Let Sunshine Fill Your Soul

This article in the NYTimes (registration required) details how Mormon women are less depressed than their gentile counterparts. Thanks to Sumer Thurston-Evans for finding it! The study, performed by a BYU sociologist, may indicate (in her words) “a reflection of the higher standards that are espoused” by the Church. So all ye women-folk, are you less depressed because of your Church membership?

Oh, and yes, the study also found that Mormon women “do score lower on measures of self-esteem.” I guess that’s because we emphasize Faith, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works and Integrity higher than Divine Nature and Individual Worth. My wife’s remarks: “I’m feeling happy with my low self-esteem.”

Comments

  1. “Leadership is not about service. Leadership is about getting things done.”

    You’re right — except that’s not what the Church says leadership is about.

    Amen that power and influence don’t equate!

  2. “Sandy Candy” & the depressed Mormon woman stereotype has been around at least as long as 1993 (when I heard an Ex-Comm woman whine about this subject at the UoU Hinckley Institute of Politics). Probably because of this experience, I’ve long been an advocate that Mothers need to have a viable option of spending time away from toddlers, out of the home, etc…depending on the woman, maybe from 5-20 hours per week. As noted elsewhere, 100% baby-bound time + no educated-adult socialization + smoldering of non-mothering talents = recipe for not being as happy as others.

    I’m with Nate…it is an illusion. Are there folks in Utah with depression? Yes. Are there more, gross, net or per capita? No one knows. Does the gospel help or hinder depression? Um…I think the BoM answers that one for us, something re: Plan of Happiness, Women are that they might have joy? etc.

    Incidentally…the study being discussed was presented at AMCAP, which is a 100% “LDS” group, except it isn’t officially sponsored/funded by the LDS church. But it is the umbrella org. for LDS counselors.

  3. *joining the discussion late*

    I donÂ’t think women would feel pressure to answer the survey incorrectly to protect the image of the church. Anonymity may bring about honesty. (For example, Jane may feel uncomfortable revealing her depression among friends or at church but may feel okay about saying she is depressed in a survey).

    I grew up in Utah but have moved to another state for school. I have never suffered from depression, but I chalk that up to genetics and the fact that I donÂ’t have children yet :-)

  4. Aaron, Jim has written about it, but he’s not alone. Lately self-esteem has been getting a bum rap. I haven’t done the Googling required but there are lots of articles about it.

  5. Ann’s definitely on to something, and she’s right about women in the church being powerless, but on her point regarding happiness I don’t see much difference between the situation of the average man and the average woman in the church — for most of us, we can only vote with our feet. It’s the rare individual that can really effect any change to the institution.

    p.s. voting with your feet makes sustainings look pretty funny — try it this Sunday!

  6. Ann, if you really wanted to be even-handed, you’d afford surveys critical of the Church the same skepticism.

    Any ideas as to why we should be concerned in particular about the happiness of women in the Church?

  7. Another data point. I have been treated for clinical depression several times. One time, the church was completely a non-issue – I was working in a basement in a city where the sun almost never shone. Another time, it was absolutely church-related. The church-related episode might have had church as a trigger, but I don’t think that was the underlying cause.

  8. Brayden, what are her credentials? Do you know them?

  9. continued . . . , workers, students etc. and open ourselves up to more areas for comparison.

  10. Cynical Dave thinks the survey data shows Mormon women have learned how to lie about not being depressed. That seems the most straightforward way to reconcile the otherwise inconsistent findings. Just another reason to distrust survey data.

    [Truth-in-posting disclosure: I haven't had time to read the paper or the article yet. Just shooting from the hip. Hey, it's just a blog.]

  11. Does truth always make one happy? What about Socrates’ cave — do you think someone is happier when they’re tossed back into the cave (with a full knowledge of the truth) than they were when they were first in the cave (in ignorance)?

  12. Err, Plato’s cave.

  13. Gambling, for example. I know several LDS women whose husbands gamble for “fun” on a somewhat regular basis. But, simply addressing these issues is not enough. More active work than discourse needs to be done. Imagine if all the money being spent to fight against gay marriage in an attempt to “save marriage” was directed to really saving Temple marriages in the Church? The money could go for marriage counseling, help with debt management, even toward babysitting so husbands and wives could have more time together alone on a regular basis. These aren’t very good examples of options, but I think coming up with better ones should be a regular item of business on the First Presidency’s meeting agenda.

    Of course some of the reasons that LDS women might not be “very happy” in their marriages might have to do with the same reasons that women in the larger society are not “very happy” in their marriages. Life is busy–there’s more to do every day than can possibly done. Women’s roles, status, position in society is hotly debated–women often feel like they are at war with themselves in setting priorities regarding family and work and often feel like they do battle with other women in justifying those decisions once made.

    I just realized that this has become a long and rambling post. Sorry!

    Comment by: Melissa at April 2, 2004 04:55 PM Permanent Link

  14. How many righteous people have mentioned that their lives were full of daily sorrow? Job . . . Lehi . . .

  15. I admit I have trouble with sociological studies that equate self-identification with actually measuring what is self-identified. The understanding of the term in question will vary from individual to individual in such a way that I think there are severe social biases due to equivocation. But I’ll not get into that since I always get myself into hot water.

    The other issue is what Kristine asked. What is the *effect* of anti-depressant use in Utah? Even if there are hypothetically more women suffering from depression, does the medication keep them from being depressed? Further, if you ask someone to “self-identify” if they are depressed in such a status, how should they answer?

    I do agree though that there are some structural problem in the church. Not enough men give women a vacation from the kids on a regular basis. Not enough couples continue to date. Communications isn’t always there. Some of that is due to the emphasis of “appearances” in Utah I think. i.e. that appearing to be good is the same as achieving goodness.

  16. Kristine says:

    I don’t know. This particular mom might have. But I do think it’s less likely. And, of course, I could always be overruled by the bishop, and my particular bishop would be more likely to overrule me because I’m a woman.

    It’s true that most men won’t get to be GAs. However, I think it’s also true that reasonably competent, articulate, faithful men can predict with some degree of certainty that they will have opportunities to lead at some level. Women’s opportunities are less predictable. Lack of control and predictability of one’s fate are frequently cited as factors in depression. I don’t know how far I’d be willing to push that correlation, but it’s worth thinking about.

  17. I might also add that Sherry Johnson isn’t in the BYU sociology department. I think she is actually a professor in the social work department. Sorry, I just had to clarify that.

  18. I sure wish we could hear more from women on this topic. Kristine, come back! We need you! Sumer, Wendy, helloooo….

    Kaimi, how is Mormon guilt a gender-specific thing? I’m not saying you’re mistaken but I want to get a better idea of what you mean.

  19. I think that we need to be really careful when placing blame on the church or the gospel for the low self esteem in women. It would be difficult for any organization to set up an ideal, and not have some people feel badly when they donÂ’t measure up. Maybe what we just need to remember is that hardly anyone ever measures up to any ideal. How many of us out there look like supermodels? As a teenager, I made a conscious decision not to read fashion magazines because they always made me feel like I needed to go on a diet, even though I was already very thin. I canÂ’t very well just stop going to church because it makes me feel like I should be a different/better person.

    (For the record – IÂ’m not meaning to equate being in the Relief Society to being a supermodel. But frankly it must take someone rather incredible to bake bread, do their visiting teaching, bring meals to the sick, do your calling, and take care of a house full of kids all at the same time!)

  20. Kristine says:

    I’m not a very useful female voice on this one. I have incredibly lousy genes–melancholy Mormon Swedes on one side, drunken depressed Catholic Irish on the other, at least one suicide in every generation of my dad’s family. It’s pretty clear to me that my struggles with depression are the result of bad Swedish brain soup and not Mormonism. I will say that I’d be far less likely to call my visiting teacher if I was in bed depressed than if I was in bed with some other kind of sickness, and I would guess I’m not alone in that. When, as a young(er) adult, I tried to add myself to the suicide stats in my family, my parents felt the need to lie to everyone about why I was hospitalized, and my bishop came to visit with a xeroxed copy of Bruce R. McConkie’s passage from Mormon Doctrine saying that suicide is a grievous sin. That was a long time ago; I think Mormons, along with everyone else, are somewhat better educated and the stigma is less than it was.

    I would like to see a more in-depth report of Sherrie Johnson’s study; there are too many methodological questions for me to say much of anything about it. Other stuff I’ve read from Mormon social scientists on this topic has seemed quite biased and defensive.

  21. I’ve read about the genetic predisposition theory before, W – - it rings true to me, as I’ve seen depression run through my own family. But we’re not longtime members, so I’m not sure how it works in the BoM Belt. There have got to be studies out there…

  22. Interesting thought K, about mormon women feeling pushed to say they’re happy. Do you feel that push yourself? Or you, Sumer?

    I guess as a male member of the Church there is an emphasis on “accentuating the positive”, being happy, that we’re here to have joy, etc. But I don’t feel like on the whole, the Church’s mechanisms for emotional regulation are inadequate. In Sumer’s relief society, someone had an interesting take on this, though I can’t remember exactly what was said. Sumer, refresh my memory?

  23. It is also possible that the stereotype of the depressed, overly medicated Utah Mormon woman is simply wrong. It is possible for stereotypes to be wrong you know, even when they are fervently believed by really smart, critical, hip people.

  24. Kristine says:

    It may also indicate only that it was performed by a BYU sociologist.

  25. Kristine says:

    It’s older than a year ago. Louise Degn (and others) put together a documentary on Mormon women and depression that aired on KSL in the late 80s? Early 90s, maybe? BYU psychology profs and others were instantly put to work getting out a different picture, though I can’t remember if there was an “official” church response. It has been a perennial topic among Mormon feminist types for a while–the anti-depressant stats just added fuel to the fire, I think.

    btw, does anybody have a good source for the Utah anti-depressant prescription rate thing–I see it bandied about all the time, but I’ve never been able to track down any real numbers I would put faith in.

  26. Kristine says:

    Ka-BANG! (That’s the sound of Ann hitting the nail on the head)

  27. Kaimi-Steve:

    [now wouldn't that make a great name for a budding young lil tyke?]

    I’m not claiming day to day happiness; or an absence of sorrows, trials, etc. Only that obedience & faith bring the Spirit…which most folks tind to find happy, pleasant & motivating.

  28. Kristine,

    I wasn’t trying to minimize what women in the church feel by equating their situation with that of men. I guess you’re right about the predictability factor, something I hadn’t considered. If it makes you feel better, my life certainly doesn’t feel very predictable.

  29. Kristine, although I shouldn’t be, I am totally laughing about what your bishop did. I too have the brooding weird scandinavian gene (with German too!), and understand the depression gene.

    It’s amazing to me how little we understand in and out of the Church about depression, its causes and cures. It would seem to me to be a primary source of interest for a Church that is trying to make people happy.

    It’s especially difficult to address depression (or compulsive behavior, or a host of other ailments) through the framework of the Atonement, which seems largely ‘transaction-based’ rather than a way of fundamentally altering behavior. That’s not to say the Atonement doesn’t affect human behavior — just that our understanding and applications of it to our minds is very limited.

  30. Kristine, don’t be so quick to dismiss notions of self-esteem. In at least a general sense, ideas of personal worth can be beneficial. While some behavioral scientists of late have criticized overemphasizing self-esteem, it is considered in general a useful tool for gauging depression: see http://www.psychologytoday.com/htdocs/prod/PTOArticle/PTO-20031001-000001.asp

    Now repeat to yourself out loud: “I am a very special, unique, and valuable person. I deserve to feel good about myself.”

  31. Kristine, the oft-quoted study on prescription drugs isn’t as definitive as some would think. It was a survey of members of Express Scripts, a nationwide prescription plan admin company. Many states had no members in Express Scripts, so the data may be off. Here’s the link to the survey:

    http://www.express-scripts.com/other/news_views/outcomes2001/regional.pdf

    Like I said, not a definitive survey but good for some sound bites.

  32. Leadership is not about service. Leadership is about getting things done.

    If a bishop decides that the ward needs to begin meetings an hour earlier, he can make a change. If the RS president decides that the ward needs to begin meetings an hour earlier, she needs to go through channels.

    I didn’t say that women aren’t influential. But power and influence are not the same thing.

  33. Lyle, there’s a big difference between saying that the gospel provides salvation, and that it provides day-to-day happy times. Being a member of the church is no guarantee of sunshine and rainbows every day.

  34. Melissa, I do like your ideas! It’s true that the Church does have ways to help members that are in need of emotional/marriage help. Like you said, if more money is spent on those kinds of things, then say gay-marriage, it could greatly benefit the Church members. One good thing is that the Church does have trained social workers/psychologists to help members in various situations. The problem, well I don’t know if it is a problem, is that you have to get a referal from your bishop/branch-president to see a church psychologist. That’s okay, but the bishop is really busy and sometimes your case falls through the cracks. If you want to see a professional in the church, you have to jump through a few hoops (which isn’t always a bad thing.) Another problem is, if you live far away from where the Church has its regional offices of professionals/social workers, it is an extra struggle to get there and adds stress to the situation.

    Maybe Mormon women seem less depressed when they answer questions like the survey/study asked is because we see the light at the end of the tunnel. We know it will end eventually and we’ll get our reward for putting up with it all. ;->

    And maybe more seriously, we might say that were not depressed, because hardship is part of the struggle, part of our “narrative” and that if it isn’t hard it isn’t worth it? Like, when you hear women talking about childbirth or pregnancy, if you didn’t about DIE bringing a child into the world, you’re not a real woman. So hardship becomes a badge of honor–and we’re proud and happy, even that we’ve endured SO much for the children and the Church and for putting up with our spouses. Could this be something?

  35. My own impression is that Mormon women do indeed seem happier than non-Mormon women, but that appearance may just be a function of the vibe many think they’re supposed to give off.

    In the deep, dark recesses of my mind, I have a memory that says Jim Faulconer (of T&S) once wrote a paper very critical of self-esteem. Does anyone know anything about this?

    Aaron B

  36. Nate, you’re absolutely right. Was anyone here really relying on that stereotype, though?

    Not all mormon households are “American Beauty” in embryo, that’s for sure. The question is whether mormon women really are happier than average. I’d guess that they are, based on the cross-section of women that I know personally, but that’s hardly an accurate guage.

  37. No such stereotype existed until about a year ago, when the studies about antidepressant use came out. For years before that, though, talks and articles directed towards women in the church were telling them to “lighten up”. And the church sent out a very detailed questionnaire to a number of adult women in the church, the results of which were never made public, asking them whether they were happy, what in the church and in their lives made them happy and unhappy, etc. One assumes there is a connection between all of these things. It is not as though we’re chewing on some hoary old stereotype that was passed down to us by our grandparents. When I was growing up, Mormons avoided psychiatrists and psychiatric drugs like the plague.

  38. Kristine says:

    OK, a serious answer: if this is all based on self-assessed answers to national surveys, isn’t it possible that Mormon women feel more obligation to SAY they’re happy? After all, we’re perpetually told that “wickedness never was happiness” and plenty of people in the church derive from that the (obviously flawed) corollary that if you’re unhappy, you must be doing something wrong.

    The Primary songbook contains the old kids’ song “if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” However, the verses for “if you’re sad and you know it,” and “if you’re mad and you know it,” are not there. I think Mormon women (and men, though I think they may absorb the lesson at differential rates) are taught that there is a narrow range of acceptable emotions for a righteous Latter-day Saint. It stands to reason that they would self-report only those emotions.

    Then again, I’m a Swede who has spent half her adult life reading German literature. It’s quite possible that my perspective is a bit skewed…

  39. One more theory I’ve batted around — maybe Mormons, who tend to intermarry, are passing a depression gene around. There is some clinical depression running up and down my dad’s side of the family, which luckily skipped me but not some of my close family members.

  40. Perhaps the church replaces one set of insecurities with another. On the one hand, there is less worry about who to sleep with, less random “hooking up” which is a known contributor to self-esteem (and other) problems, less cosmic uncertainty.

    On the other hand, there is a theology that is sometimes hostile to women; the famous Mormon guilt (I forgot to do my visiting teaching this month!); the difficulties Mormon women have with education.

  41. Speaking a someone who spent most of their life as a non-Mormon and joined the Church a couple of years ago, I view the distinction between happiness and self-esteem from a macro versus micro perspective.

    When I consider my level of happiness I look at larger issues such as my satisfaction with my career, my family, my friends, overall spiritual well-being etc. In that sense, I can see how the Church would have a positive effect on some of those factors, that is the emphasis on marriage and children, as well as access to a tight-knit religious community, improves both the breadth and depth of one’s social interactions. Also, IMO, religion tends to de-emphasize self-involvement through (1) teachings such as serving others, (2) belief in a higher being and greater spiritual plan and (3) exposure to a more diverse community in terms of political thought, economic status, education, career goals, age, family status etc. (as shocking as that might sound to some of you — note: I am speaking as a woman, who is a racial minority, has been a student, now lawyer, has no kids, grew up outside of UT) puts perspective into one’s life and you start to realize there are more important things in life at the temporal and spiritual level than finding a typo on a signature page after its been executed (shout out to the lawyers!).

    At the same time, I have made the statement (ask my husband) that my self-esteem has taken a hit since joining the Church. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but by most standards I had good moral and ethical values. As an investigator and later member, I learned that “perfecting the Saints” did not just mean adopting the Church’s religious beliefs but also things like not drinking coffee or tea. A trite but perfect example of how something considered fairly harmless by most people is somehow “bad”. I could also name numerous other mundane habits or activities that I had or participated in to which this applies. Also, it’s not just whether you do something or omit from it, but if you do something good, there is also a high standard at which it should be accomplished. Compound that with all the additional activities you take on as a member such as callings, visiting teaching etc. (My husband informs me that many of these “condemned” activities and high standards are often social / institutionalized norms rather than Church pronouncements, but as a fairly new convert I think it’s hard to make the distinction. Even if you can make the distinction, it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll dismiss it.) As a result, the social community I mentioned earlier can go both ways. There is a defined image of your traditional Mormon and if you deviate you’re left feeling like an outsider (ask any middle school kid how this affects their self-esteem). For women, I think that our self-esteem is more susceptible to harm due to the fact that most of us whether by choice or not juggle so many activities as wives, mother

  42. Kristine says:

    Steve–”self-esteem” is an entirely meaningless psycho-babble term with neither descriptive nor predictive power?

    Sumer–all the non-Mormon women in Utah are depressed? or all the Mormon women aren’t depressed anymore because they’re medicated?

  43. Sumer,

    But if you don’t read fashion magazines, how will you know how to dress your husband? (Which is the primary task of the wife, of course). I think now I know why we see Steve wearing brown shoes with a black belt.

  44. Thanks Melissa!

  45. Thanks Sumer! Good to see you out in the blogosphere :)

  46. That was my first reaction too, except that it was presented at a non-BYU conference, which seems to lend an air of respectability to the findings.

    Doesn’t it seem contradictory that Mormon women would have lower self-esteem but not lower depression? What does that say about the linkage between the two??

  47. Kristine says:

    That’s OK, I laughed about it too, though it took me a couple of weeks to realize it was funny at the time :)

  48. The Relief Society lesson was taught by a psychologist. The general gist was that we shouldn’t repress our negative emotions (anger, jealously, sadness) – we should allow ourselves to feel the emotion – acknowledge that we are feeling this way – and then move past it. Her hypothesis was that we can’t progress emotionally until we learn to deal with all our emotions, not just the acceptable ones.

  49. This is a copy of the comments I just posted on T and S regarding this article. I just can’t keep up with two blogs :)

    So far all the comments here have discussed the anti-depressant issue (yawn) and the idea that young mothers might not rate themselves “very happy” for a variety of reasons mostly to do with the nature of life at home with toddlers. But, no one has really discussed the fact that only 52% of the women surveyed said that they were “very happy” with their *marriages*. The suggestion has been made that these women simply have unrealistic expectations of marriage and perhaps we need to change that delusion of a picture-perfect, totally fulfilling Temple marriage that still haunts Young Women’s manuals. While I think this is a good place to begin, I think the Church needs to do much more to address this issue. It honestly makes me weepy to think about the amount of money, time, and effort that the Church has spent and will spend in the future fighting gay marriage. What if that much money, time and effort were spent to save Temple marriages instead? Many women (and I think men as well) are unhappy (or not very happy) in their marriage not simply because they had unrealistic expectations of marriage (although that certainly might also contribute). Other reasons might include the fact that members of the church get married younger and start having children sooner than the national average (My brother who just turned 22 announced his engagement this week–this is almost unheard of outside the Church). Still, I think the reasons go beyond these statistics. The Church provides various kinds of support for various kinds of difficulties (financial being the most obvious). But, there is little support for troubled marriages. If you are a good member of the Church then you aren’t supposed to have difficulties in your marriage, right? President Kimball said that any worthy member could be happily married to any other worthy member, so what’s the problem? Last Spring in General Conference someone gave a talk (I can’t now remember who) about a bishop who got a call from a sister who was just about to leave her husband and children and run away with some other man. The talk goes on to make other points, but I couldn’t help wondering where the woman’s friends were, where her visiting teachers were, where the Relief Society president was long before the situation got to this point? Of course there are appropriate things to discuss with others, and other things that are inappropriate to discuss–out of loyalty to one’s spouse, but I think that we generally feel the need to pretend to be perfect in this area even if there are serious problems. One such serious problem that is beginning to get some attention from Salt Lake, particularly in the Men’s sessions of conference is domestic violence. Domestic abuse happens in the Church, even in temple marriages. There are other less serious issues that need to be addressed too. Gambling, for

  50. Was it really Plato’s cave if we only know about it through Socrates?

    Wendy, your comment hits a number of points that I find really interesting — whether mormons should be happy all the time, whether the truth should make us happy, and whether we can trust the reliability of our own studies.

    First, I can say that I personally don’t feel the pressure all that much to put on a good face for the Church’s sake. That strikes me as an archaic notion, but somehow I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that lots of members think that way. I wonder what it comes from.

    Second, I read you loud and clear about associating the truth & the spirit with happy feelings. Certainly the Church would be crazy to associate the Spirit with negative feelings. And yet the restored gospel contains lots of negative things that we need to deal with. What would be a better method of helping people understand when they’ve felt ‘inspiration’? I know you’re something of a skeptic on this point but I still find the ideas interesting.

    I don’t know what to say about the reliability of a BYU study. The recent hubbub about the homosexuality study shows that not all BYU professors are blind to scientific evidence…

  51. What the article doesn’t explain, is why if there are lower rates of depression, the state has higher than average anti-depressant medication consumption rates. Ideas?

  52. While I am certainly not a poster child for seeing the best in the church (ahem), I do think that a peer-reviewed article by a BYU prof should be given the same credence as a peer-reviewed article by a non-BYU prof.

    My knee-jerk response to any research that paints the church in a positive light is cynicism. I work to overcome this by trying to take any church connections out of the puzzle when assessing the information. I’m not always successful.

  53. While I realize the odds of any specific man being in a position to affect change is small, the possibility does exist. The same can not be said for women.

    Even within a ward context, women are only able to affect change to the extent that men permit it. I think Kristine’s experience with the “Saturday’s Warrior” selection in sacrament meeting is telling. If a man had been serving in the same capacity and had said, “No,” I think the Angry Mom would not have second guessed him.

  54. Why are we suspicious about the results of this study. There is the fact that it was conducted by a BYU sociologist. We are all familiar with the studies showing that antidepressant use by women is very high in Utah. We know how Mormons think — they want to make the church look good; they think it reflects badly on their personal spiritual well-being, faith in the gospel, relationship with Jesus, etc. if they are unhappy and/or admit that they are unahppy.

    Also, could it be that our experience is that Mormon women do not seem to us to be, on average, happier than non-Mormon women? Is it our experience that they seem slightly unhappier? I’ve never thought that Mormon women seemed happier overall than women I encountered at school, at work, etc. I can’t say that they seemed unhappier either. Those are just surface observations, obviously, which is why it is helpful for sociologists to do studies about it! Is it really true that “man’s search for happiness” leads to the Mormon gospel, or merely man’s search for truth — ie, does the truth make you happier? Couldn’t the truth make you miserable? That was a possibility that I considered for quite awhile, but it goes counter to what the church teaches — that you know something is true because it gives you a good feeling.

  55. Why does a GA have more influence than an Elder in Ward X, Y, or Z? I think a good Elder in any ward can have just as much, if not more influence, than any given GA. NOTE: This goes double or equal for Women. Sorry, I don’t buy the women are powerless/less influential argument. That hasn’t been the case in my life . . . which has greatly been enriched by the examples of both genders.

    Leadership is about service; and real change happens at a personal, person-person level. I think y’all more “powerful” than perhaps ye think.

  56. Why does it matter whether “our women” are happy? I think because it’s an institution where women are de facto powerless. If the women are not happy within such an institution, they have no recourse – the only option is to vote with their feet, and the consequences of that are not just traumatic, but eternal for the believers. If the women are, by and large, happy, then their powerlessness is not an issue.

  57. Wow — Gigi! Welcome aboard!!!

    So in your mind, when a mormon woman gets asked if she is happy, can we fairly compare her answer to a non-mormon’s answer? It sounds as if your concept of happiness has broadened considerably since joining the church — do you think that a survey announcing that mormon women are happier has any meaning, then?

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