Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mothers of Today

There has been a lot of drama on the Bloggernacle (collection of LDS blogs) lately concerning Sister Beck's talk for Mothers. Initially it was about the subject matter of the talk, then it increased when some women combined and wrote what is best described as a rebuttal letter to her talk.

There are lots of things I would like to detail out about the situation like how it is inappropriate to create or endorse such a public letter (even though it is not always wrong to disagree with something said in a conference talk), or how the letter not only condemns Sister Beck but also the Book of Mormon, or how it condemns things she never said in her talk as if she did say or imply them (such as men must also nurture the children).

What I would like to get down in "ink" is related to something Marisa and I read about motherhood in general and where we stand as a body of the church on it. Some background before I venture out into the waters of easily inflicted offensiveness. I was a latch-key child growing up with a working mother, but my mother came home soon after I did each day. She sacrificed sleep (many nights 4 hours and even less) to make sure that she could be home when we were and at work while we were asleep or at school. So I have "been there", but not totally "done that" because of her sacrifices.

So, the main point of the article was that we as Mormon's believe that, "No success can compensate for failure in the home." If we believe that refers to our responsibility with children (which is how I see it, especially after remembering the quote: "The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of your own home" by Harold B. Lee) then one could rephrase that statement as the following, "No success can compensate for failing to raise our children as the spiritually strong, moral adults of tomorrow and eternity." That, coupled with the emphasis on being with the children often as stated in our LDS commercials, "Isn't it about time?" could therefore allow a further alteration to say the following, "No success can compensate for failing to spend enough quality and quantity time with our children to raise them as the spiritually strong, moral adults of tomorrow and eternity."

That would bring you to the next logical observation that in the traditional family the mother would spend, I don't know, but how about 75% of the parental time with the children and the father 25%. So if mothers are contributing 75% of the effort to the most important work we can do as mortals, are they not the most important people? I know that this is the other side of the "separate but equal coin," but I think there is something there. Of course you can't have a family without someone providing for you to eat and have shelter. The point though, is that if this really is so important why don't we more often say it is, act like it is and encourage each other to live like it is?

Now to the really offensive stuff...I'll give some examples of how this doesn't occur in the families that would agree with the creeds set forth in the above paragraphs. First off, I'll start with my family. If we had to choose what would happen for the next 20 years between A) have a dirty house and few well cooked meals, but spend a lot of quality time with the children teaching them the gospel and reading, writing, math, etc. versus B) have a perfectly clean house, great tasting healthy meals all the time, lots of personal achievement/satisfaction time for the parents, but put the kids off with a movie or toys...we would obviously choose A. There is a happy medium between the two, but for the sake of argument we choose B too often over A in the short term. As with everything else in life, the more immediate tasks usually take priority over the less immediate tasks, even if they are less important.

Some watch too much tv, some read too much, some clean too much, some work too much, some don't do any of these things too much, but they stress too much about some of them and that takes them emotionally away from this #1 important task. As I alluded to earlier, we obviously have to have some personal time, clean our home and cook good meals. There has to be a happy medium between example B and the perfect ideal that we as imperfect mortal beings will not achieve in this life. I fear that we too often (my family included, and thus the we) convince ourselves that less than the happy medium is "our happy medium." Like the prophets' counsel that there are only a minority of cases where women should work and not be full time mothers, we draw a bigger circle than is necessary to fit ourselves into the minority.

48 comments:

the narrator said...

that there are only a minority of cases where women should work and not be full time mothers, we draw a bigger circle than is necessary to fit ourselves into the minority.

this may be the case for some middle and upper class americans, but that is only a small minority of persons in the world.

as one byu professor put it, a middle class mother in utah is able to stay at home because she can go to walmart and buy a $4 t-shirt that was made by a mother working 70 hours a week in a foreign country to clothe and feed her family.

Cody said...

For this comment I say to heck with being politically correct. That rebuttal letter is one of the stupidest things I have ever read. The people that signed it are retarded for a few reasons: 1-it in no way contradicts what Sister Beck said. I read every one of their points and thought, "yeah, so what, Sister Beck didn't say anything to the contrary". Basically, these people are reading way too much into her talk if they have any issues with it. 2-why would you as an active Latter Day Saint put your full name and hometown on a letter denouncing a talk from a general authority. That's basically like saying, "yes, I'm apostate! Here I am, an apostate that doesn't follow my leaders". 3-everything that sister Beck said is backed up by scripture and prophetic warning. As Carson stated, she is just saying that family should be the #1 goal in our lives. What's so evil about that? She never said it is bad for women to work, just don't put career ahead of families. I did notice that the retarded rebuttal focused on the role of men, which I agree with completely by the way, but they didn't need to write it in their stupid letter as a form of dissent from Sister Beck's talk. The reason she didn't mention the men is because she wasn't focusing on the Male role in the family. That wasn't her point, she wanted to focus on the Female role. There have been other talks given in conference and priesthood sessions that are directed to the men, and they support the principle that the men are also supposed to help out with cooking, cleaning, nurturing and disciplining. These angry people signing that letter are ignorant fools that are firing their frustrations at the wrong target and need to re-read the talk and make some deep, sincere, objective analysis if they are really offended by her talk.
My view is that the women and men should be "equally yoked" with household duties and chores. I prefer that my wife be a full time mother in order to provide the teaching and nurturing opportunities for our children during the day when I need to be at work to support the family. But when I am off work we share all duties.
Sister Beck's talk, again, basically is just telling the sisters of the church that they can have a miraculous influence and power in the lives of their children if they put their family first. How dare she say such a thing? Sarcasm intended.

Carson Calderwood said...

Loyd, I think I agree and disagree with you. I don't know what life is like in China where the shirt is probably made so those comments might not apply to a family there.

Although the church is now global and the talks have definitely made some changes to reflect that, this post may be better reigned in to the US members and people in other countries of similar circumstances.

That being said, in Argentina where I served my mission there were a lot of families that lived in dirt floor, wooden, small shacks and the mothers there did stay home and raise their children rather than work. They were happy to do this because they lived the regular standard of living. They kept their dirt floors cleanly swept, washed their dishes/clothes by hand, and were happy to live without many of the things we take for granted. These mothers didn't feel the need to go to work to buy a tile floor. I remember getting to the point around month 18 where I really couldn't remember what it was like to walk on carpet! I didn't care or really miss it either. Point being, even in areas considered to be third world (although I would classify it as second world if there is such a thing because they had food to eat) mothers that I knew still chose to stay with their children in the early years rather than outsourcing their nurturing and spiritual/emotional development. I think the watchmen on the towers are trying to warn us of the problems that result from that.

With that example I think it makes it that much more obvious that we tend to widen that circle more than needed here in the good old US of A.

Bennett Family said...

GOOD, BETTER, BEST.....that's what her talk was all about! Dallin Oak's talk was a perfect companion to Sister Beck's! I was bugged the first time I heard her talk and when I reread it, with a FRESH attitude, I LOVED iT!!!!!

the narrator said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cody said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cody said...

Sorry for the length of that post Carson.

Carson Calderwood said...

From the Narrator w/ one word edited:

I had a lot more to add, especially to respond to Cody - but all these comments just seem so phallocentric. Why is it always the guys arguing over what work the women should be doing?

Maybe I'll write more tomorrow when I'm not so tired. Until then, a question of logic.

Cody, in your first point you say that the letter does not contradict anything that Sister Beck says. Your second point says "why would you as an active Latter Day Saint put your full name and hometown on a letter denouncing a talk from a general authority." If it doesn't say anything contrary to her, how is it then denouncing her talk?

Also, I had a friend come to me in tears because of Sister Beck's talk. Should I have just told her to quit her bitchin and get back into the kitchen and make me a pie!?

And thanks for calling several of my friend retarded. You are a xxx bytheway.

Finally, in my experience, I have found more LDS women who have disagreed with this talk... or flat out hated it, than those who actually liked it. I'm not talking about those darned apostate lesbian abortion-loving liberal feminists who signed the letter. These were some of my closest family members, friends, and others who are very active, very conservative, and many of them very much stay-at-home mothers.

Carson Calderwood said...

From Cody to keep things in the previous order:

What a surprise, Loyd disagrees with a general authority. Also, wow, nice language in your comment. You are probably so proud of yourself.
As to your first point, it's not always the guys arguing over what work the women should do. My wife Lisa actually brought this whole topic to my attention after learning of it. And Carson's wife Marisa was the one that was so bothered by the outrage regarding the talk that she followed the blogernacle more than Carson. Our wives hold very strong opinions on this topic that are similar to ours and have spoken out about it. So you are flat out wrong (again) when you say it is only the guys.
In your third paragraph, you claim that my point was phallocentric, but I still stick by my point. They wanted to provide a "rebuttal" to sister Beck's talk, and I know I'm not alone when I say that the "rebuttal" didn't say anything contrary to her talk, therefore the people that signed it are reading WAY TOO MUCH into her talk. Take her talk for face value. It is wonderful and full of doctrine.
In your fourth paragraph your solution you suggested for your friend is proposterous at best. Nobody on this board has suggested that she quit her complaining and go bake a pie. There is an excellent talk by President Hinckley about "barefoot and pregnant" and how some members of the church have made that false assumption towards the duties of women in the church and how that breaks his heart. If you read my comments you would have seen that I said men are just as responsible for household chores as women. So, before you go trying to paint me as a bad man, learn some reading comprehension. I in fact am a strict defender of womens rights within the church and I practice what I preach. Anyone who questions my stance on this can just ask my wife if I am a chauvinistic jerk or if I am actually very fair, supporting and understanding. We work as a team.
I find it interesting that you claim that the majority of the LDS women that you know flat out hated it. The majority of the LDS women that I know have agreed with Sister Beck and are grateful for the talk. And from what I have learned about you from your previous comments on here and on your blog, I know that you disagree with almost everything the church stands for and will argue everything that the prophets say. So it comes as no surprise that you disagree with me and feel the need to revert to name calling.
The bottom line here Loyd is that you think you know more than the prophet and that in your vast wisdom you know what God wants and how the church should be run. You need to humble yourself and follow God's eternal principle to simply follow the prophet, who will lead us to Christ. That is where true happiness comes from, in seeking the Lord in humility.
I am not going to respond to anything else that you comment about on here because you are so mistaken in your arrogant view of church doctrine and only seek to stir up contention. I do know that your pride won't allow you to remain silent and because of such you have to always have the last word, so I fully anticipate another stupid rebuttal from you. But as I said, don't expect me to respond to your negative arrogance.
For anyone else commenting on here, I enjoy and encourage discussion on this topic so that we can eliminate any false perceptions that may be out there. I get so angry when people really think that the role of the women is barefoot and pregnant.
Women can work outside of the home full time if they want, the talk never said they couldn't. The point is that they should desire to stay home and raise righteous children, not leave that duty to someone else. My old Bishop Haroldson stated this very well in a talk once. He said that when he and his wife were ready to have children they sat down and analyzed things. Our old Bishop is a brilliant PhD mathmatician and his wife is a civil engineer. They wrote down on a list what they value most in life, and then decided to assign that to whichever of the two was most capable. They realized that even though his wife was a very successful engineer, God has given women a greater ability to nurture than men, so they decided they wanted her in charge of their greatest posseesions. She decided to stay home from work, forego the extra money and take care of their children. She also said that she hasn't regretted that, and they now have 5 kids.

ben bennett said...

Carson - love your post and your thoughts.

Without intending to oversimplify or sound insensitive to anyone, this gospel is founded on plain and simple principles.

As President Hinckley has stated, either what Joseph saw and heard was true (and thereby this Church, the Prophet and Sister Beck's inspired counsel is/was true) or it wasn't. It's that simple. While I'm not suggesting that a healthy discussion on doctrine is wrong, if there's a debate to be had, it's on the foundation of the church (not it's fruits). Believing in the first vision (as I do), my responsibility is not to debate Sister Beck’s talk nor is it to take her talk personally and hurt by it (much less speak out against it). Do any of us really think this is what a loving Heavenly Father intends us to do with counsel?

I feel that my responsibility as a faithful Latter Day Saint is to prayerfully consider what her talk and counsel means for me and my family and to follow that inspiration. To the extent that there is good that comes of following that inspiration, I'll share my learning and experience with others who are seeking when they invite me to do so (remember, 'we seek after these things').

the narrator said...

So Cody can call me and my friends "retarded" but I can't call him a xxx? I know it's childish, but that's why I did it - to reveal the immaturity of the former. Plus if you think about it, 'retarded' should be considered much more offensive. Most people would frown upon Cody calling an actually mentally-handicapped person 'retarded,' but I doubt many would care about me calling a yyy and xxx.

Now to respond to Cody:

Also, wow, nice language in your comment. You are probably so proud of yourself.

Yeah. I actually am. And again, thanks for attempting to throw mud at the expense of the mentally retarded. (Two can play the self-righteous better-than-thou game).

I don't actually think it's just guys discussing this. I just find it interesting that it is often the case (as it was on this blog) that it was men arguing about the role of women from both sides. Perhaps this was because I had just recently read a piece by a Catholic theologian, who while trying to gain a greater understanding of the abortion issue, came to the realization that abortion debate - both pro-choice and anti-choice - were largely dominated by men.

you claim that my point was phallocentric

no. i meant to be describing what i just said above - that it was mostly men arguing the issue, specifically on this blog. while i'm sure that marisa and lisa are passionate about the subject, the comments on this blog have been made by the phallus-toting men.

If you read my comments you would have seen that I said men are just as responsible for household chores as women.

That's nice that you feel that way, as you should. However, as Elder Packer pointed out, in the eternal realm of things, household chores (specifically pie-baking) are ideally the duties of women.

Furthermore, here is what Sister Beck said...

"Faithful daughters of God desire children. . . . Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness. . . . Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world."

1.Faithful women = want to be mother.
2.Mother = Nurturer
Nurturer = Homemaker
3.'Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home.'
4. Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world.
C. A faithful woman wants to be the best at cooking, washing clothes, and doing the dishes.

That's the talk at face-value.

Nobody on this board has suggested that she quit her complaining and go bake a pie.

Oh yeah. You're right. I believe we're just supposed to call them stupid, retarded, and apostate.

So, before you go trying to paint me as a bad man, learn some reading comprehension.

Besides the return of name calling, I don't think I said anything against you dude.

So it comes as no surprise that you disagree with me and feel the need to revert to name calling.

Dude, I was just returning the favor. I can strongly assure you that faithful Latter-day Saints are much more hurt and offended by those who call them stupid, retarded, and apostate (especially the latter) for voicing their strongly held thoughts, than you were for being called a xxx. And by the way, I don't really think you are a xxx. There are some differences. I was just using it to point out your name-calling.

The bottom line here Loyd is that you think you know more than the prophet

I know more than President Hinckley about some things... such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, feminism, gender studies, philosophy, the war in Iraq, cultural studies, and I might even venture to say Mormon history. But when President Hinckley is a "prophet when acting as such," then I'm sure what he has to say pounces my simple mind.

and that in your vast wisdom you know what God wants and how the church should be run.

Sometimes I feel like I get personal revelation. Of course I don't have any authority to make it official for the church.

You need to humble yourself and follow God's eternal principle to simply follow the prophet,

What did George Q. Cannon say about this?

“Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a bishop, an apostle, or a president. If you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support be gone;”

I am not going to respond to anything else that you comment about on here because you are so mistaken in your arrogant view of church doctrine and only seek to stir up contention.

:) That's the Cody we all know and love.

Carson Calderwood said...

Two further points for me...

First and foremost I think your logical association flow chart is the perfect example of the thought process that people take who side with the rebuttal letter. That gives me the opportunity to show where I think there is a logical fallacy (or two) in it:
You need a point #5 before you draw your conclusion. After discussing homemaking tasks, Sister Beck goes on to say,

"Growth happens best in a "house of order," and women should pattern their homes after the Lord's house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work."

When the conclusion is not preemptively drawn you see that cooking and cleaning are means to an end. That end is a home where you can help your children develop into "spiritually strong, moral adults of tomorrow and eternity"

Furthermore, I think this erroneous conclusion is so frequently preemptively drawn because people chafe against the house cleaning subset of nurturing characteristics and don't follow her argument through to her intended end.

To reiterate the point of homemaking not being the final goal, but nurturing, look at the paragraph of her talk in which it is discussed. It starts and ends with sentences that speak of nurturing and not homemaking. This further proves that homemaking is just a subset quality of the superset goal of nurturing. As I see it, the logic of her paragraph flows as follows: To...
I. Nurture (cultivate, care for, and make grow) you need to:
II. create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth
III. To create that climate you need to
----1. have a CLEAN* home where the spirit can reside
----2. work* beside your children to model qualities of an LDS woman
----3. become knowledgeable

Every time you see an asterisk, substitute the tasks given by Sister Beck: cooking, washing clothes, washing dishes and having a house of order. These activities go a long way towards having the home an LDS mother (and father) should desire. Again, don't trip up on the house duties and miss the "mark." There is no problem in wanting to be the best homemaker because it enables you to have the best environment to raise your children as the LORD would have you do. I myself, as a man, desire to be the best homemaker that I can be! I aspire to be the best nurturing father possible. Should other men (or women) take offense at that? Definitely not.

I edited xxx because it's my blog and that word is more offensive to me.

the narrator said...

Carson, I don't think you are necessarily disagreeing with me. I am not saying that President Beck is claiming that women should only be dishwashers, or that being the awesomest dishwasher is the end goal for a Mormon woman. I agree that President Beck believes that being a faithful woman is more than being a dutiful pie-maker and that doing the laundry is merely a means to a more spiritual home. My point was merely (and you seem to agree) that Beck was claiming that a faithful Mormon would should strive to be the best dishwasher.

There is no problem in wanting to be the best homemaker because it enables you to have the best environment to raise your children as the LORD would have you do.

there is nothing wrong with that. if a woman wants to be the best homemaker, great! if she wants to be the best grade-school teacher, great! if she wants to be the best professor, great! if she wants to be the best doctor, great! if she wants to be the best author, great! it's when a person is told that they are eternally duty bound to be the first that they have a problem.

some may argue that the scriptures give precedence for assigning a sex-based role of homemaking on women, the same attitude led to centuries of scripturally-justified slavery of blacks.

I myself, as a man, desire to be the best homemaker that I can be! I aspire to be the best nurturing father possible. Should other men (or women) take offense at that?

no. desire what you want. but the difference is that there aren't general conference talks telling you that you should be the best at doing the laundry because of your genitals.

and you are right. sister beck didn't say that fathers needn't also be homemakers, etc. perhaps she meant something different than what she actually said (or was widely read as having said). as a very conservative co-worker of mine put it (who would often love to be home to just be a mom, but is working so that her husband can attend school and doesn't have the luxury of going into tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars in debt or more - as some others do - to pay for that schooling and homemaking lifestyle). 'sister beck is living in her luxuries alpine bubble and is out of touch with the reality most families face. she may have meant to say something different. but if so, she is a terrible speaker.'

Marisa said...

I think the reason why so many church members have issues with Sister Beck's talk is that they have allowed themselves to slowly inch away from the doctrines of the restored gospel. It is easy to be enticed by the values of the world (not only material possessions, but also power, prestige and personal achievement), and lose perspective on what is truly essential (the raising up to righteousness of the spirits entrusted to us by our Heavenly Father). As the world, and for the purposes of this discussion specifically the United States, pulls away from traditional Christian values, many church members follow suit to some degree. Sister Beck is calling us back to what is true, and some are finding it to be hard. And it is hard! Cooking and cleaning pretty much sucks. Sometimes the kids drive me crazy and I feel like I'm (to quote my favorite band) "running to stand still."

BUT it's not about me, or what I want. When I was completing my BS in biology at BYU, I considered what choices I might make for my future. As a presidential scholar, I was pressured by some of my professors to pursue higher education. PhD in genetics? Neuropsychology? Medical School? These things were attractive to me, but in my heart I knew that to spend my twenties in personal and academic pursuits instead of starting a family would be selfish and ultimately unfulfilling. We get so mad sometimes at our church leaders telling us what to do, but we have to remember that we believe in a Heavenly Father who DOES tell His children what to do so that they might reach their potential and be eternally happy. We can't assume that we know ourselves better than He does. If a husband and wife love each other, help each other with their responsibilities, strive to be obedient to what the Lord wants them to do and work together for a common goal, then there is nothing wrong with traditional gender roles and labor divisions. Sister Beck's talk has given me a renewed sense of purpose in my own daily grind. It's hard for me to be motivated to cook and clean if I feel like I'm only doing it for my own enjoyment (because I generally DON'T) or because I have to keep some kind of standard for the neighbors. It is much easier to shoulder my burdens when I remember that I'm serving my family and making my house a home for my children. And for THAT, I DO want to be the best homemaker in the world. Because I know that when I look back on this life I won't care if I got my name on a piece of important research or if I had more money, I will want to know that I did everything I could do to help my kids return to their Father in Heaven.

And just because I can't resist, going hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt for schooling is hardly a luxury. Living beneath the poverty line, working during your lunch break, studying nights and weekends and later repaying those loans is something you do not only for your future financial security, but also because you're committed to having your children raised by your wife and no one else.

the narrator said...

...pulls away from traditional Christian values...

I thought we considered traditional Christianity to be apostate? What about those other good ol' traditional Christian values of a complete prohibition of contraception, scripturally backed slavery, witch burning, book burning, inquisitions, the prohibition of women speaking in church, monogamy (when we want polygamy), polygamy (when we want monogamy), Anti-Mormonism, etc?

Carson and Marisa (and Cody if he wants to chime in...), how would you feel about a couple (for example, two of my philosophy professors) who both work 20-25 hours and share the parenting duties?

but also because you're committed to having your children raised by your wife and no one else.

What about your husband?

Carson Calderwood said...

Good question...we have actually talked about that scenario quite a bit. I wish that we both were dentists that could each work 1/2 time and that would allow me to spend more time with the children and give Marisa a break, a win-win situation. Not many jobs would allow for a person to be a part time worker like that, but when it is possible it seems like the perfect combination - both parents share equally the frustrations and joys of raising the children and getting a break.

That being said, as we have talked about this situation over the past few years two points have arisen:
1 - when deciding if we should put off a family and have Marisa potentially go to dental school as well, we felt that this was not the right thing to do, because we would be putting off having children.
2 - we can't say with 100% confidence that if we had met in dental school and (therefore point 1 above would have been irrelevant) that it would be best to split things 50/50 rather than have Marisa be a full time mother...one could argue from the Proclamation on the Family that even in that situation it might be better for the mother and her more nurturing nature to be the major care giver.

PS - Marisa said that she should have stated "becoming more secular" rather than leaving trad. Christian values.

the narrator said...

Thanks. However, would you feel that splitting the duties 50/50 would go against the leaders' view on a divine distinction of duties between sexes? If not, then what are they even talking about?

And let's push it a little further. We all know that Marisa is much smarter and probably more capable at being a far superior dentist than Carson. If it were possible for Marisa (after having had your children) to take up dentistry and you stay home with the children (assuming you were a very capable parent - as many fathers are), would you be fine with that?

Carson Calderwood said...

I think I can answer both questions ( leaders' view and [me] stay home) together.

We both have decided that we would not be fine with that. I'll quote something Marisa wrote me in an email once on this very subject.

"I think the basic reason that's it's better to have a traditional division of labor is that men and women are typically better suited for those roles by nature, and if they aren't, then they are more sanctified in trying to be well-suited for their gender role than if they abandoned their efforts and went with the other role..."

So, basically even if your individual personality is such that you do not feel you are a natural fit for your role, you and your children will be blessed such that they will turn out better for having done it the way the prophets have counseled and thus, the Lord's way.

Although, if I had my right hand chopped off in a car accident I would not hesitate having her become the bread winner and me spending the time with the children. Again, there are exceptions, but the circle is tight.

Chapman Family said...

Man, where have I been? Oh yeah, I was in the kitchen baking pies! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)
Anyway, I have a very close friend who works full time and her husband stays at home with their three kids. I talked to her about this talk and she was not offended nor did she feel that she and her husband were doing anything wrong. It is what works for their family for many reasons; personality characteristics, monetary purposes, individual desires, and most importantly, what they feel is best for their children. They feel that the way they are doing things is what is best for their situation. They prayed about it long and hard and feel that for them, it is what's right. Now I don't think that this would work for many people or be beneficial in many homes, but I feel that in some cases it is best. Their kids are being taken care of in the best way possible. We need to make sure we are doing what we can to take care of our families and doing our very best to nurture them. I think sister beck just wants us to focus on what is important and make sure we are doing our own "very best" as mothers and fathers. As Marisa stated, "she is calling us back to what is true." Personally, I don't feel trapped into being a stay at home mom. It is what I want to do. Frankly, there is nothing better, more important, more fulfilling, more rewarding, more...anything... than raising children. It is THE most important thing I can be doing, plain and simple. Sure, other jobs may seem more appealing, flashy, relaxing, important, etc... but they are not. And yeah, I agree with marisa, it sucks to clean the house, cook meal after meal, change diapers all day etc... It's not pretty, it's not always fun, and it sure isn't easy. But it is the very best thing I can do for my family so I am going to do it! However, I also feel that an education is important and am glad that I was able to finish college as well. If anything ever happened to Ronnie, I could continue to take care of my family. It would be a different situation, I would have to reevaluate what was important, and then, again, I would do my best to take care of my family.
I totally agree with the statement that "we draw a bigger circle than is necessary to fit ourselves into the minority". When we visited Honduras, most of the women there stayed at home, in their shacks, to take care of their children. I would venture to say that we could learn a lot from these families. There are too many dual income families that do not need to have both parents working. They just need to take a look at what really matters; having that big house or being there when your kids get home from school. I feel so lucky that I can stay at home and still have a car and a house, etc... but if that were threatened in any way, you better believe I will be selling my car and moving to a studio apartment before I will go back to work. And there are ways to deal with temporary situations like losing a job or going to school. I think it is safe to say Heavenly Father won't look down on us if we work for a year or two to allow our husbands to go to school or get another job. I worked while Ronnie was in grad school. I found a job that I could do from home, and I feel good about the fact that I was doing my best at that time in that place to take care of my family.
It's not that complicated; just do the best you can in the situation your in and strive to do even better tomorrow. I think sister beck, president hinckley, and all other leaders we are blessed to listen to just want us to be happy and they know way better than any of us how that can happen. So for me, I will listen, I will take what they say, think about it before I judge it, apply it to my situation the best I can, and always remember that they are the ones called by God to be the general authorities, not me!

Chapman Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lucy said...

I had to check this out for myself....lol. Thanks for the laugh.

I guess I'll make a comment about Sis. Beck's talk to the RS.

Her general conference talk wasn't as bad as her talk in the General Relief Society meeting the week before. Some sisters after hearing the talk said, "I really need to step it up." Others were crying because they felt offended, hurt, or angry.

After I heard the talk I thought:

A. That talk is going to cause a lot of problems.

B. She used rigid words such as "must" and "should be." It's not good to use that kind of language when women in the church already have so much pressure to be perfect and to have perfect families and children. Yes I agree that we "must be" and "should be" the best at serving, nurturing, etc but it's harder to do when someone is demanding it of us. Such high expectations may cause emotional problems in women who feel they aren't meeting them (anxiety and depression).

C. She's right on and her heart was in the right place (she meant well but didn't do a great job of inspiring)

D. She's not the greatest speaker or writer and she isn't the first or the last person who will give a bad talk.

My suggestion to those who were initially shocked by her remarks is to reread the talks. She makes some good points and when you take her voice and presentation out of it, you'll see them and also see that she's human and really not the most gifted writer or speaker.

I've actually been very happy about the focus on mothers and families in General Conference in the last year. Mostly because the talks pertain to my stage in life and I appreciate any advice and light that will help me. I'm glad that more leaders are recognizing the difficult task women have and the struggles we face on a daily basis.

On the topic of working women, I would like to say the following:

Most of the women in my ward have jobs. This bothered me for a long time because I found myself feeling lonely and unconnected with them. They're gone and seem too busy to be neighbourly. I felt they're actions contradicted what leaders have said in the past about mothers working out of the home. I found myself wondering whether or not they could raise active LDS children and wondered if them having a job was the cause of wayward children. Besides that, can they raise successful children? After struggling with this topic for a long time, I finally have resolved it for myself.

My mom has three sisters; all of them were stay-at-home moms. Between them there are twelve children (seven of which are females).

Out of the seven of us, four got pregnant as teenagers or out of wedlock. One of my cousin's husband was murdered due to gang affiliations. There was/is alcohol and drug abuse amongst the males. Only 3 of the 12 of us have college degrees. Only 3 own a home which happens to be my brothers and me.

I'm not defining success here. But, I do want to make the point that although our mother's were "stay-at-home" moms it did not prevent premature pregnancy, drug/alcohol abuse, deviant behaviour, and neither did it encourage going to college or influence whether or not their children got good jobs.

I think to have a successful family, LDS or not, more depends on mother and father working side by side to actively participate in the lives of one another and their children. Teaching morals, respect, religion, love, is done together in the home. I don't think it matters what religion you believe in because I've known amazing and highly successful people in all religions. The key is the family sticks together, works together, spends time together. Parents are highly involved in the lives of their children. They guide and direct them. They don't indulge them. They tell there children their expectations of them and help them to achieve them i.e. education, sports, religion, etc. It helps when fathers are trying to live principles of self-reliance. They try to provide a good standard of living for their families. They desire to live in safe places because they know their children will have better educations, more opportunities, and hopefully a better life.

Although I have chosen to use my life for purposes other than advancing in a career and making money, I have also finally resolved my frustrations with working women. I believe that working women can raise very successful families as well. I've seen it done. Carson and Cody's mom for one is a great example of that. I have come to the conclusion that although some of the success of families is due to mom not working out of the home, mostly it is due to the hard work, self-sacrifice and prayerful effort put in by both parents to raise their children. When these factors are left out, working or not working in the workforce, families fail.

Chris and Loyd's grandmother only worked when two children were on missions at the same time (all six having served). She chose not to work out of the home and instead devotes her time to other seemingly simple but noble things. She is an amazing person and is my mortal example of Christ and self-sacrifice. All her children are active in the church but not only that, most importantly they are good, good people. Even they're grandkids are amazing. I love and adore the Ericson family.


I am very conscientious about my own little family and often repent of my mistakes while trying to be a better mother and wife. As part of my conscientious effort I have decided that I would take a Grandma Ericson approach to life and not work out of the home if I don't need to. I will devote my time to other, hopefully nobler, causes, one of which is to be neighbourly.


I desire my children to be future missionaries but not just to go on missions (although that is an accomplishment in and of itself). I desire for them to be good missionaries. To do that takes more than just keeping them out of trouble and setting aside a mission fund. It requires FHE every week, daily family prayer, bearing testimony to them, actively teaching them the gospel by living it and inculcating it, it takes patience, unconditional love, repentance, and painful sacrifice. It's a conscientious effort to raise kids unto God and it takes everything you have as a mother and a father. It is the most difficult, challenging, and often heart wrenching thing I have ever tried to do in my life.

Rather than create some rebuttal letter and getting signatures, I would rather spend my time figuring out why the talk stung and with a humble heart figure out where I am spiritually and work it out.

Cody said...

Thank you Nancy for your comments. I agree with you and the others on here like Marisa and Jodie who have mentioned retrospection as a means of coping with Sister Becks talk. With most things in the gospel, if we find ourselves offended by what our general authorities say, or by scripture, we should take a step back and ask ourselves why it is so hard for us to accept their counsel. I know I have had to humble myself at times when given counsel by my leaders. It was very hard to swallow for someone as bull-headed as me, but the results were worth it.
That's interesting to hear about your ward Nancy. Lisa's mom was the Young Women's president in their ward recently (on the other side of 94th south from you and Chris). She had a firestorm fall down on her for suggesting that the Young Women learn to sew, cook and clean so that they can be better prepared for the future when they have families. Mothers went to the bishop in an outrage that she would say such things. I can't remember the exact statistics, but there are somewhere around 80% of the moms in her stake that work FULL TIME! The daughters and mothers rationalized it that they needed to work that much to afford to live. Please, they don't need such big homes, such expensive clothes and such fancy cars. As has been mentioned by Carson and Jodie, poverty doesn't equal need for mothers to work outside of the home. When I lived in Mexico I saw families who lived in little huts with dirt floors, but the mother stayed home and, like Sister Becks talk, did the best they could to have a home where the Spirit could reside. They taught their children the gospel values and raised them to be good Christians.
I am grateful for the guidance that we get from our inspired leaders. In a time when the world's wisdom and logic only leads people to more and more confusion, we need the Lord's direction through them even more. They truly are lighthouses for us during these stormy times. Just like the Book of Mormon taught, and the Old testament, when we follow God's prophets in faith we will be blessed by God and delivered from harm. It is a simple equation that takes alot of courage and faith to follow, but is not confusing.

the narrator said...

a friend of mine recently wrote a very interesting and related post about martha hughes cannon, the first woman to be elected a state senator in the nation (she also happened to be a mormon mother). you can read it here.

Carson Calderwood said...

Cody called me from NY, away from a computer, and said that he realized he wrote retrospection when he meant to write introspection.

Carson Calderwood said...

Excellent thoughts. Lucy's and Narrator's post bring up two thoughts in my mind.

1-I have seen too often that people who try "too hard" to be what we see as correct always are the worst examples. I have a theory that people are like springs. If you compress us too much, we usually pop off to the side in bizarre ways, especially the children of such parents

2-Just because you are a full time mother does not mean that you have no outside the house/family activities. Personal non-family fulfillment (which is healthy) and full-time motherhood are not mutually exclusive. For example, Marisa helped change the security policy for the schools in the area, volunteers in Trevor's classes, sold homes in Maryland to help pay for school, finished her BS in biology, etc.

the narrator said...

I appreciate everyone's thoughts. However, there is still something that is at the crux of what I have been trying to saying, but perhaps still haven't said as explicitly as I should have.

Carson (and somewhat Nancy and others),

you seem to want to say two things.

1. Faithful LDS women ought to be stay-at-home mothers. And faithful LDS men ought to be the laborers. This is a divinely established gender-role that you ought to embrace because of your sex.

2. That for certain families, this can be different. "It is what works for their family for many reasons; personality characteristics, monetary purposes, individual desires, and most importantly, what they feel is best for their children. They feel that the way they are doing things is what is best for their situation. They prayed about it long and hard and feel that for them, it is what's right. Now I don't think that this would work for many people or be beneficial in many homes, but I feel that in some cases it is best."

If the latter is true, then what value is there in the former? If they ought to do it, then why excuse them in the second category. Even more, if the second category is in fact true, then how can you possibly say that there are divinely appointed gender roles that are unique to the sexes? Were those in second point wrongly created? Why shouldn't they align themselves to what their sex divinely decrees that they should be?

Anybody who truly believes that they may fall into that latter group is then necessarily going against what their leaders say they ought to be. If, by according to Sister Beck, a faithful LDS women should want to be a stay-at-home mom (and yes, she makes that claim), then are those women who have a strong (and they believe, inspired) desire to not be a stay-at-home mother, are they technically not faithful?

Personally, and I'm sure you all are aware, I just find some statements by church leaders that claim eternal sex-based gender roles to be uninspired or less-inspired. Just as I'm sure most of you find Brigham Young's and Bruce R. McKonkie's racist comments about blacks to be uninspire; or as I'm sure Cody finds Joseph Fielding Smith's comments about evolution and earth to be uninspired; or how many find B. Young's comments about Adam to be uninspired; or how Hugh B. Brown and many other church leaders found Elder Ezra T. Benson's ultra-right sermons to be uninspired; or many people believed Pres. Hinckley's support of the War in Iraq to be uninspired (he was flat-out wrong about certain things)... I could go on and on and on about things church leaders and men called to be prophets of God have said things which were uninspired, even thought they believed they were.

Why do I say this? Because as members of this church, I believe we are duty-bound to push for what we believe is inspired - even if it goes against what some leaders have said. Remember, it was Emma's complaining to Joseph Smith that led to the Word of Wisdom. There is much evidence that internal frustrations about the racist priesthood ban (especially the paper by Lester Bush about the lack of revelatory support of the ban) encouraged President Kimball to receive a revelation on the matter.

Carson Calderwood said...

The explanation seems convoluted, but is not. I think it would be best explained through an analogous situation, although not a perfect correlate, it helps to get the idea across.

We are supposed to turn the other cheek in times of conflict. We also read in various passages of scripture that one can defend their family if an onslaught is repetitive or strong enough. That situation doesn't occur very often, but is acceptable in the sight of the Lord. Those who still choose to lay down and allow their enemies to destroy them (rather than engage in conflict) are blessed even more.

We have an ideal given (full time mothers/separate roles), sometimes there are "ok" exceptions, but one is blessed even more if they struggle through the exception to meet the ideal. Just because something is acceptable to the Lord, doesn't mean that he wants that to be our end-goal, ie-the Law of Moses/divorce/etc. I don't mean to appear demeaning, because I know you understand that principle in general, the question is if you think it applies to this discussion like I have stated or not?

As far as church leaders being correct or not in everything they say. Again, I don't think anyone would disagree with the statement that they are not. The difficulty comes in drawing the line between what is said from the Lord via revelation and what is not. To see my opinion on how to deal with the subject see a post I did last month on supporting your leaders. Some don't worry about where the line is and some try very hard to get its exact position down to the .0000001 mm's.

What it all comes down to is that we are duty-bound to sustain our leaders. Some see that (erroneously, again in my opinion) that we have to agree 100% w/ everything they say. Some default to filtering everything they say through personal filters of incredulity and cynicism, again wrong in my opinion. I feel that what Sister Beck said was right on. In the spirit of my first paragraph, she basically told us we are more blessed if we get on our knees and allow the Lamanites to chop our heads off rather than picking up our swords to fight back. :)



The perfect example would be the accurate portrayal (in my humble opinion) of Joseph by Bushman in Rough Stone Rolling. He had many human failings, everything he said would happen didn't happen, but I love the man. It is harder to look over those imperfections in the moment they are happening.

the narrator said...

Good point.

Perhaps, as Nancy pointed out, the problem with President Beck's talk was her poor use of absolute language - kind of like Bill Walton providing commentary in an NBA game "You CAN'T do that against the world champions!" Well Bill, sometimes you can. And they just did.

Chapman Family said...

Since my comment was quoted I feel the need to explain my point a little more clearly. I think that this discussion is hard to put in black and white. I feel that in some situations there are exceptions to the rules. For example, if Carson's hand got cut off, Marisa would work to be able to best take care of their boys. Maybe she would work forever, or maybe until Carson gets a good prosthetic hand, that is up to them and the Lord. I do believe that in general, women are better suited to stay at home. I also believe that if we took everything in black and white, without carefully considering all aspects of our situation with Heavenly Father, we would not be gaining much at all. So in my opinion, if a woman does feel inspired not to stay at home, that is between her and Heavenly Father. No, they are not wrongly created, they have a different calling for their divinely appointed gender role. Again, careful consideration with the Lord, for each situation is needed. We can not know each person individually therefor we cannot decide. Bottom line, people are so different, their situations are so different, and the General Authorities are still human. They cannot guide us each individually like Heavenly Father can and thus we have to settle for very specific teachings stretched over a broad population. It is up to us to NOT make/put ourselves into that minority or exception. It is up to us to try our hardest to follow those teachings the best we can.

Maybe your right, maybe it is the "rigid" language used in her talk. But, maybe we need a little kick in the butt to get us going again, I know it made me (and a lot of others) take a closer look at what I need to be doing. But really people, lets not get too technical here. Read it again, pray about it, apply it to YOUR own life, ignore the "should and must" if it makes you feel better and move on!

Chuck Gates said...

Wow - controversy! This post has confirmed that Todd Benner was right when during Conference he says, "A talk by a woman, for the women? Time for a nap."

Seriously, though, the signers of that letter could be excommunicated for doing so. Even if the letter doesn't directly contradict Sister Beck's talk, their assertion that they seek to contradict her is enough. Perhaps they should really think about whether they want to be in the church. Obviously, they have problems with the leadership and the values... Are they only in it for the social life?

As for the rest of the controversy: It is never a good debating tactic to lower one's moral standing by calling names. Now nobody will give credence to that opinion, because they view you as unable to maturely formulate an opinion. When one uses language that needs to be censored, you only weaken your starting point further.

Retarded, though somewhat offensive to some, still has a medical and commonplace meaning, one of which is "A slowing down or hindering of progress." I think it is safe to say that those who signed that letter have definitely hindered their spiritual progress by seeking out criticisms of LDS leaders.

A good tactic is to try to never allow yourself to say/write something that will only lower yourself from the morale high ground.

the narrator said...

Geez Chuck...

I finally return to church and now you tell me to leave. I'm glad the church has people like you. It makes me so desirable to return each Sunday. God bless you.

I guess I'm just retarded. We all know what Cody meant, but we'll use your definition. Thanks for playing judge, now I know what to expect when I approach the real judge in the next life. I hadn't realized he'd care so much about legalistic devotion to authority. I usually figured he'd care more about how we showed our love to others... you know that whole "naked and ye clothed me" speech he gave? I guess I should be more worried about whether or not I agree with certain propositions held by certain leaders.

I need to change my ways I guess. Where do I join up with Saul's band of lucky Pharisees who get to rail on dissenters for not being orthodox enough?

Chuck Gates said...

First, I never said that these people were not welcome at church. I really don't care if they stay or go. I just don't understand why one would choose to affiliate with something they don't support or agree with or, at least, are trying to move towards supporting. Sounds like an absurd waste of time to me.

Second, I never applied any of my arguments specifically to you. I didn't realize you considered yourself with them. I am sorry if I offended you.

Third, I never sought to judge anybody here. My post had nothing to do with salvation. You obviously read way too much into something that is not there.

My point was to you, Cody, Carson and anybody that ever tries to debate a theory that when trying to convince others of your viewpoint, it is very difficult to do so if you turn them off to you in the first place. Like for instance, when I read this thread. At first, I respected the viewpoints of everybody who posted and sought to give them equal value. But when I got to your post with the defamatory usage of language which the owner of the blog felt needed to be censored, I immediately lost interest in your viewpoint. Not because it was wrong, but because you wrapped your message in a rude tone and ignorant language. I figure, I don't need to spend all this time reading about the opinion of anybody who has to resort to such tactics to make their point. This is nothing personal, just how human interaction works.

For what its worth, I also lost interested in Cody's points when he called the people retarded. Not because I think that word is offensive, which I do not. Instead because it seemed he was over-emotional in his reaction. And like myself, most people seem to go overboard when they gets over-emotional.

I was trying to offer some helpful insights to all of you who seek to present your thoughts in a way that might help one another support one another. However, it seems like you prefer to be in a constant state of conflict and choose to read all posts as being contrary to your goals. I am sorry that my post came off that way to you.

As Rodney King said, "Can't we all just get along?" :-D

Lisa said...

I like what Chuck said, "I just don't understand why one would choose to affiliate with something they don't support or agree with or, at least, are trying to move towards supporting."
Loyd, why do you really want to be a part of the Church when you disagree with so much of what the Church teaches and stands for? It sounds like you have 3 options:
1-if you truly want to be a part of the church because of a spiritual witness you have received, then you should align your ideals with the churches, not the other way around.
2-find a church that does teach and practice what you believe
3-start your own church, the Church of Loyd, if you really do think that you know more than President Hinckley as you have stated.
It seems to me that any one of these three options is better than your current course.
Back to the original topic of this post now. From another womans standpiont, I also agree with Jodie and Marisa. I felt the talk by Sister Beck was very uplifting, and it made me so happy to be a mother. It also made me glad that the sacrifices I have made in my life are allowing me to be engaged in the Lord's work. As I read it, I thought, "you're right, we really should try to be the best mothers and homemakers that we can be." Even though it's hard, that's where our greatest joys and rewards in this life will come from, not from worldy pursuits of degrees, wealth, or prestige. Who cares if she didn't use the most politically correct words, or if she isn't the greatest public speaker. The bottom line, is that she has been called of God to be a beacon and leader to the women of the church through the relief society.
I personally could have done any of a number of other things than be a mother at the time I chose to. I used to own a dance studio and planned on getting a masters degree in psychology or family therapy after graduation from BYU. Then, when we moved to Maryland I was seriously considering getting a degree in dental hygiene. I realized though that I didn't want to postpone having kids and raising a family for 3 more years, and I couldn't be happier for my decision.

the narrator said...

why do you really want to be a part of the Church when you disagree with so much of what the Church teaches and stands for?

Because I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that the church of God with it's priesthood was restored through Joseph Smith, and that Gordon B. Hinckley is the current president of that priesthood and as such has been sustained by me to be a prophet, seer, and revelator. However, I do not believe that such a calling demands blind obedience and that the scriptures are clear that authority and dominion should not be maintained by virtue of the priesthood alone. I also believe that Joseph Smith and Gordon B. Hinckley are fallable humans just like the rest of us - but despite that, God uses them to teach and direct us. Furthermore, I believe that we are inherently free beings and that God doesn't expect us to simply follow others, but rather wants us to utilize our wisdom, freedom, and the Spirit to ultimately make choices for ourselves.

In the October 1984 conference, Elder Ronald Poelman gave an awesome talk about the church as a fallible institutional implementation of the gospel. I think he articulated well why I love the church and choose to stay. You can read the talk here.

With that said, I think your three choices simply don't work and are rather... whats-the-word... hmmm... your husband had a word for it...

Oh well. If we all had the simple attitude of either conforming with or quitting the institutions with which we associate with, we would probably all find ourselves either rather banal or lonely.

start your own church, the Church of Loyd, if you really do think that you know more than President Hinckley as you have stated.

I believe what I said was... "I know more than President Hinckley about some things... such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, feminism, gender studies, philosophy, the war in Iraq, cultural studies, and I might even venture to say Mormon history. But when President Hinckley is a "prophet when acting as such," then I'm sure what he has to say pounces my simple mind."

I don't see why that would want me to start a new church.

While I may have misread Chuck and overly responded to things that were perhaps not as critical as I had first read them to be (and to Chuck I apologize), your attitude of 'conform or leave' was rather up front and unambiguous. Thanks for being honest and letting me know that you don't think I should be worshipping with you unless I started to think and act more like you.

Luckily, I have found others in the church who have been much more loving, caring, and appreciative of the diverse views that many others can provide and add to the gospel with.

On a side note (and not to brag, but rather just use as an example), I received an email from a total stranger a few days ago who had seen the interview I did for mormonstories.org. She had waited several years til she was 18 and could get baptized without her parents permission. A couple years later, she stopped going for the very same frustrations and reasons I have expressed. Someone similarly told her that she should either conform or leave. She left.

She hasn't been to church for almost a year, but earlier this week she somehow came across my interview, realized that she wasn't alone, and decided that she was going to go back this Sunday.

That e-mail put a warm-fuzzy into my rather exhaustive day.

I only share this because this isn't the first time someone has come to me with a similar story. I have had so many friends (and a dozen or so strangers) over the last few years tell me that they just can't handle going to church anymore, because people like you let them know that they are not welcome to worship along side them unless they think more like everyone else. These are people with tremendous testimonies of Christ, the gospel, and the restoration - some of the best and most loving people I know. I've seen friends crying (as I have cried) because people like you let them know that they should just change or leave. It hurts them a lot.

Lisa, I'm glad that you love being a mother. I think that's awesome. I look at Nancy and see the love that she has for my brother and nephews and admire it very much. I see nothing wrong at all with wanting to be a stay-at-home mother. On the other hand, I know mothers who work and have become professionals - doing amazing things and blessing the lives of many. They also love their children very much and see that their children are raised in the gospel or whatever and have all of their needs met physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I know fathers who make excellent nurturing parents. I believe that families are vitally important. However, I just don't believe that there is some simple model/ideal family structure that a family ought to be like.

Lisa, I really hope you aren't as intolerant with those in your ward as you have appeared to be here. Trust me, there are many in your ward who struggle attending because they feel that they are not welcome because they may believe differently than you (or with the brethren) on certain issues. Please, please, please don't ever make them feel like the should either conform or leave. Instead talk to them, listen to them, try to understand them. You don't have to agree. The beautiful thing about the gospel is that we are all entitled to revelation. While we cannot make those revelations authoritative for others, we can certainly learn from the inspirations that others can receive.

I know I sometimes come across as too reactive and probably too acerbic in my responses. Chris noted that I too often want to put people in their places instead of trying to learn from them and see what they may have to offer me. It's definitely a lesson I need to learn more.

the narrator said...

Chuck,

I was probably a little to quick in reacting the way I did. Sorry.

Chuck Gates said...

See, that was a great post! Well developed points and the one time you really wanted to use a mean word, you used humor to make the point even stronger.

I agree with many of the points you make about people having different ways of involvement and belief in the church. I think its most important that members have the basic faith in the principles you mentioned. I'll admit, I have had some difficulty with things said in the past, but as long as we focus on what we agree with the church, rather than on what we disagree with, the Spirit will help us to gain a greater knowledge of understanding.

I also agree that our leaders are fallible men who can and do make mistakes at times. I agree with Lisa that sometimes the speakers use words that may make sense to them in the culture they were raised, but with which I might disagree. In that case I have to try to rely on the Spirit to help me understand their intent over their choice of words.

Because I don't know them personally, I don't that I can say that I know more than them on any particular subject. But I can bet I know more than them about my kids!

The Hunsakers said...

Doctrine and Covenants 45:26-27
"And in that day shall be heard wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men's hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.
And the love of men shall wax cold, and inquity shall abound."

Carson Calderwood said...

There is a lot I would like to say, but I'll think I'll start new posts on those topics over the next few weeks.

During the interim...nobody can say we aren't dedicated! I enjoy discussing different opinions when one of two things happens: 1-someone learns something new that enables them to alter their opinion and therefore be closer to the other, or 2-people convey their stances and while understanding the other amiably agree to disagree. I think both of these have happened here (both on and off-line) and I consider that successful.

Chris said...

I think there has been good and bad discussion here. But one sad note is that everyone at one point or another has changed the meaning of what a previous auther had stated. We should not be so demeaning to any person and we should bring up thoughts and discussions in a non demeaning or contradictory way.

Carson Calderwood said...

one sad note is that everyone at one point or another has changed the meaning of what a previous auther had stated
I don't think everyone did (ie-Jodee, Marisa)

we should bring up thoughts and discussions in a non...contradictory way.

How do you discuss things that you feel contradictory towards without being contradictory, in other words, how do you discuss an idea's different schools of though without pointing out the differences?

Anonymous said...

Discourse should have a limit? The whole of life is the only limit which wise men assign to the hearing of such discourses. But never mind about us; take heart yourself and answer the question in your own way: What sort of community of women and children is this which is to prevail among our guardians? and how shall we manage the period between birth and education, which seems to require the greatest care? Tell us how these things will be...

What I mean may be put into the form of a question, I said: Are dogs divided into hes and shes, or do they both share equally in hunting and in keeping watch and in the other duties of dogs? or do we entrust to the males the entire and exclusive care of the flocks, while we leave the females at home, under the idea that the bearing and suckling their puppies is labour enough for them?

No, he said, they share alike; the only difference between them is that the males are stronger and the females weaker.

But can you use different animals for the same purpose, unless they are bred and fed in the same way?

You cannot.
Then, if women are to have the same duties as men, they must have the same nurture and education?

we never meant when we constructed the State, that the opposition of natures should extend to every difference, but only to those differences which affected the pursuit in which the individual is engaged; we should have argued, for example, that a physician and one who is in mind a physician may be said to have the same nature.

True.
Whereas the physician and the carpenter have different natures?
Certainly.
And if, I said, the male and female sex appear to differ in their fitness for any art or pursuit, we should say that such pursuit or art ought to be assigned to one or the other of them; but if the difference consists only in women bearing and men begetting children, this does not amount to a proof that a woman differs from a man in respect of the sort of education she should receive; and we shall therefore continue to maintain that our guardians and their wives ought to have the same pursuits.

Anonymous said...

Let us say to him: Come now, and we will ask you a question: --when you spoke of a nature gifted or not gifted in any respect, did you mean to say that one man will acquire a thing easily, another with difficulty; a little learning will lead the one to discover a great deal; whereas the other, after much study and application, no sooner learns than he forgets; or again, did you mean, that the one has a body which is a good servant to his mind, while the body of the other is a hindrance to him?-would not these be the sort of differences which distinguish the man gifted by nature from the one who is ungifted?

No one will deny that.
And can you mention any pursuit of mankind in which the male sex has not all these gifts and qualities in a higher degree than the female? Need I waste time in speaking of the art of weaving, and the management of pancakes and preserves, in which womankind does really appear to be great, and in which for her to be beaten by a man is of all things the most absurd?

Cody and Carson:
1: do men and women have differing aptitudes and abilites?
2: If so, which of these are God given, and which are constructs of the societies in which we live?
3: Do you believe that we are to spend our time doing that which we are most suited to do? (or should we also exert our efforts in areas where we need improvment, but do not naturally excel?)

Carson Calderwood said...

Anon,
I presume you copied your comment from another similar post on another blog, because it doesn't make much contextual sense and you say that you said things that you didn't say.

With that being said and knowing that I can frequently be incorrect...I'm not sure what you are referring to when you ask if Discourse should have a limit?

Also, I think you might be a little to intelligent, poetic and philosophical for me because I don't quite know what you mean when you say, The whole of life is the only limit which wise men assign to the hearing of such discourses. Maybe, understanding sentence one would help me on 2...

When you ask about "our guardians" are you referring to...the prophets? I don't follow you here either, since we are not kids writing this discussion, who are our guardians?

Tell us how these things will be... If we were to all follow these principles of personal happiness then the next generation would be kinder, more prepared for adulthood, harder working, more giving, honor their integrity, respect women more, sacrifice more...

Two fallacies in your dog example. 1-dogs do not aspire to such heights as men and therefore do not need such precision in their upbringing
2-domesticated dogs have to a large extent lost the environment in which their physical and genetic sexual differences create niches of advantage.

the only difference between them is that the males are stronger and the females weaker. I'm not sure if you know me, but remember that I am a biologist and I can tell that you certainly are not. There are many more differences (both physical and psychological) between male and female dogs.

Sorry, I can't do this any more. It is too convoluted and unsubstantiated. Remember, just because Edgar Allan Poe did it, doesn't mean you have to as well.

Carson Calderwood said...

Anon, AKA Brooks-Sperber-McCauley

1: do men and women have differing aptitudes and abilites? See proc on family
2: If so, which of these are God given, and which are constructs of the societies in which we live? More nurturing nature in women is a good place for you to start looking for references, its an easy one...
3: Do you believe that we are to spend our time doing that which we are most suited to do? (or should we also exert our efforts in areas where we need improvment, but do not naturally excel?) Seriously, why the mundane and blatantly obvious questions. I feel like I'm talking with Sherem.

Anonymous said...

It is a quote: not sherem, but plato - I cut and pasted it from his blog. The fifth book of The Republic is perhaps the most seminal text relevant to this discussion (outside of the Proclamation on the family of course)

Jo Mama said...

I find xxx way LESS offensive than calling ANYONE or anytrhing the "r' word.

Work with those who are mentally disabled for awhile and you might agree...

That's all I wanted to say.

joe...joe who? Joe mamma said...

That's ok...there always has to be a minority school of thought. :)

lettieb said...

I am jo mama.
I used to use the "r" word a lot. I'd call my friends that when they were being stupid and so on. When I was in 8th grade I had my second year volunteering for the Special Olympics. I went with some friends and while there called one of them the "r" word. That was the last time I called anyone that.
It is not the mentally disabled's fault they are born slower than us. Using a word that generally used to be used to describe the mentally disabled as a word to call someone stupid is just plain not nice. I volunteered for the S.O. for 6 years after that and worked with them for my job for 2 years. Believe me, "normal" people are a lot more stupid than some of these people.
I didn't originally post with my own name because I don't want people to think that I don't like THEM if they use the word. I just hate that word and think it is so mean how most of the world uses it now. I also don't generally tell people I don't like it. I know this is probably the wrong place to go on about it, but now that I have typed all this I am going to post it anyway.