Mormon author says “we just can’t shame women” for not following the wife-and-mother script
I don’t regard Mormonism as being a form of Christianity, but I found this page interesting. There are parallels to how Mormons view women and marriage and how evangelical Christians (and Southern Baptists, Reformed, etc) view the whole thing.
There is definitely still pressure among gender complementarian Christian women to marry and have children, and women who never marry, who don’t have children (or who don’t want any), or who are divorced, are either treated with scorn, ignored, or shamed.
I just saw a creepy natalistic story in my Twitter feed I might post about later, if I remember to or have the time: some Roman Catholic Church is bribing people in its congregation to have two or more children.
Amazing how some people and organizations cannot just leave people alone to make their own choices in life about fundamental life situations, like when or if to have children (note I am pro-life on abortion, but I’m not against women using birth control and choosing not to get pregnant).
Anyway, here is the page about how Mormonism pressures women into marrying and having children, and how this negatively impacts some women.
Excerpt from first half of the article:
- by J. Riess
- When Jamie Zvirzdin was living in the Marshall Islands a few years ago, she had a cultural and religious awakening. Suddenly the tidy Mormon gospel she had taken for granted all her life just wasn’t quite big enough.
- The Sandy, Utah native had always been a diehard Mormon – “religious scrupulosity was my middle name,” she said in an interview this week – until living in a radically different culture challenged some of her assumptions.
- For example, it no longer seemed fair for her to teach the Young Women under her care that they shouldn’t shop on Sundays; in their world without refrigeration, electricity, and pantry shelves full of food, daily shopping was imperative.
- Additionally, Zvirzdin began to realize that the gender roles she had been raised on in Mormondom were not universal – and in fact were sometimes harmful.
- “So I started polling my friends: What does it mean to you to be a Mormon woman?” she explains. “And this book idea came about, to address gender expectations in Mormonism.”
- The just-published anthology Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women features a dozen essays by Mormon women. Most of the contributors are on the younger side (early 30s), though one, Colleen Whitley, is a retired BYU professor and a proud grandmother.
- Most of the writers are still active members of the Church, but a few, including Zvirzdin, have made the painful decision to pull up stakes.
- One factor in her decision stretches back to growing up as a Utah girl who was more interested in science than in motherhood. (She is now a science editor and writer.) “I feel like my parents encouraged me in science, but the general church culture did not,” Zvirzdin says. She carried around with her an ideal of the Mormon woman that she was supposed to be, and she berated herself when she fell short. “I grew up with a very specific Mormon woman identity that is more cultural than doctrinal, but either way, it’s not who I am.”
- …Many women in the Church, she says, “have this ideal of who they’re supposed to be in order to be good and to be loved. And usually, that ideal includes marriage and multiple children.
- …Bottom line? “Ideals are very relative and can become dangerous for women.”
- …Other essays in the collection echo some of Zvirzdin’s discomfort, including one by Karen Challis Critchfield, who gave up her own childhood dreams so that she could follow the Church’s script and become a wife and mother – only to find, when she did become a wife and mother, that she felt unfulfilled and without passion.
(Link): Why Christians Need To Stress Spiritual Family Over the Nuclear Family – People with no flesh and blood relations including Muslims who Convert to Christianity – Also: First World, White, Rich People Problems