Saturday, May 23, 2009

President Julie B. Beck -- Retro-Woman

There is an interesting discussion at the blog site Feminist Mormon Housewives here.

This is a comment President Beck was purported to have made at a recent women’s conference in South Georgia”

“…women shouldn’t be ashamed of being Home Makers- literally making homes where our families want to be; that we should use the times we gather our children around the dinner table (with tablecloths and nice dishes) as times to teach and share; that when our homes and lives are free of clutter and chaos, when we organize and prioritize we will be happier.”

After reading that comment, I reflected back on the talk President Beck gave at General Conference in October 2007. I believe most of my LDS readers will remember the talk Mothers Who Know.

Here is a portion of what President Beck said:

Mothers Who Know Are Nurturers

Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness. To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a "house of order," and women should pattern their homes after the Lord's house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women. [Emphasis added]

I did some research on President Beck today. I found she was born in 1954. I feel I can better understand now why she focuses on homemaking. She is a product of the 1950s. Read this and you’ll understand where President Beck’s thoughts originated:

Being a Wife and Mother in the 1950s
During the 1950s, there was a revival of placing homemakers on a pedestal, with homemaking and child rearing being touted as a woman’s highest calling. The message was everywhere — from pulpits to politics. Television was coming into its own during that decade as more homes purchased TV sets; and programs like Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, and Leave It to Beaver were popular. The image projected on television and in magazines was one of a woman who, while her husband was off earning enough to support the family on his one income, stayed behind to make their suburban home a refuge to which her husband and school-age children returned late each day from the demanding world outside. She was always impeccably dressed as she spent her days cheerfully cleaning, cooking, and caring for their youngest children in a suburban home equipped with the latest appliances and household products. The corporate world which offered those products adored her.

The model housewife, in this 1950s view, lived to serve her family and keep her husband and children happy, meeting their every need. Any aspirations or needs she had for fulfillment of her own beyond this model were considered “selfish.”

Work-Family Balance: 1950s and Now

Yes, President Beck is a Retro-Woman. I do believe we should cut her some slack. Don’t you?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Oldest Sister and Elvis

My oldest sister is back in the hospital. She is a huge Elvis Presley fan. Although she doesn't have access to the Internet, I still wanted to do something that I know would make her smile. So I updated my Playlist to include five Elvis songs. I am sending lots of love out to my sister. I know she would love the photo of Elvis I added to this post.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

This Is Love

Today is Mother's Day. My precious son Jim made me a card with this message inside:

M -- is for Model; you have taught me so Much.

O -- is for Open arms always hugging me.

T -- is for Taking Time to always kiss me goodnight.

H -- is for Helping me, and Holding my Hand.

E -- is for your caring Eyes.

R -- is for Raising me Right.

My wonderful husband gave me a card with this message:

With Love and Thanks to My wife

I'm a better man because of your love.

And because of your love,

I now know

that home isn't a place,

it's a person.

Yes ... THIS IS LOVE. What more could any woman ask for?

Friday, May 8, 2009

You Can't Make Them Be Your Friends

For years now I've tried to develop friendships in cyberspace. I've participated at message boards. I created a blog. I joined facebook. At first it appeared I was making friends. Then I noticed cliques developing and I was not invited to join. There are message board cliques, blogger cliques and facebook … well … it's pointless and, quite frankly, childish.

I made the mistake of thinking I could fit in with the LDS communities (active, inactive and former members). I found that because I was not brought up in the LDS Church, I was on the outside looking in. I was the only member of the Church in my immediate family. I joined the Church when I was 19 years old because I wanted to have something in common with my future husband.

I was a member of record from March 1972 until November 1980. My husband and I were fairly active in the Church while living in Queens, New York. We held multiple callings (concurrently). We were, I'd like to believe, respected in our ward. We were not married in the temple, but felt we were heading toward having our marriage sealed.

Then we made the fatal mistake of moving to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1978. My husband had second thoughts about moving there. I felt since we had started making arrangements to move, we should just do it. Also, I thought it would be so uplifting to live among the Saints in Utah. Such was not the case. It was there that we saw the hypocrisy of the members. It was there we felt unwelcome. We were "strangers" in the wards we attended. Yes, we had some "assigned friends," but we knew their friendship was not genuine.

We chose to be excommunicated from the Church in November 1980. At that time, you could not send in a letter of resignation. From that time forward, I kept my distance from the LDS Church. Then along came the Internet, and I found myself being pulled back into mingling with the Saints in cyberspace.

My first experience was with the on-line group Recovery from Mormonism ("RfM"). It was there that my husband and I found kindred spirits. My husband wrote his story and submitted it to RfM. His story can now be found among the hundreds of exit stories.

For several years I harbored deep resentment toward the Church and its members. My feelings started to change when I found the message board LDS Women. I thought I was accepted by these women, that was until I wrote something that irritated two women on the board. They could not understand why I would want to associate with them if I was not a faithful, active Latter-day Saint woman. Their written attacks on me were vicious. In the end, the administrator of the message board discontinued sponsoring it. LDS Women bit the dust.

As for blogging … I have two blogs, one public and one private. At first I enjoyed blogging, especially when someone posted a comment. But then I started looking at other blogs and realized I am not "popular." Sure, I have numerous lurkers, but few, if any, care to leave a comment. I thought I might shut down my public blog. I told my husband it's like I've been banging my head against the wall and a voice told me "You do know you can stop doing that." Today I decided to add this post.

Recently, a light went on when I read these words: "You can't make them be your friends." That is so true. I was trying to "make" people in cyberspace be my friend. I have learned that it's impossible to do that, at least for me.