Your Late Night Firestorm: While the men were inside Priesthood Session…

From the comments section at KSL:

“I went to Tai Pan Trading for the bi-annual Ladies Night they have every conference weekend. The store was full to the rafters with women acting like…well acting like women who rapsodized over plates, wreaths, vases and easter decorations. Many were with at least 3 if not 4 generations of women. Grandmas, Mothers, daughters and granddaughters. They laughed together, asked each other for opinions on home decor ideas, and had a great time. It was a sisterhood of women shoppers, doing only what other women can understand. Any man would have felt like a total fish out of water at Ladies Night, just as I would feel at Priesthood Meeting.

I know a night of shopping for home decor seems trivial, and it is, but what lies behind it has a greater meaning. For most of us, home is where the heart is. We receive our greatest rewards and power within our homes and families.

I’m all for women who want to go for the board room. Do it, if that is what you want, but don’t drag me into by assuming that is surely what I want. It isn’t. I was proud to be a part of the sisterhood at Tai Pan tonight. After getting through the long checkout line, I had to hurry home so I could hang my new spring wreath on the front door. It looks beautiful.”



  1. “doing only what other women can understand”

    What, was this a Bene Gesserit home decor excursion?

  2. Well, that’s one view. Personally, I’m wondering why I didn’t think of a Ladies Night idea like this.

  3. Our ways of making wreaths are not your ways of making wreaths, Steve, neither are your thoughts about decor our thoughts about decor.

  4. Reminds of the night I went with my grandfather, father and son to the bait shop with the rest of the Quorum while the womenfolk were at their meeting. We laughed together, asked questions about nightcrawlers and compared penis sizes.

  5. Oregon Mum says:

    Too lazy to search through the comments to see the time stamp, but I’m willing to bet this was before Elder Teh’s excellent comments about materialism?

  6. “I’m all for women who want to go for the board room. Do it, if that is what you want, but don’t drag me into by assuming that is surely what I want. ”

    Don’t worry, we won’t.

  7. Why seek to know the will of God when you can buy cheap, Chinese-made tchotchkes? I know my mind has been changed!

  8. MidwestMrs says:

    I have to agree ” Do it, if that is what you want, but don’t drag me into by assuming that is surely what I want.” Please don’t drag me as a woman in to your broad generalizations. I’d rather cut off my right arm than shop for home accessories. The idea that it is “a sisterhood of women shoppers doing what only other women can understand” is a poor example when trying to relate it to the priesthood space. I’m a woman and I don’t get it- seriously. Waste of time and money. Then again, I sure enjoyed the board room before I traded in my business chops for raising my kids.

  9. Shopping? Shopping???

  10. But in all seriousness: sisterhood is wonderful and that sounds like a fun night. I mean, to me it would have been like that scene in Marathon Man with the dentist, but to her it was obviously a total gas.

  11. Obligatory meme:

  12. It’s not about buying stupid shiz. That would be trivial. It’s about something much deeper: taking the stupid shiz home and putting it all over my house.

  13. “After getting through the long checkout line, I had to hurry home so I could hang my new spring wreath on the front door. It looks beautiful.”

    You had to *hurry* home to put something on your door? Because it’s a spring wreath? And you were worried you wouldn’t make it home before the solstice?


  14. Piling on against some faceless KSL commenter whose throwaway remarks I assume are buried deep within the other 230+ comments that story has received … classy. So, not everybody is wired up like you. How nice to have such a widely read platform to “discuss”.

  15. How’s that wreath working for ya’ when it’s 2:00 am, your middle child has a fever of 104 and your husband is on a business trip?

  16. Dog Dreams says:

    Gosh, get with the program, JOT. The spring equinox was weeks ago. As you’d know, if you’d bothered to show up for the Very Mysterious Feminine Ritual.

  17. Christian J says:

    This comment and the blog post that brought it to us reminds me that this convo is still in the thick of a primary. Who knows when it’ll get to the general, if ever in my lifetime.

  18. Michael, I see your point. But let’s remove the person and look at the symbolism.

    Neylan McBain says she doesn’t think the women of the church are in a power struggle but a purpose struggle.

    When the purpose of womanhood and sisterhood is encapsulated by an unnecessary shopping binge …..

    What is doctrinal sisterhood and our doctrinal purpose? To make our house pretty? Adorn our homes and bodies? We want an expanded vision of womanhood. To draw upon our power to change the world for good.

    This perception is cultural and pervasive. Maybe this criticism is inappropriate. Maybe it’s important to acknowledge a problem when it exists. Maybe we just need to vent…….

  19. Thanks, Kanderson. Well said.

  20. So pretty much, then, once it’s clear that women (and men for that matter) on the KSL comment boards understand their divine purpose, in this case as evidenced by their disavowal of binge shopping, we can move on? Does BCC need a full time KSL comment board scanner to keep tabs on the situation? Then can we attack racism on Yahoo! News story comments? I hear you Kanderson but picking on faceless internet commenters (2 posts this week!) feels like a fairly unnuanced way to address a complex issue. We really don’t know anything about the person who made this comment and how the church’s approach to gender issues is somehow responsible for it.

  21. A Feminist Mom says:

    The original comment is so extreme in its materialism that I thought it was satire.

  22. A Fem Mom: part of me wants to believe that Tai Pan has a social media intern who thought this was a clever/sneaky way to get free marketing, or something.

  23. Thokozile says:

    What I get out of this is that there are just as many differences among women as there are between women and men. Which is great, I love diversity. I even like it when I visit my grandma and see a seasonal wreath on her front door, though the heights of my own home decor endeavors have involved putting pictures on the wall with sticky tack.
    I just don’t buy into the idea that women have one set of interests/problems/needs and men have a distinct set. Why bother with separate meetings?

  24. Judge not and all that :) :I am sure someone really appreciated the new spring arrangement and she probably does many wonderful things for those around her.


    “I’m all for women who want to go *shopping at Tai Pai during priesthood session*. Do it, if that is what you want, but don’t drag me into by assuming that is surely what I want. It isn’t. I was proud to be a part of the sisterhood *standing outside the Tabernacle*. After getting out of the long *request* line, I hurried home to *record my experience in my journal and those who care about me*. It *felt* beautiful.”

  25. Kevin Rex says:

    I’m a gay grandpa and I have 6 grand-daughters. I love to make wreaths and shop, can I come next time. I’m real, too. I came out last year at about this time and general conference is the most difficult time of the year, twice a year that is, because it’s so painful knowing that equality of the genders was a big part of what made life so difficult for me. I was the nurturer and my wife the leader, but we could never fit the so-called divine roles that our LDS leaders taught was the mind and will of God. I’m a very doubting Mormon, my wife still a very believing Mormon, and we’re trying to make our marriage work, but it’s hard with all the inequality between the Mormon-defined genders.

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  27. RockiesGma says:

    Did somebody drag her into the boardroom?! Come on! Dragging??? Sisters, pa-leeease……I’ve told you over and over there’s no dragging in the gospel or the mall!

    rah: for the win!

  28. 1. Most men would have been uncomfortable at ladies night.
    2. Most women in the church would be uncomfortable at a priesthood session.
    3. Getting excited about Easter decorations and wreaths does not represent the height of materialism.
    4. Some people I know who spend a lot of time in boardrooms, and more important places for charitable reasons, even get excited by such things.
    5. Picking out what you consider to be low hanging fruit, and then bashing the hell out of it, really does nothing positive for anyone.

  29. LittleFreudyCat says:

    You rang?

    Women fussing over a wreath is pretty much the seasonal decorative instantiation of females reinforcing the sex-roles with which the hegemony burdens them: a hollow, welcoming, infinitely penetrable external signifier of domestic receptivity.

    If only there were something stout and masculine to come home and (ful)fill that incredible(!!!) and alluring wreath of springtime fecundity.

  30. All I know is that I have to keep my atheist husband out of those places, or he will break the bank. The obvious move would be to blame our gender inversion on his atheism, but the gender inversion predates the atheism.

  31. Villate says:

    There are elements of both this attitude and the Ordain Women actions that are thought-provoking, amusing, and make me cringe, but mostly I just don’t mind what people do with their money and time. I have my concerns and enjoyments, others have theirs. If theirs are interesting or affect me, I will consider them. If I know them personally or have occasion to interact with them about their interests and concerns, I will be pleased to talk about them and exchange perspectives. Otherwise, live and let live.

  32. Michael,
    If I understand you correctly, you feel it is mean to take a comment and criticize is by reposting it elsewhere, and then make fun of it, is that correct? You don’t get to visit BCC and pick and choose which things we will discuss. You can choose not to participate in discussions you find frivolous. It is disingenuous to claim it is inappropriate to discuss a comment at BCC because of a large audience, whereas the comment was posted in forum with a thousand times the readership.
    1. The comment was posted as a commentary on OW, trying to prove the differences (divine) between men and women.

    2. The comment was posted in a public discussion area, and the poster was, in fact –discussing. We simply moved the discussion. Why is that a problem?

    3. The comment displays a problematic mindset that may or may not be pervasive on the Wasatch front. It’s worthwhile discussing why this is a problem, and a public forum is exactly the place this should go on—hence the blog.

    Personally, I don’t think the problem is materialism per se. I think the heart of the idea was that women, as opposed to men, seek to beautify and love to be together-therefore should be happy in their place. I’ve seen plenty of RS meetings that perpetuate this idea in every way. Grossly, the comment put this idea into the framework of shopping for home décor, thusly justifying lack of access to priesthood ordination.

    Whatever anyone thinks of OW, I hope it is clear that women are more important as people than buyers and hangers of spring wreaths or home decorators—that seeking priesthood ordinances within the framework of the current church position and using the power of womanhood is much greater than standing in a checkout line.

    Understandably, when so many women seem to believe the power of women is as keepers of the gate of materialism, rather than “in the board room,” making important decisions about their lives and the lives of their families—seeking out for greater purpose in many ways, in this case in the form of ordination, is bound to come. Rightly, women are in a struggle for purpose.

  33. Michael says:

    I don’t think it’s mean. I think it’s disingenuous and slightly self aggrandizing to take an obvious intellectually lightweight throwaway comment and use it as red meat here in the BCC echo chamber.

  34. marginalizedmormon says:

    What about those of *us* who are neutral? Who don’t go either way?

    Who don’t want the priesthood, but understand why some womeh do–

    Who see the inconsistencies but believe the solutions are not going to be effective–sort of like arranging deck chairs on the titanic–

    What about those of us (who are women) who don’t like to be in large groups (of women or men, but as much women as men) and who don’t like to shop and don’t like to buy ‘decorations’–

    There really are a few *out here* who don’t fit in any of the brackets.

    Relief Society is torture for some women; are they women who would benefit from having the priesthood? I dare say not, for some.

    Some of *us* love our homes and love to make them homey, but that doesn’t mean we like to buy things; some of us like the Scandinavian look, where there are few, if any, ‘doodads’–

    I’m just trying to point out that it isn’t all one way or the other; there are ‘in betweens’.

  35. marginalizedmormon says:

    Thank you, Ahmed, for reminding one American Mormon that there is a world out there filled with beautiful people who love God and want to make things around them better.

  36. So, when do men like me get to stand up and say I would rather not hold the priesthood, but I’m culturally and doctrinally obligated to do so because I have a penis? When does that become culturally acceptable within Mormonism?

    I hear so many women around me say they’d rather not hold the priesthood because that equals more work and responsibilities, and they just don’t have time for or can’t handle that. Well, news flash, I don’t feel like I have the time or the mental energy to watch over six home teaching families, but by all means add an extra one to my route by virtue of my reproductive organs.


  37. Michael, I don’t disagree with you. It’s clearly a lightweight comment. As for self-aggrandizement, guilty as charged I guess!

    I guess I don’t see it as disingenuous, though. Maybe a waste of time, lopsided with a predictable outcome, etc., but it’s not like the reactions here are fraudulent or something. Still, consider the stakes: it’s a blog post. By its very nature this discussion is insignificant, flies complaining about gnats. In the words of Elsa I encourage you to let it go.

  38. Sigh.

  39. adamhowsley says:

    I’m of the party that’s willing to cut the commenter some slack. I know lots of women that feel this way- they are some of my best friends and family. They are completely comfortable spending their lives raising kids, shopping, making their homes pretty, blogging about the fab dinner they cooked last night. And I’m thankful to them. My life looks pretty different as I’ve chosen to be a doctor and a mother but when life is slower I love trying out the latest craft or dish they’re talking about and I enjoy it as much as they do, I’m sure. I don’t think this makes us materialistic shallow people. To each, her own. I also understand that lots of women don’t want the priesthood and I get the resistance, the fear of change. I would however love to see more understanding from that side for women who feel differently, who don’t feel comfortable or fulfilled, who want more. But ultimately I don’t think it helps to make fun of/belittle/deride/chastise/whathaveyou a woman for wanting too little or too much. If we want people to treat us respectfully and kindly we have to do the same.

  40. Love Jay’s comment. I’d like that 1,000 times if I could.

  41. Never mind the materialism. I think the woman is expressing a pretty widely held attitude by women in the church. They don’t want to be the same as the guys, they don’t feel repressed, they don’t want feminists heaping responsibilities on them they don’t feel are theirs, and they’re happy how things are. This particular person also finds sisterhood in stereotypical girlie stuff, but I think that’s tangential.

    I have to admit a little resentment myself when I attended the priesthood broadcast in the stake center and found less than 50% of the men there that used to be there. Wasn’t quite the bro-fest it used to be. Wonder if everybody will eventually just watch from home.

  42. Michael, I don’t know if you noticed, but a lot of commenters are saying really useful and interesting things about this particular cultural artifact. It needn’t be a red meat discussion. It needn’t be a frivolous discussion. In the words of Ghandi: “Be the change…”

    Part of what drew me to the comment and caused me to post it is precisely that I *don’t* think it’s a clear-cut strawman. The middle paragraph strikes me as true. The point that not every woman is interested in the boardroom is a point that is worth discussing.

    Some comments here are having some fun (which I would add happens on *every* post, alleged “red meat” or no), but some are actually engaging these issues. Why aren’t you? Why just complain instead of doing something positive?

  43. Bryan S. says:

    I haven’t really thought about the notion that if OW succeeds and women are given the priesthood, then a lot of women who didn’t want such priesthood responsibility will essentially be forced into it. They won’t have a choice but to start going to the “board meetings” when they are called to leadership positions. This isn’t just a “you can stay at home and that’s fine I want to go to work so let me do what I want”. It’s an “I want to go to work and the only way for me to do it is to force you to get a job too”. (This is assuming that the priesthood would be given to all worthy women the same way it is to men.)

    ” I would however love to see more understanding from that side for women who feel differently, who don’t feel comfortable or fulfilled, who want more. But ultimately I don’t think it helps to make fun of/belittle/deride/chastise/whathaveyou a woman for wanting too little or too much. If we want people to treat us respectfully and kindly we have to do the same.”

    I think there are a lot of people who are sympathetic and understanding while not fully supporting OW. Many people write blogs about that fact too. They treat you with respect. I would hope you acknowledge their sympathy.

  44. I’ll echo Martin. With online access the “bro-fest” (I can’t believe I just used that word) is diminishing. I attended Priesthood session with my Dad and a couple of other family members and the pre-game get together for pizza and fellowship was as engaging as ever. There is something to the bonding that comes with that time spent together. Just as I see a similar bonding experience for the mothers, daughters, and granddaughters in the Tai Pan shopping fest even if I question their choice of activity.

    But I didn’t get a chance to rub shoulders with quite as many brethren as we usually encounter after Priesthood session. The population in the chapel was perhaps 33% of what it used to be in previous years.

    Something gained something lost I guess.

  45. MDearest says:

    My idea of a spring wreath is rusty barb wire with a few prickly pear pads wired on. I’d have to go out to the desert with the heavy duty gloves and wire cutters for the materials, and no female bonding. Does that make me even more of an outlier?

    I didn’t spend Saturday evening pursuing my home decor or relationship-building, but watching the “bro-fest” on my computer, because I am interested in what the leadership of the church is up to. It was refreshing to hear the straight speaking that is done in the PH session. Though I didn’t cheer at everything I heard, I really liked the lack of mincing about and parsing of words that sometimes dilutes much of the meaning in some conference addresses. Some talks left me scratching my head at the end wondering about the definition of vague terms, but not the ones in PH meeting. I think the things said the other night are of vital importance to all members regardless of sex, and I was more interested in that than beefing up my home decor.

    On the other hand, I think its fine for the KSL commenter to happily go about her chosen business, and not have an interest in priesthood proceedings. She likely has someone in her life who takes care of that stuff for her. I don’t, so I have a natural interest in following such things for myself. Personally, I’m glad that, for whatever reason, the church decided to give all membership real-time access to the bro-fest.

  46. Michael says:

    Steve, Cynthia I guess I mostly agree with you and I come off as too dismissive in my complaining I mostly really enjoy this blog and see it as a positive force for change. I think this is probably where the most “dialog” (if it can be called that) between the Church (with a capital C) and its more intellectual leaning membership is occurring. So I get a little squeamish when I see things like this being used as a punching bag. People who I care about but are more reluctant to pay attention to sites like BCC, are even less likely to do so when they encounter a post like this. Cynthia I was glad you left in all of the commenter’s post but without any commentary I interpreted this as setting up an easy target so that it could be knocked down. I’m letting go now…

  47. marginalizedmormon says:

    I’m glad you said that.
    Why can’t anyone “just say ‘no’?”

    I’ve wondered that a lot. There was a man in our ward who was uncomfortable with the priesthood, and he was just such a NICE guy; he was concerned about being equal with his wife, etc.
    But then, because he had turned down the priesthood, he and his wife couldn’t be sealed. They are converts, and he had been a member quite a while, and he was happy without the priesthood, and then he was told he had to have it to be sealed to his wife.
    Something about that feels just wrong to me.
    I’m not sure why, but it made me feel badly, because this man was honestly really humble.

  48. The menfolk in my family attended the priesthood session at our stake center and there were more people than there have been in the past. Not sure why. My brother said he prefers to go because “it’s an event.” Afterward we cooked steaks, etc.

  49. lichengrl says:

    I didn’t shop. That’s not the kind of woman I am. But my greatest joy is my home and the people in it, which is why on Saturday evening my children and I listened to the priesthood session ionline in our kitchen while I worked at my role as a single mother. The beauty of having it broadcast is that not only did I listen, but following Elder Oaks’ talk I realized how much this meeting DOES apply to me. I exercise the priesthood every day in my capacity as a parent and the primary provider and nurturer in my home. Each prayer I offer is just as effective at reaching heaven and calling on blessings as would be laying on of hands. I am endowed with priesthood power to bless my posterity, although there is no elder in my home to attend the priesthood session. So while the author of this post finds her joy shopping for her home, and that is her choice, there was very real reason for women to tune in online wherever they could. I’m sorry for those who missed it, wherever they were.

  50. “Most women in the church would be uncomfortable at a priesthood session.”

    Really? Why? Because it’s so different from every other session?

  51. This reminds me of a faux-inspirational woodblock I saw at Kohl’s while doing the oh-so-womanly-errand of searching for sheets (so expensive!). It was Thoreau’s “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” And I was, like, damn, bet he didn’t have a big box store in the exurbs in mind when he wrote that at Walden Pond.

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