Honest questions for Adam S. Miller

Adam S. Miller, the Mormon philosopher who wrote the highly praised book “Letters to a Young Mormon,” wrote a piece that was published on LDS Living yesterday.  The article can be read here.  The title of the article is:  “Defending the Family Means Defending Women and Rooting Out Misogyny.”

I have re-read the article multiple times, and I don’t understand it.  Really.  I think I know what Bro. Miller is trying to say, but then I re-read the article and I think, “no, that can’t be right.”  So, I am back to thinking I don’t know what he is saying.  I wrote this article in the hopes somebody who knows him will pass it along to him and perhaps I can get some answers.

Before we get to the article, I should probably point out that I did not like his much-praised book.  At all.  To sum up my experience, I found it full of convoluted, difficult to understand statements that ended up being dull platitudes.  For me, it was kind of like trying to read a pretentious 13-year-old’s diary.   I would never have read a book like his when I was a young person trying to find my way through life.  (Now to be fair, I only went to church a few times when I was young, and I did not get baptized until I was in my 30s, so perhaps I was not the target audience.  And also to be double-fair to Bro. Miller, many people I respect loved his book).

To understand where I am coming from, let’s take a look at Bro. Miller’s talk at BYU on Jan. 11.

In that talk he said the following:

“It is a mistake to think that Mormonism is about Mormonism. Mormonism is not about Mormonism. And if we try to force Mormonism to be about itself, we paint ourselves into corners and lose track of the very thing we are trying to say. . . . In my experience, Mormonism comes into focus as true and living only when I stop looking directly at it and instead aim my attention at Christ. Instead of aiming at Mormonism, I have to aim what Mormonism is aiming at. Otherwise, I’ll miss what matters most.”

What the heck?  This has to be one of the strangest statements I have ever read.  Mormonism is about Christ.  I mean, it is right there in the name of the Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  What the heck does he mean saying that “Mormonism is not about Mormonism?”  I have read that paragraph a dozen times now, and I have no idea what he is talking about.   Again, to be fair to Bro. Miller, perhaps I would have understood better if I had watched his talk in context.  Does he mean that Mormonism is not about Utah culture?  Does he mean that Mormonism is not about American triumphalism?  Does he mean that Mormonism is not about blindly following prophets?  Does he mean that Mormonism is not about Joseph Smith?  I simply don’t know.

So, question number one for Bro. Miller is:  what the heck does that paragraph mean?

My same concerns apply to his article in LDS Living.

The biggest fault of the article is that Bro. Miller never defines what he means by the word “misogyny.”  This is kind of important because his entire article is about misogyny.

“Misogyny” literally means hatred and contempt and prejudice against girls and women.  We Mormons should definitely be against hating women.  In fact, men are told approximately a dozen times every Sunday — in a variety of different ways — to love women.  We should love our wives, our mothers, our grandmothers, the other women in our wards and stakes, and of course we should love our female children.  So, saying you are against misogyny in a Mormon setting is a bit like going to Elder’s Quorum and saying we should not be drinking alcohol.  Yup, Misogyny and alcohol are both bad for Mormons.

But somehow Bro. Miller is under the impression that we Mormon men are just absolutely filled to the brim with misogyny, or at least I think he is.

This misogyny is sufficiently commonplace that it surely counts as one of the world’s most deeply engrained idolatries: men, rather than worshipping God, have made an idol of themselves. In an attempt to fashion the world in their own manly image, men have disfigured it.

Now, remember that Bro. Miller is speaking to a Mormon audience.  I would agree that there is plenty of misogyny in the world.  There are plenty of cultures that degrade and humiliate women and do not treat them as equals.  Just off the top of my head, I have lived in cultures where women are treated literally like slaves by their husbands.   There are many cultures where women are sold into prostitution at a young age.  There are other cultures where women suffer from genital mutilation.

So, my second question would be:  is Bro. Miller talking about this type of misogyny?  If he is, then I definitely agree with him.  That kind of treatment of women needs to stop.  Immediately.

But I have a strange feeling that Bro. Miller is mostly talking about how Mormon men treat the women in their lives.  My third question would be:  if Bro. Miller is talking about Mormon men, what exactly are his concerns?  (For the record, I am not saying that all Mormon men treat the women in their lives perfectly, but in general I think Mormon men are more filled with love for women than anybody else I know.  My fourth question would be:  which groups treat women better than Mormon men?)

Bro. Miller’s article is absolutely chock-full of anodyne statements like:

We cannot continue to abide the world’s casual and routine will to exploit, harass, and silence women


Defending the family means defending women from both the subtle and violent forms of degradation, abuse, and marginalization that riddle our world.

I am sorry to be so blunt, but when I read this I can say nothing but, “err, yes, this is obvious, and your point is…?”

Of course we are all against exploiting, harassing and silencing women.  Of course we do not want women to be degraded, abused and marginalized.

But (fifth question) what does Bro. Miller mean by this?  Who exactly is doing the exploiting, the harassing and the silencing?  In the last few months we have seen that Hollywood and a bevy of politicians are doing a lot of exploiting, harassing and silencing. Is that we he is referring to?  Is he talking about Harvey Weinstein, or is he talking about your elder’s quorum president?  I literally have no idea.

Bro. Miller writes:

The world attempts to force a choice: either women don’t get to be people or they don’t get to be women.

On the one hand, the world wills women to be women—but not people—by stripping them of agency and reducing them to passive objects of desire, angels on pedestals, prizes to be won, or images to be consumed. In this case, whether women are silenced and marginalized in the name of false religions or a global pornography industry, the result is the same.

Once again, I am not sure to what he is referring.  Who does he mean by “the world?”  This statement could be interpreting literally dozens of ways.  I could potentially completely agree with this statement, or I could potentially completely disagree depending on who is doing the forcing.  If he means, for example, that the entertainment industry, politicians and other bad men in power strip women of agency and reduce women to “passive objects of desire, angels on pedestals, prizes to be won, or images to be consumed,” he is 100 percent correct.  In fact, this is a very good description of the horrors of our world today for women.  But is that what he is referring to, or is he referring to something else?  This would be my sixth question: who exactly are the bad guys in this scenario, and why is he discussing this with a Mormon audience?

Then Bro. Miller refers to women being silenced and marginalized “in the name of false religions.”  I have been thinking about this statement for two days, and I cannot for the life of me figure out what religions he has in mind.  Does he mean Scientology?  Wiccans?  Does he mean Islam and is calling that a “false religion?”  (That would be terribly politically incorrect).  Hopefully he does not mean the LDS Church, but maybe there is some intended reference to people who go to Church but don’t practice it the way he thinks they should?  So my seventh question would be:  what are the false religions he refers to?

I could go on and on because I literally could comprehend almost nothing in this article.

But I will end by saying:  Bro. Miller’s writing frustrates me.  Perhaps I am just too literal of a person, but I find his generalizations very annoying.  He seems to think he is saying things that are really profound, but to me he either 1)saying things that are obvious and obtuse or 2)he is saying things that I cannot for the life of me understand.  And, worst of all, he seems really, really intent on signaling his virtue in ways that will repel most women I know.  Most women I know want to talk about real issues.  Does he mean that women should have the priesthood, or does he mean that wives should talk last in sacrament meeting instead of their husbands?  Does he really think that American Mormon men are all that bad, or is he talking about (some) cultures overseas where men are beating their wives daily?  What are his specific criticisms and/or suggestions for his audience?  I could find nothing in this article that was aimed at the people I know in my ward or stake.

But I am sincere when I say I would welcome answers to the questions I pose.  I am sure Bro. Miller’s intentions were good, and his message is potentially a very good one.  I think.



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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

88 thoughts on “Honest questions for Adam S. Miller

  1. K I read a few of your posts so I’m not super familiar with you. But I need to point this out for like… Every LDS man ever.
    “passive objects of desire, angels on pedestals, prizes to be won, or images to be consumed,”
    Really? Are you kidding me there? I’m not a fan of Adam’s post but you need to open your eyes.
    That’s one of the only accurate things he said.
    Women are treated as passive objects every time we have a YW chastity lesson where we are routinely told to dress modestly to protect the boys. We’re *literally* being objectified. As objects of lust for boys. We should be telling boys to control themselves but instead we’re measuring girls dresses and Angels on pedestals- this is exactly what Heavenly Mother is seen as now. A figure so sacred we can’t hardly talk about her. Not an all powerful Goddess (which she is). Prizes to be won. I have lost count of how many LDS men I’ve heard use the term “trophy wife”. Or how many missionaries talk about how well they do on their mission will determine how hot their wives are, you know, like a prize to be won? And finally images to be consumed – I really hope we have not forgotten when Oaks referred to women as “walking pornography”. We are not pornography, we are humans. If men are turned on, be like Joseph of Egypt and run away instead of blaming us and calling us names.
    Yes. Mormon men absolutely treat women in all of these exact ways. It’s reprehensible. And yes, you should stop.

  2. Agree with you 100% here.

    As I mentioned earlier to you off line, I feel like he’s trying to come up with some sort of solution to #metoo. He doesn’t have to do that because it’s already been done by the Savior. The other thing is that if we really want to treat women and really all people better we will strive more to keep the commandments and help others to do that as well. I think he’s made this more complicated that it needs to be.

  3. “Finally, do not patronize pornography. Do not use your purchasing power to support moral degradation. And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you.” -PRESIDENT Oaks

    Don’t dress immodestly. Don’t get offended when a prophet gives you counsel. If you get counsel from a prophet that goes against your social or political views, change your social or political views. Third wave feminism is not compatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a destructive man-hating ideology that fosters the spirit of contention, which is the spirit of the devil. Look how easily it leads members to criticize counsel from a prophet.

  4. Goeff, You are the master at posting topics that will get a rise out of readers. Actually I love it. It keeps us engaged. Thanks! As to your post, I understand that sometimes it is hard to get what Adam is talking about. I too, wish he would just come out and say whatever it is more clearly, but that isn’t his style and if he gets us to think more deeply, it’s a good thing. So, I started thinking more deeply about misogyny in the modern church. Unfortunately, I don’t have to look any further than my own male nose and that of my family of origin. Over the years, I’ve come to see that I am too often the boss in my marriage and family, just because I am a man or hold the priesthood. Important decisions—cars, houses, jobs, school, children’s issues, etc. It’s not that I don’t ask for counsel, it’s just that as I look back I can see that I thought I held the trump card–the bigger straw. Why was/is that? Why do I think I am the one to ask people in our home to pray over meals or at family prayer? I know in many homes that is not the standard, but based on my experience in many homes and with 100’s of ward youth over the years I suspect that is more common than not. Why in most wards are men the last speakers in sacrament meetings? To have the last word? Wow! That’s a vote of confidence. Because they are better speakers? Because they hold the priesthood? Because of the “unwritten order of things?” Or, is it simply because men hold a higher, more important place than women? Why didn’t President Nelson’s admonition to women to speak up in Ward Councils seem to work? “We need you to speak up and speak out in ward and stake councils.” (Oct GC 2015) It takes more than an admonition or two to overcome in those councils the cultural power of the Priesthood that stifles contribution from women unless they are explicitly asked to comment. Why is that? Why wasn’t the highest women’s council in the Church, the Relief Society General Presidency, responsible for all the women in the Church, consulted in the writing of The Family: A Proclamation to the World before it was published? Why was that? There are many other examples. It just seems pervasive. Many seem small and the issue may be no big deal, but its origin means something. What is it? The attitude of “better than” just because of gender, is not unique to Mormons, but just because these attitudes are culturally accepted doesn’t make them right in the sight of God. On the positive side, progress is being made. Having women pray and speak more often in conference, being called frequently as teachers of the important Gospel Doctrine class and having them invited to Priesthood Executive Committee meetings are examples of areas where women have been given more respect. So, I think I understand some of his concern on the misogyny issue.

  5. I’ve read and reviewed many of Adam’s books on MStar. Let me share my thoughts.

    First, he is a philosopher. He focuses much on Grace as Creation and the center of the gospel. Elder McConkie warned of gospel hobbies, which Adam calls Mormonism. We lose Christ when we over focus on anything else.

    The same thought applies to women and misogyny. When we focus on modesty or women as pornography, etc, we’re losing track of women as humans and daughters of God.

    The sum of the parts do not equal the whole, yet we break the gospel and people into such, focusing too much on one virtue, until we sometimes turn it into a vice.

  6. Interesting. I can see Adam’s point, but it would have helped if he’d given concrete examples, such as how some men (of any culture) think of woman in terms of sex rather than as valuable individuals who can be peers and superiors.

    And at times people will lash out at the term “Mormonism” because it’s so easy for us to lose sight of the fact that the restoration is about Christ as Savior for all mankind across all generations of time, for all women and children (a set that naturally includes all men other than Father Adam, who’s already good).

    I suspect that Brother Miller is reacting to a Mormon micro-culture. I have observed this micro-culture, and in some of my commentary rants while writing the Faithful Joseph series I would talk about the messed up culture that is willing to believe Joseph was right to consummate over a dozen plural marriages without informing his wife, Emma. Because that is what I see some “faithful” men believing, because they aren’t aware that the evidence shows a Joseph who very much kept Emma informed and a lack of any objective evidence that Joseph included a sexual dimension in his own covenants with women other than his legal wife.

    My own life is filled with men and women who are honorable Christians in the best sense of that label, who embrace the glorious restoration of truths in the Book of Mormon, explained sufficiently during the ministry of Joseph Smith for us to do God’s intended task of helping save all mankind. And just in case someone doesn’t know me and thinks I am impugning LDS prophets who followed Joseph, I merely mean to say that Joseph restored enough for us to move ahead, not that subsequent prophets have erred or that their contributions have been less than fabulous.

    I wonder what Nephi had encountered that made him so adamant about instilling a culture of absolute literalism. Perhaps he knew how easy it is for sophistries and symbolic terms to be twisted and misunderstood. So I agree that plain speech, thoroughly supported by example, is to be preferred.

  7. Pilar wrote: “Women are treated as passive objects every time we have a YW chastity lesson where we are routinely told to dress modestly to protect the boys.” I am OK having a discussion about this point you make, but I have no idea if this is what Bro. Miller is talking about. So, my post is an attempt to figure out if this is what he is referring to or not. And as an aside, isn’t it other women who usually lead YW chastity lessons? I can tell you in the wards where I have been that the bishopric (the male “patriarchy”) does not micro-manage women’s chastity lessons. So, it is actually other women who are telling young women to dress modestly. So isn’t your problem actually with other women, not with men?

  8. Rame, I respect your opinions, and I am glad you get positive things out of Bro. Miller’s writings. But I must say I have a fundamental problem with his approach. In my experience, if you want people to change, you have to point out to them things they need to change, and you need to be specific. Most men do not wake up and think, “wow, I really need a philosopher to tell me what to change about myself today. I really am misogynistic — let me examine the ways.” (KarlS in the comments above appears to be an exception). Most people think they are doing things right. If somebody were, under the right circumstances, perhaps in ward council, to mention to a bishopric specific changes that would make women feel more included, I am certain the bishopric would consider those changes. So, I would say that specificity is certain to get better results than generalities. I am trying to encourage Bro. Miller to be more specific.

  9. Geoff,

    Miller is likely being vague and abstract so readers can read-in their own meaning, and agree with him. But sooner or later Miller or his accolytes will have to reveal themselves.

    I think there are still pockets of old-school Mormon culture that treat women as second-class human beings. The Brethren have been working and preaching against this. Part of Mormon culture has been to overly focus on programs and checklists; the Brethren have had us cut back on church activities/meetings and be more people/family-oriented.

    So if Miller is really just trying to argue in favor of what the Brethren are doing/saying, fine. If he’s giving us more reasons to “follow the Brethren”, that’s great.

    What he’s doing looks to be the middle of a “pace and then lead” maneuver.

    Maybe Miller is trying to move/nudge the Mormon feminist movement to be in line with the Brethren. If he’s “pacing” the feminists, with intent to eventually “lead” them to the Brethren, fine.

    But if Miller’s -underlying- intent is more along what Pilar, or Chelsea Shields, (or, heaven forbid, OW) is saying, then he might be “pacing” the church majority who follow the Brethren, with the intent of eventually “leading” them to OW/Feminism.

    His vagueness at this point allows both “sides” to infer that he’s with/pacing them; a ploy to gain trust.

    Is Miller giving us more ways and reasons to implement and follow what the Brethren are already saying, or is he giving us more ways and reasons to “agitate for change” in the direction the Brethren point?

    So you are good to question.

  10. Geoff, obviously you are not familiar with how things work at church. Women do not have a final say in anything, let alone their own curriculum for themselves or young women. So the problem is still ultimately with men and the power they hold and refuse to share.
    “I am sincere when I say I would welcome answers to the questions I pose” Obviously false. Next time make your lies at least a little more believable. You don’t care about the misogyny at church. Don’t pretend to be interested in anything other than the status quo.

  11. Pilar, normally a hostile comment like yours would get trashed. We are not interested in unfriendly conversations at this site. If you want to engage in insults and flame wars, I would encourage you to do to another internet site. But I am leaving your comment up so readers can judge for themselves the “quality” of your comments.

    I actually am familiar with how things actually work at church because I have served in bishoprics and on the high council. And my wife has served in the young women’s leadership multiple times. And I can tell you that the content of young womens’ lessons on chastity are determined almost entirely by local female leadership in wards. The male bishopric simply does not usually micro-manage these lessons. If you have a problem with teaching about chastity in general, I think you are going to the wrong church. The idea of chastity for men and women is central to Church doctrine. But how the lessons actually are taught — and the discussion that takes place — is a decision usually left up to local women’s leadership.

    I am sincerely interested in answers to the questions I posed. So, yeah, your comment is way up there on the hostile scale. Good wishes to you Pilar. You obviously have a lot of anger inside you, and I hope you can find a way to work that out without hurting yourself or other people.

  12. Geoff, as an outside observer – I don’t know you, Pilar, or Adam Miller – given the tone of your post, I don’t know that Pilar is so off base in wondering about the sincerity of the questions you pose (I wouldn’t go so far as to say “obviously false”). If you’re sincerely interested in answers to your questions, I’d tone down the rhetoric. As it is, it reads like one of those open letters to the First Presidency, sincerely asking about the church’s position on the latest du jour social issue. If I was Miller, I’d have no interest in responding to a piece like this.

  13. James, I would not be surprised if Bro. Miller does not respond. But my questions are sincere. Not everybody likes my writing style. I find a lot of posts boring, so I have my own style and like to spice things up sometimes. Not everybody likes it, and that is OK. Thanks for your input.

  14. I get what Adam’s saying, and largely agree with it. But I do agree that he’s unfortunately picked a language that I don’t think most people, even most people with an university background, will quite get. Adam’s brilliant and probably more close to my own views than anyone else. Yet he’s adopted an oblique style that I don’t think is typically necessary.

  15. One of the trends with Mormon feminism is treating the patriarchal order of our church as mysogyny. The patriarchal order places the Father as head of his family, he leads, presides and as such is given the primary charge over his family. I can promise that as we move away from the patriarchal order in the home and at church we will lose all our freedoms and the family will be utterly destroyed.

  16. Jacob’s wonderful words on the need of men to respect their wives and families may be a key reason that the first part of the Book of Mormon, as Joseph translated it, was lost. I have experienced both conscious and unconscious misogyny in American culture but I have also observed at least an equal amount of misanthropy toward men from women. It is great and good to be a woman and it is great and good to be a man. They are not the same and many problems result when members of either sex are viewed as defective humans. I believe the modern tragedy of gender confusion has roots in the wider cultural confusion about the very real value of the complementary views and biological roles of men and women. This is not a new problem, but modern medical technology in the form of birth control has added to the coil.
    Men and women who understand the value of each other, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally, may have difficulty understanding what a problem it is for those who fail to recognize that differences do exist and are valuable to the human race.

  17. Thanks Geoff. As I said, I don’t know Miller, but I’ve read a couple of his books – LTAYM and Future Mormon – which I liked and I thought that his LDS Living piece was fine, though non-specific. I believe you when you say you’re sincere so I’ll take a stab at your questions (with the proviso that I know no more about Miller’s intentions than you, so take it fwiw):
    1. When he says Mormonism, I don’t think he’s referring to the work of the church. I think he’s talking about those things that we often get excited about that aren’t really about Christ, e.g. Book of Mormon historicity, was the priesthood ban inspired or not.
    2. I would imagine that, in part, he probably is talking about that kind of misogyny. And even though that might be far removed from our experience, I think there are still things good Mormons can do to combat that kind of misogyny, e.g. become more responsible consumers (aware of the processes involved in producing the things we consume).
    3. I would refer to KarlS’s comment. I don’t think Karl’s experience is as uncommon as you may think. In my place of work, women speaking up and their voices being heard is a non-issue. If President Nelson said what he said to my work colleagues, they would wonder what he was talking about. That it needs to be addressed in GC suggests it is an issue in the church.
    4. I don’t think that question is relevant. Even if there was some objective measure that demonstrated Mormon men treat women better than any other group of men treat women, there’s still plenty of room for improvement for us.
    5. You preface your questions with this: “I am sorry to be so blunt, but when I read this I can say nothing but, “err, yes, this is obvious, and your point is…?”
    Just because something is obviously bad doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be addressed. Pornography is referenced pretty frequently during GC, do you have the same “err, yes, this is obvious…” response? In GC, warnings against pornography are typically regarding the personal spiritual impact on the user. Miller seems to be taking a slightly different tack by appealing to men to think about the impact they have on the women involved and how pornography use my impact a users attitudes towards women.
    6. I don’t think he’s interested in labeling anyone ‘bad’. The Mormon men I know are on the whole good men – good sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, etc. But the reality is we live in a man’s world. Many of the things we take for granted advantage men. As per my answers to Q3 and Q4, there is plenty of room for improvement for all of us. I’m not bothered if I treat women better than the POTUS. He’s not the standard by which I’ll be judged. A call to think about the subtle (and perhaps not so subtle ways) I could treat women better is a pretty important message, I think.
    7. Don’t really know what he means by false religions.

  18. James, you write: “5. You preface your questions with this: “I am sorry to be so blunt, but when I read this I can say nothing but, “err, yes, this is obvious, and your point is…?”
    Just because something is obviously bad doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be addressed. Pornography is referenced pretty frequently during GC, do you have the same “err, yes, this is obvious…” response? In GC, warnings against pornography are typically regarding the personal spiritual impact on the user. Miller seems to be taking a slightly different tack by appealing to men to think about the impact they have on the women involved and how pornography use my impact a users attitudes towards women.”

    Here is the difference: the people who speak at GC are in a position of Church leadership, and I consider them in a position of authority. Bro Miller is not in a position of authority over me. Church leaders’ advice is given in an attempt to improve human souls and help them draw closer to God. Is that Bro Miller’s intent? I honestly don’t know, but given that he seems to think that I am a Mormon man and therefore a misogynist, I don’t think his intent is necessarily in my best interests. So, I see a big difference between a Church leader offering advice and Bro. Miller offering “advice.” I doubt I am the only one.

  19. Just look at the difference between the male and female commenters on this post.
    GUYS: We aren’t misogynists. Everything is fine as is.
    WOMEN: Adam has a point. Our experience is that we are objectified and not treated as full participants.
    GUYS: Follow the brethren! Our all male leadership group tells us to love women so obviously we aren’t misogynists!

    Nobody is an intentional misogynist but the status quo is patriarchal and that means women aren’t treated as fully human or fully equal. Sorry, gents. That’s the nature of the beast.

  20. Adam Miller is very popular in the LDS world right now. His perspective is resonating strongest with those LDS who are committed to the Church yet see some failures not so much with the Church or its leaders but with some of the cultural attitudes and traditional explanations that are used to defend the status quo. Like others in the same category, like Terryl Givens for example, he does have some detractors among the most conservative, literalistic, fundamentalistic type of LDS. In addition to that, he is a philosopher by profession, and so for normal thinking people like me (and you it seems) it takes a little effort to grapple with what he’s saying in order to understand him. But I believe you’ll get a huge payback from that effort. I think he’s brilliant, and his perspective is very valuable. Here’s a blog post I did, reviewing one of his books, and helping to translate the message into normal speak.

  21. I am also a practical, fairly literal person who does not enjoy reading philosophers, so I think I “get” some of your frustration, but I would give an big “amen” to Pilar’s comment above. It seems like you can’t acknowledge any fault in Mormon culture and practice. The fact that women are not treated as slaves and beaten is great but does not lessen the ways we are objectified, pedestalized (you seem to consider this the opposite of misogyny), treated as prizes to be won, or images to be consumed.

  22. One thing Miller has going for him in that article is a willingness to denounce “the world” in the way you might find Jesus doing in the Gospel of John. Miller’s article reminded me of Elder Richard G. Scott’s 1998 conference talk on a similar theme, “Removing Barriers to Happiness.” Like Miller, Elder Scott intentionally kept it vague which particular cultures throw up barriers to gospel living. He didn’t specify certain problematic practices of the Poles and others that the Koreans have trouble with. He said broadly, “Appreciation for ethnic, cultural, or national heritage can be very wholesome and beneficial, but it can also perpetuate patterns of life that should be set aside by a devoted Latter-day Saint.” After describing converted saints willingness to order there lives with the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity, he continued, “Also there are other things, perhaps less clearly evident, that also need to be set aside in order to enjoy the fullest measure of happiness from membership in His kingdom.” Later in the talk he asked, “Is yours a culture where the husband exerts a domineering, authoritarian role, making all of the important decisions for the family? That pattern needs to be tempered so that both husband and wife act as equal partners, making decisions in unity for themselves and their family.”

  23. ‘pedestalized’ yep, that is a problem. I struggled for nearly thirty years with the idea that as a woman, therefore the’heart of the home’, I bore responsibility for any disfunction in my marriage. I appealed to my priesthood leaders after beatings and other abuse and the message I received was to be a better wife and all would be well. At last I got the golden ticket. He committed adultery, a bonifide scriptural justification for me to seek freedom. Years later one of my former bishops apologized for his counsel that as the wife I was the moral center of the home and bore responsibility for my husband’s behavior. This attitude was part of the American culture of the time. It is reflected in the idea that women are responsible for rape and prurient thoughts. The extreme expression of this attitude is found in fundamentalist Islam.
    Women and men will all stand before the final bar of judgement without excuses. ‘They made me do it’, ‘If they hadn’t said/done that I wouldn’t have lost my temper’ will be futile.
    Ultimately both men and women are responsible for their own attitudes and behavior.

  24. I saw the false religions angle as similar to what the brethren have spoken of modern-day idolatry. Many male-dominated professional sports (NFL, for example) tend to use female bodies as entertainment or ornamentation. Or car shows. Or the music industry. Or the movie industry. When you look at just about anything oriented towards men (action movies, music videos, etc.), women are often only there as objects to titillate or enticement to draw attention to a product.

  25. Hawkgrrrl,
    So, whats your answer? Should we abolish mans role in the home and at church? Should we make Christ a woman? Should we insist Christs apostles should have been equally men and women- 6 men, 6 women? Should we pray to Heavenly Mother instead?

  26. Mary Ann,
    Im curious what you think of things like cheerleaders at schools or ballet? They both include men and yet both place the woman as the crowning attraction. I dont believe they sexualize women or objectify them. Can an art such as ballet focus on the beauty of creation without the masses thinking it must be sexual or immoral?

  27. Rob Osborn, I know from long experience that your histrionic questions are not in earnest.

    Many Mormon men are not misogynists, and yet the culture is sexist and privileges a male experience. What we do to rise above that is we listen to women a whole lot more than we have historically, we take them and their ideas and experiences seriously and not just in the domestic sphere, we rewrite curricula with equal input from women– not to change doctrine but because it is so clearly not written by or for women in many cases. We stop making false equivalence between motherhood and priesthood. We respect women’s choices rather than preaching one size fits all or relegating them to an afterthought. We quit talking about women only in relation to men (as wives, mothers, daughters).

  28. My mother began her career at 36, beginning with several years of schooling while working nights, then full time employment as a teacher. I was eight when this began. (Dad had been injured in Viet Nam and they both worked and went to school) My mother hated Mother’s Day talks. She hated the “pedestal” the male speakers would construct, and would leave because she said it did not represent her. She was not the woman they were describing. It was patronizing. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily call this misogyny, as the label is harsh. But, it is certainly a remnant left in the attitudes of many men in the church. I still hear these kinds of patronizing comments from especially the older men who still don’t get that the women feel they are working very hard to be good and don’t come by it “naturally” at all. I can’t read Adam Miller. I was a philosophy major too. Not that I don’t “understand”, I just learned to despise the speechifying I heard from so many of my peers that I never got over it. But I believe he means well for the progress of the church. Thanks for the vigorous discussion Geoff.

  29. “Many Mormon men are not misogynists, and yet the culture is sexist and privileges a male experience.”

    I know plenty of men that aren’t feeling privileged these days.

  30. Note to commenters: I know from long experience that this thread is heading toward chaos and contention. So I will be moderating all comments from this point on. If you can’t keep your comments friendly and on-point, they won’t be making it, so do yourself a favor and don’t spend a lot of time on a comment that is not going to be seen by anyone. I would also like to point out to commenters that they should review the comments policy on the first page. Thanks.

  31. Rob, “Can an art such as ballet focus on the beauty of creation without the masses thinking it must be sexual or immoral?” I think cheerleaders can have incredible athletic ability and have tremendous value for that, but if a uniform is made to emphasize cleavage (thinking of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders), then it calls into question if they are wanting to be valued solely for athletic prowess. I think ballet, gymnastics, swimming – those are all types of activities that emphasize the athletic skill over the sex appeal. But I disagree those activities are typically marketed for men. Exotic dancing, however, is something very male-marketed that values sex appeal over athletic skill. Budweiser commercials, Carl’s Jr. commercials – they are marketed towards men and sell on sex appeal, not artistic merit. Video games and comic books are also marketed towards men and tend to have incredibly sexualized portrayals of women, and Mormon men are among the enthusiastic consumers of such materials.

  32. Geoff, this article left me very confused as well, I was trying to understand who he was addressing and got lost. I thought there was an extra page I had missed. I was always taught that the best writing had specifics that supported the thesis or to “Show, not tell.” Oh well, maybe I’m missing something or maybe it wasn’t reported well.

    I’m not saying that respecting women is not a problem sometimes, but when I think of true misogyny I think of many terrible examples from many other cultures around the world. In most cases, I ignore cries of “misogyny” in our Western society. To quote The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. . .I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  33. As I see it, one of the real challenges associated with trying to live the Gospel is the culture that we live in. Perhaps a better word would be the “world,” as there are so many “cultures” that people refer to. But, I think that culture is a workable word in this instance.

    Obviously there is no room for misogyny in the Gospel. Unfortunately, there are instances where misogyny is apparent in the Church. I do think that the degree of misogyny (or lack thereof) varies (both in good ways and bad ways) greatly on the local level as a function of culture and the culture promoted by local leadership (and I view both men and women as a part of the local leadership).

    I realize that as a man, I likely do not have the perfect perspective on this issue. But, I do think that I have been blessed to be in a family with exceptional women that have helped me to an extent.

    I think that we need to be careful of blanket statements. There are intentional misogynists. There are also unintentional (cultural) misogynists. And there are those that are not misogynists that are unfairly labeled as such, either through misunderstanding or by those who are just looking for misogyny everywhere.

    The reality is that we are striving to overcome the natural man. In some cases, we become complacent in that effort. In some cases, we might become overzealous to the point of Pharisaical attitudes.

    I appreciate issues such as this being raised so that we can be aware of where we can improve and help change our culture to be more in line with the Gospel. But as we do that, we need to make sure that we are not approaching it from an absolutist standpoint that I see so often in the world and our culture on a variety of issues.

    Cultural shifts are hard. That is one large reason why it is hard to join the Church. It is often a huge cultural shift. And it should be. If the Church and the world were the same culturally, well, then the world would no longer need to hate the saints.

    And remember, regardless of where we are culturally or spiritually, we are probably far away from the culture that our Heavenly Father wants and experiences. And likely many of us would not be totally comfortable with His culture as we have so much of the natural man and pride in us. It is so tempting to tell God how he should do things from my “enlightened” perspective. As such, we need to be careful of our motivations and culturally-tinged views as we decry the views of others.

    Thank you for your patience with me on this.

  34. This is a bit beyond where the conversation has gone, but I’ll toss in my 3 cents:

    Cent 1: I too find Adam Miller too vague and circuitous in his reasoning and argumentation. That may be part of his point, but too me it’s a bit much. He’s so vague, I felt like “Letters to a Young Mormon” really should be re-titled “Why you should stay kinda religious in whatever religion you grew up in.” It’s not Mormon enough – it would take slight changes in less than 10%(ish) of the book to become “Letters to Young Catholic” or even a young Muslim or whatever.

    Cent 2: As I have said elsewhere, one of my biggest problems, though, isn’t his vagueness. It’s that once you trace his reasoning, it’s clear he’s making some compelling argument, but their based on several assumed ideas and positions that he takes as given, and which I don’t. I sometimes disagree strongly with some of his assumed positions that lie under his main argument, and wish he hadn’t jumped over two or three steps before making his case.

    Cent 3: I think he’s more “faithful” (a vague term itself) than many people think he is, but I can’t blame those who think he’s some sort of New Order Mormon sleeper agent. It’s analogous to Terryl and Fiona Givens – if you look closely at what they say, they’re quite “orthodox” most of the time. However, their style is often circuitousm, talks around some subjects, stays on the general level some times, and uses elaborate metaphors/analogies – so a quick, superficial read might make it seem they’re leaving open the way to a New Order Mormon-ish type faith; however, they really aren’t.

    Carry on.

  35. re my comment, for “rather to possible considerations” read “rather for possible considerations”

  36. Marry Ann,
    Thanks for the reply. I will agree that video games, comic books, etc are marketed to men. As for Mormon men being a partvof that enthusiasm, im not so sure. But, I also see a lot marketed towards women also such as Barbie, perfume, clothing, etc. that I guess is a part of our culture. Some say its mans fault, I disagree. I know a lot of women who dress in appealing manners because it empowers them, they like the attention they get from men. Its a choice really, we control what we want to look like, whom we want to appeal to, how we get turned on, etc. That said I readily admit Hollywood and companies market sex appeal because it does sell. But, digging deeper its all based off of human nature I believe, we have just gone to the extreme and crossed boundaries. Men have always tried to be masculine and show off their skillset to attract the ladies and women have always dressed and danced to attract men. Thats as old as time and done properly and morally correct its very beautiful. Thats why I brought up the ballet. Ballet is an art that does in fact showcase the human physique coupled with talent. The woman is the one revered and showcased in ballet as the man does most of the groundwork and guidance and the pointwork belongs to the woman. If a man does pointwork it ends up being comic. Just like in the home the man works and supports that which is most revered- his wife and mother of his children. Society creates sexism and what qualifies it. Its thus different in separate cultures. In some cultures nothing is imodest with nudity while in others showing any part of the leg is taboo. Thus, over time we condition our impulses by reinforced phsycologic conditioning from trends that define what and how to act.
    I guess my point is that im not sure it was either man or women that started this conditioning. Both sexes exploited themselves and each other for gain, satisfaction and empowerment. And, both sexes can control themselves and how others behave around them, we have that power.

  37. Hawkgrrrl,
    I think in the LDS church we have probably the greatest reverence for the sexes. I have never seen Mormon culture as sexist. LDS treat each sex with great reverence. In a patriarchal type of government its hard to please the equality folks because the presiding head is always a man. I can see where that bothers folks. But, when looked at in the bigger picture Im not sure it holds up. For instance, we know that the Head of our church is Jesus Christ, a male. The ultimate head of the Plan of salvation is the Father, another male. Im not sure exactly every detail why this is but it is indeed a fact.It has nothing to do eith inequality or sexist its just the nature of godliness. From Gods point of view presiding isnt inequality. Its only mans cultural conditioning that makes people think patriarchy is secist and not equality.

  38. The term “misogyny” has sadly gone the way of the term “racist.” It’s a meaningless word now. The new definition of misogyny is anything that insinuates that men and women are different.

    Honest questions for those who see misogyny everywhere; what do you think of the proclamation to the world on families? Adam Miller mentioned it in the beginning of his piece, but he seemed to focus only on the “men and women are equal” part. Is it by divine design that fathers preside? Or is that misogyny made up by men? Is it by divine design that fathers provide the necessities of life and protection? Does God not think I can do the nurturing part?

  39. I’m reminded of a lesson in Sunday School where we were talking about Paul’s admonitions about how men and women ought to act. I was aware that earlier experiments in correlation formats had toyed with getting rid of Sunday school, but then it was restored. And my husband and I have talked about a good reason for keeping it, because that’s really the only time one when we have men and women together talking about issues related to living a Christian life.

    The interesting thing to me, as someone who never hesitates to speak her mind, was that during the entire discussion no married woman had made a comment. And so I commented on that. Alas, my comment didn’t incite any of the married women to open their mouths.

    That must’ve been a couple of decades ago, as I myself have been a married woman for at least that long.

    I would say that in my congregation I no longer perceive any preference for concluding with a male speaker versus a female speaker. That some congregations still end with a male speaker is logical given that the handbook did mandate that a male speaker terminate the meeting in times of yore. Sometimes habits associated with old policies remain long after the policies have been officially rescinded.

    By the way, I am a woman and I don’t think I said what the women on this comment string were characterized to saying. I value what Pat Chiu says about the way culture expected women to behave in prior generations. And I would submit this is why some have a problem with an elderly leadership, particularly one that is all white and male. But this gets into the fundamental nature of control systems in any reactive mechanism. Do you want to have control systems that are aggressively reacting to conditions that don’t even affect most people, as might happen when you are steering a car based on information 1000 yards ahead of the car. That is what I see happening in religious groups that have abandoned traditional mores in order to align their present with current fashion.

    At any rate, I’ve been gratified to see the vigorous discussion on this.

  40. I think Joey hits the nail on the head when he writes: “The term “misogyny” has sadly gone the way of the term “racist.” It’s a meaningless word now. The new definition of misogyny is anything that insinuates that men and women are different.”

    Misogyny means you hate women and girls. That is a strong word, “hate.” I would venture to say that the number of LDS men who actually hate women and girls is extremely small. For progressives and Bro. Miller and people like Hawkgrrl who still may be reading this thread, I think you need to consider that normal people, ie, people who are not filled with politically correct groupthink buzzword triggering mechanisms, will NEVER accept the idea that they HATE women and girls. So, using the word “misogyny” is guaranteed to turn off your potential audience (if you actually care about reaching your potential audience). When I see people claiming “racism” and “sexism” and “misogyny” for cases when no actual racism sexism or misogyny is taking place, I simply discard the opinions of such people as not worth considering. In my worldview, words actually have precise meanings. There are actual racists, and they need to be condemned, but the number of actual racists is small compared to the claims that everybody who does not accept certain ideologies is a racist. The same thing applies to actual misogynists. There are actual misogynists, but very few of them are in the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints.

    If you actually want to reach people like myself, you need to use more precise language and avoid buzzwords that are simply going to turn off your audience. So, for example, you could say as many women on this thread have mentioned that powerful women in the church do not necessarily fill the traditional 1950s roles that many people imagine they might. You might want to point out that curriculum and correlation should consider things from the perspective of single mothers, working mothers or other women. If you think women should have the priesthood, then come out and say it. I think it is a good reminder to men in bishoprics, for example, that they should take more seriously the suggestions of the various women’s auxiliaries. KarlS mentions that many men need to counsel with their wives rather than believe that the priesthood makes them the bosses of the house. These are productive, worthwhile points that we all should consider.

    But if you’re going to call any man who doesn’t share your ideology a “misogynist,” I am sorry but I and most men I know who are not complete metrosexual pantywaists are simply going to ignore you. Or we might simply mock you, which can be fun also.

  41. Way up in the thread, Hawkgrrrl wrote the following:

    “Just look at the difference between the male and female commenters on this post.
    GUYS: We aren’t misogynists. Everything is fine as is.
    WOMEN: Adam has a point. Our experience is that we are objectified and not treated as full participants.
    GUYS: Follow the brethren! Our all male leadership group tells us to love women so obviously we aren’t misogynists!”

    I would like to point out that Hawgrrrl’s comment is factually incorrect in every possible way, both in how she characterizes what men (including myself) are saying and how she characterizes what women on this thread are saying.

    Most of the men here and the ones I know are open to criticism and input. But we are not very likely, as I mention in the comment above, to react well when people attack us for supposedly hating women. We are simply going to ignore or mock such comments because they are not serious comments from people interested in a dialogue. Meanwhile, many of the women on this thread, I would venture to say at least half who have commented, have either agreed with the OP or not taken the position Hawkgrrrl has claimed. So, Hawkgrrrl, just a warning: avoid personal attacks. Stick to the truth. Don’t try to claim people are saying things they are not saying. Those are the conditions for your being able to comment on this web site in the future.

  42. Except, Geoff, you’ve redefined misogyny. You said that misogyny means you hate women and girls. The Oxford Dictionary defines misogyny as:
    Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.
    So not hate. And while I’d agree that most Mormon men do not dislike or have contempt for, the ‘or ingrained prejudice’ is not so easy to dismiss. The idea that something is ingrained means that it often hard to spot. I would suggest that a lot of the comments from women on this thread about their experiences in the church could be categorized as ingrained prejudice. I don’t think you can so easily dismiss the idea that we are free from misogyny.

  43. James, nice try. When you go to the OED you find that misogyny comes from the Greek “misos ‘hatred’ + gunē ‘woman’.”

    A “misanthrope” is a person who hates other people. A “misandrist” is somebody who hates men. (By the way, it appears to me that most Mo Fems hate men but almost no Mormon men hate women).

    Merriam Webster dictionary says “misogyny” means “hatred of women.” So, it is modern culture that is trying to appropriate a word with a clear meaning so that it has a meaning allowing them to throw it around as an insult aimed at men. I reject that way of thinking, just as I reject the misuse of the word “racist” and the misuse of the word “homophobic.” Words have objective meanings.

    By the way, this is why I point out way up there in the OP that Bro Miller owes it to his readers to define what he means by “misogyny.” The fact that he does not do this is an indication that he wants it to be an all-purpose insult without meaning rather than part of a meaningful dialogue. If people want to have a serious dialogue about issues involving men and women in the Church, the first thing they need to do is stop using the word “misogyny” incorrectly.

  44. This may not be exactly to the point, but I guess I’ll try anyway.

    I think a lot of the confusion comes from a contradiction, holding women blameless but somehow also ’empowering’ them. You cannot do both.

    As a conservative woman, my perception is that progressives do blame conservative women and seek to undermine their influence. They only claim to care about “women” generally because it suits their goal, and conservative women, being conservative, tend to avoid the conflict and work toward compromise.

    My own experience with being exploited, harassed, and silenced has never been a matter of my being a woman as much as a matter of my being conservative.

  45. That’s where the OED says the word comes from, but the definition they provide, at least in part, states that misogyny is ingrained prejudice.

    Let me try and frame my thoughts a different way. I understand why terms like racism, sexism and homophobia trigger strong emotions. When we think racist we think something like the KKK. But I don’t think it’s right to say they have objective meanings anymore than an emotion like love has an objective meaning. Feelings like love and pleasure and peace are subjective and exist on a spectrum – a pretty broad spectrum, I would suggest. Similarly, I think negative feelings like racism or sexism exist on a broad spectrum.

    I understand the urge to resist thinking about these terms in that way lest we dilute the extreme forms of racism / sexism. But I think you would accept that even the best among us harbor some prejudices, even if only subconsciously, due to our upbringing, life experiences, environment etc. So while I would reject any idea that I am overtly or consciously racist or sexist, I can accept that I may well be guilty of subconscious prejudice. My question to you would be, if you don’t want to use words like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., what words would you use to describe the subconscious prejudices that we hold to a greater or lesser degree?

  46. Women do not have a final say in anything, let alone their own curriculum for themselves or young women.

    I’m a man, and I don’t have the final say in anything at church. If anyone in a leadership role ever agrees with me over a woman’s input, it is NEVER because I am male and she is female. Indeed, in ward council and other settings, I think bishops bend over backwards to encourage female participation.

    I don’t like loaded words, like misogyny or patriarchy. Those words have no meaning, and are never used to facilitate meaningful communication.

    I think our Latter-day Saint wards and branches are wonderful places for everyone, where everyone, including the leaders, are still growing.

  47. These kinds of attacks are not primarily attacks against men. I think it would help men to realize this. They are attacking the well-behaved women who do not fit their idea of what women properly should be. An undertone to Adam Miller’s ideas is that women who appreciate the complementarity and differences of men and women are viewing themselves as less than human, that the men they freely love, and even revere, are disfiguring abusers.

    Anyway, I’m not sure if Mormon men don’t see how these ideas attack the majority of Mormon women, while claiming to defend them, or if Mormon men just really believe the attackers characterization of what Mormon women really are thinking. Do your wives and daughters really want the kind of defending that Adam Miller makes a show of offering?

  48. Lucinda and JI, good points.

    James, I think you are missing the point — a point that I have made many times — that using a strong, negative word like “misogyny” turns off potential discussion. Using such a strong word is simply virtue signaling to people who already are apt to criticize the Church and the “patriarchy.” It does nothing to create space for dialogue with people who supposedly are the target audience. When I hear such words it is impossible for me to have any respect for the person involved. A Mormon man who supports the prophets is a misogynist? Give me a break. I want nothing to do with a person making such a claim.

    If people want to discuss ways to make women who feel under-appreciated and uncomfortable at Church, I feel there are many things that could be considered. On the ward councils that I attend regularly, such things *are* discussed, and in my experience bishoprics are more than willing to consider a variety of changes on a ward level. I have no idea what kinds of discussions are taking place between the Brethren and women in the Church, but I have faith that the prophets are not out of touch. Will Mo Fems get all of the things they want? I am guessing no, but I have already seen small changes in General Conference and elsewhere that indicate that the Brethren are listening to such input. But let me be very clear: it does no good for members to go around calling the Brethren and other good men “misogynists.” Name calling does nothing to further dialogue.

  49. “A Mormon man who supports the prophets is a misogynist?” I’m not sure who said that. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re referring to with that statement.

    Geoff, in my last comment I was trying to find some common ground. I accepted that words like racism and misogyny are pretty charged words and that I understand why some would not want to dilute their meaning. At the same time, I suggested that even the very best among us hold on to some subconscious prejudices. Would you agree with that? So I was asking, if you don’t want to use charged words to describe the more benign, subconscious prejudices that we may have, what words would you use?

  50. James, I am not saying you believe a Mormon man who supports the prophets is a misogynist, but I would say that many Mo Fems — and possibly even Adam Miller himself — believe that. I have had on-line conversations with Mo Fems who say that if you believe in the Church you believe in the Patriarchy and are therefore a misogynist. My immediate reaction was not to take seriously anything else such a person says.

    I actually think you answered the question yourself. I would use milder words like “prejudice.” If Adam Miller had written an article that encouraged Mormon men to throw away prejudices that have hurt women in the past — such as husbands not counseling with their wives and men not taken into account the opinions of women — I would have found a lot of common ground with him. I want to be clear, just so we can find some common ground, that I was raised by a single mother who faced tremendous prejudice. My grandmother was sexually harassed in her job in the 1950s and 1960s. I believe in equal opportunity for everybody, and I don’t think that women should feel inferior in any way. I have raised my own daughters to believe they can do anything with their lives that they want to, including having careers instead of becoming housewives if that is what they choose.

    But I honestly feel that using words like “misogynist” do absolute nothing to change things in the Church. You would never hear a modern-day prophet tell men not to be misogynists. I did a search on lds.org, and there is no indication that prophets have used this word to describe men’s behavior in the LDS church.

    I would encourage Adam Miller to study how modern-day prophets speak to the men of the Church and emulate that instead. Just at random I found this example from Joseph F. Smith. This kind of language will reach the target audience. Calling men misogynists definitely will not.


  51. I thought I’d just chime in a mrention that I find Miller confusing as well. I think Blake Ostler has debated with Miler online, and expressed some concerns about Miller’s logic and style of expression. I’ve just searched several sites on the bloggernacle, but can’t find a source for that discussion. Can anyone remember that?

  52. In Miller’s LDSLiving article, he seems to be addressing Mormons, but using words to attract SJWs, “rooting out” [misogyny]. “Rooting out” is SJW-speak. Yet, in that article (I have not read the byu talk yet) he’s clearly talking about misogyny in “the world”. Which to a Mormon audience generally means _outside_ the church.

    My take is that he’s encouraging SJW-mormons to fight misogyny -outside- the church. If he means literal misogyny (and I think pimping, porno, rape, forced marriage, assault, FGM, etc., is true misogyny in Geoff’s definition) then…, fighting against all that, and trying to “root it out” in “the world”, is a form of missionary work, or the work of salvation, in that when one stops evil behavior and intent, they are moving towards Christ.

    So, If SJW-Mormons want to get people to stop doing those things, that would be great.

    I think there might be some verbal/emotional abuse of women in the church. I know some guys who are jerks. And physical assaults and rapes are not unheard of. Bishops have a hot-line now to call and get help in those cases. But still, those are rare.

    Is pimping, sex trafficking, kidnap, porno, rape, etc., really a problem in the church ?

    SJW-Mormon to worldly (non-LDS) misogynist: “No, I’m not trying to convert you or force religion down your throat, I just want you to stop beating, pimping, raping, kidnapping, trafficking, degrading, subjugating, and hating women. And equal pay for equal work.” Yeah, I can live with that.

    With all the assaults, sex trafficking, kidnapping, forced porno/prostitution, rape, etc., of girls and women in this country, and that and more overseas (forced early marriage, FGM, etc. which still exist here to a small degree) … do we really need to have so much sturm and drang over some pockets of 1950’s-style attitudes?

    Geoff and Lucinda are starting to get it. With SJWs, it’s not about real misogyny, it’s about politics, and not sustaining the Brethren as prophets/etc.

    If Miller is trying to get SJW-mormons to focus their agitating on the REAL problems outside of the church (such as men who literally hate/assault/rape/mutilate women), then fine. I can support that.

    If Miller is trying to get more prophet-sustaining Mormons to become SJWs, then I would be ag’in’ him.

  53. James: “So I was asking, if you don’t want to use charged words to describe the more benign, subconscious prejudices that we may have, what words would you use?”

    Why the deuce are you so all-fired worried about “subconscious prejudices” in the church when there is kidnapping, sex trafficking, rape, assault, pimping, FGM, etc., going on in the world?

    Are you going on African Muslim blogs and trying to get them to stop FGM, and forced early marriage? If not, shouldn’t that have some priority or balance?

    What are you doing to help African American girls grow up without getting raped? Did you know that over two-thirds of all African-American women over the age of 21 were raped as minors? Did you know that 25% of African American men were raped (by males) as minors? (Google it. Those numbers are low end.)

    Are you the least bit outraged that doing time in prison is turning a significant percentage of black male convicts into bisexuals? (Google “on the down low after prison”.)

    Did you know that the incidence of rape in Canada is higher than the US ?Where’s the outrage against Canadian rapists and “Canadian rape culture”? Are you going on Canadian blogs and telling them “Hey! Cut out the rape!” ?

    What are you doing to help stop those things?

    Are you in any way fighting that violent segment of rap culture (not all rap is violent) that encourages and glorifies the degredation of women that perpetuates the near universal rape of African-American girls?

    “Subconcious prejudices”…. Pfui.

  54. “Why the deuce are you so all-fired worried about “subconscious prejudices” in the church when there is kidnapping, sex trafficking, rape, assault, pimping, FGM, etc., going on in the world?

    Are you going on African Muslim blogs and trying to get them to stop FGM, and forced early marriage? If not, shouldn’t that have some priority or balance?”

    I thought that would be pretty obvious, but I guess I can spell it out. That’s like asking me why I’m bothered about getting my son to do his homework when there’s a kid down the street with an alcohol problem. We tend to focus our attention on those things where we can make a difference.

    Those horrors you go on to describe are terrible. You’re obviously pretty animated about them. Tell me what you’re doing about it and if it’s making a difference I’ll join you in your efforts. But the reality is, I can have a greater effect by concerning myself with things much closer to home. So I’m interested in listening to the women of the church and understanding if there are things I could do or say differently that would improve their church experience. I’m interested in making sure the values my son grows up with create a fairer society for his sisters.

    “Subconscious prejudices …. Pfui”

    Do you not believe they’re a real thing? Bookslinger, tell me what you’re doing to combat the global issues of FGM, slavery, pimping, rape culture, etc. that takes up so much time that I don’t have time to worry about how to try and make improvements (however small they may be) to the lived experience of women in my family and the local ward of the church I love.

  55. James, glad you asked. Here some ideas I present for your consideration:

    1. volunteer at and donate to women’s shelters. If you don’t have/need one where you live, please donate to the one in indianapolis: http://www.juliancenter.org/donate

    2. Accepting the Gospel and living it is the best way to eliminate violence against women. So try to get as many MEN as possible to live the gospel. That means…. share the gospel. Give out pass-along cards like crazy! And when/where possible, carry aroundcopies of the Bible andBook of Mormon and offter them to people at the drop of a hat.

    3. i have found a niche that is easy to approach. There are plenty of African immigrants in Indianapolis. according to some women I know, African men -in general- (not all) treat women like dirt. So, let’s do what we can to share the gospel with them. I offer them copies of the Book ofMormon intheir native language. I have given out copies of the BoM in Amharic, Arabic, French, Igbo, Kisii, Lingala, Swahili, Twi, Yoruba, and ZUlu. Not just pass-along cards, ACTUAL copies that I’d keep in my car. I have given out copies of Gospel Fundamentals (the shortened version of Gospel Principles) in Afar, Bambara, Bemba, Fon, Hausa, Somali, Wolof (because those don’t have BoM translations yet.)

    4. I try to patronize ethnic restaurants and ethnic grocery stores as oftenas possible in order to maximize contact with foreign born people. coin operated laundromats are also good opportunities to find Africans and African Americans.

    Taxi drivers and airport workers are often foreign born,usually east Africa, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

    Gas station cashiers are often foreign born, African, middle Eastern, and South Asian. Those Middle Easterners are known for misogyny too. So let’s convert ’em!

    Just yesterday I met a taxi driver from Eritrea at the hair salon. He was checking in just as I paid. I was on my bike and only had an English copy, but I gave him a pass-along card, and said he could request a free book in each language he spoke (he rattled off 4). I also gave him my personal card and said he could call me if they didn’t get him all the copies in all his languages.

    5. Immigrants tend to keep in close contact with family and friends back in their home country. So sharing the gospel with immigrants causes it to “leak” overseas. Even if they don’t join the church, 85% still accept a Book of Mormon or Gospel Fundamentals/Principles. So all they have to do is mention the name of the book or the church, and boom, their family back in wherever now nows about the church. Maybe when they see a missionary over there they will as for the “free book”.

    6. I haven’t figured out how to reach Canadian misogynists. Does anyone have any ideas?

  56. Oh, and perhaps the BIGGEST organized group of rapists, kidnappers and killers of women is ISIS.

    And while Obama wanted to “degrade” ISIS, Republican Trump has let slip our dogs of war, and has ELIMINATED the “physical” “caliphate” and been key and instrumental in LIBERATING the women of Mosul and Raqqa from the yoke of ISIS tyranny.

    TRump did in ONE year what Obama did not do in eight.

    So the best way to LITERALLY fight the worst of the worst rapists, kidnappers and killers is to keep REPUBLICANS in Congress and the White House.


    Has anyone kept a score of democrat versus republican perpetrators in the #metoo thing? THose Hollywood guys being named, are they “R” or “D” ?

    what about Gov Roy Moore? Well, I don’t know if he’s guilty, but when the alleged events occurred, he was a DEMOCRAT. Something to think on. And the allegations only came out after he started to run for Senate as a Republican. Maybe he is guilty, but I see a pattern there.

    Okay, so maybe Trump grabbed a few pudendas (the medically correct term) along the way. But now he has rained literal destruction upon the rapists and killers of women. That’s got to count for some degree of redemption.

    I sincerely doubt the recent allegations about Trump and the porno actress. But if true, at least he paid for services rendered. Clinton told Juanita Broderick after he bit her lip to keep her from struggling (turns out to be a common rape technique, how did he know that back then?) to “better put some ice on that.”

    Who, in general, are more anti-pornography, Democrats or Republcians?
    if you are pro-women, you should be anti-pornogrpahy. Strongly.

    Among democrats and republicans, who defends, and who is against the sub-genre of rap that is anti-women, (and remember, not all rap is anti-women) ?

    Among democrats and republicans, which camp did the most to promote the “sexual revolution” over the last 50 years that led to so many mothers being abandoned, kids growing up without fathers, epidemic of STDs, including ones that are permanent and/or render sterile, and teen/college girls feeling used up and worthless after a string of “hookups”? (See Dr. Miriam Grossman on youtube in regard to what the hookup culture as done to young adult women.) (What party did that famous exploiter and degrader of women Hugh Hefner support?)

    So, in essence, not only should we help as many men convert to pro-woman Chistianity, we should also be trying to convert as many men as possible to pro-woman Conservatism!

    Well, “harrumph” you might say, YOU and none of your democrat friends support dastardly behavior towards women that so many “unenlightened” democrats have committed. Well, the problem among well-behaved decent law-abiding democrats is that they don’t PREACH what they PRACTICE. They make excuses for it.

    Democrats have controlled most urban inner cities for what, 50 or 60 years now? Are people in inner cities better or worse off, in terms of women-issues, rape, assault, drugs, abandonment, kids with absent fathers?

    Vote Conservative! Influence all your friends to vote Conservative if you want a society that is healthier and more safe for women!

    You love women? You want to solve the worst things that are happening to women and children? Well, basically we need to undo the sexual revolution. That and the gospel are the MAIN solutions, I think.

    So, share the gospel as much as possible and vote conservative.

  57. “… they don’t PREACH what they PRACTICE. They make excuses for it.”

    That should have read :
    “.. they don’t PREACH what they PRACTICE. They make excuses for bad-behavior by unenlightened democrats.”

  58. FGM, slavery, pimping, and rape are all illegal in the U.S. and much of the world, as they should be. The law should be enforced to its full extent. Changing the evil parts of the culture both in the U.S. and around the world is best done by spreading or reforming the practice of Christianity. To that end, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains a large missionary force and uses it’s influence to promote gospel standards both inside and outside of the Church. Everyone in the Church should support that effort both at home and abroad.

  59. Bookslinger, it sounds like you practice what you preach. Well done. But I don’t see how any of that would preclude anyone from a bit of self reflection to ask if there’s anything they believe or are doing that might contribute in someway to some inequality, either in the home or at Church.

  60. James,

    I would feel more comfortable as a woman in my ward if the men didn’t assume accommodating for the worst-behaved women would also solve the concerns of the more quiet, well-behaved women. What I see is a rush to appease the most power-hungry women, and it makes me feel extremely marginalized, unappreciated and unsafe.

    If the women you are closest to feel you need to drum up support against subconscious prejudice, go for it. Just remember there are other women with other priorities who want the men closest to them to resist you and the women you prioritize. Don’t speak about women as a monolith, as if your view of what they want is representative. It’s not.

  61. Hi Geoff, I’m not particularly interested in carrying on this conversation with Bookslinger so feel free to ignore my last comment. I’m bowing out now. Thanks for letting me participate.

  62. Lucinda, I’m sorry if I offended you. Honestly, most of the women in my life are pretty well-behaved, conservative women. To be honest, I’m struggling to understand why some of my comments have provoked the reaction they seem to have. I don’t think anything I’ve said is particularly controversial. But I accept you guys may well have some group dynamic going on that I don’t really appreciate. Anyway, I’ll leave you to it. Geoff, thanks again for letting me participate.

  63. James, I think the group dynamic you may be missing is that most Church-related internet sites make the incorrect assumption — based on input from a few thousand disaffected Mo Fems — that women in the Church are all sitting around talking about how unhappy they are at Church and how they feel marginalized by the “patriarchy” and the men around them. There are 4 to 5 million active women in the Church. Most of them are outside of the United States and have no idea about OW and various American-based Mo Fem groups. Most of them — the vast majority — are happy with the way Church is today. When Lucinda talks about “power-hungry women” she is talking about the few thousand who want to change church for the worse for the other women who are not disaffected. The majority of women who actually go to church simply don’t care very much about subconscious prejudice of any kind because they are worried about 1)their two-year-old who runs to the pulpit every Sacrament meeting 2)doing their calling 3)taking care of other kids 4)taking care of grandkids 5)finding time to go the temple 6)their jobs if they work outside the home and on and on. I spent a lot of time going to Church outside the U.S. and I can absolutely assure you with 100 percent certainty that the vast majority of women who actually go to church actually like going to church and don’t sit around worrying about prejudices.

    Now this does not mean that we men can’t do a better job in a variety of different ways, just as women can do a better job in a variety of different ways. But what you apparently consider a huge priority is not what most Mormons consider a huge priority. And this is why Adam Miller is so off base to obsess about an issue that is not, in the grand scheme of things, very important to most active Mormons.

  64. It just feels like some commenters have made a few assumptions about what I do and don’t believe. I don’t don’t think it’s a huge priority. I don’t think that anywhere have I indicated that it’s a huge priority. And for the record I’ve spent all but 5 years of my Church life in non-US wards. So I have some idea of what non-US women want from their church experience. So, as an example based on what you said, i’d agree that for a lot of women at Church, one of their major priorities is the behaviour of children, there’s and others. If I’m honest, one of my subconscious biases has been to think the behaviour of children is more of a sisters responsibility (if I were to guess what you would list as men’s concerns at Church, I’m not sure children’s behaviour would rank as highly). By trying to be more aware of that bias and correcting for it, perhaps I might help the women in my ward have a more enjoyable experience. It just seems that the reaction I’ve got to my comments you think I’m agitating for women’s ordination or something.

  65. I do find some irony in the fact that you criticise Miller for using language that is off-putting and unlikely to engage or persuade, and yet I have felt the response to some of my comments has made some pretty big assumptions about where I’m coming from and generally been unwelcoming, i.e. not particularly likely to persuade. But I accept that this is your space and that I’m a visitor. I am genuinely appreciative that you’ve engaged me to the extent you have.

  66. “If I’m honest, one of my subconscious biases has been to think the behaviour of children is more of a sisters responsibility”

    I think you should speak only for yourself when you talk about “subconscious biases.”

    “By trying to be more aware of that bias and correcting for it, perhaps I might help the women in my ward have a more enjoyable experience”

    the idea that recognizing your “subconscious bias” is going to help some sister with the behavior of her children is strange. What would be correcting this bias? What would you actually be doing? Talking to the husband of these unruly kids and telling him take more responsibility? Are you telling these mom’s that it’s their job and not the father’s to make sure the kids behave? That would be something to correct.

    Nobody cares about what goes on in your subconscious or conscious thought, but they do care about your actions. You might think about strangling unruly kids during sacrament, who cares as long as you don’t do it. This talk of subconscious bias and prejudice is garbage. Show me actions and we can talk about correcting those.

    Stop with this nonsense

  67. Such hostility. Really, I don’t get it. I’m a pretty average guy. I’m trying to think about how I can do some simple things to make Church better for some sisters who struggle. A couple of examples:

    1. We have had a bit of a reverence issue in our ward. After one ward council discussing it, there seemed to be a pretty strong focus on what mothers and Primary leaders could do, possibly due to some subconscious biases (oh, the horror!) As a bishopric we didn’t feel too comfortable with that, though we couldn’t put our finger on why. We revisited the issue and as a result have engaged fathers more re. the issue. I think it’s helped.

    2. In a previous stake calling, the stake RS president highlighted that a number of recent converts who were single sisters, some with children, were struggling at Church a bit. They were pretty unassuming, quiet sisters who wouldn’t raise their concerns with a priesthood leader but had mentioned it to the RS pres. After some reflection, the stake PEC recognised that in an effort to retain Male converts with an eye to filling priesthood callings, we had perhaps neglected the needs of some of these unassuming sisters. After a few interviews, we had a better sense of their experience and tried to do things a little differently to make Church more welcoming for them.

    Both of these examples took some reflection and a realisation on the part of Church leaders that perhaps we were working with some unintentional (because subconscious is apparently an ugly word) biases. I think the process made things better for the sisters concerned. Yet to read Bookslinger you’d think our ward council should have been focused on combatting FGM, Lucinda thinks we were pandering to power-hungry women, and Joey thinks it’s all nonsense. This has been a pretty bizarre experience for me.

  68. When I turned up here, initially I talked about things in terms of racism and sexism as I don’t really have an issue with using those words. But Geoff explained that turns a lot of people off so I toned it down and talked about prejudices. To which I got “pfui” and a pretty strong reaction from Lucinda. So I tried biases instead. And that fired Joey up. I’m sorry I’ve upset you all. Honestly. I really now am going to leave for fear of offending someone else.

  69. “there seemed to be a pretty strong focus on what mothers and Primary leaders could do, possibly due to some subconscious biases”

    Again, words mean something. You keep talking about a bias as if it’s unreasonable to focus on what mothers (generally speaking, the ones who spend the most time with the children at home and have a better understanding of what is expected of their behavior) and primary leaders (the ones who spend 2 out of the 3 hours at church with the children) should be doing. How is it unreasonable to focus on the people that spend the most time with the kids? My thoughts on this subject are neither subconscious or biased. It’s almost like there’s a divine decree on the roles of mothers and fathers, with the nurturing of children being the mothers primary responsibility. How dare a ward council primarily focus on the mothers.

    Does this mean I believe that fathers aren’t responsible for how kids behave at church? Well, when my 3yr old acts up, I take him out so my wife can enjoy the talks. My wife and I both discuss what is acceptable behavior from our children. But I’m gone 10 hours a day and she’s with them for most of the day. Is it unreasonable to put most of the focus on how my kids behave on my wife? Wouldn’t you think it a bit misogynist for a husband who isn’t at home to make demands of his wife on how their children behave

    As to your second example, what was the “subconscious bias” on your part? Is it so subconscious that you don’t know what it was? Doesn’t it become a conscious bias if you can recognize it? Maybe there isn’t anything nefarious about not focusing on a group that you didn’t know needed focusing, and maybe it doesn’t require fixing thoughts you aren’t aware of. Sometimes it’s just a “whoops, lets not do that again.”

    So to summarize, it’s not subconscious bias to believe that the people who spend the most time with the children would have the most affect on the behavior of the children and therefore, have the majority of the focus on the discussion of their behavior. It’s pretty logical reasoning. I came to that conclusion in my own little family without having to “check my privilege” or root out my secret biases that I’m not aware of.

    On a side note, how can you know if you’re subconsciously a racist? Since this nonsense talk of subconscious bias has nothing to do with actions and we don’t care about people acting out their subconscious thoughts, only recognizing the thoughts being there, maybe you and I are racists without knowing it!

  70. Don’t worry about offending anyone with your opinion. You’re making it seem like you aren’t used to people disagreeing with you. I’m very capable of disagreeing with someone without disliking them.

    As the great Dr Jordan Peterson said, “In order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive”

  71. For what it’s worth, my husband is the one who stays at home with my children. And I have a brother who is also the stay at home parent.

    Hanging out on the Internet it’s a bit like swimming in the lake. There are all kinds of crazy thermoclines. You’ll be in cold water at one moment and then suddenly there’s a warm patch that flies across you.

    To James, I felt what I’ve read of your comments were reasonable. However on the Internet no one can tell if you’re drunk or if you just spent all day dealing with a really difficult situation or if you’re from a different culture where words mean something different.

    As to the drunk comment, for writing contest, I gave myself the fake name of OTINOKIYD. Which stood for on the Internet no one knows if you’re drunk. It’s not that I drink, but there was someone in our group who would seem perfectly rational and then come out with the weirdest and most abrasive, abusive stuff. So we figured they were maybe drunk during those harsh abrasive times.

  72. I think this is a pretty common criticism of Adam Miller and I understand it. And perhaps Adam Miller is not for everyone. I think it misses the point of why I’m such a fan of his.

    The thing I like about religion is that it lives in an area of ineffability. Religion tries to live on the edge of light and darkness, helping us shine a little bit of light as we venture forward. It’s why I think it requires so much faith to make work in our lives.

    So, with that, Miller tends to write poetically and kind of points in a general direction without really pinning anything down exactly.

    Here’s what Richard Bushman said about him in the introduction to his book Rube Goldberg Machine:

    “There is a reason why Adam Miller is the most original and provocative Latter-day Saint theologian practicing today: he is utterly ambivalent about the value of the theological enterprise. He questions the relevance of theology in the face of God’s greatness and the vital work of finding him. He laughs at theology, even his own, calling it a comic Rube Goldberg Machine. yet he is driven by his own mind and his deep piety to thin and write about the God he seeks. His Rube Goldberg Machine is beautiful as well as funny. That strain in the mind is a recipe for difficult but fresh thinking. The complexity of the world as he sees it shows up in the very way he writes. The composition of aphorisms is the resort of philosophers and theologians who doubt that their subject can be reduced to an orderly rational system. His God can only be glimpsed occasionally from some angle, like the Lord passing before Moses in the mount. Miller points without pretending to define.”

    I think that’s the key way of reading him. He’s just pointing and leaves a lot on the reader to fill in the blanks.

    On this specific article, the Adam Miller article it questions, is easily my least favorite thing written by Adam Miller. So, I agree with some of the points made here.

    Here’s the thing about it though:

    1) I think he’s trying to redeem and to put to productive use the “Proclamation on the Family”. The reality is, in the liberal Mormon community, it’s almost universally disparaged. And I think he’s keeping the liberal Mormon community in mind while writing the article.

    2) I think the “misogyny is bad” point Miller is making is obvious and goes without saying, and that was one of the points of criticism here I agree with. But as I said in point 1), he’s trying to signal to liberals… look at this document again, it’s expressing a value you share.

    3) I think there’s a common problem that I find especially prevalent among conservatives, but it’s really a universal problem. We have a hard time calling ourselves to task. So, if it’s true that at least one of the primary points made in the “Proclamation on the Family” is that misogyny is bad, it’s kind of a cop-out to point out all of the other misogynists in the world that are worse than us. I think, rather, we should all be looking at ourselves and ask as the apostles did, “is it I?” and figure out how we can all be a little less misogynist, in all the possible ways that can come out from us.

  73. James, I’m sad that you’ve found such a difficult engagement here at MS. I can sympathize. Some time ago I was censored explicitly by moderators and it hurt because I thought I was being sincere and appropriate. What seems to happen to some degree with both sides of the fence (ultra-conservatives and liberals) is that in a commenting series, once you are labeled in other commenters’ minds to be one or the other (usually liberal on MS) then they seem to think more about “who” you are (or who they think you are) and less on the actual message you are trying to put out there. They judge your motives before they judge your words. This doesn’t always happen and the majority of the time other commenters are magnanimous and respectful of differing viewpoints, but when it’s the other way around it can hurt. Just don’t take it too personal. Your ideas will be valued by many who aren’t commenting.

  74. Scott,

    You quoted Richard Bushman, who wrote “His God can only be glimpsed occasionally from some angle, like the Lord passing before Moses in the mount. Miller points without pretending to define.”

    Have you ever played telestrations? It’s like a cross between the old gossip/telephone game and Pictionary. As the booklets are passed around the table, people take turns trying to draw the word the person before them wrote (or describe in words the picture the person before them drew). When the booklet gets back to the people who picked the original words, everyone compares.

    It’s a hilarious game, made even better when there is a failure in understanding.

    But I don’t like it when theology can be grossly misunderstood. So I’ll side with Nephi.

    God is indescribably amazing and ineffable, etc. But that’s no reason to be unclear about what one is saying about mortal activities relative to that God.

    That is the lack of clarity I saw Geoff question.

  75. Meg,

    I think Miller’s point is clear though obvious. Misogyny is bad and that it does exist within Mormonism as well as in the broader world to varying degrees. And that a primary point made by Proclamation to the World is to state firmly that misogyny is bad.

    This article seems to know exactly what Miller is saying, he just wants Miller to go further, to pin him down on specific examples of misogyny. I think that’s a valid criticism and I agree with it.

    But clarity is not the issue here.

  76. Scott, I would disagree. I really don’t know what Bro. Miller is saying. Let’s assume that he talking about Mormon men here. Is he aiming at the Brethren and saying they are misogynistic for not giving women the priesthood? Is he aiming at the older, traditional man who still treats his wife poorly every once in a while? Is he aiming at the young elder’s quorum president who doesn’t help out around the home? Is it something else entirely?

    In all of these cases, I don’t think the word “misogyny” applies, and thus Bro. Miller’s terminology is extremely unhelpful. None of these cases involve hatred of women. They may involve some prejudices, but “misogyny” is simply the wrong word to use. So, I find the article overall unhelpful, unclear and imprecise. Among other things.

  77. Meg and others,
    I personally prefer people’s communications to me to be clear, especially when it comes to theology and I think it would have been nice for Adam to have simply given some examples of misogyny so we were on the same page. However, I hesitate to be critical of his obtuseness since I have a similar challenge with Isaiah and the Savior’s parables and some of Neal A. Maxwell’s writings, etc.

  78. Well, in the article he states:

    “It’s time stop being shy about the fact that seriously defending the family means, without a doubt, rooting out our world’s misogyny.”

    So, he’s talking about the misogyny found everywhere. As you said, the definition of misogyny is clear:
    “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.”

    I think we can all find elements of this in the darkest corners of our hearts. And at times they can be manifest. There’s a long history of worldwide prejudice against women. They only got the right to vote in the US in the early 20th century, which is a clear prejudice.

    I think this gets manifest every time we fail to really listen, consider their opinions seriously. I’ve done this within my marriage at times.

    I don’t think we should only consider the most egregious examples of misogyny misogyny. I think there’s a spectrum and I think one of the messages of the Proclamation on the Family is to root it out. And I think the church is currently trying to do exactly that.

    As I see stronger effort in recent years to include women more in the running and operation of the church at all levels, though I think there is more we can do.

    But, as I keep saying, this particular article isn’t my favorite, not that I disagree with it, that I think the point is fairly obvious. But though obvious, perhaps still worth repeating.

  79. Well, Scott Turley, I like your comment above more than I like Miller’s article because I know where you are coming from, and I can understand your point. I still cannot understand Miller’s point. A lot of commenters have made some interpretations of what he point is, but I don’t know if they are correct. But anyway, we are in the “beating a dead horse” territory now. I am going to leave comments open for a day or so and then close them down. James/KarlS/Scott, time to get in your last word. Or if your last word just repeats points you made before, perhaps no need for a last word? Thanks for participating.

  80. Well, right, but I think the point of Adam Miller’s article is to get us into exactly this kind of conversation, and even better an dialogue within ourselves. In what ways do I have latent misogyny and how can I better root it out? Maybe you understand the point better than you care to admit?

  81. Scott, this is exactly what I was afraid of when I said “beating a dead horse.” I have already addressed this several times in the comments. No, I have no idea what he means. If he wants to have a conversation about “misogyny,” I have nothing to discuss with him because hatred of women does not exist in the Church as far as I have experienced. If he wants me to look at my personal “misogyny,” I have nothing to add because using such a politically charged word implying hatred of women is not in my personal history. If he wants to look at specific changes that could be made in church or in Mormon men, then let’s have that discussion, but without the politically charged words like “misogyny.” And with that, ladies and gents, comments are closed.

  82. Hatred of women is a thing in various cultures and religions where either they utterly devalue women (e.g., killing female infants in China (formerly done after birth, now done before birth)) or they have origin myths where the woman was evil and caused the downfall of mankind (the traditional Christian view of Mother Eve).

    Mormonism has no heritage of utterly devaluing women nor does the Mormon origin story include a Mother Eve who was evil, but part of a pair of people who made less than ideal choices that happened to precipitate a necessary condition.

    However because Mormon practice includes some differentiation between men and women (e.g., administrative priesthood stuff mostly relegated to men), many who don’t actually understand their history with clarity will presume that these practices are caused by the same hatred of women seen in other cultures and religions. And so they may well presume that Mormons therefore also engage in institutional hatred of women.

    Individual Mormons (male and female) can promulgate a micro-culture where women are abused more than men. And so some might not agree with Geoff’s point that there is no hatred of women in Mormonism. It’s as though there were a turd in the pool and someone was saying “water does not contain fecal matter.” One can point to the turd in the pool and say, “Au contraire.” But, in fact, water does not contain anything other than H2O by nature. Subsequent contamination of the water due to particular circumstances at a specific time and place may well occur, and in that sense it is possible for hatred of women to exist in Mormonism. But the core doctrine and culture does not promote hatred of women.

  83. I want to speak up and thank you all for this great discussion. I don’t feel I have the knowledge or capacity to add to the discussion and I apologize for simply lurking but I want you to know that I have found this extremely helpful and (with an appropriate amount of guilt for saying it) entertaining. I am so glad to have Millennialstar and for those who blog here as well as those who participate in the discussions.

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