I would like to thank the New York Times for breaking a story yesterday that highlights one of the biggest problems in the LDS Church; i.e., gender inequality. The article talks about a group of about 1,300 women who signed a manifesto for female ordination. 1,300 signatures. That sounds like a lot. In fact, if I write the number out with all caps and bold it, then it sounds like even more signatures: THIRTEEN HUNDRED. Wow.
[Side note: Truthfully, it's probably about 1,249 more than the number of people will read this blog post. But my blog has less than 70 followers on FB and only 50 followers on BlogLovin. So getting 51 people to read this post would actually be really good.
Full disclosure: my number of blog readers was a little higher until I wrote my last post about moms not playing the victim. After a post like that, I was just happy to see that my house wasn't set on fire. It probably would have been if any of the 1,300 women who signed the manifesto would have read my blog.]
But what does 1,300 signatures really represent? For ease of math, let’s round the number up to 1,500. According to mormonnewsroom.org, there are 15,000,000 LDS members in the world. Some simple math (on a simple calculator) tells me that the 1500 signatures represent 0.01 percent of the Church. But, you might say, men shouldn’t be included in that calculation because they aren’t the ones who are being oppressed (at least not in terms of receiving the Priesthood). So, for arguments sake, let’s cut the number of members in half to represent the split between men and women. Crunch the numbers and we see that the number now becomes 0.02 percent.
In the spirit of fairness, I decided to look and see how a comparable petition would fair with the US Government. And it’s not terrible. There are 313.9 million people in the United States. According to petitions.whitehouse.gov, in order to cross the threshold and be reviewed, a petition must receive 100,000 signatures in the span of 30 days. Unfortunately 0.02 percent of the United States population only equates to 62,780 signatures. In other words, it was a valiant effort but this petition gets rejected. I’m not saying the petition system is perfect, but it doesn’t seem to miss the important ones; e.g., the petition to deport Justin Bieber that reached the threshold in January of this year.
Other than the fact that Obama wouldn’t care (see what I did there?), we now know that these women only represent a small (dare I say teeny) portion of Latter-Day Saints. Loud? Yes. But small just the same. Doesn’t this make you wonder why the New York Times cares about a petition that doesn’t have enough signatures to make it to paper in the US Government? Let’s save that topic for another day. (Believe me, I have lots to say about the media targeting Latter Day Saints. Like, why is every other episode of DateLine about a Mormon who murdered his spouse or defrauded his entire congregation? Does that really only happen in Utah?)
So I propose that instead of focusing on such a bitty group of loud individuals, we should really start to consider the needs of the quiet majority. I’m talking about men. I believe that there is some gender inequality in the Church. But I don’t think it’s a one-way street. So I’m starting a list of requests that we, men, have all noticed, but until now, have been quiet about. (If you have any to add, then put them in the comment section)
- How come there’s a mother’s lounge but not a father’s lounge? Women get to nurse and feed their baby in a dark, quiet room while fathers have to walk around the Church looking for an empty classroom or use the “stand-and-sway” method to put babies to sleep. Even if we find an unused classroom, we don’t have the rocking chair.
- We want padded seats in our meeting room too. Do you know what men have? We have cold, hard, metal chairs. Are not all bottoms created equal?!
- Male enrichment night. After we graduate from scouting, we get one, maybe two, activities a year for men. (Typically a shooting guns activity with BBQ.) But we want monthly activities like the women. Let’s even up those budgets a little huh.
- Nursery for Elder’s quorum events. Women get the youth to babysit when they have an activity, but it’s expected that men should go to an activity without help. Do you just assume that our wives are always available to watch the kids when we have an activity? On the flipside, are you saying that men are incapable of watching the kids when the women are away to their activities? Either way, it sounds oppressive.
- We want a nice table and podium in our room. Sure, we’re not known for our table decor when it comes to Sunday lessons, but we couldn’t even if we wanted to. We only have a small table with skinny legs. How am I supposed to display my tackle box and Singing Bass wall mount in style when I give my “fishers of men” lesson?
- Finally, I want to propose an every-other-move ordinance where the Elders Quorum and the RS split all of the new move-ins and move-outs in the Ward. Your argument: men are stronger and can lift more. My counter-argument: women are more likely to show up and “many hands make light work.”
Again, I would like to thank the New York Times for pointing out the gender inequality in our Church. We have a long way to go, but I believe we can get there. One padded seat at a time.
[Update: There is no way to respond to all of the comments that have been made on my blog. But I would if I could. If I had the time, I would respond to all of you, including the person that said that this is the dumbest post that he has read in months. (To which I would reply, "You must have read a really, really dumb post a few months ago.")
I just wanted to say one thing. I realize that my post is dismissive to the topic of female ordination without showing any empathy. Sometimes feelings get hurt when a person tries to be funny about a topic that is dear to the hearts of others. The ironic part is that I was purposely avoiding discussing my opinions about the Ordain Women movement because I didn't want to say anything that would offend anyone. I do not promote blind obedience. Those women have every right to ask for the priesthood or whatever else they want. And we all have to accept the answer that is given. Whether it be yes or no. Let it be known that I would never encourage you to leave the Church because you feel oppressed. Let's be constructive and figure out what we can do if priesthood isn't an option. (Aside: I was a ward executive secretary once. I had to be at Church from 6AM to late evening on some Sundays. It was awful. I would have gladly given that to anyone who wanted it.)
One thing that I have definitely learned from all of your feedback is that there isn't really a forum where we feel like we can civilly express our differences of opinions concerning this or anything else. Hence all of the comments on my blog. (Anonymity probably helps.)
So, by all means, continue to comment. I won't close my comment section even though some of you have called me a moron, an obnoxious a**hole, and other names. In the spirit of Stephen R. Covey's 8th Habit, I encourage you to express your voice. Continue to be respectful to each other even if not to me.** As for myself, I probably won't say much more about it because it kind of feels like beating a dead horse. (Crap, now everyone thinks I promote the beating of dead horses.)
PS: You can always move your debates to twitter. #datelinesucks
** Sorry Brother Covey. (RIP) There's just too much hate for this conversation to ever be productive.
Are you still reading this? You should really read this.]