Are Mormon Men Repressed?

In the wake of Jennifer’s great post on the supposed repression of Mormon women, I thought I’d ask if Mormon men are repressed. As a Mormon man, I’ve certainly never been confronted the way Jennifer was and told that I’m repressed. On the surface, it looks like we’ve got it pretty sweet.

But deep down, are we not allowed to participate in the world of maleness? Let’s look at some facts:

* Mormon men can’t drink beer, arguably a strong part of American male identity
* Mormon men generally are discouraged from watching shoot ‘em up, profanity laced movies, with all the scantily clad women you can shake a stick at.
* Some Mormon men might even be denied the sacred joy of watching football on Sunday
* With the emphasis put on families, Mormon men may not feel like they can spend evenings or weekends with “the guys”
* Mormon men may suffer an identity crisis – encouraged to weep during Sacrament meeting, yet discouraged from weeping during Steel Magnolias
* Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all, with the Church’s emphasis on industry, hard work, providing for oneself and family, Mormon men may be denied that trait so beautifully embodied in Doug Heffernen, Homer Simpson, and others: Laziness

Of course, there’s mostly sarcasm above, but I truly am interested in the differences between Mormon men and “wordly” (I hate that word!) men. I’ve actually heard one ex-Mormon argue that Mormon men are emasculated by the Church – just a teensy bit extreme in my opinion. But are there male rights of passage or other aspects of maleness that Mormon men are missing out on that they shouldn’t?

Comments

  1. “what righteous things might a 20-year-old LDS male be doing? Only one answer there. 20-year-old female”

    I had to read this a second time to make sure Julie wasn’t saying what I first thought she was saying.

  2. Mormon men generally are discouraged from watching shoot ‘em up, profanity laced movies, with all the scantily clad women you can shake a stick at.

    Anyone who has seen the post about “10 Best R-Rated Movies” over at the Sons of Mosiah blog would have to wonder if Mormon men really are repressed in this particular area. :)

  3. john fowles says:

    how about this: neither men nor women are “repressed”; it’s just that neither men nor women are happy with what they have–the grass is greener somewhere else, like in the Lutheran Church where noone is repressed, women and gays hold the priesthood (and very few actually believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and literally resurrected on the third day).

    Julie: I was surprised to read that my tongue-in-cheek reply to your tongue-in-cheek reply about padded seats warranted an accusation of flipping out! I guess I’ve done that (“flipped out” in my comments rather than masking such sentiments in psuedo-intellectual trappings) one too many times over at T&S and the reputation is following me to collateral forums such as this?

    If you must know, the church building I currently go to, as opposed to Mardell’s church in the Bronx, has a spacious mother’s lounge that stands empty for the block of meetings while five or six (sometimes more) fathers walk up and down the hall with noisy toddlers. It is just ironic and evidence that the church building was built in the sexist pre-1990s era when women were deemed to need a separate space to care for nursing or noisy children. The really stupid thing is not that there is no such room for fathers trying to tend to toddlers but that all of us fathers don’t just take over the “nursing mothers lounge” but instead we stay out of it just because of what it purports to be because of the sign on the wall outside it.

  4. its an interesting thought. I know that I have felt repressed as a LDS man by not being able to do those things. But honestly when I get down to it…I don’t want to do those things (except watch football) cause they are bad choices. For me its that simple.

  5. Julie in Austin says:

    john fowles–

    Sorry it wasn’t clear, but my response to your tongue-in-cheek response to my tongue-in-cheek response was also, um, tongue in cheek. I knew you weren’t really flipping out.

  6. Julie in Austin says:

    John Fowles–

    Wow, I guess you’d really flip out if you knew about the buffet, masseuse, and wireless Internet connection in the mother’s room.

  7. Julie, I should note, in all fairness, that we can get your wireless connection in the hallway.

  8. john fowles says:

    Julie: in addition to the padded chairs that you get third hour, you (women) get a nursing mother’s lounge, even though you all know that at least since the early 1990s men have been the ones to tend the toddlers during the two hours outside of Sacrament meeting. So we are banished to the halls while the nursing mothers’ lounges house a single female nursing a sleeping baby.

  9. Kim-

    I had to read it a third time to be sure she wasn’t saying what I thought she was saying.

    Personally, I like seeing all the men wandering the halls with their babies. I wish my repressed man could be out there with them so I could be sitting in the cushy chairs.

    Our nursing mothers’ lounge is always too full – there are probably 12 women in our ward who need to use it each week. When we requested a few more chairs, they gave us a little table with a doily and some fake flowers instead.

  10. Showed this to a friend, a non-Mormon, a friend from before I converted. he laughed and said, it is the kind of repression, he hoped more American men would subject themselves too, would make his job a lot easier, and there would be less misery in this world. (BTW, he is a city cop.)

  11. Someone ought to really talk about skipping football.

    There is a lot of serious thought to go with that.

  12. Ya the mothers lounge is great!! Sitting in there next to the diaper pal. I would perfer to be out in the halls talking someone.

    Of course in my ward in the Bronx they expect you to nurse whereever and look at you strange if you go into the mothers louge (that has pretty much been taken over by storage.) I thought it was much nicer than having to get up and leave sacarment meeting, relief society, and primary just to nurse. Why should mothers have to miss class just cause their kid is hungry. I understand that some moms are not comfortable or some babies need it quiet but really what is the problem with public nursing.

    Sorry kind of got off the topic.

    I do not think men are more repressed than women. We just have different things expected of us.

  13. Yeah, how come men get saddled with the work ethic?? That’d just not right.

  14. Julie in Austin says:

    Yes, LDS men are repressed.

    Consider: what righteous things might a 20-year-old LDS male be doing? Only one answer there. 20-year-old female? Married, in school, working, in the military, volunteering, preparing for a mission, combination of some of the above.

    What righteous things might a 50-y-o male do? Work full-time for family. 50-y-o female? Work, be with kids, volunteer, missionary (if single), homeschool.

    I loved a comment by someone named Jack over at T & S that chastized us for whining about being unfulfilled. I got the impression that he is a blue collar worker with little patience for the emotional needs of the white collar world. Most people are like him, numerically speaking.

    And, we get padded chairs in the third hour.

  15. In the 1970’s, when I was still a Mormon, I was chewed out by the bishop for allowing my husband to walk the halls during part of Sacrament, so I could have a few minutes of peace. Looks like times have changed.

  16. Yes, I think mormon men are repressed. Sexually, by the edicts, brochures and interviews in which they are told that masturbation is a sin. Then, most of them go on to lie about and live their masturbation in the shadows, which sets them up with a double sex life. Hello, women do this, too and isn’t it funny that those masturbation questions don’t come in interviews with 1

  17. Well, oops. hit the wrong button before I finished, so here’s the second part:

    …masturbation questions don’t come up in interviews with teenage girls. Of course, those interviews on sexual matters behind closed doors with just a male adult and a lone teenager are a bit questionable and probably a subject for another topic.

    I’ve come to believe also that the exclusivity of priesthood to males only, and then the ways it’s just thrown about to all males of 12 years old and higher is also a repression to males. The priesthood isn’t really something the males have to aspire to and attain, they just have to be breathing at age 12 and have their anatomy intact. It’s no accomplishment, but it’s held up as an accomplishment. Unearned authority and praise, it comes so easily. It’s like handing out trophies to all the 7 year-olds that play in the soccer tournament. Not such a big deal for 7 year-old but still not so great. But we’re talking about 12, 14, 16, 18 year-olds and over. Got penis? Here’s your priesthood. Not a real accomplishment at all now, is it?

  18. It’s true, Mormon men can’t enjoy a beer with friends, nor can they watch football every Sunday like other men do, as they have to be in church for at least 3 hours. They’re taught that masturbation is such a sin, they often lie in interviews so they can go on a mission and avoid the gossip of not being allowed to take or pass the sacrament every Sunday.

    The priesthood itself isn’t much when the only requirement is that you’re at least 12 and have a penis. Male converts are usually ordained soon after being baptized, they don’t have to earn the title if they have the equipment.

  19. Another issue is that with the lying that goes on in the bishop’s interview about masturbation erodes the honesty and good character that makes men to be good people. It’s more than beer or football, it’s about integrity. Good character…isn’t it about time?

  20. If you wonder why you get so many posts from people who are obsessed with sex, it is because an anti mormon forum links to here and everyone is encouraged to write bad things.

  21. Kristy, I saw the link from exmormon.org. So long as people are generally respectful, I think we’ll be alright. Thanks for the heads-up though. I would hope that all involved would have a little decency.

  22. Oppressed servant(slave) says:

    Newsflash
    —–We interupt this blog for a special alert—–

    In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the NATURAL MAN IS REPRESSED!!!!

    Natural men all over the world are marching on Salt Lake City as we speak. Must have pornography, must masturbate, must yield to my anger and testosterone, must renounce unwanted authority and responsibility.

    But no, we are forced to have charity, to wield unwanted authority, Must become better people in control of our lives WHETHER WE WANT TO OR NOT!! My mother/wife made me do it. Please, Stop the Tyranny. I need my natural life back.

  23. Yes, Mormon men are repressed. They are taught that their normal, natural urges to masterbate and have sex with multiple partners (and heaven forbid partners of the same sex) are evil desires to be ashamed of. That is bound to cause senseless guilt and sexual trauma for many.

    Beyond that, I agree that the church essentially teaches the subjugation of men to a traditional family lifestyle that requires them to spend their life providing for a wife and children. Any other life choice or path is frowned upon. Everything that was once said about women being pushed into a life of servitude to their husband/children can now be said about Mormon men raised with the expectation that this is their only path in life and it is the only way for them to be valued as men.

    Even the fact that men are exclusively given the priesthood and most leadership positions is a kind of repression. Women bare the brunt of that repression but what about all the boys who are raised with sexist attitudes that continue into adulthood because of the intended or unintended messages sent by that inequality?

    The unrealistic, old-fashioned, sexist view young Mormon men are taught about the inherent goodness and saintliness of women inevitabley leads to expectations that are rarely met and opens up men to emotional abuse and being taken advantage of by women who they expected to be more righteous than human beings normally are.
    How is that answer?

  24. Steve Evans says:

    well, free, horrible spelling aside, your answer is amazingly stupid.

  25. what’s all this?
    ok,Mormon men and women are repressed.end of story!it’s mental torture and it isn’t right.but eh,it’s our choice.i can’t belive brain-washing’s so frequent here. i believe in freedom of opinion and thought.and,what one does,it’s nobody else’s business.no one’s perfect.

  26. Wow! So, I know I’ve been gone for awhile, but really?! Last time I checked I wasn’t been oppressed or repressed or any other ‘pressed.

    I have friends that weren’t ready for missions and went after serviving time in the military and friends who went right away, came back and floated in and out of activity for awhile.

    The only thing that concerns me about this 20-ish generation is that they aren’t dating. (Believe me, I know!) And I think it’s because they are being influenced by hollywood. Why date and get married when you can just sleep around?

    I was an RA in college and I was heartbroken to see these little people (18-21) getting pregnant, bouncing between sexual partners and suffering from depression because of it. YEAH! That’s happiness! Sign me up! what?!?!

    Okay, I’m going to end there and refrain from commenting too much on how if men look at women as ‘good and saintly,’ how do you think recent convert or women from less active / non-member families feel when confronted with Peter Preisthood RMs??

    (whew, that felt good. Thanks, John.)

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