Oppression of Women: Apology and Explanation

4 Aug
In my last post I asked the question of whether or not the church oppresses women. I asked people to voice their opinion on the subject. I also gave a link to the blog that prompted me to ask the question in the first place. Before continuing I have to apologize for putting this link in the blog, as I said I would not be doing that (if you read the about at the top left of this blog). That was a mistake, and I will not do it in the future. However, it is done, and because that blog has a great deal to do with this one I am leaving the link in .
Regarding the question of my last post, only one person that commented on my last post actually gave a direct opinion in their initial response. Another gave an opinion only when coaxed. Others chose, rather, to comment on the blog that I had cited, and generally to ridicule me in the way I expressed myself then, or in the opinions that I hold. That was not what I wanted at the time, but I allowed them to do so, and engaged them in that discussion. Not to long after a number of them simply gave up, generally ridiculing me as they did so, and stated their refusal to return and read anything else I said.
Now, my mind works very different than most people. I have always had difficulty in explaining myself unless I take sufficient time to do so. On these blogs my responses are sometimes (and more often then they should be) a reaction to previous comments rather than carefully considered responses. So, I am not always sure if people are understanding my meaning or not, and I admit that I am not always clear in my meaning. For this reason I am writing this blog to more fully explain my opinions and the things that I said, both on my last post and the blog that prompted it. I don’t know how many of those who read and posted to my last blog will read this, but it is something that I feel I need to do.
Please note that I will use the username of those that I refer to. I already made the error of linking into the other blog, and so there is no way to avoid people knowing who I am speaking of, and so for the ease of writing and following my thoughts I will use their usernames.I would like to address what Agelius said. He made the comment

“I’m just saying that all you really had is your opinion that it’s not oppressive. Since it’s an inherently subjective thing, insisting that your opinion holds ascendancy over theirs is not compelling, and more than a little rude.”

In response to this I stated my agreement and pointed out that when I made that exact same statement in the other blog I was ridiculed for it. I also stated that I never held my opinion in ascendency, though I did hold the doctrine as such. To this Agelius replied

If insisting that she only believes what she does because she was taught it’s oppression, in fulfillment of a prophecy that evil would be called good and good evil, isn’t putting your view in ascendancy over hers, then nothing is.

Quite honestly, this comment confused me, as I never made any such claim. I remembered my reference to the prophecy, but the meaning that was being attached to my words was a shock. So, I went back to the other blog and reread what I wrote, as well as what I was responding to, and I came to the conclusion that Agelius was right in making the connection that he did. My words were ambiguous at best, and the timing and manner of my post was such as to easily give rise to this understanding of my words. For this I apologize.

However, this was not my intended meaning. Let me go back to the posts that lead to my comment and I will attempt to explain what I meant at the time.

First let me point out that much of this was in reaction. Thulnar had posted for no other reason than to mock what I had said, and I replied to that out of a feeling of offense. When I defended myself against that Nigel Jack started commenting on how it was well deserved, and that did make me loose my cool a little. I had previously made the statement to Arijan that much of what she was saying was a matter of perspective, or opinion. Nigel Jack claimed this was “a lame cop-out about how it’s “all a matter of perspective,” (Which of course obviously implies that those complaining have the wrong perspective… and you’re the one who’s respectful of others, right?)” and used it as a justification for insults and mockery.

Regardless of this I did try to be polite in my comments. I am never really sure as to how well I succeed in this, and if my manners were offensive I again apologize.

In reply I tried to explain the doctrine of the church, and why I do not believe that doctrine to be oppressive. As part of that I explained the doctrine that is taught in ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ concerning the roles that men and women have been called to by God. I also voiced the following opinion.

In our modern world the role of mother and wife has been degraded, and each new generation is raised to think that being a mother is an oppressive and repressive role that is to be shunned. With such a degraded view of what is likely the most divine and truly noble role a women can fill, is it any wonder that people see anyone who believes as we do as being oppressive?

To this Nigel Jack said “I hear you, your church claims to teach gender equality, but teaching that and then barring women from holding church office, relegating women to a so-called “separate but equal” status, and so on and so forth, indicates otherwise.” It seemed fairly obvious to me that his reference to relegating women to what he obviously views as a lower status was in direct reply to my statement regarding the roles of men and women. In other words, he was at least to my understanding, clearly stating that our doctrine that women are to be mothers and men fathers was inherently oppressive to women.

In response to this I made the statement that Agelius refer to. I quoted Isaiah where he prophesied a time when good would be called evil and evil good. I stated that this is what was happening today. However, I did not clarify this, and I stated it as a fact, rather than an opinion. This makes my words useless and damaging to me, the church, and anyone who reads them. For that I am also sorry. However, I am not sorry for the opinions that I stated, only for the manner in which they were expressed and what voicing them in that way and at that time caused.

But let me explain what I meant in this. If you follow the comments as I have outlined you may understand this. I made this comment concerning those who think that motherhood and the promotion of it are inherently oppressive to women, which is the concept that I say in Nigel Jack’s words. To me anyone who degrades motherhood and the work of a housewife or homemaker is calling something beautiful and divine evil, and thus is fulfilling this prophecy. That I do believe. I also believe that over the past several decades our society has experienced a mental and spiritual shift, which has resulted in a cultural degrading of motherhood and a pervasive belief that anyone who thinks a woman should be a mother is oppressive in their beliefs.

Having said this, I had no intention of implying that Arijan only felt oppressed because “she was taught it’s oppression, in fulfillment of a prophecy that evil would be called good and good evil.” In fact, in the same post that I referenced Isaiah in speaking to Nigal Jack, I specifically stated to Arijan that I would make no comment concerning her personal experience, because I lack sufficient knowledge and understanding. Regarding her situation I have no doubt she was oppressed, and her feeling of oppression are perfectly justified. I have seen enough of it in my life to know that it happens, and I would never assume that those feeling originate in cultural dogma. Now, I do believe that her claim that her oppression (or her mothers) was caused by the church is misplacing the blame, and that might be influenced by the cultural dogma that I referenced in my comments to Nigel Jack.

But in speaking to Arijan I made only to points of discussion: The doctrine is not oppressive, and I do not believe the church to be oppressive though I understand why others think it is. In speaking to her I never held my opinions as greater, or being in ascendency over hers. In my comments I tried to keep our opinions on even ground, though I did and do disagree with them. This was not the case with Nigel Jack, but it was the case with Arijan. I do understand that on blogs and internet sites it is difficult to make such separations in the discussion, and so my comments were easily misunderstood and taken to be addressed to Arijan as well, and for that I am sorry. I should not have said what I did for this reason, and I again apologize.

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3 Responses to “Oppression of Women: Apology and Explanation”

  1. robinobishop August 8, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    “The Church is like a great caravan—organized, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place.

    What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travellers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on.

    Is there a ravine to cross, a miry mud hole to pull through, a steep grade to climb? So be it. The oxen are strong and the teamsters wise. The caravan moves on.

    Are there storms that rage along the way, floods that wash away the bridges, deserts to cross, and rivers to ford? Such is life in this fallen sphere. The caravan moves on.

    Ahead is the celestial city, the eternal Zion of our God, where all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest. Thank God that the caravan moves on! [Bruce R. McConkie, “The Caravan Moves On,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, p. 85]

    • shematwater August 9, 2014 at 1:42 am #

      While I like the sentiment, I am not sure shat you are intending with posting it.

      • robinobishop August 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

        Sorry.

        The caravan moves forward in spite of all peril that rises against it. We lick our wounds in motion, don’t we? I suspect many who stand by the way, imagining the best time to pounce ….only appear for the moment of opportunity for them, speaking first, not listening intently, then are gone.

        As a HP 60+ and a convert half a life ago, 43 yrs married, I also travel with the caravan. My wife and I felt comfortable for her to work continuously through the youth of our only son. This didn’t change with our conversion when Griffin was 2. After all, she was teaching a room full of first graders.

        Enjoyed your cultural insights; we tend to construct our own realities. The mistake too many of us make is being locked into intolerance to different nuances of cultures different from our own, especially those unknown to us. There exists a Mormon culture distinct from the world. Curiously it is a worldwide culture.

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