Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In or Out

So recently, there has been all sorts of discussions in faithful mormon circles about feminism

Which is great.  I am supportive.

Before you read any more of this post, know that I am supportive of people inside the LDS church trying to change the misogynist status quo.  And yes, I did call the status quo misogynist.  And no, I don't think I'm going to back away from that term, which some people will find offensive.  Or possibly angry.  But I look at the definition of misogynist, and I observe what's going on in the LDS church, and I can't help but think they're pretty close to one another.

With that said, I can't help but wonder what's different about today, 2010 - than 1993.  Or 1979.  Time has passed, of course.  But many of the situations that those feminists found themselves in, the power structure, the hierarchy - it's all still there. 

An argument I've heard points out how the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS) gave women the priesthood (there is currently a woman apostle) and lost 25% of their membership.  But honestly, I would suspect that a significant number of LDS have left over this issue or other discrimination issues.  We don't really know how many people have left, of course, but we can guess.  Some of the arguments then say "Well, we didn't want you anyway"...which is quite humorous (to my mind, and reminds me of the violent femmes song). 

Those grapes taste awfully sour.

I get in trouble every so often by applying corporate metaphors to religion.  But some of the best advice I ever received was that if I was miserable at a job for over three months, it was time to start looking.  I've heard all sorts of arguments about whether or not you can change a corporate culture - from within or without.  And I've seen both things happen, internal changes and external changes.

But honestly, if you know you are in a dead end job, and you can't tell if you're doing any good at that job - sometimes it is time to move on.  Or to think about moving on.  When you are spending so much time wondering what you are doing there, wondering where the time went - having panic attacks about your job - it's time. 

Life is too short.

Without question, there is an iron ceiling in mormonism (as opposed to the glass ceiling).

Perhaps that will change.  I would love to be proven wrong.  And I am not advocating that feminists leave the LDS church.  I just cannot see any way to change the culture as it stands today, personally.  The LDS leadership holds all the cards. There is no reason for anyone to change - to change the rhetoric.


Aerin said...

this is the wikipedia definition I was thinking of.

Holly said...

As someone who was involved in a couple of the conversations you mention, I appreciate your comments. I also agree with your position.

Freckle Face Girl said...

Within the LDS church, General Authorities are certainly revered more than servants. They are quite worshipped and therefore have power. For me though, I always felt that callings were a curse that just added on more stress to life. Other than having to answer to male authority figures and not being a major factor in decisions, I figure that women are lucky not to be asked to help quite as much. Of course, wanting to be part of that hierarchy would be completely disheartening and probably drives lots of people away from the church.

As far as the GA’s, do they get paid at all? I know that supposedly everything is volunteered, but somewhere along the hierarchy everything can’t be volunteered at least for the ones that aren’t wealthy – like paying to travel all over the world. If they don't get paid, what could be their motivation for wanting that responsibility? Is it mainly a power/holier than though thing?

Aerin said...

Thanks Holly.

Hey FFG - while I agree callings meant more time and stress - I think that allowing women in all levels of leadership might mean that there would need to be more equity all around. Sometimes men would need to stay home to raise the kids. Some women might decide to focus solely on their religious work, and not marry or have kids at all.

Yes, GAs get a stipend. I'm not sure exactly how much that is. They also get many "perks", for example, the prophet may not have a private jet, but a wealthy mormon may own one that the prophet uses on a regular basis. In government terms, such perks would be required to be declared (I think) and treated differently. If you have a private jet that a Senator can use gratis, the idea is that you might have undue influence. Currently I don't think they are (required to declare those perks).

btw, I think other religions have something similar, and I'm not sure if they are declared (here in the U.S.) or not. Some other religions get around this by publishing all their financial data.

Madame Curie said...

Aerin, I really appreciated this post. the conversations at Sunstone and fMh, etc., drove me to be very forceful, and very angry, about the futility of it all. I appreciate reading that others are right there with me in how I feel.