Women and the church: Reactionary, or simply reflective?

Karen’s post addresses the de facto gender discrimination that occurs in the church. Let me ask a question about Karen’s underlying assumptions: What is she expecting? Karen provides anecdotal evidence of women’s viewpoints being marginalized in church settings. Many or all of us have seen the same thing happen.

But, the fact is that we live in a society where women’s viewpoints are routinely marginalized. We have had no female presidents of the United States. Female representation in Congress is minimal. Women earn a quarter less than men do for equal work. Women have yet to become equal with men in business, politics, science, literature, and most other areas. And yes, they are typically not on equal footing in religion, either.

My question is whether the church’s subtle discrimination is merely part and parcel of women’s inferior status in society today. Perhaps we can argue that the church should be being progressive, and breaking down barriers. But if it is not being progressive, an important query is whether it is being reactionary, or simply passively reflecting societal discrimination. Based on the evidence Karen has shown, the answer may be that it is simply reflecting societal discrimination. And if that is the case, then perhaps the response should be to try to change society, not to try to change the church. (Do we want a church that tries to be progressive? Or do we want a church that reflects societal attitudes, warts and all?)

Comments

  1. (cont.)
    I think the church is actually a regressive influence; that the roles assigned to women by the Proclamation act as inhibiting factors to the economic and social equality of women in society. The evangelical movement has also been a factor in this, I believe. The church’s efforts at mainstreaming have just aligned it with the religious right, not a movement known for forward thinking about women.

    I’m not saying that the church’s responsibility is to lead the way (the church has never led the way on important social issues). But couldn’t they just shut up about divine mandates on the role of women and quietly move forward?

  2. A three-parter! Brayden, you should buy your comments in bulk.

    Actually, I should probably just pitch in the dough to upgrade and expand the comments. Paypal donations accepted, y’all, courtesy of my email.

    Concerning your remark, “It’s not up to us individually to decide when those things should change though. We simply have to be patient and faithful,” I think that’s right and wrong at the same time. Patient and faithful, yes, but can’t we also strive for change, at least change in attitudes? I mean, we may not need to clamor for institutional change all the time, but are you suggesting we just sit back and let people be treated poorly, if the current system so permits?

  3. Ann,

    Could the church move forward with regards to women without a divine mandate? If so, in what ways?

  4. Armand Mauss posits in an essay in “Neither Black Nor White” that the change in the policy on Blacks holding the priesthood was not based on societal pressure from outside the church, but on ecclesiastical pressure from inside the church. Specifically, the issue came to a head when it was time to dedicate the Brazil temple, in a country where race is far more fluid than in the U.S., and many, many faithful members had that fatal “single drop” of Black African blood.

  5. Brayden, you said something like: So, “we” the LDS are supposed to “teach them what it means to be Christian, LDS, etc.”

    -Um…maybe; yet I have to admit that I have learned just as much about being a good Christian from my Muslim, Jewish, etc. friends as from those that are LDS.

  6. Every priesthood leader is a man. There was a bishop of a military ward who would counsel women whose husbands committed adultery or had a porno problem to be more sexy or offer more oral sex. So that’s one outcome of a men only leadership; you definitely get a man’s point of view.

  7. Every priesthood leaders is a married man…at least in ‘established’ areas of Zion.

    Some men recognize that when there is a problem in a marriage relationship; both parties are probably contributing to it.

    Some me may give specific counsel to one particular couple, it might even be inspired. That doesn’t mean it was meant to be cross-applied to everyone and/or made public.

    You definately do get a man’s point of view; which I’ve been tolde tends to be problem solving, and may even rely upon cliches that may/may not have relevance, such as “fight fire with fire,” and “fight sexual sin with sexual-celestial healing” [wait…isn’t that a song? ;) ]

  8. I don’t have anything substantive to add to your comments. I think you have made a very insightful and sociologically correct analysis of how the LDS people are following the trends of society.

    However, I think it is clear that:
    1. the LDS church has been, and continues to be, a leader on important social issues [that wasn’t yours, but… :) ]
    2. the Prophet(s) have made clear that members should NOT follow the world in the ways that you have suggested; i.e. get divorced more quickly, easily, etc; become less modest; engage in more sinful acts as the rest of the world gets really really really sinful, etc.
    3. If the Church is a reflection of society…then the Church is false. I think it is that black & white.

  9. I really liked Steve’s comment re: The gospel/LDS Church being super-progressive (I tend to think of JS views on abolishing slavery, etc).
    Hopefully together we can all live the gospel adequately and somehow be less backward.

  10. I sure think he’s implying it…”Some men recognize that when there is a problem in a marriage relationship; both parties are probably contributing to it. ” Both husband and wife are contributing to a pr0n problem? Okay, maybe Lyle was talking about the adultery part instead. I sure didn’t think so.
    As for the more [ed] sex solution…no place else is the golden rule more needed DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE OTHERS DO TO YOU.

  11. Aaron Brown says:

    Kaimi said:
    “Women earn a quarter less than men do for equal work.”

    I know this is technically off topic, Kaimi, but I was wondering if you can defend this claim, and if so, how? (I think it’s a canard.)

    Aaron B

  12. Kaimi,

    I did some checking and I think Aaron is right. Current research shows that within-job wage discrimination is no longer a major source of the gender wage gap. Most of the wage gap can be explained by “valuative discrimination” – jobs dominated by women tend to get paid lower wages – and “allocative discrimination” – women tend to be less successful during the hiring process. A thorough treatment of this subject was published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Sociology (vol. 109 no. 4). The paper “The Opportunity Structure for Discrimination” was written by Trond Petersen and Ishak Saporta. Anyone interested in reading the paper can contact me.

  13. Kaimi, I don’t want a Church that “tries to be progressive” or one that “reflects societal attitudes.” I want a church that reveals and acts on the will of our Heavenly Parents for their children. I take it as a given that God wants his/her children to progress and fill the measure of their creation unimpeded by worldly notions of gender-appropriate behavior. To the extent that the Church reproduces and even amplifies worldly divisions and barriers, I conclude that it is out of harmony with God’s will. Unfortunately, I don’t know what God’s notions of gender-appropriate behavior look like. I suspect that the temple might be a good place to start looking, and *that* sure doesn’t look much like the day-to-day order of the church.

  14. Kristine,

    Well said. I think it’s ultimately a mistake to fix the course of the church in relation to societal attitudes, whether as a reactionary or reflective force.

    The recent discussions on gender discrimination are very sensitive because they are such hot-button issues in contemporary society, but I agree with you — to me it seems completely natural that God (and his church) would do away such barriers and distinctions. To the world that would appear as super-progressive.

    Strange, then that the Church puts forth principles that are super-progressive, and then at times its members present behavior so backwards.

  15. Kristine, instead of me trying to guess (inevitably incorrectly) as to what you have in mind concerning God’s notions of gender appropriate behavior (as seen in the temple) that don’t match the day-to-day order of the church, care to be more specific? You’ve peaked my curiosity.

  16. lyle: “Every priesthood leaders is a married man…at least in ‘established’ areas of Zion. “

    That’s not true. Priesthood leaders in general do not have to be married. The selection process does favor married men, but it ain’t necessarily so.

    As for getting nothing but the man’s point of view and problem-oriented counseling, that’s definitely true. I wonder, though, Lyle & Lynne, whether the overall teachings of the church and the rules concerning the priesthood don’t serve as a counterweight to typical male thinking. The guidelines in D&C 121 for example are not very ‘masculine’, for example.

    Not to say that the male way of problem-solving isn’t eliminated. But it’s not like an episode of “Tool Time,” either.

  17. Lynne, you’re right.

    YHBT. YHL. HAND.

    Lyle: “I find your labelling and judgment of a Common Judge of Zion to be beyond offensive.” That’s unnecessary overstatement.

    No need for combativeness here, from either of you.

  18. Mathew,

    Pick up Women and Authority by Maxine Hanks. It details some of the differences in women’s roles over time, including participation in blessings and general authority of Relief Society.

  19. My main point is that the Church is like a slanted mirror image of what we see in society. Perhaps this is because not all of the principles (particularly those pertaining to sins of commission) are as universal as we have been taught they are. Some principles advocated at the pulpit reflect the Lord’s will concerning his people in relation to the changing society in which we are embedded. We may not be “of the world” but we are definitely “in the world,” and God’s plan wouldn’t have it be any other way. The point of our existence isn’t to have us live esoteric lives of earthly deprivation. Rather we are meant to live among people who think very differently than us and through meaningful interaction teach them what it means to be Christian, LDS, etc. But we aren’t meant to be aliens among the Gentiles (at least not since Old Testament times). We are meant to be good citizens and live socially and civically productive lives.

    (cont.)

  20. No, sorry Steve, I need to clarify that. The Church is going to change – that is certain. The question is, does it change because we protest and demand change? I don’t think so. The Church doesn’t operate like a democracy so writing letters to the Presidency doesn’t help as much as we’d like to think.

    I guess what I was trying to get at was that the Church will change independent of our individual actions because it is a reflection of society, although not an exact duplicate. That comment at the end was meant to instill hope, not submission. I am not really the submissive type.

  21. Oh Please Lyle… Problem solving indeed. You wanna solve that problem then recommend the husband decide to be more interested in his wife’s orgasms than his own. It ain’t a Jeffrey Holland sacrament if both parties aren’t partaking!
    WHAT A JOKE, if a husband is looking at pr0n, it’s the wife’s fault. She isn’t sexy enough. There’s no situation that remark is appropriate.
    Pity any poor woman that stumbled into that pig’s office.

    Edited By Siteowner

  22. Randy,

    Speaking for Kristine (though I could never replace her): we probably don’t want to go into detail regarding the temple here, but suffice it to say that in the temple, the sexes are a lot more equal in their administering and their administrations.

  23. Steve says, “I think it’s ultimately a mistake to fix the course of the church in relation to societal attitudes, whether as a reactionary or reflective force.”

    I hope I didn’t sound as if the Church ought to fix its norms to that of society at large. I was simply observing the trends of member behavior and making some speculations as to why this is so. I believe that we know a lot less, as Kristine says, about the eternal order of gender relations than most church members think we do. Obviously, the Church has never reached some fixed normative state in this earthly existence, which tells me that Church members are still searching for eternal norms while we rotate around some fluctuating state of social norms.

  24. Steve: Thanks for the fairness comment & the info re: PH leaders. I presumed it was a bright-line rule as I’ve never met an unmarried Branch President and/or Bishop…excluding missionary branch presidents and the odd, rare Bishop in a 3rd world country. Of course, I’ve never met a bearded Bishop either…although I keep hoping that I will. :)

    Lynne: Man commits adultery. Where does the sin lie? Isn’t the answer obvious and one we all agree on? Man looks at porn. Where does the sin lie? Ditto.

    Yet, many conveniently skip over the Savior’s refusal to condemn the woman taken in adultery; because of course this shouldn’t apply to men [ok, my apologies for the minor sarcasm here; but please do a gut check on this one].

    Second, duh. I hate to use “duh,” but…why is there this great willingness to paint me wrong? Did I ever say or imply it was the wife’s sin? No. Did I ever say or imply that where there is a continuing problem in the marriage relationship itself, that both parties are responsible for the relationship…regardless of which party made the initial offense? Yes. Did I say/imply that either partners inability to forgive after adultery/porn, etc could damage the relationship? Yes. I think it has something to do with us being required to forgive.

    My apologies if this is a very sensitive subject and that feelings can ride high. However, I find your labelling and judgment of a Common Judge of Zion to be beyond offensive. If you are upset by his behavior, follow D&C counsel and go talk to him privately; and/or his Stake President. Do you really need to gossip about it on the net?

  25. The early church was extremely progressive and paid dearly as a result. Perhaps one reason for our faith’s conservatism is due to the persecutions it endured when it was so different from the rest of society.

    I agree with Steve–we ought to welcome divine mandates that pertain to women–or divine mandates of any kind. I take it, Ann, that you take the view that at least some of the mandates given in regard to women are less than divine.

    I would be interested to hear someone who has read more than I have on early church history (I’m trying to catch up) talk about women’s roles then as opposed to now.

  26. The one-quarter is a figure I’ve seen bandied about; I’ll defer to the social scientists on this issue. Either way, the substance of the post is the same.

  27. This, I believe, portends positive things for future opportunities for women in the Church. Although we may now still be constrained somewhat by the cultural traditions of our fathers, we will have to adapt in the future to keep up with the changing norms of society. It’s not up to us individually to decide when those things should change though. We simply have to be patient and faithful.

    Wow, was that a sermon or what?

  28. To be fair, Lynne, I don’t think Lyle was advocating those types of cliched man-wisdom.

    I think we can all agree that “fight sexual sin with sexual-celestial healing” is pretty bad advice.

  29. To speak in secular terms for a moment – The Church and its members seem to have an especially strong cultural lag, but we do seem to follow societal trends. It just takes us longer to get there than it does other, more adaptive organizations. We are probably not the least adaptive church organization however.

    Take for instance the case of divorce. Mormons are getting divorced at a greater rate now than they ever have before. Our divorce rate still lags behind the general rate of the U.S. population, but we’re getting there. Our church eventually gave blacks the priesthood (some ten years after Jim Crow and segregationist laws were revoked in the South). Our church advocates conservative dress but the definition of conservative changes in relation to what is considered to be “extreme” or “faddish” in the larger culture. While it may be okay to wear shorts at BYU now, male students are still expected to keep their hair relatively short.

    (cont.)

  30. We’re talking about women’s viewpoints being marginalized! I’m offering you a classic example.

    It’s offensive to take the story to the net!? Too bad. This guy’s stake president KNOWS. The guy went from bishop to high council to bishop again now. Deal with it, sisters. And for crying out loud, try to be more sexy.

    Shame on you all for not remaining silent while your viewpionts are IGNORED!

  31. You Have Been Trolled. You Have Lost. Have A Nice Day”. You are quite likely to see this if you respond incautiously to a flame-provoking post that was obviously floated as sucker bait.

    OKAY.

  32. _Women and Authority_ is OK, but I think Anderson and Beecher’s _Sisters in Spirit_ is better.

  33. You know, it’s funny how there are ALWAYS excuses for “the church” and it’s bad behaviors. Like it is so innocent and it is really society that has wronged the woman. Quit blaming it on society. Remember it was “the church” who was founded on the “true and everlasting covenant of marriage.” AKA: POLYGAMY!
    Yeah, the same thing that the the Muslims are killing over-(to have ten vigins in the afterlife for sacrificing themselves for Allah.) And the same thing that the FLDS are going to jail for. Open your eyes women.
    It has ALWAYS been men who try to contradict your lives. Whether or not you can use birth control, -when, where, to whom and for what reasons sex should be used for. How you can and cannot dress.
    Men who have complete control of your salvation in the mormon religion and don’t deny it! I mean come on, it’s a man who tells you when you have truely repented- isn’t that God’s(Heavenly Father) job?

    There is something very wrong in this picture- don’t you think?

  34. rm, the thing that is wrong in your picture is your hilariously antimormon, anti-muslim and antiFLDS point of view. You clearly know nothing about any of those religions. Go away now.

  35. Mark Butler says:

    The New and everlasting covenant (of marriage) has nothing to do with polygamy per se. The “New” part simply means that the covenant is replacing an older one. And the older covenant that is being replaced is not monogamous marriage. If that were the case we would all be in apostasy for rejecting the New and everlasting covenant.

    So what was the old covenant? One candidate is the Law of Moses. But what does the latter have to do with marriage?

    In any case, it is my belief that the old covenant implicitly referred to is the covenant that governed our first estate, where there was no marriage, no mortality, and no biological children at all. Apparently no at-one-ment either.

    As the author of Hebrews said:

    But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

    For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

    For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah
    (Heb 8:6-8)

    So we might well conclude that the children of Israel, having rejected the New and Everlasting Covenant mediated by the Melchizedek priesthood, were governed by a reprise of the original covenant from the first estate – at least until Christ, a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (or rather the Son of God) of course.

  36. Hi Mark and Steve, it looks like I have to give you both a lesson in your own religion. I think I have a pretty clear understanding of the LDS religion because I spent 15 years in it, was sealed in the temple, went to BYU, and had a variety of leadership callings in the church. I think I would know a little bit about my own religion- don’t you think? And the reason I am no longer LDS is because unlike you two I decided to actually study my religion and find out what it was really about. I decided that I could not stay in a religion that I did not believe in.
    Now, either we have two different copies of the book of mormon or you both decided to scratch out certain sections that are CLEARLY about polygamy being the “new and everlasting covenant of marriage.” Let’s get down to the facts: D&C:132- did you just skim over this section or are the two of you in denial?? Supposedly Joseph wanted to know about polygamy in the bible and supposedly God told him about it and said that he would have to live by this law if it was revealed to him. He was also kind enough to let Emma in on it (vs 54). Verse 55 it clearly says “wives” not wife.

    So, before you go and say that I have no clue what I am talking about go ahead and reread sec 132. Go ahead and prove me wrong convince me that “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage has nothing to do with polygamy per se.” I had many questions and they were never answered. No one wanted to admit or talk about polygamy. But it’s part of your religion. I am not trying to put anybody down but if you are going to claim a religion you should at least know and understand it.

  37. Mark Butler says:

    rm, I have read D&C 132 dozens of times. I do not deny that on occasion, polygamy is authorized, even required, for reasons we are not completely party to, but which seem to be adequately summarized in Jacob chapter 2.

    My point is that the body of D&C 132 and the new and everlasting covenant of marriage has nothing per se to do with polygamy. When the Lord revealed it unto Joseph Smith and required that he teach that principle, he knew full well that the practice thereof would last hardly over half a century. But that was sufficient to fulfil his purposes in the command.

    Now, on further examination of the scriptures, I will say that it seems there was a covenant of marriage in the latter half of the first estate, but that it did not encompass the ability to have children. So it seems that covenant was the “old” and everlasting covenant of marriage, and the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (also known as the Abrahamic covenant) was an expansion thereof. A better covenant founded upon better promises, as the apostle said.

  38. Mark, I actually disagree with your analysis. Personally, I think you’re misreading D&C 132, and historically the section is irretrievably linked with polygamy. But that doesn’t justify rm, either.

  39. Mark Butler says:

    I agree the section is historically linked with polygamy. My point is that the new and everlasting covenant was not first revealed to Joseph Smith, but rather to Adam and Eve. As Eve said:

    And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: 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.
    (Moses 5:11)

    i.e. the second estate, mortality, the ability to have children, and eternal life are all indirect consequences of the Fall (or the inability of mankind (Adam and Eve) to keep his first estate – transgressing holy laws according to their own knowledge).

    One cannot have eternal life (as we know it) without being married and sealed according to the new and everlasting covenant. Prior to this estate Adam (men) and Eve (women) were married, but did not have (biological) children.

    The first time we see this principle of eternal life expounded upon in the scriptures, it is in Genesis, unto Abraham, and thus we know the new and everlasting covenant as the Abrahamic covenant.

    Now as a general matter, it doesn’t matter the slightest what people thought about it – what matters is what the Lord has said, and nowhere has he said that as a general rule, one must be married in polygamy – quite the opposite, as Jacob handily demonstrates. Even D&C 132 treats it like an exception (cf. D&C 132:35).

  40. Mark Butler says:

    One more thing, D&C 22 is significant here:

    Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.

    Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works.

    For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in days of old. Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.
    (D&C 22)

    The pertinence should be obvious.

  41. Steve Evans says:

    rm, I have no desire to engage in a conversation with you about your prior faith. It is clear that you have left the Church, but aren’t quite done with it yet. If you’re out, then I suggest you move on and let those alone who would live up to the covenants they’ve made.

    You think you know a little about your own religion. I think you’re right — you know little. For example, consider your statement

    “either we have two different copies of the book of mormon or you both decided to scratch out certain sections that are CLEARLY about polygamy being the “new and everlasting covenant of marriage.”

    That phrase does not exist in the Book of Mormon.

    You’re silly, rm, and no longer welcome here.

  42. Fifty weeks out of the year I am absolutely content with my status as a woman in the Church.

    Two weeks out of the year I’m a flaming feminist — second wave, third wave, or any wave you want to put me in. Just give me a placard and point me toward someplace I can march in protest.

    Those two weeks are the days just before April Conference and October Conference. As in THIS WEEK. Beware! I’m rampaging.

    The week before Conference there are training meetings in the theater of the Church Office Building for priesthood leaders. Lots of priesthood leaders, who drink lots of water. Rather than make the men stand in line for restrooms, or point them toward restrooms elsewhere in the building, THEY TURN THE WOMEN’S ROOM IN THE ARCHIVES WING INTO A MEN’S ROOM and make us women run elsewhere. Not just during breaks in their meetings, but ALL DAY, ALL WEEK.

    Now I know where equality stops, and where the pedestal crumbles, and where “the high regard for all you contribute” ends. Right there, at the restroom door.

    Sisters, arise!

  43. Ardis, you are now, officially, my favorite commenter.

  44. Eric Russell says:

    Not to worry, Ardis, there is equilibrium in the universe. During Women’s Conference at BYU, the primary men’s restroom in the Wilk gets turned into a women’s one.

  45. Hey Ardis, since President Hinckley said that “men” in the scriptures refers to both men AND women, then we can extrapolate that “men” on the restroom door also means “men and women.” You just keep on visiting those restrooms, sister–both of them.

  46. I recall ushering during Women’s Conference at the Mariott center. All the Men’s bathrooms except for one were turned into women’s. We kept the one male bathroom because of the General Authority speakers, as well as the sound guys, ushers like me, etc.

    And you would not believe the verbal abuse and cuss words we heard from the women. Apparently, ALL the bathrooms should be turned into women’s restrooms and the men would just have to go in the bushes outside.

    In just one day of women’s conference, I endured more verbal abuse over that single bathroom than I have over anything else the rest of my life.

    I have no idea what that means, but Ardis made me think of it.

  47. Unisex lavatories in the church office building. Where will it end?

  48. We could be like Europe or Japan, and just let the men use the wall while the ladies use the stall.

  49. Eric (44) — Your news has lifted me from my puddle of rage to the heights of vindicated indignation. I will attempt to cope with the injustices of this week by gleefully anticipating women’s conference.

    Idahospud (45) — Er, um, uh, you may not have thought this through. If I find myself in a bathroom with, say, the 3rd Ward High Priests Group, which of us will suffer most? Unless, of course, they ALL possess shy bladders. Sweet!

    Ivan (46) — The only explanation is that the Cussin’ Cousines were employees and patrons of the COB Archives wing who flashed back to the week before conference in a mass instance of post traumatic stress disorder. Forgive us, for we know not what we spew.

    Mark IV (47) — Maybe it will end with men waiting on patrons at the Archives/Library counter, and women working in most of the supervisory and administrative offices. No, wait a minute — that is already happening!

    (By the way, in fairness to church employees who may be smeared by my irreverence, let me state clearly that I am not a church employee, but a patron, a self-employed historian who benefits enormously by the courtesies and professionalism of the Archives and Church History Library staff, so much so that I have built a career based on daily free access to the collections there.)

  50. Leaving bathrooms, and going back to the original topic for a moment…

    For whatever purpose, Heavenly Father has not revealed to us the actual roles and activities of Heavenly Mother(s).

    We have no idea what goes on behind (or above) the throne of heaven. A council consisting of the plural eternal wives of Elohim may be making all the real decisions. For all we know, Heavenly Father, and the Savior under his direction, are operating off of a list of divine honey-dos.

    We don’t know what’s going on “behind the curtain.”

    Three other thoughts:

    1. I think that the Proclamation on the Family is the first post-correlation document to specifically state we have heavenly parents, plural. Is that correct?

    2. Chapter 47 (about exaltation) of Gospel Principles, a correlated publication, implies a heavenly mother through deduction (page 302). And there’s the unofficial but semi-official doctrine about a mother in heaven in the hymn “Oh my Father”.

    3. An evangelical acquaintance of many years ago told me of his church’s belief in a heavenly mother. They believed it as a matter of deduction, not as scripture-based doctrine. His explanation about why it wasn’t revealed in the scriptures is along the lines of what our early prophets said, to protect her from man’s blasphemy.

  51. I don’t know, Ardis. The switching of signs on the mens’ and ladies’ rooms can be viewed as a church approved form of gender reassignment. We must beware of the camel’s nose under the edge of the tent when it is trying to smell the boiling frogs, or something like that.

    And I’m trying to imagine the poor woman who goes to her customary powder room only to find a sign on the door saying “gentlemen”. If she needs therapy to clear up her “gender confusion”, she should probably send the bill straight to the church.

  52. Kevin Barney says:

    About six years ago I went to NY for a securities law conference, and I brought my wife. One evening we went to see a play, “Ten Naked Men,” in the Village. There really were 10 naked (at various times in the play) men in the cast. (The play was written by a playwrite who grew up LDS.) The audience was virtually all male, except for my wife and maybe one or two other women. I leaned over and joked to my wife that I was the only one in the entire audience without a prurient interest in the nudity on stage.

    Anyway, at intermission there was a long line for the men’s room, but not a soul was using the ladies room. So I just slipped in there to do my business. That’s the only time such a situation has ever presented itself to me, and not something likely to be repeated very often!

  53. Kevin Barney says:

    Then there was the time I was playing tennis with a friend at Helaman Halls at BYU. I lived in DT, so I wasn’t familiar with Helaman. I wear contacts and I got something in my eye, and I couldn’t deal with it out on the windy tennis courts. I ran into the bathroom and had to flush my eye out with water for awhile. While I’m doing this I hear a couple of girls giggling, and I looked up, and there was a tampon dispenser to my right. And then it hit me–with my eye watering badly and almost closed shut, I had wandered into the wrong bathroom! That was very embarrassing.

  54. Kevin,

    I’ll match your confusion with buildings at BYU. During one of my first days working at the MTC, the sameness of the buildings got me confused and turned around. I was most of the way to the bathroom in the second floor before I realized I had made a wrong turn somewhere. To add to my embarrassment, one of the sisters on the floor I had wandered into was a high school classmate of mine.

  55. Oh. My. Good Lord. Are you guys kidding me?
    Honestly, I don’t know where to start. Your erroneous attack of rm? Your assertations that order in the universe has been restored with the replacement of a men’s bathroom with a temporary women’s? The fact that male and female roles are so absurdly seperate in your religion is impossible to deny. Women, please, I urge you to consider the slightest of possibilities that maybe, just maybe, your worth to whatever god you might believe in is valid completely separate of any man. Polygamy is hushed in Mormon gatherings for a reason. It is dehumanizing. It clearly places one sex below the other. The fact that it was not only sanctioned, but flat out required by the god of Joseph Smith AS THE “true and everlasting covenant” is undeniable, however strongly you may object. Rm knew what she was saying. You apparently, have no clue. Wake up and look at the world around you beyond the confines of your religious blinders.

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