Your Friday Firestorm #53

“The family will be presided over by the father, the priesthood bearer…And he will tie generations together as we go forward. . . . Can you think of a more glorious opportunity than being led by your own father in the eternities to come, and having the opportunity as a father in leading your children as they go forward?”

“Any priesthood bearer that doesn’t respect motherhood doesn’t honor his priesthood, and I think it should be taken away from him. The respect and honor we give our sweet companions is one of the great responsibilities we have as a priesthood bearer. Their role is very difficult and they need our support… They don’t hold the Priesthood. The Lord gave [women] the greatest assignment on earth. He entrusted unto women the opportunity of bringing forth His children to the earth.”

“A sweet woman who has a loyal Priesthood bearer as the head of the family should have the comforting assurance that he will take care of her first above anything else in his duty and responsibility,” [noting that the father is to be the provider and protector, taking care of the family unit].

Elder L. Tom Perry, interview on the Priesthood (part 3), October 28, 2010, currently featured on



  1. I am pleased to see that unsweet women have no such promise of comforting assurances.

  2. Keep sweet, Scott.

  3. that’s well and nice. Is he essentially saying that I’m not honoring my priesthood for being the stay at home dad while my wife slaves away for a six figure salary? Why does an Apostle say something like this and then later on have to add an addendum to explain the multiple exceptions to this rule?

  4. Daniel, you’re not honoring your priesthood for a million reasons, including selling your wife into slavery.

  5. MikeInWeHo says:

    Thank goodness for this post. I was coming down with a severe case of Bloggernacle Boredom.

  6. Oh, how I have missed these. Thanks Steve.

  7. This is one heckuva interesting video.

  8. *sigh*

    The church on earth will never be fully organized until it recognizes a place for single women *in*this*life*. Whatever else everyone is going to say about the narrow focus on your assigned roles of presiding and motherhood, at least you have a place in the church’s worldview.

  9. But Ardis, Elder Perry made specific mention of how Priesthood leaders should be sensitive to single women and widows! What more do you want?!?!?

  10. What Ardis said. In spades.

  11. So billions and billions (every women) is given given the “the greatest assignment on earth”. But only a handful of men get to hold the Priesthood__how does that work?

  12. what Bob said.

  13. So, according to Elder Perry, do married women who are unable to have children need no respect? What about women who are not “sweet” and are unmarried? Does this exclude them?

    From my experience in the Church, I have observed that in many cases assertive women without children are minimalized and reduced to a number of a roll.

  14. Wow. I started reading the quote on my phone without being able to see who it was by or when it was said. I was certain it was going to be a quote from decades ago. Boy was I wrong.

  15. Jan, at least married women without children are still valued as “sweet companions,” for whatever comfort that offers.

  16. If you notice, he did say “respect womenhood”. Not motherhood. And he is specifically talking about a context of being in the family. (Caveat: I haven’t watched the video.)

  17. Ever since the Packer fall-out, don’t people take quotes taken out of context from apostles with a grain of salt? I hope I’m not the only one.

  18. Steve Evans says:

    Newly Housewife, go ahead and check to see whether I’ve taken the quotes out of context. I haven’t.

  19. Thank goodness. I’ve about gone crazy trying to be respectful to everyone at church. This really cuts down on that list.

  20. Actually, before someone catches my mistake, I will take it back. He does say “respect motherhood”. When I first read it, I thought he said “respect womanhood”. Ardis, that does make all the difference in the world.

  21. If you notice, he did say “respect womenhood”. Not motherhood.

    Sure, but the only form of womanhood he mentions respect for, the only true form of womanhood, is that of companion and mother. Not womanhood for womanhood’s sake.

    When you read the quotation at the head of this post, do you see yourself in the role of a father yourself who is leading forth your posterity even as you follow your own father? Or do you see yourself only as a junior hanger-on, tagging along in someone else’s wake, the end of the line rather than an essential link in a chain? Whenever I hear statements like these, I get chills rather than warm fuzzies, because his outline offers me only the role of being acted upon, never the role of acting.

  22. Yeah, it does, Jacob. Thanks.

  23. John Mansfield says:

    Well executed tinder lighting, Steve Evans. My guess at an explanation for Firestorm’s return is a recently released bishop. I’m sure others can create better speculations, though.

  24. Steve Evans says:

    John M., no such release. Just eating some Chex Mix on a Friday and thinking back to the heyday.

  25. John Mansfield says:

    Steve, my story’s a lot more interesting than yours.

  26. Let me point out that the denigration of non reproducers is fully in accordance with Darwinism. It is a very modern and up to date kind of talk.

  27. This is just the second time I’ve noticed this Elder Perry interview, and it’s also the second time it has given me pause. In the first segment, he made me wonder about a woman’s place in the Church in regards to priesthood and leadership.

  28. The fun part is, L. Tom Perry is the only apostle I’ve found to have hinted that “presiding” is a male-female function in the home:

    There is not a president and vice president in a family. We have co-presidents working together eternally for the good of their family . . . They are on equal footing. They plan and organize the affairs of the family jointly and unanimously as they move forward. ~ L. Tom Perry, Church News, 10 April 2004:15; as cited by Valerie Hudson in pretty much every article she writes on Mormons and gender.

    Note that this version of the quote comes from what Elder Perry actually said in Conference and is cited in the Church News here. The published Ensign version deleted “co-presidents” from the talk.

    I guess this interview lays to rest the idea that Elder Perry is the “progressive” on this issue among the Twelve.

  29. Steve Evans says:

    Jack, I think Elder Perry is not much more progressive than any other apostle, but no less so. I would venture to say that he would find no inconsistency between the current interview and what he said in 2004. Which probably speaks volumes.

  30. There is always going to be pressure between emphasizing the ideal and leaving room with the exceptions.

    You want to help more young men go on missions? Let’s do it — except now those who don’t want to go on missions feel alone, left out, and separate, and often go inactive.

    You want to emphasize the importance of a loving and supportive family unit? Let’s do it — except now those who don’t fit in, YSAs, widows, single parents, gays, etc etc are now more isolated than before, and feel socially uncomfortable.

    There is no good way to promote an ideal without, to some extent, isolating the exceptions. Let’s not stop apologizing for the noble ideals; let’s increase our loving for exceptions.

  31. Steve Evans says:

    Sam, do you think that the Church does a good job with the “exceptions” in this case?

  32. “A sweet woman who has a loyal Priesthood bearer as the head of the family should have the comforting assurance that he will take care of her first above anything else in his duty and responsibility,”

    At first, I thought this was kind of a controversial statement. After all, isn’t our first responsibility to our own relationship with Christ? And what about the children? Shouldn’t we put our wonderful, innocent children before our spouses in our list of prioritized responsibilities?

    Then I realized I don’t really know that many women who are particularly “sweet.” For example, I’m pretty sure my wife and four sisters would offer to kick my ass if I called them “sweet.” After I realized that, the whole statement got kind of innocuous. Firestorm over.

  33. I am incredibly sweet.

  34. I am a YSA convert in a YSA ward; I have no personal experience here and thus no way to judge.

    In the FProc, the church’s position is laid out pretty clearly, then immediately followed by the line about how individual circumstances may require adaptation.

    To me, that is the church’s stance on the issue.

    Do you have a better suggestion for how the policy could be emphasized in this case without isolating the exceptions here? Or how to un-isolate the exceptions?

  35. Mommie Dearest says:

    Sam, how about not over-promoting any exclusionary ideal that has so many exceptions? To the point that many of “the exceptions” feel like there is no hope for them so why bother? Whatever happened to promoting the love of the Savior which is available to all; male, female, bond, free, married single, divorced, gay, straight, sweet, tart, or what have you, and heals aching hearts and binds up the wounds. The only way to “increase our loving for exceptions” that will have the intended effect is to make ourselves equal with them, which is a reality, and to partake of the atonement together.

    There is no way to implement a specially prepared program designed to include “the exceptions” that will not have the effect of making them feel even more like outsiders in the Gospel of The Perfect Family.

  36. Sam, I have no real problem with Elder Perry’s statement as far as it goes. It doesn’t go far enough, though, and neither does any other related statement ever made over the pulpit.

    Is it really policy that a daughter of God has value only when — and solely because — she is the sweet companion to a priesthood holder and the bearer of his children? Does she have no value in herself as a daughter of God? As a YSA you probably expect one day to marry and have children. In the meantime, because that fatherhood is still in the future, do you have no value as a son of God? Do you not have intrinsic worth as an individual, irrespective of your prospective role as father?

    When the Relief Society was organized in 1842, Joseph Smith told the sisters that “The Church was never fully organized until the women were thus organized.” The church was not an institution for the sole benefit of men, and women were not exceptions to church policy. It only meant that the church was not fully organized.

    I contend that the church is still not fully organized as long as church leaders don’t think to value women except insofar as they are sweet companions and the mothers of children. I don’t need church policy to change — I need it to expand. I need women to have a role as daughters of God and not merely as the sidekicks of men.

    Other “exceptions” (I hate that word — I am not an exception, not an outsider; I am an active, believing Latter-day Saint woman) will have to speak for themselves.

  37. MikeInWeHo says:

    “There is no good way to promote an ideal without, to some extent, isolating the exceptions.”

    I disagree with this. “Isolating the exceptions”?? Isolating? Seriously? My sense (step in here Kristine) is that in reality these “exceptions” are a significant percentage of church membership, especially if you count inactives.

    There is a big difference between emphasizing an ideal and fetishizing one specific type of family (married young, stay-at-home-mom, many kids….you know what I’m talking about….).

    –An Exception and Outsider

  38. Observer (f.k.a. Eric. S.) says:

    In recent years, I’ve struggled to understand what the operant definition of “preside” is. I have a sense, but I don’t associate preside with the emotion of love. I don’t equate it or associate it with the status of being male and holding the priesthood either. And I don’t exactly associate it with decision making, because that’s something I do with my whole family together.

  39. Steve Evans says:

    What Mike said, and Mommie Dearest.

  40. For many decades, now, Mormon women’s historians have been doing an excellent job recovering precedents for privilege of their own exercise of priesthood in the Church’s past–especially, check out the arrival of Jon Stapley and Kris Wright’s excellent, latest JoMoHist article on female ritual healing. This ongoing and vital expansion of historical perspective could provide an identity model for women to reclaim priesthood rather than having it granted them. No doubt that’s why such work has been so feared in some quarters.

  41. What Mike said, and Mommie Dearest.

    but pointedly not me, whose comment appeared between theirs. Ah, yeah, that’s the Steve Evans I’ve come to know and .. er … well …

  42. Ardis, fwiw, I’ve loved your comments here.

  43. MikeInWeHo says:

    I think Ardis, Steve Evans and I should all do a Zeitcast together. There, I’ve said it.

  44. #43 – I might pay to hear that, as long as someone sent me the money.

  45. If this was a cynical attempt to drive up weekend traffic, I approve.

  46. Steve Evans says:

    Ardis, do you need my approval? Your comment stands on its own, and it’s terrific.

  47. Ardis, this is why you are my bestest favorite in the entire Bloggernacle. The end.

  48. Mommie Dearest says:

    FWIW #36 brings up points that no one else made, and gets to the heart of the matter. IWIST (I wish I’d said that)

  49. Bro. Jones says:

    Said it before and I’ll say it here: I have no interest whatsoever in spending eternity with my father (lower case f) close at hand. I love the man, but I fail to see the attraction in an afterlife focused on spending time with him. (I expect he’d say the same about me.). And now that I’m a father myself, I’m not terribly interested in presiding over my daughter for eternity. I’m much more invested in raising her to make her own eternal destiny with her own companion, not have family home evening with me forever.

    I really don’t get the appeal of “families are forever” if it means that our family structure will be frozen in time.

  50. Bro. Jones says:

    By the way, it’s great to see the Firestorm back. Now that I’m teaching Primary again, I don’t even have the pretense of interesting Gospel discussion with adults that SS and EQ offer.

  51. I don’t think it means that, BJ, but I’m really not sure what the first paragraph in the above Parry quote does mean. What does “go forward” mean? and what is the meaning of “leading” in that context. With such inescapable anbiguities, the question he asks in that paragraph can only be answered: “Yes, I can think of a lot of more glorious opportunities.” I love my family but an eternity of “leading” them as we “go forward” while I am “led” by my father sounds nebulous at best. Nothing particularly glorious there.

  52. I suspect there is an element of generational difference and the desire to encourage people to do something that may be unpleasant or difficult (devoted parenting). I agree with Ardis that this tack can be quite hurtful to those who are not participating in parenthood. For what it’s worth, I think “sweet” is how old American people say “good” or “praiseworthy.”

  53. “Any priesthood bearer that doesn’t respect motherhood doesn’t honor his priesthood, and I think it should be taken away from him.”

    I thought this was bold. It’s not something I’ve seen much before.

  54. how does one have the priesthood taken away from him? Isn’t it only in excommunication that this happens?

  55. Eric Russell says:

    Steve, thank you for posting this. This is an important topic and it’s good to see it finally being addressed after seven years of being ignored in the bloggernacle.

  56. Daniel–that’s what’s so bold about it. It sounds flattering to women and it’s completely meaningless. Sigh.

  57. Steve Evans says:

    Since per Elder Perry’s analogy, men get the Priesthood and women get to have babies, I can only assume that his reference to taking away the Priesthood is referring to castration.

  58. Mark Brown says:

    I’m with Eric. After all these years of trying to reconcile presiding with equal parthership, it’s good to finally drop the pretension and get the unvarnished, unadulterated message.

  59. Steve Evans says:

    Indeed. No chicken patriarchy, this.

  60. StillConfused says:

    #49 is on point with my thinking. I have zero interest in being around my birth family. Presumably my children will have their own families to be with. I cringe at the thought of having anything to do with my husband’s children in the hereafter. I pretty much want to go to the spouses only heaven… or the all alone heaven

  61. Eric Russell says:

    Alas, StillConfused, you may just get your wish.

  62. Totally agree with #38 Observer (f.k.a. Eric. S.). What does “preside” even mean in a healthy relationship?

    And Ardis, you are absolutely exceptional. Sorry.

  63. I know several good women who would love it if their husbands took the advice stated in this interview and stopped being a jerk. I’m not surprised Elder Perry is saying that guys who are jerks to their wives don’t deserve to have the priesthood.

  64. Mark Brown says:

    It is a good thing that men’s jerkiness is the focus of every talk that is ever directed at men. Otherwise we might never realize that we are jerks and unworthy of the priesthood.

  65. We need to implement the practice of “unordination” for those who fail to respect motherhood. I propose that the unordinance consist of a circle of men placing their hands — palms up — on the head of an unworthy priesthood holding brother, followed by all participants lifting their arms in unison away from the seated disrespecter at an appointed time. At which point said brother is unordained from the Melchizedek Priesthood, thereby leaving him in Aaronic squalor. He should then be required to pass the Sacrament each week for the next month, and he must troll the neighborhoods for fast offerings on Fast Sundays too. If he disses mothers a second time, he should undergo the process yet again, except this time the Relief Society sisters should perform the unordinance.

    I really should have been hired to write the new CHI.

  66. It seems to me that the whole idea of patriarchy is a curse. The story of Adam and Eve suggests that we are all equals and that it is a fallen state to put man ahead of women or vice versa. So why in the world would we want to continue such a system. In such a system, priesthood acts as a social label for who can and cannot speak for and act in God’s name. In that regard, it is used to manipulate and coerce despite warnings that no power or influence ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood.

    I dont see why we need to wait for some future millennia or zion to do away with patriarchy or matriarchy. There is no place for archons in my home and Im certainly not going to teach my daughter play second fiddle to anyone simply because she has ovaries. I think the women in my life deserve a little more respect and less patronizing.

  67. J Madson,

    So why in the world would we want to continue such a system. In such a system, priesthood acts as a social label for who can and cannot speak for and act in God’s name.

    Well put. The priesthood has very little, if anything to do with being a father, or being a husband.

  68. Re #3 Daniel. I don’t think he is saying anything about your family. If your family is being provided for, then you guys are doing exactly what he is asking and describing.

    The problem is when families are not provided for. Or when a husband bullies his wife into paid employment against her will, because he has zero respect for her contributions as a mother and homemaker. Or when a couple decide that mom needs to be in the workforce and dad does not step up to the caretaker role. Or when a couple limit their fertility because the man expects the wife to “work” and she isn’t physically able to combine the demands of pregnancy/childbirth with employment, so she feels her only choice is not to have more children.

    It is these latter situations against which he seems to be speaking out, at least that is how I hear it because I see so many women in those very situations. Mostly outside the church, as most folks I know are non-members.

  69. I’m actually not worried about providing..who I would like to hear this are a couple of branches in South Africa (in predominantly Indian area) who are following the local custom tradition of the husbands beating their wives.

    I do think it is extremely problematic that we have no sense of a adult womanhood aside from motherhood.

  70. Is honoring Mother-in-Lawhood also a rule?

  71. Husband sans posterity says:

    What Ardis said. Several times.

    But with real sympathy for #30.

  72. All4Patriarchy says:

    I’m with Sam and Naismith’s #68. The church generally doesn’t teach the exceptions–it teaches the policies and the principles. How the church and its membership deal with single adults is a big issue, but that wasn’t the issue he was addressing with this talk.

    As for Patriarchy, women are sexually attracted to men who are leaders (think alpha male) and protectors, and most women want a man who leads and takes care of the family.

    It’s a biological fact that women are sexually attracted to successful men–men who have confidence, who lead other men, who make decisions, or who demonstrate social dominance. That’s why sports and rockstars have their pick of women, even if they’re ridiculously ugly. That’s why girls date jerks–because jerks dominate others. Call it what you will–women want an alpha male, a leader, etc. to have children with them. If mormon men want to keep their wives happy, they should start acting like one (not a jerk–a leader).

    The model of patriarchy worked for thousands of years and in its ideal form made both the woman and the man happy. Women married up to secure a good future for their children, and men married down to secure sexual fidelity. Our society still isn’t sure what to do without that model, and since its demise we’ve seen a slew of problems arise. The church doesn’t teach WHY men should be the leaders, but the reason why is because women hate a beta. They aren’t attracted to men who don’t lead. If a man isn’t leading his family, his wife deep down inside isn’t attracted to him the same way she would be otherwise. That’s just biology. Women like a leader–a real one, not a called one– the way men like big boobs. Neither group can help it.

    Mormon men, you ought to quit worrying about who might get offended and start leading your families. Too many of you become doormats to your wife once you’re married, and then your wive’s resent you for it. Buck up and be men and start leading; It’ll make your wife more attracted to you, you’ll both be happier, and your families will be stronger.

  73. Buck up and be a man…use your name.

  74. 72 Yeah! Heck yeah. Preach it, brother. Oppress me and admire my awesome rack; is that too much to ask from all these wimpy Mo men? Finally, a real leader who isn’t afraid to choke the chicken patriarch. Ignore them when they mock you All4Patriarchy, they just jealous.

  75. #72: Colbert?

  76. Mark Brown says:

    Dr. Freud might say that #72’s extra long comment is a form of overcompensation for something or other.

  77. #72 – Troll? (although #76 might be a better explanation and #74 is epic)

  78. I will just take #72 as a joke. Yes_as a Colbertish rant. (If that’s OK with my wife).

  79. October of 2010?

    Oh, damn.

  80. Note to church- it’s not 1950 anymore.

  81. Um, just because my name was mentioned in #72 does not mean that I endorse it in the least.

  82. Husband sans posterity says:

    I’ll note that an article in this month’s Ensign appears to come from a 1969 Priesthood meeting.

  83. “Women like a leader–a real one, not a called one– the way men like big boobs. Neither group can help it.”

    I hereby nominate this comment for a niblet for dumbass neanderthal comment of the decade.

  84. MikeInWeHo says:

    I dunno, MCQ. That comment does have a Colbert/The Onion parody tone to it, especially given the name that was used. The Niblet might be for Best Possibly Fake-Possibly Stupid Comment Of The Year.

  85. > That comment does have a Colbert/The Onion parody tone to it

    Wishful thinking, Mike.

  86. Poor beta males. Always out in the big-boob cold.

  87. Why do I get the feeling that All4Patriarchy’s philosophy isn’t working out that well for him personally in practice.

  88. Well, maybe the “men like big boobs the way women like leaders” is the key in why I got married so late. I had the boobs but rejected the leader…

    Seriously though the whole quote in the OP is just weird to me. Right off I thought I could think of all kinds of people I’d rather have me lead than my father (whom I love) – like myself, or my hubby, or my daughter. Actually, our daughter is already leading is all the time anyway, grabbing our hand, turning off the computer and telling us to come play with her.

    And I’m not sweet. So, I guess all my future concepts of security with my husband just went out the window due to my sour nature. Dang. If I would have known that sweetness is the key to a secure future, I certainly would have sweetened up a bit.

  89. I like big boobs.

    There. I said it.

  90. There is no good way to promote an ideal without, to some extent, isolating the exceptions. Let’s not stop apologizing for the noble ideals; let’s increase our loving for exceptions.

    Why does the church need to create an “ideal”? Isn’t our ideal Jesus? We don’t know if he was married, had kids, had a beard, wore a white shirt. . . .

    And as for his teaching, I don’t think he often created “ideal” models for us to follow. Instead he taught principles. And more often than not just went around healing people (spiritually and physically).

    If people are so fundamentally different – physically, mentally, socially, psychologically, etc. What possible advantage is there to having an “ideal” that will only polarize and make people feel out of place? Its an all downside, no upside proposition IMO.

  91. Women like a leader–a real one, not a called one– the way men like big boobs. Neither group can help it.

    So I got a husband who bosses me around, but all he got was a flat-chested wife. SUCKS TO BE HIM.

  92. I thank Elder Perry for his teachings…

  93. I think my wife and I would both rather have the other take leadership in the home and ultimately we gravitate toward a mixed model, where we play to our aptitudes or the things we are least bad at, as the case may be. And we like to be understood as both parents and individuals independent of our parental roles and obligations. I think our approach is entirely compatible, once translated through an intergenerational babelfish, with current LDS teaching and practice. Indeed, I believe we are orthodox on this point. And I think that our Greek letters vary from alpha to somewhere near omicron depending on the setting and our mood.

    Of course the farcical comment #72 does point out a bit of a potential problem with New Atheism and the overly spirited devotion in some sectors of New Atheism to evolution as the metaphor or model for human behavior. If you play that party line, you may end up like the person parodied in #72. (Odd that “neanderthal” is a term used to describe someone enmired in a particular type of sexual Darwinism.) I’m proud as a religious person to reject natural selection as the primary or valid account of the meaning or substance of relationships between men and women.

    PS I believe in evolution as a scientific account of many different phenomena in the natural world. I just think it’s generally a lousy religious principle.[1] Climate change is better as a religious principle.

    [1] I don’t mean the fun stuff that Steve Peck has done on this point, I mean, e.g., the scientistic applications of evolution as source of moral authority.

  94. Aaron Brown says:

    Do we really have a consensus that #72 was a joke? If so, is this because (a) we can’t imagine a Mormon man seriously making such a statement; or (b) we can’t imagine a Mormon man who would make such a statement taking the time to participate in the Bloggernacle?

    Either way, it sounds like we all need to get out more …

  95. Mommie Dearest says:

    I don’t need a consensus to assume #72 is a joke. Intended or not.

  96. 72 is real because the feelings are real. Even if it was meant as parody, I’ve heard every single thought vocalized by someone before.

    But real or not, its still a joke.

  97. “Note to church- it’s not 1950 anymore.”

    This is NOT the stuff of the 1950s. Back then, father knew best, higher education for women was not encouraged, and there were doubts about women’s intellect. Child-rearing was viewed as less important than the work of men.

    By contrast, “equal partners” has been the hallmark of LDS marriages at least since the mid-1970s when I joined the church. Complementarianism at its best. Respect for the work of women. Nothing at all like the 1950s subservience.

    I hate the 1950s mindset as much as anyone. But neither am I a feminist.

    It doesn’t help to dismiss the interviews as 1950s, when it isn’t.

  98. To dismiss it as 1950s misses how deeply problematic this is. Naismith, establishing the male as the head of home may not be 1950s subservience, but it is a disturbing endorsement of gender inequality with make the “equal partner” rhetoric seem quite hollow.

  99. Wow, October 2010?

    Ardis, unmarried women are covered in paragraph one, and I’ll try not to read it sarcastically, “Can you think of a more glorious opportunity than being led by your own father in the eternities to come”

  100. I am quite convinced that #72 is not a joke, and even if it was posted jokingly, I could direct you to entire blogs devoted to the thoughts expressed verbatim in #72.

  101. “it is a disturbing endorsement of gender inequality with make the “equal partner” rhetoric seem quite hollow.”

    It’s an endorsement of gender differences. And it does not seem the least bit hollow to those of us who enjoy full partnership with our husbands. We are both involved in every financial decision. We share all income irregardless of whose name is on the paycheck (and no, that doesn’t mean that I just mooch off him–I inherited a chunk of money a while back and we decided together how to spend it, and since my employer has a great retirement plan, the piece of retirement income that I will bring is about the same.) My contributions to the family in terms of saving money and producing babies is considered as important as his contributions in terms of giving blessings and providing income. When we are both home, we are both handling the house and kids.

    There is no way in hell that I would have married into an Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle.

    It may not be what you want, but it is not the same as the 1950s. Let’s focus on specifics of what needs to be fixed, not just slap a label on it.

  102. Climate change is better as a religious principle.

    Well then, smb, you might want to start praying to your microwave, since the same physics that make that infernal contraption work are also the basic physics behind greenhouse gases.

  103. Especially since Harriet would never have said “hell.”

    I endorse gender difference, as do the feminists I read.

    “It may not be what you want…”

    To be honest, I probably would not care if the church didn’t their anti-feminism into the public sphere. I figure most reasonable people will ignore the blatant patriarchy taught by a non-profit institution.

  104. #97

    Is there anything in the OP (the quoted portion of the interview) that you feel is “complementarian”? I think you may be conflating the interview quoted with Ms. Jack’s Church News link in 28, which was in 2004. Or perhaps you are conflating the OP with your personal experience in the church. I see nothing in the OP that does not seem to reflect a 50’s-ish approach.
    For example: womanhood=motherhood, women’s job is to make babies, women are led and presided over by men, men should respect child bearing women, women are “sweet”… I don’t see anything in the OP about “equal partners”. I think what I wrote can reasonably be applied to the OP. It was not my intention to dismiss the situation. I think it is reprehensible. I agree that in the church generally, there is diversity of opinion on this. Even among the GA’s there is sure to be diversity of opinion on this and other subjects. It was not my intention to stereotype the church as a whole, but have you looked at the YW manual lately? Gender inequality is alive and well in the curriculum.

    My meaning probably would have been clearer if I had written “note to Elder Perry”, not “note to church”. My bad. But then there is the fact that it is up on the church website… So I think the church is in this too to some degree, whether we like it or not.

  105. Kristine, while I am grateful for the advice to pray to my microwave (e.g. in hopes that tortillas would not get dried out by the time the cheese is fully melted), I would respectfully submit that a) my comparison was between scientistic evolution vs. scientistic climate change (the image of the unpredictability of nature and the risks of human arrogance seem to me to be much better religious principles than the “men like decolletage, women like power” motif of scientistic evolution), and b) I was gently mocking climate change nihilists.

  106. “Is there anything in the OP (the quoted portion of the interview) that you feel is “complementarian”?”

    Apologies. I had previously seen the interview and was reacting to the entire interview. There are statements in the unquoted part of the interview that are strongly complementarian, such as the statement that the Lord “distinguished between the two so that the two would work together in concert, one with another.”

    Also, did anyone else notice that a boy child was being taught to use the sewing machine and a husband was cooking? That is clearly not 1950s.

  107. Is there anything compatible between “presiding” and “friendship?” It is hard to preside and be a friend. Remember the film “Master and Commander” – the Captain and Doctor had a friendship, but that friendship always had a distance because the office of captain took precedence. Is that what we want from marriage, where there is a distance, a standoff, between captain and crew even though there is a friendship? That distance is the gap of recognition that the captain may require very difficult things unilaterally.

    Br. Perry’s remarks can only be understood as a message from another age, possibly from polygamy, where a man felt the need to preside over a large organization and several wives. Anyway, presiding was in the historical context of the nineteenth century.

    Within that presidential gap there is a “you” and an “I”. “We” does not exist in the gap. The subordinate is a subordinate, subject to command by the superior. Friendship is extraordinarily circumscribed under these conditions. Why would I not want my spouse to be my friend with a very strong “we” within that relationship?

    Perhaps the idea of presiding is insulation to keep a man from being swallowed up in his (insatiable) desire for women. If a man is presiding then the woman is held in control because of the gap. It takes a very secure man to acknowledge his dependence on a woman and not to feel emasculated by her. The safe thing to do is to place the gap of “presiding” as armor against her.

    I believe there is a sexual component to the idea of “presiding.” If the presiding officer wants sex, the subordinate is required to deliver. This idea is certainly old and might be a positive for the survival of the species since men might command sex much more often than women might desire it of their own accord. But in sexual relations the presidential gap persists. Friends have better sex than presidents and subordinates because friends have little distance and wish to please each other. Presidents have the presidential gap which must be maintained even during coitus.

    Much more can be said about the existential need for such a gap.

  108. #107
    I would like to take this opportunity to remind readers of our website’s commenting policy, which explicitly bans discussion of kink.

  109. This is a hypothetical situation but if someone came into my school asking about jobs and I told them about all of the wonderful teacher openings and they looked at me and said to me that I was demeaning them to think that they could “only” do something like teaching. If they said they wanted to be known for something far more important then teaching, I would look at them funny.

    I would think that someone is being demeaning and it isn’t me. That person demeaned the whole reason why the school is there, and if they were to think the principle is more important because they can make the “important decisions” then I would think they have no idea what important means. Teaching is by far the most important job in the school, and its not just lip service just to make the teachers feel better. That’s why I’m a teacher and have no desire to be a principle. People think I’m weird and wonder why I don’t want to “Climb the Ladder” I tell them that I am already at the top and can’t get any higher. They don’t understand, but that’s because their hearts are too set on the things of this world.

    When people say that its demeaning to be thought of as “just a mother”, I feel that it is they who are demeaning what the whole reason why we are here on earth. To me Motherhood is teaching, of the most basic and important side. My power as a school teacher doesn’t compare with theirs.

    Presiding is not the most important job its a necessary job whose sole resposibility is to increase the effectiveness of those for whom they preside over.

    I also can’t get over peoples fascinations with careers. Whether man or women.

    My sister (not a member anymore) said that she wanted it to be more equal in the world by getting women into the workplace. I told her that I wanted it to be more equal by doing just the opposite. Both men and women should be spending more time at home, not in the workplace. Career Shmareer.

    Note: I am empathetic to women who are not and cannot be mothers in this life. So this comment is not directed at that issue. I understand that more needs to be done at valuing these individuals in the church as Ardis has said.

  110. “Presiding is not the most important job its a necessary job whose sole resposibility is to increase the effectiveness of those for whom they preside over. ”

    What I meant by this is that my principal’s sole job is to help increase the power of the teachers. The power still resides within the teachers.

    I’m glad that someone is my principle because its a job that needs to be done and I don’t want to do it.

    People think the Bishop is the most important role but if the teachers didn’t show up the whole ward would be in an uproar. If the Bishop doesn’t show up, the first counselor takes over and nothing of note really happens.

  111. StillConfused says:

    When my husband and I travel, he is the driver and I am te navigator. he loves to drive… I hate it. I like to be prepared and know the route well in advance… he can’t do that. That is how I view presiding, each person figures out which role works best for them in their relationship and goes with it. Is one better than the other? Not really. Driving without a navigator isn’t going to get you to where you are going, and vice versa.

    But the thing that I find important is that it isn’t merely gender that determines those roles. Each family dynamics are different.

    If I were to say that all women should be navigators and all men should be drivers, that would not work. Just as saying all men should be breadwinners and all women should be stay-at-homes doesn’t work.

  112. So, smb, does that mean you’re backing off your suggestion that climate change is a religion? Or are you just relegating it to the “scientistic” bins of pseudoscience?

    No, I don’t have a sense of humor when it comes to people equating science with religion. My fingers are itching to type mean things about people who equate science with religion, but since I’ve already claimed (and disproven) that I’m sweet, I’ll refrain.

    As obnoxious (and wrong) as comment 72 is, there are many, many times at church when I hear statements that really do sound like darwinism or survival of the fittest. Why do we put such an emphasis on missionary work? You may say it’s because we want to enrich the lives of our brothers and sisters, but that behavior does look an awful lot like the spreading of a gene within a population, or a species taking over more territory.

    Why are women expected to marry young and have as many kids as they can? You may claim that’s our divine calling, or that women are providing homes for precious spirits, but really, what better way to increase your population and spread than ask devoted women to have lots of kids?

    Why did our church practice polygamy, and why was it the men with higher status callings also tended to accumulate more, and younger, wives? That one totally looks like men using status to pass on their genes to more of the next generation.

    Why is there such an emphasis on leadership behavior from men and nurturing from women? Again, comment 72 is wrong–alpha males are not the only ones who get women’s attention, just as there are plenty of men out there who don’t go for the biggest melons around. Human desire is far too complicated to simplify down as 72 attempted, but there is truth to the assertion that male leaders historically attracted more mates. They were far from the only ones–guys with physical stature, proficiency in any of the arts, or who were just plain old good looking or smart could all do well enough to at least attract one mate and thus pass on their genes. But the selection wasn’t one way–women were selected for as well, and men typically don’t “marry down.” Usually people who are given the freedom to choose find a mate who is reasonably similar in terms of most characteristics you might equate with evolutionary fitness.

    So how does the nurturing and the sweetness come in? My personal guess here is that “a sweet disposition” is one of the things that Elder Perry values in his wife. He’s pretty much surrounded by men who are leaders of their families and probably most of his friend’s wives are also sweet, gentle, nurturing women. The model of marriage where the man was the hard-working breadwinner and the woman was the self-effacing nurturer is a successful one–it has been for many years and still is today. It’s not the only model that works, and there are many couples whose relationships would shrivel up and die if they tried to force them into that mold. I’m going to bet, though, that the majority of people who Elder Perry interacts with either have a traditional relationship or portray their relationship as traditional to outsiders. That probably creates a bias that, as empathetic as he tries to be, makes it difficult for him, or anyone else around him, to truly comprehend other ways of doing things.

    I agree that we’d be better off if more diversity in marital relationships and in lifestyles in general were more accepted. I don’t think we’re going to get that from our leaders, though.

  113. I think that all women and all men should know how to be a stay at home parent and should want to be there above all else. If you don’t know how to be a good stay at home parent you need to learn how to do it because it is a crucial skill in learning how to be like Heavenly Father.

    If someone feels they don’t have the skills or the desire to do it then they need to learn.

    I only work because it is necessary to make it possible for my wife to stay at home and be the teacher there. I would rather be at home and love the fact the I get to spend summers and vacations at home with my kids. I get to be a stay at home Dad quite often. The problem is that breadwinning is thought of as the more important thing in our culture because its where the money is at. I think the closer we are to God the more we see what is important. Being at home is something far more important and if we all truly saw that I don’t think this would be such an issue.

    If we truly didn’t see things the way the world does in that careers are all important. I don’t think we would be saying that its demeaning to be at home. Couples would be fighting to be one at home. I work outside of the home because I believe it is my responsibility, not because I want to.

    I am a school teacher in a stereotypically feminine field as I teach what used to be called Home Economics, its now about family relationships. I’m one of the very few male teachers in my field. I figure if I can’t spend more time at home then I can at least teach others the importance of it.

  114. JTB, it is not demeaning to be at home, and I’m wondering where you think anyone is saying that. (Beat that strawman, beat it, my friend!) What is demeaning is being told that you can’t make your own decision to stay home or not, that your own sense of your talents, desires, and family circumstances are nonsense because somebody else knows better, or that your eternal unchangeable nature is to fit some very narrow role that only really came into existence in that form in the last 30 years and only among a handful of the world’s population.

  115. 106

    Thanks for clarifying, and for pointing out the inconsistencies of writing the statements off as belonging to the 50’s. Clearly, there is much in the interview that is more progressive. There also seems to be some pretty old school ideas as well. I think it is probably unrealistic to expect a leader who was in his 30’s, with a young family, in the 1950’s, not to bring some of those values with him to the table.

  116. Kristine, I never back off, I just circumlocute and dissemble. I’m a scientist myself, and I think that major scientific theories develop two lives. The first is how they are seen and used by scientists going about their work. The second are the reflections in popular culture as they become master narratives. Climate change and evolution are established scientific consensus as science. The master narratives associated with them have all sorts of attributes, but the science is not primary to either of them. I personally think that the cultural narrative of evolution is often both banal and insulting to consciousness, while the cultural narrative of climate change seems to have some real power and utility.

  117. “JTB, it is not demeaning to be at home, and I’m wondering where you think anyone is saying that. ”

    Well it looks its being said in 104, and you sound to me like you are saying it when you are saying:

    “that your eternal unchangeable nature is to fit some very narrow role that only really came into existence in that form in the last 30 years and only among a handful of the world’s population.”

    That sounds much like if you came to me and said I don’t want to “only be a teacher” that role is way too narrow and only came into existence with modern schools.
    It sounds an awful lot like the same thing and I would question whether you see the value of being a teacher no matter how you word it.

    You mention this about choice:
    “What is demeaning is being told that you can’t make your own decision to stay home or not, that your own sense of your talents, desires, and family circumstances are nonsense because somebody else knows better”

    In the church I’ve never been given the choice as to where I want to serve. I have often been asked to serve in places that are not in accordance with my talents, desires, and family circumstances. I have served anyway and found my life blessed immeasurably. I have come to know that somebody else does actually know better, God does. I don’t think it is demeaning for him to ask me to do things that are against my will.

  118. JTB– You just said in the church you are often given a choice where to serve. When you tell a woman she has to stay home that is not a choice. This isn’t something where sometimes she is told to stay home, or sometimes it is left up to her considering her talents and cirucmstances. She is always told to stay home, with a minor disclaimer.

  119. Cynthia L. says:

    JTB, you have totally misunderstood the “narrow role” statement.

    It was just an extension of the idea of choice–that it isn’t demeaning to be at home, but it is demeaning to be told you can’t choose HOW to be a mother. It goes without saying, really, that the “narrow role” (meaning the current way mothering is practiced in suburban upper middle class America) isn’t an eternal role since, for example, Jesus’ mother Mary didn’t do it that way!

  120. Mmiles, I think JTB also said that he didn’t have a choice.

    (doesn’t mean I endorse his ideas–just that I think you may have misread him.)

  121. Our RS lesson today was given by the 30 ish RS Pres who is expecting her 6th child this summer. The lesson was on the importance of being a mom, staying at home and raising all the children that God is willing to give you. She is doing a fine job of raising her own kids and I think she & her DH are certainly entitled to plan their own family. The lesson really upset me because of the younger women there either just married or not married. They need to make their own decisions, with their husbands, and a 20 year old talk by ETB shouldn’t make them feel obligated to have a dozen kids. She also quoted ‘women have a claim on their husbands for their support’. Well, I think we have a claim on each other for support of all kinds, not just financial, I know this is a rant and probably a threadjack, but I needed to say it somewhere and BCC was the lucky winner. I feel better now, thanks!

  122. If you don’t know how to be a good stay at home parent you need to learn how to do it because it is a crucial skill in learning how to be like Heavenly Father.

    Man, I feel sorry for all of the couples that can’t have kids. Apparently Heavenly Father doesn’t think its necessary for you to learn how to be like him. Guess that says something about where you’re going. Not to mention the singles. . .

    In the church I’ve never been given the choice as to where I want to serve. I have often been asked to serve in places that are not in accordance with my talents, desires, and family circumstances. I have served anyway and found my life blessed immeasurably.

    The interesting thing about this is, you assume that the blessings that you received were the highest attainable.
    Perhaps had you been given callings that were in accordance with your talents, desires, and family circumstances you would have been blessed even more.

    Families who follow the traditional pattern that has been laid out for decades in conservative talks will probably be blessed immeasurably for following the formula – Husband works, wife stays at home, as many kids as are “blessed with”. They’ll be blessed immeasurably because our God is a benevolent, loving, giving God.
    But is it so crazy to think that they might be blessed even more if they plan their families around their strengths, taking into consideration the talents that God has given them? Taking into consideration the talents that God hasn’t deemed prudent to give them? That one can become more like Heavenly Father without following your prescription to “learn how to [be a good stay at home parent]”?

    No, I guess thats just crazy talk.

  123. Why does everyone equate preside with abuse? Too many men are afraid of the role of presiding. I want my man to preside and lead so I can concentrate on executing the plan. Doesn’t mean I want him to make all decisions independent of me. I think most of the commenters here have serious problems with gender roles and don’t know how to work with someone. I think those of you who equate presiding with abuse are the problem.
    I agree with 72 and JTB. All you beta men suck.
    BTW, I think one thing that would be helpful for single women is for the priesthood to apply the admonition to serve widows and the fatherless to them. They are the modern day widows. And why do those who feel like exceptions feel the need to pull down the gospel because they can’t see past their own label? The gospel plainly teaches that these blessings won’t be denied them in the eternities. So get a better eternal perspective so you can stop pouting about your hurt feelings and demanding that those of us who are married with children join another church! We all struggle with something. Some of us struggle just to stay married. Should we demand that the church start condemning singles so we will feel better? The church plainly does teach that we are all acceptable to God. We impose our own limits when we demand that everyone cater to our self imposed labels. Don’t destroy the ideal because your pride won’t let you see that you don’t fit right now. None of us fit it! That’s why we are all trying hard. Childless and single women seem to think that married and mothers have it made! News flash! We have seriously painful struggles too!

  124. Steve Evans says:

    agreed Nicole, don’t know what those people are complaining about! They are so stupid.

  125. You go, Nicole! Tell it like it is! I would caution you, however, against voicing any complaints about your seriously painful struggles as a wife and mother. The gospel plainly teaches that your struggles will be rewarded in the eternities as you stand by your righteous presiding husband as he leads your children as they go forward! So get a better eternal perspective so you can stop pouting about your hurt feelings!

  126. Plus, I hope someday you, too, can experience the blessings of being a widow in Israel.

  127. Mommie Dearest says:

    Nicole has inspired me to examine my — um, labels, for self-imposed ones that are limiting me. And it’s easier to not “destroy the ideal” knowing than nobody really fits it anyway! Thanks, Nicole!

  128. Sometimes I’m a little bit in love with Ardis

  129. Where do you see me complaining or pouting Ardis? I feel no need to run down the church because an apostle doesn’t address or understand my specific exceptonal struggles. The Lord understands. That’s all I need to know.
    Seriously do you people have nothing better to do than TRY to misunderstand? I’m outta here! Have fun demonstrating how misery loves company.

  130. “I feel no need to run down the church…”

    What’s ironic that you’ve actually done just that by your comments.

  131. And once more someone takes her bawl and goes home.

  132. When I read posts like this and the resulting thread, I picture the big men on campus treating their blues with alcohol and wandering around picking fights. There’s always somebody dumb enough to take them up on it and get thrashed. Not really sure if there’s a point other than to let the big men soothe their pain by reinforcing their primacy.

  133. Re: 123

    That’s awesome. I’m pretty sure that *actual* widows will continue to be the modern-day widows.
    If I was a widow, I’d be pretty cheesed off if some single person tried to elbow into my crowd and claim my title. But hey, if it gets those lazy singles off their collective butts and serving others…

  134. Thanks, Nicole and All4Patriarchy, for the reminder that, TRY as we might to misunderstand, we precisely understand what Elder Perry’s saying.


  135. Steve Evans says:

    #132: yawn. When I read comments like yours, I picture someone who needs to go start his own blog instead of complaining about someone else’s.

  136. What Cynthia said, #114 and #119.

    I also really enjoyed the exchange between Nicole and Ardis. But then again, I do like a little drama and intrigue now and again, not very “sweet” of me, I know.

    Thanks again to everyone for the entertaining read. This thread has accompanied my breakfast several mornings in a row now.

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