Friday, January 21, 2011

An Excellent Rebuttal To Mormon Feminism By A Woman On Feminist Mormon Housewives

In the course of researching for another story, I encountered a February 2009 post on Feminist Mormon Housewives entitled "The Man at Women's Conference". Authored by FMH blogmistress FMHLisa, she complains about the fact that women's meetings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must have at least one male priesthood holder present, but no females are required at men's meetings. An example of this dichotomy takes place at every General Conference; while the meeting for Young Women and/or the Relief Society usually includes a speech delivered by a member of the First Presidency, the General Priesthood Meeting on Saturday night features no speeches by women.

And that dichotomy apparently pisses Lisa off. Lisa was at a Stake Women's Conference, and she noticed the Stake President was also there. She writes, "It isn’t as though after a lifetime of Mormoniness I was surprised by his presiding presence, but my eyes and my mind were drawn to him nonetheless. Wondering at the meaning, both real and symbolic of his presence, and having to make a concerted effort not to feel insulted by or bitter about the implied paternalism of it all".

It turns on she was pre-judging. By her own admission, when the Stake President got up to give the closing remarks, she found that they were by far the most pro-feminist of the evening.

Unfortunately, judgmentalism is characteristic of feminism. Feminists tend to spend more time yowling about what's wrong with men rather than what's right with women. Later in the comments, one more-traditionally minded woman called Lisa out on it:

Comment #78 by Michelle — February 22, 2009 @ 2:53 pm:
My question is why do we as women have to be men too? Doesn’t it degrade our position as women by always whining that it’s not good enough to be a woman and why do the men get to do this and that in the church and women don’t? Like it says in the proclamation to the family that men and women have different roles and that’s the way it should be. Because men preside in the church doesn’t mean they rule and they are higher than us. There aren’t levels. Just differing and complementary roles. When you realize this and learn to find purpose and meaning in your role as a woman rather than always trying to be a man than these kinds of insignificant and perceived slights won’t matter. It doesn’t mean we have to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen all the time to be a woman but it does mean we need to magnify our very important and influential roles as women. Find power in influence in your sphere as a woman, which is by far the most powerful sphere because someone who has a good mother will turn out a whole lot better than someone with a bad mother and a good male stake president.

Bingo! Michelle hit the nail on the head. Our Heavenly Father doesn't focus merely on equality of status; instead, He takes the longer view of equality of value. Get the most out of what you have before you start lusting after more. So how did Lisa respond to this critique?

Comment by fmhLisa — February 22, 2009 @ 3:53 pm
Michelle, the accusations you make, that women (who disagree with you) really want to be men are both silly and false. It’s fine to disagree but I suggest you do so on intelligent and thoughtful actual issues, rather than tired recycled falsehoods.

Basically, she blew Michelle off, arrogantly and sanctimoniously dismissing her concerns rather than attempt to intelligently rebut them. This is characteristic of many feminists -- treat the other side as if they were the enemy. By the way, it is not to be assumed that Lisa's worthiness as a member of the Church is to be called into question just because she promotes feminism -- that is strictly an issue between her and her bishop.

Not all the women posting in the thread are upset about men attending women's conferences. In comment #22, Lu wrote "If you’ll notice in General Conference, the prophet always speaks last — so that he may give his approbation to the meeting and give his blessing to those who are attending/listening. To me it’s the icing on the cake". That's exactly how it's intended -- to be the "icing on the cake".

Why our Heavenly Father has chosen to restrict Priesthood only to men at this time is a question He has not chosen to answer. Perhaps it is a test -- for women, a test of patience and perseverance, and for men, a test of humility and forbearance. Will the women swallow their pride and vain ambition, and make patriarchy work for them? And will the men use the power of Priesthood wisely and justly, and to avoid exercising compulsion and unrighteous dominion? The restriction of Priesthood to men alone may prove to be unique to mortality -- there's no reason to assume it will be that way in the next world.

Women would do well to maximize the power they already have rather than lust after power they may not be ready for, even if there are women in the Church who would make better bishops and stake presidents than some of the men.

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