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A Christlike Response to Radical Mormon Feminism

A Christlike Response to Radical Mormon FeminismLast night, waiting backstage  for our second show of the day to begin, a discussion ensued. (Not at my encouragement, I’d like to note.) A cast member who’s husband is the bishop of her ward said:

As Primary president, two-thirds of our entire budget went to Cub Scouts. That left a third for all of the quarterly activities, Activity Days, sharing time, etc.

While this wasn’t news to me — I’ve been harping on it since I was about 9 and the percentages seem fairly consistent — it was interesting to see not only this very traditional Mormon woman speak out so candidly (in front of her kids), but to see the universal agreement about the problematic disparity in the women’s dressing room.

Isn’t it time to just wake up and fix this? It’s so obvious and so, well, dumb. Why do we keep hanging on to this stuff and trying to justify it? What is so difficult about a little consideration and parity? Do we really “have to wait for every Silver Beaver to die off” before we can make sense of this? 

My feelings on such issues notwithstanding — and my belief that common sense is often sacrificed to the dual gods of “how things have ‘always’ been” and “how they are today is inspired and so God wants it that way” — I’m really not a radical feminist. I don’t want women to become men, I don’t want to dispense with men, and I certainly don’t hate men. (If I’m sexist, it’s probably in favor of men.)

Being in the middle of a political or cultural issue isn’t the way to make friends. You end up with both sides seeing you as an enemy of the state.

So, here I sit with gender issues in the church. Traditionalists thinking I’m a traitor to truth and righteousness and radical feminists thinking I’m a wimp. All I can do is speak up when I think the situation dictates and to deal with the reality of a church that isn’t run by the all-powerful Me and that might actually —usually — have it right.

While I know — and have sometimes been part of — the stridence that often accompanies Mormon feminism (because, let’s face it, actually being heard as a woman in a patriarchal culture can be the more than half the battle), the absolutely hateful, vitriolic responses from the self-proclaimed “faithful” has left a ringing in my ears that is painful. This, generally accompanied by a patronizing “if you really had a  testimony” addendum, is so contrary to the claimed celestial hierarchy that it’s startling.

Today I saw a link posted by a friend of mine of Facebook. It speaks to my heart. I hope it speaks to yours. It is well worth a few minutes of your time.

I Am My Sister’s Keeper by Kylee Shields.

{ 49 comments… add one }

  • IDIAT September 15, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Amazing how experiences vary. I’ve been associated with developing or influencing our ward budget for almost 20 years and the Cub Scout budget has never been more, on a pro rata basis, than the budget for the Activity Day budget for the girls. I’m not quite sure if the percentages are as consistent as you think. Or, at least no more consistent than the large amount of budget allocated to the RS compared to the EQ and HP quorums. I guess perception is reality. The quarterly money coming from Salt Lake for 8 year olds through young single adult ages is on a per head basis. They don’t distinguish between boys and girls. So, if your local leader is doing something other than distributing budget on a pro rata basis, ask him to explain why.

  • janeannechovy September 15, 2013, 3:21 pm

    I really liked Kylee’s post, too!

    You set up a bit of a straw feminist in your post, though, where you say “I’m really not a radical feminist. I don’t want women to become men, I don’t want to dispense with men, and I certainly don’t hate men.” Radical feminists don’t want these things either, and don’t hate men. There are separatists like Sonia Johnson ended up being, but they are such a tiny minority as to be not worth mentioning. Chelsea Shields Strayer, Kylee’s sister, is happily married and wears fabulous lipstick and vintage-inspired adorable outfits–hardly the stereotype of the hairy-legged, ugly, man-hating lesbian you set up.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 15, 2013, 5:03 pm

    IDIAT, I’m not using my personal ward as the standard bearer in budget. I’m using about 30 years of reports from hundreds of people. In that time, I’ve also heard a few reports that match yours. Honestly, probably about 5%, in my best guestimate.

    Yes, I’ve been asking local leadership for years, in various states and stakes. The answers are generally along the lines of:

    (1) Boys need it more than girls
    (2) Scouts just costs more
    (3) This is inspired

    Whether the money from Salt Lake is distributed pro rata to wards has nothing to do with whether it’s distributed pro rata within the wards to members.

    We had pack meeting in my ward this last week. Just the cost of the belt loops, patches, and pins (MOTHER’s pins, which I HATE, because I don’t DO anything to deserve any kind or reward for…) alone are more than the average (in my experience) budget for Activity Day.

    I’d be interested to hear a rundown if you’re willing to provide one. For example, how many cubs you have and how much they get vs. how much other groups get. In my experience the bells and whistles of scouting — added to the overhead of scouting — are far too expensive to match.

    FTR, I stopped giving to Friends of Scouting a few years ago because I refuse to support the corporate salaries of the National Parks Council collected in the name of the church.

    I’ve known hundreds of women who have, for decades, asked for more equality it programs for boys and girls. And I’ve known a few men, as well. If the adult men want more money for events for their quorums (do they?), I’m all for it.
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  • Alison Moore Smith September 15, 2013, 5:06 pm

    janeannechovy, you are totally right. Thank you for pointing that out.

    What I should have said is that I’m not on the extreme end of Mormon feminism and, in fact, in some areas, I’m not really sure what I want because I’m not sure what God wants. Until we/I can figure that out, I’m not sure what we SHOULD be asking for.

    Thanks for calling me out and letting me clarify.
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  • Cynthia L. September 15, 2013, 9:43 pm

    Great post, and I too loved that post by Kylee. It gets increasingly difficult for me to understand why things remain unfixed when they’ve been identified and complained about literally for generations. Why doesn’t somebody in SLC just sit down and go down the list and just check everything off from budget equality to being a temple worker with young kids to women being Sunday School President. I’m not talking about anything that has even slightly to do with doctrine. Just basic stuff. It’s the utter needlessness of so much of the suffering that gets to me.

  • Angie Gardner September 16, 2013, 4:18 am

    Thanks, Alison. I get so tired of the “if you had a testimony” or “the church is still true (even though…)” arguments when I suggest an easy to fix to these issues. When I simply put a link to the women praying in General Conference article on my Facebook page I got all kinds of vitriol (and it’s almost always from women) about why I want the priesthood (never said I did), the church is still true (never said it wasn’t), and why do we want to be like men anyway (again, never said it). Just because you see room for improvement in implementing programs and procedures in the church does not mean you are trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    As for budgets, as a former Primary president I can say that the budget differences are vast between boys and girls. It’s not that the ward clerk tells you “each boy gets $50 and each girl gets $20″ but as you pay for the things that are required for the boys to do scouts (we bought their first book, their awards, and paid the registration) what is left for the girls is minimal. We gave the same amount per child for activities (scouts and activity day girls) but the girls have none of those other costs so by default they get a lot less.

    It’s the same in YW and scouts. I was previously in the stake YW and we tried to make girl’s camp as cheap as we possibly could. I think they finally got it down to around $100 per girl for 4 days. This is having volunteer cooks, volunteer everything, and do everything as cheaply as we can at a camp less than an hour away for most of the girls in our stake.

    Our boys went to High Adventure several states away and went river rafting with professional guides and cooks. I don’t remember the exact cost but obviously it was far greater than what the girls had spent on them. (I know I’ll get the argument so I’ll just address it now…the boys have to pay for some of that themselves. This is true. However, it’s “paid for by the boys” mostly by donations or having the boys do jobs for you that you could do yourself just as easily but you are trying to help them earn money for camp. For example, we paid someone to help with some computer stuff to earn money for camp and also to mow the lawn a few times – things we are perfectly capable of doing but we did it to help out the boys.)

    Anyway, it really isn’t fair and the older I get the more it bugs me. But if I ever say anything (especially in my own family, sadly) I am labeled as someone whose testimony is wavering. I am a returned missionary, a bishop’s wife, and someone with many years of serving in the church. I love the church but see so much room for improvement with how women/girls are treated. I do have hope that eventually we will get to a point where this is a non-issue, but I don’t see it in the near future – especially with scouting. Those at the top are so committed to it and there are enough in the ranks who think it’s the only way for a boy to learn to tie his shoes or get a testimony that it’s really ingrained.

  • Jennifer Beckstrand September 16, 2013, 9:07 am

    There are so many things I want to say, but I have to get to the laundry. I will try to be brief.

    When I was Young Women’s president, one or two girls asked why we didn’t go on all these fun adventures like the Scouts. Angie, I don’t know about your ward, but if we had asked for as much money as the Scouts, we would have gotten it. The true answer is: There weren’t enough YW leaders who wanted to spend five nights in primitive circumstances so two or three of the girls could have a high adventure experience. The boys love the stuff. The girls and the women who have to take them–not so much.

    IDIAT is right–the Relief Society has a bigger budget than either the EQ and High Priests. Does that mean RS women are valued more than the men? And if the money is the only assessment of our value or equality as women in the Church, that’s a pretty poor yardstick, and we’ve got lots bigger issues than how to pay for Webelos belt loops.

    I agree that hate and vitriol have no place in the conversation, but let’s not assume that non-feminists are the only ones spewing hatred. When you wade through all the rhetoric and double speak, people who think that women should receive the priesthood are telling me that the prophet I love and revere is wrong, that he is somehow not a prophet but first and foremost a man who wants to keep women down. I do not believe that about the prophet. I believe he speaks directly to the Lord.

    The protest at the Priesthood Session seems specifically orchestrated to stir up controversy and bad feelings. In fact, it is GUARANTEED to stir up bad feelings. There are other avenues for Mormon feminists to air their grievances without creating contention, but it seems that they crave the contention along with the attention, so that in the end they can complain about how horribly they were treated. Victimhood seems to be the highest virtue these days.

    I will refrain from a diatribe on the doctrine of the priesthood, the divine roles of men and women, and how priesthood authority and priesthood power differ.

    Thanks, Alison, for a great post.
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  • Angie Gardner September 16, 2013, 8:04 pm

    “Angie, I don’t know about your ward, but if we had asked for as much money as the Scouts, we would have gotten it. The true answer is: There weren’t enough YW leaders who wanted to spend five nights in primitive circumstances so two or three of the girls could have a high adventure experience. The boys love the stuff. The girls and the women who have to take them–not so much.”

    -In our ward, they actually give equal amounts towards YW and scout camps, and then parents/boys/fundraisers make up the difference for the scouts. As for not having enough women willing to go , it is true that it’s a battle. I think it’s a battle for the men as well. I know my husband has gone when he really had no desire to, but he was asked so he did so. We did have a LOT of women turn us down for camp, and most of them have very valid reasons for doing so. I do want to state for the record though that the experiences don’t have to be the *same* for them to have equal thought and resources put into them. Maybe the girls could do more of a retreat without the high adventure-ness of it all. I know one stake in our area who recently did a joint youth conference/high adventure for the YM and YW and it was well attended and they had a lot of positive comments.

    -I agree we can’t measure value by budgets, but at the same time I think we need to ask if we can do the same thing for boys that we do for girls (i.e. Faith in God/activity days/Personal Progress/Duty to God) WITHOUT scouting and have just as valuable and not as costly program. I think the answer to that is yes. I have often heard that boys gain their testimonies through scouting – this is where they learn to be MEN – they build strong relationships and mentoring with good men – etc. All of those are great things, but are they exclusive to scouts? I know many great men who were never very involved in scouting and somehow managed to become men anyway. They are strong leaders and can tie knots and know how to build a fire and they have testimonies. Internationally, we grow some great men without the BSA. We can do it without the BSA and save a whole lot of money. That’s not even to mention some of the abuses that happen in scouting, the staffing, the fact that it leaves a lot of boys out if it isn’t their thing, etc. I just don’t think we need it. If a parent wants their son to have a boy scout experience to make them a stronger man then I think that is great – BSA has a lot of great things in place. But as far as church budgets and church staffing supporting it, I think that should be up to the parents, just as it is for girl scouts for the girls.

    I largely agree with you about some of the methods that are used by Mormon feminists to get their point across. Personally, I can’t get on board with the priesthood session thing (although if they’d just do away with both RS meeting and priesthood session I’d be fine with that – 4 more hours that we have together as husband/wife who rarely see each other!) and agree that by design it is going to create “feelings”. However, the women praying in conference was a no-brainer to me. No reason women shouldn’t be able to do that and it was pointed out to church leaders and they acted. I say good for them for hearing the women out there who feel on the outside. We ARE on the outside most of the time. It’s nice to be included in whatever we possibly can be.

    I want to say one other thing about the prophet since you brought that up. I think sometimes we can get into the mindset that the prophet is the prophet and so he can never change his mind or have something brought to his attention that can be easily changed for him to at least consider. That can be done in a respectful way and through the years many prophets have indeed changed their minds on things and we still revere them as the prophet. I sustain the prophet but also allow that even a prophet might have situations brought to his attention that he was not aware of and that can be easily amended for the greater good. This is especially true in the programs and procedures of the church.

  • Matt September 17, 2013, 9:12 am

    I think the following should be done immediately:

    1. Adult women and young women can talk to RS president for interviews. No more men interviewing women.

    2. Have RS Presidency and Bishopric alternate planning & conducting Sacrament Meeting, maybe switching off month to month.

  • Naismith September 17, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Thanks for bringing this up, it is oft-underappreciated aspect of the whole gender issue. How do we support others when we may not agree with them?

    I haven’t seen the disparities in funding etc. as much. My girls did do all kinds of great adventures, going river rafting two states away, night canoe trips, etc. When I’ve been involved with ward councils, women were listened to as much as men, and part of the equity was a result of our input.

    But I don’t deny that others have different experiences, which certainly affects their view.

    As far as as not letting mothers of young children be temple workers, it was explained in a very positive way in our area, that they are encouraging single sisters to step up and fill those roles, and feel good that there is a unique way they can contribute. That doesn’t seem all bad to me.

    I have respect for any woman to do what she thinks is right for herself. I do not appreciate being when another woman portrays me as a mindless sheep if I don’t agree with her. So yes, I also feel stuck in the middle.

  • Angie Gardner September 17, 2013, 3:27 pm

    I agree with everything you said, just wanted to make one further comment on this:

    “When I’ve been involved with ward councils, women were listened to as much as men, and part of the equity was a result of our input.”

    I too have been part of great ward councils, and also not so great. But I think a big part of the issue is just that even in the perfect ward council, there are never enough female voices. At a minimum you have 10 men on a ward council and at a maximum perhaps 5 sisters (3 who are there as part of their ward auxiliary president calling plus the occasional sister missionaries) and most ward councils I’ve been on it’s more like 13 and 3.

    Even if you have women who contribute (and I admittedly have been frustrated by women who don’t contribute much) and whose opinions are sought, you just have a lot more from the male perspective than the female.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 24, 2013, 11:37 am

    Cynthia L., I think you’ve got it right there. There are so many little, buggy issues (the “death with a thousand cuts” often addressed) that can and should be easily addressed.

    The women and prayers issue I’ve been writing about since 2007 is just one example. The handbook agreed with my position six years ago. Why did it take so long to change the behavior? No revelation needed!

    Sincerely, just get out the checklist and see what can be easily checked off! It goes a LONG way to promoting goodwill!
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  • Alison Moore Smith September 24, 2013, 11:47 am

    Angie, I’m so with you on being just plumb tuckered out by the nonsensical (and downright nasty) responses.

    …the budget differences are vast between boys and girls. It’s not that the ward clerk tells you “each boy gets $50 and each girl gets $20″ but as you pay for the things that are required for the boys to do scouts…what is left for the girls is minimal…It’s the same in YW and scouts.

    Boom. Exactly.
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  • Alison Moore Smith September 24, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Jennifer:

    Angie, I don’t know about your ward, but if we had asked for as much money as the Scouts, we would have gotten it.

    Have you actually tried this? In my experience and research, this is very atypical. The budgets just can’t match the demands (costs) of scouting.

    [To be fair, I do think you have to include the officially condoned over-the-pulpit and door-to-door and/or phone-to-phone “donation” strong arming solicitation. Particularly when church fundraising is so limited and scout fundraising doesn’t count as “church fundraising.” Harumph.]

    The true answer is: There weren’t enough YW leaders who wanted to spend five nights in primitive circumstances so two or three of the girls could have a high adventure experience.

    This is a typical response: girls don’t need it or girls don’t want it or the variant about leaders not needing/wanting these activities. There is truth to it, but also an inherent problem.

    True, there are far fewer girls/women who want to spend five nights hiking in and using a lashed latrine. But there are lots of things girls/women actually like to do. The real problem is that it is only the boys favored activities that are labeled as important enough to get the funds.

    Use Angie’s example. Why is a week long rafting trip (which, incidentally, I would love) worth uber dollars, but NOTHING the girls/leaders want to do is worth as much?

    I think it is fallacious to conclude:

    (1) Boys get X dollars for activity Y
    (2) Girls don’t want to do activity Y
    (3) Therefore, girls don’t need X dollars

    Case in point. In my ward in Boca, ALL the boys were GIVEN the funds to certify in SCUBA. Some of the girls wanted to do that and some didn’t. As a YW leader at the time, I asked if the girls could have similar funding for a “super activity.” We were told that we could have it, but from that time until I moved back to Utah, every single idea we proposed (with ideas coming from the YW) was denied as not being worthwhile enough.

    Everything the scout program offers has been ipso facto approved as valuable and worthwhile. Yet the YW are left to try to prove their cases and beg and plead for support and approval.

    In fact, probably the biggest YW expenditure is YW camp — which apparently is approved because the boys camp.

    Does that mean RS women are valued more than the men?

    I addressed that a bit above. I think it’s bogus to leap to the idea that anyone is claiming we are only about monetary value. But, of course, the amount of resources the church applies to various programs IS meaningful. That’s just the real world.

    I agree that hate and vitriol have no place in the conversation, but let’s not assume that non-feminists are the only ones spewing hatred.

    I’m not assuming as much. Having a discussion about any particular issue doesn’t necessarily make a claim about another issue. I argued the same thing on the non-feminist side, here. Giving women advice on how to be better doesn’t mean men are perfect.

    The issue I’m trying to address here is that it’s utterly wrong-headed to claim the righteous, Christ-like, faithful position, while being a huge bag of hateful nastiness. Be one or the other. Fine. But there’s a boatload of hypocrisy there.

    If you want to write a post about the issue of feminist attitudes, I’m happy to post it here. :)

    …people who think that women should receive the priesthood are telling me that the prophet I love and revere is wrong, that he is somehow not a prophet but first and foremost a man who wants to keep women down.

    Is that what they are telling you? I read a lot of this stuff and that’s not what I see. But I’ll go back to my usual example:

    Elder Holland has said that for decades before it happened, since he was a boy, he wanted blacks to get the priesthood, prayed they could get it, asked why they couldn’t have it, and then rejoiced when it happened. (You and I were just kids, but wasn’t your experience the same as mine? People literally flooding the streets to share the news, hugging and crying?)

    He did so LONG before he was anybody with authority. In other words, yup, he thought the current policy (upheld by the current leaders) could be changed, should be change, and he WANTED it to change.

    Would you say this to him?

    “Elder Holland, you think that blacks should receive the priesthood and you are telling me that the prophet I love and revere is wrong, that he is somehow not a prophet but first and foremost a man who wants to keep black people down. I do not believe that about the prophet. I believe he speaks directly to the Lord.”

    I doubt you would. In fact, in all my years discussing this, I’ve never heard anyone from the “traditionalist” view who would apply the same motives and lack of faith and vitriol to Elder Holland as they do to women and men who ask questions about the priesthood. Not a single solitary one.

    The protest at the Priesthood Session seems specifically orchestrated to stir up controversy and bad feelings. In fact, it is GUARANTEED to stir up bad feelings.

    I haven’t followed it much and haven’t heard much, but why do you believe this? Honestly, what is the big deal about it? Why would anyone be upset by the suggestion?

    I have attended the General RS meeting in person many times. I have ALWAYS seen men in the audience (absolutely in the minority, as you’d expect). Men ALWAYS preside and a man is ALWAYS the “keynote” speaker. Is this heresy? Is it a problem? If not, why is it an enormous issue for a woman to attend the priesthood session? (It never bothered me. In fact, I was kind of impressed that someone wanted to go to more meetings than expected.)

    Why wouldn’t the priesthood session — at least once in a while — include a FEMALE perspective on something. Wouldn’t that actually be valuable to the men?

    To be clear, I was asked by a couple of groups to speak out about the whole issue (by those on either side) and I declined, because I really don’t care that much. I DO think it’s odd that it’s always been the “secret” meeting, treated differently than others. But I don’t have some pressing desire to go, either. But I sure can’t see why it would be a problem for a woman to go if she WANTED to. (Just as the reverse happens on occasion.)

    There are other avenues for Mormon feminists to air their grievances without creating contention…

    Such as?
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  • Alison Moore Smith September 24, 2013, 1:32 pm

    Sorry, all. My show ended last night and I’m finally trying to catch up on everything! :)

    I sustain the prophet but also allow that even a prophet might have situations brought to his attention that he was not aware of and that can be easily amended for the greater good.

    Angie, spot on.

    The rules about wearing garments next to the skin, for example, changed over 30 years ago (according to the temple matron at the SL temple when I was endowed) — when women who’d had mastectomies explained (en masse) that garments made their prosthesis slide off!

    The point being, this info wasn’t poofed to the prophet. It was TOLD to him by those who dealt with the issue.

    Isn’t that really the most efficient and elegant way for humans to disseminate information? Why would God intervene to take care of things we can take care of ourselves?

    It reminds me of the time President Hinckley was asked about women and the priesthood and he said LDS women weren’t “agitating for it.” Note that the answer was that, in his perception, it wasn’t an issue because it wasn’t an issue TO WOMEN. Which would kind of indicate that it might have been an issue if he perceived women to care about it.
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  • Alison Moore Smith September 24, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Matt, I particularly like your #1.

    I sincerely think it’s not just awkward, but incredibly troubling and problematic for women and girls to be required to describe intimate issues with a married adult man.

    In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s really inappropriate and kind of ludicrous.

    Naismith, thanks for your thoughtful comment and insights. I’m glad your experience has been so positive overall.

    Angie:

    Even if you have women who contribute (and I admittedly have been frustrated by women who don’t contribute much) and whose opinions are sought, you just have a lot more from the male perspective than the female.

    Absolutely.

    I sincerely believe that at least a decent percentage of those who don’t contribute have made that choice due to past experience. If they are accustomed to being shut down or dismissed or patronized, most aren’t likely to continue to try. PARTICULARLY in a setting where doing so is seen as lacking in faith. (And the cycle continues…)
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  • Powderhorn7 October 1, 2013, 7:34 pm

    Do woman have the ability, talent, capacity, time, education, experience, and heart to serve leadership positions in the church that have been assigned to men? OF COURSE they do! Are women lessor because they are not asked to serve in certain leadership positions? OF COURSE NOT! Can a man influence a child in the same way as his/her mother? NO! Can he still love, provide, protect, teach, influence his children? OF COURSE, but not the same way as a mother can! No matter how hard men work to change the natural capacities as a woman, they won’t be able to change what God created. Why is it then that men are called to serve in capacities that women are not asked to serve? ASK the PERFECT ONE, it is His church. If more people would follow the pattern of prayer and communication with God they would not be asking mortal men to answer a question only a Perfect God knows the answer. In an attempt to demonstrate love, respect, and care, mortal men attempt to explain what God has put in place, and they fall short. Bottom line, stop the contention…spend time asking God, your heart will be filled with what you need.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 5, 2013, 10:11 am

    powderhorn7, you could, at least, give us a unique response instead of just copying and pasting from another site.

    Given that, I’ll copy my response to you from over there:

    Powderhorn7, it’s interesting that you assume those who engage in this discourse haven’t done enough praying. I assume they’re engaging in it because they have.

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  • greg November 18, 2013, 5:18 pm

    I think we should recycle the cub scout pins… they all cost too much in my book

  • jennycherie February 1, 2014, 6:31 pm

    This thread has been on my mind today, thinking of the general nastiness and vitriol that crop up when women speak up about inequality. First off, I saw this video about the power that white people have to speak up when they witness behavior that is blatantly racist:

    I tried to post the link and it won’t let me but it is on UpWorthy (I also shared it on facebook) and the name of it is “One Easy Thing All White People Could Do That Would Make the World a Better Place,” if you would like to see it.

    Then, later today, I got mildly upset when I received a bill from the dentist that was addressed to my husband. I didn’t go crazy or get mad, but I noticed it and commented on it. It annoys me when places of business address everything to my husband, particularly when my husband has never been to said business. In this case, I take my children and myself to the dentist. My husband does not go to the dentist because he truly doesn’t need to. The man has teeth of iron. They do not get cavities no matter how badly he treats them. ANYway, I take my children to the dentist and the dental insurance we have is in my name through my employer. My husband has been in the office exactly one time. But when the bill comes, it is addressed to him. It’s not a big deal. We are a family and we all live together and pay our bills together, but it bugs me. How did he get on the bill? He wasn’t there. He is not the “primary” on the insurance. How did his name get there instead of mine? I’d get it if he carried the insurance or if he made the appointments or if sometimes paid the bill or took the kids to their appointments, but he does none of these things. So it bugs me.

    Part of the reason it bugs me is because it is not just the dentist’s office where this happens. It happens at the mechanic, who has NEVER met my husband. I make an appointment to get the oil changed. They ask, “what is your name?” I give my last name. They ask, “is it under Michael?” And I reluctantly say, “yes” even though he has NEVER brought them a vehicle or written them a check or made the decision to take a car to them. I’ve told them my name repeatedly, and it does not matter.

    Good grief – it happened in tithing settlement! Apparently, if I write the checks for tithing together (combining mine and my husband’s), it can only be associated with one membership number. And so they can’t do a joint statement, so it all shows up under my husband. I KNOW It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but it just seems ridiculous. *I* write the checks and make sure it gets turned in. If I didn’t, tithing would not be paid ever. So, when I go to tithing settlement and my name isn’t on the receipt, it rankles.

    And it happens in most of the businesses/utilities we use. And it bugs me. But when I mention it, I am accused of being a radical feminist, a man-hater, part of the problem with this country, and more. I don’t want to attack men in this matter, but it seems like if nobody says anything, then nobody knows there is a problem to fix. If good men don’t know it is a problem, why would they change anything? But much like the video I linked to above, MEN can say things about these types of problems and use their power to effect change, whereas women are more likely to be categorized as radical man-haters when they speak up.
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  • New Iconoclast February 5, 2014, 1:40 pm

    jennycherie, I think that name thing would drive me crazy and I’m the husband. My wife is perfectly capable of managing her own relationships on her own. We use separate dentists, like you do, because mine is convenient to my work and hers is convenient to her and the kids and the schools; so far, they haven’t mistaken her for my chattel but I think I would set them straight if they did.

    When we bought our house, she set up most of the utilities, so they come in her name. They’ve never failed to accept my check; we’ve always found separate checking accounts to be more convenient.

    And you can definitely be accounted for separately for tithing. If you and your DH use different names on your tithing slips, and turn them in separately, and you still get lumped together as a joint tithing account, that’s your oinker of a ward financial clerk, not Church policy or software necessity. They may not be able to do a joint statement, but they can do one in your name, and if he declares he’s a full tithepayer, that’s between him and the bishop. Step on that nonsense tout suite.

    Once, many years ago, when I was very young, I had a manager whose wife kept her maiden name. Their checks read “John Jones and Mary Smith.” I made the error once – just once – of saying, “But she’s still Mrs. John Jones.” He set me straight very quickly, and I learned. Lo these many years later, after having watched my mom go from “Mrs. Dad Iconoclast” to Ms. Mom Iconoclast, and watching my own wife and strong daughters, I understand a lot better what he meant.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 11, 2014, 7:51 am

    jennycherie, here is the link you referred to:

    http://youtu.be/GTvU7uUgjUI

    The video is wonderful. The woman is so articulate and expresses her point perfectly.

    And, yes, the policy about tithing changed a few years ago so that now if a couple pays together, the man’s name goes on the donation slip and no one else’s. I asked about it a couple of times. I told them I want to be listed. I told them I MAKE money (not that that should be the issue, but still…) and that I should be listed. I told them it’s problematic to require me to divide up our income specifically to pay tithes and other offerings. But they said the computers can’t do it anymore.

    I suppose that gets me out of tithing settlement. :P Yes, I do pay my tithing, but if I can’t even appear on the donation slip, what exactly am I reporting to the bishop? That my HUSBAND is a full tithes payer?

    BTW, you can pay all tithes and offerings online now. If you do a billpay from your bank and pay to the church at Wells Fargo, there is an account for each type of donation. :)

    I don’t want to attack men in this matter, but it seems like if nobody says anything, then nobody knows there is a problem to fix. If good men don’t know it is a problem, why would they change anything? But much like the video I linked to above, MEN can say things about these types of problems and use their power to effect change, whereas women are more likely to be categorized as radical man-haters when they speak up.

    Boom.

    New Iconoclast, so well said. Thank you.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Career Inequality No More – Obama Will Pay You to Be a Super Model!!!My Profile

  • jennycherie February 11, 2014, 5:31 pm

    Thank you! I can’t tell you how it helps preserve my sanity to have someone understand what I mean and not think I am a crazy man-hater. For this year, I am writing our tithing on separate slips with only one name on the slip.
    jennycherie recently posted…It’s that time of year again: NovemberMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith February 11, 2014, 9:17 pm

    jennycherie, you crazy man-hater, you!
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  • Tylet March 26, 2014, 1:48 pm

    Allison,

    I agree with many of your comments, but I don’t think your example of young Jeffrey R. Holland and blacks receiving the priesthood is a fair comparison with those agitating for women to be ordained. Nothing in Elder Holland’s comments indicates that he attributed the delay in granting the priesthood to an error on the part of the church leaders, as mormon feminists regularly assert about women and the priesthood.

    For what it’s worth, I think that scouting has many worthwhile aspects, and many that are simply a waste of time and money. I would welcome the church developing its own separate program. However, I think the church stays in scouting in order to be a positive influence on the organization and as a means of building relationships with other faiths. Regardless, you will not find me criticizing and ignorantly judging church leaders for their decision.

    • Alison Moore Smith March 26, 2014, 7:25 pm

      Actually, Tylet, everything about Holland’s questions indicated he thought church leaders were wrong. The conventional wisdom of the time — and official teachings in church published material — was that blacks did not have the priesthood and would never get the priesthood. Ever. If righteous, they would be “ministering angels.” (I’m old enough to remember it myself and I still own some of those publications.)

      If Mormon Doctrine was telling people that blacks weren’t as righteous in the pre-existence (and it was) and, so, would never qualify, there’s only one place for those questions to go.

      In fact, all the speculation was wrong. Publications, books, lessons, and practice changed. (Ask Randy Bott what it’s like not to get the memo on such changes.)

      To be fair, Joseph Fielding McConkie (Bruce R. McConkie’s son) lived on my dad’s street in Orem for decades and they worked together in church leadership on occasion. Once my dad asked Joseph about the the problem with making such firm statement that were later withdrawn. Joseph said his dad’s answer was, “Well, I was wrong!”

      The apostle didn’t seem to think it was a big deal — and thought it rather obvious. I’m glad recent official rhetoric reflects that. It’s time we all did the same.
      Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Videos of Jesus Christ – Ye Have Done It Unto My DaughterMy Profile

  • Tyler March 26, 2014, 8:40 pm

    Sorry, my name’s Tyler, not Tylet. That’s what I get for trying to post from a not-so-smart phone.

    Allison – it may not be intentional, but you are misrepresenting what Elder Holland said. He did not criticize the policy of withholding the priesthood from blacks (although he obviously was relieved when the revelation was given changing that policy). What he criticized was the perpetuation of baseless “folklore” in an attempt to explain WHY the policy was in place:

    “They, I’m sure, in their own way, were doing the best they knew to give shape to [the policy], to give context for it, to give even history to it. All I can say is however well intended the explanations were, I think almost all of them were inadequate and/or wrong. It probably would have been advantageous to say nothing, to say we just don’t know, and, [as] with many religious matters, whatever was being done was done on the basis of faith at that time.”

    What Elder Holland does not say here (contrary to your claim) is that the prophets from Brigham Young through Spencer W. Kimball had been wrong to not extend priesthood blessings to blacks before 1978. So you are wrong to equate Elder Holland’s example with those Mormon feminists who presume to tell the prophets and apostles that they are mistaken about this or that doctrinal issue–including the ordination of women.

    Like I said, I’m willing to assume that your misrepresentation of Elder Holland was unintentional. However, if you’re going to invoke the name of a church leader in a forum like this, I think it’s your responsibility to make sure you are accurate.

  • Tyler March 26, 2014, 9:00 pm

    Allison – I also think it’s worth pointing out that your characterization of the church’s pre-1978 position on blacks and the priesthood is incorrect. I don’t doubt that for many (including some church leaders) the “conventional wisdom” may have been that blacks would NEVER receive the priesthood, but this stands in contrast with actual church doctrine, which held that the ban was temporary, and that there would be no blessing withheld from anyone on the basis of race in the life to come. For example, you can go back as far as President Wilford Woodruff, who said of the black race: “The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have.” If you feel the need to criticize church leaders – past or present – at least do so fairly. Members and potential members of the church struggle enough with these issues without sincere and credible sources like yourself spreading misinformation.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 26, 2014, 11:19 pm

    Tyler, the reason members struggle with these issues is because they are real issues. Not because I fabricated them.

    Tyler:

    Allison – it may not be intentional, but you are misrepresenting what Elder Holland said. He did not criticize the policy of withholding the priesthood from blacks (although he obviously was relieved when the revelation was given changing that policy). What he criticized was the perpetuation of baseless “folklore” in an attempt to explain WHY the policy was in place:

    Actually, you are misrepresenting what I said. The interview you’re quoting isn’t the discussion I’m referring to in the comments. I’ll copy what I actually said here:

    Elder Holland has said that for decades before it happened, since he was a boy, he wanted blacks to get the priesthood, prayed they could get it, asked why they couldn’t have it, and then rejoiced when it happened.

    He did so LONG before he was anybody with authority. In other words, yup, he thought the current policy (upheld by the current leaders) could be changed, should be change, and he WANTED it to change.

    What Elder Holland does not say here (contrary to your claim) is that the prophets from Brigham Young through Spencer W. Kimball had been wrong to not extend priesthood blessings to blacks before 1978.

    Holland HOPED that many things that HAD been taught and WERE being taught were wrong. He hoped the official stance would change. Long before it DID change.

    You can parse all sorts of things and pull out quotes. But when you admit that “some church leaders” even taught that blacks would never get the priesthood, you start twisting yourself into illogical knots.

    Just for fun — and following your implied “prophets are never wrong” argument — here are some quotes. You can tell me yourself whether these authoritative quotes were right or wrong, given what we NOW practice:

    Brigham Young

    Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, pp. 142–143:

    When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the priesthood and of coming into the Kingdom of God and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.

    Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 7, pp. 290–291

    How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.

    See also Journal of Discourses, volume 11 and Brigham Young Addresses for similar statements

    Brigham Young, Brigham Young Addresses, February 5, 1852

    The moment we consent to mingle with the seed of Cain the Church must go to destruction, – we should receive the curse which has been placed upon the seed of Cain, and never more be numbered with the children of Adam who are heirs to the priesthood until that curse be removed.

    Notes

    1. curse of Cain invoked
    2. conditions for removal of claimed curse still not met
    3. women are descendants of Adam (in case you missed that)
    4. God is still God, as far as I can tell
    5. Biracial couples go to the temple every day

    John Taylor

    John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 22, p. 304

    And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham’s wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God…

    Notes

    1. curse of Cain invoked
    2. blacks represent the devil

    David O. McKay

    David O. McKay, Mormonism and the Negro, Part 2, p. 19

    I know of no scriptural basis for denying the Priesthood to Negroes other than one verse in the Book of Abraham; however, I believe, as you suggest that the real reason dates back to our pre-existent life.

    Notes

    1. misbehavior in preexistence invoked

    Joseph Fielding Smith

    Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p. 101

    Not only was Cain called to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures…. they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning.

    Joseph Fielding Smith, The Improvement Era, v. 27, n. 6, p. 565

    It is true that the negro race is barred from holding the Priesthood, and this has always been the case. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this doctrine, and it was made known to him, although we know of no such statement in any revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon, or the Bible.

    Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, p. 61

    “There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we come here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less.

    See also Juvenile Instructor, The Glory of Mormonism, etc.

    Notes

    1. blacks are an “inferior race”
    2. curse must remain “while time endures”
    3. I think we still have that “time” thing going on
    4. Joseph Smith taught this doctrine
    5. no record of Joseph Smith being taught this doctrine
    6. those born black and with disadvantages were being punished for being sinful
    7. kind of like the blind, deaf, crippled (cough)
    8. Tyler, shall we see who is richer, so we know which of us more righteous?

    Other Folks

    Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 477, 1958

    Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them…. Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned…

    Mark E. Peterson, Race Problems as They Affect the Church, address at the convention of Teachers of Religion On the College Level, BYU, August 27, 1954

    Is there reason then why the type of birth we receive in this life is not a reflection of our worthiness or lack of it in the pre-existent life? … can we account in any other way for the birth of some of the children of God in darkest Africa, or in flood-ridden China, or among the starving hordes of India, while some of the rest of us are born here in the United States? We cannot escape the conclusion that because of performance in our pre-existence some of us are born as Chinese, some as Japanese, some as Latter-day Saints. There are rewards and punishments, fully in harmony with His established policy in dealing with sinners and saints, rewarding all according to their deeds…

    Think of the Negro, cursed as to the Priesthood…. This Negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with a black skin, and possibly being born in darkest Africa – if that Negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, he may have many of the blessings of the gospel. In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, the Lord is willing…. to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the Celestial Kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory.

    N. Eldon Tanner, Seattle Magazine, December 1967, p.60

    The Church has no intention of changing its doctrine on the Negro. Throughout the history of the original Christian church, the Negro never held the priesthood. There’s really nothing we can do to change this. It’s a law of God.

    John L. Lund, The Church and the Negro, pp. 104-105, 109_110 1967

    Those who believe that the Church ‘gave in’ on the polygamy issue and subsequently should give in on the Negro question are not only misinformed about Church History, but are apparently unaware of Church doctrine…. Therefore, those who hope that pressure will bring about a revelation need to take a closer look at Mormon history and the order of heaven.

    Those who would try to pressure the Prophet to give the Negroes the Priesthood do not understand the plan of God nor the order of heaven. Revelation is the expressed will of God to man. Revelation is not man’s will expressed to God. All the social, political, and governmental pressure in the world is not going to change what God has decreed to be.

    First, [before the seed of Cain get the priesthood] all of Adam’s children will have to resurrect and secondly, the seed of Abel must have an opportunity to possess the Priesthood. These events will not occur until sometime after the end of the millennium.

    Arthur M. Richardson, That Ye May Not Be Deceived, pp. 9–10

    Also, the gospel was not carried to this segregated black group… the Negroes tread the earth with black dishonorable bodies as a judgment of God because at the time of decision in the pre-existence they were faint-hearted and exhibited an infirmity of purpose – they were not valiant in the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, they were entitled to no better earthly lineage than that of the first early murderer, Cain. They were to be the ‘servant of servants.’ They were to be segregated. No effort was made to carry the gospel to them as a people.

    How many more authoritative (prophets and apostles) quotes do you need, Tyler? Sorry, this simply WAS what the church taught.

    When poor Randy Bott was thrown under the bus, I sincerely felt bad for him. He’s just this older guy who teaches religion and spent his LIFE as a church apologist. He listened to what he was taught and toed the party line. He just used his best judgment to try to make sense of some policies that were pretty nonsensical. Times changed and his rhetoric — which did nothing more than mirror past official church dogma — was no longer acceptable.

    Tyler, do a little research and find out how many of these authoritative responses were directly the result of someone who QUESTIONED the leaders about the church’s stance toward blacks. Our leaders were THINKING about it BECAUSE it became a political/cultural issue, when it had never been one before. That doesn’t negate the gospel, it just means the church has to grow in the world it’s planted in.

    Like I said, Tyler, I’m willing to assume that your misrepresentation of me was unintentional. However, if you’re going to invoke my name like this, I think it’s your responsibility to make sure you are accurate.
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  • Cambendy March 26, 2014, 11:42 pm

    Tylet, you just got schooled.

  • Tyler March 27, 2014, 12:56 am

    Allison –

    (1) I did not accuse you of fabricating these issues. I suggested that you were sincere but inadvertently mischaracterizing Elder Holland’s experience.

    (2) Please show me how I mischaracterized what you said. That will require more than simply quoting yourself paraphrasing (incorrectly) Elder Holland. How did what you said about Elder Holland differ from my description of it? You think you’re being clever using my own words against me, but unless there’s some substance to your claim it comes across as “I know you are but what am I?”

    (3) Elder Holland did not take up an adversarial stance toward the official position of the church re blacks and the priesthood. He hoped for a change and welcomed it when it came, but he did not accuse church leaders of being out of sync with God’s will. Note that he doesn’t say the Lord could not have withheld the priesthood from blacks (as He has from other groups in various times and places throughout history) for a valid reason, he simply objects to baseless speculation as to what the Lord’s reason(s) might have been. I’m sorry, but you’re wrong to equate Elder Holland’s experience on this issue with those who assert that church leaders are wrong to “withhold” priesthood ordination from women.

    (4) I’m not the least bit impressed with your cut-and-paste skills. I have not denied that some church leaders taught and believed racist doctrines in the past, but your selection of quotations is neither balanced nor comprehensive. I do not believe, as you imply, that prophets are never wrong. But there is no “illogical knot” in distinguishing between the statements of individual church leaders, on the one hand, and official church doctrine, on the other. If you disagree, take it up with Elder Holland, who in the quote I provided earlier defends (without attempting to explain) the pre-1978 policy, while criticizing the uninspired explanations of that policy.

    (5) I’m sure you are aware that President McKay petitioned the Lord for an extension of priesthood blessings to everyone regardless of race. Yet President McKay did not receive the revelation changing the policy. Would Elder Holland at that time or now say that President McKay was WRONG? Would you? Did President Kimball receive a different answer because he was more in tune with the spirit and more receptive to the Lord’s will, or did the Lord simply give a different answer? This is the distinction you are failing to see when you equate Elder Holland’s experience hoping for a change of doctrine (while supporting the church leadership) with those who today accuse the leaders of the church of being out of touch with God’s will for his church.

    Feel free to respond if you like–I’ll let you have the last word.

  • jennycherie March 27, 2014, 5:08 am

    “many of these authoritative responses were directly the result of someone who QUESTIONED the leaders about the church’s stance toward blacks. Our leaders were THINKING about it BECAUSE it became a political/cultural issue, when it had never been one before. That doesn’t negate the gospel, it just means the church has to grow in the world it’s planted in.”

    I think this is the really important point. There were leaders who asked about blacks receiving the priesthood whose answer was “no.” Until the time was right, the answer was no. Then the answer changed as it sometimes does. I don’t think we can decide for the Lord when the time is right to change a current policy or circumstance. But it is ok if we ask questions and if we ask our leaders. And, when a prophet makes a mistake (hello: Joseph Smith + banking to name one) it does not make a prophet less of a prophet. President Uchtdorf addressed this in his talk, “Come Join With Us” when he said:

    “to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.

    I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.”

    He also did not discourage the worries and questions of members. He didn’t say we should sit down and shut up and quit bugging the leaders. He did encourage patience.
    “Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction.”
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2014, 9:49 am

    Allison –

    Tyler, that’s not my name. It’s listed about 400 times on every page, so how about you check that. Or it that “Tylet.”

    (1) I did not accuse you of fabricating these issues. I suggested that you were sincere but inadvertently mischaracterizing Elder Holland’s experience.

    You accused me of being unfair and spreading misinformation. It’s not misinformation. It’s inconvenient truth. Whether you like it or not, we have to either stick our heads in the sand or plug our ears and cry “la la la la la” or deal the cognitive dissonance that the truth brings.

    I’ve been reading real church history for decades. It’s troubling. I’ve decided to accept the fact (now, finally, substantiated formally by President Uchtdorf) that our leaders are fallible humans. Better than most. More inspired than most. But still (shocker!) impacted by their culture, families, experiences, etc. (That should be obvious.) In other words, I choose to deal with the cognitive dissonance and try to make sense of it when I can.

    (2) Please show me how I mischaracterized what you said.

    Here you go, Tyler.

    Tyler said:

    …you are misrepresenting what Elder Holland said. He did not criticize the policy of withholding the priesthood from blacks (although he obviously was relieved when the revelation was given changing that policy). What he criticized was the perpetuation of baseless “folklore” in an attempt to explain WHY the policy was in place

    You said that and proceeded to quote Elder Holland — in an entirely different statement, situation, date than what I’m referring to.

    Of course he said what you quoted, but I wasn’t referring to that quote (or place or time) with regards to his position.

    Further mischaracterization, you said these two things:

    He did not criticize the policy of withholding the priesthood from blacks

    I did not make the claim that he did. Another straw man.

    What Elder Holland does not say here (contrary to your claim) is that the prophets from Brigham Young through Spencer W. Kimball had been wrong to not extend priesthood blessings to blacks before 1978

    First (per above) your “here” is wrong, since you’re quoting a DIFFERENT instance. Second, your “claim” is wrong, since I simply did not claim that Elder Holland stated that “prophets from Brigham young through Spencer W. Kimball had been wrong.”

    More good mischaracterizations from you:

    your characterization of the church’s pre-1978 position on blacks and the priesthood is incorrect.

    I was there pre-1978. It was everywhere. I still have some of the old church-published books. (Yes, I’m that old. One of them was one my husband was required to take on his mission.) And I gave you just a few of the authoritative quotes.

    As I said, ask Randy Bott. He was a BYU religion professor. He taught the same things for decades because they WERE the typical explanations. He didn’t make the stuff up out of thin air — it was authoritative — which is why I was very sympathetic toward him.

    I don’t doubt that for many (including some church leaders) the “conventional wisdom” may have been that blacks would NEVER receive the priesthood, but this stands in contrast with actual church doctrine, which held that the ban was temporary, and that there would be no blessing withheld from anyone on the basis of race in the life to come.

    Tyler, church leaders, church manuals, church magazines, church forums, all taught that the reason blacks couldn’t have the priesthood was some combination of mark of Cain and/or preexistent misbehavior. The official stance from Brigham Young on down was that either they could only be “ministering angels” or could have full blessings after the resurrection.

    If you don’t know that, you are simply uninformed. And if you don’t acknowledge that the fact that black men got the priesthood in 1978 shows these definitive statements were incorrect, you’re delusional.

    Heavens, I taught Gospel Doctrine in the late ’80s and early ’90s and there were still all sorts of things in the MANUALS that sound incredibly racist today. I spent one full class period discussing why the MANUAL strongly warned against interracial marriage. (In my ward that was about one third various hispanic, one third Haitian, and one third white.)

    I realize those quotes make you uncomfortable. The same goes for all of us. But we simply have to realize that the culture and climate were remarkably different. Just as there are things today that we can’t imagine will be “mainstream” in 30 years.

    Pretending that the church didn’t take the position it did is simply intellectually dishonest. Plus it’s wrong.

    So, yea, practically everything you said was a mischaracterization of what I said. You seem to have taken these far flung assumptions about what I mean and injected them into my words…when they aren’t there.

    (3) Elder Holland did not take up an adversarial stance toward the official position of the church re blacks and the priesthood.

    Another straw man. I agree with you, but never claimed otherwise.

    He hoped for a change and welcomed it when it came, but he did not accuse church leaders of being out of sync with God’s will.

    No, he didn’t. Again, I agree. He did not “accuse” them of anything and I never stated otherwise.

    The church’s stand was that blacks either could never inherit the highest degree of celestial glory or could only do so after the resurrection. Holland HOPED they were wrong. He PRAYED that they were wrong. He WANTED them to be wrong and wanted blacks to get the priesthood — contrary to what the church taught.

    I’m sorry, but you’re wrong to equate Elder Holland’s experience on this issue with those who assert that church leaders are wrong to “withhold” priesthood ordination from women.

    My point has always been that if it is acceptable for Holland — from the time he was a boy — to HOPE the prophets are wrong, to PRAY that the prophets are wrong, to YEARN for a change that is…the clincher…CONTRARY TO WHAT THE CHURCH CURRENTLY TEACHES…then it’s OK for the OW women to do the same thing.

    (4) I’m not the least bit impressed with your cut-and-paste skills.

    Well, you should at least be impressed with my formatting skills, which apparently far outweigh yours. That said, would you suggest that I manually enter quotes that have already been typed in by others thousands of times? Is that what would impress you?

    I have not denied that some church leaders taught and believed racist doctrines in the past, but your selection of quotations is neither balanced nor comprehensive.

    Tyler, of course it’s not balanced. The point is to show the vast number of prophets and apostles who taught these things, over and over, spanning decades. And I did. (You’re welcome.)

    Of course it’s not comprehensive. Are you serious? (I don’t think that word means what you think it means.) This is a blog post. I already spent an inordinate amount of time educating you on things you could look up yourself, but didn’t.

    But there is no “illogical knot” in distinguishing between the statements of individual church leaders, on the one hand, and official church doctrine, on the other.

    And please, pray tell, give me your infallible source of all things “official church doctrine”! I’m sure many of us will be highly educated!

    Did President Kimball receive a different answer because he was more in tune with the spirit and more receptive to the Lord’s will, or did the Lord simply give a different answer?

    I don’t know. Certainly he could have been more in tune on this issue. I don’t suspect all prophets are identical. The church has repeatedly said that there were particularly pressing challenges — such as the upcoming Brazilian temple — that made the matter more urgent than it had been.

    Church leaders have many things to deal with. It seems a rather inelegant solution to ignore the idea that they probably pay more attention to pressing issues than ones that no one cares about. As our culture became more aware of racial disparity, so did our leaders. Perhaps as our culture becomes more aware of gender disparity, our leaders will, as well.

    This is the distinction you are failing to see when you equate Elder Holland’s experience hoping for a change of doctrine (while supporting the church leadership) with those who today accuse the leaders of the church of being out of touch with God’s will for his church.

    I only fail to make the distinction, because you are making stuff up. I’ve never promoted any particular kind of action or protest. Perhaps you can go back and read the actual context in which I referenced Elder Holland’s experience (NOT the experience you keep claiming I’m referencing, just to remind you). I’ve already explained what the comparison is used to show. Reread above in this comment if you’ve forgotten.

    Feel free to respond if you like–I’ll let you have the last word.

    Why thank you! I was hoping you’d give me permission to comment on my own blog!
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Parent Delighted by Kids Falling On IceMy Profile

    • Tyler March 27, 2014, 10:40 am

      ALISON – I’m very sorry to have misspelled your name. I have a sister named ALLISON, and I simply didn’t notice the single “L.” But man are you being nasty in your replies to my comments. So much for your call for a Christlike response to those with whom we disagree.

  • Tyler March 27, 2014, 10:30 am

    jennycherie – I agree with your comment 100%. I will just add that, while the Lord does not tell us to “sit down and shut up and quit bugging the leaders,” the Lord does expect us to follow and sustain the prophet and apostles. I may disagree with the prophet on a particular issue, but I must always recognize that HE is the Lord’s mouthpiece–not me. If I set myself up as a contrary voice to the church, seek to rally the opinion of church members to my way of thinking, and thereby pressure the prophet to bend to my view, this is not patience and faith, but rather the beginning of apostasy.

    On this note, I have often heard Ordain Women supporters deny that they are attempting to pressure the prophet to change church policy. They say instead that they are merely ASKING the Prophet to inquire of the Lord about this issue. Certainly there is nothing wrong with asking the prophet to ask the Lord a question, but we should not ask a question unless we are willing to abide by the Lord’s answer (which may be different than our own, despite how strongly we feel that we are correct). Consider the examples of Martin Harris pressuring Joseph Smith to lend him the 116 pages of the BOM, or even the ancient Israelites pressuring Aaron to make them a golden calf.

    So here’s the test: what would these women do if in the next conference President Monson stood at the pulpit and stated that he had inquired of the Lord about the ordination of women and that the answer was “No”? We already know that some of these women would not be satisfied (they have already told us this!), and would continue to publicly agitate for the ordination of women. We absolutely should love these women and treat them charitably, but we should not be afraid to call out and condemn their antagonistic attitude toward the leaders of the church.

  • jonnie March 27, 2014, 10:35 am

    I love how Tyler gives permission for Alison to have the last word and then feels compelled to interject himself into the conversation again.

    Ha ha. Good one!

  • Oregonian March 27, 2014, 10:51 am

    typical male chauvinist, tyler. you dont even bother to read carefully before you start in on the attack. then you get your panties in a wad because people dont let you get away with it.

    try reading for real. refuting your stupidity with facts isnt being nasty, you just cant handle the truth. sounds like a movie line.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2014, 11:37 am

    Tyler:

    But man are you being nasty in your replies to my comments. So much for your call for a Christlike response to those with whom we disagree.

    And there you have it. Rather than addressing the ISSUE, you just get all bothered and claim victimhood. Predictable.

    Tyler, you haven’t bothered to carefully read what I actually wrote. Instead you made assumptions that were erroneous and coupled that with an inaccurate understanding of church history and came in on the attack. I don’t mind disagreement, but at least let it be informed disagreement with a touch of logic thrown in for good measure.

    Like I said, I know truth on these issues is problematic. But it’s still the truth. Pretending it’s not the truth doesn’t change it.

    If it makes you feel better, that’s fine. Frankly, I found it much easier when I was younger and didn’t know as much about church history and things seemed to have easy answers. If you want to live in that world, I understand. But in this day and age with accessible information, you’ll do better to stop accessing information than to argue with people who are discussing factual information and trying to accommodate the truth into their faith structure.

    Finally, let me point out something else you seem to have missed. I have no problem with making judgements. I don’t even have a huge problem with stridency.

    What I have a problem with — and what this post is addressing — is that so many of those who proclaim themselves as the stalwart and faithful are often expressing themselves in ways that are, in fact, not stalwart and faithful. Rather, they are nonsensical, offensive, mean-spirited, hateful, exclusive, and disrespectful. (For the record, I don’t call myself stalwart or faithful very often. At least not unless in jest.)

    On the other hand, most of those who are actually affiliated with OW (again, I’m not), have bent over backwards almost to the point of pain to remain civil.

    Political discussion often runs the same way (but opposite — hang on, I’ll explain).

    I’m a raging conservative and traditionally conservatives have taken the position of “family values.” In political discourse, that means we aren’t playing on level field. Conservatives have to make good arguments and persuade people and they have to do it while abiding by their claimed value sets.

    Liberals don’t have the same burden because, by and large, their platform isn’t about “traditional values.”

    So when we come to this discussion between two sets of MEMBERS, all of whom are active and believe in the authoritative claims of the church, we have ONE group who has set themselves up as the “righteous,” “faithful,” “obedient,” etc. They set themselves up in CONTRAST to what they say OW members are.

    Given their self-proclaimed position, the burden is squarely on those who OPPOSE OW to display the character they claim. And to a huge degree, that isn’t happening.
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  • Jennifer Beckstrand March 27, 2014, 11:59 am

    Alison,
    There is a wonderful article and one that I have referred to many times to refute the troubling trend I see in the OW movement. I would rather not argue with you about it but hope it will be helpful to all those who are confused and angry. Since your blog site won’t let me cut and paste a URL, please search Valerie Cassler, Square Two, Ruby Slippers.
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    • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2014, 12:15 pm

      Here is the post Jennifer is referring to: Ruby Slippers on Her Feet: Reflections on the OrdainWomen Website

      I haven’t read it yet, so can’t comment on it. I have to say that just on the top scripting, it sounds problematic. Sorry, we do know there is priesthood and we also know it’s not ever addressed or discussed. Comparing the prieshood to something we have but don’t know we have is a bit insulting. But, yea, I’ll read it later today.

      That said, this post isn’t a defense of OW. I’m not a member and don’t agree with all of what they do. In other words, refuting what you call a “troubling trend” in the OW movement doesn’t refute what THIS post is about. As I’ve said, I find most of the anger and hatred (in fact, almost exclusively) coming from those calling themselves “faithful” and NOT from OW members themselves. THAT is a “troubling trend” among the “faithful” (and not very “faithful”) if you ask me.

      P.S. I’ve got the site set to accept up to two links, but for some reason it’s pulling ALL links out. I’ll see if I can figure out what’s happening. Thanks for the heads up.
      Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Videos of Jesus Christ – Whosoever Shall Be a DoormatMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2014, 2:33 pm

    OK! OK! I’ve had three emails already asking me to respond to the Ruby Slippers post. :) I’ll be happy to, but it will take some time. It’s 20 pages single-spaced with some interesting ideas and LOTS to respond to. And I’ve only read the first section so far. :)

    I’d love it if you’d all read it so you can contribute thoughts when I post. But be patient! I’ve got some things going on that are keeping me busy. :)
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  • Angie Gardner March 27, 2014, 3:14 pm

    I have only had time to get to the first few paragraphs, but so far my impression is this: I think we are talking about two different things. First is divine power, which the author seems to posit that women have already but don’t take advantage of enough. Second is authority which in the church accompanies power. If her premise is that women already have that, I’d have to disagree. Women have almost no authority in the church, even to run their own staffing or budgets in RS, YW, or Primary. They are vastly under-represented on ward councils and not invited to most of the “power” meetings that take place, i.e. bishopric meeting and PEC. And for this authority, yes they do need to ask for it if they want it.

    Again, this is just after a few paragraphs. I’ll read the rest when I have a minute but yes it’s quite lengthy.

  • Angie Gardner March 27, 2014, 3:17 pm

    I meant to say but did not complete my thought (tells you what kind of day this has been!) that I agree that women do not access all that is there for them already, i.e. divine power, individual worth, etc. We need to tap into that more, for sure.

    It’s that darn authority that is the stickler. THAT is not so forthcoming for women.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2014, 4:07 pm

    Angie, I’ve just started working on a post about that article. So far, that’s exactly what I’ve gotten: equivocation and authority. But I’ll save the rest of my comments for that post.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…I Want My PopcornMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner March 27, 2014, 6:01 pm

    Alrighty, I finally got throught it. Well, I admit I skimmed a good portion of it because the first part didn’t seem doctrinally sound to me. Perhaps if I looked at it more closely I could find references for these things she speaks of, but to me some of this doctrine that is supposedly well known was quite a stretch. Here are a few examples:

    “The LDS Church preaches that there is a Mother in Heaven, co-equal with our Father in Heaven, and that godhood cannot exist without an equal partnership between men and women. ”
    -While this I think is assumed for most of us, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is preached. I am not sure I believe we teach that Father and Mother in heaven are co-equal.

    “The Two Trees in the Garden of Eden symbolize two doorways, one whose ordinances are presided over by the daughters of God and one whose ordinances are presided over by the sons of God, and that men and women are to hearken to each other as we pass through the doorways in sequence.”
    -I have to admit, I had to read this a few times and then scratch my head a bit. I am 43 years old, raised in the church, a returned missionary and BYU grad, and I have never heard anything even remotely like this. Certainly not in the temple. Hmmm…still scratching the head.

    “The daughters of God are apprentices to Heavenly Mother, and the final destiny of a daughter of God–the pinnacle of all she can hope to attain–is the Motherhood. Biological motherhood here on earth is not the template for Motherhood; rather, Motherhood is the template for biological motherhood here on earth. The apprenticeship to be a Mother has, at various times in the Church, been called priestesshood;”
    -We hear so little about Mother in heaven that I am really not sure where this assumption comes from. I hadn’t even heard the word priestesshood until a few years ago. To put it out there like this is common doctrine seems presumptive.

    “Given these interlocking stewardships in the Plan, it is evident that at some point men were asked to hearken unto the daughters of God in their apprenticeship to Heavenly Mother. It is my opinion that this covenant was undertaken by the sons of God before approaching the doorway of the First Tree, over which the daughters of God preside. Later, once past the First Tree, women are asked to hearken unto the sons of God in their apprenticeship to Heavenly Father. We know this covenant is undertaken by the daughters of God before approaching the doorway of the Second Tree over which the sons of God preside.”
    -Huh? I think I missed all the First Tree and Second Tree lessons. Have probably missed 5 Sundays my entire life and I’ve never heard these terms until tonight. I must live in a hole??

    “The man does not preside over the marriage. Both the husband and the wife are in charge of the marriage; they are co-presidents of the family, moving forward only by unanimous consent.”
    -Um, according to the Proclamation on the Family, he does preside. What presides exactly means is possibly open to interpretation, but it’s pretty clear that he presides according to the church. In fact, we are teaching our Primary children around the world next month that the father has 3 roles – to preside, provide, and protect.

    So, now that we are through some of the doctrine, we move on to some of her suggestions, or predictions you might say, of where the church is going to go with this doctrine.

    “for example, buildings should not be designed without input from women who have somewhat differing perspectives on physical accommodation.”
    -Agreed! However, they are designed without women’s input. I read an interview with Chieko Okazaki recently and she specific mentioned that when she was in the general RS presidency they specifically asked if they could have input into temple design, particularly women’s dressing areas, and were not invited to have a seat at the table.

    As perhaps the most bizarre suggestion, we have this:
    “Upon menarche, she (she is speaking of her daughter) graciously acceded to my request to have a party for her. Invited were not her friends, but the grown women she most admired; visiting teachers, Sunday School teachers, relatives, even my colleagues from work that she knew. Each guest was instructed to bring a present without price that symbolized some aspect of womanhood, the giving of which gifts sparked a remarkable discussion that was a gift in itself. We sang songs about being a woman, we had red velvet cake (of course!), and she wore a necklace I had made for her of semi-precious stones, each symbolizing a particular stage of a woman’s life in her apprenticeship to become a Mother, and we fingered and spoke of each one in turn.”
    -Oh man. Don’t even know what to say. Why am I picturing robes, candles, and chanting?? So let me try to get this straight. Your daughter starts her period so you want to invite your friends over (sounds like they are all adults?? I don’t know of any 13-year-old who has visiting teachers!), have red velvet cake (ew…that’s just…ew), and finger jewels? Okay, I am totally on board with girls having older women as mentors. I had one myself who made a wonderful impact on my life. But to be the only teenager in a group of women who are celebrating her period? I don’t get it. Now, I also totally agree that this is a wonderful time as a mom to talk about the divine roles of women. But with your mom’s friends while eating bleeding cake? yeah, don’t think that’s going to become a tradition here. Sorry.

    So, that’s about all I could really take. I skimmed the rest.

  • jennycherie March 27, 2014, 7:34 pm

    “Upon menarche, she (she is speaking of her daughter) graciously acceded to my request to have a party for her.”

    There are no words. As a young woman, this type of party would have prompted me to leave home.
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2014, 9:52 pm

    I just want you to know that I’ve just typed 8,196 words on this post — and I’m less than half way through the beast.

    Ladies, save your comments on THAT article for the new post! Pretty please! Or all the good ones will be gone! :)

    (jennycherie, I just finished writing about that part. You said it better than I did. I just have one parting note: red velvet cake.)
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  • jennycherie March 28, 2014, 5:43 am

    “one parting note: red velvet cake”

    bahahaha!

    There are so many other things that could go along with that general theme of refreshments but I will keep that to myself.
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  • kylee shields March 28, 2014, 8:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing my thoughts on the subject!

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