Guest Post: Trump’s Mormon Problem -or- If you want Mormons to like you, maybe you shouldn’t act so much like King Noah

The following guest post is from  Beth C. Buck.

Beth Buck is a budding writer who mostly spends her writing energy waxing erudite about yeast and freeze-dried chicken at an emergency preparedness website. Someday she hopes to publish a novel, but probably not today. She has four kids, a spinning wheel, a black belt, and a degree in Middle Eastern Studies.

How crazy is this election cycle? I suppose it wouldn’t be a real election year if our news feeds weren’t inundated with muckraking, scandals, and political plot twists. Most days, I don’t know whether to move to Canada, or sit back and watch with a bucket of popcorn on my lap as if it were only another crude reality TV show.

But there is one thing I like about this election, and that is how we Mormons have successfully distinguished ourselves by refusing to ally with Donald Trump. It was with no small amount of pride that I first heard the phrase, “Trump’s Mormon Problem.” In the short time since the famous “Trump Tapes” have been made public, Trump’s Mormon Problem has only intensified as top LDS Republican leaders have rescinded their endorsements.

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Guest post: Fathers are not defective mothers

This is a guest post by Lucinda Hancock.

Recently I’ve been trying to live with more respect for my husband’s role as a father. It’s embarrassing, but for many years of my marriage I bought into ideas that effectively consider men to be ‘defective’ women. This has been most stressful in our relationship as parents. Fathers are men and the failure of our society to be reasonable about gender has made it difficult know what that means.

Last October I was surprised by new wording on the birth-certificate application. Instead of “mother” and “father”, it used “parent 1” and “parent 2” with gender selection boxes for each parent. I’d actually heard people talk about this kind of thing happening, but when you’ve just given birth, and you have to put your name under “parent 1” and state that you are female, it really sticks out how you are contributing to a socially constructed fiction, like there is nothing objectively female about the event of giving birth. And I can’t imagine anyone fighting to be called “parent 1” or “parent 2”. Frankly it would be more consistently non-specific just to go with Dr. Seuss’s “thing 1” and “thing 2”.

So here we are, in a society that seems to be gleefully attempting to erase observable and factual differences between the sexes in the area most pertinent to the fact of gendered existence, that is, in reproduction and parenting. The question is whether such ideas can answer and guide actual parents who are anxiously seeking to know about best parenting practices for the sake of their children. Many men and women have no idea how to agree on important details because there is no room to allow for differences between moms and dads.

The research is clear that fathers matter, but for the most part, we are uncomfortable acknowledging the particular and gendered differences that make fathers so important. Much of the analysis seems to bring out the economic poverty suffered in many single-mother families, but this view often gives the impression that having a dad is all about increasing the income of a family, and fails to give adequate insight about why a dad matters even if he fails to prosper economically. Even more than that, our failure to convey workable guidance based in reasoning about gender is pushing many viable marriages and families to the breaking point, as husbands and wives struggle to hash out important details of unity.

Who is right?
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New study shows children suffer being raised in same-sex households

We would like to draw your attention to this story. Please visit the story for many of the links. We will simply reprint some excerpts.

A new study released earlier this month in the journal Depression Research and Treatment contributes to mounting evidence against the “no differences” thesis about the children of same-sex households, mere months after media sources prematurely—and mistakenly—proclaimed the science settled.

One of the most compelling aspects of this new study is that it is longitudinal, evaluating the same people over a long period of time. Indeed, its data source—the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health—is one of the most impressive, thorough, and expensive survey research efforts still ongoing. This study is not the first to make use of the “Add Health” data to test the “no differences” thesis. But it’s the first to come to different conclusions, for several reasons. One of those is its longitudinal aspect. Some problems only emerge over time.

Professor Paul Sullins, the study’s author, found that during adolescence the children of same-sex parents reported marginally less depression than the children of opposite-sex parents. But by the time the survey was in its fourth wave—when the kids had become young adults between the ages of 24 and 32—their experiences had reversed. Indeed, dramatically so: over half of the young-adult children of same-sex parents report ongoing depression, a surge of 33 percentage points (from 18 to 51 percent of the total). Meanwhile, depression among the young-adult children of opposite-sex parents had declined from 22 percent of them down to just under 20 percent.


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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.
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Guest post: There is no exodus from the Church. In fact, just the opposite.

This is a guest post by S. Stevenson (a pseudonym).

Recently, people who support the Church have been pointing out that there has not been an exodus of members leaving.

These people are widely lampooned and pilloried by the NOM and Dehlinite crowds and those who have degrees in religious statistics from the University of Reddit. The various disaffected groups are up in arms about the change in policy toward people with same-sex attraction, which became public in November 2015. They are desperate for any signs that people are leaving the church in droves and are hoping that sooner or later the Brethren must take notice of their disaffection and change the policy.

Now this may be hard to believe because you don’t know me from Adam and I’m writing under a pseudonym, but this is to protect a somewhat delicate source that I have within the Church Administration Building. Someone who is intimately familiar with the number of resignation letters they receive (they read them all), but who also knows the number of rebaptism applications they receive.

Now given the fanfare and magnification that social media provides, one would be tempted to assume that the resignations outnumber the rebaptism applications. This is simply not so. My source told us over family dinner one Sunday that the perception that social media gives about the “exodus” is simply not representative of the Church not just globally but even within the US.

The number of folks applying for rebaptism far and away outnumbers the resignation requests. In fact going further, there have been some that resigned in the post “policy” fallout have since requested rebaptism and expressed sorrow for their hasty actions.
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