Culture Among Lds Women

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  • Topic: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, Jr., Latter Day Saint movement
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  • Published : April 19, 2013
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Gabriella S. Davida12 April 2013

Cultural AnthropologyDr. Braun

Culture of the Church of Latter-Day Saints:

Women Finding Autonomy Within a Patriarchal Society

Within the female membership of The Church of Latter Day Saints (“LDS”),

there is no role or category of women that are “successful” career woman within the context of a

Modern day democratic society. Is the cause for this lack of representation in the ranks of

successful business and career women, grounded solely in the beliefs and teachings of the LDS

Church or are there other factors and influences at work beyond the LDS Church? Are those

other factors environmental, cultural economic or due to educational attainment levels? Does

the LDS Church

really control the role of all women members, or only married women? Is the LDS religion used

as a legitimate excuse for a woman not to reach her full potential? This fact will be examined

and the answers to the questions it raises in the context of a modern day democratic society.

will be found.

In order to examine the questions raised above, one must establish not only the culture

within LDS but also the categories or types of women which have evolved over the years.

Interestingly enough, these types of women, are not only categorized by those who have

Studied them, but also the women themselves. Social Scientist, like all scientist, are always

looking to list, type and categorized the subjects they study. One such social scientist, Lori

Beaman, has based on her studies of over 28 Mormon women, has identified, three (3) types

of women in the Mormon Church who like Beaman have also identified and classified

themselves as being (i) Molly Mormons.;(ii) Mormon Feminists and (iii) Mormon Moderates.

Their views are shaped by the teachings of the Mormon Church and their role models for their

respective positions are primarily other woman rather than the men within the context of the

Hierarchy of the Church. Implicit within these categories is the premise established by Elizabeth

Ozorak, that notwithstanding that these women have accepted the inequalities of the Church they

have dealt with it through “‘cognitive restructuring’-reinterpreting their environment and

adjusting their responses to it” (Beaman 2001; 66), in much the same way as women in other

conservative religions. By doing so, they are able to maintain their self-esteem without entirely

abandoning their religious beliefs and their place with the religious hierarchy. The “Molly

Mormon”, is described as the traditional or “good” Mormon women who follow the church

teachings in all aspects of her life basically without question.. It is for all intents and purposes a

label, as there are exceptions and overlaps into the other categories based on the ages of the

women and where they are in their life cycle. Not surprisingly the Molly Mormons make up the

very young women of child bearing age and the rearing of family is their essential role. They are

contrasted by the “moderates” who are women, who may be part of the labor force but also

might be the women who are most active in the Church and navigate power through taking on

more senior responsibilities. Since they cannot be Priests, based on the current view of biblical

scripture, and interpretation, they nonetheless accept the subordinate role outwardly, but wield

the power indirectly not only in the roles they perform at the Church but also, the position they

see themselves within the family. They see themselves as equals with their husbands, and

almost enjoy not having the outward responsibility of being the breadwinner and the decision

maker, yet, they have, based on what they gain for themselves and their families, believe they

have power and they use it. The moderates can be young married...
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