Thursday, September 8, 2011

A bit of a rant

This last Sunday was Fast Sunday at church. Meaning that most of the ward (congregation) fasts. And rather than have scheduled speakers for the meeting, those who feel inspired to do so, can go up to the pulpit and bear testimony. These Sundays can be awesome or make you want to hide under your pew and hope there aren't any non-members in the crowd.

This past Sunday wasn't too bad. But then someone got up, someone who I like, and for whatever reason started talking about how women don't need the priesthood because we get to have babies. And other stuff.

My head exploded.

Here is the deal people. Men in our church get the priesthood regardless of if they are a parent. In fact, they get it at 12. And as long as they don't royally screw up, they can keep it, use it, for the rest of their lives, regardless of if they are married or not.

Women get nothing at 12. Women may or may not get married. And even then, they still may not have kids, some by choice, some because either their body or their husbands does not want to do what it should. 25% of pregnancies end before they are full term. That means 1 out of every 4 pregnancies people. And unfortunately, some of us women get more than our share of losing pregnancies, or just not getting pregnant at all.

My point: priesthood does not equal motherhood.

Am I saying that I want the priesthood??? Heck no. While I believe that at some point women in our church will have it, that isn't what this post is about. What I am looking for is more women in leadership positions. Having their opinions count just as much, and the men not holding the priesthood over our heads like they have some higher authority, that somehow we women don't have access to....uh, no. I would also like to have women valued not because they can have babies but because of who they are. Women that aren't married have a lot to give. Women without children have a lot to give. And I think they are sadly undervalued in our church.

Recently I heard about this Mormen Men blog. He writes about how feminism in our church is emasculating the men, and how the men need to take back the power, and get these women to be more submissive, to get these men to get their 'Game' back. (and yes, he capitalizes it) I didn't bother to read the blog, but then my curiosity got the best of me after I read a bit of his ex-wife's blog. He had cheated on her, but because she wasn't as submissive and willing to lose this amount of weight, or grow her hair out, so he said it was her fault. I wish I were joking. Unfortunately, he has made both of his blogs private because of all the hits he was getting from this blog. While I am a more moderate type of a feminist (I don't want the priesthood, just wish there were more women voices being heard, and our issues taken more seriously) I was truly laughing out loud at this guys blog.

After hearing what my friend had to say from the pulpit (and knowing she was about to go and teach the young women pretty much the same thing since she also shared that from the pulpit) and then reading this man's blogs....I just could not believe it.

Luckily, for the most part, my parents did not display this attitude in our home. My parents come from very strong mothers, who when they had to, did what they had to do, regardless of what society may have told them about mothers working or women getting college degrees and actually using them. I have been a very independent person my entire life. I cannot even imagine having to 'submit' to my husband, do my hair they way he liked, and pretty much be subject to his every whim......I wouldn't last a month. I also believe that while being a mother is a HUGE part of my life, there are also other parts that are also just as important in the shaping of who I am. Just like having the priesthood does not define who a man is, neither does motherhood. It is only a part. And I hope that this attitude, especially in our church, becomes what is being taught, rather than this other stuff that makes my head (and my heart) feel like they are going to explode....

I had an experience about five or so years ago. We were currently living in San Antonio TX. Before we lived in Texas, we had lived in Germany for two and a half years. When we got back to the states, we made a short visit home, which is Southern California for both my husband and I. About two months later, my grandpa passed away, so I flew back for two weeks with my kids. But I really wanted to drive and spend a longer time, and really wanted to spend some time at my sisters house. She lived right off the route I would take, and I wanted my kids to be able to spend time with their cousins. My husband was very concerned about me. It is about 1400 miles from San Antonio to Los Angeles. He told me he didn't want me driving at night, and that I had to be careful getting a hotel etc. He almost didn't want me to go because he thought I wouldn't be safe without him. Which really ticked me off. Tell me I can't do something and then watch me do it. Obviously, I made the trip just fine. Yes, it was hard. Driving with two toddlers that far isn't exactly a picnic. But it was worth it. We had a small get together since it was my kids birthdays. Both my side and my husbands side of the family were invited. My father in law, who on his fourth wife finally has a doormat he can walk all over, said that if I were his wife, he wouldn't 'let' me go. LET me??? Are you serious??? My husband didn't LET me. I didn't 'ask his permission'. I have encountered more of this attitude with my husbands family than with mine. So I know my husband still has bits and pieces of it floating around in him. He has come a long way in the ten years we've been married. Since that first long drive, I have driven many places, many of them hundreds of miles away, all alone, with no problems. I spent a year on my own while he was deployed. I have had to be alone numerous times as he does military training. If I subscribed to this other way of thinking (submitting to my husband and other stupid things like that) I would be a mess. I HAVE to make decisions for myself. I have to be a strong parent to make up for him being gone sometimes. To deal with and help my children deal with our moves.

My daughter has a very strong personality. The attitude from my father in law would damage her. She would just rebel. I want to raise her, within my church, to know she is heard. That she is a multidimensional person, and she is valued because of who she is, not because she has a uterus and ovaries. I want to be an example of that. She is too young to really comprehend what was being said from the pulpit that day, so as things come up, we'll deal with them. My husband probably isn't 100% with me on this, as I know he was taught somewhat differently and had very different examples of women in his life. But I think he will come around as time passes on as he realizes what it means for this little independent soul we have running around.

I see a better future for women, just as our predecessors saw for us. I am grateful for them. I hope things are even better for my daughter, so that things like what I heard this last Sunday aren't heard from the pulpit anymore.


  1. I hate that! It's stuff like that that makes it difficult for me to sit through church. I want to walk up to people that say things like that and slap them silly. :(

  2. Oh, a well meaning sister once told me that I would be forgiven for having a hysterectomy. I was so dumbfounded I didn't know whether to cry or scream. (Sorry, had to get that out.)

  3. That would make my head explode too. Like you demonstrated, that analogy falls apart with even the slightest bit of thought about it!

    Another point that's overlooked is that patriarchy can marginalize men too. If we women are only valued for our ovaries and uteruses (uteri?), plenty of LDS men feel that they're only valued for their ability to make money.

  4. Great post. So glad to see so many more people feel the same way I do. I find it's getting harder and harder to stay in church. All I seem to do is show up and get taught and supervised by men...