Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sister Beck…Again?

(Let me begin by apologizing for the excessive use of parentheticals in this post. This being the first of many. I don’t know what’s going on with me, and I’m too lazy to re-write it. I think I’m using them because I’m imagining you and me sitting together and talking about this. And where in my speaking voice you would be able to tell it’s “on the side”, you can’t tell in writing which is why I’ve put it in parentheses, so you know it’s “on the side”. But, at this point, whatever.)


Just when I think I’m “over” the Sister Beck thing, something like this comes up and makes me revisit it.

(Perhaps, you noticed—or maybe you haven’t because you have better things to do with your life—that I’ve never posted on her G.C. talk. I was going to because I had issues with some of it, but in the end, I didn’t think it would serve a productive purpose, so I let it go.)

But, then I read "What Women Know". And the whole thing came to the forefront of my mind again. And, you know, (if you read my last post) that I’m tired of thinking. So, needless to say, I’m completely wiped out.

As I read through their declaration (Is that what you would call it?), I soon began categorizing their statements into four areas: 1) those I completely agree with, 2) those that I’m indifferent towards, 3) those I’m confused about (as to their relevancy, for example), and 4) those I completely disagree with.

All over the Mormon blog world, women (and men, of course) have been reacting to this website. Some in the negative and some in the positive. And as I’ve read through posts and comments about it, I’ve been struck by how adamant people are for one side or the other.

If you like the declaration, you see yourself as pro-women, and forward thinking in regards to the church, and you see those who disagree with you as mindless or misguided dolts.

If you hate the declaration, you see yourself as pro-gospel and in line with the prophet, and you see those who disagree with you as feminist weirdoes* or apostates.

(Now, of course, I’m just generalizing. I’m sure people on both sides would say that I was incorrect to lump everyone into this category. But, oh well.)

Me, I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of gal (and no, not a fence sitter).

I can appreciate these women for wanting to get off their chests what's bugging them and tell the world what they believe (I do that myself, hence, the blog), but I can also understand the people who think this was a dumb, fruitless waste of time (because it’s not like the church higher-ups are going to read it and say “We see the light!”).

But what struck me the most, and what I’ve been thinking about is not what they said, but the forum for which they said it: a website.

Why the need for such a public domain? Why the need for a cross-country (and even international) way to unite behind these ideas? Why did they think this was the best route? Was this the only way they could satisfy their souls?

It’s just interesting to me that instead of only talking amongst themselves, with friends and/or family members, with ward members, or with fellow LDS bloggers, they needed to put up a whole website for this purpose.

And what does this say about how our church works in regards to communication member to member, as well as, member to leader? Does it mean anything that they went to a website instead of some ecclesiastical leader (although, maybe they did that too)? Did they think it would be fruitless (or even dangerous) to talk with a Bishop/Stake President?

Hmm… see, these are the things I think about.

(By the way, did I ever tell you about what happened when I heard Sister Beck’s talk. (Or didn’t hear it, actually?) No? Okay, I’ll take you back to that fateful day...

Picture this, a mild October morning, circa 2007, I’ve just heard from another great brother, and I’m excited to finally get to hear from a sister, and the leader of all us women, no less. (It’s not that I don’t find the brethren uplifting, but really, only two sisters! Don’t we women represent a large chuck of the church? But, I digress…this is something I take to Heavenly Father.)

Sister Beck opens by summarizing the valiance of the stripling warriors, and how they declared that “Our mothers knew it.” And that’s when I knew Sister Beck’s talk was going to be about mothers, and so I said to myself, “Conference break! Time to bake those cinnamon rolls!” And promptly went to do so.

You can imagine my surprise, come Monday when I started checking my favorite blogs and saw the firestorm her words had created. Really, I think this is the most talked about conference talk in the last decade. Can any of you remember one that can top it?)

Now, back to the original topic of my post… wait…I can’t remember anymore.

So, I guess I'll end by saying that although I agreed with many of their ideas, the problem I had with their statement, overall, was that it sounded too political to me. And you know how bitter I am about politics, of late.

But, what did you think? Did anything make you say “Amen!” or “Huh?” or “You’re on the slippery slope to apostasy, ladies!”? Did you find the idea of a website interesting, like I did? Do you think we need a greater “saint to saint” form of communication? Or should we remain in our separated wards/stakes?**

P.S. Even though the whole Sister Beck thing has become like a song on the radio that initially you like hearing, but because they play it 27 times a day, you now think it stinks and reach for the closest object to puncture your eardrums every time it comes on, I still plan on finishing my series of Sister Beck Says So. She really said some interesting things towards the end of her talk.

* Does this word look right? I thought the plural for “weirdo” was “weirdos,” but my computer told me I was wrong. And seeing as the computer is all knowing, I went ahead with its suggestion, but “weirdoes” doesn’t look right to me. Any thoughts?

**And this in no way implies that you have to leave a comment. I hate when people do that. So, think of it as rhetorical or otherwise. I’m just glad you stopped by to pay me a visit!


Andrea said...

Wow, something to think about. I guess I'd have to say that as a woman I can see where they're coming from. On the other hand as a member of the church their website kind of disturbs me. When sister Beck was sustained in April, did they raise their hands? And do they believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God? If so do they realize that maybe He wanted us to learn something from the 2,000 stripling warriors and their mothers?

Andrea said...

P.S.- I love all your parenthesis! :)

Gina said...

What on earth with these crazies?! It's ok to have an opinion, but to come out on a public domain and stand in a united front against the sustained RS President?! This is exactly how the adversary works. He takes truths (i.e. men and women can be nurturers) and twists them all up in the slightest way. I'm so sad that all this is going around. Sis. Beck was spot on for me. The world's standard of mothers has completely been lowered, but the church's standard remains steadfast. Also, seriously, they need to get a grip on the stripling warriors story. They are taking things out of context (as does the adversary) and making it a negative thing. In addition, these people are taking her words literally and very presently. The gospel is all about the eternal perspective. Sis Beck spoke of mother's being nurturers (as it says in the "Proclamation on the Family"), yet this group takes offense that no one would say men are as well. This kind of thinking lacks the eternal perspective (another trick of the adversary). I would stay far away from people like this who still claim to be on the straight and narrow, but publicly proclaim disagreement (and request the public's support) of a sustained leader in the church, and it's teachings.

Liz said...

Andrea and Gina, I agree.

I was very surprised that they felt that a website was their best option. I was also amazed at a number of their points (like the stripling warrior thing).

I also felt that a many of their tenets completely talked past Sister Beck, and did not even address her actual words. Also, I felt it polarized issues that I think Sister Beck would actually agree with (like men helping out).

No where did Sister Beck say that men shouldn't/couldn't be nurturing, she was just speaking specifically to women.

That's why I feel this was more of a political statement, instead of an actual rebuttal (although, I don't think a rebuttal to Sister Beck was at all necessary).

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Sorry I got here late. :)

All the controversy around Sis. Beck's talk, to me, was completely predictable. About halfway through her talk, I thought of at least one women's blog group that would have a heyday with it... afterward, I visited their site and their "Sister Beck is picking on us" post was already on comment #137. Did I nail that one??? ;)

I'm from the camp of "Follow the prophet (and anyone else who gets up to speak at General Conference), don't go astray," and I was bugged by it. We just had a SWK lesson yesterday about Church leaders and it hit me during the lesson that the reason why people have a problem following them without griping is because of pride and jealousy, mostly. Who is Sister Beck to stand up there and lecture us on our boys wearing white shirts to Sacrament meeting? Oh, I don't know, just the Relief Society General President. The Lord called her and not the rest of us. I guess we should feel slighted by that instead of thinking, gosh, maybe she has some good advice.

The "what women know" website was amusing, especially "we work because..." clause. Apparently these women have missed all the talks where Church leaders have said, "We KNOW some of you women have to work. We KNOW!" They wait for one talk like Sis. Beck's and go nuts with it.

Just my two cents. This was a topic near and dear to my heart as well, as you can probably see. :)

Found you through Segullah.