The Thinking 

Feminism Encroaches on the Mormons

December 20, 2012




Not content to destroy the armed forces of every Western nation, subvert all of the churches in every Western nation, shut down worthy boys’ and mens’ sports teams nationwide, and distort news reporting and entertainment everywhere by imposing their bizarre worldview and slate of grievances, feminists now train their sights on one of the few remaining institutions in the West that so far had seemed free of their depradations: the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

As The New York Times reports, Mormon women of the feminist persuasion are expressing their desire to change their church to be more accommodating of women by wearing pants to church.  (I guess these lady Latter-Day Saints haven’t been to a Novus Ordo Catholic Mass lately: if it’s worship in very casual dress they want, all they need do is convert to post-Vatican II Catholicism.)  And a little child shall lead them, figuratively speaking: the ringleader is a 26 year old Salt Lake City gal named Stephanie Lauritzen.  So even the Mormons fail to offer a strong formation to their youth in post-America.

The Times’s story drops some hints that this latest distaff initiative is less Mormon-specific and more generic-feminist gripes in its brief discussion of the semi-protesters’s wishes:

Organizers hope the dialogue will now expand to include issues like the ordination of women, or women taking on more responsibilities at church events.  [Bingo!]

They also cited the pronounced role of the Boy Scouts in the church — boys routinely become troop leaders in the organization, but girls have no similar outlet with the Girl Scouts — and the fact that young men are required to go on two-year missions to spread the faith, but young women are not. The result: the vast majority of Mormon missionaries are men.  [So this is really not about Mormonism, but about Liberalism’s holy grail: Equality.  Equality in all things, and the damage it does be damned.]

Some Mormons who are content with their church’s doctrines, however odd orthodox Christians might find them, do not welcome the trousered feminists’ intrusions:

The All Enlisted [a liberal Mormon women’s group with a Facebook page] “friends” page has drawn hundreds of posts, both for and against the idea. JoEllen Swarts of Las Vegas wrote: “What is wrong with all you women??? If you’re not happy with the LDS church, move on, find another place of worship. You will not change Mormon Doctrine.”

But given how every other American institution — the U.S. armed forces and the Roman Catholic Church in the United States emphatically not excepted — has surrendered very nearly unconditionally to militant feminists, is Mrs. Swarts right to be so sanguine about her shepherds’ steadfastness?

A Mormon bishop shows a far better understanding of human nature than the rebelling LDS ladies, but unfortunately shares the current failure to understand that people come in two sexes, while it is languages that have genders:

At a suburban church in Green Valley, Nev., less than 10 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, women filed into church on Sunday morning, most wearing dresses (most men wore coats and ties). Bishop Michael Durham was somewhat dismissive of the pants idea. “I think wearing pants is not liberating,” he said. “Liberation comes from inside. I’m not sure they have a clear understanding of the church’s position on gender.”

I can’t help wondering what America’s currently most prominent Mormon, Willard Mitt Romney, thinks of the Mormon feministas’ “Wear Pants to Church” initiative.  My fear is that it would not trouble him at all, good accommodating Republican that he is.

— Comments —

A reader writes:

Here’s a recent article on Mormon feminists.

Caroline writes:

I am a feminine person who is a Mormon lady and this Times article is all just a big yawn. If a woman wants to wear pants to church, no one cares. Most of us want to wear our very best to show respect for our Heavenly Father.

Another error: All young men are NOT required to go on missions. It is a very personal choice.

Another error: We have the Young Women program for girls, with plenty of opportunities for leadership and advancement.

Just a non-story to try and create havoc where none exists in our wonderful institutions.

Jesse Powell writes:

Even though Mormons have a good legacy with a higher fertility rate than most and more intact families (a higher Married Parents Ratio) than most, Mormons do not do so well compared to others when looking at change in fertility and intact families over the past 20 years (from 1990 to 2010).  In particular the “improvement cohort” among Mormons, the proportion of Mormons showing improvement in both fertility and Married Parents Ratio (MPR) at the same time, is quite small.  On a par with the average for the nation if not lower.  There were 14 states that showed improvement from 2000 to 2010 in both fertility and MPR among the Top 1% of Census Tracts with the highest fertility level in that state; Utah was not one of them.  Neither was Idaho or Arizona that also have a lot of Mormons.  Some actual improvement in family indicators among the Census Tracts with the highest fertility can be seen in Utah County, Utah (home of Provo, Utah) which had 19% of Utah’s population and 23% of Utah’s white children in 2010.  In Utah County the Top 5% of Census Tracts with the highest fertility improved in both fertility level and Married Parents Ratio.  This is not very impressive.  Family size among Mormons fell radically from 1990 to 2000.  Even though improvement in family size did occur in Utah County from 2000 to 2010, the increase was much smaller than the decrease that occurred from 1990 to 2000.

Looking at areas with a large proportion of Orthodox Jews, we see a much different story.  Rockland County, New York and Brooklyn have large Orthodox Jewish populations.  These counties increased in their fertility from 1990 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2010.  The Census Tracts with the highest fertility levels in these counties have a much higher fertility rate and a much higher Married Parents Ratio than the comparable Census Tracts in Utah County or in the other parts of Utah.  Cultural Revival is much stronger among the Jewish population than it is in the Mormon population.  Indeed looking at Cultural Revival, improvement in family indicators compared to the past, the Mormons seem to be merely average compared to the nation as a whole if not below average.  This is especially true when factoring in the huge fertility decline seen among Mormons in the 1990s.  Given this background it is not so surprising to hear about Mormon feminists asserting themselves.

Below are some tables comparing Mormons to Jews.  The areas meant to represent Mormons are Utah County and the Rest of Utah, the “Rest of Utah” being Utah excluding Utah County.  The areas representing Jews are Rockland County, New York and Brooklyn borough in New York City.  For context I also give information on the United States as a whole and for Utah as a whole.

Definitions:  “GFL” means Global Fertility Level; the average number of own children per family with own children.  “MPR” means Married Parents Ratio; the proportion of own children who live with married parents.  All numbers refer to non-Hispanic white alone.  “Rest of Utah” means the state of Utah excluding Utah County.  “Utah County” is Utah County, Utah.  “Rockland County” is Rockland County, New York.  “Brooklyn” is Kings County, New York.

1990 GFL 2000 GFL 2010 GFL 1990 MPR 2000 MPR 2010 MPR
United States 1.790 1.760 1.710 84.2% 80.9% 78.1%
Utah 2.451 2.157 2.171 88.1% 87.1% 86.7%
Rest of Utah 2.405 2.110 2.105 87.6% 86.2% 85.4%
Utah County 2.715 2.387 2.428 91.0% 91.2% 91.3%
Rockland County 2.018 2.183 2.368 91.7% 91.5% 92.8%
Brooklyn 2.001 2.035 2.164 86.7% 87.4% 89.1%

Definitions:  “GFL” means Global Fertility Level; the average number of own children per family with own children.  “MPR” means Married Parents Ratio; the proportion of own children who live with married parents.  “99th Percentile” represents the 99th Percentile of the Global Fertility Level of Census Tracts according to the proportion of white children living in such Census Tracts.  The Global Fertility Level given for a particular Percentile is the Global Fertility Level at that exact Percentile Level.  The Married Parents Ratio given for a particular Percentile is the Married Parents Ratio for all the Census Tracts at the particular Percentile Level and above.  Among places with small populations a single Census Tract may contain more than 1% of the white child population.  This is why multiple Percentile levels may have the same Global Fertility Levels and Married Parents Ratios associated with them.  All numbers refer to non-Hispanic white alone.  “Utah County” is Utah County, Utah.  “Rest of Utah” is Utah State excluding Utah County.  “Rockland County” is Rockland County, New York.  “Brooklyn” is Kings County, New York. [All statistics are from the U.S. Census Bureau.]

2000 GFL 2010 GFL 2000 MPR 2010 MPR
Utah County
99th Percentile 2.952 3.082 95.7% 96.8%
98th Percentile 2.952 3.082 95.7% 96.8%
97th Percentile 2.873 2.956 95.7% 97.4%
96th Percentile 2.873 2.903 95.7% 96.8%
95th Percentile 2.873 2.903 95.7% 96.8%
94th Percentile 2.861 2.841 95.8% 94.6%
Rest of Utah
99th Percentile 2.663 2.722 90.7% 85.8%
98th Percentile 2.608 2.575 94.1% 91.3%
97th Percentile 2.554 2.545 92.0% 91.0%
96th Percentile 2.520 2.508 92.7% 91.3%
95th Percentile 2.516 2.494 92.8% 91.5%
94th Percentile 2.489 2.484 92.6% 91.6%
Rockland County
99th Percentile 4.645 4.451 96.9% 99.2%
98th Percentile 4.645 4.451 96.9% 99.2%
97th Percentile 4.645 4.235 96.9% 99.2%
96th Percentile 4.399 4.235 96.9% 99.2%
95th Percentile 4.399 4.235 96.9% 99.2%
94th Percentile 4.399 4.235 96.9% 99.2%
99th Percentile 4.104 4.500 98.9% 95.2%
98th Percentile 4.020 4.130 97.7% 95.5%
97th Percentile 4.020 4.130 97.7% 95.5%
96th Percentile 3.879 3.980 94.9% 95.6%
95th Percentile 3.854 3.980 95.0% 95.6%
94th Percentile 3.796 3.970 95.1% 95.9%

Strong Man writes:

You might be interested in my two posts on this topic, here and here, in which I explain that at least 99 percent of Mormon women chose to wear dresses on that particular Sunday, and those who did wear pants were greeted warmly and kindly.  This was really a non-movement.
Still, the existence of my blog shows that I do have concerns that the cultural religion of “equality” may overwhelm our actual doctrine about complementarian relationships between men and women.
I remain convinced that the weight of scripture and of faithful Church leaders will continue to stay the course in favor of different roles for men and women.


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