A Sister-Nurturer Reacts to General Conference

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Bobbie Smith is a returned missionary, BYU graduate, and mother of a large family in the northeastern United States with a literal and metaphorical oversized heart. Said heart greatly affects the nature of her religious worship, community service, and housework.

Ten men (if I counted right) attended the General Women’s Session this past weekend and three men spoke. As I watched them take up more than half of our meeting, I thought of how few women are invited to speak in General Conference. I thought of the women denied permission to even attend priesthood session. Yet the men invite themselves not only to attend our women’s session, they also dominate the dais and they dominate the speaking roster. Was it even a women’s meeting, really? It was more of a combined “sister and priesthood meeting” this year, really, when you consider the gender breakdown of talks and the gender count of who was on the stand. These were sobering thoughts.

I crave women’s voices.  In my lifetime in the Midwest, we’ve never had a sister church authority visit us, ever. Our only options for  help with callings, family life, and personal growth have been “Time Out For Women,” which is expensive and kind of smacks of priestcraft.  I’ve never understood why the brethren get flown out on the church’s dime, yet I need to buy tickets to an expensive program if I want to hear guidance from female church leaders.  I hoped the Women’s Session would provide a chance for some empathetic instruction, and instead the time was consumed by men.

Gender-Copy

The three talks proffered by brethren in our sisters’ meeting all focused on motherhood. These talks included the usual nod to childless sisters via “you are all mothers because you nurture,” consolation.  I find this unsatisfactory.

LDS women possess a variety of gifts, other then motherhood, that need to be acknowledged.  Many of us are skilled orators, but only male high councilmen are allowed to travel and exercise gifts of oratory.  Many of us are gifted, credentialed administrators, but only men are allowed to administrate in the church.  Many of us are extremely skilled fundraisers, budgeters, and accountants, but only brethren are allowed to work with the monies of the church.  Many of us are paid professional teacher trainers at work, but when we teach at church unskilled, untrained brethren supervise us.  Many of us don’t get along with children at all and don’t have a nurturing bone in our bodies and would be better suited for administrative or other practical service opportunities, but instead we keep getting called to child-tending church duties — because the men in charge of callings say God told them that’s where we belong.

Because the brethren placed such repeated emphasis on nurturing, I’d like to take a closer look at what nurturing implies and how the church falls short of capturing nurturing’s full vision.  It is because many women are nurturers that we need a greater voice.

Part of the nurturer’s gift includes a strong desire to help the oppressed. Women are the ones who, by a larger margin, stand with God’s LGBTQ children and want to ensure their happiness and well-being.  But when we exercise this nurturing gift in behalf of God’s LGBTQ children at full capacity, we are chastised, shunned at church, or even excommunicated.  We women feel our nurturing hearts break whenever male-elected apostles of God tear down our beloved LGBTQs before a worldwide audience.  We love God’s LGBTQ children and want to see them love and be loved, as they deserve to be.  The brethren can’t keep telling us to utilize our gift of nurturing, then ignore us when we find those who are most in need of succor and raise the alarm to advocate for and help them.  Elder Oaks’s talk on Saturday caused us to raise the alarm again.

Nurturing women are concerned for abuse victims and our vulnerable young being conditioned to meet behind closed doors with adult men.  I was thus troubled by Elder Holland’s talk about a man wrongfully accused of not paying a full tithe during a bishop’s interview.  Elder Holland put the impetus not on the leader to apologize, but on the hurt man to let it go—this is a narrative that abuse victims in the church have struggled with forever: abusers not being punished while abuse survivors are told to just forgive. Elder Holland did make a passing reference to abuse/toxic relationships but focused the rest of his talk on forgiving offenses. Sister-nurturers can attest that when somebody has been deeply wounded or abused, the focus needs to be on helping the abused, not on telling them to forgive and absolve the person who harmed them. Telling them to just forgive already can actually do more damage, especially when the person who harmed them holds priesthood keys, powers, and authority. We sister-nurturers know that survivors of this kind of abuse need to hear that their abuser was wrong and amen to the priesthood of those men. They need to hear apologies; they often need restitution. They need validation, love, and nurturing.

We sisters are so nurturing that we care deeply about the poor, so our hearts ache when Elder Bednar promotes self-reliance as he did at this conference. Christ fed the poor and healed the sick without reference to self-reliance. He never asked for anything in return for those loaves and fishes, guys.  He never asked his listeners to earn those loaves and fishes first.  He saw hunger and he fed people, saw sickness and pain and healed them. When women use their nurturing powers to serve the needy, it pains us to watch leaders make the poor in our wards jump through arbitrary hoops to “earn” church welfare and commodities. We’d rather use our nurturing gifts to minister as the Savior does. When our nurturing requests are overridden, we conclude we need more authority.  How are we to serve the world when our nurturing gifts are being ignored?

If sister-nurturers had the influence and authority to exercise our gifts to their fullest extent, our church’s resources would be re-directed to helping/healing abuse survivors instead of protecting their abusers. We would redirect more church resources towards programs and policies that fight racial intolerance than towards fighting marijuana. We would build more houses like Encircle house for LGBTQs and establish policies and programs/procedures that lovingly support and embrace God’s LGBTQ children, rather than paying to rebrand church properties, web sites, and choirs. Our manuals and hymnals would be revised to emphasize worship of our Heavenly Father and following Christ through ministering and loving service, rather than teaching members to adore and obey men the way our current church publications often do.

By emphasizing women’s role as nurturers, the brethren are effectively self-confessing that they are not nurturers.  I pray they will realize that, as non-nurturers, there are sensitive topics they are not always equipped to address.  I pray the brethren will never again lecture us about motherhood, shame the poor about self-reliance, or criticize our beloved LGBTQs the way they did at General Conference.  (I noted that the most Christ-like talk was delivered by a man named Elder Gay.  In a church that finds great meaning in names, watching his name flash on the screen moved me deeply!)

We sisters don’t tell the brethren how to exercise their priesthood keys, so I pray that they, the non-nurturers of the church, will in the future assign these topics to those who can offer our worldwide church the requisite nurturing, hope, love, and healing that these delicate topics require. According to the First Presidency, we sisters are divine holders of these requisite nurturing powers.  They recognized our leadership with the church’s refugee efforts, and should do so again.  Our sister-nurturers deserve a greater voice.

*Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Comments

  1. Amen!!!!

  2. In tears reading this — thank you.

  3. Bobbie Smith, you’ve written the concerns on my mind perfectly. So many grave concerns were left unaddressed in general conference, and while my spouse can surmise “it’s meant for a general audience, those topics are not appropriate for a general audience to hear,” I cannot help but feel wounded, rejected, and left on the side of the street.
    The women spoke of doing Christlike actions and deeds- and that’s exactly what I intend to do, continue to seek and offer compassion, support, and nourishment to those who have been walked passed by people wishing to discuss name changes and legitimate families.

  4. I’ve said elsewhere, women went into conference looking for ways to be empowered. And not only came away told they need to be primarily in the home with their social media turned off, but in very deed, shown that their voices only matter about 14%.

    Thank you for capturing it so eloquently.

  5. “We sisters don’t tell the brethren how to exercise their priesthood keys”

    Uh, I think that’s what you were just doing.

    Like most everything, this comes down to whether or not you have a testimony of the Church. Is the Lord leading it? If so, maybe there are reasons for what happens. If not, please continue to look for reasons to get offended.

  6. My wife came home that evening visibly distraught, feeling the meeting had been colonized. She had expressed a toned-down complaint to her friend the RS President, who started talking about the evils of ‘feminism.’ She later talked to her very active, yet very aware mother to understand how she responded. The response? “I understand. The leaders have always spoken this way to us.”

    I’ve taken to being verbal on the subject. A couple of weeks ago in the Stake Conference adult session, one of the counselors opened by saying how nice it was to have the women present and their beautiful faces. I said audibly “That is soooo sexist.” I got some looks. I later heard thank you from women.

    Either the male hierarchy of the church is clueless as to what is happening on the ground on gender issues, or they know and are retrenching. As I see it, gender mistreatment is by far the greatest factor that younger members deal struggle with and feel disenfranchised about.

    Thank you for the wonderful post. I pray that more men will step and criticize this filth!

  7. Raja, we don’t have a testimony of the “church,” but we very certainly have a testimony of Christ. We have to wonder if the Lord is leading it when so many things directly impact the happiness and sanity of so many. When have you ever been instructed by a woman in a priesthood meeting?

    But if you think ignoring rampant problems in the church will strengthen the church, well, ignorance will probably be bliss to you. But what will you answer the Lord when he asks you about the wounded, hungry, naked? “Lord, certainly you didn’t mean you for me to look for the least,”

  8. Your vs Our – Brethren vs Us – for someone who lives as a “nurturer” your lack of humility is staggering. You’ve filtered every talk through a lens of distrust, pride, and anger. You’ve added meaning and intent where none was given, and robbed yourself of a chance to actually hear what was being said. Ignoring what I can only assume is willful ignorance on how and why the Lord calls people to serve, you then hold up your own standard and criticize an organization that doesn’t follow it.
    And it’s sad because you could so easily persuade and plead a righteous cause to a willing group of listeners, but like those you blame, your message is lost in the weakness of the messenger.

  9. Aaron, your own lack of humility is apparent in your comments. Difficult to manage, isn’t it–trying to point out a flaw without being insensitive? You claim the message is lost? To whom? You? Read some of the comments. You fly in here, ignore what is happening, make your pronouncements and then leave. Sound familiar? I see where you may get that tendency, where you might get the idea that there is no harm done. But there is. And those being hurt are speaking out. Judge as you wish, but know that your judgement, like the judgement of those here, is the way you will be judged one day. Tread softly, for you tread on people’s dreams.

  10. My heart has been hurting after this conference. I am so tired of being put on a pedestal at Women’s conference instead of being considered complete, dynamic, diverse human beings. I went years without watching for this reason, but started again when my daughters were old enough to be invited. It all just rings so hollow.

    I also really had my hopes up that one of the big changes was going to be temple wording changes for females in the endowment. Surely they have wives and daughters, those men up there at the church office building. Surely they know how much pain the temple endowment causes women, increasing as the world gives us more equality and at church we have to fit ourselves into a too-tight mold. As a millenial, I am barely holding on. This church is my heritage. I love it, it’s changing, metamorphosing nature, I just don’t know how to justify it to my daughters. My baby boomer mother was uncomfortable with it, but while gently warning me of the wording, admitted that that part was on her “shelf” she would ask Heavenly Father about some day. How many of my female predecessors, faithful women, have had their second class nature on their shelf? How long can I hold this shelf up? Even if I do, what is that saying to my daughters?

  11. jaxjensen says:

    The women’s session exists (ostensibly) because of the repeated calls by the women to be included in fully in General Conference and not to be pushed aside onto another weekend. That made them feel like 2nd-class members and they wanted it to change… and it did. So, now rather than have 2 meetings a year (where women dominated and usually only 1 man speaks per time) they get 1 meeting a year where they have 3 men take 1/2 their time. Meaning that if the goal is “to hear guidance from female church leaders” then the those previous efforts have harmed, not helped, the female membership of the Church. They now have well less that half of the time per year available to them to hear messages from other female leaders.

    In retrospect then, were those efforts (even if just calling for it here on BCC) worth the cost?

  12. Billy Possum says:

    Bobbie:

    “I pray that [the brethren], the non-nurturers of the church, will in the future assign these topics to those who can offer our worldwide church the requisite nurturing, hope, love, and healing that these delicate topics require.”

    As a father of daughters who are still very young, I pray with you. This is a Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that needs nurturing above all else.

  13. My husband and i left the church after being told that the church covered up my fathers abuse of more then 70 children some belonged to the church others did not. Our bishop at the time was told by higher ups that as long as my father repented and turned himself into authorities no other action was necessary. None of those children’s parents were even told what happened to them and none recieved counseling. My father did go to jail but not long enough for all the trauma he caused.
    We left because the first presidentcy at the time did nothing to acknowledge the trauma caused to 70+ children. They are not the only ones to blaim everyone that was involved in the chain of command is at fault for what happened because no one stood up and said this is wrong those children deserve justice or at the very least counciling. The church needs to stand with the abused and acknowledge that it happens even within its own walls. Until that happens we will not be back.

  14. Let me just remind the Aarons of the world, before you begin your predictable swooping in and taking women to task for how we perceive the persistent treatment and messages aimed at us: “The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.” (Lewis’ Law)

  15. This Transgender woman thanks you for seeing me, and wishing to encircle me in greater fellowship. Thank you Bobbie. We all need to live.

  16. In retrospect then, were those efforts (even if just calling for it here on BCC) worth the cost?

    Absolutely. There is nothing inevitable about the church’s reduction of the number of women speaking in the day sessions, and tripling the number of men speaking Saturday evening. That was a deliberate decision made by … somebody. It was a poorly-thought-out decision, but there’s nothing inevitable about having more men speak at the women’s session just because they used to speak at the Priesthood session.

  17. If you are upset about how many men speak at conference you have a deeper problem, you don’t understand Christ’s church and the revealed organization of his church. It was that way when Christ walked the earth and it will be that way forever. Facts don’t care about your feelings. Complaining about God’s plan is not going to change Gods plan. This article is very contradictory.

  18. Jordyn, with all due respect. Christ walked with women, counseled with them, healed them. What Christ had on this earth very little resembles the corporation this church has become. Mary Magdalene was the first to witness the resurrected Christ. Women cannot even be an official recorded witness of a baptism.

  19. Thank you fo this. I love our leaders, but I have also started avoiding Conference because I am so sick of men telling me what it means to be a woman.

  20. Thanks Brian, I’m sure I have many deep flaws as well. I’m not pronouncing my way as better than the church leaders, called and set apart with responsibility none of us share. And yes, the message is lost to many because of the deep flaws in logic such as the one that claims that many women have skills that would make them better at oratory, administration, or finances than the brethren called to those positions..as if they were called because their skills were better than others. It shows a deep held cognitive bias justified with righteous indignation coupled with pride. I’m not ignoring the other comments or dismissing those who feel marginalized, the message from the church has always been that we need to do better in making all feel welcome and I can certainly do better. However I would suggest that this blatant criticism of church leaders, that has gotten dramatically worse over the last few years, is counterproductive to everyone.

  21. Thank you so much for this; your perspective helped me see some important things I did not see on my own. This post is very valuable, and I’m grateful you have shared it with us.

  22. Aaron, the easy retort to “I would suggest that this blatant criticism of church leaders, that has gotten dramatically worse over the last few years, is counterproductive to everyone” is “I would suggest that the dismal of women while simultaneously claiming not to do so, supported by illogical and detrimental pampering and pedestaling of them since decades and decades is counterproductive to everyone.” But hey, I understand that some male commenters here don’t see at all that they are so deeply entrenched in disrespect of women via their ‘benevolent’ sexism that there could be a better way.

  23. *dismissal

  24. I just want to say thank you for this. This conference was exceptionally rough for me and my girls for many reasons, including the homophobic stuff. Even my husband saw it and understood why. He is raising daughters.

    Conference talks are the basis for our RS/Priesthood lessons, and by restricting the number of women who spoke and their minutes, it means women will likely remain unheard. There are no area authority sisters. There are no sisters at the 70s level.

    I’m a convert and I am just gaining an understanding of how paternalistic and patriarchal this church is, especially as I now see it through the eyes of my daughters. I noticed when the changes to the schedule and curriculum were announced that no one referenced input from our sister leaders, and yet the women of the church were tapped to be the ones to implement it in the home. Why? More emotional labor was assigned to me and I’m all labored out. What is the scriptural basis for divine gender roles? Please don’t tell me the Family Proclamation. It isn’t scripture, and as an attorney I know its origins were part of an anti-gay marriage brief in Hawaii.

    When I joined I thought we were all striving to be like Jesus, and we were all going to be complete like Him. Nothing seemed gendered. It seemed Zion was big enough for everyone. The missionaries never told me that the living church with a spirit of progression and an aspiration for its people to be like God would have such a regressive view of women. The appeal to marry young and to have more babies has no appeal to my children. They have talents, skills and gifts they want to develop. Homophobia has no place in my worldview. My marriage isn’t threatened by my gay neighbors’ happy marriage and family. We celebrated when they adopted 3 children from foster care and wish they had a place in our church. I just feel so strongly that God blesses their family.

    There were several talks that were powerful and moving, including from President Jones, but on the whole, the conference was difficult.

  25. Brian, I’m not sure I understand the retort. . but I’m not that smart I guess. I would have the same feelings about this post coming from anyone as I am with you, man or woman. ‘Benevolent’ sexism does exist everywhere, in the church and outside it…you’ve made it a Mormon problem. Holding women’s voices as equal to a mans is a worldwide problem, you’ve made it a Mormon one. The writer of this article wants the church leaders to speak every thought and idea that they themselves hold so they can what? …as if her (or anyone’s) feelings are more important than trying to become more like Christ. I’m certainly far from Christlike as you’ve pointed out twice, but I still believe there is a way to improve administration and the messages of the church without bias and criticism of church leaders.

  26. My 8YO son asked me, during this year’s Conference, “Do only the boys talk?” I said that mostly, yes. He asked why. I tried my feminist best to be neutral, and explained that only the leaders talk, and mostly “boys” are allowed to be leaders in church. He didn’t press further, and neither did I, but I was hopeful for the future if my son thinks to notice and question what I accepted without hesitation at his age and well into adulthood. At five, he’d asked me why none of the “girl” Avengers were in the puzzle we were assembling (get it?!), and said it was “stupid” to exclude the girls, like Pepper Potts and Black Widow. (I absolutely love that he put Pepper Potts alongside the super-heroes.) I hadn’t even noticed. He’s been blessed with a sense of fairness that “the world” has driven out of many of us.

    At the time of his question, I hadn’t known that only one woman total would speak in the general sessions. And isn’t that a new thing, to have the entire first presidency speak at the women’s session? There are 3 female presidencies, but it was deemed more important to hear from the First Presidency twice over than from even half of the women leaders? Did no one see the irony beforehand in taking away women’s already limited mic time to assure them their voices are needed?

  27. Aaron: “Holding women’s voices as equal to a mans is a worldwide problem, you’ve made it a Mormon one….”

    Yes. Because we’re a Mormon blog. We can only fix the problems within our own fold. And if we’re a Church that purports to follow Christ and set aside the wickedness of the world, then we sure as heck can and should choose to model equality, love, and inclusion rather than follow the “world’s” messages of sexism and bigoted hate.

  28. Laurel, my sons and daughters ask me the same questions and my answers are similar to yours. It’s jarring to them. They aren’t growing up in a world like previous generations.

    Women and Men are both powerful and leaders in their world and it puzzles them why men and boys are so much more visible in church functions, and only church functions. When at school, at offices, they see capable people of both sexes leading.

    If people think that millennial and gen-xers are exploding the traditional gender narrative, they haven’t seen anything yet. The next generation is going to find the imbalance so antiquated that they may not choose to be apart of it. We won’t have anything left to hand down.

  29. Michael H. says:

    Thank you so much for this, Sister Guest. Beautifully expressed. I have a hard time understanding how some men (and even a few women) can’t appreciate the ideas you’re discussing here.

    I strain to figure those people out. Why are they so cold and hard? How did they come to be this way? Among the ideas that come to mind: 1) They aren’t reading–or “getting”–the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, or any of the charity/”pure-love-of-Christ”-related passages throughout the Standard Works.

    2) There are authoritarians, and there are wayfarers. Authoritarians need religion to be militaristic, or corporate. They need infallible leaders, and they crave being told exactly what to feel, think, say, and do. They can’t conceive of any possible alternative to that one-size-fits-all, my-way-or-the-highway form of religion. Authoritarians need enemies to give their life purpose. They need leaders to identify those enemies, and bark out the orders to snap to attention, fix bayonet, and march into battle. Without that structure, they’re adrift, which they see as bad. Wayfarers, on the other hand–probably most of us who frequent this site–see religion as a guiding light, or Liahona, that helps the individual navigate her way across a shifting, sometimes dangerous, and in any case difficult landscape. The wayfarer sees fellow travelers in distress, and looks to help and heal. The authoritarian model makes little if any sense to the wayfarer.

    I don’t know that authoritarians (whether they’re the few leaders or the many followers in the equation) are capable of very much if any empathy–particularly relative to those who don’t fit the mold.

  30. “some male commenters here don’t see at all that they are so deeply entrenched in disrespect of women”

    That may be a relevant dynamic (there are certainly men who feel threatened by women exercising their voice or asserting authority) but my guess would be different. The charitable reading I can make of comments like those from Raja, Aaron, and Jordyn is that they’re defense of the compass they feel complete confidence and utter trust in the Brethren gives them (like many within the church). When someone suggests that the Brethren may have made a mistake, that feels like a threat to the perfect reliability of that compass, and so out come the reassertions of absolute authority and the criticism of those who’d suggest otherwise.

    Less charitably we could say many members have made high office into a kind of idol, and worship it with such total commitment that they’ve rendered themselves unable to distinguish between that and the Christ-centered worship that allows space for words like those in this piece, but that’s the sort of non-nurturing confrontational approach that I’d like to think I could grow beyond, even though it’s hard for me as a man.

    I’d also like to think that a renewed focus on the name of the church could nudge us in the right direction. It is, after all, The Church of Jesus Christ rather than The Church of The Brethren in Lieu of Christ. But I’ll admit to some fear that those starting from a point of arguable idolatry might be inclined to follow direction on this point to the letter out of regard for office alone.

  31. I should have reloaded before I posted — Michael H. seems to have anticipated most of what’s probably worthwhile in my comment and articulated it better (and with more charity). And if the name is any guide to his gender, I can’t even chalk it up to the limitations of mine.

  32. Meeting with the stake President-

    Version 1: President, I know that you have a large stake council that includes the Stake Relief Society, Stake Young Women’s, and Stake Primary Leaders. I’m guessing you value their input as important voices on that council. I wonder if we, as the women of the church, could benefit from their voices as well as those of the brethren on the High Council once a month? I know in some areas those Stake Auxiliary leaders are assigned to speak in the wards along with the High Council speakers on a rotation that includes them and their counselors. Would you consider something like that for our stake?

    Version 2: President, I am angry about mistreatment and dismissal of women in the church. Our prophet and some of the Quorum of the 12 are hopelessly old fashioned and do not speak for me or give the messages I want to hear. In fact, I generally turn away from a couple of them as soon as they start to speak because I know I will not receive their message. All this talk of the nurturing nature of women does not represent me or how I feel. I’m afraid that that you are also responsible for some of this feeling when you send your High Council to speak to us. What are you going to do about it?

  33. Michael H. says:

    W:
    Idol worship. Exactly. You nailed it.

  34. Aaron, if you think that you need to explain to grown adults on how to conduct themselves publicly that is a pretty high and mighty position you have lofted for yourself. This is a blog, not a formal setting.
    You seem pretty arrogant and prideful. Might want to look at the mote in your own eye before you try and fix us hysterical women-folk.

  35. Michael H and W, I think you nailed it on your analysis of the authoritarian types posting here trying to correct everyone. I find it fascinating. Especially since Joseph Smith, himself, was definitely more of a wayfarer. The authoritarian types hated him and his progressive religion.

    Brigham Young (1862): “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him”

    “We have heard men who hold the Priesthood remark, that they would do any thing they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong: but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly”

  36. This murmuring gets old.

  37. Aaron, how do you know they haven’t already tried that approach? You seriously think it’s all about the proper tone? If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you should know that this issue comes up regularly. How long must sisters meekly beg for someone at the top to hear them?

    Elder Ballard said “…that you will let your voices be heard, we cannot, we cannot meet our destiny as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in preparing this world for the 2nd coming of the Savior of the world without the support and the faith and the strength of the women of this church. We need you. We need your voices. They need to be heard. They need to be heard in your community, in your neighborhoods, they need to be heard within the ward council or the branch council. Now don’t talk too much in those council meetings, just straighten the brethren out quickly and move the work on. We are building the kingdom of God.” I don’t care much for the ‘don’t talk too much’ quip, but it’s far past time to straighten the brethren out and move the work along.

    https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/europe-area-sisters-meeting/2014/09?lang=eng

    Many women are weary of being told how much their voices are valued and needed, how they are capable and have so much to contribute, only to have their participation severely limited or not included at all. I, for one, am tired of asking.

  38. W: Idol worship – not even close. I don’t even like some of the brethren, but I’m not gonna criticize them on a public forum.
    Mormom – no one said “hysterical” – I said arrogant and prideful. And the comments section of a blog is exactly the place to express an argument in contrast to an article. And for the 3rd time. . I know I am arrogant and prideful also! Although we both are using attribution bias against each other….

  39. Michael H. and W. Talk about hypocrites. If I don’t have the same hangups you do if fit neatly into a box and I am an idol worshiper? I thought the whole point of tolerance and love was to be able to see someone else’s perspective even if they don’t agree with you.

  40. Michael H. says:

    “You don’t know me. You never knew my heart. No man knows my history.”

    Always worth throwing into just about any conversation.

  41. Michael H. says:

    Applies to all sides, surely. (Though often there’s a dominant side wielding power over other sides.)

  42. So tired: So what does that mean “I am tired of asking”? That’s it? Time for more serious measures? Time to hold the evil men of the church up for ridicule and scorn? So tired enough to abandon the tenants of being a Christian? I have followed this blog for years, and there are certainly people with LOTS of different experiences in the church than mine and the church is equally theirs as it is mine. I recognize, in the nicest of senses, that I am an asshole and my comments anger people. But I’m also tired of the complaining and the writing and the constant blogs about “I wish that other people would do this so I felt better”. We are in charge of how we feel and act, we can choose to lift up our leaders and help them be better or we can tear them down. I’m certainly guilty of it too and I imagine a face to face conversation on this would go quite differently than a back and forth in a comments section. . but that’s where we are, and who I am today, and what I think about it. Flaws and all.

  43. Michael H. says:

    Oh, and I’ve been calling Bobbie Smith “Sister Guest!” [Smacks forehead.] Sorry, Sister Smith!

  44. Aaron: I have seen enormous progress be made with women making “gentle” suggestions for more inclusion and more voice. I have also seen women making even the teeniest of gentle suggestion be told they’re apostates for wanting to change anything, and to shut up and obey.

    I have also seen enormous progress be made with women not playing “nice” anymore and going to the media and the internet to demand change – a place where their voices are significantly closer to equal. At least when they’re told to shut up and obey, their words remain in public view in the hopes that some others will be inspired or listen.

    At the end of the day, they’re all just fed up that no matter what idea they have it takes the approval of multiple men for it go anywhere. We can focus on that problem, or we can focus on the wide varieties of tone in expressing it. I for one am going to focus on the problem.

  45. This is such a wonderful and direly needed post — thank you Ms. Smith! It is devastating that constructive criticism is absolutely unwelcome in the Church culture we’ve created for ourselves, completely independent of anything actually required by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  46. Aaron, ‘we can choose to lift up our leaders and help them be better.’

    How do you suggest that women help leaders be better? There is no avenue open to correspond or make suggestions to the Q12 or FP. If a bishop or stake president doesn’t advocate, it dies with them. Then it has to filter through more bureaucracy. The only venue regular members have is to discuss (and vent) on blogs or Facebook and hope that the monitors at HQ see it and pass it along.

    I know that how I feel makes no difference to anyone in a position to make changes. I’m not related to anyone in authority. I don’t live in an area where the church conducts focus/research groups. Any honest discussion of how church policies affect regular members is not appreciated or welcome during Sunday meetings. So please tell me how I should lift up my leaders on this issue. Please. Am I using the proper tone?

  47. Carolyn, I’m genuinely sorry for those women who are told to “shut up and obey”. I recognize that the leadership roulette can land on a bad number. Then you express how the end can justify the means if the problem is big enough or the people involved are fed up enough about it. I disagree on that point, the ends don’t justify the means. .in fact the means by which the battle is won are everything. They show selflessness and hope and courage and make real impact. We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, not Malcom X day.
    So tired: I’m not in charge of your tone. You can express yourself in any way you see fit without worry about how I feel about it. If you have a local leader who is dismissive and isn’t willing to listen then I’m sorry about that as well. There is a time and place for many discussions, while Sunday School may be inappropriate, another place may make sense including a blog. But are we tackling the issue or the leader? Are we expressing our best hope and desire for ourselves and our daughters or are we caught up in anger and vitriol? Again, the voices in the world are screaming out THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS! on many issues, especially in certain areas of politics and #metoo.
    If both sides of an issue decide to justify the means then nothing happens but a war.

  48. Aaron, it may have been inevitable, but as soon as you bring up your weird idea about #MeToo, know that you have lost all credibility in this discussion. This is more than about how people feel. That you can’t see it, is your loss. Emotions are real and they are at stake. But it’s more than about emotions. You seriously seem absolutely blind (willfully or not) or ignorant (willfully or not) pf what institutional discrimination looks like. Who’s talking about the end justifying the means here? Frankly, your ‘rightness’ is appalling and offensive. Try a little meekness when someone who is hurt says something, even if not in the way you prefer to hear it. You are more concerned about being right than good. And I, and many people here, don’t have time for it. Hopefully we can be both right and good–that is, in the end, what this post is searching for. That you don’t see it is your loss.

  49. I don’t see how this post is attacking a specific leader. It’s pointing out the systematic lack of awareness of the impacts to women (and others who have no institutional voice or are invisible). It’s about several leaders telling women we are the ones who are great at nurturing, but then preventing us and opposing us whenever we attempt to point out a need for nurture at the institutional level.

  50. Aaron: When a woman IS told to shut up and obey, how should she respond in order to correct the problem?

  51. I’m not on social media this week, so I guess I’ll just leave this here.

    I can’t find you, Sister, in the polished places
    Or the soft-dusted path of the robed press.
    We are fled from suited rooms and thick-roped stakes,
    Into the wind where Mother bows
    To bind the splitting branches,
    To press the slashed flesh,
    To carve the wilderness with the voice of hurricanes.

  52. Brian, you seem to know a lot about me from a few posts. Emotions are in our control as real as they are to us. If you can easily dismiss the age old argument that “the ends don’t justify the means” because I applied it to politics or #metoo then that’s on you. My ‘rightness’ is appalling and offensive to you? Whatever man, I suspect that you and I are very different people. I’ve sat a listened and counseled and mourned and listened and advised and listened and just listened for thousands of hours over a lifetime of callings…cried with those who have cried, mourned with those who mourned, and sat kneecap to kneecap in hope and love and a spirit of give and take with hundreds and hundreds of people. I’ve given my time and resources to people instead of celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, school plays, and other things I could have done. I’ve seen time after time how well meaning people choose their path and ignore the red flags…but you are saying I’m more concerned with being right? Ridiculous pronouncement from you. You want meekness and love but are you willing to extend that to the church leadership? This post isn’t searching for what is right or good, it’s a condemnation of church leadership and a blatant appeal to an “us” vs “them” viewpoint. She tells the brethren “not to lecture to us”. She openly criticizes the entire 1st Presidency, Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, and Elder Oaks. She literally says a talk about self reliance is un-Christlike?
    Carolyn: If were told to “shut up and obey” then I would have some tough decisions to make for the benefit of me and my family. Do I sacrifice my needs for the possible greater benefits for my family or do I fight? I can’t answer that.

  53. Aaron, I’m judging your comments. You are judging the OP and other comments. No difference. Except you are making stuff up that isn’t here.

  54. Tnbuttercup says:

    I cannot say more than thank you. My 22 year old son questioned Sunday morning why there had been no women speaking. I felt we had entered a time warp. It has become more difficult to explain these attitudes of omission within the everyday operation of the Church.

  55. I left the women’s meeting feeling off. The term that came to mind was benevolent sexism. “Get on that pedestal and stay there!” I have never been one to criticize or complain after conference. Not ever. But I felt big feelings this time. I felt like they decided to subtly rebuke the women this time. “Nurture” = fit into a culturally constructed box.

  56. Aaron: “Idol worship – not even close. I don’t even like some of the brethren, but I’m not gonna criticize them on a public forum.”

    I’m glad to hear that you value personal independent judgment with regards to the brethren; many members of the church won’t go that far.

    The idea that church teachings or positions shouldn’t be subject to discussion or even outright criticism in a public forum* like this is an authoritarian approach. It’s a common one in the church, and it even sometimes has its strengths alongside its limits, but that doesn’t make it less authoritarian.

    The blistering approach you took in the first comment looks authoritarian to me. It doesn’t engage with any of the ideas of the piece; it’s largely an attack on the motives, disposition, and character of the author and conveys the idea that the problems she’s observing are *her* problems because she doesn’t understand “how and why the Lord calls people to serve” (ie, the nature of their authority). If there’s another way to understand it, let me know. Conversely, I hope that you’re willing to do just as much work in examining your own approach here as you’re asking others to do. It’s possible you’ve also misunderstood how and why the author of this piece has tried to serve by offering these words under no particular authority other than any ring of truth they might have.

    Idol worship is a loaded term; perhaps I could have just stopped at authoritarian instead. But while referring to it as idolatry of authority is more provocative, that’s what religious authoritarianism is.

    (*As for the public-ness or appropriateness of this forum, among others: BCC is technically public as anyone can happen by, but it’s obviously primarily a forum for members and others connected to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than a general public square. Discussion here is essentially about how those in the community talk to *each other* rather than being outward facing. And there’s no obviously better forum for addressing issues like this. Passing experiences, information, and concerns up via local and regional leadership has practical merits especially when related to issues that local and regional leadership can act independently and decisively on, and I know it sometimes works well to make sure issues are quietly handled. But it also works as well as local & regional leaders have the capacity to understand, prioritize and relay issues, and it works less well on issues where they can’t act independently — which is to say that sometimes lines of authority insulate rather than conduct. And local-only approaches have the giant flaw that it’s difficult to tell how broad the issues are in aggregate. Sometimes we have to talk to each other across callings and congregations.)

  57. W: Thanks for that response. I understand better where you’re coming from. Looking back my initial post it’s a knee-jerk reaction to lots posts and tweets that finally boiled over. I appreciate your more level headed last post greatly and hopefully I’m learning.
    Brain: K

  58. ^^^thanks for restoring my eternal hope that dialogue does actually get us somewhere

  59. This is a beautiful and brilliant post. So well said. Thank you!

  60. I, too, am reeling after this weekend and appreciate this thoughtful response. The Women’s Session felt like many, many steps back in how we speak about women at church. But it made more sense once I remembered how, at last January’s press conference, the new FP answered Peggy Fletcher Stack’s questions about the place of women in the church by citing D&C 132.

  61. Standing ovation.

  62. Thank you so much for this. I agree with every word, and reading things like this help me know I’m not alone.

  63. Thank you!

  64. In our stake we include the sisters among the stake leadership in speaking with the high councilors. We’ve never heard anybody indicate they’re grateful for the opportunity to have their voices heard, but we have heard from some that they’re being asked to speak too much (high councilors speak every month, these sisters speak every 2-3 months). It’s a small sample, I know, but I think it indicates that opinions in this area are not 100% homogeneous.

  65. wreddyornot says:

    Thank you. For this post and for this venue in order to have such relevant postings and discussions. As a man, I stand with the women and for the equality of everyone. There’s conference and then there’s BCC. For me there has been pretty much for as long as BCC has been around, which isn’t nearly as long as conference has been.

    May I recommend that we all sing For Everyone Born along with the First-Plymouth Church on YouTube, say our prayers, and then get a good night’s rest. Charity to all.

  66. “The three talks proffered by brethren in our sisters’ meeting all focused on motherhood. These talks included the usual nod to childless sisters via “you are all mothers because you nurture,” consolation. I find this unsatisfactory.
    “LDS women possess a variety of gifts, other then motherhood, that need to be acknowledged. …. Many of us don’t get along with children at all and don’t have a nurturing bone in our bodies and would be better suited for administrative or other practical service opportunities…”

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I came out of that meeting distraught, and incandescent with rage. In my stake the auxilliary leaders all get speaking assignments alongside the high councillors and I had really thought as a church we were getting past this kind of nonsense, so that session was a huge punch to the gut.

    My husband, who attended the broadcast at our chapel with me, and who hadn’t watched a women’s session previously remarked somewhat mildly that he had found the women’s talks to be very good, thought it something of an overkill to have the entire first presidency speak, and all say essentially the same thing, wondered why it was necessary to have a man speak last and remarked that actually there was no reason why a presiding officer should need to speak at all.

  67. I find the women = ‘automatically nurturing’ rhetoric painful in the extreme. There was a time in my life when even I believed that lie, even though my mother is one who doesn’t have the nurturing gene – at all. And not from lack of desire, or striving mightily, either. If being female, devout in the church, and doing motherhood gave one an edge in acquiring and cultivating that attribute, she would be Sister Nurturing Angel. She simply is without empathy, or whatever you call the attribute you draw upon when you are able to see and feel another person’s experience through their eyes, and offer them mercy. Somehow I escaped that fate, and I’ve been able to nurture my children relatively more than I was nurtured, but it didn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come easy for any woman. That’s something most of the men I know don’t understand; how much nurturing children depletes you, and how hard it really is. Very few of us are naturally gifted to be mothers, but because the expectation is so strong, we all strive mightily, and hide our lack and flaws, and of course hide our guilt in shame. It ain’t pretty. So when I see a guy, perhaps a doctor or businessman, who’s never spent so much as a month straight taking care of a newborn while trying to heal a broken body, who outsourced the kids’ problems to his wife, who has never been the first line of defense with some unruly teenagers; and he comes at me with this praise pedestal about what a wonderful nurturing mother I am, my most honest impulse is to ask how dare he presume to know what he’s talking about. And frankly, if I was infertile or single, and someone tried to tell me I was a nurturing mother, I’d want to smack them.

    This is what lies underneath the pleasant tone y’all seem to think we should bring to the table, or the pulpit, or wherever. But unless we can be honest, you will never understand. And in my experience, many men don’t want to understand, or they do, but don’t care. Because they care more about their own privilege and entitlement than they care about helping women with their burdens. I guess that’s their lack and flaws, and guilt, to paper over however they can.

    What a mess.

  68. “By emphasizing women’s role as nurturers, the brethren are effectively self-confessing that they are not nurturers.”

    I’ve never considered the flip side of this before. An excellent post all around.

  69. “Our manuals and hymnals would be revised to emphasize worship of our Heavenly Father and following Christ through ministering and loving service, rather than teaching members to adore and obey men the way our current church publications often do.”

    As a seminary teacher, I can attest to this one! Parents, if your ward tries to switch to online seminary, GET INVOLVED and be aware of the content in those courses! The majority of what the church publishes in online seminary is heavily GA-focused; almost every image, quote, and all the emphasis is on following and sustaining the brethren, rather than on the Savior or our Heavenly Father. Do a count of images of GA’s versus images of Christ in your child’s online seminary lessons; count references to GAs versus references to Heavenly Father and our Savior. Note how often youth are encouraged to stand against the world rather than stand with something or for something (or even do good, love or serve others, etc), and you will be shocked at what you see. Do not just turn over your youth to the church’s new curricula–PLEASE study it in-depth and notice what is being taught! Also, scripture never appears in the text of the new online seminary classes at all. Students must leave the course to view it (and they never do because they aren’t required to, unless there is a quiz, which is rare), so most of what they read in online seminary is words of course designers or GA quotes, but never scripture. Surveying LDS online seminary curriculum, one gets a very strong impression of human-worship. It is very scary.

  70. Please, please could BCC do a post or series focusing on the seminary curriculum?

  71. I don’t know anything about online seminary content, but I have other seminary concerns: our family was fortunate enough to get in on home study seminary before the church started clamping down on it and forcing seminary teachers to cut their scripture teaching in half and inserting Doctrinal Mastery lessons (and apparently also pushing online seminary lessons, which friends in other locales tell me are being pushed on everyone who requests home study–we were grandfathered in as home studiers and it looks like we dodged a bullet, whew) but I strongly recommend everybody buy the old home study seminary manuals while you still can, because they will be replacing them soon with revised versions that, like the new in-person seminary manuals, replace half of the year’s scripture study with the doctrinal mastery lessons, in which the church’s curriculum folks delete half the year’s scripture study for doctrine study that is mostly general authority teaching, not scripture (which in-person courses are now doing). I am all for Doctrinal Mastery and love general conference talks etc, but church leaders already removed all scripture study from the YM/YW *and* Sunday School curricula in 2015 with Come Follow Me — those doubled-down doctrine lessons which are already identical to the doctrinal mastery lessons and basically catechize kids to similarly take marching orders from general authorities, rather than studying scriptures and learning to apply them and interpret them for themselves, the way they used to (you know, the way Joseph Smith did). Youth are already learning doctrine/General Authority talks for two hours on Sundays (soon to be only one hour, thank heavens) so seminary *used* to be their one place to study scripture, but now even that is being cut in half and replaced with even more general authority teaching, which was why our family got permission to do home study. But now it appears that the church is nixing permission for home study, except in situations where a family can prove they don’t have Internet access.

  72. Thank you for this supportive, validating post for the sisters, the poor, the nurturers, and more, BCC. Much appreciated, timely, and necessary.

    I am glad to see this discussion about seminary, too. As a stake online seminary teacher myself, I raised similar concerns about the new online seminary lessons to my leaders. Their response was to reprimand me for questioning content approved by the brethren. I had to back off quickly because it sounded like they thought I was headed for apostasy. I also wanted to express concerns about the lack of women in the online curriculum. It is extremely male-centric. Zero quotes by female church leaders, ever. My class is almost exclusively female, with only one male student. Entire weeks of online seminary are being spent discussing Martin Harris right now, for example, but the only mention of Lucy Harris, who funded the Book of Mormon first and lost more for the kingdom than Martin did, are just passing references to Lucy as she-villain. No mention of the disability or extenuating circumstances behind her behavior, such as Joseph moving to PA with her money, Martin being promised that he would get to see and feel the plates but not her, etc. But I don’t dare talk to leaders about this for fear of more implied apostasy accusations, so instead I add my own biographical synopses of sisters in church history as teacher comments. However, my students aren’t required to read my posts. Only the church’s course pages are required reading. I second (third? fourth?) what everyone said above: there needs to be more conversation around what is being taught to the youth of the church.

  73. Thank you. I also felt most touched by Brother Gay’s talk. His was by far the most uplifting of the conference. The rest left me feeling unsettled and disheartened.

  74. My 15yo son has autism. He watches every session of conference, even though most of it goes over his head. He was the only one to watch the women’s session with me (my daughter’s weren’t interested). He understands that the women’s session is meant to be the (rough) equivalent of the priesthood session. When Pres. Eyring got up to give his talk, my son asked, “Why is President Eyring speaking in the women’s session?” And when President Oaks got up, “Are we watching the right session?”

    Afterward, he asked me why men speak in the women’s session. I said it was because men speak in all the sessions. (I didn’t want to get into explaining patriarchal systems — I wouldn’t have been able to do it in a way he would have been capable of processing.) He said, “But women don’t.” (Remember, at this point zero women had spoken in the general sessions.) I said, “No, they sure don’t.” He said, “That’s kind of weird. It’s really weird.” Yes, it is.

  75. Just wanted to say how much this post moved me. Yes to every single word. Thank you. These words were much needed.

    Also, this from MDearest:
    “That’s something most of the men I know don’t understand; how much nurturing children depletes you, and how hard it really is. Very few of us are naturally gifted to be mothers, but because the expectation is so strong, we all strive mightily, and hide our lack and flaws, and of course hide our guilt in shame. It ain’t pretty.”

    Amen, sister. Amen.

  76. You express my thoughts so well here. I was listening to the Women’s Session while grocery shopping (heathen, I know) and had to turn it off mere sentences into Elder Oaks’ talk, after barely standing Eyring’s. I’m an always-been-single 40 year old Mormon. I believe my life is worth more to Heavenly Father and Mother than how I relate to kids. And what really infuriates me is this… how I’m treated as a “nurturer” because I’m single! I’m in Cub Scouts and I just realized this week that since the third leader left (a 20 something with a little boy)… the den leader hasn’t let me lead any activities. When I asked if I could lead next week, I was told “it was too hard”… but I realized it’s because I’m single! And when I do try, I’ve been corrected or had constant suggestions made. AUGH! I think I can handle teaching six boys how to make a robot out of a plastic bottle and tin foil.

  77. BlueRidgeMormon says:

    Though i find myself more in agreement with the OP than with commentator Aaron, i find Aaron’s demeanor and patience with the shoutdowns from BCC faithful to be exemplary. Aaron, please don’t give up or check out.

  78. I loved this post. And I’m sitting here thinking, what can we do? Beyond teaching our own children, or gently pressing for small changes in our own wards, it doesn’t feel like there’s much. Can we call or write the General RS President/cy and express sorrow that so much of the meeting was taken by the 3 talks from the First Presidency? Can we ask to hear from more women in this meeting for women? Does at least writing and telling them help…or do anything besides make me feel like I’ve tried?

  79. I don’t know or understand the answers to the questions that seem to be the root of a lot of the angst on this sight. I do find it interesting though that there is so much upset over this session of conference. First, there was nothing new taught as far as teachings in regard to the overall principles as taught by The Church about the plan of salvation. A lot of comments seem to suggest they are just coming to a realization about the churches beliefs about Male and female roles in the plan of salvation. There is nothing new here. Are you expecting that because you don’t believe in the plan of salvation and taught by the church that the church needs to change its beliefs to fit you and your beliefs?

    Second, the format that was used for this session is the exact same format that has always been used. The entire first presidency as a general rule always speak during the Saturday session. Always. So maybe from another perspective. The sisters in the church are now receiving the exact same type of meeting that the priesthood always received. And the message has always been consistent for the priesthood. It had always been a 2 hour meeting of ‘this is your role’ this is what you need to be doing to fill your role. Year after year. I can’t tell you how many times I walked out of priesthood session feeling like I had received a solid kick in the pants being told I needed to be doing better. As a father and as a priesthood holder.

    It honestly leaves me wondering. What message would be enough for some of you on here complaining? You now have the same type of meeting the priesthood have always had. And it’s still not enough?
    Maybe, it would be good, to look at what they said through the lens of what President Oaks described Saturday morning. The plan of our Heavenly Father. Because in the end, after all of this angst and bickering, we all stand before God, male and female, answering for how we either followed or didn’t follow the Savior.

  80. What do women want, Ryan? Lots of things.

    To be heard. Same as every human being.

    To be remembered. Ditto.

    To be treated as full human beings with as much to offer as the other half of humanity.

    Some want for persecuted minorities to be able to attend and listen to General Conference without being further persecuted by those in power. It is entirely possible to preach the gospel of salvation and the plan of redemption without being offensive. The gospel is good news, not a stick to beat people with. Those who use the story of our Savior Jesus Christ as a weapon against persecuted minorities are doing it wrong.

    Some want for parents of gay children to be able to trust their children with the Church. Not currently possible.

    Some want to be able to speak up for the marginalized without being ostracized.

    But never in all my years have I heard anyone asking for “the same type of meeting the priesthood have always had.”

    Go ahead and create straw men to beat down, but if you don’t listen, you’ll never understand.

  81. Ryan, you should go listen to women’s session. I have always followed the priesthood session, even as a female. I would read about it after at least.

    The problem is that the church leaders treat us with kid gloves. Like we are so fragile and precious and saintly. That might sound nice to you, as you say you felt like you got kicked in priesthood session, but it’s not. It feels like being ignored or pushed aside.

    I can tell you, I have as many if not more flaws than my husband or other men I know. I have temptations, sins, challenges with my faith. Being put on a pedestal as an angel here on earth, probably applies to some people-men and women. It doesn’t however, apply to me. And that is what every male leader wants to say in his talk every time.

    It feels like you are a pet dog, to be perfectly honest. I am not sure I would like it better if men told us how sinful and vain and lazy my gender is either. So maybe, just stick to the gospel. Say things that apply to all people. Or have women speak to other women about gender based topics.

  82. Ryan: Don’t confuse the Plan of Salvation for the Proclamation. The Plan of Salvation is about the purpose of life and is not gender segregated. The gender roles outlined in the Proclamation (which is not scripture and was written by lawyers to set the groundwork to oppose gay marriage in Hawaii) are not found in scripture, and they are evidence of secular conservative thinking, not of divine mandate.

    Back to the OP, I have been thinking a lot about an old belief that people had decades before me that gay sons were the fault of the mother who had bonded too closely with them, causing the son gender role confusion. It’s a ridiculous idea, but it is a common belief among much older people, even as recent as Baby Boomers. What I have seen is that when a mother has a gay child, she feels protective of him or her, realizing how vulnerable this loved one is in our society. Oaks seems to still believe gay people experience gender confusion rather than acknowledging that it’s an inherent trait. I tend to agree with the OP that if women are *truly* given the role of nurturers (whether this is innate or not, it’s been assigned to us), then we can’t so readily dismiss the feedback from women about the downtrodden in our midst, including our gay or transgender kids and other disenfranchised groups. No one who is a nurturer would have devised the Nov 5 policy or written Oaks’ talk.

  83. Jon Miranda says:

    Feminists don’t want equality they want supremacy

  84. Jon Miranda, That’s a tired old trope on the order of “Mormons are polygamists.” Some were, some [in the broadest sense] are. Many are not; many were not. Give it up, please.

  85. The teachings of the Church seem to promote gender complementarity, that men and women on a general basis have propensities to bring to the table that combined can make a better and greater whole. While men and women are more the same than different, I do think there is a natural truth and beauty to this combination of the masculine and feminine.

    The feminine side of truth (in a symbolic sense) is how I conceptualize what the OP is describing. And I do think women embody the feminine in a symbolic sense and have greater propensity toward seeking out, understanding, and actively embodying the feminine side of truth. Given the churches teachings on male and female, I think seeking for the balance of the masculine and feminine is a clear and obvious good that we could and perhaps even should be doing.

    For that reason, I agree with all the issues the OP points out, and I think the desire for a greater balance of male and female, masculine and feminine, is in perfect alignment with the teachings of the church, and therefore not only valid but something we should take serious and promote where possible.

  86. My hope is that the increase of sisters in the mission field will not just open eyes to preexisting safety issues but will render a generation of leaders our church needs. If we truly believe in the complementary nature of God’s children, we need to live it better – a lot of the changes I’ve seen I believe can help us to that end.

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