Sunday, August 17, 2008

Do you feel that YOU as a Mormon woman get treated well?

"Do you feel that YOU as a Mormon woman get treated well?" I turned around with a quizzical look to my co-worker, what the heck was he talking about now. He randomly comes over to my cubbie and asks or talks about the most RANDOM things. His questions are mostly entertaining and he is usually a nice break from the hum drum of my job.

"What do you mean 'do I get treated well? Like by my husband?'"

He said, "Yea, by your husband and male leaders of your church?"

Still confused, "Like do I get treated well how? Like not getting the calling I want?...or like are they rude, arrogant, and controlling? Yea that's my husband...but no one else." I said laughing and jokingly. He wasn't smiling.

He continued, "I have asked other women who have said that they feel controlled by the men in the Mormon religion. That men are looked at as higher up...given more."

"Wow" I said truly shocked, "I don't know who you have been talking to but that is totally NOT how I feel. I have never been more treasured as a women. We are nurtured, loved, and revered as women in our religion...especially by the leaders of our church and if you have a good man in your life and are lucky like me to marry them...then you are nurtured, loved, and revered by them."

He smiled and said something to this effect, "I had a feeling you wouldn't feel the same way. You are to outgoing and self confident to be controlled by anybody."

For those of you who don't quite understand the LDS church (Mormons), I want to give you my perspective on this myth, which it is, in my eyes anyway, because I can only speak for myself...

I thought it a silly question and one that I have never been approached about personally. You get the normal funny questions when people find out you are LDS...like, "Do you really have horns? Where do you hide your hooves? Do you give ALL your money to your prophet? Do you really believe a young boy saw Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father?" My answers are always, no, I don't have any, (although sometimes I feel they would come in handy), no, and yes.

I guess a lot of people think that "Mormon" women (women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) are controlled, restricted, and robots when it comes to being a women member of our church. Let me just say, on this side of things and in my perspective, it couldn't be farther from the truth.

One of the things I love most about our religion is that it is guaranteed when we have our General Conferences that one if not MANY of our men leaders of our church say something to the effect of what this man, M. Russell Ballard said, "While women live in homes under many different circumstances—married, single, widowed, or divorced, some with children and some without—all are beloved of God, and He has a plan for His righteous daughters to receive the highest blessings of eternity...I surely know that there is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood."

As in the quote from above they highly respect our ability to bear children and live in the role we seem to have been made for...motherhood...but they also respect our individual choice and right to become and do what we feel is best for us and what we discuss with our Father in Heaven...

Just to prove my point with one last quote from one of our beloved Apostles showing that we are loved and revered in our church...(What it Means to be Daughter of God--President James E. Faust,Second Counselor in the First Presidency)

We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Eve. In the Garden of Eden, she and Adam were instructed not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, they were also reminded, “Thou mayest choose for thyself.” 9 The choice was really between a continuation of their comfortable existence in Eden, where they would never progress, or a momentous exit into mortality with its opposites: pain, trials, and physical death in contrast to joy, growth, and the potential for eternal life. In contemplating this choice, we are told, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, … and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” 10 And thus began their earthly probation and parenthood.

After the choice was made, Adam voiced this grateful expression: “Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.” 11

Eve made an even greater statement of visionary wisdom after leaving the Garden of Eden: “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” 12 If it hadn’t been for Eve, none of us would be here...As daughters of God, you cannot imagine the divine potential within each of you. Surely the secret citadel of women’s inner strength is spirituality. In this you equal and even surpass men, as you do in faith, morality, and commitment when truly converted to the gospel. You have “more trust in the Lord [and] more hope in his word.” 15 This inner spiritual sense seems to give you a certain resilience to cope with sorrow, trouble, and uncertainty.

You cannot imagine the gifts and talents each of you has. All women have appealing features. I do not refer to model-type appeal, but rather that which comes from your personality, your attitude, and your expressions. I urge you to enhance the natural, God-given, feminine gifts with which you have been so richly blessed. None of you should be so content that you cease to care about how you look or act. In his day, President Brigham Young encouraged women to get an education. This is still good counsel, but I hasten to add: in all your getting, do not lose your sweet femininity.

You sisters do not know the full extent of your influence. You sisters enrich all of humanity. All human life begins with you. Each woman brings her own separate, unique strengths to the family and the Church. Being a daughter of God means that if you seek it, you can find your true identity. You will know who you are. This will make you free—not free from restraints, but free from doubts, anxieties, or peer pressure. You will not need to worry, “Do I look all right?” “Do I sound OK?” “What do people think of me?” A conviction that you are a daughter of God gives you a feeling of comfort in your self-worth. It means that you can find strength in the balm of Christ. It will help you meet the heartaches and challenges with faith and serenity.

I wonder if you sisters can fully appreciate the innate gifts, blessings, and endowments you have simply because you are daughters of God. It is a mistake for women to think that life begins only with marriage. A woman can and must have an identity and feel useful, valued, and needed whether she is single or married. She must feel that she can do something for someone else that no one else ever born can do.


So my answer is NO I do not fell any less a woman because of my religion...if anything I feel empowered and strengthened from it.

I couldn't be more blessed as a human being...The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not a religion I follow blindly...I have searched and questioned as any human being together with its soul will do...I know, love, and respect the truth of what I have found in this Church and am thankful for the life I have lead because of its influence and power in my life.

I hope all of you feel love and respected no matter what you choose to believe. That you have hope and feel happy with the life you live and lead.

In my rare moments of seriousness...I am glad that I can tell you of something I love and am very passionate about...

All funny and light-heartedness will continue tomorrow...carry on! :)

Love Shelle

31 comments:

Untypically Jia said...

It's so much more refreshing to read a blog post here about this, than to find something elsewhere where women complain about their position in the Church.

My favourite quote about women was from our dear Prophet Thomas S. Monson. "Men, take care not to make women weep, for God counts their tears."

This Mom said...

Amen Sister. Thank you for saying what I can not even get my own family to understand. As a convert my family has always misunderstood LDS and I am sometimes shocked by their misconceptions.

Therese said...

Although I am not a Mormon,I worked with a woman who was, and I truly do agree with what you have to say. In fact, when Mormonism is brought up by some of my other friends and they comment on how anti-woman it is, I do feel the need to clarify the misconception.

As a Catholic, I get asked the same question often, and I spend the same time explaining how women are held up in our faith as well...

Hirschisquirts said...

I get asked that a lot too, Shelle, but I do think it makes a difference in who you're married to and I've never felt anything but special and loved and treasured also, so....Great Point!

Kritta22 said...

Amen, Sista! (I'm going to read my book right after I finish this!)
I totally agree with you on every point.
I did at one point, feel 'lower' than I should have felt but then I realized it was the man I was dating, so not the Church. Just because people are Mormon, doesn't make them perfect.
I feel more 'power' than ever before since going through the temple. I love the we have the same power...you know what I'm talking about. We are equal there. (Not that we aren't here.) I'm just glad I don't have the priesthood! Haha Who in their right mind, would want that kind of responsiblity!! NOT MEEE!!
K quit bugging me...I'm reading! :)

Mamarazzi said...

it makes me sad/angry when i hear about how some cannot separate people from religion. it also reminds me the HUGE responsibilty we have to be good people and good examples to the world. as LDS people i feel like we are constantly trying to prove ourselves...especially inlight of all the CRAP with the RLDS and the garbage they are creating in the press ("we are not affilitaed, they didn't want to follow the laws of the land and made up a religion"). I am grateful that you took the opportunity to answer someone's questions in a calm and compassionate manner.

sorry for the long comment but i also want to add that my husband treats me like a Queen! and that my brothers were raised to treat their wives like Queens.

MERRIANNE said...

i think it is NUTS that people still say that....for crying out loud...they just do not know much about our church!!

I love your post & everything you wrote!!!

Shelle said...

Untypically Jia--WOW...I love your quote...I might just do a post on that quote alone! Thanks so much for that! :)

This MOM--all I can say is that you are SO strong because being a convert and the ONLY one in your family who understands why you love the gospel is hard. I'm so glad you commented! :) I'm clumsy in my grammar...but I'm seldom a loss for words, so thanks for making that a good trait in your compliment! :)

Therese--I actually heard a lady talk about being a nun in the catholic church...she clarified a lot I didn't know about the catholic church...I got to know a lot more about our similarities as sisters in our separate religions...so I am so thankful for your comment...it just solidifies what I had learned during that talk.

HirschiSquirts--I agree...my husband had a lot to do with how I feel!

Kritta22--I second you...I wouldn't want their responsibility...I am thankful for our position and what we do for the church! :) NOW READ YOUR BOOKS!!!

Mamarazzi--after being a reader of your blog for sometime now...I agree that you are treated like a QUEEN :)...I also agree fully with your comment and it does sometimes feel like we are always surrounded by misconceptions...but you can't blame them really...because they are only repeating what they have learned or have been told...I will be the first to tell someone that I don't know a lot about anything :) especially other religions because I am so satisfied and content and constantly hungering for the gospel. I LOVE long comments so never think you have commented TOO long :) Really, thanks for the comment--I loved what you had to say!

Merrianne--It is nuts sometimes that people still think we hide horns or have hooves...but sometimes the unknown is so scary it is easy to believe in the somewhat unrealistic! Love the new look of your blog by the way! :)

Daiquiri said...

I am not LDS, and the quote from your Apostle regarding the events in Eden has me seriously confused and concerned.

Is he suggesting that Eve eating the apple and offering it Adam was a good thing?

According to the Bible, God had a much different opinion.

Of the apple eating event, Eve says "The serpent deceived me, and I ate" Genesis 3:13 (deception is not a good thing).

Then, in Genesis 3:14-24, God goes about showing his displeasure...He cursed the serpent, he said he would increase the woman's pain during childbearing, he cursed the ground, he made it so life would be difficult for Adam, and he banished them from Eden. All not good things!

Shelle said...

Daiquiri--You're right deception is bad, God is showing the consequence to the choice of Eve and subsequently Adam...but in this case James E. Faust is looking at the whole of the situation...because of their CHOICE...and they were given a choice...they were allowed to grow from their deception and they found joy by what came after...things like parenthood...He actually explains that in the first paragraph that I quoted, here it is again--The choice was really between a continuation of their comfortable existence in Eden, where they would never progress, or a momentous exit into mortality with its opposites: pain, trials, and physical death in contrast to joy, growth, and the potential for eternal life.

Even though Eve was deceived...he is thanking her for the decision she made because the WHOLE of the outcome.

We were all then allowed to come to this earth and be tested to grow and learn from trials and tribulations as well as joy and success...

Maybe that helps explain it, maybe that doesn't but thanks for the comment

Kritta22 said...

If I promise to finish one of the books tonight, will you be my partner on a scanverger hunt online, over at momdot.com?? Huh Huh wiil ya?! I've never done one before. We have to come up with a team name. PLEASE!! I'll finish my book, I PROOOmiseee!! Please! :)

Kritta22 said...

PS my hubby is in the Air Force. He works on the F-22's and puts the bomb on the planes. He is in Florida because they have to show the new squadron how to do things. And because the higher up's wanted a vacation from the 60 degree weather up here.

Kritta22 said...

PSS F-22's are the planes in Transformers AKA Stargazer.

Kritta22 said...

You are sooooo gonna get tired of me commenting on here tonight....I'm on page 110 , Chapter 6 and am shocked! Why the crap would she go to Seattle with Mr. Bi polar?!! (I have family with bipolar so I'm not hatin'.) He hates her, then talks to her...I'd totally blow that guy off. But then he is handsome sooo maybe not. And fainting cuz of blood...MAN UP Woman!! OK quit bugging me, I'm reading FOR YOU!!

Kritta22 said...

OKAY! Holy Stinkin' Crap! I now get what everyone is saying about teenage love. I'm reading this thinking about me and my high school boyfriend. All the fun we had in school, waiting for lunch to sit together, passing notes, sharing every little detail with my friends! Oh how I miss it!!
How can he drive fast without fear of dying? I don't get that part?
I wanna know what his breath smelt like.
Mountain Lions? Where does she come up with this stuff? Ms Meyer is amazing!!
Did I tell you my really good friend grew up with Ms Meyer as her like second mom? Small world.
I'm going and reading. I'm going to sleep in tomorrow cuz it's like 1:30am here. And I still have more reading to do.
Thank you for these books!

Candid Carrie said...

Shelle Belle, very informative post. I hope you aren't running a Mormon Only Parking Zone here because I am Catholic and I would like to be able to park here next to Therese.

And I agree with Therese when she speaks about the misconception of women as Catholics. I am alright that women aren't allowed everywhere the men go ... I don't feel slighted. Some areas we are more gifted to enhance rather than embrace.

Now the face of Mormans In My Head will be your face on Donny Osmond's body. Have you met him? He's Mormon. You guys all know each other right?

mrsb said...

You mean that you don't have 2 more sister-wives living on your block? You didn't get married when you were 12? There go all my preconceived ideas! Drat!

I thought the horns and hoof questions were reserved for people of my religion??

Kritta22 said...

K so I'm like halfway through now. I just read about the field incident. Now...where's my hubby when i need him? And that kiss! Oh stinkin' crap. I don't if I'd let my teenage girl read this...I've have to think about it!!

Shelle said...

Yes Kritta I'll be your partner in a scavenger hunt!

your husband is totally awesome and has a kick butt job...how cool is that...though sad that he has to be away sometime :(

Candid Carrie--
Are you kidding me...I love everyone it doesn't matter religion...so you can park right next to my Mormon self. I feel the same about the men in our religion, there is just some stuff I wouldn't want to do nor care to! :) You have to know I totally idolize you right? :)

MRS B...I love getting to know more about what you study as a religion...very interesting! You have hooves? lol!

Are you still on Twilight Kritta?

Kritta22 said...

Ummm.... YES still on Twilight..I do have to sleep sometime! And I have this pesky thing called Connor who wants to eat...sooo overated!! :)
I'm almost done.
I didn't read all the rules but I guess you have to go to momdot.com and register in their forum. It doesn't hurt. It will be okay.
And our team name is "Edward's girls" Fitting eh?
K I have to go finish this book. Check back in like an hour!

~T. said...

Hi Shelle, just wanted to let you know that I tagged ya and gave you an award, hop on over and pick it up!
~Tiff

Shannon said...

Interesting and informative post! I don't have any preconceived ideas, but I really don't have much knowledge of the Mormon faith. So thanks for posting this :)

Kritta22 said...

You tired of me yet!?? I tagged you

The Wixom Zoo said...

It's always interesting to answer questions and clear up misconceptions. I have a couple of neighbors who ask a lot of questions, too. Maybe I'll have to bounce them off of you before I answer them - you seem to have a great way of expressing yourself! Thanks!

Kritta22 said...

Do you feel all cool cuz you have 25 comments?! I totally would!!!!!!
I SOOO just finished Twilight! Now we can talk about. OK you first ask a question!!

Amy said...

I loved this post, Amen! I recently gave a talk in church about women and posted it on my blog, so I was particularly interested in what you had to say. http://www.bizzert.com/?p=692

I have always felt like God gave a law to Adam and Eve: If you want to stay in the garden don't eat the fruit. But, if you stay you will not be able to have children of your own. The choice is yours.-- Satan knew that he would have power to persuade Adam and Eve if they were mortal, so he tempted Eve with partial truths. I believe Eve was aware of what she was getting into by eating the fruit, and was willing to leave the garden so she could have a mortal body and children etc. So, that's my take on it all. Thanks again for your thoughts.

Kaci said...

I don't know much about the Mormon faith but this was awesome! Thanks!
XOXO

Spencer said...

i hope merrianne can say that she feels like she is treated good. if not, i better get better!!!! and any man that treats his wife bad should get an a## kickin....no matter what religion they are!!!!

mrsb said...

What a beautiful baby! Congrats to you and yours!

When my daughter was 4, she went to preschool for 2 hours, 3 days a week. The very first day she went, she walked right into the class and started to play with the kids she'd never met. She didn't even say goodbye...

I was way more upset about the whole thing than she would have ever thought to be!

marcipants said...

I love you! And I appreciate this post. It's such an important issue and so critical to know our divine nature and individual worth as we face the challenges of womanhood. It is wonderful to put our trust in the Lord and let his confidence magnify our calling as mothers, sisters, wives, friends and servants of the most high. Thanks again; I loved reading through this post. Make sure to go and vote for your favorite boy names on our poll!

Lisa said...

Late to this post - but I couldn't agree with your thoughts more, Shelle. While I can see how women with past or present poor relationships with men (abusive/arrogant fathers, husbands, etc) could get in a perception filter where they see repression in the patriarchal organization of the church, I have never felt degraded or "less" because I am female in the church. So.. yeah. What you said. :)

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