So claims an article published in the Salt Lake Tribune:
“Since Donald Trump’s election,” writes Tribune columnist Paul Rolly, “I know of a few Mormon women who have stopped going to church, at least temporarily, because of the support their fellow worshippers gave a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women.”
Now, I have no idea whether his claim is true or not. I expect that it holds for at least a few women. Anything’s possible.
Their stance would make more sense to me if Latter-day Saints had been unusually supportive of Mr. Trump. But they plainly weren’t. And I would understand it far better if those Latter-day Saints who supported Mr. Trump had done so because of his boasts of sexual assault. But I’m aware of absolutely nothing to suggest such a thing. Quite the contrary, in fact: Overwhelmingly, both survey data and my own anecdotal experience tell me, Latter-day Saints who finally voted for Donald Trump — I didn’t — did so with considerable queasiness, holding their noses.
But I have no intention of re-litigating those issues, and, despite appearances, I really don’t want to get into politics on this. It has long been my practice (and I’ve been explicit about the policy for a number of weeks now), to avoid political commentary on the Sabbath.
No, I’m actually interested in an issue raised in the body of the article: “‘Within our greater church culture, women often don’t feel free to express opinions and talk openly if men are present,’ Young-Otterstrom said.”
Unsurprisingly, some critics of Mormonism have used that statement and this article as a launchpad from which to denounce the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as informally muzzling women, creating a uniquely dysfunctional culture in which they’re not permitted to speak or to express themselves.
I don’t want to seem to be saying that everything is always optimal in this respect. But it seems to me disingenuous to make such claims without recognizing the fact that women often don’t seem to feel entirely free to express opinions and talk openly outside of the Church when men are present.
Here are three brief discussions of the topic that I found in a thirty-second Google search:
In other words, this seems to be a problem, if it’s a problem, across English-speaking culture, not just among the retrograde and troglodytic Mormons.
I doubt that it’s much different in French- or German-speaking communities. I very much doubt that it’s better in Hispanic societies. And I would be perfectly astonished if Japan, India, China, and the Islamic world were ahead of us on this score.
To damn it as just another negative result of Mormonism is, at a minimum, simplistic.