12/17/14

How My Thoughts on Motherhood and Womanhood Were Formed And What I'm Doing to Change It

A month after my mom died, I flew out to attend BYU-Idaho. I was 18-years-old. I've always been an impressionable person, but during those years I was extremely vulnerable to any messages about womanhood and motherhood. Each message reminded me of my mother and the religion she believed was true. I wanted to honor her life so I clung to anything that was said over the pulpit. Below is a mash-up of what I was hearing. To say that they are damaging and wrong are an understatement. I've spent my 30's reprograming everything I know about motherhood and womanhood. It hasn't been easy, but I'm happier and healthier for doing it. I respect the women in the LDS church who heard the same messages and were able to disregard them. I wish I was one of them. I have empathy for the women who didn't. I was one of them. It is my hope that someday I can help women in suppressed situations get out. It's so much better on the other side! I'm currently filling out applications to get a masters in Social Work. It's videos like these that assure me I'm doing the right thing.


The author, title, and full transcript of each talk seen in this video can be found here.

60 comments:

  1. OK, this is just creepy. I'm glad you've seen the light.

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  2. It was edited to look creepy.
    I didn't realize you aren't mormon anymore. What's in the water in NYC? All the mormon bloggers are leaving the church. Good for you.

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  3. I saw this video & it made me shudder. It's so awful. There are enough things I like about the church (read: JESUS) to keep me going back, but...I hate this video so much. Fingers crossed you're accepted to your Master's program!

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  4. That was pretty horrifying, especially knowing that so many people find no fault in it. I'm sure it wasn't easy for you to leave the life you'd always known, but I commend you for being strong and brave. And good luck with your masters!

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  5. To the person who said it was edited to look creepy. Frankly, I could have listened to one of these clowns right through and been creeped out no problem. The mash up of the same beyond BS sentiments coming out of so many of these church leaders just drives home the point. Plus, the sentiments are HUGELY creepy by themselves, forget the editing.

    Feels like the quote "if you are not outraged, you are not paying attention" applies here.

    Good for you for waking up. And good for you for applying to your SW program!

    Another quote for you: When sleeping women wake, mountains move.

    You mother would be so proud. Best wishes on your journey.

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  6. Oh good for you! I always thought that religion was wack!
    You and your children will be so much better off. Surround yourself with positive, supporting people because you know you will get some backlash! Stay strong!
    kristy

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  7. I talked to God today and He told me that He told those men to tell you that He wants you to stay at home and raise the kids.

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  8. Go get'em Sharon!!! ......Amen Sister!! D

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  9. "Fortunately most women do not have to track a career like a man does." I hope this is a really old quote. :(

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  10. Luckily the church has made some major strides since this really old talk and I'm glad my children will never have to hear a modern day leader say anything ridiculous like this. However, it's still really hard to hear. They still have a long way to go. Hopefully progress (although slow) continues. Happy for you that you've come to peace with your decision. May we all feel peace about whatever religion (or lack of religion) we choose to pursue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Luckily the church has made some major strides since this really old talk and I'm glad my children will never have to hear a modern day leader say anything ridiculous like this."

      Please read Mothers Who Know -- written in 2007. The message is the same today as it was before.

      Delete
  11. Very interesting....check this out.
    http://utahvalley360.com/2014/01/23/100-coolest-lds-women-alive-today/

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  12. Not sure if that last comment went through (Google is being janky). A dear friend Emily Lewis directed me to this post. I made this video; thank you for sharing. I'm so grateful it could touch your life in some way.

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  13. Man that's some real Gitmo shit right there. You came out the other side like John McCain I bet. Tortured little arms can't get up past your head and all that. You talk like you OK, but them Mo's got you ruint from birth! NYC cleaning up all that brain washed God talk with some real real real!

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  14. WE ARE DAUGHTERS of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. WE WILL “STAND as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
    Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
    WE BELIEVE as we come to accept and act upon these values, WE WILL BE PREPARED to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.

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    Replies
    1. Richard, that's a man's name.... so are you sure you meant WE are daughters? Perhaps you don't really have any idea what being a woman is about, since you aren't one. Your opinion as a man is one thing, but please don't claim to be part of it with WE. You are not part of WE.

      Delete
    2. Richard?? Hopefully this is a women posting under her husbands account; otherwise, how would a man even have clue to what womanhood means? Or a womens destiny?

      Delete
  15. Oof, that video and its message are infuriating. There is nothing creepier than a bunch of old men who think it's their business to dictate the sexuality of young women. These beliefs expressed come off as incredibly outdated and paternalistic, because that's literally what they are! They represent the beliefs from the 19th century when women were not considered worthy of participating in a democracy and were collected like cattle in polygamous marriages. It's just so bizarre that these religious leaders who are supposed to guide you to live the best life possible are completely disregarding the contributions that HALF OF THE HUMAN RACE is capable of making. (Oops, I mean contributions besides those coming from her special feminine ovaries. ;) Amirite, ladies?) It's like all the wonderful literature, research, business, and art women have contributed to the world is less valued because it took away from some baby making and supporting their husbands. I feel so bad for the wasted potential of all those women's minds who believe this garbage.

    I'm so happy you are applying for master's in social work, Sharon! I truly think you would make a wonderful social worker. It is hard work, but you have a big heart and sharp mind. I think you would help many people out there. :)

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  16. I think Colleen truly has a talent for editing. With that said, anything edited can be taken out of context. Anyone can make anything or anyone look bad through editing. I have always believed that everyone is equal in the eyes of God with or without a church or religious belief. I think there are truths and goodness in all religions but no religion is perfect. I think you should open yourself up to the goodness in all religions and people that you come in contact with. If you focus on the negative, that is what you are going to receive and see in your life. The Mormon religion is not perfect & the people in it are not perfect....but there are some great teachings that have helped people become better people. I think it's best to pick and choose what helps you & your family be better people...there are many ways to seek goodness whether it is found through religion, friends, books, spiritual leaders or other means of guidance. I hope the best for you and your family and that you will find true happiness in your life. That is great you are getting your masters degree. I just hope it is not a quick high/fix until something else better comes around. Happiness and peace comes from within and can not be reached through external temporary fixes. I hope you are able to find peace in your life....the question is how do you get or find it?...it's a spiritual journey that if you are willing to take, will truly make you a happier person. While reading your blog, I have noticed you hold on to the past and you have had a hard time with your mom and the religion that she loved so very much. Your mom will always be in your life no matter if she is here or not. I think if you focus on the positive aspects of the Mormon religion, you will find peace with your life and you will be able to move forward in a better direction.

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    Replies
    1. Very well said. As I turned 30 I really struggled with some aspects of (Mormon) church history. Historical things that of course were not taught at church while I was growing up, but they are true nonetheless. It rocked my world for a while. It was hard and I struggled with church for about 3 years, but ultimately came to the conclusion that church leaders (including Joseph Smith) are imperfect people. They are not God and they are not Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only perfect person to live on this earth. Church leaders are simply men (and women!) called to be our leaders...and they don't always get it right. Once I came to that realization I felt so much more peace. And once again I genuinely love going to church. I never stopped attending, there were just weeks & months where it was hard to attend. Sharon, I know where you're coming from. I've been there, although I think our specific struggles with church are different. But I understand the struggle. I hope you find peace and what is right for you and your family. Something I always asked myself while I struggled was do I believe in God and Jesus Christ and the answer was/is a definite yes. I have personal experiences where I cannot deny the hand of God in my life. So what should I do? I believe in God and I want my children to have a personal relationship with Him, the same way I'm blessed to have a personal relationship with Him. I attended other churches for the sake of comparison and it helped me know with more certainty that the Mormon church was the right church for me. I hope you find what you're looking for. I hope you find peace and happiness. I wouldn't let edited and mashed up videos like this get to you. Motherhood/womanhood is hard because society (and I mean ALL of society, not just the Mormon church) feel like women have more of an obligation to the family/home than men. The Mormon church is just more vocal about it. But staying home full-time is not for every woman. If you're a better mother working outside the home then that is perfectly fine. I can't help but laugh at some of the edits but it is what it is. I'm 100% positive church leaders from other religions have said just as many ridiculous things. Like I said, church leaders are imperfect people. My husband and I are raising our 3 daughters and son to all have careers and be equals with their spouses. Our oldest is only 8 but she is aware that she will go to college and get a job and work. If she loves her career and chooses to work full-time then we support her. My husband and I know so many amazing moms who work full-time (both Mormon and not Mormon) that we know it's possible. Working moms are no less as mothers simply because they have a job. Like the person above said, focus on the positive. Focus on what brings you peace. Perhaps knowing that families are forever and that you'll be with your mom again will bring you happiness and peace. Much love...

      Delete
    2. Great advice. I agree with your statement that you're "100% positive church leaders from other religions have said just as many ridiculous things". That's why I'm an atheist. I find the most happiness and peace there. Thanks for the love!

      Delete
    3. Then yes, our "issues" are different. I didn't realize you were atheist. I thought it was strictly a Mormonism thing. Glad you found what brings peace! Having that inner turmoil sucks and it feels good to make a decision and have clarity on it all. I recently met a woman at my kids elementary school who grew up in a Mormon home but stopped attending once she graduated high school. She believes in God but not organized religion. I can totally see where she's coming from. We all have to do what's best for us and our family. Keep up the blog -- I love reading about your family.

      Delete
  17. I like you:-) You do such a great job at expressing your feelings it makes your blog captivating. You're awesome!!

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  18. Thank you for posting this. I too left the church some time ago but still find myself struggling with the impact of those men pronouncing from a pulpit what I should think, how I should feel, who I should be and how I should act. I did not realize until just this moment as I watch your clip how many of those words settled deep making me feel small, unworthy, unclean and that I could not measure up to the "measure of my creation". I can clearly remember sitting in many of the meetings these clips come from. For me, I am happier and healthier too. This clip of church leaders demand for one type of women and the belittling way they speak of any other is a good reminder of why I needed to leave to feel whole.

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  19. I can only imagine it must be so hard getting detached from ideas that molded your life and the way you understood your womanhood. I am so happy reading this, you're such an inspiration and seeing you mature into a person that has a healthier relatinship with yourself just puts a smile on my face. It doesn't end here, you're gonna learn so much more about what makes you happy in life! I wish you luck on this journey, I wish us all luck (:

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  20. thanks for your post! I think you are a more compassionate person and will be a great social worker because of your experiences.

    (sorry for any grammar mistakes, i'm not a native)

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  21. I found the comments about purity and be respectable the most revolting. I am not sure if Elizabeth Smart is still Mormon, but she has some good insight into that sort of thinking. If you're interested google: Elizabeth Smart chewed gum analogy.

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  22. You go girl!! Good luck with your applications : )

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  23. You will make an awesome social worker. Start volunteering - the admission heads for MSW programs are often looking for tons of experience with direct practice!!

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  24. I'm not Mormon, but I grew up in a conservative Christian denomination (Church of Christ) that for the most part does not allow women's leadership in the church. I knew from the time I was in elementary that the concept seemed so backward--why would the church treat women worse than society if Christ's teachings promoted justice and love for the oppressed? Have you heard of Rachel Held Evans? She comes from an evangelical background, but a lot of her writing and similar experiences have been healing for me.

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  25. I love how with amazing editing can make any message appear that you want. It reminds me of this episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0522939/?ref_=ttep_ep8, The Back Story, Season 3, Episode 8).
    I think we all have demons in our cupboards. Mine (thanks to my Mum when I was 10) is that unless I'm skinny and pretty I have no worth. Good luck fixing that one for your daughter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1.) With or without editing, the message in the video clips above was not taken out of context.

      2.)"good luck fixing that one for your daughter!" ??? Seriously? You come on here to subtlety criticize her for being honest about food and exercising on her blog written for ADULTS? And you can't even leave your own name? What is wrong with you?

      Delete
    2. Jennifer, she referenced an episode of Beverly Hills 90210, enough said.

      Delete
    3. Did I say I supported the message? Because frankly I don't. I just said that editing is an amazing tool.
      My demon is from a specific incident when I was ten years old. Kids are so impressionable and as adults we have to be aware of how our behavior affects them. We need to try and correct mistakes made by our own parents. I thought the blog post you're referring too was hilarious. Just becareful is all I'm saying.

      Delete
    4. Angela,

      Your issues with your weight kind of remind me of the issues Kelly Taylor had in this episode from 90210:

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0522788/

      Delete
    5. No more like these:
      http://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=moms_dieting_leads_to_daughters_eating_disorders
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2014/02/22/national-eating-disorders-week-how-parental-behavior-may-impact-a-childs-body-image/

      Delete
  26. I remember being at a slumber party and everyone was mean to me. Kinda reminds me of this episode of 90210:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0522914/

    (Season 1: Episode 12)

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  27. I recently found this video from the Mormon church. I thought it was a good definition as to how they define Mormon women. Please check it out when you get a chance.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhYW_td_n04

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  28. Another video about Mormon women.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCr2Pi7JI6k

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    Replies
    1. That video is so flawed I can't even begin.

      Delete
    2. Really? Please explain.

      Delete
  29. I am amazed that a woman that was previously a member of this church is condemning it so much. This church does nothing but promote love and harmony in the family and the makers of this carefully pieced video are aimed at destroying that. As a woman that has stayed at home full time, gone to school at another time (part time) and is now a working mother (full time), I have to say that I get nothing but love and support from my fellow church members and my leaders for whichever role I have chosen. I wish that I could stay at home and spend more time with my children and work less because that is ever so important to me because I understand what is truly important in this life. Ask anyone that is over 75 years old and they will all tell you hands down, that all that matters in the end are your loved ones. Our religion simply promotes that from the beginning so we don't have to struggle to make up for those relationships in the end. This religion promotes family first and then the individual and that is why they say things like don't push off family before you finish your degree. They have priorities and I dare say, they have the foresight to know what those priorities will be for all of us before we leave this Earth. There are many other religions and cultures around the world that teach the same principles and I wish that more was done to promote the link that we all share with each other, rather than destroy what we hold dear. Try uplifting instead of tearing down. Flies and Honey...

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    Replies
    1. "Try uplifting instead of tearing down". Great advice.

      Delete
    2. I think LDS members have very different experiences in the Mormon church depending on where they live. Some LDS people receive support, while others are judged. Religion is a very personal decision. We should have respect for all religions. There is good and bad in all religions. We should be uplifting people instead of a religion. We are here to love and help each other be better people rather than destroying any religion or group of people. Showing respect for all religions is something we should all be striving to achieve.

      Delete
  30. I wrote a longer message, but it didn't post. I just want to say that I support you even though I have come to a different conclusion about my faith. I teach at DU and we have a really good social work program. You should come here! Best wishes!!

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  31. It's seems like this post has ruffled quite a few feathers. You have some very opionionate, though sometimes nasty, readers.
    I hope when you're a social worker you are able to help guide clients regardless of there gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, education, or personal beliefs.

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  32. You have great strength and courage, Sharon. Good for you. Be the person you want and need to be.

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  33. Keep fighting the good fight Sharon! I grew up in Idaho Falls and while I was not raised LDS, I have seen first hand the impact that this kind of thinking has on women, their self-worth, and their children. I can only imagine how hard it is to step away, and do so publicly. Thank you for being so honest. It's refreshing to see a real person struggling with exercising, child raising, religion...you always make me smile!

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  34. Oh dear goodness, this took me back to watching General Conference when I was ten years old. It is just as irrelevant now as it was then, only now I am not trying to force myself to agree with it. So grateful to have moved on in life. As the first woman in my family to graduate from college (also pursuing a Masters in Human Services Counseling,) it feels so good to let my feminist wings fly! I am a mama of two girls, and they will have no question whether or not their education and goals are as important as a boy's education and goals. Thanks for this reminder of how wrong these ideals are.

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  35. Whoa, I'm impressed, Sharon! I'm atheist, and my friends find it so amusing that I read Mormon blogs. 1) A lot seem to be normal and 2) those who are clearly insane are sooooo entertaining to me. Not the point. The point is, I was raised in a more tolerant religion (Methodist, who I still have a lot of respect for; it's like the only requirement is worship Jesus and God, and I'm all "too many rules!" ;) ), and my parents are still in denial about me being atheist (which I've been since 16, but not open about it until I was 18 and sure). I can't imagine what a leap it was for you. How did your husband take it (since I assume he is/was LDS too)?

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  36. Sharon I`ve been reading your blog for many years now. Cheers to you for the courage to speak about such a sensitive topic. Reading your blog always puts a smile on my face whether it`s inspirational posts like this one or hilarious things like cleaning the apartment by hiding everything under the bed. Hugs to you. Patricia

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  37. I was raised in a conservative LDS home and remained an active LDS member for many years into adulthood. I left the LDS religion about ten years ago and I think my parents are still in some weird state of denial about this. I couldn't agree with your statement more about being "happier and healthier" now. You keep doing what's right for you!

    ReplyDelete
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