Zelophehad’s Daughters

Renouncing the Philosophies of Women, Mingled With Scripture

Posted by ZD

We at ZD are pleased to announce that we’ve made a surprising and delightful discovery: our radiant inner femininity is a true blessing to the world, and, in light of this ephiphany, we’ve begun embracing our divine gender roles in earnest. We’ve long felt there was something sadly lacking in our lives, and we’ve found it in the most surpising of places: patriarchal authority. We feel strongly (and the men in our lives concur) that there’s no more reason to worry our pretty little heads over things of the world, so the single among us are moving back in with our fathers where we can hone our skills as full-time homemakers and practice submitting to male jurisdiction, “learn[ing] in silence with all subjection,” while the wives on our site have committed themselves to renewed effort in surrendering to the presiding wills of our husbands.

We never thought this day would come, but we’ve rescued our charcoal-stained bras from the flames and donned them with pride. Rather than selfishly squandering time blogging about trumped-up non-issues in Mormon feminism, we’ve decided to devote ourselves to a more feminine and worthy pursuit: we expect shortly to unveil a line of luxury bras called “By Divine Design,” available for purchase over the internet. Watch out, Victoria’s Secret! You’re about to meet fierce competition in the form of “Victoria’s Sacred.”

We believe that the beautiful essence of femininity is self-sacrifice, and have therefore paradoxically committed ourselves to non-selfhood. For a time the Father of Lies was able to beguile us by diverting us from our divine destiny as eternal wives and mothers. Secretly we harbored that most pernicious of desires for any of God’s precious daughters: the surreptitious wish to be a man. But no longer! Such unbecoming ambition has been rooted from our tender breasts.

We’ve thrown off Satan’s shackles with gusto and embraced our God-given roles. We relish opportunities to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of our husbands (or future husbands) and children (or future children). As for those of us unfortunate souls to whom the opportunity of self-sacrifice to fleshly beings in the form of actual husbands and children has thus far been denied in this life, in the spirit of true womanhood we have committed to throwing ourselves into opportunities of general self-sacrifice for the betterment of the male persuasion. We understand the importance of nurturing our inner masochists.

We affirm that the highest and holiest calling of mankind is that special and peerless role of Mother, and acknowledge that, regardless of whether we have children, as women we have all been mothers from birth. Motherhood is nothing more than a state of mind in which we beam our sweet tender ministrations into the great beyond. There’s a special reason the errand of angels was given to women, and we intend to fulfill that errand of mercy with decorous but insistent zeal.

As daughters of a loving male deity, the architect of our indispensable femininity, we recognize our eternal worth. Thus armed with newfound self-esteem, we no longer see any need for equality.

Instead, we believe that it is a true blessing and an honor to be presided over. As wives and future wives, our goal should ever be to serve as a comfort and support to our husbands, surrendering our wills to theirs.

The truth is, we are our own better halves, the angels in our houses. But you’ll never hear it from our lips–we’re naturally self-effacing and demure. :)

87 Responses to “Renouncing the Philosophies of Women, Mingled With Scripture”

  1. 1.

    At last, the true nature of Zelophehad’s daughters is revealed.

  2. 2.

    I hope that the day has nothing to do with it, that you’ve finally come to your senses.

  3. 3.

    The pink . . . it hurts my eyes!

  4. 4.

    But, rowish, would we lie about something like that we left our houses this morning wearing charred half-burnt up bras (outside our clothing, of course, to underline the point)?

  5. 5.

    You guys must have gone to the YW broadcast….

  6. 6.

    Awesome, just awesome. Happy April 1st!

  7. 7.

    Tsk. Tsk. I didn’t see anything about a desire to nurture through ironing here.

  8. 8.

    Helpmeets for the win!

  9. 9.

    That is some seriously funny crap. “Fascinating Helpmeets.” I love it.

  10. 10.

    lol

  11. 11.

    Oh, I love you. This made my day.

  12. 12.

    You’re joking for April Fools’ Day, no?

  13. 13.

    finally! a blog that will strengthen my testimony!

    Thank you. And more importantly baby Jesus thanks you. (I like to imagine my Jesus as a baby)

  14. 14.

    Damn, it’s hard writing humor.

  15. 15.

    Oh, I simply must go dig out my doilies and adorn myself properly now. Thank you, you sweet, sweet sister. Does anyone have a tissue?

  16. 16.

    You’re joking for April Fools’ Day, no?

    :) Rumor has it that, not unlike Cinderella’s coach, we’ll be turning back into feminists at midnight (or maybe pumpkins–who knows?).

  17. 17.

    LOL! I was about to die when I saw the pinkness! Then I finally clued in to the date and was able to giggle the rest of the way through. You guys are brilliant! And to go to all the trouble to totally rework the website, that’s awesome!

  18. 18.

    Great one!

  19. 19.

    I have a riddle for the new and improved ZDs:

    Have you now accepted that “presiding” means “equal” after all? Or, have you submitted to the idea the belief that submitting to patriarchal authority totally rocks and screw that new-age “equal” stuff? If someone is to truly be the ideal new century’s Fascinating Helpmeet, which position should they take?
    Ooohh…tricky, eh?

    Here’s an alternate wording of the first question, emphasis on the hahaha: Have you now submitted the authorities who preside over the church and its members in that you accept their definition of “presiding” as meaning “equal”?

  20. 20.

    I know it’s April Fool’s day and all, but my response to this post was, perhaps surprisingly, sorrow.
    I know it was written tongue in cheek, but it mostly reminded me how much animosity, insecurity and sense of divide still remains among women who interpret their religious lives differently from each other.
    I’m a feminist. And I’m tired of the division. We need more bridges.

  21. 21.

    The new century’s Fascinating Helpmeet returns to old-fashioned values, and does not accept that presiding authorities have changed the definition of “preside” to mean “equal,” but rather that they contend that the definition of “preside” is compatible with “equality” (perhaps phenomenological equality of a sort), and it is this latter position that Fascinating Helpmeets endorse. Fascinating Helpmeets stand in relation to their husbands as their husbands stand to God. They recognize the husband as their head as Christ is their husband’s head. They do not need outward “objective” indications of equality but can accept subordination because they feel so very equal on the inside.

  22. 22.

    @ Kiskilili: fascinating! (so to speak…)

  23. 23.

    I’m with mb.

  24. 24.

    Happy April Fools. It’s too bad though; I thought this was going to be a post about a happily feminist Mormon and how she walks that line. I was really interested to see it.

  25. 25.

    This is great, I love it. But please, put away the pepto-bismol.

    There is not a single line of this post that could not have been said from the rostrum at BYU Women’s Conference. If sister Dew read this post word for word as a talk, people would be bearing testimony of it, in tears.

    Thany you for holding the mirror up.

  26. 26.

    But I hope you donate the proceeds of the Victoria’s Sacred sales to charity. We certainly can’t have you doing anything low-down and man-like such as earning money.

  27. 27.

    I got an email about this post from EmilyCC.
    All she said was, “I had tears rolling down my cheeks.”
    I was expecting a heart-wrenching post, but I find this instead.
    So funny.
    I think you should keep the pink.
    But, maybe that’s just me . . .

  28. 28.

    Thanks for helping me see the light…I need to purge my house of everything feminist right now.

  29. 29.

    I’m with mb.

    I was going to ask if this was, in part, authored by M&M.

  30. 30.

    There is not a single line of this post that could not have been said from the rostrum at BYU Women’s Conference

    Um, Mark have you actually been to a BYU Women’s Conference? Because I can’t imagine being told that we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about world events, nor that we should submit to the will of our husbands, or quite a few other things in the delightful parody.

    I know it is a joke, and maybe that comment is as well? If serious, it is a little bit over the line of hyperbole.

  31. 31.

    Thanks for the comments! There may be something to be said for building bridges with people who think differently, but as Naismith has astutely observed, our intent was not to satirize General Authorities specifically and certainly not other bloggernacle blogs or bloggers, so we aimed for way over the top. No Mormon I know thinks a single woman in her 30s should live with her father so she can be presided over. Certainly there are people who think (and have thought) along the lines of the post, and one could rightly construe the post as satirizing them–the Prairie Muffins, perhaps, or Rodney Turner, or Fascinating Womanhood. There may well be value in building a bridge from us to Rodney Turner (heck, there may be value in building bridges to a Christian Nudist colony, as long as we wear blindfolds while we do it), but any such bridge has to account for the chasm which is the reason for the bridge in the first place. I enjoy both clothes and independence, and these are very real differences between me and others of God’s children.

    At the same time, we’ve obviously drawn on standard tropes of feminist discussion (feminists burn bras, wish they were men, etc., and the common assertion that all women are mothers whether they have children or not), so, well, sorry if it came across in poor taste. The humor was supposed to derive primarily from the incongruity of the situation (sworn feminists embracing radical patriarchy), rather than from a caricature of other people’s positions.

  32. 32.

    Given the pervasive tone of sarcasm, this post comes off like a non-april-1st rah-rah-feminism post written in the form of satire. The main difference seems to be that this post mocks traditional thinking overtly, which you would not usually do.

  33. 33.

    By the way, I read Kiskilili’s #31 even though #32 sounds like I did not.

    The humor was supposed to derive primarily from the incongruity of the situation (sworn feminists embracing radical patriarchy), rather than from a caricature of other people’s positions.

    The reason it didn’t work for me is that the post does not sound like radical feminists embracing sworn patriarchy. If it had I would have been rolling with commenters 1-18.

  34. 34.

    Fair enough. The reason it perhaps comes across as sarcastic is that we wanted rhetorical markers to indicate that it’s fake, just because it would seem mean to accidentally trick someone. What if someone happened by and made a genuinely sweet comment? Then we’d feel horrible revealing we were actually lying and had snookered them into commenting with a presumed sympathetic interlocutor when we disagreed wholeheartedly all along.

    But perhaps it’s mean either way. In general my personal moral hackles are more likely to be raised by outright disingenuousness than by straightforward rudeness. I should think about why that is.

  35. 35.

    I thought this post was a delight. I was only sad to see that we had changed our name to “Fascinating Helpmeets” instead of “Fascinating Helps Meet,” which sounds to me more like what a polygamous man might call his several wives.

  36. 36.

    Naismith, yes, I exagerrated a little bit. I’ll revise it to say that entire paragraphs of this post could be read from the pulpit at BYU Women’s conference and nobody would raise an eyebrow. To answer your direct question, no, I have never, attended. I have, however, read many of the transcripts of the talks.

    I don’t understand why people object to this parody. We make jokes about gender stereotypes in the church all the time. Consider this one, from Elder Nelson:

    “You fathers can help with the dishes, care for a crying baby, and change a diaper. And perhaps some Sunday you could get the children ready for Church, and your wife could sit in the car and honk.”

    Many people think that is funny, even though there isn’t one man in a hundred who sits in the car and honks while his wife gets the kids ready. And many men who are doing their level best to be good husbands and fathers, and who listened to conference hoping for some encouragement, experienced this attempt at humor as a slap in the face. The equivalent would be if somebody made a wisecrack about women who sit around the house all day eating candy and watching TV. This parody is very mild in comparison.

  37. 37.

    The humor was supposed to derive primarily from the incongruity of the situation (sworn feminists embracing radical patriarchy), rather than from a caricature of other people’s positions.

    +

    I was going to ask if this was, in part, authored by M&M.

    If people can think that this is something that could be attributed to me, or could declare that Sheri Dew could teach this and be believed and that this is a mirror with which we could analyze ourselves, it’s obvious that the post missed the mark. (I’m still trying to figure out what people thought was so funny….)

    [Perhaps I need to write a post that explains what I really believe? (At the moment, I'm feeling tempted to name it something like "Thoughts of a Prairie Muffin.")]

    As Naismith pointed out, this isn’t a complete and accurate> representation of anyone’s position, but imo, the bulk of the post is not fake (as Kiskilili said, you ‘disagree wholeheartedly’ with the things presented in the post), or at best, it would be hard for an unsuspecting or inexperienced-with-ZD reader to know what really is fake and what is not.

    You can’t mock teachings and beliefs (even if you tried to hyperbolize them or add some fake elements) without also mocking those who believe in them, imo. If the tables were turned, I doubt you all would have found humor in people presenting your feminism as extreme and joke-worthy, mocking belief after belief — even if it wasn’t all a true representation. IMO, this kind of material is what gives feminism in the Church a bad name (and is why I will rarely call myself a feminist in Mormon circles). It needs to stop being so unfathomable (or in the case of this post, considered ludicrous) that someone could actually have strong feelings about women’s issues (even consider herself/himself a feminist, whatever that might mean to that person) AND STILL believe in Church doctrines and teachings.

  38. 38.

    it’s obvious that the post missed the mark.

    I should have said, “to me, this post really missed the mark.” Obviously, it’s not obvious, because others found it funny. (Still don’t get that, but oh well.)

  39. 39.

    Mark IV, there is a huge difference, imo, between parody that is clear parody, and thinly-veiled mockery that is passed off as humor. We can all cite example after example of cultural and day-to-day life quirkiness that can relate to gender issues that are truly funny. But that is hugely different from taking on basic beliefs and teachings of the Church that feminists have been taking issue with for years, and calling that humor. If we should see this as funny, then why should we take anything else that feminists write seriously? At the core, I see little difference between the ‘serious’ pieces that are written on feminist blogs and elsewhere and this ‘parody.’ The list of issues is basically the same, is it not?

  40. 40.

    m&m,

    We can all cite example after example of cultural and day-to-day life quirkiness that can relate to gender issues that are truly funny.

    I do not think that Elder Nelson’s statement was very funny. He drew on an exagerrated stereotype of a group that is as offensive as racial jokes, in my opinion. Let me be very clear: That sort of humor hurts men. It hurts individuals, marriages, and families, and it has no place among us, and it doesn’t matter if a GA says it or not. Perhaps the most charitable way for me to understand Elder Nelson’s attempt at humor is to write it off as hyperbole, since I personally have never known anybody who does what he apparently thinks is typical male behavior.

    You observe that an inexperienced reader of this blog might not catch the humor. Is that not another way of saying that our teaching on gender in the church are almost inadvertently humorous? I don’t blame anybody for not being able to make sense of our beliefs on this topic. When we twist ourselves into contortions trying to define what presiding means in a relationship of equals, it should not surprise us when people think it is funny.

  41. 41.

    But that is hugely different from taking on basic beliefs and teachings of the Church that feminists have been taking issue with for years, and calling that humor.

    M&M- this seems inconsistent with things you have said in the past. The reason why is you have consistently tried to convince us that these things *aren’t* what the church is actually teaching no matter how much it might sound like it.

    Take presiding in marriage for example (since this is the blog to argue about presiding)- ZD says that presiding isn’t a great word because it entails subjugation and doesn’t allow for an equal relationship. You chime in and say, that presiding *doesn’t* mean subjugation, and perfectly allows for an equal relationship. And that just because ZD interprets it that way doesn’t mean it’s what the church teaches. ZD then jokingly says, “we’ve decided we love presiding because we just don’t even want to be equal anymore.” And now you’re saying that they’re making fun of what the church actually teaches- which would be that presiding precludes an equal relationship.

    The most offensive way I can read this that they might be making fun of their interpretation of what the church actually teaches, (which interpretation you don’t think is correct). And this might be offensive because you don’t want to be painted as believing what they, incorrectly, interpret things to mean. The thing is, I don’t think anyone here, feminist or not, thinks that the church wants adult women to not have jobs, and live at home so they can be presided over by their fathers.

    And fwiw, I think Sarah’s comment was out of line, because you have never supported the type of voiceless, self-erasing submission for women this post puts forward.

  42. 42.

    Oh, the pitfalls of satire.

    First, let me reiterate something Kiskilili said above. If some unsuspecting reader had come along and bared her soul in earnest affirmation of the above positions, we would have been horrified at ourselves. That’s precisely why we strove to be as over the top as possible–so that no one would be misled into thinking the above represents our actual thinking.

    As Starfoxy pointed out so well above, from what I know of you, m&m, I highly doubt the position we’re satirizing is yours. You don’t believe men and women should be unequal. I suspect you don’t believe that women should never think about anything other than homemaking no matter what their life circumstances, or that they should unconditionally obey their husbands and fathers. And somehow I very much doubt you see women’s divine role as necessarily involving the design and manufacture of tastefully jargoned underclothing.

    Satire does always run the risk of hurting people, and if this hurt you, I am sorry.

    At the same time, I confess wouldn’t want a world without satire. We’d be the poorer sans Robert Kirby, Pat Bagley, J. Golden Kimball, etc.

    I doubt you all would have found humor in people presenting your feminism as extreme and joke-worthy, mocking belief after belief — even if it wasn’t all a true representation.

    Oh, I don’t think so, necessarily–there are definitely worthy satires of feminism out there, and like everyone else we Mormon liberals (if I may refer to us as such) certainly have our pieties that merit some fun at our expense. I think of Pat Bagley’s cartoons mocking Sunstone, for example, or one priceless fake ad in the Sugar Beet for “Symposium: Beyond Plain and Precious.” I laughed hysterically.

    But as it happens, one of the things we satirize is, precisely, the misrepresentation of feminism–the idea that we all want to be men, for example, and the old rumor that we (horror of horrors!) burn our bras.

    As to the satire of actual statements made by church leaders–well, I think Mark IV has spoken to that above. At a certain point the rhetorical contradictions and flagrant denial become self-satirizing, and there’s little left for a self-respecting satirist to do but cut and paste.

  43. 43.

    Mark, fair enough. I can see how Elder Nelson’s comment could be offensive to some. But then in my mind, you can’t argue that this post is funny, either. Not by a long shot.

    So I actually am rethinking what I said about poking fun at culture or quirks — particularly those that relate to gender issues, because they are so charged, and because we all have different sensitivities. I wonder what kinds of things we could all agree on that actually would be funny. Are there any? Perhaps not. If that is the case, perhaps we should try to find other things to chuckle about.

    But still, I personally didn’t feel that this post was primarily an attempt at humor but rather another editorial on Church teachings.

    And now you’re saying that they’re making fun of what the church actually teaches- which would be that presiding precludes an equal relationship.

    Starfoxy, you have hit on a huge part of the problem I see in this post and what I was trying to explain. Some of what was presented was untrue (such as the example you gave), and some wasn’t (take some of the things about motherhood, for example). For many readers, it would be hard to determine which was which.

    And fwiw, I think Sarah’s comment was out of line, because you have never supported the type of voiceless, self-erasing submission for women this post puts forward.

    Thank you. But again, perhaps you can understand my concern with the post because someone DID associate me with its content, and someone else associated Sheri Dew and a Church-sponsored activity with it, and also called it a mirror (as if it’s a fully accurate reflection of the Church’s beliefs). It’s not an accurate reflection, but there is enough truth mixed with the exaggeration that it’s ends up being a messy post — one that, imo, can be hurtful to individuals and to also to how people might perceive and understand the Church. And obviously, that bothers me.

  44. 44.

    m&m, I think in your final paragraph above speaks to the inevitable risks of free speech, and the related and thorny problem of what nourishes faith. I would just suggest that–like humor!–it’s a highly individual matter. For example, I find some bloggers who present themselves as orthodox and faith-promoting are actually destructive to my faith because they’re sometimes so strident and so unkind. But on principle I believe in a very broad buffet–if they do someone else some good, then by all means let that someone else read them. With the obvious exception of blatant anti-Mormonism, I don’t think it’s for me–or for any of us–to make blanket determinations about what’s faith-promoting and what’s not. (Or, for that matter, what’s funny and what’s not.)

    By all means, promote faith, write, advocate, and entertain as seems best to you. But please allow us the same privilege; let us write how, where, or what we may, so to speak.

  45. 45.

    Eve, just saw your comment. I think I should clarify. I’m not feeling like you wrote this as an anti-m&m post. I’m sure that wasn’t your intent. The tone of the piece reflects the tone of many comments I have received along the way over the years (comments that have wanted to take what I say and twist it), BUT that is not my primary concern, and I probably haven’t made that clear enough.

    My primary concern is how people might view and understand the Church and its teachings. You all have made it pretty clear that you take issue with all the things that were satirized here, from patriarchy to motherhood as a divine and universal role, and everything in between. It’s awfully hard to tell what is true satire, and what is actually a veiled editorializing. To me, the whole post felt like the latter, except perhaps the bra thing…but even that took something that is taught in the Church — femininity — and made it sound like something outrageous.

    Elder Ballard recently talked about how the Church is misrepresented online. This to me is an example of a post that misrepresents the Church and can easily be misunderstood.

    Anyway, enough from me. I do appreciate again the fact that you aren’t out to get me here, but in a sense, like I said, you mock the teachings, you mock those who believe in them. And you mock the Church that teaches them. At least in my view.

  46. 46.

    Eve, of course, free speech allows you to say whatever you want and how you want to. But of course, that also means I can respond. :) And my purpose was not to define what is faith-promoting, but to try to point out that this is indeed not a mirror of actual Church teachings. There’s a difference. I realize that we all have our different faith journeys and we all navigate life and faith differently.

  47. 47.

    I guess I wouldn’t be helping matters any if I registered my wholehearted appreciation for this (cleverly-written) and humorous April Fools’ post, but I’m going to chime in anyway. It’s a delight!

    I would love to see a similar satire of feminism. Perhaps the brilliant writers here at Z’s Daughters would be up to the task next April.

  48. 48.

    You can’t mock teachings and beliefs (even if you tried to hyperbolize them or add some fake elements) without also mocking those who believe in them, imo. If the tables were turned, I doubt you all would have found humor in people presenting your feminism as extreme and joke-worthy, mocking belief after belief — even if it wasn’t all a true representation.

    We actually discussed specifically before we wrote the post how we would feel if a more traditionalist blog wrote an over-the-top post claiming they were embracing feminism, and, maybe I’m not judging my emotional reactions adeptly enough, but I concluded I would laugh it off. I wouldn’t have participated in the prank otherwise. At the same time, I think I can understand what M&M and others find distressing about the post, and for that I’m sorry.

    It may be true that you can’t mock someone’s view without implicating them, for the same reason I wonder whether you really can love the sinner and hate the sin. I’ve never been able to decide what to think on this.

    The entire post is fake in the sense that no one on the blog actually endorses these views, not fake in the sense that no one in the Church endorses any of these views. When someone asked outright whether or not it was an April Fools’ joke, I immediately confessed that it was (lest there be any lingering doubt).

    So the question was never over whether we meant it. We meant it in the sense that we meant it as satire–we meant that we think such attitudes are or would be ridiculous. The question is over whether the Church teaches such things. The problem is, we can find Church members endorsing all sorts of views; what satire could we possibly write that wouldn’t touch on any issue any Church member supported? But this is, I suspect, a question over which we already disagree and we’re coming at this from different assumptions: I don’t think we as bloggers can ever be held responsible for enabling readers to accurately discern which of our claims are Church teachings and which are not. Church teaching, especially when viewed diachronically, is ridiculously homogeneous. Without expending much effort we could probably find Church leaders or prominent members endorsing the positions of this post and other leaders endorsing exactly the opposite. That’s just the fluid nature of doctrine, from individual to individual and across time, in a Church without even so much as a published catechism.

    Satire is by definition targeting something indirectly, so obviously the whole post is editorializing for the very reason that we tried to make it clear we disagree with its contents. The point of being honest in the post was exactly to keep our true feelings evident. There are undeniably more diplomatic ways of objecting to Rodney Turner, the Prairie Muffins, or whatever else.

  49. 49.

    And my purpose was not to define what is faith-promoting, but to try to point out that this is indeed not a mirror of actual Church teachings.

    Okay, I have to say if any reader sincerely believed this post was a reflection of actual Church teachings, he or she would be suffering from some sort of cognitive impairment.

    I can appreciate that some readers may be offended by the satire, but I just can’t believe that a person of reasonable intelligence who is remotely familiar with the LDS Church would believe this post reflected the official position of the Church on gender roles.

  50. 50.

    Kiskilili,

    Thanks for your explanations in #48…helpful to hear some of what y’all were thinking.

    I don’t really agree that doctrines are as fluid as you suggest they are, but I think perceptions of doctrines can be, and that is some of what we run into in our discussions…but otherwise, there wouldn’t be discussion now, would there?

    It may be true that you can’t mock someone’s view without implicating them, for the same reason I wonder whether you really can love the sinner and hate the sin. I’ve never been able to decide what to think on this.

    This is an interesting thought. I guess to me, mocking — making fun, making light — of someone’s view, beliefs, or life is a different than believing and declaring that some action is sinful. The latter can be done in love, and minus situations where light-hearted teasing is funny to all, mockery usually has its roots in contempt or criticism or pride.

    Criticism of a sinner can also have roots like that as well, and sometimes it does, and that is wrong. But one *can* show love to a person while condemning a sin and can be motivated by love by so condemning. I don’t see mockery and one-sided satire (in other words, at someone’s expense without their consent) as something that is motivated by love.

  51. 51.

    I hate to break my silence and have this be my first comment here, but:

    Fwiw, the parody probably is obvious and does not come across as mocking only to those who frequent this site and understand that those who wrote it do not despise the Church. I read and enjoy this blog regularly, but I have never commented here, because my perspective doesn’t mesh well. I read to understand and be enlightened by other perspectives.

    Honestly, if I hadn’t been a fan, and if this had been my introduction to this blog, I would have read this post as extremely derogatory and mocking and simply hateful. I probably never would have returned. I understood the parity, and I really like this blog, but I still had a hard time with this post. There is an edge of venom that is impossible to miss for someone who is not invested heavily.

    Keep up the good work; just look at the comments posted already and realize that m&m is not the only one expressing dismay.

  52. 52.

    Wow- who knew? I didn’t read it anything but an April Fools joke. I thought it was funny. So did Amri. I’m ok with that.

  53. 53.

    Should’ve stopped after “here,” Ray.

  54. 54.

    OK, that was mean-ish. But Ray, you left yourself WIDE OPEN!!

    You see, folks? HUMOR. Learn it, live it, love it. Mormons that can’t laugh are the worst kind of fundamentalists in the world.

  55. 55.

    Ok, I thought this was really funny. The obnoxious pink was a lovely touch!

  56. 56.

    I know, Steve . . . but I said I got the parody. I just see how those not familiar with this sight might not get it. (and, yes, I know that doesn’t include m&m)

    Some people get Mormons telling Mormon jokes; some don’t. Some people are fine with ethnic comedians saying otherwise vicious things about their own – things that would get those not of that group fired and branded as racist; others aren’t. Some people get my Black foster son calling his friends “the n word”; others find it a terrible double standard. There is an element of truth to each perception, and failure to acknowledge that isn’t a positive thing.

    All I said was that the underlying rejection of and disdain for some core aspects of Mormonism comes clearly through the parody – and those not familiar with this site would see that right away and assume far more than was intended. Comments that deny that underlying reality . . .

    If somehow that disqualifies my observation as the result of no sense of humor . . . that I don’t get, especially when my sense of humor gets me in trouble all the time. You know that I understand the unintentional hurt that can be caused by sarcasm and hyperbole.

    Just to be clear, in and of itself, strictly in a group that shares the underlying issues, this post was hilarious. My point was exactly that – that such hilarity doesn’t extend beyond that group, and nobody should be surprised at that. To assert surprise that some would react with dismay is naive, at best, just as it would be naive of me to expect everyone to agree with what I write about it. It also is harsh to say that those who didn’t appreciate it react that way out of a lack of humor.

    Now that I’ve completely buried myself, I will go back to lurking and enjoying 99.9% of the post here.

  57. 57.

    One more thing – another example of what I mean:

    “Mormons that can’t laugh are the worst kind of fundamentalists in the world.”

    I know you know I can laugh, so I don’t take that personally, but it is an incredibly broad brush that paints a terrible, terrible picture. If we didn’t know each other quite well, I would assume you had just called me worse than the Islamic terrorists that kill children in suicide bombings. It’s because I know you – and know that you know me – that I can brush it off — exactly like it’s my admiration for this blog that allows me to brush off a post I didn’t like and continue to enjoy the other 99.9% of the posts.

    Put that in context of my initial comment, and I think you’ll see what I was trying to say.

  58. 58.

    Ray, I never know what you were trying to say.

    And yes, I’d label humorless Mormons as being in the same vein of religious fundamentalism that saps the joy out of life — I don’t know if that means suicide bombings, but it’s nasty stuff nonetheless.

  59. 59.

    Ray, I’m sure you’re right that people who already object to such things as language subordinating women or the fetishizing of motherhood as a woman’s all-encompassing identity are the very people likely to find the post resonant or humorous, whereas people who consider these core doctrines are likely to find it sacrilegious. I also suspect, for various reasons, that some people are more disposed to enjoy blasphemy than others. Certainly the latter aren’t necessarily humorless in general, just humorless about religion (humor after all trivializes and deflates the numinous, which is exactly its power and its danger).

    I’m pretty sure Steve wasn’t claiming if you can’t laugh at an April Fools’ Joke you’re literally worse than someone who bombs children. (!!) Otherwise we’d have to arrest half the people on the thread for crimes against humanity in the form of Atrociously Humorless Behavior, and I’d hate to be the one at your tribunal playing Grandpa’s Pants to get you to laugh.

    Thanks for appreciating the bulk of our content, in spite of our undeniable demonic streak. :twisted:
    Next year perhaps we’ll attach a Surgeon General’s warning to our April Fools’ post (“content may cause apoplexy in some readers”).

  60. 60.

    At least we agree that humorless people sap the joy out of life – he says while grinning at the screen. Back to lurking.

  61. 61.

    Just so everyone knows, I intentionally wrote my initial comment and the follow-up ones as parodies of the opposite position – the one that gets offended by this post.

    Changes things just a bit, doesn’t it? *grin*

  62. 62.

    Well, if that’s the case, authorial intent really is irrelevant, and the author truly dead, as far as I can tell. You have me on the verge of a conversion to radical Reader Response theory.

  63. 63.

    I swear I will go back to lurking, but . . .

    Kiskilli, sometimes my sense of humor really does get me in trouble. Sometimes the devil on my shoulder wins, and this was one of those times. Initially, I wanted to make a simple point, but I just couldn’t resist going over-the-top.

    I apologize for what it caused.

  64. 64.

    Liar!

  65. 65.

    Thanks, Steve. After Kiskilli’s comment I felt I had to come clean. I knew it would cause a stir, but I thought it would be funny, given the tone of the post. I was wrong.

    I did the same kind of thing when I first posted on BCC – went over-the-top thinking it was funny. You’d think I’d learn, but . . .

  66. 66.

    Wow, Ray. I didn’t expect that from you…singling someone out no less who obviously did not see this as funny. Wow.

    Well, folks, I’m done with this one. Thanks to Kiskilili and Eve for at least trying to understand, even if you still disagree with me, and even if you think I’ve got a woeful lack of a sense of humor.

  67. 67.

    m&m, I thought I was clear. Man, I have to apologize to everyone and just go to bed.

    I originally wanted to make the point that I did in my first comment, that it was legitimate for you and others to feel upset about the post. However, as I started to make that simple point, it struck me that the post was about hyperbolic parody, so I mistakenly resorted to that type of parody and made the initial comment a long one – then branched into talk of racist rants and other examples, thinking it would be clear I was speaking hyperbolically to make the point – since the entire post was hyperbolic parody. When it became obvious that people weren’t getting the hyperbole – that they thought I was equating their reactions to racism, I came clean and admitted it was hyperbole.

    I didn’t mean that I was making fun of you and others. I meant that I was making fun of the reactions, and I went way too far. I was apologizing for stirring the pot so radically, when all I meant to do was object in a funny way – “in the spirit of the original post”. Obviously, it wasn’t funny to them, and, obviously, it wasn’t funny to you.

    I really messed up this one, so I really am bowing out. I extend my apology to both sides, even if my initial point (that not everybody gets hyperbole) was proven in the process. I didn’t mean to make that point by offending everybody on both sides of the discussion. I meant to be funny and botched the attempt horribly.

  68. 68.

    Thanks for the followup, Ray. And yes, frankly you sort of proved the point, and demonstrated why I don’t like parody when it could be misinterpreted as a personal attack or not-funny-to-all-parties jab, so I suppose I could thank you for illustrating that., too. :) It’s all the more difficult in this limited medium, no? Whew.

    I will admit that I was really, really personally upset by that last round, but I calmed down (rather quickly, actually) especially because I realized, knowing what little I know of you, that that it was likely not your intent to cause pain. I’m sorry I got upset — I think given how outnumbered I feel on this one, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m a bit hypersensitive. All the more reason for me to call this one quits.

    Thanks again for the followup.

  69. 69.

    Ray, maybe you should take lessons from Prudence McPrude in how to express over-the-top moral idignation. ;)

  70. 70.

    and someone else associated Sheri Dew and a Church-sponsored activity with it, and also called it a mirror

    Hey, that’s me! m&m, I think that the following verbatim quotes from the original post would fit seamlessly into sister Dew’s talk Are We Not All Mothers? (a version of which was first given at BYU Women’s Conference):

    We affirm that the highest and holiest calling of mankind is that special and peerless role of Mother, and acknowledge that, regardless of whether we have children, as women we have all been mothers from birth.

    We believe that the beautiful essence of femininity is self-sacrifice, and have therefore paradoxically committed ourselves to non-selfhood. For a time the Father of Lies was able to beguile us by diverting us from our divine destiny as eternal wives and mothers.

    We’ve thrown off Satan’s shackles with gusto and embraced our God-given roles. We relish opportunities to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of our husbands (or future husbands) and children (or future children).

    There’s a special reason the errand of angels was given to women, and we intend to fulfill that errand of mercy with decorous but insistent zeal.

    As daughters of a loving male deity, the architect of our indispensable femininity, we recognize our eternal worth. Thus armed with newfound self-esteem, we no longer see any need for equality.
    Instead, we believe that it is a true blessing and an honor to be presided over. As wives and future wives, our goal should ever be to serve as a comfort and support to our husbands

    Does any of that strike you as something that could not be said on Mother’s Day, anywhere in the church? We might change one or two of the words to make it sound more churchy, but the general idea is clear.

    I see three ways to look at this:

    1. Parenthood, including motherhood, is important. Children are a positive good and the task of raising them deserves our very best efforts. I don’t think anybody has any quibbles with this.

    2. Mothers and fathers have different roles in the family, at least for the time being. Those roles are outlined only in basic terms and are interchangeable to some extent, based upon personal circumstances, needs, and talents. I think there is also broad agreement with this formulation, although some of us would have a few quibbles. So far, so good.

    3. The part that causes me heartburn is when we take point # 2 and attempt to bolster it by saying that our roles in this life are the result of eternal and unchanging attributes of character. You yourself have argued ion the past that we all eventually will come to a fullness of all good attributes. The Eternal Feminine is a stock figure, just like the bumbling doofus of a husband who honks the horn while the wife dresses the children for church. I realize that many of us (perhaps including some GAs) think that women are inherently more spiritual and more prone to seek the welfare of others than men are. I do not share that view. When Elder Scott contrasts femininity with “male coarseness”, it is beyond insulting. The notion that some of us are better than others is repugnant, and the idea that we can tell who the good and bad ones are by checking a box marked M or F is ridiculous. Sister Dew’s assertion that men need the priesthood in order to keep up with the women is antithetical to the gospel of Christ.

  71. 71.

    As someone who almost never reads this blog (sorry, only so many hours in a day and I have three projects that could each occupy me full time) I read the post and enjoyed it immensely.

    I also agree with Starfoxy’s response to m&m. The post wasn’t mocking positions she has taken, in fact it was satirizing positions that she insists are not Church teachings, therefore one might expect her to be more appreciative of the post. Unless of course her true positions are being accurately described in the post.

  72. 72.

    Perhaps part of the problem is that the new header and pink layout didn’t come through on some people’s feed readers? I got an extra giggle when I clicked through to the real site and saw the redesign.

  73. 73.

    I’m late to this party, but as one of the other culprits behind this prank, I’d like to mention a few thoughts, though I don’t have a lot to add to what Kiskilili and Eve have said. As Kiskilili mentioned, we actually talked about how we would feel if a non-feminist blog pulled a similar prank and claimed they’d become feminists. My thought was that if it were really over-the-top—e.g., they decided to abandon their children, burn their bras, embrace selfishness, attempt to turn into men, worship Mother Earth—I would think it was funny because it was so obviously a spoof. So I hoped that if we were ridiculous enough, it would be less likely to be offensive. (It’s possible that we weren’t ridiculous enough!)

    That said, I can appreciate the concerns raised by m&m and others. Satire can be mean-spirited, and it can hurt—and I’m not fond of the maneuver in which one person ridicules another under the guise of humor, and then accuses the victim of lacking a sense of humor. I really am sorry if this felt like an attack to anyone; that certainly wasn’t our intent.

    (A bit tangentially in response to the discussion in 48 and 50, I actually do think there is such a thing as affectionate mocking—I’m thinking, for example, of the movie Galaxy Quest, which makes fun of Star Trek in a clearly affectionate way. I’d also put Robert Kirby’s sometimes hilarious mocking of Mormons in this category. I will concede that whether or not our satire falls into this category is questionable; I certainly can’t claim that we have a lot of genuine affection for Fascinating Womanhood. Though I’d add that my sense was that to some degree, we were making fun of ourselves and our own zealousness. We’re not half-hearted feminists—we’re ridiculously obsessed with the subject. So correspondingly, if we rejected feminism, we’d not only reject it but go to another extreme.)

    But still, I personally didn’t feel that this post was primarily an attempt at humor but rather another editorial on Church teachings.

    For what it’s worth, we thought it was hilarious. (She said modestly, remembering that Fascinating Helpmeets are supposed to be self-effacing.) Obviously not everyone agrees, which I can appreciate. But I can say that we understood ourselves to be at least attempting humor. One of the characteristics shared by many if not all ZDs, despite our efforts to sound serious and respectable, is an incurable smart-aleckiness and tendency to be silly. And I think ECS’s idea of writing a satire of feminism is a great one—I will freely admit that feminism has much that can be satirized (“how many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?” “that’s not funny!”)

    It’s not an accurate reflection, but there is enough truth mixed with the exaggeration that it’s ends up being a messy post

    I would say that good satire is exactly that: truth mixed with exaggeration. If it weren’t for the truth, it wouldn’t be funny. But I realize that just gets back to the question of when satire is appropriate.

    As for the question of Church representation, I think that’s complicated. If there is a popular teaching/doctrine that I honestly find ridiculous, it’s no surprise that when I talk about it, it’s going to sound ridiculous. Those who believe the teaching might understandably be concerned that that I’m twisting and misrepresenting it by doing so. On the other hand, if someone else presented a different, less-ridiculous sounding version of it, I might feel that they’re the ones twisting things and not giving an accurate representation. In that way, I would say that the Church itself is messy (as is any organization comprised of diverse and contradictory human beings).

    I don’t think you can get an “accurate” representation of the Church from any one source, be it lds.org, a bloggernacle blog, a DAMU blog, etc., which is why I don’t worry too much about the question. I feel like the best I can do is try to write honestly about the complexities of my own experience as a Mormon. And if there in fact are any snoofs out there ;) , I’d like to credit them with the skills necessary to discern that this was an April Fool’s satire, and not a definitive statement of LDS thinking. One of the things I think is great about the bloggernacle is that even a brief perusal of the various blogs should quickly disabuse any visitor of the stereotype that Mormons are a robotic cult who march lock-step and don’t think for themselves. If nothing else, it takes people who are serious about their religion to put this much energy into arguing about its finer points, making fun of it, and then arguing over whether said making-fun was in fact appropriate.

    As usual, I’m rambling. But I’m glad that many people got a laugh out of what we did–that was our modest hope. And again, I’m sorry for any hurt it might have caused–I hope this has at least better explained my own thinking in being involved in this.

  74. 74.

    I must confess that I simply do not get the angst. I am baffled by m&m and others who took offense at the post, and yet equally puzzled by the extended efforts to defend and even apologize for it. The post was smart and funny, perfect for April Fool’s Day. I can respect the fact that others might disagree, but I see no need for apologies.

  75. 75.

    Ah, but isn’t the apologizing part of the charm of our demure femininity? ;)

  76. 76.

    Absolutely sweetie

  77. 77.

    whoops — there should be a smiley face in there

  78. 78.

    Heh–actually I think we have a vested interest in self-justification, considering next year we’re planning to claim we’ve all had sex-change operations, or are founding a new religion around worship of the Holy Mother, or have been called as apostles in a secret ceremony. Better yet, maybe it will be exposed that we were part of the third who revolted in the War in Heaven, a legion of demons that has taken over someone’s computer and is perpetrating lies across cyberspace.

  79. 79.

    I am not so sure about the role of satire. I was at BYU during the Bagley/Benson era, and they had us laughing at Mormon ways all the time, without being disrespectful.

    The last time our stake was reorganized, I was at a party the weekend before, and a lot of guys were talking about their interview experiences. One brother told announced that he had named me as the best candidate for next stake president. Everyone laughed.

    Now, was he making fun of me, or making fun of the church, or just making fun period? Can we do that?

    Nobody seemed bothered by it. And he was called to be a counselor in the next stake presidency, so I don’t think there is anything too wrong with his spirituality.

    (Although I admit there are some things I don’t consider too funny…there have been some Capitol Steps’ performances that seemed to step over the line, although I couldn’t define that line for you…but the ZD satire was so clearly labeled as such.)

  80. 80.

    Some think this blog is toooo hot. Some think it’s toooo cold. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just right.

  81. 81.

    Frankly, I loved the post – I thought it was hilarious, and didn’t see why people were upset – but that’s just me – #40 – just FYI many men of the baby boomer generation did just that (I mean honked the horn while wifey rushed around getting kids ready) – including my dad and my ex. Fortunately I really do think things have changed for the better there – but I am old enough to remember when that was pretty much standard.

  82. 82.

    Oh, I’m so sorry I didn’t see this until today. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Wheee!

    BTW, DH and I occasionally read out loud from my copy of *Fascinating Womanhood* when we need serious amusement for Family Home Screaming. Our favorite bit concerns how you can get your husband to stay home with you and the kiddoes rather than go bowling by stamping your feet and sticking your lip out and appealing to his “fatherly sense” rather than by emasculating him with the request that he contribute to his own family. Sometimes I have to stomp and stick my lip out just for fun :)

  83. 83.

    Finally, some sisters with sense. I would be honored to have each of you as precious jewels in my eternal crown.

  84. 84.

    And as a big fan of satire — especially Mormon satire — especially deeply cutting ripping make-everyone-in-the-room-uncomfortable satire — I just want to let you know how red my face got while reading through all these comments — although the time has long passed to tell you exactly why. But a lack of love for Mormons and Mormonism (or for Jesus and his gospel) has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    Serious discussions of humor are lame. It’s a major reason why I couldn’t get through my dissertation on Mormon Humor and will forever be ABD as a folklorist.

    But from my almost expert position, I just want to say this post was and is magnificent. I’m with Randy B (#74) — no apologies required.

  85. 85.

    [...] ZD had a great post a few weeks ago for April Fools day. They called it: Renouncing The Philosophies of Women, Mingled With Scripture. [...]

  86. 86.

    [...] Down-There Doc” Kiskilili’s “The Legend of Patriarch Hollow” ZD April Fools — “Renouncing the Philosophies of Women Mingled with Scripture” Mattsby’s “General Conference LOLcats ” Andrew Ainsworth’s “What Children Know” [...]

  87. 87.

    [...] ZD April Fools — “Renouncing the Philosophies of Women Mingled with Scripture” [...]

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