Get married and be submissive

This is a guest post by Lucinda Hancock.

Several years ago, Constanza Miriano wrote a book with the title “Get Married and be Submissive.” I was intrigued by the headline, and I watched a news interview of her. The first thing that struck me was how beautiful and fashionable she was. The second thing that struck me was, “Well, maybe it works for her, because she’s a kind of woman super-hero, but I can’t see it working for me.”

“Submit to him (as long as you think he’s right)”

Like many people, I grew up in a home lacking in important aspects of marital harmony, mostly because of bad decisions made by my father. When I was young, my mother talked to me about how a wife is under obligation to submit to her husband insofar as her husband is righteous in his commands. This made sense to me, and I wondered why anyone would think a woman had an obligation to submit to requests she found unrighteous. I mean, that just sounded dumb.

So when I myself married, my understanding of my covenant obligation was that my husband and I would be a team, and we would counsel together in everything. It should surprise no one that we had many arguments over the years about who was right. Indeed, when your submission is tagged to your understanding of rightness, how can you not fight tooth and nail over every little decision about who has “rightness” on their side. After several years, I came to the unhappy realization that my husband, for all intents and purposes, was endeavoring to submit to me. He had wearied of argument, and felt I wasn’t to be reckoned with.

I was upset at his betrayal of our “team” understanding of marriage, but I could understand since he was not raised to debate, and I had been trained in logical argument by my education in mathematics. So at that time, I decided to just “sleep in the bed I’d made” and try not to insist on our genuinely agreeing about decisions. Counseling with each other had been tried and found wanting, and it was fine for me to just be in charge.

But it wasn’t fine. It was extremely taxing on me to feel the full responsibility for every family decision. And to avoid tensions, I mostly found ways around having to confront the disunity in our marriage. For example, I went ahead with ‘family’ scripture reading when my husband was at work because it was too stressful to involve him, and it made me feel so naggy, and besides, while we shared broad goals about scripture-study, I had my own ideas about HOW to go about it. I read the entire Old and New Testaments with my older children. Now I could check that off my list of righteous deeds. But as the teachings of the Bible sunk in, I was forced to realize there was something really off in my approach to my marriage.
Continue reading

A Spark of True Nobility

This post is not directly related to the Church, but it concerns an inspiring event in U.S. History that I heard about for the first time recently on the Washington Post’s Presidential Podcast. I thought it was worth sharing on this blog because it is a story that powerfully illustrates many gospel principles. In particular, it truly affirms for me the powerful impact that one person who sees and encourages the potential in another can have. This is the story of one obscure woman, Julia Sands, who provided the moral conscience for a president. Continue reading

Free Book, or What I learned at MHA

RP 160627 CoverI had a delightful time at the Mormon History Association Conference this past weekend. I met scores of individuals, many of whom I had only read about. They were uniformly gracious in person, including those with whom I have sparred online.

But I realized the road to being accepted by some in this community is paved by scholarly papers.

As I evaluated why I have written this book, I realized I simply want this version of Joseph Smith to be available to a large number of people as soon as possible. So I am making the pdf version of the book available to anyone who wants to download it. Just click on the cover image in this post.

If you really want a physical copy of the book, it is being carried by Benchmark Books in Salt Lake City and you can get the book from Amazon. Even though I’m now giving away the pdf, I still think the nicest format is Kindle, making it trivially easy to access the footnotes. The version currently available via these sellers has the old cover and doesn’t include the updates based on Ugo Perego’s latest DNA analysis. The updated version represented by the pdf will be published on June 27th. Continue reading

A People Prepared for the Restoration

One of the talks that really stood out to me in this most recent general conference was one by Elder Jairo Mazzagardi entitled “The Sacred Place of Restoration. A few weeks ago I wrote a post on my blog explaining how this talk helps us learn about the process of receiving personal revelation.

This week I have been thinking quite a bit more about the question that caused Elder Mazzagardi to struggle so much: Why did the restoration have to occur in North America when it did rather than anywhere else or at any other time in human history? He offers some answers in his talk, namely the existence of religious freedom and the confluence of religious revival and economic explosion in upstate New York. These are very significant answers, but certainly many more things could be added to that list.

I have been listening recently to free lectures on Open Yale Courses while working out or commuting. And this week I have been listening to a phenomenal course of the Civil War and Reconstruction by historian David Blight. One of the early lectures is about the “Northern World View.” Listening to this lecture gave me added insight into Elder Mazzagardi’s question. Continue reading