i don't think it means what you think it means

My favorite Sunday activity is meeting with friends and family to hear what nuttiness went down in church. Holy? Hmmmm. Fun? Yes. Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that God watches what goes on in church, and sometimes does the same thing. Like with Gabriel. Hey, Gabriel, did you HEAR what they are doing in the 11th ward?

Just saying. No offense. Bless her heart. Whatever other cliches I can say and not get in trouble for that hypothetical.

Anyway. The winner today was the lady who told her class that she "Sees all these young women down at BYU training to be professionals, and she just wants to wave the Proclamation to the Family in their faces and say: Get with the program!"

Sigh. Sometimes I miss being in an all-white ward of extreme privilege. Your world is so very, very pretty in black and white.

Anyway, we nodded in sympathy and outrage and reassured ourselves that comments like that wouldn't happen in our ward. We promised ourselves that we would stand up for ourselves if it did. (Most of us in the conversation were- wait for it....young female professionals.)

One person sagely pointed out that opinions like this occur elsewhere. In fancy- pants wards. And Saudi Arabia.

But it still stung. I'm still upset about it. It still makes me question how on earth the Gospel of Jesus Christ got so horribly sidetracked. Why don't we talk about Jesus at church?

What makes me really uncomfortable is the fact that it makes me wonder which one of us would be considered the nut. Is she the crazy one, for insisting that you can't be a "primary caregiver" and a "professional" at the same time? Or is it me? For hoping, thinking, and almost believing that I can?


The Boob Nazi said...

Things like that make me upset but not exactly for the reasons it upset you. Your reasons are some of mine, yes, but my reasoning is more like WHAT ABOUT ALL THE BEEPING WOMEN WHO DON'T GET MARRIED before 25?! What the hell are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to live with our parents in a crappy 10-dollar-an-hour job making sandwiches just WAITING for our eternal companion to come save us from the drudgery of working life?

I'm a young professional, and I'm damn good at my job. I help people. I change people's lives. I'm sure as hell not waiting for someone to come and save me. And the guys in my ward here are making me look outside the church anyway. "Oh hi, I'm 28, have no degree, live at home with my parents, and have no money. Y U NO WANT ME?!"

I've been having a couple of frustrating days, if you couldn't tell haha. I've resorted to flirting with 39 year olds hahahaha.

This is one of the many reasons why I've been sitting in church lately thinking, "WHY THE HELL AM I HERE?!" Every time I hear about things like this, it pushes me even more away.

I admire you for your ability to stay committed to the Mormon church when confronted with idiots like this.

Liz said...


Don't worry. She's the nut.

Ru said...

Oh, she's definitely the nut. First, assuming that "mother" and "professional" are mutually exclusive terms, and second, assuming that women who want to be professional do not also want to be married and or have children. Oh shucks, sorry I went to law school, ma'am. I guess I'm going to be single and childless for the rest of my life. The end.

I'd like to see her go down to BYU, wave the Proclamation, and then see all the professional girls beat her down with their womb-weakening book bags.

Ru said...

(If it makes you feel any better, today in my parents' ward a guy bore his testimony on having a dream about Heavenly Mother. Slightly weird over-share moment, but mostly nice and refreshing.)

Stephanie said...

@Boob Nazi. I have a lot of church rage right now. I'm struggling with the idea of being active myself.

Auntie Em said...

I actually had my BISHOP tell me in counsel with my husband that he does not think that I WANT to be a stay at home mom (which I currently Am) and that since I am so good at school and arguing I should continue on with my degree and then dear husband should move us down to SLC where I could go to Law school and then I could REALLY make the money... um WTF? YES, I do enjoy school and YES I would LOVE to be a lawyer, HOWEVER I do in fact ENJOY being a mom and know that Law school is a 80hour a week+ obligation and I'm sorry but I not only LOVE my children but I Like them too!!!

jen said...

Good for you guys for continuing to go to church! I am a SAHM & that kind of talk at church also drives me insane! I'm now in the library so luckily I just get to hang out at church now & socialize instead of get preached to. I'm still trying to figure out if RS is the place for me. I actually had a near panic attack while visiting teaching last week. Some CRAZY talk was going on & biting my tongue was making me crazy. I promise that you are NOT the crazy one. I like your blog:)!

Karissa said...

That reminds me of a relief society lesson in which we were "taught" that a woman can't work and be a good mother. I was confused, because according to the answers of my prayers, I am supposed to do both of those things... simultaneously.

And then I remind myself that while the people are imperfect, the core doctrines of the church are true. And then I continue to be a professional who will some day also be a mother. In fact, it is because of my belief in the LDS Church and its principles (particularly personal revelation in this case) that I completed a master's degree and I'm working as a professional.

There is a BYU professor's take on womanhood that I found that helped me a lot in terms of women's equality and women's roles in the LDS Church. If anyone wants to read it, it's at this link:
The professor wrote the talk... she's also a woman professional =) (Who WORKS at BYU... the nut lady probably would go extra nuts over her.)

Tess said...

What I have to remember is that people are members, but they are not the church. Sometimes (all right, a lot of times) you have to go to church wearing blinders. Don't let someone's idiocy interfere with your relationship with the Godhead. If you let it get to you, to drive you away, idiocy has won.

lifeinredshoes said...

More often than not I leave church just shaking my head and thinking to myself....and God, WTH?

Denise Robertson said...

I never post, but can't hold back any longer.

I thought my husband and I were the only ones who RUN to our car at the end of church to discuss the insanity of some people's comments.

We're pretty sure we only want to have two kids, and people look at us like we've crapped on the Proclamation to the Family when we tell them. I can't wait until someone rats us out to our bishop so we can have a series of interviews/lectures on how important a "real" (as in big) family is and why we don't have eternal priorities.

I would like to hear a GC talk titled, "the Savior wants you to mind your own dang business."

Sherpa said...

Really, don't let her bother you.

Aunt Spicy said...

I would love for her to walk in my shoes for a week or two and then see if she feels the same way.

Steven and Wendy OBryant said...

The church is perfect - the people in it are not. I agree with you, that's a pretty outrageous comment. But............. So, Steven and I used to come home from church and mock all the silly things we had heard that day. Then, I remembered a story my sister had shared with me and it's changed my perspective a little bit. She had a friend that always commented on her diet coke addiction. (terrible right? Who would I (and you) be without Diet Coke?) She would say things like, "Sheri would be translated if she would just stop drinking Diet Coke." Finally one day, after hearing this comment, my other sister responded, "So would Laura if she stopped caring so much." It's the same dilemma of... Who is in more trouble? The gay nephew of the blackhearted Aunt who has completely shunned him from her life? Sure - people say crazy things and do crazy things and maybe have missed the mark a little bit - but do the crazy things that they say really influence our dedication to the church? I think I'm probably the person this blog mocks the most. No I don't say weirdly inappropriate things at church, but I'm a SAHM while my husband is in medical school with zero income and I love everything about it. I chose not to go to graduate school and use my degree in a professional setting. I intentionally chose a degree that I thought would benefit my family in my home. It's ok though, I like being the cliche you talk about disliking. I know you don't actually dislike me. And I love that we can see differently and still be friends.

JustMe said...

Oh come on Steph! You know this to be true.......PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS. And, a lot of those idiots go to church with us. You just roll your eyes and give thanks you aren't an idiot.

I am blessed to be in the library. THE best calling in the church - I just compliment everyone that comes in and pass out chalk. And, I'm so flipping funny, the cool people come and hang out with me - and the bishop brings me chocolate. If for some reason, I find myself in RS, I tend to zone out. One Sunday I actually read a book someone at brought me - or I text my daughter.

Steph, people are idiots - they are also stupid and uncaring. Its a fact of life. Take 2 xanax and blog in the morning.

Xan said...

Comments like this make me really sad for the women that utter them. How sad that they're world view is so narrow that they can't see that what works for one, won't work for all.

Amen to what Boob Nazi said as well.

Erin said...

I am in LOVE with this post. From now on, every Sunday, I'm going to make a list of closed-minded and ridiculous things people say.

S.A.R. said...

Once upon a time, my dad told me, "The Church isn't for perfect people." I can't even count the number of times I've heard something that felt hurtful or untrue at Church. I also can't count the number of women I know who work outside the home and are mothers inside the home, for a myriad of reasons. And honestly, I don't care about their reasons-- it's none of my beeswax. I have enough on my plate without wondering how Susie-What's-Her-Bottom juggles it all.

When it seems like people at church are making you insane, and making you feel like chopped liver, just remember that they need the gospel just as desperately as you do, that they are not entitled to receive revelation on your behalf, smile, and move on. And next week, make a tactful comment in defense of your perspective.

Don't let the crazies get to you. You don't gain anything by letting them keep you from the gospel. And frankly, they don't gain anything either.

Also, MCB, I miss you! And I miss running down the street screeching Simon & Garfunkel's "Cecilia" at 2 am with you in London. Just saying.

Lisa Louise said...

I would also have to reiterate what @The Boob Nazi has said. I am a single professional who is 25 and not married. I've had my own issues with activity in the church but when it comes down to it I just have to remind myself that people like that lady are the minority and most of us are working/single or mothers just trying to do the best we can according to our own interpretations of the Gospel and Its teachings.

Andrew and Becca said...

Dammit. Where was that woman with the program BEFORE I spent thousands of dollars in tuition and even more hours in the library? Maybe the proclamation on my wall says something different than hers..

LC said...

It's possible she's also missed the counsel for young women to complete their post-secondary education.

And as a stay-at-home/work-at-home, I'd like to think I do a pretty good job. (Not to mention the fact that it's comforting knowing my professional skills could keep our family from ruin if something ever were to happen to my husband some day.)

Stephanie said...


We would be nowhere without diet coke. Nowhere.

I just want to clarify that I never mean to mock SAHMS in particular.

Do I mock "Utah" Mormon culture? All the time. Republicans? All the time. SAHMS who say working moms don't love their kids? Yep. But not SAHMS simply for being SAHMS.

The feminist in me says that I can't insist I have a right and a choice to work, but then deny someone else the right and choice to stay home. That isn't fair.

Furthermore, I was raised by someone who was mostly a SAHM, and I respect her, and her sacrifice, way to much to say that what SAHMS do isn't important.

Aubry and Ryan said...

I usually don't post. I love your blog though. It helps me think outside the box a little more. I wonder about comments people make at church too. My husband and I waited until we were both done with school to start a family and I couldn't believe some of the things people said to us about my education not being important. Whatever, right. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, no matter how wrong they are. ;)

Anyway, sort of rambling, but I just make fun of the crazy thing people say and TRY to not want to become inactive.

Oh, and speaking of weird things you hear in church, there was this one testimony I heard about how "dungeons and dragons" is like the priesthood.

Katrina said...

People really do say some really dumb (and offensive) stuff in church. I am in the primary so I haven't heard this kind of thing in awhile.

I just keep telling myself that people aren't perfect, the Church isn't perfect, and prophets and apostles aren't perfect. We are all just muddling along and usually trying to do our best.

Katrina said...

Oh and I just remembered something... when I was in college I was considering going to law school. I was home for the summer and mentioned this to a woman in my ward who used to be my YW leader. Her response: "Well don't you want to get married?" It took me a moment to actually respond to her and all I said was, "Um, pretty sure I can still get married if I go to law school." She just could not wrap her brain around that. She had married at 19, dropped out of school to have kids and had been perfectly satisfied with that life. And I think that's just fine for her. But its not for everyone.

Jenna said...

You can. You definitely can.

People who see women's roles that way must be terribly, terribly bitter.

I like to see women choosing to do whatever they feel is best. Some are cut out for the exclusive SAH role. Some are better suited in the professional world. Some can hack 'em both (me! Yep, bragging). Some choose to do it all, just at different times in life.

I wonder if that woman wanting to wave the Proclamation in people's faces would be OK with a world where there were no female teachers or nurses. Probably not.

gurrbonzo said...


I'm so burnt out on this conversation. EVERYONE DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. If you want to be a professional, great. If you want to be a mom, awesome. If you want to be both at the same time, or one now and one later, or neither, or 60/40, whatever. NO PROCLAMATION WAVING. Let's all just do our thing and quit asking for a trophy.

(I bet the lady who made that comment just wasn't nurtured enough as a child. Just kidding. I just like saying "nurture.")

Fedelm said...

Stuff like this unfortunately is what leads some people to leave the LDS church. After all, not all women can be SAHM's or even mothers for that matter. Then there are those who because of the recession, have had to go to work because their husbands have been laid off, and it's taken them a very long time to find a job. I admire you for having the strength to remain active in spite of nuts like that.

Mrs. Clark said...

My husband and I have a saying every time the bishop reads a letter from Salt Lake from the pulpit: So what's going on in Utah? For example, when they read the letter cautioning people not to have sendoff parties for missionaries. Well, we send off one or two a year. And as far as I am concerned, any young man or woman who chooses to go on a mission deserves all the love and support the ward can give! But in Utah, evidently, a lot of people weren't going to their meetings because of the plethora of missionary farewells. While we don't dedicate a sacrament meeting to the missionary per se, we ignore the rest and have an open house for the kid.

Once when I attended the ward in SLC where my dad would go if he were a member, a SS teacher made some very biased political remarks. I was astonished, and realized there was no way anyone would ever say that in my home ward.

I have never, ever, heard such nonsense from a leader or teacher here in the East. Boob Nazi, I love you. Come on out here and live with us for a month or two and get a terrific job. Go to a singles' ward here. There are so many diverse situations and opinions that nobody would get away with making such a ridiculous remark.

Brooke said...

I get tired of the "The Church is perfect, but the people aren't" comments. The Church isn't perfect. The people ARE the Church! Christ is perfect. His teachings are eternal. I believe the ordinances contain real power and are essential to salvation. But I don't think that means I have to think the structure of every auxiliary is perfect or that we run in a perfect way.

Like Gurrbonzo, I think I'm a little burnt out on this conversation, too. We have it in my feminist legal class every M/W/F. But if I've come to any conclusions from the discussions in that class, it would echo the thoughts of LC. I'm tired of women repeating the words of Pres. Kimball and Benson in RS as the "be all end all counsel" about motherhood. I realize that "Mothers Come Home" were the words that were directed to them when they were 15, but when I was 15 Pres. Hinckley told me and my peers to go to graduate school, serve a mission if we wanted, and plan for a career (not just an education). A few years later Pres. Faust told me and my peers I needed valuable work skills and that included more than just a degree -- that included actual time spent in the workforce. I get tired of women who heard something different than when they were 15 judging me for making choices consistent with current counsel because they either didn't read, or didn't understand, the messages sent to Young Women more recently.

Andrea said...

Just found your blog today. I love it.

Kristen Cawley said...

My peeve is all the condemnation going on. I do believe my Gospel Doctrine class is privy to no less than 98% of the righteous and faithful. We are therefore fortunate enough to be able to talk about what all "those" heathens are doing or not and the consequences of said actions. I am one of the 2% who like to think about what I am doing and how my Savior loves me in spite of myself. Maybe because I am a teacher and I prescribe to a respectful teaching form of discipline as opposed to shame and guilt discipline. The relationship is valued over the deed/misdeed. One thing I always loved about hearing President Hinckley speak was that I was left with an overwhelming love for him as a representative of Jesus Christ and a desire to try harder to be and do better. Maybe I'm just extra stubborn but scriptures and discussions that encourage rather than outline the damnation of not living a perfect life, are infinitely more motivating.