Have we decided to live the lesser law?


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How many times have the prophets told fathers to support their families and mothers to stay home and raise the next generation?

My patriarchs are giving my daughters blessings to get an education and prepare to provide for the family.

We see general authorities appointed whose wives have extensive work histories outside the house (while raising children).

Will there be repercussions?

Or should I send my wife out into the workforce so we can have a nice RV & houseboat?

Edited by mikbone
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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Oh... and for what it's worth, the above doesn't imply having a career. 

I didn’t quote him directly but when my wife, I and my daughter heard the words I and my daughter were confused.  My wife felt undermined.

She did get an education @ BYU, and she has worked @ a fortune 500 company the past 2 years.  She hates it.  Her husband is trying to get into medical school and she just wants to start a family.  

She calls the benefits @ her company golden handcuffs.

Edited by mikbone
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20 minutes ago, mikbone said:

I didn’t quote him directly but when my wife, I and my daughter heard the words I and my daughter were confused.  My wife felt undermined.

She did get an education @ BYU, and she has worked @ a fortune 500 company the past 2 years.  She hates it.  Her husband is trying to get into medical school and she just wants to start a family.  

She calls the benefits @ her company golden handcuffs.

Sure. But I expect the wording wasn't such that if looked at carefully it meant "you must have a career". Maybe. I dunno. Worth considering. 

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3 hours ago, mikbone said:

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Recent post that triggered my wife (who also has a law degree) but never practiced and raised 11 children.

I don’t do facebook so never would have seen it.

I can understand the negative reactions to talks like these. Like the ones that use the unneeded, decorative piano as a positive object lesson, getting extensive medical treatments that insurance doesn't fully cover while people suffering from the same malady in the rest of the second and third world have to make do. It is cultural and these folks need to be forgiven for their tunnel vision. Tons of mentions that the speakers are very well off. The above snippet comes across as an endorsement of super-womanism. A the same time, we mustn't be envious or competitive in our pursuits just because someone in authority or influence is doing it.

What helps me forgive these kinds of flaws is finding hints of their recognition of "personal circumstances." If you can do it and be happy, fine. If it's not for you, don't. plenty of speakers insert their faults and humanity into their talks, too, and they are sometimes criticized for that.

As far as the trends in what patriarchs say, a) there is always a prayerful choice; b) it may not be fulfilled in this life :Dand c) the Lord may know something we don't. And d) sometimes getting ready for "A" brings about opportunity "B" which the Holy Spirit confirms as perfectly right. Read these blessings very carefully and prayerfully.

The central message as I see it (Oaks and Johnson) is "family first," whatever else the individual may pursue in life. 

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If the Lord says do it then do it. If one woman feels the Lord directing them to have a job while rearing a family then obviously that is what needs to happen. If other women don't receive that same divine guidance but use them as an excuse to not be home with the children that's their problem. 

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1 hour ago, mikbone said:

Oh, I’m gonna be ok.

 

But this kind of communication is going to validate a bunch of women (and men) in the church.

The Nephites felt validated in wanting multiple wives because others had had them. When the Lord gives general guidance it should also be the Lord to approve any departure from it. Not, "Well so and so did it...".

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I don't know what to make of it. It feels like we are abandoning truth. Reading comments on the post from working moms who live hectic, chaotic lives as if it's the better way just doesn't ring true to me. How can working full-time be consistent with putting your role as a mother first? Surely, other women/people are supplementing work in the home while you are prioritizing outside work. Surely, you are with co-workers for more hours in the day than you are with your children.

It's a tough economy, and women probably have to work now. We can be realists about that and adjust and support each other as a religious community. But I doubt it's a good idea to change the narrative without explaining. It's not good for me to be gaslighted, like I'm the one who misinterpreted very clear messages from past leaders and church publications (not to mention my own experience and social science research).

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17 hours ago, mikbone said:

Aaron Sherinian update anyone?

@JustAGuy

If me, my wife and MiL are noticing that we are presenting a mixed message. There must be others that are confused as well.

It's not just a mixed message these days, it's a different message altogether. The message used to be that mothers should stay home with the kids and not go to work, unless it was absolutely necessary. Now the message is that it's perfectly fine to be a career woman and a mother at the same time. 

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10 or 12 years ago, there was a general conference address given by your sister pushing education in the ability to work on women pretty hard. It was heavy on statistics, and statistics were saying that most Mormon women would have to work at least a portion of their lives.  I’m on my phone right now, maybe someone could search up that talk.

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1 hour ago, Maverick said:

It's not just a mixed message these days, it's a different message altogether. The message used to be that mothers should stay home with the kids and not go to work, unless it was absolutely necessary. Now the message is that it's perfectly fine to be a career woman and a mother at the same time. 

I believe the "pendulum" was too far in one direction, in response it is swinging too far in the other direction. Hopefully, it will come into balance. Proverbs 31 strikes a good balance. It advocates cottage businesses from home for women and them buying land (having personal purchasing power) while their main focus is the running of the household.

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1 hour ago, NeuroTypical said:

It was heavy on statistics, and statistics were saying that most Mormon women would have to work at least a portion of their lives.

I know a lot of millennial women who enjoy getting out of the house and having a job. It’s also a matter of their own happiness. 

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“While I was a boy working in the fields with my mother, she taught me one of the most important lessons in life. It was late in the morning, the sun was up, and we had been hoeing for what I thought to be a very long time. I stopped to look back at what we had accomplished and said to my mother, “Look at all we have done!” Mother did not respond. Thinking that she had not heard me, I repeated what I had said a little louder. She still did not reply. Raising my voice a little higher, I repeated again. Finally, she turned to me and said, “Edward, never look back. Look ahead at what we still have to do.“

Edward Dube, October 2013  -  Look ahead and believe.

 

In my opinion, this is the kind of message we need right now.

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Yes, the message is shifting. Yes. the needle has moved.  But I believe it is doing so to correct and adapt to many variables that we see in today's society.

That said, I believe there is also danger.  It is fine to always focus on the ideal.  And if we had never changed the message, I don't know if it would have been detrimental or not.

The issue at hand is that even active Latter-day Saints are becoming subject to the divorce statistic. And we're becoming more aware of the abuse statistic.  We are also aware of the difficulties of the widow and orphan.  And if the father becomes disabled, that is another thing to consider.

I get the impression that the traditional household does not really allow for these (for lack of a better word) emergency conditions.  I just heard a radio call about a woman who needed help running her household because the couple had specialized their duties so much that she simply didn't know how to do some very simple things that were always her husbands responsibilities.  And it would have been much the same had she been the one to pass away first.  

We have been so focused on living and depending on the traditional families, that we didn't realize that society has changed to the point where there was no longer a support system for families who are subject to death or disability.  Because people think that government takes care of that, ended up changing the fabric of society.  That mentality destroyed social safety nets that have been in place since Biblical times.  But the government doesn't do it even half as well as ancient patterns. It never has, and it never will.

We used to have societal systems in place for that.  But that has broken down to the point where it no longer fits the needs of todays society.  So, we can't depend on the old system.  We can't depend on the new system.  We can't really do anything other than the counsel that the GAs have given.

The danger is that people are taking this message the wrong way.  They think it is validation for "the working woman" (as portrayed in feminist circles) as if it were the ideal for a woman.  No it is not.  And it never will be.  The feminist woman will always consider her professional and public persona as primary and home/family a secondary.

There is no more important work that anyone can do than within the walls of their own home.  This overall principle will never change.  And whatever the GAs say about the roles of men and women, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, the home will always be supremely important. 

Edited by Carborendum
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

The issue at hand is that even active Latter-day Saints are becoming subject to the divorce statistic. And we're becoming more aware of the abuse statistic.  We are also aware of the difficulties of the widow and orphan.  And if the father becomes disabled, that is another thing to consider.

Perhaps we should be addressing these issues directly.

I shudder to think how a Nigerian Latter-Day Saint relief society meeting is going to take this message as to how to become a successful LDS juggling mother / lawyer / church leading role model.

As of April 2024, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nigeria has 232,654 members, 769 congregations, 68 stakes, 15 districts, 505 wards, 264 branches, 9 missions, and 5 temples.

Edited by mikbone
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50 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

The danger is that people are taking this message the wrong way.  They think it is validation for "the working woman" (as portrayed in feminist circles) as if it were the ideal for a woman.  No it is not.  And it never will be.  The feminist woman will always consider her professional and public persona as primary and home/family a secondary.

I see no other reasonable way to take Camille N. Johnson's words. as quoted by @mikbone and as apparently approved by President Oaks. This woman is the General Relief Society President, and her words include:

"I had my first son the year after I passed the bar. I had bables, and my husband and I loved and nurtured them while we were both working, It was busy, sometimes hectic; we were stretched and sometimes tired...My husband and I sought inspiration in these choices and in the timing. It was what we felt impressed to do...I juggled pregnancy, having babies, nurturing children, carpool, Little League, Church responsibilities, being a supportive spouse, and my professional pursuits. It was a joyful juggle I wouldn't change...Being a mother is my highest priority. It is my ultimate joy."

Obviously, Sister Johnson is an intelligent and accomplished woman. Just as obviously, she put her career as an important part of her life choices, not because her husband couldn't work, but because it was important to her. She claims that she was following the inspiration of God in making such choices. Who am I to say she's wrong? Yet this is clearly and very starkly different from what the prophets unanimously proclaimed scarcely more than a generation ago. There can be no doubt or argument on that point. So what are we to make of that?

And please note, Sister Johnson's highest priority and ultimate goal is not being a wife and help meet for her husband. It is being a mother. Yet being a successful mother in the ultimate sense presupposes being a wife and help meet for her spouse.

My wife and I had come to a crossroads. I told her what I preferred, but I could not and would not impose my decision on her. Her decision was what it had always been throughout her life: She would finish her PhD and work in a university and/or for the UN. But later, soon after the birth of our oldest child and just after she had been awarded her Master's degree, she came to talk to me and told me that she had changed her mind, that she wanted to focus on our family and on rearing our children.

If she had not made that decision, our lives would have looked much different. For one thing, we would have had a lot more money. For another, I don't see how we realistically could have homeschooled our children, so either I would have quit working to try to homeschool them or we would have had to make other arrangement for our children's education. We had five children and several pregnancies that were lost, but I wonder if a successful career woman--and make no mistake about it, my wife would have been spectacularly successful in her chosen fields, almost certainly far more successful than her husband has been in his--I wonder if such a woman would have had the strength, stamina, or even desire to have more than one or two children. The greatest blessings and joys of our lives would likely never have come about, or at least would look much different, had my wife chosen her career aspirations.

Well, so, bully for us. Yippee. But that doesn't mean our path is what every woman's path should look like. Fair enough. But the point is, had we been young marrieds now, growing up in the modern world, my wife's General Relief Society President would be on record as using her own career as an example and a talking  point. With that kind of feedback and counsel, would my wife have made the same choice? I don't know, but I suspect the probability would have decreased.

Oh, okay. So that was a good outcome for people thirty-plus years ago, back in my generation. But today, a good outcome looks different.

Do we believe this? Because I always thought there was a divine, celestial ideal for which we strove, an unchanging pole star.

But we have our highest general-level Church leaders teaching something much different from what they taught not very many years back.

Make it make sense. That's all I ask. And if the way you make it make sense is by discarding as "outdated" or "ignorant" the inspired teachings of past prophets and leaders, then I won't accept what you claim to be sensible.

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It seems the Church currently is trying to be all things for all people which I believe is untenable if you want lasting unity and concentrated effort. It will be interesting what the next 5-10 years look like.

As for me I will continue praying for the leadership of the Church, keep my head down, go to the House of the Lord as often as possible, and prepare myself for the 2nd Coming. 

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