chaos, adjustment, balance.

It wouldn't be a Child Bride post if I did not hash and rehash the same subject, possibly to death.

I'm still thinking about Elder Cook's conference talk. I still like it. But, immediately after I hit "publish," I started to feel some doubts. Am I being apologetic towards a patriarchy I do not believe in? Am I justifying otherwise questionable content based on sincerity of the speaker? Though I do not have concrete answers to these questions, I do have some ideas.

1. I do not see Elder Cook's talk as a sign that our work has been done. There is still more work to do.

2. In order to have any positive feelings regarding the Church as an institution, I must, absolutely must, celebrate small victories.

3. I can celebrate small victories while still yearning for more.

4. Small steps towards egalitarian relationships in the church reveal that patriarchies are cultural, not doctrinal in nature. Additionally, inconsistencies in church rhetoric "A man is the head of the house, the woman is the heart," vs "Men and women are equal partners," further reveal the cultural, and thus, impermanent nature of patriarchies. I do not need to accept patriarchy to be a good person, Christian, or Mormon.

5. If patriarchies are temporary and cultural, what is eternal? I believe that relationships are eternal, not institutions. We may not always have a patriarchy, but we will always be children of our Heavenly Parents. That is the relationship I want to foster and protect.

So, yes. We have much work to do, but any tiny step that brings us closer to that ideal relationship with ourselves, and our divinity, I celebrate.

Plus, Quentin is just a really cool name.


Katrina said...

i agree again. :) i really want to celebrate the small victories too and acknowledge them. i'm glad you did.

Andrea said...

I have enjoyed your insights. I especially appreciate the idea of 'celebrating small victories.' I think it would help my overall ability to function every week at church if I thought about the small victories more often rather than the glaring, stabbing offenses. While I LOVED that he referred to American Grace (fabulous book), I was not necessarily pleased with the quote itself. If he was referring to the study I think he was referring to (will have to check footnotes when the text comes out), it was a study about the satisfaction of Mormon women regarding the fact that they were not allowed to be clergy. 91% of women were satisfied with not having the priesthood. Compared with 42% of Mormon men who were satisfied with women not having the priesthood. (Insane? yes I think so). And Mormon women are the only group of religious women (with the exception of one other group, I think it was southern baptist women) who were okay with being left out of the clergy.

BUT, being a mom and a professional, I was happy to hear other aspects of his talk.

Liz said...

When you talk about equality between men and women in the church do you mean that you want women to hold the priesthood and priesthood callings?

BTW...I really like your blog and I've passed it on to several friends and family members.

Stephanie said...


I am very open to the idea. However, I accept that there may be other valid ways to achieve equality. Giving women the priesthood just makes a lot of sense to me.

btw, Thanks for passing the blog along. I love the support. and attention.

Piper said...

I understand why you could fill torn about this talk, and why it is important to you, but where there other talks from this General Conference that inspired you in other ways or perhaps served as answers to some of your prayers or concerns?

Stephanie said...


I really liked Elder Eyring's talk on serving the poor. And, as I've documented before, I'm a huge Uchtdorf fan. I feel like he always makes the gospel seem personal again, not institutional.

The Boob Nazi said...

I actually brought up that talk in FHE tonight because of YOUR post. It was like I actually watched it hahaha.

LovelyLauren said...

I loved your comments. While I liked Elder Cook's talk, I have a really difficult time with hearing talks about women and not feeling like I'm being patted on the head.

As in, "aren't you satisfied you silly little feminists? Here's a talk about how great women are." It's like when you mention that you'd like to hear about more women in Gospel Doctrine and someone points out the one lesson a year about women and tells you to be satisfied.

Anyway, you got a shout out on my blog. Lovely thoughts. I need to work on celebrating the small victories more.

Julie said...

Baby steps, I suppose. HOPEFULLY they'll get there eventually.

I had a talk the other day with my brother who was convinced that it was a woman's place to be in the home and raise the kids. I kindly asked how he would feel if it was his sole responsibility in life to be a breeder for the Mormon religion. He thought that was extreme. I didn't. If that really is your view (that women have no business being out of the home)than women are nothing more than vehicles to carry on the religion. Fortunately, that is NOT my view.

I believe when the Proclamation to the World says its a woman's "priamry responsibility" is to care and nutrue, that it is nothing more than that: her responsibility. You can have the responsibility to make sure something gets done without having to do it yourself. Its called delegating and it happens ALL the time in the church. I don't see why my responsibilities should be any different. I can happily pursue my professional goals and dreams and still be a wonderful mother. It CAN be done and happens all the time.

By the end of the conversation, my brother wasn't completely convinced, but at least I opened his eyes a little. He seemed to be considering my point of view. Which, like you said, is good. Its all about the small victories.

Flor de Maria Olivo said...

love your post. I have always thought that the most important thing we learn at church is to persevere until the end and in order to do that we have to follow our Heavenly Father's example right?

Well if we go through and analyze and really ponder the scriptures and more importantly understand God we see that his word evolved with society's understanding of it. He is always the same and his laws have always been the same, there are just some things we are not ready for or are not capable of understanding. For example Mosaic law evolved in the law of Christ when the Lord saw that it was time for it and that the people would have the mental capacity to understand it. I feel the same thing applies to the priesthood ordinances for people of color.

Anyway I think that as LDS women we continue to assert our place and continue educating our children we can advance the Lord's work in a way that will bring equality and tear down male dominance at its root.

I have never felt so empowered as an LDS woman than when I am pondering and listening to the ordinances of the initiatories.

Anyway I could go on and on and on but Ill stop here :)

love reading your point of view on stuff


Fig said...

Amen. I had conflicting thoughts when I listened to the talk - on the one hand, I went the direction Kristine (?) did on By Common Consent - "if we were REALLY equal, we wouldn't need this talk". On the other hand, you know what? It was a good talk. And those things needed to be said, and I agree, he did it sincerely and earnestly and that made all the difference.

Unknown said...

Regarding 91% of women were satisfied with not having the priesthood. Compared with 42% of Mormon men who were satisfied with women not having the priesthood. (Insane? yes I think so). And Mormon women are the only group of religious women (with the exception of one other group, I think it was southern baptist women) who were okay with being left out of the clergy.

Personally you could not give me the priesthood after being in the church for over 35 years now and being Baptist religion before that .
I speak and teach from the pulpit and have been a service missionary for my church, teach primary been a leader many times over.

So why would I need the priesthood? I do more than most women do in others church. In no ways am I left out. Anyone actively going to the temple understands this is principal this something you share with your spouse . Let the guys administrate. The women still reap the benefits and still help run the chuch.
Just remember that the preisthood may be the head but its the sisters who turn the neck.

Amen Diane

Stephanie said...

@Unknown: I don't think it is insane that more men are unsatisfied than women. I think men bear a large burden in the church and wouldn't mind a more equal distribution of responsibilities.

I am happy that you are satisfied with your place in the church. However, I find it rude that you dismiss my concerns with a "If you really understand you're coventants, you'll understand that this (my way) is the way it is supposed to be. "

I do attend the temple, and do understand the covenants, and disagree. I see no doctrinal reason (I see many cultural and traditional reasons) for having men "administrate" and women "reap the benefits." I think "administrative" or priesthood duties should be based on the individual, not gender. Of course, we can agree to disagree.

I could end this with a "maybe if you pray about it, and really understood the nature of personal revelation, you'd realize my opinion is right" but that seems rude.