation and that I done NOTHING to prepare for my audlt life as I was promised if lived the "gospel" as a teen and forsook sex, worldly friends and activities, the Lord would bless me with my Celestial life. I was shocked that I didn't meet Mr. RM right after graduation. Honestly. First of many let downs and "ah ha" moments.
9. Realizing that my parents did not save one dime for my future. All money went into tithing and her health bills. I had nothing and no where to go.
10. Upon going on a mission and attending the temple prep class, I learned NOTHING about the temple, just felt like another ad naseum sunday school lesson.
11. Upon going into the endowment room, being told I could leave if I wanted before I was even told what was going on. I was surrounded by family and friends and felt trapped but the alarm bells in my head were going off.
12. Upon finishing the endowment, thinking..."my parents have been doing this for how many years??" Then upon some research after mission learning they had promised to have their throats and bowels cut open if they ever told me the truth about what they did in the temple. If I ever would have been told about the death penalties, I promise you I'd have left the church at whatever age that would have been. Those penalties are the prostitution of pure filth. Also feeling like my parents were conned and foolish for wearing such strange and odd clothing, especially the bakers hats for the men. I could not understand how a man that is supposedly supposed to be "King" could look so utterly foolish and still think that was ok.
13. Feeling nothing in the Celestial room other than rushed out.
14. Feeling the worse mental pain and trauma on my mission that I'd ever felt before in my life.
15. Upon returning being shunned by my family for not wanting to get married and breaking off an engagement.
16. Upon researching the church and choosing to leave, reading about the realities of polygamy and how miserable the women and children were and how much poverty and emotional abuse they lived under and to think that my family and culture were perfectly fine with this.
17. To see the pure hatred in the eyes of family and friends when I stepped out of the church. Such evil and hate projected at me was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.
18. Seeing the plight of women in the church. Seeing them severly depressed, over weight, without hope, without their own minds, with out their own sovereighty, without their own personhood as if they'd been abducted and broken. And...feeling those same things happening to me as if all the happiness in my soul was being taken from me and I was doomed to a life of slavery.
19. Realizing that the men, in very UNPAID, very UNPROFESSIONAL positions had very real power over me, and my family. I saw them attempt to infiltrate my mind, my choices, the way I felt about myself. It was real and it was terrifying. These supposed men who had no training whatsoever were judging people, hurting people, and thought it was their right. All the while the fools weren't even getting paid for all their time away from their own families and their own lives and ambitions.
20. Finally, the way earning money was looked down upon. For me in YW, earning money was to be avoided as that just isn't what Jesus would do. So, education was not needed, the Lord would magically provide through the boys and the church. We were to focus on childrearing and homemaking and magically that would make every single one of us regardless of our various personalities...blissfully happy.
21. One more thing. As a youth the constant talk about sex. It was always "don't have it". There was no other talk about the future, about honor, integrity, hard work, achievment, just "don't have sex". It was sick how much time they spent on sex. It was if they were projecting their constant horniness at us young blood. It repulsed me.
| Any women feel angry they weren't given a choice to attend the YW's program?
I am. Furious actually.
I was NEVER told what the entire program was aimed at...indoctrinating young girls to want only marriage and sahm hood.
I was NEVER given any other option...ie. Girls Scouts, Nothing, School activies, Sports...(I was an excellent golfer), ROTC, etc.
I was NEVER told what the consequences/ramifications would be for choosing not to pursue a formal career, limit the number of children I had if I had any at all, have too many children, marry someone I did not know and was not compatible with, and have zero financial skills and goals.
Yes, I'm extremely pissed at all of this and I think YW should be WARNED of exactly what the YW's program really is...indoctrination to be breeding stock and an unpaid domestic slave goddess.
I'll tell you what. Take an 18 year old girl with a ton of options available to her. If she has been through the YW's program and her family is tbm, the chances that she will not pursue any of those options other than marriage and family is extremely high.
Now, take this same girl and fast forward 20 years. She didn't get her degree, her kids are grown, she has little or no workforce skills, she has no savings, no retirement investments...nothing...and then husband dies or leaves her. Where is she then?
I take issue with this issue because I am in the minority who didn't get married, pursued a career, have seen half the world and I know TO THIS DAY how I'm treated by my tbm family. I am keenly aware of what I lost and would have lost having pursued unpaid labor.
I'm FULLY aware that work is work. However, paid work gives you options in life, you must have money and anyone who says otherwise has never had it. Money is what gives you security, mental well being...knowing your mortgage is going to get paid, knowing you can afford not just the necessities of life, but also fund your goals whatever they may be.
Growing up Mormon you are taught that being truly happy means being on the verge of poverty as the pioneers were. This is rubbish. Having "things" can dang well make you happy, it gives you freedom and if you grow up in the YW's program you will be told that having your own money, your own anything is selfish and direct path to misery. That is a in fact a direct path to depression or worse. You will be stuck in every way.
| The Leaders, (all men) don't want women in the COJCOLDS to think outside the box. If you did -you were a Womens Liberation Feminist Whack job.
Bad girl. Trouble maker. Radical. Liberal. Communist.
Yet, the leadership wanted the YW to get great paying jobs just in case their spouse was unable to provide. So, beauty school and nursing were highly suggested to all YW and most of the young women followed this path. (I don't mean to generalize, but look at the stats.)
Having loads of children does not make you spiritual. The main reason this is pushed is purely financial. It keeps the numbers high; tithing, fast offering, donations increase and the Morg makes out like gang busters.
This is the role of a good TBM -- keep those numbers coming.
Don't find the truth or study yourself out of the church.
I tried to ignore the message while I was a member because it pissed me off too. It was a test of wills.
No longer a member, I won.
| I have heard so much from working women saying that they dont feel they fit in the church. so much from childless women that they dont fit in, and even the SAHM feel left out and like they dont fit in. The things you say apply to men and i totally agree that the church is only a good fit for some men.
Now I want to look at what I see happening as far as women goes, because I understand that in the past the retention and activity rates for women were much better then for men, but not so much anymore. In fact, the young women seem to be leaving at a faster rate then even the young men.
The church used to have a good fit for the traditional homemaker----back in the days of my mother's relief society in the 1950s and 1960s. They had RS meeting during the week to get the women together and about of the house. Babysitting was provided, so that all could attend. The lessons were written by women and for women and were about such things as cultural diversity, music/poetry/art, homemaking, parenting, and one week a month, there was a gospel lesson. Then early Sunday morning, there was RS for the working sisters who couldn't attend during the week which was held during priesthood. The homemaking meeting would normally last from 10:00am to when the kids got home from school for those who wanted to stay and socialize. Socialization was important just for the sake of socializing.
The church shifted RS into something more along the lines that would fit the time frame of the modern working woman, but they didn't change the ideal they pushed. So now, the lesson are the same as the priesthood lessons and are primarily about men, written by a committee of men and the same as given to the men. They still glorify the SAHM but meet zero of her needs to get out of the house and have friends and they no longer really teach the things a SAHM needs such as child development or family relations or even homemaking skills. "Homemaking" was changed to "enrichment" and in my ward no longer even exists. There are maybe two meeting a year not on Sunday, and I have to leave my husband to go, rather than a way to spend more time with women but not take away from family time, it is now just wrong for the SAHMs who is stuck in a house with toddlers day after day with no real break and then has to leave her family when they are all home to go to RS whatever meetings, so many wards have dropped them as poorly attended. The end result is that RS tells the working women they are bad or lacking, tells childless women they are bad or lacking, and meets zero needs of any of the women. There is little socialization because children have to be picked up and every body is exhausted after three hours of meetings.
There is what is called "the mommy wars" that divides women even befor you get to personality. This guilt/resentment/arrogance of my way is best and how dare you call me a bad mother because I work and how dare you call me lazy because I work at home is a huge divide between women everywhere, not just at church. So, the women as a group are divided against themselves. Then you have all the issues of introverts not fitting into the social structure.
The church doesn't meet the needs of working mothers and puts them down for working, and it doesn't meet the needs of SAHMs and leaves them isolated. And all women are second class, so the few things that help men feel better about themselves at church, are even more missing in the lives of women.
And what do women get in return for their investment? The promise of being eternally pregnant.
"Some Mormons who call themselves feminists don't understand why men still control the management of the church if women are so supposedly equal. Women aren't allowed to be priests, or even lead church meetings without a man present, and while the church insists that women's roles aren't lesser, just "different," who wants to be different if different means treated as lesser than?"
I love how Mormons turn to something to denounce something as a matter of "opinion" as if to say it's fiction.
Not all opinions are created equal. If we have an opinion that is undergirded by some factual evidence, then it means something more than a thought that just popped into our head.
Are women equal to men in the LDS Church?
1. Do the Relief Society activities and programs require the approval of the male priesthood organization? Yes
2. Are women and men intelligible for certain positions of leadership and authority based on their gender? Yes
3. Are the ultimate authorities in the LDS church required to be male? Yes
4. Do LDS Church articulate particular roles that constrain the life choices available to women outside of church activity?
In what way is that "equal"?
It's not as if critics of the church just invented this stuff out of thin air. Mormons are free to argue that the inequity is good, but I don't think its much of a question that it exists.
| When I was active, I was in the YW program for years. The YW were forced to go to the same campground here in Florida every year (and I mean for years and years and years - over 30). The YM (scouts), however, were taken on a trip that went all the way up to New York State, stopping at "sites" all the way up and back. Were the YW offered the same? Of course NOT! The girls were not allowed to have their camp anywhere except a nearby state park, where they had to swim in alligator and cottonmouth infested waters.
The YM were treated like royalty, going out of state to enjoy rappelling, white water rafting, etc. No matter how hard we fought to be allowed to take the YW to a different camp, possibly in Northern Georgia where they could also rappel and do some rafting like the YM, we were shut down immediately. The reason? The camp had to be "protected by the priesthood" and they could not ask the priesthood to travel any farther than the 1 hour that it took to get to the camp. This obvious discrimination is one of the reasons I began to hate TSCC. My YW never had a chance.
I have not been to TSCC in 4 years, so it might have changed, but even if the YW are allowed to go to another camp, they certainly won't be allowed out of state. Big load of BS
| Women who were involved in the Women's and Girls' groups would you tell us of the differences in support between your group and men's and boys' groups?
I was the Mia Maid (14-15 year old girls) leader for awhile. It was frustrating to me to see a ton of money spent on activities for the boys, while my girls usually got stuck baking. My girls noticed it too, and complained to me about it. How do you even answer that question?
So my husband and I took it upon ourselves to organize a really fun hike for them (the rest of the young women were invited too.) It involved rope climbing and swimming. The girls were SOOO excited about it!
Unfortunately, the bishop heard what we were planning, and told us no way. The girls were too fragile for something like this. Plus, he told us most wouldn't be interested in this kind of activity (my girls told me otherwise).
A month later, he approved the exact same hike for the 12 year old boys in our ward. He even asked my husband to be in charge! We were so ticked. It still makes me mad today.
| I'm in the Young Women presidency, and trying to maintain a good church front the last 6 months as I've been doubting, researching, and rethinking the church. I have been the same as I ever was to people in my ward-a little outspoken, but faithful, fun, and well liked. I thought I could stay in YW during my faith crisis, and gently teach the girls a little bit about empathizing with those who aren't exactly like us. But it is taking way too much energy and is getting impossibly hard. I've done girls camps, weekly activities, huge parties and lessons for these girls, not to mention attending their choir and sports things, take them out for birthdays, etc. They often have said how much they love me, and I'm a second mom to them. (dramatic, but that's girls).
But then I wore pants.
All my goodness in their minds was erased. No more second mom here! One of the Mia Maids told me I was participating in an "anti" protest and she was scared for me. And at the next FandT meeting, one of the Laurels bore her testimony in Sacrament and said that I was not coming to church for the right reasons because I wore pants. I had explained pants day to them all after I wore them, and expressed how if any of them ever felt marginalized, I would support them by wearing anything they asked of me, too. I tried to tell them that it was a show of solidarity and love for those that aren't cookie cutter. But I still get these comments and reactions.
I don't believe in the gospel, so this kind of thing is not making it any easier for me to stay. Why would I want to try so hard to teach them something that won't get through their hard candy shell?! And why do I want to waste a perfectly wonderful Sunday getting beat up?
| I have the explanation.
Giving girls outdoor experiences makes them stronger and happier. They see strong, competent women teaching them skills which lead to thinking, problem-solving, independence.
Stronger, happier women are more likely to leave the Mormon church than weak, dependent women.
All they need is the uterus, so they are using the most effective strategy: withdrawal of stimulation so that the only path they see open for them is marriage to an RM.
One thing you can count on--this corporation will do what works. It is as amoral and blind as evolution. It is completely impersonal--like an amoeba that sucks up everything and spits out whatever is not food.
The fun did not produce the desired result, whereas it does for the young men.
Young men with happy memories of problem-solving in the wilderness with LDS leaders they admired mixed with a HEAVY dose of propaganda produces the missionaries they so desperately need. "Can you pass the test....this is how to prepare...you can do it, just like climbing this mountain...."
| Why was the fun sucked out of the young women activities, and not out of the young men?
Half of our YW activities were about what kind of RM we should marry.
At one, there were a bunch of candy bars set out on a table and each girl picked one out. There was a paper stuck to the back that described the husband that went along with that candy. i.e.:
Lifesavers: You've married a hunky lifeguard. He isn't that bright, but he's strong, blonde and tan.
I picked up a Charleston Chew and it said something like "Your husband is tall, dark and handsome. But he never joined the church because of his word of wisdom problem, so he hasn't been able to take you to the temple."
Then we had to spend the hour discussing how to "fix" the flaws in each of our husbands.
Yeah, typing all that up just now made me want to vomit...
| IMHO, they know that indoctrinating the girls is more crucial. The brainwashed girls will pressure the boys to behave and go on missions. They won't marry outside the temple.
Also, it's a patriarchy. More resources, time, effort, and fun will go to the boys because the girls are always lower priority.
My teen daughters ALL quit going to Girls Camp (2002-2011). They were all very TBM at the time, and even they complained that they felt claustrophobic sitting around doing crafts and talking about temple marriage and motherhood all day. The leaders were grouchy and mean to some of the girls. Finally, they were forced to stand up and "bear their testimonies" at the closing campfire, whether they wanted to or not. The leaders and some of the girls made cutting remarks about anyone who didn't feel comfortable doing so.
All of the girls remarked that indoctrination was part of EVERY activity they did. They couldn't just make a lanyard or whatever -- it all had to relate to the gospel somehow. Barf!
| Another poster wrote:
I've heard several young mothers lately who said they'd be all about polygamy
Most mormons have an internal struggle about polygamy, especially women. One coping mechanism is to attempt to acclimatize yourself to the idea through reasons you can agree with.
I'm stunned. Even as a TBM the idea of sister wives sharing my husband was disturbing... It was repulsive, but weirdly enough polygamy wasn't one if the main issues I had against the church.
So anyways, I've heard a a handful of women say they'd be happy to live the polygamist lifestyle. And the main reason? So they don't have to have sex with their hubby as much.
So sad on sooooo many levels. These women would be horrified to find heir husbands masturbating to porn, but lets bring on another wife and it's all good.
In your story, it was less sex, but it could have just as easily been child rearing, lonely housewife syndrome, chronic illness, etc...
Once at a gathering of in-laws, my wife's sisters got onto the topic of polygamy, and how impossibly hard it would be to accept that. They thought about it for a while and finally all agreed that they could easily be polygamous sister-wives with their actual sisters. They proceeded to give examples of how they wouldn't be as jealous of one another, and would appreciate the child-rearing help, etc...
While I think they would actually be jealous and have more problems than they realize- my point is that they found a way to mentally become more comfortable with this doctrine they struggle with. While they didn't resolve the problem, but now when they think/hear about polygamy, and start feeling uncomfortable about it and not understanding it, they at least have "a happy place" to go to where they've imagined a utopic polygamous scenario that is viable in their minds.
So *hopefully* the women in your stories don't have as much of a problem with sex as it would seem, and that they have exaggerated a small disparity in sex-drives in order to mentally make polygamy more palatable to them.
I hope... but I also know that TSCC screws people up when it comes to sex, so there likely is a problem there.
I think the key phrase is "So they don't have to have sex with their hubby as much."
So there obviously is already a problem in their relationship.
At best, these women have communicated the mismatch to their spouses, and it fell on deaf ears.
At worst, they are silently suffering or confusing their partners with their rejection.
Their claim shows both a mismatch of sexual expectations, and a failure to communicate (on the part of at least 1 spouse or the other, probably both).
I don't think anyone would presume to say that the only solution is that these women should just have more sex... but if they don't want to, the correct way to communicate that to your spouse isn't through obscure doctrinal gossip that may make the rounds back to good ole hubby.
Sex, as with any activity between partners, should be a mutual decision. If either partner is unbending, selfish, or feels put upon and isn't communicating it, then something is wrong.
Not that the women are necessarily wrong, but at least 1 aspect of their scenario is.
| It's very disturbing to me that the Morg is all about keeping the church stats. And about keeping women in this lovely naive state of being. Yet there seems to be very little about creating strength and independence in women that is needed to face the realities in life. It's nice and naive to treat them as if they can always remain sweet and lovely and at home dependent on a charming Peter priesthood holders who will never mis treat her or never die and leave her. Creating dependency in women and children leaves them vulnerable to being trapped in situations of domestic violence, and less able to protect themselves in the world. I can't tell you how many women I have seen lose their children in divorce when the narcissist male peter priesthood attacks and wins. He has the job, he has the money, he has the help to further humiliate her. He's not going to help her become strong and independent while he is trying to take her children.
I recently watched a show about women who were escaping from the local polygamous compound. And the LDS church upbringing reminded me very much of the young women in the polygamous cult. The women were married young and having many babies. They won't have careers. But, they were very very naive, young acting, lovely and sweetly accepting of their roles as only mothers. When they left the cult, one mother said that no matter how hard it was for her now, she would never take her daughters back in as they had dropped that false persona of sweetness, and were developing into strong and vibrant young ladies with hope for the future. She explained that finally she was seeing their true personalities develop.
My mothers friends in the neighborhood used to remark at how sweet and naive I was and rightly so. I was young Molly Mormon trying so hard to be accepted in my family and ward.
But, one time I tried to discuss a real life problem that I was facing with one of my mothers local ward friends. And the response I heard later was, "Well, she just isn't the sweet girl that she used to be." I was stunned by this. How am I no longer of value when I'm having to muster the strength to deal with a reality in this world that really had nothing to do with my behavior in the first place? I quickly learned that I couldn't talk about reality with people in the church. Young women are supposed to live in a fairy land. It was as if I had to stay dumb and living in some picture scene out of a fantasy world showing no real problems and no other emotions than sweetness.
| Editor Note: This is a collage of posted articles on how the Mormon Church has young Mormon women chant in monotone unison what is called "The Young Womens' Chant".
About Ten years ago my daugter told me when she when to young womens (at her dads ward) that the girls had to stand up and recite some creepy "we are daughters of God" something about daughters of light kind of "pledge of alledgance" , I quit church before that. was that just her ward? Or do they all do this now? During it she turned to her friend and said "this is a cult".
Yes. Mormon young women still chant the following each week in unison:
"We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will `stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places' (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
Choice and Accountability
We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation."
Oh God. That brought back horrible memories. I used to move my lips and not say anything. Because one time I refused to stand up and recite it, I got reamed by the YW presidency.
I remember walking by the YM general meeting (when I lurked in the halls as SSP.) I would over hear this and think, that is a little creepy.
Yep, we said that every single Sunday. Over the years they added "strengthen home and family" and "virtue" as one of the values.
I was on the downhill side of believing when I was in the YW Pres. My daughters were in high school. It was really hard for me to make it through the chant. I was going through my second divorce from the same guy (my eternal mate), trying to figure out how to survive on a secretary's income and all I could hear those girls saying is, "I am a daughter of heavenwy fodder, he gave me a vagina so I am to keep my mouth shut and my legs open, and learn how to bake bread because that is my divine nature, that is my career."
I worked overtime to make sure my daughters knew that individual worth and knowledge and choice were the most important values and that means that they use them and make their own choices. Even as an active, mormon, my biggest nightmare was that my daughters would turn out like me. Luckily, after some scary twists and turns in their lives, they both got their college degrees, found good nevermo husbands (well, one had to go through a temple starter marriage first), and will not end up like me, nor will their daughters. I'm still terrified, however, that my son's daughter, who is currently living with her mom at her TBM grandparents' house, will be sucked into the misogynistic mormon world and lose that wonder that she was so full of before they moved. Scares the hell outta me and the thought of her repeating that chant is my worst nightmare. I just gotta hope that her daddy will be enough of a counter influence that at least she will have someone telling her that she is more than a baby making machine.
A few years back I told my former bishop I had issues with the truthfullness of the church. Being a former YW president (4x), he demanded in that superior peter priesthood way, that I recite the YW theme. He then ripped me up one side and down the other for "what I was doing to my family eternally". It makes me furious with myself that I allowed myself to humiliate myself and chant it. And that I sat through his rant.
My YW's prez makes us say, "Who are we?" before we continue with the rest of the chant, "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father."...make us prepared when someone dares questions us, I guess...
I am so sick of repeating the thing. Usually I stand up and say most of it. Except for any "we"'s, in which I am momentarily silent. I'm not going to include myself in this group, at least mentally, sorry YW leaders.
When I was in MIA--Mutual--Mutual improvement association-- Each year there was a "slogan" I believe they called it. At the beginning of each meeting it was recited en masse. 1948-1953.
My exmo niece told me that she went to Mormon girl's camp. The girls were made to stand up, and chant in unison: "I am an individual."
That's when my niece resigned her membership.
I got in trouble a lot because I would refuse to say the theme in the same monotone manner every other girl said it. I would emphasize different words or do it in an accent. The younger girls thought it was hilarious, the leaders not so much. I told them it just meant I was paying more attention to the theme since it took some effort to change it up!
Yeah, I chanted that every Sunday from when I was 12 to when I was 18. That didn't include anytime I did at camp or at another activity.
It never dawned on me how brain-washy it was because I chose to do it, so clearly it wasn't! Yeah...
Couple of years back my Singles Ward RS decided that they would recite the motto for the RS every Sunday. That was around the time I was pretty close to unbelieving and really questioning the church. After doing it a few times, it brought home to me that this is what the church did. It was that subtle brain washing. It depressing that I let it go on so long, but I never knew anything different.
I had never heard the "chant" before, and it kind of weirded me out. They had it written on a flip-chart page, and the girls would say it every week in a flat, robotic tone. Most of them knew it by heart already, but I, having never heard it before, tried hard to memorize it, but something about it just seemed creepy.
Later on, I was in charge of the youngest girls (Crikey, I don't even remember what they were called - Beehives??) and I was always getting in trouble for coming up with activities that were fun rather than "spiritual." But the girls loved it. And I loved the fact that the girls felt they could come to me and confide about problems they were having. Thank goodness, nobody ever reported abuse. I did the best I could to provide a caring ear and just listened. (I never told them to pray or read their scriptures, BTW.)
I'll never forget how, when my job took me to another State, many of "my" girls hugged me and cried when we said our farewells. The program was CRAP, but "my" girls were very dear to me.
yeah they still do it. they even have a poster with the words in front of the whole room. i never bothered to say it right so i just mumble through the whole thing.
| Angela Trusty, who writes the column "Ask Angela" for the Deseret News, recently addressed a letter from "Wit's End," who lamented that her cookie-baking, singles-ward-attending efforts failed to garner an eternal companion: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/86...
Wit's End (the letter-writer) is just reflecting the years of teaching she got in the Church, from Primary through RS (especially Young Women, where temple marriage remains a core focus of lessons and activities). Then there's the doctrine: You can't get into the highest level of the CK (where goddesshood happens) without a man.
Recently, the Big 15 have been pounding the marriage pulpit (again), stressing the need for young Mormons to marry and mate right after their missions. Women are told to do everything they can to make themselves attractive and catch a husband. TSCC even herds them into special wards full of other desperate singles, hosts dances and social events, and then tells them to focus on "service" to others while they wait for a righteous man to show up.
Should we be surprised that Wit's End might feel "less-than" as a "Mid-Single?"
(Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to marry and have children. If it weren't a normal human thing to do, our species might not have survived. What's crazy is the idea that's it's the ONLY valid path to happiness and personal growth).
Angela advises Wit's End to "put down the cookie batter" and "chill out." She writes: "Stop trying to marry people. If you're saying hello to someone with this marriage fever burning in your eyes, guys/everyone can see that, and it hides who you really are and what you're truly about."
That's very true.
It's also easier said than done when you've been taught your whole life that getting married is your goal in life, your key to happiness, and you can't progress to exaltation without it.
There's a big problem, though. Wit's End is right to be nervous. Even if she brings her A-game, minus cookie dough and fevered glances, the numbers are stacked against her. No matter what else she does, remaining a faithful Mormon might be the kiss of death for her wedding aspirations. As Wit's End observed in her letter to Angela: "For every one guy there might as well be 15 girls." Sadly, she is probably correct.
The mating game itself has changed: there are, and will continue to be, far fewer men in the pool. From the *Free Republic* in 2011: "According to the report, 'young men in the Mormon Culture Region are defecting at substantially higher rates than young women, creating a growing gender imbalance and a surplus of Mormon women. In Utah, self-identified Mormon women outnumber men by a ratio of 3 to 2...'" As one commenter to this article said, "This ratio, coupled with other news coming out of the Lds (sic) church this year, shows that it may be almost impossible for many Lds women (particularly those over 30) to find an active Mormon husband!"
The outlook for Wit's End and her single sisters gets worse. Dave Banack, an LDS BeliefNet writer, re-posted this statistic from the Washington Times: "According to [the] Pew [Forum], Mormons have one of the most lopsided gender ratios of any religion: 44 percent men and 56 percent women." He theorizes several reasons for the gap, but concludes that, no matter what their motive, "the men are voting with their feet."
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/mormoninqui...
Another issue is that men are delaying marriage, despite counsel from their leaders, who have addressed the trend for people to "hang out" in groups rather than go on actual dates. Peggy Fletcher Stack, writing for the Salt Lake Tribune, noted, "In one informal survey at the U.'s LDS institute, many young men said 30 was the best age at which to marry." She went on to cite "finances, fear and finickiness" as major reasons. Given that most people now graduate with over $20,000 in student debt and many live in their parents' basements while searching for a job, putting off marriage and baby-making seems like a reasonable response. Eventually, once the guy has a job, a car, and a place to live, he'll ikely jump into the dating pool.
The "finickiness" part, however, is more troubling because it gets worse instead of going away. Men are being very, very, selective -- and blaming the women for failing to be perfect enough to rope them into an eternal partnership. Jaweed Kaleem noted on The Huff Post's "Faith Shift" page, interviewed 36-year-old Steve Rhinehart, who has never been married. He's handsome, educated, well-off, owns his own home, and has a fascinating array of hobbies. But, he's picky. Kaleem writes: "A more recent girlfriend was too demanding. Another was too jealous. Others were kindhearted and spiritual, but couldn't keep his attention." Finally, Rhinehart admitted he had an "internal resistance" to settling down. He is probably not the only one.
Like Rhinehart, LDS single blogger Erin Ann McBride blames (guess who) the WOMEN for failing to attract and keep a man. She devoted an entire blog on the ways women fall short, according to single Mormon men: http://www.ldsmag.com/article/7684
McBride's male sources say women expect too much: they want tall men, men who can dance well, men who will take care of them. Mc Bride seems to tell women to settle for whatever they can get: "It seems to me at this point at our ages, all the apples in the barrel are bruised and seconds, a bit warty and off. Both sides need to be more accepting of what is left in the barrel."
It's not a very appealing picture, is it? The game has gone downhill for Mormon women in yet another, more insidious way, though. Not only are there fewer men who are delaying marriage and having attitudes, they're making less effort than ever before.
On the flip side, she has another blog post titled, "Where Have All the Real Men Gone?" McBride points out another problem in the LDS relationship dynamic: Men, aware of the numbers, are not only picky, they've gotten lazy. They hang out, they text, but they don't ask women on dates. "They sit back and wait for the women to do all of the work, and put little effort into it at all...They just aren't going to try because, well, they just don't do that anymore."
There's an irreconcilable dynamic going on here for the women: must marry a Mormon man vs. can't find a Mormon man to marry. If cookie dough, good looks, and plenty of eyeshadow aren't capturing the hearts of disaffected men anymore, a huge chunk of Mormon women are either going to have to accept a single, strictly celibate life, date and marry non-Mormon men, or leave the church (like a lot of the Mormon men have done). TSCC has raised a generation of women on dreams that no longer exist -- and there will be much collateral damage because of it.
| I was privileged today to witness the raw unedited misogyny that occurs within priesthood councils. Every Sunday Bishoprics and Presidencies go behind closed doors and secretly gossip about the members within their stewardships, and discuss how best to call and release people from positions of authority. Out of the hundreds of these meetings I've attended, I can count the number of times prayer and revelation have been employed on one hand. Mostly these decisions are based on politics, family relations, and friendship.
In these discussions I've often heard statements that can be construed as condescending and misogynistic, but never as blatant as what I heard today. These brethren proceeded to thrash this sister in our meeting for being active in her calling by planning meetings, organizing activities, and making decisions without first asking permission and waiting for direction from the priesthood. She prayed and decided it was time to release a counselor in her own presidency (informing the presiding authority instead of asking), decided not to follow the suggestion of a priesthood holder (not even within her chain of command), and openly disagreed with what she was told in a meeting. She "asks questions", "doesn't understand the order of the priesthood", and "thinks she's in charge just because she's a president".
So they are going to release her for acting as if she has authority, a trait they often praise men for displaying. They will now replace her with a sister who is "unassuming", "doesn't ask questions", and will "do as she's told". Her replacement is someone, "that we won't have any trouble with" and who "will not waste everyone's time talking in meetings or calling on the phone." They will be recommending that she cool her heels in the primary for awhile, or have her serve under another sister that they know she doesn't get along with.
After making this decision, they continued to harangue this sister's choice for a new counselor. The woman she chose had a young child you see, and should be home with the child instead of having this calling. The sister defended her choice by saying that the woman's husband could watch the child during the few times they had to meet. At the mention of the husband watching a child, the assembled brethren began to laugh quite loudly and point out that such a suggestion is ridiculous.
Women have zero authority in the church, and anyone who show any kind of initiative is squashed as a threat to male authority. They take serious the idea that women should keep silent in the church. The church not only allows these attitudes, it is structured to promote them.
| I wrote briefly about my experience last night at PH session with OW. Now that I don't have to peck out the story on my cell phone, I have a little more to say.
I gathered with a group of 200-250 women, men (and combinations thereof) at City Creek PARK-- near Temple square. I was surprised to see such a large group, and even more surprised (and grateful) to see so many men come out to support the effort. The media coverage began there at the park-- but was extremely abundant for the next 2 hours. At one point, I was even asked to give an interview with an Al-Jazeera reporter (I declined). At the Park, we sang Come, Come Ye Saints (opening song-- in true LDS style), and for a moment there, I felt like a Real Pioneer.
The group formed a line and walked quietly/respectfully to the Conference Center, where we were promptly denied entrance (from the Stand-By line). We took our line across the street to the (potential) "overflow" seating-- at the Tabernacle. The reporters followed.
One by one (or in twos for those who came in couples), we presented ourselves to Mr. Spokesman, and politely asked for admittance-- just to watch the session from the LDS facility. One by one, we were told "no"--because this was for "men only" (meanwhile, my DD watched it from home with my DH and DS's). Many of the women and men asked Mr. Spokesman follow-up questions...after he answered, each turned quietly away-- several crying. (Despite the newspaper reports, there were no "demands" made for entrance. Meanwhile, 12-year-old boys (with seemingly overly smirky, gleeful looks on their faces) passed up the line and walked right in to take their "rightful" seats.
At 6:00, even though only about 3/4 of the line had only gotten to the front, the last of the people in line were not given their turn to seek admittance or ask questions. The people in front of me (Lavina Fielding Anderson's son and (pediatrician) daughter-in-law) flew in from California just for the event. The woman I waited in line with came all the way from Seattle. It seemed disrespectful, to say the least, to deny the remainder of the line their turn to at least "ask...seek...knock". Not that anything would've been opened, but still--
It was ironic that one of the speakers in GC today (can't remember which one) suggested that we (adults) remember that we are each a Child of God. Because after the doors closed on all of us, the group peacefully sang "I Am A Child Of God". I wonder if the dozens of Sister Missionaries (from Temple Square) dared to join in such a "protest". (I didn't see any join in for the song). The group then somberly returned to the Park.
It was during and following this experience from yesterday that I have taken what feels like a Feminist/Working Woman beating -- including in the GC sessions that I was allowed to hear/watch. We occasionally have threads on NOM that ask about "the straw" that "broke" people. Maybe that refers to the straw that pushes people into disaffection...I don't know. It was the book: Mormon Enigma that pushed me into "disaffection" almost 15 years ago. For the next 13 or so, I would "doubt my doubts" and "lead out with the faith I did have"... FIGHTING to believe "it" was "true". I have spent the last 2 years, STRUGGLING to believe that "it" is "good".
I don't think I can do it any more. This Conference Weekend is very likely the Last, Last straw. I'm seriously worried about my (21-year) marriage and my 5 kids today. I do not feel welcome any more-- my "type" is not what is wanted.
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