A Woman in a Man's Church

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Roy
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by Roy » 17 May 2019, 08:37

dande48 wrote:
16 May 2019, 19:42
I think the rich men in power (or anyone else) who sexually harass anyone should all be run over by a truck.
I just want to point out that this is almost certainly hyperbole. Still, in keeping with the rules of this site let's tone it down.
"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

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On Own Now
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by On Own Now » 17 May 2019, 10:40

I'd like to articulate my own views briefly and hopefully leave this thread on more of an upswing (for my own mental health).

I don't believe that either "masculine" or "feminine" traits are inherently better or closer to God. Therefore people who have primarily masculine traits (mostly, but not exclusively men) and people who have primarily feminine traits (mostly, but not exclusively women) all bring important social and individual elements of themselves to our shared world. Are traits such as these elevated or suppressed by gender roles and narratives during upbringing? Yes. Are they also part of our natural makeup before our environments affect them? I believe yes and I allow that others will disagree.

But regardless, we, us people here on the earth, are what we are, and I believe that each of us has amazing qualities along side a propensity to falter. Each of us has the ability to utilize our qualities for good; for our own betterment and for the betterment of our community. We may solve problems in different ways, we may seek out and maintain relationships in different ways, we may perceive the same situations differently. Yet, ultimately, it is our ability to leverage our own individual strengths in our own individual approaches while at the same time seeking to cooperate with each other in spite of differences that makes us truly amazing creatures.

My wife and I are different people. We see things differently, we solve things differently. We frequently smile and repeat the mantra vive la difference. Part of what makes our love work so well is our mutual admiration of qualities in the other that don't come as easily to ourselves. We have been able to see these in each other by reaching across the proverbial aisle.

To my sisters here at StayLDS: I have been your advocate and will continue to do so. I frequently voice my desires to end gender roles in Church and have admonished other men to see how easily women in the Church regard themselves as second class citizens; and that we have to do what we can to end that. As I mentioned in a recent thread, I would rather not talk about 'modesty' in Church any more, because the Church's definition is in appearance, and that falls on the girls as their special burden. I don't want the Church to be in the business of telling one group they have special rules. I hope for a day when women receive the full priesthood, not some subset (and semantics-based) version of it. I believe completely that it will happen and perhaps some of you who are younger than I am will live to see it. I hope so. I long for a day when the Church will renounce polygamy; not simply say "we no longer practice it" (which isn't even entirely true). I don't know if that one will occur. I think so, I hope so, but it's a long way off. I do these things and I hope for these things as a white male American with masculine traits, not in spite of it.

To my gay and lesbian friends here. As I've said before, I am sorry for my past views. I was wrong before. I have learned of myself because of people I have known and know now, that you are just as valid as anyone else in your sexuality and your desire for relationships that don't fit the heterosexual view. For several years now, I have been your advocate and I will continue to do so. I have marched with Mormons Building Bridges. I frequently voice my support of SSM in the secular world and that I think someday the Church should change its own stance. I do believe it will happen. Not soon enough, for sure, and we will lose many good and amazing and wonderful and unreservedly first-class members of the Church because of this. But someday, it will change. I pray that I live long enough to see the changes. I don't think the prohibition is well-supported in our scriptures. I do these things and I hope for these things as a white male American with masculine traits, not in spite of it.

If you are still reading this, I want to leave you with one of my own favorite passages from the New Testament. As I've said on these pages before, Paul was a radical universalist. He was way ahead of the game on women in the Church. Unfortunately, later, people who wanted to get back to establishing a distinction between men and women wrote words into the NT that they ascribed to Paul, to counter what Paul himself had said. That left Paul posthumously stripped of one of his most distinctive views. Paul himself wrote to the Gentiles in Galatia to assure them that they were every bit as good and Godly and loved by God and part of the Family of Christ as anyone else (and for this one, I'll use the familiar KJV):
ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
IMO, whether we believe Paul, believe in God, don't know, or believe there is no God, Paul's ideal resonates through the centuries; we are all of equal worth and goodness.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by hawkgrrrl » 17 May 2019, 13:06

OON:
On Own Now wrote:
17 May 2019, 10:40
I don't believe that either "masculine" or "feminine" traits are inherently better or closer to God. Therefore people who have primarily masculine traits (mostly, but not exclusively men) and people who have primarily feminine traits (mostly, but not exclusively women) all bring important social and individual elements of themselves to our shared world. Are traits such as these elevated or suppressed by gender roles and narratives during upbringing? Yes. Are they also part of our natural makeup before our environments affect them? I believe yes and I allow that others will disagree.
I don't think there's disagreement between these statements and what Robert Greene was asserting (nor what I've been saying). The only clarification is that when we are encouraged / forced / shamed into repressing parts of our natural traits, there are negative consequences (I used the term "toxic" because the term is prevalent in gender discussions, but it wasn't specifically his term). The more extreme this suppression, the more extreme the negative consequences. The less well suited we are to the roles we are forced to play, the more we will resent those roles.

I would also clarify that men & women have more in common than we don't. We aren't two different species! In my case, the traits that are associated with "feminine" (caring, emotional) don't generally fit me as well as the so-called "masculine" traits (aggressive, assertive, logical), although I am more cooperative (inclusive) than competitive. I can't say (nor really can any of us) how much of that is because my earliest experiences taught me that masculine traits were more valued in my family and in society (school, etc.) and I adapted to that or how much of it is because I am naturally more that way. But being aware of both types of traits, accepting our capacity for both, is helpful to becoming a more balanced, effective person.

dande48:
"I cannot support a movement that belittles another group in order to further their cause."
I don't know what movement you are talking about here, nor what group you are saying this movement is belittling. The post is about a book that describes childhood development as relates to gender roles. It's not talking about any movement, and I didn't find anything in the chapter belittling to any groups.

OON:
"I find this to be a gross exaggeration of the way that men work within structured organizations as a way to advance achievement. It conforms with what I have heard on this site many times, that men "need" hierarchy."
I can't defend of decry Greene's description as by very nature, any male organization I'm in is one I can't see that closely, being a woman. But I have seen some of these trends in male organizations. I have also seen some of the trends of female organizations he describes. If I were to describe the female organizations I would have said "indecisive and too focused on feelings to achieve results," a negative descriptor. But to your point we really don't encounter many organizations that are all one way or the other since they tend to be a mix of both styles. The church is, IMO, the closest I've seen to the male descriptors. My time in corporate was much more a mix of both.

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dande48
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by dande48 » 17 May 2019, 22:39

hawkgrrrl wrote:
17 May 2019, 13:06
I don't know what movement you are talking about here, nor what group you are saying this movement is belittling. The post is about a book that describes childhood development as relates to gender roles.
I wasn't refering to the book. That's a very old theory, and I agree with the premise.

I was referring to the modern wave of feminism. It has, in my experience, extensively belittled men, by using terms such as "toxic masculinity" in order to further their cause. I think it's counterproductive. By using terms, like "toxic masculinity" (among others) we are doing exactly what the book discusses. It is assigning the trait "toxic" (comprimising a variety of traits, all bad) primarily to the male gender. It makes men feel ashamed for being men.

What we really want, is to do without toxic behavior in all its forms, wherever it comes from. Calling a male "effeminate" for tearing up with emotion is counterproductive. You can be 100% a man, and still show emotion. You can be 100% a woman, and still be aggressive. If both men and women can posess a trait, and should feel comfortable in posessing a trait, why apply those traits primarily to a single gender? Assigning a label to a trait which conflicts with the trait-barer's identity, will not make them more self-accepting. Which is what we all really want, isn't it?
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 May 2019, 21:54

The issue is that most traits have been assigned, historically, to either men or women - and people have been pressured to conform to those assigned traits by those in power (overwhelmingly men). The term "toxic masculinity" has a deeply historic foundation. It is NOT saying masculinity is toxic. It is saying there are elements of what is expected of men (sex- and gender-based masculinity) that are uniquely and catastrophically toxic, especially those related to gaining and maintaining power. I think that is difficult to challenge, as a historical descriptor. If women had been in power throughout history, and if men had been oppressed by women historically, the current movement would be the reverse - namely identifying toxic aspects of femininity. Movements generally arise to challenge the status quo, particularly regarding those in power, not to criticize even more those who are not in power.

Of course there are stereotypical traits of femininity that are toxic, but those traits have not led historically to the oppression of men. Toxic traits of stereotypical masculinity have led to the oppression of women. The historic power imbalance has created the emphasis on toxic aspects of normalized, enforced, expected masculinity. It also doesn't help that the VAST majority of wars and widespread conflict throughout history have been overseen by men who exhibit those stereotypically masculine traits.

The main focus of the term is not to call masculinity toxic. The phrasing uses "toxic" as a qualifier of "masculinity", so it seeks to identify ONLY specific elements of the sex- and gender-based demands placed on men that are toxic - and there are many. It doesn't seek to shame men for being men; rather, it seeks to illustrate how adhering to historically enforced stereotypes of what men "should be" has been, is, and can be toxic. Of course, many men feel attacked - which could help them realize what it has been like to be a woman since the beginning of time - and still today, even (or particularly) in a hierarchically male church.

Again, my primary example of this is the Beatitudes. They are applicable to everyone, male and female, but, without exception, they are traits historically associated with women - and, by extension, other oppressed people in that society. Jesus didn't say, "Men, quit being so much like stereotypical men. That is toxic. Start incorporating stereotypically female characteristics," but what he taught in that passage fits what I just wrote. I have wondered how the Beatitudes would be different if it was addressed primarily to the women of his time - or if we even would have that same sermon.

Finally, it is instructive that Hawkgirl is the ONLY woman who has commented thus far in this conversation thread. Please consider that. Perhaps that says something about being a woman in a man's (world).
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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 May 2019, 22:02

Admin Note: The conversation has moved away from the primary focus on what it is like to be a woman in a man's church. Since all of the commenters except the author are men, that is not surprising. However, we ought to try to return to the central point of the original post and honor more fully the author's attempt to convey what it is like to be a woman in the LDS Church rather than argue about a term that makes men uncomfortable and to which men tend to react negatively.
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

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On Own Now
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by On Own Now » 20 May 2019, 07:39

I will be leaving StayLDS. This thread has been a major factor, but it's not the only one. In a few days, I'll write a final post that I've been thinking about, summarizing what I have learned in my path, including through the tremendous help of people here at StayLDS.

But the dialog here has moved to a place that no longer suits me. At this site, I learned to be at peace with myself and at peace with the people of the Church. These no longer seem even to be general themes here.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

Roy
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by Roy » 20 May 2019, 10:04

OON I feel that, while there is some sadness when friends outgrow our connection to them, it is sadness tinged with hope and joy. I have joy that you seem to have accomplished what you came here to do. I have hope that life after StayLDS is better for all of us participants than it was before we came here. Happy trails, friend
"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: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 May 2019, 11:29

I will be sad to see you go, friend. You have been an invaluable voice here over the years, and I appreciate you and your contributions more than I can express.

God bless you in all you do.
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

AmyJ
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Re: A Woman in a Man's Church

Post by AmyJ » 20 May 2019, 11:57

I have been following this conversation thread with interest.

I feel that male/female views of, well anything, wind up looking a lot like an Esher painting - both sides are seeing the same lines and colors, but the translation is entirely different.

I think that in the last 40 years, we have started to admit as a people that the same painting has different nuances and different perspectives - and allowing it to influence our perception and depth of the painting.

It is very easy to stick with only what you see, what jumps out at you. I know what it is like to be a female, and have my words weighted and dismissed accordingly. I have an idea of what is culturally expected of me as a woman and mother at church (usually what I manage not to do, or do poorly - though sometimes it works out). I think that our church culture is shifting away from hollow one-size-fits-all perfection into in-depth, individualized different representations of perfection (Yay!).

It bothers me that our sisters in church leadership are given 5 year unpaid tenures instead of full-time positions the way the other general authorities are treated. However, I understand that the church leadership purposely selects females that don't need the income, so the money can be spent elsewhere. It's a case of thrift vs the message that "your work is not worth being paid for".

It bothers me that our sisters do not have female advocates in male church discipline councils. I don't know that we would set up the system to have an extra male in the room if a man was testifying in front of an all-female board. While I think that the emotional needs of our sisters would benefit from having another female in the room, I can almost see how it wouldn't necessarily be a first thought thing.

It bothers me when the brethren make comments about the sisters "automatically doing [whatever it is] better" because "that's how they are". It bothers me because it segregates our efforts into "us" vs "them".

I don't know why things are the way they are. I can make some educated and semi-educated theories and statements (which may be absolute truth, relative truth, perceptive truth, or just my best shot in the dark).

Organizationally, I can connect the historical dots to see mostly how we got here - and how we are progressing in talking to each other as men and women.

Personally, I think that it is important to listen to each other to see from another's point of view.
"The single most powerful statement to come out of brain research in the last twenty-five years is this:
We are as different from one another on the inside of our heads as we appear to be different from one another on the outside of our heads.
Look around and see the infinite variety of human heads—skin, hair, age, ethnic characteristics, size, color, and shape. And know that on the inside such differences are even greater—what we know, how we learn, how we process information, what we remember and forget, our strategies for functioning and coping.
Add to that the understanding that the “world” out “there” is as much a projection from inside our heads as it is a perception, and pretty soon you are up against the realization that it is a miracle that we are communicating at all. It is almost unbelievable that we are dealing with the same reality. We operate on a kind of loose consensus about existence at best.
From a practical point of view, day by day, this kind of information makes me a little more patient with the people I live with. I am less inclined to
protest, “Why don’t you see it the way I do?” and more inclined to say, “You see it that way? Holy cow! How amazing!”"

- Robert Fulghum It was on Fire When I Lay Down on it
http://roykealing.weebly.com/uploads/1/ ... _brain.pdf

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