The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

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Cadence
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Re: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by Cadence » 09 Jun 2019, 07:28

DarkJedi wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 06:59
Gerald wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 06:33
I feel that the chruch disdains and estranges a man's man. Working class men that are rough around the edges are not accepted in Mormon culture.
I hadn't thought about this but I think I have to agree. I live in a ward (and have lived in wards) with a number of men "rough around the edges." Their discomfort in Sunday School and Priesthood meetings is often palpable. I can see why some men may have a hard time connecting with the Church when leaders tend towards the "warm-nurturing" end of the spectrum. Our bishopric is composed of two men who definitely fit that Mormon stereotype and one who is "rough around the edges." It's actually refreshing to have someone conduct meetings who is a bit out of the "Mormon" mold.

Of course, I think men in general can struggle to connect with one another in any context.
I think this is one of those cases where we need to be careful to distinguish between what "the church teaches" and what people in the church teach. Just saying.
I think the church leaders absolutely teach that men need to be exactly what men tend to be in the church. Watch any conference talk and that is what most men tend to copy. Goofy humor, soft spoken, emotional. I do not even think those things are bad. They are good qualities for some men. My problem is in the church we tend to elevate those qualities above say the opposite. Tough, resilient someone with a hard edge is more belittled.

Probably why I never fit in well. Not emotional at all. Distain hand wringing exercises about how we just could not exist without our wives. More of a mans man who loves women and think they are just great.

I sometimes wonder what those early pioneer men and even women would think about todays man in the church? Being emotional and touch feely did not get your wagon out of the mud.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

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DarkJedi
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Re: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Jun 2019, 09:06

I've been guilty of hyperbole in the past and I've been called out on it in the past. No offense intended Cadence, intimating that every GC talk is replete with this idea is just plain inaccurate. Very few actually are. My boys and I do have a running joke about how long it will take Eyring to cry in one of his talks - but it really is just kidding with each other. That's Eyring's disposition. I have heard the supposition that he was originally called to balance the quorum with BRM and Joseph Fielding Smith, and I can see how that could have been the case. I do not recall hearing him preach that in order for us real to be real men we have to cry as he does. Then we have old stern face Oaks. Keep in mind that as counterintuitive as it may seem, I like Oaks. But the guy seriously needs to smile more, and I understand that he is much different in person (although he was not the time I mean him long ago).

Teaching us to be kind (ie "Love one another as I have Loved you"), and to especially be kind to our wives and children is a far different thing than than teaching us to be namby-pamby. I hear some of the former, very little of the latter. And culturally speaking (inside and outside church culture) the pioneers were a different people than we are - it is not comparing apples to apples.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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BJE
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Re: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by BJE » 09 Jun 2019, 16:55

Cadence wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 07:28

I sometimes wonder what those early pioneer men and even women would think about todays man in the church? Being emotional and touch feely did not get your wagon out of the mud.
I have great great grandparents were on the “Hole in the Rock” expedition, written about by Gerold Lund in the book The Undaunted and great great grandparents who were called to the Muddy Mission in Nevada, written about by Dean Hughes in his new book Muddy. They were tough people.

BJE
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Re: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by BJE » 09 Jun 2019, 17:07

DarkJedi wrote:
09 Jun 2019, 09:06
Then we have old stern face Oaks. Keep in mind that as counterintuitive as it may seem, I like Oaks. But the guy seriously needs to smile more, and I understand that he is much different in person (although he was not the time I mean him long ago).
I guess I’m a bit stern faced. Awhile back the first councilor in our bishopric, who is a bit rough around the edges shook my hand before sacrament meeting and said “smile dammit”.

Dallin H Oaks spoke at our stake conference a little over nine years ago. He stayed after to shake hands with people. I shook his hand and introduced my son Dallin who was turning eight the next day and would be baptized. Elder Oaks said to my son that whenever he meets someone named Dallin he likes to give them a hug and asked him if it was okay to give a hug. My son said yes then Elder Oaks bent down and gave my son a big hug and stood up lifting him off the ground. That is something my son will never forget.

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Re: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by Curt Sunshine » 10 Jun 2019, 06:34

There are "manly men" who are aloof, cold, stern, aggressive, hardline, etc. and "wimpy men" who have no spine, are lazy, get pushed around easily, have no ambition or drive, etc. There also are men who are at every point between those two extremes.

The LDS Church teaches neither of the extremes. The general standard taught most is a balanced, middle way man - not the stereotype in many parts of society ("I am the boss. Do what I say without questioning me.") but not the other extreme (so commonly depicted in TV shows).

We had the ultra-stern model (e.g. Joseph F. Smith and Ezra Taft Benson), and we have those who appear to be closer to the other end (but actually aren't) just because they cry (e.g., Henry B. Eyring) - and we have many more who are somewhere in the middle (e.g., Deiter F. Uchtdorf and Jeffrey R. Holland).

I like the middle way approach MUCH more than either extreme.
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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Cadence
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Re: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by Cadence » 10 Jun 2019, 11:29

It may not be so much a function of what the church teaches men to be but what type of man gravitates to the church.

Of course there are always outliers, but as a whole I will stand by my experience that the real TBM men exhibit a more passive personality. It’s not a criticism just an observation.

Weak men don’t like to be told they are weak, and strong men don’t like to be told they are weak. Must be a man thing.


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Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

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DarkJedi
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Re: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by DarkJedi » 10 Jun 2019, 14:44

Cadence wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 11:29
It may not be so much a function of what the church teaches men to be but what type of man gravitates to the church.

Of course there are always outliers, but as a whole I will stand by my experience that the real TBM men exhibit a more passive personality. It’s not a criticism just an observation.

Weak men don’t like to be told they are weak, and strong men don’t like to be told they are weak. Must be a man thing.


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I have it on pretty good authority that none of the Q15 are passive, and all have very strong personalities. I would not classify any of them, including Eyring, as "weak" and I triple dog dare you to walk up to one of them and tell him how weak he is. (Yes, I know the triple dog dare is a breech of etiquette.)

ETA: (For the record I try not to wade into these gender/sexism discussions because I get myself in trouble. Alas, here I am again.) I have a long commute, I leave my house at 5:30 in the morning and count myself lucky to be home at 6 in the evening. The commute can be much longer in the winter. I do my own house repairs, I can do minor car repairs (harder on modern cars with all of the electronics), I keep my yard and gardens nice. I shovel snow (sometimes feet of snow) in the winter and mow my half acre with a walk behind mower in the summer. I am a proud veteran from a long line of veterans who served from the American Revolution through Viet Nam. My tenth great-grandfather was a Mayflower Pact signer. Nothing I did when I was in the army was nearly as hard as what any of them did - but I was a soldier through and through. None of that makes me strong.

I have been known to visit the changing table - watch out for boys, their aim is uncanny. I like to cook and I am a better cook than my wife, although she has specialties that run circles around what I can do. I cook at least half the time because I get home before she does because she works 10 hour days so she can Fridays off. I know how to use the washer and the vacuum cleaner. Together, my wife and I taught our children how to be Christians, even in the midst of my faith crisis. One of the few things I remember our sealer saying was to treat my wife like the queen she is - and I am far from perfect at that but I do try. I have been known to cry during "How Great Thou Art," "I Stand All Amazed," and other hymns and on rare occasion during a talk when I didn't steel myself enough because I underestimated the power of the Light side. None of that makes me weak.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Roy
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Re: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by Roy » 10 Jun 2019, 17:40

I believe that there is definitely some truth to this. In my mission in south America it was customary for many men to go play soccer and drink with the guys on Sunday. Not all men did this but enough of them did that it was seen as the macho thing to do. When a man was baptized into the church they had to give up the alcohol that was seen as a part of being macho. They likely also had to give up hanging with the guys in bars. It is not a sin to hang out in bars with the guys but it is definitely discouraged both officially and unofficially. It is expected to come to church on Sunday. Even if you can change out of your church clothes in time to play a few rounds of soccer - it is discouraged and seen by many as a breach of the Sabbath.

In exchange for that "lifestyle", we LDS offer the brotherhood of the priesthood. It would be socially unacceptable to complain about your nagging wife in a gathering of priesthood men. We do service projects. We help people move. We don't look at porn or ogle other women. We don't swear (even when women or children are not around). We shake hands and wear ties. I am sure that there are many examples of the type of culture that LDS men are indoctrinated into. I agree that I am not quite comfortable calling it effeminate - yet it certainly appears to be something different than the machismo that I observed as a missionary.
"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: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by Roy » 10 Jun 2019, 18:20

As a follow up thought to this. I believe that what is acceptable in corporate culture has also been shifting. There is a shift away from "boys will be boys", "the boys club", the glass ceiling etc. Sexual harassment is a big no-no (quid pro quo or hostile work environment). Hitting another is almost never justified. We seem to be less touchy about offenses to our honor.

Even the soccer games, and hanging around in bars on Sundays that I observed on my mission - those were populated by the working class men. The more corporate men did not seem to spend their time that way. One could say that in indoctrinating LDS men to become good priesthood brethren the LDS church is also indoctrinating LDS men to become better corporate employees.
"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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DarkJedi
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Re: The Nature of Men in the LDS Church

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Jun 2019, 05:57

Roy wrote:
10 Jun 2019, 17:40
I believe that there is definitely some truth to this. In my mission in south America it was customary for many men to go play soccer and drink with the guys on Sunday. Not all men did this but enough of them did that it was seen as the macho thing to do. When a man was baptized into the church they had to give up the alcohol that was seen as a part of being macho. They likely also had to give up hanging with the guys in bars. It is not a sin to hang out in bars with the guys but it is definitely discouraged both officially and unofficially. It is expected to come to church on Sunday. Even if you can change out of your church clothes in time to play a few rounds of soccer - it is discouraged and seen by many as a breach of the Sabbath.

In exchange for that "lifestyle", we LDS offer the brotherhood of the priesthood. It would be socially unacceptable to complain about your nagging wife in a gathering of priesthood men. We do service projects. We help people move. We don't look at porn or ogle other women. We don't swear (even when women or children are not around). We shake hands and wear ties. I am sure that there are many examples of the type of culture that LDS men are indoctrinated into. I agree that I am not quite comfortable calling it effeminate - yet it certainly appears to be something different than the machismo that I observed as a missionary.
But that's just the thing, Roy. The underlying current in this thread is that because we do those things - because we don't hang out at the bar after work or play soccer on the Sabbath - we're "emasculated" or less manly or less macho. I know lots of good manly men who don't hang out at bars and aren't necessarily religious (although we're far from the only church that discourages such behavior). How does hanging out at a bar or playing soccer on Sunday make anyone more or less of a man? Just because you have a Harvard Law degree and have chosen (and perhaps been raised in) a more "genteel" lifestyle, are you less of a man? Even if you played Harvard lacrosse or rugby? Maybe I'm missing something here, but is there something wrong with being a refined human being? Don't misunderstand, I'm also not saying there's anything wrong with the Archie Bunker type who does go to the bar for a drink after work (and where I live there are plenty of Archie Bunkers) - I just don't think that makes him any more or less of a man.

I've made this observation on other threads here before. My ward has many educated men (and women). We have doctors, lawyers, engineers, college professors, etc. We also have restaurant bussers, retail workers and those who have trouble finding gainful employment. The former are almost all raised in the church members and those that aren't converted at a younger age and gained their education after conversion (I fall into that category). The people who are being baptized in my ward (and baptisms are rare) mostly fall into the second group, or in other words they're not doctors, lawyers or engineers and in many cases don't have the capacity to be those things. Some of those guys in the first category do their own roof repairs and house painting even though they could afford to pay someone to do it. Some of those guys in the second category do pay others to do those things even though they have to go into debt to do so (or get church assistance). Which ones are not emasculated, macho or manly?
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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