Family in the Future Tense: Accommodation and Critique in Mormonism’s Past and Present

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Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Faith in America: Mormonism. Read other perspectives here.In the present moment, I think it’s fair to say, Mormonism is preoccupied with the vitality of heterosexual marriage as the fundamental private social institution and the premiere context for childrearing. As law and social attitudes in the US evolve on this question, Mormonism will be displaced from the position relatively near the mainstream of Americ … [Read more...]

A short, cranky list of highly curated links from all over

Presented without comment, at first:Tinder While I TaperWomen without menThe elective spinster: making a life of one's ownThe decline of marriage isn't a problemIt's not the economic inequality, it's the economic immobilityIn Silicon Valley, perks for some workers but struggles for parentsDoes your time as a parent make any difference? Our anti-parenting biasNo kids for me, thanksThe Answer Is Never: Rewriting the false narrative of … [Read more...]

I, Rosencrantz

Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead famously re-narrates the action of Hamlet from the point of view of two minor characters on the edge of the story. I sit down today to write something about gay marriage, and I am Rosencrantz. I feel acutely my position as a minor character far from the emotional and moral action of the story. My perspective as a married, heterosexual mother comes from extreme stage left: it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, matter nearly as much as the lives at the … [Read more...]

Singing in ten-thousand part harmony

This is one of those posts where the reader has to zag through a preliminary feint and counter-feint before arriving at the beginning. Last week a writer named Joni Hilton wrote an article for Meridian Magazine in which she criticized "liberal Mormons" for all manner of personal and theological errors, charging that, among other transgressions, liberals are "cafeteria Mormons" who observe only the convenient parts of Mormonism.This morning Patrick Mason wrote a thoughtful rebuttal to … [Read more...]

What we can’t know about social conservatism

Elder Oaks’s General Conference address last week has predictably prompted a lot of discussion, much of it circling gay marriage. I want to pay attention to a different passage from the address, one that is admittedly secondary to the primary message but that caught my attention nevertheless. Providing evidence for his point that marriage and married childrearing are losing their significance as the primary social forms for reproduction, he cited the following: •The United States now has … [Read more...]

All such good works to walk in: motherhood and female achievement

Yet another article on the crowded intersection of motherhood and career is making the rounds this month. Elizabeth Corey, a professor at Baylor University, has written a reflective and erudite piece for First Things that is prompting discussion among my sisters and friends. She makes no policy recommendation, assumes no position in the culture wars, but explores the seemingly intractable dilemmas facing young adult women in a melancholy key.She argues cogently, if necessarily … [Read more...]

Modesty and the Imaginary Me

I’ve written on this topic before, taking different approaches but generally coming down in favor of “modesty” -- by which I mean the collection of social norms and teachings that regulate LDS dress and grooming. Sure, I sometimes object to the way it is taught or the emphasis it receives in our teachings, but overall I believe that LDS modesty standards can be constructive and humane elements of our gender culture. Even though I would prefer that we take a more expansive understanding of the con … [Read more...]

Stay-at-home mothers are not moochers

It's gender week on Salt & Seed! As a gimmick to motivate myself and to build readership, I'm going to put up a short post on a gender-related topic every day this week. Check back each day to see what's new. By Friday I expect to have alienated almost everybody!A woman I really respect decided to go back to work last year. She had been home with her kids for years, but now, she felt, the time had come to quit mooching -- her word -- off her employed husband and begin contributing … [Read more...]

“Austenland” is much better than the critics are saying

It is a truth universally acknowledged -- or nearly so -- that “Austenland,” the film-child of writer Shannon Hale, director Jerusha Hess, and producer Stephenie Meyer, is a dud. Male reviewers in particular have not been kind. I’d like to file a minority report. True, the off-beat wackiness, which probably reflects the sensibility of director Jerusha Hess, is an odd match with the romantic plot, which itself is a bit hackneyed; and the slapstick gags go flat by film’s end. But I was happy enough … [Read more...]

On earth as it is in heaven: more on social construction

I wanted to add a postscript to yesterday's post. I suggested yesterday that the plan of salvation as it is currently taught, that is as a comprehensive three-act progress of the soul, is a good example of the way that church teachings are built. Using suggestions and gestures gathered from scripture, we harmonize, systematize, elaborate, and infer -- guided, we hope by inspiration -- until we arrive at application-ready religious precepts capable of guiding our modern lives and choices. For me, … [Read more...]


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