Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The LDS Church is making progress on women's issues.

Seriously. They are. I'm sure of it.

There needs to be a font change similar to bolding or italicizing that denotes sarcasm.

This last weekend was the LDS church's bi-annual General Conference. In layman's terms, it's when the church broadcasts their "You're all unworthy sinners, men don't masturbate or look at pornography, ladies, don't you work outside the home, and y'all drive home safely now, y'hear?" message.

Conference weekend consists of two sessions (two hours each) on Saturday and two more on Sunday with a speshul Priesthood session thrown in for good measure on Saturday night. It is supposed to be a high point of a Mormon's year since they get to hear the Prophet speak.

When we were little and lived outside of the 'corridor' (WY, ID, AZ, and especially UT), conference weekend meant dressing up in our best clothes and suffering through eight long hours of old men giving talks that meant nothing to us. We had to go to the local ward meetinghouse and sit on wooden benches and fill out the 'conference games' that my mom made for us.

Now that I live in the extended corridor (southern Idaho) and all of my husband's very LDS family lives close by (within three hours), the conference has become a dependable mini-reunion. That in itself is lovely. We get to see most of the family and our daughters get to play with their cousins. Of course conference is being broadcast as loudly as possible in the background.

Not many of the adults pay attention. Mostly people are catching up, talking about the weather, about bike riding, about anything but conference. Last conference, the get-together was held at my house and I, the only non-Mormon in the room, had to let them know their prophet was on the computer screen. They all dutifully watched the screen long enough to say "He's so inspiring", "I just love him", or "Isn't he the sweetest man?" before they went back to talking about farming. This year it was held at my BIL's place and I didn't bother telling anyone when he was on. They didn't miss anything. The only living prophet on our earth, the only man who talks directly to God...recycled his talk. Used pieces and portions from old talks. And he was so frail. I don't think he'll be attending many more conferences.

The one talk that I did listen to (as I was sitting there frantically trying to finish knitting a shawl that I'd started knitting over two years ago) made my eyes spin. The talk was by Relief Society President Beck, the only woman allowed to speak that day. She might as well have been one of the old white men. I'll post her talk at the end. It was such a throw-back to the church before Chieko Okazaki, who tried to help LDS women feel less guilt, and Sherri Dew, who, being a child-less, husband-less corporate woman, tried to lessen the natural frustration about women like her in the church.

This talk was meant to bring women in line hard and fast. The Relief Society President was showing her allegiance to the party line in the church, no matter the cost to believing women who would now be riddled with guilt about not being good enough. The talk was entitled "Mothers Who Know". A poster on a post-Mormon board that I frequent posted her own "Mothers Who Know" list. I'm posting it below...before I post the talk in its entirety.

"Mothers who Know" -Froggie

"I'm a mother who knows.

I am a mother who knows I don't want the totality of my life's work to be reflected in a headstone that says "she had the world's cleanest toilets."

I am a mother who knows that balance is needed in all things and I must take ample amount of time for myself or my children will suffer.

I am a mother who knows that the more children I have, the more complex (not simple) my life becomes.

I am a mother who knows that if I do not teach my daughters real life skills I will be inadequately preparing them for future survival needs.

I am a mother who knows that more important than the desire to bear children is to properly care for the children I might desire.

I am a mother who understands that every female in the animal kingdom is capable of desiring and bearing young. It is rising above that animal-need and finding greater intelligence in the function that makes being a parent more noble.

I am a mother who understands that the desire to bear children may have less than divine origins. That there are selfish, unprepared, and emotionally stunted women who desire to have children.

I am a mother that recognizes that, in the grand scheme of all things parenting, an ironed shirt or dress is completely inconsequential.

I am a mother who knows that I am capable of being a leader both inside and outside of the home....and those leadership skills are respected in both venues.

I am a mother who recognizes that a religion as demanding as mormonism might well detract from my potential to be the best mother I can be."


Amy said...

Bravo! : )

I love you Sarah... hope you're doing well. : ) Jill Garrison-Bentley sent me the link to your blog after she got it from your dad. This is Amy Jump, by the way. ; )

Miss you bunches! : )

Emerald said...


Thank you for posting this.