Mormon women have no need to lobby for rights.

A while back, a group called the Feminist Mormon Housewives (and the award for most contradictory and odd group name goes to…) challenged the unwritten rule in Mormon society that women should wear dresses to church.  There was backlash from the Mormon community and now, in response, the LDS General Young Women’s President, Elaine S. Dalton, has given a speech in which she argues that women have no need to lobby for rights.

Here’s the money clip from that talk, along with some pictures of heretical women.  Strange how badass heresy often looks…

“Young women you will be the ones who will provide the example of virtuous womanhood and motherhood. … You will understand your roles and your responsibilities and thus will see no need to lobby for rights.” ~ Elaine S Dalton, Jan 15, 2013 (The whole speech is here, with this comment coming in at approximately the 32:28 mark)

What a despicable position it is that being “praise-worthy” amounts to not standing up for yourself.  It is the wet dream of every abuser that those around them will swallow that lie.

This is not one person saying something stupid.  This is part of the Mormon culture of which they are proud, not ashamed.  And in the words of the former prophet, who told us men to treat women as possessions, in April 2007 Gordon B. Hinckley said to the General Conference during its priesthood session:

“Husbands, love and treasure your wives. They are your most precious possessions.”

During the 2006 priesthood session, Hinckley also expressed that men should be concerned if a woman is overly educated, more than her man.

“…young women are exceeding young men in pursuing educational programs. And so I say to you young men, rise up and discipline yourselves to take advantage of educational opportunities. Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own?”

Or as Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth president and prophet of the Mormon church said…

“[Women], you are to become a career woman in the greatest career on earth – that of homemaker, wife, and mother. It was never intended by the Lord that married women should compete with men in employment. They have a far greater and more important service to render.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, June 1975, & From Faith Precedes the Miracle)

I could go on all day.

“Too many mothers work away from home to furnish sweaters and music lessons and trips and fun for their children. Too many women spend their time in socializing, in politicking, in public services when they should be home to teach and train and receive and love their children into security” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 319).

Ezra Taft Benson, the 9th president of the Mormon church, gave us lots of gems (handed straight to him by the inerrant god of the cosmos, of course):

“In the beginning, Adam–not Eve–was instructed to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow. Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mother’s calling is in the home, not in the market place.”
(Ezra Taft Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, 1987)

It’s not just from their prophets, it’s in their doctrinal sources.

“[a] woman’s primary place is in the home, where she is to rear children and abide by the righteous counsel of her husband” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 844).

It is this kind of nonsense where women merely asking for the right to pray at general assembly is an enormous controversy, and the pinnacle of progressive thought in the Mormon church.

Some friends send each other flowers.  Back in the day, my friends had a habit of getting online and sending Mormon missionaries to my door for me to chew up.  They always told me how good Mormonism was for its adherents and how abiding by god’s rules, as delivered by their book and their prophets, made for a world much better than one built upon human reason and compassion alone.  I think that may be one of the most egregious falsehoods I’ve ever encountered.  Mormonism is a dehumanizing idea that turns otherwise compassionate men into bullies and fosters inequality, all while lavishing both as “praise-worthy”.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    “Shut the fuck up, you’re already as equal as you need to be.”

    • UsingReason

      A concise summary of 30+ minutes of bullshit.

  • RuQu

    I’ve always felt that one of the greatest signs of intelligence was the ability to learn from the mistakes of others. You don’t need to burn your hand on the stove yourself if you see someone else do it, unless you are an idiot.

    This seems to be a clear case of not learning from the mistakes of others. This same “controversy” took place in the rest of society over the course of the past 100 years or so. You’d think the Mormons could have just watched the Women’s Suffrage and Rights movements and learned the lessons the easy way, but no, they have to go and be idiots about it.

    • QR

      Oddly enough, women in Utah could vote in state and local elections long before women could vote in federal elections.

      • Steve

        Of course they had to ask their husbands who to vote for. Which actually was an argument against allowing women to vote in the first place.

  • baal

    One of the arguments we get from the same folks is that “abortion is bad, you might be offing the next Einstein!” And yet they openly argue that 51% of the population shouldn’t be as educated as the other half? Think of all of the Einsteins!

    • UsingReason

      Silly baal, females can’t do math. They have a hard enough time with the fractions in their recipe books.

      • Anonymous

        Why can’t their women do math? Because they’ve been told all their lives that a 2″ dick is 6″

  • Deanna Joy Lyons

    Anonymous @6

    I don’t think body shaming like that is okay, no matter who it’s directed at. Even as a joke. A very old, tired joke.

  • chengisk

    The speech is dated 15 Jan 2013! I thought it was from 1813.

  • Anonymous

    Not so odd. It was a way to keep the polygamists in power. When you have twenty wives who will vote the way you tell them to because they have sworn oaths in the temple to obey their husband, suddenly your vote is worth quite a lot more.

  • http://facebook tim b lines

    how about the nixon,reagen,bush familys born again theocon religon?

  • Natalie

    phew! thanks for putting me back in my place! it’s always a relief to be reminded that i’m not an individual, but merely the property of my husband. that was close!

    i also really appreciate that you were able to denigrate these women in your clip by mentioning their appearances. THAT shows just how well you think of women.

  • C.

    Pretty sure the group name was created as intentional irony, for what it’s worth
    And don’t forget this gem from a just last year: “The most important thing for a woman in this life is to be the wife of a worthy priesthood holder and the mother of his children.” — Boyd K. Packer
    Saturday, February 11, 2012, LDS Worldwide Training Meeting

  • Liffey Banks

    Just to be nit-picky, Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine isn’t actually a “doctrinal source” as far as the correlated LDS church is concerned. McConkie published it before having a leadership position as a general authority in the church and much of it was refuted by other church leaders. That is not to minimize its influence that it continues to exert over many Mormons. … This also illustrates the fluid relationship the church has to what is considered doctrine. Some ideas (like homosexuality and choice, blacks and the priesthood, and women praying in Sacrament Meeting as recent examples) cross in and out of the category of “official doctrine” like water to a semi-permeable membrane. :)

  • Fancy Pants

    Excellent post, albeit fairly depressing. TBMs will insist that Dalton wasn’t referring to lobbying for *civil* rights. Although personally, I have no idea what she intended to mean—I don’t think the comment makes any sense in the context of her talk.

    Oh, and my turn to be nitpicky: Benson was the 13th president of the church, not the 9th.

  • Laura M

    I really feel like the argument against marriage between those of completely different educational standing is more along the lines of: Women, do you really, seriously want to spend the rest of your life with someone who didn’t finish college?

  • Glodson

    It is like someone created a religion that covers every evil trope a religion can have in one convenient package.

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Nah, this is Mormonism, not Scientology.

  • nakedanthropologist

    This is *so* depressing – I’m writing that Dalton. Seriously, does she actually think that all women want and need the same things?! Urgh….I can’t even compose a good response, I’m too pissed.

  • James MacDonald

    This article makes me sad and most of the comments even sadder. I can understand how one can interpret the quotes you’ve used as completely sexist and degrading though the majority are taken out of context and cast in negativity. Women in the LDS church consistently hold greater equanimity with men than the vast majority of others in this world (from my humble experience) – though I will be the first to admit that there is still a way to go. Unfortunately, like every society there are goons and backward thinkers steeped in antiquated social practices (why is it that these seem to be the most vocal in every society?). Your article appears to be a knee jerk reaction to this silly pants issue (which has demonstrated that there are still enormous and serious early 20th century cultural influences on the Utah church – the church outside of the US was rather perplexed by the whole thing) and you have clearly gone in search of anything that will allow you to point the finger of shame at the Mormons. The article demonstrates a very poor understanding of Mormon theology, practice and its changing culture. I empathize with your conclusions but not your half-hearted attempt at understanding.

    • Loqi

      “Women in the LDS church consistently hold greater equanimity with men than the vast majority of others in this world…”
      Evidence? I find it unlikely that you’ve had experience with the “vast majority” of others in the world.
      “Unfortunately, like every society there are goons and backward thinkers steeped in antiquated social practices”
      They’re the leaders. These are the people you are following.
      “Your article appears to be a knee jerk reaction to this silly pants issue”
      What? This post doesn’t mention the whole death threats for Mormon women who wear pants thing. Hard for this to be a knee jerk reaction to something it isn’t even talking about.
      “…you have clearly gone in search of anything that will allow you to point the finger of shame at the Mormons.”
      We don’t have to search very hard. I’ve yet to find a single thing about the Mormon church that doesn’t deserve shame.

  • Loqi

    And as far as saying people receiving very real death threats for wearing pants is “silly,” I say fuck you. Dismissing it as unimportant is not much better than supporting it.

  • Hypatia’s Daughter

    The very core of Mormon doctrine is that a woman cannot make it to the highest level of heaven unless she is married, so this goes deeper than just wanting women to be obedient servants to their menfolk. The state of her eternal life depends on being a wife.
    Which makes it even worse than regular xtianity where a woman’s salvation is equal to a man’s and comes from her own decision to accept Jesus.
    I think the the attraction of many of the fundie religions is the return to this patriarchal B.S. Religion is the last refuge of irrational and unsupportable beliefs, like the natural superiority or natural right of a man to rule over women. Once men granted equal rights to each other using science, political philosophy and moral principles, it became inevitable that they had to be granted to women, too. Declaring that women are different than men at some fundamental level because “god said so” is all these a**holes have left.

    • Glodson

      This is something I’ve been thinking about for a time. It seems that some of the more insane ideas we hear are becoming more popular in the religious circles. This is just conjecture, but I imagine that it has to do with brain drain, the need to fire up the remaining “true believers” and the fear of losing a privilege that they see as a right. Don’t get me wrong, that insanity has always been there. It just seems more vocal. Almost like it is a reaction to imminent equality(still taking to long) and the ability to find other people with these points of view with the internet.

  • Pingback: Comment roundup 2/1 part I.()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()