Costs and Benefits of Patriarchy

As a feminist, I frequently blog about what I see as the problematic elements of patriarchy.  However, I realize that many members of the Church (not to mention Church leaders!) see the situation quite differently.  So I thought it might be interesting to simply see what I could come up with as far as potential costs and benefits of a patriarchal system.  I realize that given my own views on this topic, there’s probably no way I can do this in a fair manner, but I’ll give it my best shot, and trust our astute readers to correct any  misperceptions and point out things that I’ve overlooked. Read More

Better than Orange Juice

In the October 2000 General Conference, Elder Robert C. Oaks compared our reluctance to invite people to join the Church to a person’s reluctance to share orange juice with a guest:

Consider that you are invited to a friend’s house for breakfast. On the table you see a large pitcher of freshly squeezed orange juice from which your host fills his glass. But he offers you none. Finally, you ask, “Could I have a glass of orange juice?”

He replies, “Oh, I am sorry. I was afraid you might not like orange juice, and I didn’t want to offend you by offering you something you didn’t desire.”

Now, that sounds absurd, but it is not too different from the way we hesitate to offer up something far sweeter than orange juice.

This has always struck me as a particularly poor analogy. It trivializes what I think are very real concerns we might have about sharing Mormonism with our friends. Read More

Thoughts on LDS Feminist Theological Work

A question which has been on my mind recently, as I have been contemplating some of the theological questions involved in LDS feminism, is that of methodology. In particular, what are the sources of authority which might be used in feminist approaches to the tradition? Too often, I think, LDS feminists—including myself—have a tendency to simply import norms and values from the varieties of feminism which are prominent in contemporary secular discourse, and then measure the Church against them. This inevitably leads to the criticism that feminists are advocating “worldly” values, and these are irrelevant in the realm of revealed religion. For example, popular terms like “rights” and “equality” may have deep resonance when invoked in the context of Western liberal democracy, but some question the usefulness of these terms in a Christian context. Read More