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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kate Kelly is going to the Celestial Kingdom because she is a woman--and everyone knows all women go to heaven.

Okay. I can't stand it anymore. I was going to remain utterly silent about my views concerning misogyny and accepted mormnorm views of gender within the church. I was never planning to mention the Ordain Women movement, their leader, or their followers. There is so much being said right now that adding my words will only increase the cacophony.



Before I begin I will preface: Please do not ask me if I am a supporter of feminism or Ordain Women or anything else. Please do not ask me why I stay in the church. Please do not ask me to explain my conviction or testify as to my beliefs. If I feel like talking about those things, I will. Otherwise, I won't. The end.

Moving on.

I am disheartened every time I read comments on a post for/against feminism in the church, or the Ordain Women movement, or the pending discipline council for Kate Kelly. Over and over again I hear the rhetoric that women are more spiritual, nurturing, and caring. I hear people saying that there will be more women than men in the Celestial Kingdom based solely on that rhetoric. I say that's assuming a great deal about the afterlife (which hasn't happened yet, by the way, and in my opinion, there will be a larger number of people shocked out of their pants by the outcome, than those who predict the overwhelming presence of eternally glowing females), stereotyping women, and sending a really awful message to those of us who aren't nurturing or spiritual...ummmm...does that mean we're not really women?

Repeatedly I hear the argument that if women are ordained to the priesthood, they'll take over everything in the church--and the men will let them because men are inherently lazy. We have to let men, and only men, hold the priesthood because they need things to do so they don't get complacent. ACK!! REALLY????

Everything about that makes me feel nasty. And offended. And I'm not even a man.

PEOPLE are inherently lazy. Even people like me who were blessed with way too much energy and are always finding things to do. Just because we're busy doesn't mean we're doing things that are good for us, or assigned to us (yes--I procrastinate--often), or that we don't spend days playing stupid Facebook games or watching movies. 

We have to give men something to do in the church so they don't become complacent? Who thinks of these things? Are they spawned from words said somewhere by someone and then taken out of context or extrapolized (I know--not a word--don't care)?

I keep hearing all sorts of crappy things that smack of men and women needing to be or act or dress or whatever--simply on the basis of their gender. In my opinion, this is complete nonsense. Perhaps that's why I'm different.

I believe my mother tried to instill some gender role wisdom into us, but as she was always screaming at us, we ignored her. My dad, however, taught in a way that we were willing to listen. Our family started out with five girls, joined by two brothers at the very end. My father wanted his daughters to become whatever they wished to be. He encouraged us to read, play sports, learn to care for ourselves, wrestle, dance, and sing. We weren't spared the heavy work on our farm. We moved sprinkler pipe, lifted bales, helped with calving and branding and dehorning, killed and processed chickens, plowed and planted fields. He also sent us flowers, made sure we had prom dresses, and let us know we were beautiful and strong.

I do not believe differences between men and women, beyond the obvious physical ones, are inherent. I know men who nurture and empathize and women who are analytical, as well as men who love flowers and romance and women who enjoy sports and hunting/fishing. Don't tell me that "most" men or women fall into a stereotype. I don't believe it. And if it's true, then I believe it's a societal issue that needs to be mended.

The best parental compliment I've ever received was when my Adam came home from class one day and said, "Mom, did you know there are men who think women are not as good as they are--just because they're women? Some men think women can't do math, don't make good doctors, and should just be mothers or work in jobs that don't require degrees. I didn't know there were people who thought that way. How does that happen? It makes me a little bit angry. Tabitha's better at math than DJ and me, and you're the smartest person I know. If you were a doctor or a lawyer or a police officer or an interior designer, you'd be the best. How can people make assumptions based on another person's gender? And why would they demean the opposite gender? We need to talk. You need to explain this to me."

Yes. He said that. Which means Adam grew up in a home without stereotypes and gender bias. He watched his father do household chores with his mother. There was a time when Adam was a preschooler when his primary caregiver was his father. He's seen both parents contributing to the household budget through various means of employment. He has witnessed times when Mom has taken charge and led the family, and other times when Dad has done the same. Always Adam has noticed that his parents work together, support one another, and never assume that something will be done based on gender.

I understand that other homes work differently, and I support that. Each family must find what works best for them. My job is to not place a value judgment on how other homes operate, but to find the balance in my own home. I get to choose the lessons instilled in my children. Darrin and I, together, decide what examples of gender and gender roles our children will see as they spend time in our home.

So I am disheartened as I hear the ignorance (yes, it IS ignorance to make assumptions about a group of people based on race, religion, or gender) spewed in the comment sections of the posts I read. Today it became so overwhelming that I needed to rant. I'm pretty sure it's asking too much for many people within the church to think about reality rather than rigid mormnorms which have place in tradition but not in doctrine or actual fact. It's just easier to spout words you've heard before rather than to come up with your own thoughts and ideas based on logic. It's also less scary to rely on supposition and rumor, rather than think about--even pray for--answers to difficult or uncomfortable questions that turn tradition upside-down.

Seriously, people. Just stop it. You sound ridiculous and you're making me crazy.

P.S. Having said that generalizations are evil, I admit that not all commentors are insane. Some give thoughtful, even thought-provoking, responses. It's just that their quiet voices are ramrodded by the people who are certain their view is the only possible correct one. Having made it clear that I am not trying to stereotype commentors (but managing to stereotype them in spite of myself), I must stop before the rant inside me becomes aggressively unruly. 


  1. Right now, I am applauding this post. Few things make me as angry as people asserting that men or women are inherently X. Women are just better nurturers. Men are just more level-headed. Barf. Which isn't to say I've managed to stamp out all of my prejudicial thinking, but I'm trying.

    It goes without saying that it's awesome that your kids were raised in such a way that they were surprised when they encountered people with destructive ideas about women (or men).

    1. Brozy--I love that you and I think alike. Great minds... :)

  2. I am so glad you posted this in advance of my Relief Society lesson today because everything you wrote was exactly what the lesson covered. Thanks to being prepared by you, I left before I threw up. I hate these gender roles shoved down our throats in the guise of doctrine. Why can't these RS teachers, etc. just admit that we don't know the reason why men have the priesthood, and that's okay, we don't need to make up doctrine?!

    1. This made me laugh. We have got to figure out an "I'm going to barf if you don't stop being stupid" defense...or maybe we just shouldn't leave and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe they'll ask why we got sick all over the person sitting in front of us. That would be fun!