The Myth of Invisible Fatherhood

By Brother So-and-So

We were at church. I was sitting on the stand. My wife was wrestling with our kids, when the three-year-old escaped to the aisle. I knew the second my wife stood up, our daughter would try to outrace her mom.

Men were gathering to bless a newborn baby. My wife rushed to the front of the chapel, picked up our three-year-old just in time, and headed to the foyer.

After the blessing, she trekked back in, only to find that the rest of the bench was now full. So, in addition to carrying our three-year-old, she was climbing over five people. I watched as she lost her footing and fell into their laps! Then the three-year-old took off the one-year-old’s shoes and threw them over my wife’s head!

I could tell my wife was mortified. Honestly, I was mortified too. Not for the first time, I resented that my priesthood responsibility tied me to this chair on the stand, preventing me from going to my family’s aid. I prayed that, somehow, my wife might get everything under control without my help.

As I pleaded with the Lord, He brought to my mind a gentle rebuke: “It’s not about her.” I realized I was looking at the wrong things. I was worried about my wife’s problem, not focusing on my relationship with the Savior. I swept the chapel with a glance and realized clearly that no one else was trying to help my wife either. Could it be that I was the only one who had noticed her struggles, while the rest of the congregation was focused on the true purpose of the meeting?

At that moment I understood why, as much as I thought my wife could have used another pair of adult hands, it was so important for me to be on the stand: I needed to be an example for others. After all, if I could disregard my toddlers’ antics and my wife’s pitiful attempts to maintain control, what excuse did anyone else have for being distracted by them?

Since then, “It’s not about her” has become a phrase I often repeat.

_______________

With apologies to Sister Tiffanie Browne

Comments

  1. <<>>

  2. Huh, don’t know why that didn’t come through. Let’s pretend that it’s some invisible mother clapping for all she’s worth.

  3. And honestly, is this parody if it’s so often an accurate representation?

  4. What about fathers taking the most difficult child to sit with them on the stand? That would be an excellent example of service for the congregation to see and give the mothers of young children a better chance to focus on the Savior themselves.

  5. And does anyone else feel like Sister Browne’s article is just a Mormonized version of “Close one’s eyes and think of England”?

  6. nobody, really says:

    I’ve never been so proud of a bishop as the one I had in Magna, Utah, who got down off the stand during the Sacrament to take out one of his misbehaving children.

    But, on the other hand, a family I used to home teach had six that were beyond handfuls. I sat with them each week for six years and took the most unruly. When their Dad was called to a music position and had to sit on the stand, he’d take one of the best behaved kids with him. A spectacularly self-righteous sister in the ward complained to the Bishop, claiming that with a child on the stand, she couldn’t keep the Spirit during the Sacrament, so she was going to stop attending Sacrament meeting until the issue was “resolved”.

    A wise Bishop let her know that was precious time for a child to spend with Dad, and that she had a temple recommend interview coming up, and failing to attend Sacrament meeting would result in a loss of that recommend.

  7. Kent Gibb says:

    Who says that it is more important to sit on the stand like jug of milk than to leave your lofty position and to give a hand with a parent’s most important responsibility? I think it would be showing kindness and love to leave one’s lofty position and help out with a difficult child/situation. I’m sure that the spouse would feel immense love in that situation.

  8. Wondering says:

    “I’m sure that the spouse would feel immense love in that situation.”

    Well, either that, or immense judgment as all the censorious people in the congregation tut-tutted over her inexcusable inability to keep her children sitting motionless on the hard benches for (how long are the meetings? we’ve had some go as long as an hour and a half recently) way longer than a small children should have to sit. As Brigham Young said, Their bones fairly ache with strength.

  9. Um, I am guessing this is in jest. I am sometimes slow, so I will just go with that assumption. It has always bothered me that the church calls my husband away so much. YM’s president, early morning seminary teacher when I had a newborn and postpartum depression and many other children. No one gave me hard callings during what was obviously a trying time, but they thought nothing of calling my husband away. As if his influence and help didn’t matter? As if he weren’t as important to the rearing of our children as I am? They need their father as much as me, and since he is away providing all day, those precious few hours before bed time are sacred to me. He is so devoted to our children.

    I vowed when he was released from Seminary that we were done with heavy callings until our children were grown unless the calling was working with them like YM’s, when the time came. We only have our children home for such a little time. I was once a little girl and young woman who needed her father and he was always away at work and busy callings, including Bishop. I was proud that he was the Bishop and admired him for honoring his commitment. At some point after I was grown, I realized there was this gap in my life where we stopped going for bike rides and arcades and having family dinners where he was the light hearted jokester-to basically having him come and go like a ghost and an accessory to the family for the last 5 years I lived at home. During which time, I got into some pretty heavy stuff as I had very little supervision or guidance. My mom was clearly overwhelmed. She has told me that their marriage has never fully recovered. They got so used to living separate lives because it was all divide and conquer for 6 years.

  10. Chadwick says:

    Not even to mention the fact that, because he has a calling on the stand, that he left home at 6 am to set up folding chairs in the basketball court, attend meetings that don’t actually accomplish anything, all while she arose, fed and dressed the entire family herself, and managed to sneak into the chapel during the last verse of the opening song.

    I myself have been sitting on the stand for two years. It’s the pits. I miss my family.

  11. this pressed a button says:

    I am the wife. Not the *actual* wife depicted but I sit by myself with our 5 children while my husband is on the stand. It’s awful. Sacrament meetings is awful. It’s literally the worst part of church every sinday because I’m in and out, up and down, quietly whispering and glaring and discreetly gesturing to my children, while not hearing a single thing that is being said. I’ve been sitting alone, on and off, for many years.

    “It’s not about her.” You’re right— it’s not. It’s about the ward stepping up and sending an older sister to help me, or the Bishop letting me husband come sit with us on particularly wild Sundays. I decided to have these children and I agreed to support my husband in his calling, but for a church that declares its strong focus on family, why leave the young moms hanging?

    My husband went to a stake meeting recently on his one day off. The meeting was *so important* and they wanted every priesthood leader to be there. He drove an hour to the stake center, sat through the two hour meeting, and drove an hour home, to a quiet house where the children were already asleep. The meeting was about (drumroll please): men spending more time with their families. My husband was very frustrated.

    Sacrament meeting isn’t about me, or about any of the other young moms. But it’s not NOT about us either. The least that someone could do is help, and for a family oriented church, sending a husband to help at those moments isn’t just appropriate, it’s the right thing to do.

  12. DeAnn Spencer says:

    Good discussion about this on BCC from May 26, 2011. https://bycommonconsent.com/2011/05/26/sitting-on-the-stand/

  13. Jenny Harrison says:

    Why are the Bishop and his counselors sitting on the stand to begin with?? When I was called as a RS president, I NEVER sat at the front of the room with my counselors, EVER. We greeted everyone at the door when they came in and then sat with the sisters. The Stake leadership did not like it. I told them they could fire me if they wanted. I was not going to be a Pharisee in the ‘upper seats’. They never said a word again. I think that the Bishopric should be up there until just before the Sacrament song, and then they should go and sit with their families. What is the big deal???

  14. Aussie Mormon says:

    “Why are the Bishop and his counselors sitting on the stand to begin with??”

    Because they run the meeting?

  15. Roughly 20 years ago, while a counselor in a Bishopric, my wife chose to sit with our 5 in the front row, I suppose so I could give my kids the stink eye if they acted up. One day, the kids were in fact acting up a bit and one daughter caught me looking at them. She was probably 12-13 years old. She cocked her head ever so slightly, raised her eyebrows, and twisted the side of her mouth in one of those “what are you going to do now” moments. I leaned over to the Bishop and whispered that I had a family issue to take care of but that I wouldn’t make a habit of it and wouldn’t make a big scene either. I went out the side door near the Sacrament table, let the door close almost completely and waved my finger toward my daughter in the “come here” motion. Of course, she made one attempt at the “who me?” look before coming out. We resolved the issue, at least for the day. Now she’s an awesome young lady married to a fine guy and with 3 of my 6 grands. She remembers that day, though I don’t think too fondly so I don’t bring it up much.

  16. Fatherhood trumps leadership responsibility every time. It is your most important priesthood calling in time and eternity.

  17. You don’t need the whole bishopric to run the meeting. Just one guy to announce the program and OK the sacrament prayer. They could take turns.

  18. “The purpose of the meeting”

    What is the purpose of church?

    If it’s to worship Jesus and to try to be like him, we are failing. We are idolizing men, callings, prophets, and “the family.” We are more concerned with the letter of our laws, than the spirit of them.

    If it’s to strengthen families, we are failing. Look how we fracture families in each of the three hours. Look how families are fractured throughout the week for the sake of church.

    If it’s to find strength among each other, we are failing. Church attendance is down in my local area. And more importantly attending church is a drain, a burden, and extremely frustrating.

    Good ship Zion is sinking. And the more water it takes on the more I think this is a GOOD thing. Empty meetings, goofy callings, outdated primary curriculum–it’s not helping any of us find Jesus.

    Maybe it is time for me to jump ship. I don’t believe in priesthood leadership. I believe in Jesus. I don’t believe in savings ordinances. I believe in Jesus’s saving grace. I don’t believe in reverence. I believe in joyful and exhuberant praise and worship. I don’t believe in modesty. I believe in clothing the poor. I don’t believe my worthiness can be judged by a man. I believe my worthiness has already been spoken to by the love of my brother, Father, and Mother. I’m kinda over it, y’all. I’ve sacrificed so much. I’ve been that mama that is trying her best, while her husband is asked to sacrifice all his vacation and off hours in the name of church. The “blessings” don’t come. What comes is an understanding that grace is not earned and that programs and meetings are no substitute for Jesus.

  19. eternal graduate student says:

    “I realized I was looking at the wrong things. I was worried about my wife’s problem, not focusing on my relationship with the Savior.”

    Sure. If nothing can be done, focusing on how frustrating it is doesn’t help, but I think you could walk off the stand and take care of something from time to time. If the congregation can choose to ignore the commotion you see, they can choose to ignore your getting up for a moment to address it. And as pressed a button says above, you could ask someone less encumbered in the congregation to help out.

    “I resented that my priesthood responsibility tied me to this chair on the stand, preventing me from going to my family’s aid.”

    The assumptions behind these strictures need a good questioning. And if this is satire, it’s a little too subtle.

  20. Read the article linked at the bottom of the OP, friends. Browne is saying invisible motherhood is a myth, then erases herself by internalizing the message “It’s not about you.”

    The heartbreaking thing is it’s apparent, later on, how desperately she wants to be seen.

    We tell women all. the. time. “It’s not about you.” The flip side, illustrated so well in the OP is that men (all of us) learn “it’s not about her” either.

    Brava, Rebecca J!

  21. Thank you Leona. I felt just a little sick inside reading this post (missed the link entirely on first read)! Now that I’ve read the link, I wish I hadn’t. I’m so tired of being told to celebrate woman having no boundaries and that we should all learn to love being a door-mat. I’m all for sacrifice and humility, but that doesn’t mean our spiritual/physical/mental/financial/educational growth as women is a selfish thing. One can (and should) care for oneself and care for others. On should have boundaries, even within families. It isn’t a zero-sum game.

    Also, I rather thought Bro So-and-So was a bit of a #$@%&. I can’t believe some of the commenters here related to him. The truth is that I’ve seen that very situation happen.

  22. This is appalling. We’ve come to praise the Levite for not helping the Samaritan. . . . and the Church nods in approval.

  23. Kevin Barney says:

    When I first moved to the Chicago area we regularly sat behind a woman with her three or four children (I forget the exact number). I just assumed she was divorced or widowed; it was three months before I realized she was married to a counselor in the bishopric.

  24. Very easy to remember why we cancelled our subscription to the Ensign. No way am I letting such dangerous influences into my home.

  25. From the linked article: “Single sisters and women without children can also serve as powerful ambassadors of motherhood.”

    1. What [expletive deleted] is an “ambassador of motherhood”?

    2. Other than pointing out that the sister was *not* a mother, what [expletive deleted] does anything in that story have to do with motherhood?

    I am so sick and tired of the warped view that twists EVERYthing a woman does into some aspect of motherhood. In this sick and twisted article, the author does it without explaining in any way how the woman’s action had the slightest thing to do with motherhood — she merely asserts it the way certain propagandists asserted that “arbeit macht frei.” I’m pretty sure I have a higher conception of what motherhood is than anybody who writes for the Ensign — they don’t even seem to have grasped the barest essential element of the meaning of the word. If there is a “myth” of “invisible motherhood,” it is certainly outshone by the myth of everything “female” equating to “mother.”

  26. Jack Hughes says:

    When I lived in Germany and attended a German-speaking ward, the stake president (who was a member of that ward) regularly attended sacrament meeting, but usually sat in the congregation with his family. He only sat on the stand if he was conducting the meeting, giving a talk or delivering an item of stake business. When I returned to the states, it just looked silly to see a member of the stake presidency sitting on the stand, “presiding” over a meeting but having no real purpose there–why wasn’t he with his family? I’ve even seen stake high councilors do it–men who aren’t really in our ward, but assigned to it by the stake president, sitting up there week after week, but rarely ever having to actually perform a function. Why do we do this at all?

    Additionally, I hear many complaints from my wife (who is nursing) about the bishop’s wife (who is also nursing) who drags her 3 other little kids into the nursing room with her during sacrament meeting, causing a lot of distraction in that crowded little room (our baby doesn’t eat well when there are distractions and noises around). Why the hell can’t the bishop come down from the stand once in awhile to watch his own kids while his wife nurses?

  27. Amen Ardis. I had the same reaction. I hate that she felt the need to erase what single women actually do in their lives in the name of making sure that mothers are seen. It’s not zero sum. We can see and value multiple kinds of women if we want to.

  28. Tiberius says:

    An related phenomenon to all this is when speakers at 2-hour stake conferences or one hour church meetings try to live up their moment in the spotlight while you’re struggling second by second to keep your kids calm. It’s quite obvious when the speaker is more about themselves than their listeners, and it becomes even more aggravating when you’re wearing yourself out with your kids just so that brother/sister so-and-so can have their captive audience to make themselves feel important.

  29. Geoff - Aus says:

    How many suits does it take to conduct a sacrament meeting? When I was last on a bishopric it took 1. In theory it could even be the RS president.
    There only needs to be one person on the stand conducting the meeting. At least 2 of 3 weeks a member of the bishopric can sit with his family. If they included the RS presidency in conducting sacrament he could sit with his family 5 weeks out of 6.

  30. Just too close to the bone these days. Took me two reads to realise this was satire, because it is all too real. Quick shout out to my hubby who admittedly hates sitting on the stand and regularly walks down off it during the meeting to tag team the kids with me.

    Nothing makes me feel more alone in my marriage than the 3hrs of church, not to mention all the other hours he is asked to be away from us for meetings that don’t change a sweet thing. Good job families are for eternity, because they certainly aren’t treated as being for the here and now.

  31. Let us pretend I am not Mormon and consider an obvious question. Why the heck are the children even in that meeting?

    Is it because the children sit enraptured with our crappy music? Are they the organizers of the family activities needing to hear the announcements to coordinate the schedule? Do they understand the purpose of the sacrament, and are capable of repentance, making covenants and receiving forgiveness? I know the material in church is usually taught on a third grade level, but are not the talks too long and tedious for children? Is there anything in Sacrament meeting for them?

    Maybe some deep connection to the Mormon tribe is being formed through shared suffering and desensitization to our high-demand, low-return church culture. Am I missing something here?

    This problem illustrates Mormon myopia better than most. This is a matter of operations not doctrine. Other churches with the flexibility associated with no central control have conducted numerous social experiments and through a selective process have a better approach based on real experience. Protestant women won’t put up with the torture we put our mothers of young children through when they can easily go across the street to a better church.

    Many churches don’t allow rowdy children in church meetings. Many let them stay for the first part of the service with rousting music. Some have built glassed-in over flow rooms where families with noisy children can see and hear everything that is happening in the meeting while the rest of the congregation does not hear the noise of their children. You might conclude that if we have primary during sacrament meetings, the women who run the primary will miss an important experience. But are not most of our buildings used by two or more wards? Could the women and men of the First Ward run the primary of the Second Ward during Sacrament meeting and the women and men of the Second Ward run the primary of the First Ward during their sacrament meeting?

    Since I doubt any of those in positions to make these sort of obvious and sensible changes will adopt them, seeing as they are decades away from raising small children (and probably preferred sitting on the stand when their numerous children were young), I have a few other suggestions.
    Fathers of many small children, learn to keep your priorities in order and say no when offered these demanding callings that take you away from your families. Accept callings where you are with your children. People live longer and have smaller families and there are plenty of men and women past 50 years old but still with decades of good health ahead whose children are grown and gone and who can better shoulder these responsibilities. It is form of pride to think you, as a busy young father can lead in the church better than faithful men your father’s age who have double your life and church experience. Mothers of many small children, don’t inflict the misery of these meetings on your children which mostly teach them to hate church and indirectly to resent you for putting them through it.

    We have two young Asian mothers with one small child each in our ward. They are not “tiger moms,” quite the opposite. They let their toddlers run completely wild. They pretend to ignore them but do keep a eye on them. One little fellow completed 3 laps around the chapel before the deacons finished passing the bread.Their children even occasionally escape into the foyer and their mothers simply relax, confident it is a safe place. Mother’s don’t have to discipline their children in church, or so they think.

    I have a sort of adopted daughter who finds herself in an international marriage with 4 children under 6 years old and a husband from a traditional culture where men do no child care until the children are at the older pleasant ages. She couldn’t handle the children in church when there were only two of them.Her husband was not amused when he learned that the DNA studies indicated the church was lying to him ever since his conversion about being a Lamanite and has gone inactive.She has found a smallish independent evangelical church where she can worship and feel inspired while her children have enjoyable activities. Church meetings have become weekly highlights, not torture sessions.

    “Suffer the children to come unto Me does not have to mean make the children suffer when they come unto Me.

  32. I would let my counselors go sit with their families after the sacrament was completed. If they were conducting that Sunday they would announce the next speaker and I would conduct the rest of the meeting. A few times I had to insist they go.

  33. Why the heck are the children even in that meeting?

    Protestant tradition? It certainly isn’t a meeting that caters to the needs of children.

  34. Aussie Mormon says:

    I don’t recall King Benjamin telling families to get rid of the kids while he was speaking from the tower.

  35. “We have two young Asian mothers with one small child each in our ward. They are not “tiger moms,” quite the opposite. They let their toddlers run completely wild…Mother’s don’t have to discipline their children in church, or so they think.”
    I like the suggestions in this comment; I’m less fond of this segment criticizing individuals for failing to live up to racial and gendered stereotypes.

  36. Dog Spirit says:

    “I don’t recall King Benjamin telling families to get rid of the kids while he was speaking from the tower.”

    Well, seeing as how they were listening from their own tents in the outdoors, I imagine the kids were napping, or playing Nephite soccer, or helping with whatever tedious but necessary chores had to happen to keep the family clothed and fed a thousand years before child labor laws. But whatever. Since the text doesn’t mention it, it didn’t happen. I’m sure King Benjamin never took a bathroom break or had an infected rotten tooth, either.

  37. Aussie Mormon:

    Unless you are hinting at being one of the three Nephites, I don’t think you were there to see what they did with their children or whether they rode horses, tapirs, elephants or cureloms to King Benjamin’s sermon from the tower either. Forgive me if I just blew your cover, it can’t have been the first time. I think that event was more like General Conference than weekly Sacrament meetings and even if we knew, it is not a valid comparison.

    After the introduction of satellite technology into the ward house but before it invaded our homes, members far from Utah gathered at the local church to experience General Conference. We had three options. The chapel where everyone did exactly the same as was done in Salt Lake except perhaps standing in line for hours before. The Relief Society room with a TV where families with small children gathered and they could run around and play. Finally some on the front lawn to listen to it from speakers without the visual images, braving the rain or heat. the last option apparently was offensive to some leader and it was eliminated. My children listened far better on the lawn than in the other settings, as objectively demonstrated with written quizzes givn a few hours later.

    To all Asian moms, my attempt was to complement these innovative women in my ward for independent thinking and for breaking these stereotypes, that S word being a conversation stopper since it is so judgmental it is impossible to say anything else after that identity is pasted on me. excuse me, I think it is a great idea to just let the children do what they do and if the Brethern don’t like it then they might do something about it. But you can ignore that idea since it came from a so-called sexist racist pig.

  38. Aussie Mormon says:

    “Since the text doesn’t mention it, it didn’t happen.” (assuming here that “it” means sending the children away).
    “I don’t think you were there to see what they did with their children”

    Mosiah 2:5 said that the oldest to the youngest were there.
    “And it came to pass that when they came up to the temple, they pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family, consisting of his wife, and his sons, and his daughters, and their sons, and their daughters, from the eldest down to the youngest, every family being separate one from another.”

    and verse 40 has Mosiah talking directly to the children also
    “O, all ye old men, and also ye young men, and you little children who can understand my words, for I have spoken plainly unto you that ye might understand, I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression.”

    Granted it wasn’t like a weekly sacrament meeting, but children were there and were addressed directly. This has also happened in our sacrament meeting multiple times for what it’s worth (though not by King Benjamin).

    “But are not most of our buildings used by two or more wards? Could the women and men of the First Ward run the primary of the Second Ward during Sacrament meeting and the women and men of the Second Ward run the primary of the First Ward during their sacrament meeting?”

    That might be the situation in the US, but there are many places where you either have single units per building, or only two non-overlapping-with-gap-in-between units per building.

    As soon as you explicitly start talking about banning children, you just start shifting the problem elsewhere.

  39. I’ve sat on the stand for some time, and one time my youngest fell and hit his forehead on the hymnbook holder which split his skin. I heard a scream and saw my wife leave quickly but I thought it might be a case of a spilled sippy cup. Only afterwards did a thoughtful woman come to me and say “um your son is getting stitches.”

    It is in fact “about her”. Children and wife are #1 and much more important than church callings, whatever. I think the Savior would have gotten up and helped the women struggling with her kids.

  40. My two cents: I’ve been ward organist since I was 16. My oldest is in university. Other than a stint in cubs and one memorable Sunday I forgot about daylight savings I’ve spent most of my Sundays sitting on the stands. My husband works an 8 day rotation shift, so he’s gone 2 out of 3 Sundays. If I wanted to math I could figure out how many Sundays I’ve been on the stand and my kids soloing it on the bench. I have never had anyone ever in any ward offer to sit with them.
    Ever.
    Anyways…..
    So, funny story time. I’m doing prelude (my kids’ sacrament meeting starts a good 5-10 minutes earlier than most peoples) and the kids are sitting in the bench. Most Sundays they are pretty good and its a family ward so a bit of noise jusy blends into the general premeeting noise everyone else is making. But this Sunday, mine are acting up. I can hear them clearly over the general commotion. When they don’t settle down (I can do a fabulous stink eye from the organ bench!) I stop playing and in the sudden silence walk over to the bench, tell my kids to settle down and then walk back up to the organ to continue playing prelude music.
    The chapel is silent. You could have heard a pin drop as I play prelude.
    I almost have wished they needed me to talk to them on other Sundays just so the rest of the ward would be quiet. Its about the only Sunday that I’ve actually thought prelude was listened to instead of just adding to the noise level.

  41. east of the mississippi says:

    Wow… you missed the boat on this one chief… there nothing about sitting on the stand… and I’ve sat up there plenty in my time… that is more important then assisting your bride and your offspring.

  42. To be fair, east of the mississippi, that is pretty much the point of the post.

  43. Mormom, your experience is very familiar to me. There was a period of about 4-5 years in my early teens when my father was almost completely absent because he was working long hours (and often traveling out of state during the week) *while* serving as bishop of our ward. I recall having a few hours with him on Saturday afternoons, and that was it. From the way school friends heard us talk, they honestly thought my parents were divorced and that my dad had supervised custody. I wonder how many lessons about the importance of family he had to oversee and teach during that time.

    It’s hard to blame him because he’s the kind of person who believes he has to work hard for anyone who needs him, and if you layer that onto the church culture of never ever ever refusing a calling, I’m sure he felt trapped. But it was definitely not a good thing for anyone in the family.

    When I was a little kid and he had some kind of calling in the bishopric (he was always in some kind of on-the-stand calling), I remember he would have 1 or 2 of us go sit with him during sacrament meeting. We’d sit on his lap or sit in the row behind him and color.

    I remember a ward I went to in the London area once, where all the kids were just kind of free-floating during Sacrament Meeting. They’d sit with other families they got along with, or random aunties would take them outside when they were fussy. I was there for about 6 weeks and I wasn’t totally sure whose kids were whose. The ward was majority Ghanaian immigrants so I’m not sure if there was a cultural element at play, but it’s always seemed like a better way to handle things than each keeping to their own row and pretending not to see each other.

  44. “a so-called sexist racist pig.”
    My comment doesn’t have the word sexist, racist, or pig in it, my good man.

  45. Whoops, posted before finished. I’m not interested in label posting on you the individual at all, Michael. “Tiger Mom”, however, is unequivocally a stereotype, and I’m not sure I grasp the defensiveness in response to referring to it as such. It was invoked in a small part of your comment, and the act of referencing the spade by name was not to shut down the conversation as a whole or cast aspersions on you as a person.

  46. Chadwick says:

    The Ensign article reinforces why I stopped giving the church my $10 for a printed copy a few years back.

    “It’s not about you” is the equivalent of Heavenly Father telling her to “get over herself.” Is that how a loving God speaks to his children? I think many in my tribe believe that is exactly how he speaks to his children, unfortunately.

    It is entirely about us, both individually with our Savior, as well as collectively as a community.

    It makes me so sad to hear so many moms doing it alone. The moment I was called into a Bishopric three years ago, our neighbor insisted my wife sit with her every week. This women (who is also doing it alone because her husband’s in the SP) entertains my 5-year old daughter.
    Their son, after passing the sacrament, entertains my 2-year old son. It has been so wonderful, and I look forward to the day when I can pay this kindness forward. But then, every ward is different. My ward previous to this one would probably not have offered help. Location matters.

    This post is brilliant; I’m sorry I missed it on my original read, as I missed the link at the bottom. Very thought-provoking.

  47. A Bishop says:

    When I was a counselor I usually had my son with me on the stand. He was 6-8 years old. We had established a tradition of sketching together during Sacrament Meeting since he was a toddler. It didn’t change because of my calling, except for when I was conducting. Though I know one of the SP members didn’t like it, he never censured me on it even though I had heard he had done so to somebody else.

    Now That I’m a bishop I kind of miss having him up there with me. He’s 11 now, so he’s kinda grown out of it. One Sunday when my counselors were both out of town I invited him to come sit with me. It was like old times except this time I let him run the pulpit up and down.

    Love the satire of the OP. It had me steaming by the end, which was of course the point.

  48. My wife often sent my son (he was 2 or 3) to sit with me on the stand at various points of the meeting. If I were conducting, someone else in the bishopric scooped him up until I was back seated. At the time I worked 12 hours/ 6 days per week. I hope to think she appreciated those few moments she had in sacrament meeting to relax and enjoy the spirit of the meeting.

  49. When I was a teenager I had a bishop who had half a dozen lively children. It was routine each week for his wife to send at least one of them up to sit on the stand with him (and I’ve never understood in subsequent wards why people have a problem with that!). His six-year-old was notorious throughout the ward for being a handful, and often got sent up front. One day he sat up there quite quietly, head down, intent on – well, who knew what he was intent on. We had BYC after church, and for some reason, instead of going into one of our usual rooms we ended up on the stand ourselves. That’s when I discovered what had been keeping the bishop’s son so quiet: on the seat of his chair, in his best first-grade printing, he had written in indelible letters two inches high his full name, first, middle, and last.

    I pointed it out to my Laurel advisor just as the bishop came in. We were both well aware of his very strict views on behavior in the chapel. She pushed me into that seat as he came up the stairs, and I did not move until he left again an hour later.

    I assume he saw it eventually, but it’s good for dads to deal with that sort of thing!

  50. This is one of the weirdest posts I’ve ever read here.