Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Only Love
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Joined: 15 Apr 2018, 19:29

Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by Only Love » 29 Apr 2018, 19:35

I'm struggling today. I've been noticing more and more the sexism in the church and the temple. It bothers me for my own sake, but I feel like I can handle it and I still want to stay. But it bothers me a million times more for the sake of my daughters. Right now they are young (my oldest is almost 7) but I fear the messages they get/will get about their own power and abilities. Those of you with daughters, how do you counter the sexism?

AmyJ
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Re: Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by AmyJ » 30 Apr 2018, 05:36

I don't know if it is worth raising my daughters in the church. But I say that because one daughter does have additional challenges that make church-going more problematical and painful.

There are messages I like at church. I like the teachings that every child is a child of God with innate worth and potential, so I focus on that. When my daughter was baptized last year, I focused the combined Baptism/Holy Ghost talk on joining the community of saints and having a gift tailored to her individual needs in life.

To counter the sexism in the church, I guess I try to use the tools that I internalize myself to teach her about her role. As a family, we listen to audio books that put a positive female role model forward. My daughter is there when my husband and I talk about our different roles, and we talk about events such as woman's suffrage and Seneca Falls, NY. As she gets old enough to care and ask questions, I will answer them to the best of my ability and cite cultural/historical context. My daughter and I watched "Little Women" this weekend, and I was surprised about how much sexism was in that time - and I commented pointed about that a few times just so she had context to celebrate how far we have come. The best thing I can do is help her identify the baby and the bathwater so that she doesn't throw the baby out in the bathwater when she forms her own choices. I can give her facts as they are age and/or developmentally appropriate, and I can give her my opinions and understanding based on what I have learned and my experiences. I can explain the choices I make to a certain degree, which will help.

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dande48
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Re: Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by dande48 » 30 Apr 2018, 06:01

Mine's still in diapers, so I hope it's alright if I still chime in. A few questions:
  • What is it, specifically, that bothers you? What negative effect do you wish to avoid?
  • What positive lessons do you hope your daughters will take away from the LDS Church? Is there a more effective "teacher" for those lessons?

A few things to consider:
  • Things are remarkably improving, albeit slower than people would like. The bible itself is very sexist in quite few areas, which are now almost always dismissed or completely ignored. There will probably be "remnants" of sexism in all Christian Churches for a very long time. But for the most part, things have gotten much better, and will continue to improve.
  • The trouble with "freedom" or "free agency" is that it is too often defined as "the ability to do whatever I tell you to do". For example, all young women are strongly encouraged (almost coerced) into getting a college education, serving as full-time missionaries, and working for a period after. For feminism, this feels like a solid win, as it empowers women to work and establish financial and emotional independence. Unfortunately, it can hurt their freedom to make a different choice, such as choosing not to serve a mission, or to be a stay at home mother. It'll be difficult to give them true freedom to make their own choices, which i feel feminism *should* really be about. You are ALWAYS going to have people telling your daughters they should be doing something different than what they are doing, no matter what they decide to do, in or out of the Church.
  • If you decide not to raise your daughters in the Church, it'd be worth it to have a good, solid alternative to meet their spiritual needs. Most groups have their problems, but even the Church is "Better than nothing". I'd say it's "better than much", but that's just me.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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SilentDawning
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Re: Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by SilentDawning » 30 Apr 2018, 07:34

Only Love wrote:
29 Apr 2018, 19:35
I'm struggling today. I've been noticing more and more the sexism in the church and the temple. It bothers me for my own sake, but I feel like I can handle it and I still want to stay. But it bothers me a million times more for the sake of my daughters. Right now they are young (my oldest is almost 7) but I fear the messages they get/will get about their own power and abilities. Those of you with daughters, how do you counter the sexism?
Neutralize the effects. Share how the church is changing to be more gender friendly. Even if it's not enough.

Neutralize the "stay home and have babies" forever message, and teach the boys about non-sexist behavior at church and in the world.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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Heber13
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Re: Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by Heber13 » 30 Apr 2018, 09:14

Both my daughters are married to fine priesthood holders that love and support them 100%. Actually one of them is a little bit of a follower and is happy to have found my daughter who makes the decisions in the home for them...they have found their balance for their relationship. Temple recommend holders, they love the priesthood in their home, my daughter NEVER feels the sexism in the church and frankly doesn't understand women who do (because she hasn't experienced it from me growing up in our home, or the guys she has dated). That is her experience so far and she is naive to many issues, and I think sexism in the church bothers me more than her...

...but the point is...if my daughter is super happy with a priesthood holder that honors and respects her...then I have nothing to fear in the church for her and can't convince her she should fear.

Both daughters have great guys they found at BYU. I'm happy they went there. Both daughters dated nonmembers before marriage. For sure the guys they found to marry are way better than anyone else they dated. I'm happy for them that they could make such great choices.

I'm just sharing my experience, not discounting anyone else's or saying the fears aren't valid.

Only that it is less of a worry if my kids find members or nonmembers to marry...but find good people.

Do you feel you are sexist to your wife because you hold the priesthood?

If not, that is something to remember. There are many guys that are not sexist in this church and defend their spouses, like you or me. Since that is a factor...your daughter may be just fine. Trust her,. She is smart.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Roadrunner
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Re: Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by Roadrunner » 30 Apr 2018, 09:41

I have one 18 year daughter who is a senior in high school and a 20 year old who is sophomore at Arizona State University. My answer is a "qualified yes" that it's worth it raising daughters in the church. There are considerable negatives such as rampant sexism and misogyny but it's getting better, and is not that bad and even progressive in pockets of the church. The YW leaders in my ward are excellent role models - about 75% of the leaders are highly successful professionals such as a professor at a major college, pharmacist, college basketball coach. Only one is a stay at home mom - my wife.

The "yes" part of my answer comes from the social aspects of the church. My older daughter got a generous scholarship from a philanthropy minded LDS member which she would have never received otherwise. My younger daughter will get a quality and inexpensive education at BYU (itself somewhat a mixed bag. She has had high quality friends and experiences she gained from LDS contacts. For example she shadows our stake president in his surgery practice and has the goal of being a medical doctor because of his positive influence. One of my daughter's best friends is an LDS French girl she met at BYU dance camp, and who she visited in Paris for a few weeks last year.

It's possible that some of these experiences are the result of good parenting and hard work on her part - and which may have happened outside the church - but I think the church is a significant factor.

Roy
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Re: Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by Roy » 30 Apr 2018, 12:55

Wonderful comments!

Random thoughts as I read through the responses.
AmyJ wrote:
30 Apr 2018, 05:36
I focused the combined Baptism/Holy Ghost talk on joining the community of saints and having a gift tailored to her individual needs in life.
Yes, I told DD that the holy ghost was the divine spark within her that will guide her into who she is to become. Her parents know only in part, her teachers know only in part, she herself may know only in part but the HG knows God's unique plans for her and he will prompt her in key moments. I feel that this interpretation is doctrinally sound. More importantly, I want DD to learn to trust her internal compass.
dande48 wrote:
30 Apr 2018, 06:01
There will probably be "remnants" of sexism in all Christian Churches for a very long time.
Yes, I personally believe that the "harken" language in our temple endowment ceremony is itself derived from the NT.

Ephesians 5:22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything
Heber13 wrote:
30 Apr 2018, 09:14
Only that it is less of a worry if my kids find members or nonmembers to marry...but find good people.
Hawkgrrrl has written something to the effect that even though the church hierarchy remains highly closed to women, the majority of LDS marriages seem to be remarkably cooperative, respectful, and egalitarian. I seem to remember her speculating that the churches focus on family can make men more helpful in childrearing (changing diapers and otherwise co-parenting). Of course there are no guarantees, but there is something to be said for the church grooming YM to become better than average marriage partners.
Roadrunner wrote:
30 Apr 2018, 09:41
It's possible that some of these experiences are the result of good parenting and hard work on her part - and which may have happened outside the church - but I think the church is a significant factor.


Those are some wonderful experiences that I believe cannot be precisely replicated by everyone. However, I do believe that the LDS community can be a valuable resource of contacts, role-models, and mentors.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Roy
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Re: Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by Roy » 30 Apr 2018, 13:47

Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?
For myself, I believe it is important to provide a counter to the hyper-sexually charged messages that my children receive in the school/media world they breath. Some of my daughter's school friends wear heavy makeup and have boyfriends at 12. I anticipate that boyfriends will eventually pressure girlfriends into some form of sexual relationship (isn't that the point of being boyfriend/girlfriend).

I do not want my daughter to "drink the Kool-Aid" at church. Nor do I want her to accept without challenge the messages that she gets from her peer group, the media, and other sources.

I hope to provide her with several examples of life patterns to help her understand that she is not limited to just one.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Apr 2018, 20:21

Yes, because strong, independent, feminists are needed.

The Church is stronger because my four daughters are in it.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Only Love
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Re: Is it worth it raising daughters in the church?

Post by Only Love » 02 May 2018, 15:07

Thank you for the responses. I think something that will help a lot is raising my daughters (and son) to think for themselves. The way I was raised in the church, the brethren were ALWAYS speaking for God and thus they were ALWAYS right. And the way the church was run was "true." I believed that without really questioning it. I remember when my oldest was born and I was struggling with depression and wanting to get a job, telling my husband, "but I HAVE to be a stay-at-home mom! That's what righteous women do!" I didn't believe I had a choice in the matter. I'm just realizing these last couple of years how much I internalized a limited view of what women can and should do and how it has held me back. I'm starting to embrace my own power and ability to make choices for my life which is exciting! It is so important to me that my daughters don't go through what I went through.

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