For those interested, here is a public letter written by some Mormon women friends of mine, in response to Julie Beck’s speech entitled “Mothers who know” at the October 2007 LDS General Conference.


  1. Andrew November 16, 2007 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Most of the statements in the “rebuttal” letter don’t seem to be responding to anything that Julie Beck actually said in her talk. Rather, the entire letter seems to be responding to unnecessary, uncharitable misinterpretations of Beck’s words.

    For example, read the first paragraph of Beck’s talk, and then read the “rebuttal” comment. If you read Beck’s talk carefully, she did not praise the 2,000 stripling warriors or their mothers because of their military prowess. Rather, Beck praised them because “they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.” That outrageous remark earned Beck the following “rebuttal” statement:

    “We . . . reject the glorification of violence in all its forms. We are filled with unutterable sadness by the Book of Mormon story of more than 2,000 young soldiers whose mothers teach them that faith in God will preserve them in battles in which they kill other mothers’ children. This is not a success story. It is a story of the failure of human relationships and the horrors of war.”

    It would be a fine rebuttal statement if it were actually responding to something Beck said, but it doesn’t. With all this bending over backwards to find something to disagree with or be offended by in Julie Beck’s talk, it seems a group of LDS women were just itchin’ for a fight and seized on this talk as an excuse to voice long-standing feminist gripes.

    I’m NOT saying that feminist concerns aren’t legitimate. What I AM saying is that this particular instance of seizing on Julie Beck’s talk as an excuse to grind the feminist axe was just downright silly here.

    But I doubt my opinion on this letter will get much weight because I have male anatomy, and in my experience the feminist injunction to take women’s opinions more seriously usually only goes one way.

  2. Chris November 16, 2007 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    I agree, Andrew, that the stripling warriors comment is completely misplaced – it doesn’t relate to Julie Beck’s talk at all.

    I think, however, that most of the rest of the letter does address the talk (or at least one common perception of the themes of the talk). My wife had some issues with the talk. She also had some issues with the letter, especially the stripling warriors comment that you mentioned. In the end, however, she said that she thinks that most mormon women would agree with the content of the letter – but not the fact that it contradicts the church leaders.

    My guess is that most LDS women (especially in the younger generations) agree more with the sentiments of the letter than those of the talk.

  3. Andrew November 17, 2007 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Chris, I agree that many LDS women might agree with the “rebuttal” letter. It’s very difficult to object to much of its content. Who can disagree with statements like this?: “Men and boys who share care-work and household responsibilities make it possible for all family members to live happier, more fulfilling lives.” I doubt there is anyone who can disagree with that statement.

    My point is that, despite reading Julie Beck’s talk twice, carefully, I couldn’t understand what the signers of the “rebuttal” letter thought Beck had said to the contrary. For example, Beck NEVER STATED that household responsibilities were the EXCLUSIVE responsibility of women.

    I hope the authors and signers of the “rebuttal” statement will be more charitable to their fellow sisters in the future by not bending over backwards to find something to feel offended by something a fellow sister has said.

  4. Hueffenhardt November 17, 2007 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    I fully support the sentiments expressed in the letter, especially the “distrust [of] separate-but-equal rhetoric”. I also agree with the following statements: “anyone who is regularly reminded that she is “equally important” is probably not. Partnership is illusory without equal decision-making power.”

    These statements have long been needed to be made. I hope they gain momentum and eventually the church leadership will change the teachings, policies, procedures, attitudes and the “Proclamation to the Family” to reflect those changes.

  5. Ann November 17, 2007 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Andrew, why the sneer quotes around “rebuttal”? The letter itself never uses that term.

  6. Stephanie November 17, 2007 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    As a young LDS mother of six children, and after listening to and reading Sister Beck’s talk and reading the above letter I have to agree that I identify much more with the letter. I felt that Sister Beck’s talk did nothing but to prey upon the guilt of the Mormon woman… we are often guilted into doing those things that are considered ‘right’ or ‘good’. The admonitions that we should be the BEST homemakers in the world, etc, are in my opinion plain silly! I have six children and anyone who is busy multiplying and replenishing the earth {as the church also encourages}, doesn’t have much time to keep those little offspring perfectly shiny and clean all the time! The fact that Sister Beck put such emphasis on going to church in a pressed dress and a ‘missionary style’ hair cut as if that was the picture of perfection only serves to ostracize many different kinds of people. We should not exclude, but include. With Sister Beck’s standards for attending church, Jesus himself would not be welcome there.. or he would at least be an outsider anyways. And she equates keeping covenants and being more spiritual as having these unimportant details attained to. I am not saying that it’s not nice to dress up for church… what I am saying is that it is NOT the most important thing and somehow the emphasis was more on the physical aspects and less on the spiritual or the heart of the matter. Why didn’t she say… “And a good mother is one who makes sure her children go to church prepared for church that day by…. and then name a few things that are spiritual in nature [such as saying family prayer,etc] instead of something superficial like that they look perfect? That’s what turned me off. Because not only is it usually impossible for us to make it to church with pressed dresses and missionary style hair cuts, why is or should that be the goal anyways? For what purpose? There are much more important things…

    For what it’s worth… most women my age that spoke to about this talk were not happy with it and said it made them feel like horrible mothers.
    Only a few women I know of enjoyed it.

  7. Tatiana November 17, 2007 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    John, you look all alone there under the “men who support” heading. Why are you the only male signatory?

    I like this letter, and I’m glad it was posted. I would add my name if I could.

  8. Doc November 17, 2007 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    If you totally disagree with the principle of the talk, why would it make anyone feel like a horrible mother. It seems to me that only works if you are buying in to what principle is.

  9. Stephanie November 17, 2007 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Doc, I said that other women I had talked to in the church had said it made them feel like horrible mothers… these were women who were TBM who didn’t have issues with the principle of the talk… they agree that they need to work harder, do more, etc and they said that the talk did make them feel worse though that they weren’t doing good enough. This is what annoyed me…that instead of uplifting women and mothers this talk had to make those who are trying so hard to live up to the standards of the church to feel worse about themselves… it continues to reaffirm my beliefs that women are not valued in our society… and especially at church. I think little else than “lip service” is given to the value of women, at church and in our society at large. As a very young woman, TBM my entire life, 6 young children, married in the temple etc, I never thought I would ever say such a thing or ever believe that… but I do believe that is a huge huge issue in society at large that is readily seen in our church. As a mother of 4 young girls, I admit it is a problem that I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with yet…

  10. Andrew November 17, 2007 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    Ann, the answer to your question is already contained in my comments above.

    “Charity . . . is not easily provoked”

  11. Hueffenhardt November 17, 2007 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    It seems that some would support those who speak harmful, misogynist teachings, while at the same time try to lay guilt on those who are provoked by those misogynist teachings by reminding them that they are wrong for being provoked. How sick and twisted is that?

    Was Christ wrong when he was provoked by the money changers defiling his Father’s house? Well, neither is any woman or man wrong at being provoked by the harmful, misogynist teachings by Julie Beck. In fact, we have a duty to be provoked when someone preaches misogyny, homophobia, racism, and the like.

    There is a UU hymn that I like very much called “We are a Gentle, Angry People”. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t happy most of the time, but we should get angry about injustices. You can find a copy of the words here:

  12. Jon November 17, 2007 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    Mindbogglingly stupid.

    I found the whole thing completely silly. I understand that many might find her comments a little jarring but after re-listening and re-reading the talk I find this whole argument pointless.

    It seems like a typical situation where no one in my ward here in Canada would even have noticed or cared but seems to just grab the Utah saints. Yes I know the letter was signed by people who are not all from Utah. But I also know that no one either in relief society or elders quorum here in Canada seem to go ballistic about it.

    If you do not agree with it then do not listen to her. If you think it is just her personal opinion then fine. But if you think I have not been called to repentance for a whole lot worse in Priesthood meetings in General Conference then sisters I suggest you watch a few of them.

    Personally, my wife and I have chosen together that she was to stay with the kids in the home as much as possible.

    Some times that has not been economically sensible but we made the choice because all the social studies done, as well as common sense and the general authorities have suggested it.

    After living in Britain for four years I can say that I have seen what can happen when kids are not raised responsibly or in the home and it is ugly. I believe that this argument is being launched because Julie Beck is an easy target. You are not attacking the “bretheren” there is an idea that you can get away with it easier.

    It seems be an agenda which is focused around ideas that the Church is not progressive enough for some people so rather than take a soft approach some want to agitate. So hitting at Sister Beck is just an underlying way to hit every conservative leader in the church who are against feminist ideas and the feminist approach.

    Hurt feelings and expressions of protest will not change the opinions of the leaders, or most of the members. I would dare say that they do go a long way to hardening attitudes. Creating as straw man arguments against the talk, putting meaning into Sister Beck’s talk which may be unintended seems a great way to make a statement which makes others look at the weakness of your argument over the validity of it.

  13. Hueffenhardt November 18, 2007 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Jon said: “expressions of protest will not change the opinions of the leaders, or most of the members.”

    You don’t know that and I that doesn’t seem to be the case in the past. Some want to claim that the “revelations” that have authorized major changes have just come out of nowhere because the Lord was ready for it. But, look at the sequence of events that have led up to the changes. The public pressure comes first, then comes a convienent revelation many years after the changes should have taken place.

    Look at the changes in the temple endowment. Some members had big issues with parts of the endowment. The Church then surveyed its members to gauge how big and widespread the discontent was. Then the Church made changes to make it less offensive.

    Garments used to go to the wrists and the ankles. They got shorter because the people wanted it that way. The revelation to give blacks the priesthood did not occur in a vacuum. The Church was under a lot of pressure, in this case from the outside. Same with the end of plural marriage.

    There is no reason to think that if we put enough pressure on the church that it will change its treatment of women and homosexuals as well. I used to support the Church’s treatment of women and gays when I thought those attitudes came from God. But, once I realized that the Church is just a man-made organization and could have any policies and doctrines it wants, I realized that its treatment of women and gays needed to change. Now that is my opinion, others have theirs. But, I can’t sit still and hold my peace when women are oppressed. There are women who think they are not oppressed by the LDS Church. There are Muslim women who do not feel oppressed by Islamic clerics. But, I intend to work for a fair treatment of women, which means that all leadership positions, all priesthood authority, all roles that are acceptable for one gender to do are also acceptable for the other gender, that women no longer have to covenant to hearken unto their husbands without a similar covenant placed upon the men to hearken unto their wives.

    You may say that these changes are up to god. Well, the Mormon god has a funny habit of bending to social pressure, so I am going to apply social pressure until all people are treated equally by the Church. Once that is done, I’ll leave the Church alone.

  14. Tatiana November 18, 2007 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Oh good, they’re continuing to add more signatories. I’m glad you’re not all along anymore, John.

  15. Paula November 18, 2007 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Tatiana, all you have to do is email, and your name will be entered too if you’d like to sign. You’ll need to respond to an email that you’ll get back from us before we add your name, just because we are trying to make sure that we don’t have fake signatures. (I’m the one who adds the signatures.) John was just the first brave male to sign up.

  16. Porter Rockwell November 19, 2007 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    Consider this paragraph from the letter:
    When it comes to employment, most women prefer the luxury of choice to the limitations of necessity. Women-friendly policies such as flex-time and comparable pay for women and men, access to health care, family leave for births and care-work, and affordable, high-quality childcare give all of us—single or partnered, impoverished or privileged—greater choice in how to support ourselves and our families.

    Can we re-write this and add another article to the letter:

    When it comes to the Law of Chastity, most women prefer the luxury of a choice in partners, when for whatever reason their husbands fail to cherish or bestow on them warmth and affection they deserve as humans. Women-friendly advancements such birth control options, women empowerment movement, access to health care…

    My point being that just because society has changed, you now have more choices on a topic.. that does not mean the comandment (in the case of the LOC) .. or clear distict advise from the prophet (women staying at home with children) should be reconsidered.

    That paragraph alone makes this “letter” pretty much garbage. For those who believe in 90% of what is laid out in this letter, keep in mind Satan will sell one lie surrounded by many truths.

  17. John November 19, 2007 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    While I do not agree with everything that was in Sister Beck’s talk, or everything that has been put in the letter, the previous comment by ‘Porter Rockwell?’ has completely lost the point, we do have choice. If women in the church choose to stay at home as Sister Beck would suggest, then they should not only be free to do so, but should have the support to do it. At the same time, if women choose to take an academic path in life, and career, they should also have the same freedom and support.

    Too often, ‘the world’ with it’s various pressures puts and emphasis on mothers returning to work, and putting their children in child care, making it harder for those who would prefer to stay at home and (with it’s numerous responsibilities).

    At the same time ‘the Church’ can often put too much pressure on mothers to stay at home, when for whatever reason (financial, sanity, other life goals etc) would prefer to return to education or the work place.

    This has nothing to do with changing the expectations of chastity. I am not sure what the writer was trying to infer about birth control, but I would like to quote from two sources that give clearer definitions to what I believe to be the church view on both parenting and birth control.

    President Gordon B. Hinckley (at the time Elder Hinckley) counselled young adults about family planning at a 1983 BYU Devotional.

    “I am offended by the sophistry that the only lot of the Latter-day Saint woman is to be barefoot and pregnant,” he said. “It’s a clever phrase, but it is false. Of course we believe in children. The Lord has told us to multiply and replenish the earth that we might have joy in our posterity, and there is no greater joy than the joy that comes of happy children in good families. But he did not designate the number, nor has the church. That is a sacred matter left to the couple and the Lord.”

    The church’s current General Handbook of Instruction further clarifies the church’s policy about the use of birth control.

    “It is the privilege of married couples who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for the spirit children of God, whom they are then responsible to nurture and rear. The decision as to how many children to have and when to have them is extremely intimate and private and should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge one another in this matter.”

    BYU Health Center Medical Director Robert Romney said doctors at the Health Center do not have the right to encourage the use of birth control, except to address rare medical concerns, but they are free to prescribe it if a married or soon-to-be married woman or couple requests it.

    “The church doesn’t teach birth control use, but it also doesn’t condemn its use,” Romney said. “The church grants each couple their free agency to utilize in the circumstances of their own lives and encourages them to seek council from Heavenly Father.”

    Romney said at least 80 percent of the women who come to the Health Center for pre-marital exams request some form of birth control.

    I am happy to respond to any comments on the above with further evidence from official LDS sources on these matters. I believe that despite what others may say or think, that the church has made these matters very clear.

    I believe that the mistaken interpretation that Sister Beck was talking to every sister in the church and instructing every one to follow the exact council she gave is the error. As with many talks the talk should have been useful to everyone to understand those sisters who have chosen to stay at home and raise a family, and specifically to encourage those sisters in their endeavours. I believe her councillors and particularly her second councillor has recently been tasked with, and successfully presented the instruction for sisters who do not find themselves in a ‘traditional’ family environment.

    In the General Relief Society meeting the week before conference, Sister Thompson reminds us ‘I am a single woman and do not have any children of my own.’

    She continues to emphasise that she has had a career as a social worker (a much respected field in my opinion, which is often dominated by women).

    She talks about her views on a Proclamation to The Family (a previous comment has inferred that this needs updating – I believe it is correct as it stands, we just need to see it as Sister Thompson did, as she recounts,

    ‘I was in the Tabernacle when President Gordon B. Hinckley first delivered the proclamation on the family at the general Relief Society meeting in September of 1995. That was a great occasion. I felt the significance of the message. I also found myself thinking, “This is a great guide for parents. It is also a big responsibility for parents.” I thought for a moment that it really didn’t pertain too much to me since I wasn’t married and didn’t have any children. But almost as quickly I thought, “But it does pertain to me. I am a member of a family. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a niece, and a granddaughter. I do have responsibilities—and blessings—because I am a member of a family. Even if I were the only living member of my family, I am still a member of God’s family, and I have a responsibility to help strengthen other families.”’

    I could go on, and on. I believe that the two talks should be read together. To say that this has not had an impact on many sisters would be unfair, I have a close friend who was very upset by Sister Beck’s talk, but more because she thought others would hear it and judge her on the perceived teachings. We need to balance the teachings of all our leaders together to understand their full intent and meaning, the same as we cannot rely on individual scriptures but need them in their entirety, as individual, verses, paragraphs or even whole talks or lessons can be misunderstood if not put in context.

    I come back again to the General Handbook of Instruction,

    ‘Church members should not judge one another in this matter’.

  18. Porter Rockwell November 20, 2007 at 10:12 am - Reply

    You missed my point entirely, I brought up the Law of Chastity for the drama of it all.. it has no relation to this other than as an illustration of my point: Societal changes may well make sinning, or going against the prophet’s clear and unmistakable advice easier, and possibly even less harmful to others, however that does not change the fact that it is sinning, (or in this case, countering the Prophet’s clear and unmistakable advice). Any rationalizing is sophistry, plain and simple.

    That is what that paragraph in the letter says, essentially that since quality day care is now easier to afford, women should feel free to work outside the home as a lifestyle choice, even when it is not a fiscal necessity.

    And the quote you shared is 100% on point, and I wholeheartedly agree that members should not judge others in this matter HOWEVER if someone has the unmittigated gaul.. and pridefullness to publicly “correct” a general officer of the church, their actions will be judged by me in the harshest manner that I can muster. That is not judging some poor working single mom, that is judging someone who is preaching a prideful faux Gospel, no matter how much it is dripping with sweetness and flowery terms.. it is going counter to the Prophet and his/Savior’s appointed leaders.

  19. Dathon November 20, 2007 at 11:41 am - Reply

    Br. Rockwell,

    While it’s not unlikely that some of us could have misconstrued your first dramatic point. I don’t know that it’s as easy to misunderstand the following:

    “I wholeheartedly agree that members should not judge others in this matter HOWEVER if someone has the unmittigated gaul.. and pridefullness to publicly “correct” a general officer of the church, their actions will be judged by me in the harshest manner that I can muster.”

    Do you then take the position that church leaders are infallible and cannot err or be insensitive to others? It’s interesting how LDS culture seems uncertain about the fallibility of the prophet and other leaders. It appears that some, like you, feel there is no right to dissent. Is it acceptable to disagree with the likes of you on matters of principle or do you believe your interpretation of leaders’ speech inherently correct?

  20. Porter Rockwell November 20, 2007 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    I personally believe the Prophet will never lead the Church astray in these latter days.

    I also believe that we have been warned repeatedly about all forms of sophistry, and I read that open letter as a crafty form of sohpistry. It is a piece of sophistry that could give a woman who was struggling with staying home vs. working outside the home some degree of rationalization that may help push her to make a decision that is counter to the Prophet’s clear and decisive stand on the topic. For that reason I see the open letter as a dangerous, sugar coated invitation to a legitimization and rationalization of personal disobedience to a simple instruction from our Prophet.

    As to dissent, if I have not gotten a personal testimony about a concept taught by an officer of the church, particularly when presented in General Conference, it is on me to pray until I get a testimony (after living the concept) or live with it. It is not on me to attempt to get others to share the doubt of the Lord’s annointed, all in an effort to try to feel better about my own personal shortcoming.

    Sometimes hearing truth hurts

    Although it seems impossible for them to consider, it is certainly possible that some of Sister Beck’s detractors MAY be wrong on this, and she may be right. .Since she was talking over the pulpit in General Conference, and the Prophet has not seen fit to correct here, I am putting my money on Sister Beck.. as distasteful as my decision may be to the politically correct crowd out there.

  21. Mayan Elephant November 20, 2007 at 7:11 pm - Reply


    this is not a case of hearing truth, from you, and being hurt. nor is this a case of hearing truth from a general authority and being hurt. what we have is simply another example of a leader of the church giving counsel or suggestions that just dont fit for all people. they dont feel right. they are not right. they offend.

    your morality and loyalty is such that you do not criticize the leaders of the church, even if that criticism is true. others do not have the same moral standards, and that does not make them wrong nor does it make you wrong. rather, it shows some diversity.

    ms. beck was way way way way off the mark with her comments and she shows ignorance of the diversity of her audience. the letter embraces the diversity, and accepts the spiritual and profound nature of diversity. beck stomps on it and spits on it before returning to her comfortable pink chair.

    again. its not truth she shared, but an opinion and her ideal. the truth when it comes to parenting or womanhood is a spectrum.

    as for the strippling warrior mention. i loved it for this reason – it shows that women and members are free to draw their own lessons from anecdotes and scriptures. the letter did not say becks conclusion was the wrong one. they simply showed their own lesson learned from that story. hallelujah. let us all be so bold as to draw our own conclusions, after all, isnt reading the scriptures or myths meant to have personal application, or has the application of every story been correlated?

  22. Porter Rockwell November 20, 2007 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Diversity does not trump obedience.. never did.. never will.

    If the Church is a social club, I guess diversity of thought is paramount. If you view it as a means to work out your Eternal Salvation, then diversity is WAY down the list my friend. Note that I accept Christs teaching to treat all his children with kindness, so there is never any excuse for not embracing all peoples, so don’t incorrectly cast my comments as anything but embracing kindness and acceptance of others. What I will not embrace is rejection of the prophet’s strong and unmistakable instruction because “it does not feel right”.. and even worse, dragging others down with you. Do yourself and fellow Saints a favor, when you choose to reject the Lord’s Prophet’s word, accept that you are disobeying, and not try to rationalize or use sophistry to somehow manufacture grey areas where there are simply black and white areas.

  23. Mayan Elephant November 20, 2007 at 8:14 pm - Reply


    diversity has about as much to do with obedience as donald trump has to do with marsupials.

    it is unkind to ignore the realities of individuals. it is unkind to heap guilt on others simply because of the circumstances they may have inherited, or that they chose with good faith.

    isnt it ironic, that a testimony is something based on feelings, not scientific proof. and yet, when those same feelings contradict black and white instruction, the feelings are not valid, to you.

    thanks for your advice. i am sure that your judgment was based on kindness.

    porter, thanks again for your comments. i think your reaction shows and emphasizes the range of reactions that others may have to becks comments. and more, i think you reinforce the notion that the comments themselves are not as important as the source.

  24. Porter Rockwell November 20, 2007 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Just to be clear, my criticism is not about anyones personal, private choice.

    What I am crusading against is the effort to elevate these personal choices above the clear and decisive words of the prophet and the officers of the Church.

  25. Mayan Elephant November 20, 2007 at 8:31 pm - Reply


    i see a formidable effort on the part of the women that drafted this letter. they are not promoting personal choices above anothers choice. they are promoting individual worth and dignity.

  26. Porter Rockwell November 20, 2007 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    We disagree as to whether any positive contribution to the Churh and it’s members has been served by that letter. History will eventually show us who is correct.

    I made my point, all the best.


  27. helpertouch November 21, 2007 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Beck’s comments reflect inherent beliefs in the church, whether or not they are stated as doctrine.

    –Have as many children as you can.
    –A clean and tidy house reveals a clean and righteous spirit.
    –Women working outside the home violate their covenant roles.
    –Women are weak and must limit their outside activities so as not to weary themselves.
    –External appearances reveal spiritual excellence.
    –Failing in housekeeping and/or faltering in childrearing reveals lack of righteousness.
    –Any such failures must be corrected and therefore resulting guilt from failures is appropriate.
    –Women exist to serve men and children.
    –Women who step outside the church’s prescribed roles are unrighteous.

    Whether or not one can point to chapter and verse about these things, they permeate gender behavior throughout the church.

    If you read these things and don’t see anything wrong with them, it shows that you subscribe to a nineteenth century view of gender that is long gone. These are not measures of righteousness, but rather cultural constructs long past their time. Do you want to see how horrible they really are? Just examine the lives of FLDS women who submit in all such things.

  28. Hellmut November 25, 2007 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Andrew, you fail to see the forest for all the trees. Neither Beck’s talk nor the response are check lists of independent items.

    We are witnessing an effort of LDS leaders to retrench gender roles. They are spreading fear about the decline of the family. In reality, of course, divorce rates are down. Abortion is down. Out of wedlock pregnancy is down. Venereal diseases are down (with the exception of Utah).

    Nonetheless, LDS leaders have harnessed the fear that they stoked to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Imposing the tyranny of the majority on a vulnerable minority, our religion has become once again the agent of intolerance.

    Sister Beck’s talk has just been the latest step in the effort of imposing gender stereotypes on members. Unfortunately, this view of femininity fails to meet the needs of most families.

    Most Mormon mothers are participating in the labor market. Many Mormon women are single. Others are childless. By the time we add all these people up, they happen to comprise the overwhelming majority of Mormon women.

    Of course, some of them are going to defend themselves against being called ignorant. Beck’s talk implies that most Mormon women don’t know. What Mormon Women Know is a response to Beck in the context of the larger struggle.

    The alternative to Gordon Hinckley’s motherhood stereotype is to treat women with respect. That begins by trusting women’s own judgement. Women are much more likely to arrive at a good choice for themselves and their families than some authority who does not have to live with the consequences of his or her advice.

    Women are first and foremost human beings. They can make their own choices.

    That’s what the discussion is about. Women need to be free because when things go wrong, Julie Beck and Gordon Hinckley won’t be available to pick up the pieces.

  29. Hellmut November 25, 2007 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    Porter, I understand why it is important to follow the prophet. The problem is that any such claim implies that the advice of people whom we regard as prophets actually meets real needs.

    The differences between Julie Beck and the signers of What Women Know is actually not a matter of opinions. Most of those items are empirical questions. We can investigate which way of life will generate a better quality of life measured by indicators such as child mortality, life expectation, venereal disease rates, mental health indicators, and bankruptcy rates.

    Not all of the above have been answered but there are some answers readily available. We do know, for example, that less hypocrisy about sex and gender leads to less venereal disease.

    When Frank Wedekind, Sigmund Freud, and Bertrand Russell legitimized the open and honest discussion of sex, venereal disease rates plummeted together with prostitution.

    If there is such a thing as historical precedence then the campaign to impose overly narrow roles on women portend of little good.

    You might have heard in media reports that American venereal disease rates are currently spreading fastest in Utah. That’s exactly what one would expect when religious leaders are trying to impose overly narrow gender roles. Any such effort will feed denial and hypocrisy, in part enforced by people like you, which will give rise to more dangerous sexual practices.

    That seems to be reality and reality trumps obedience any day. The only question is whether Mormons will have to resort to hypocrisy once more so that they can meet the needs of their families or whether it will be possible to discuss these matters in the open.

    It seems to me that Gordon Hinckley is putting the prestige of the prophet’s office on the line. His unrealistic attitudes about sex and gender will ultimately not only hurt countless Mormons who will stretch to abide by his admonitions but will also undermine his office. But that’s a price that his successors will have to pay.

  30. Porter Rockwell November 26, 2007 at 3:29 pm - Reply


    Your propositions are all very good if you were refering to a political leader or popularity contest winner.

    However you are talking about a spiritual leader.

    If you do believe in his authority, then you can choose to follow him or not (obedience). If you do not believe in his authority then you have no dog in the fight, and frankly and with all due respect, your opinions are not really relevant to his spiritual leadership.

  31. Colorblind November 26, 2007 at 10:39 pm - Reply


    Your tone comes across as unnecessarily abrasive and confrontational and certainly opposite the Christian qualities you profess to espouse and defend.

    You are a classic level 3 person in Fowler’s Stages of Development: unquestioned orthodoxy where every thing is brightly defined as black and white.

    Hopefully your eyes will one day see the vivid colors and beauty in this life. Once you do, you will be surprised at how much wiser everyone around you has become…

  32. Mayan Elephant November 27, 2007 at 12:50 am - Reply

    porter, gimme a break. if hellmut doesnt believe in his authority then his opinions are not relevant? since when is self-proclaimed authority the rule of law and reason? thats goofy.

    hellmut is not disputing his authority, he is pointing out the fruits of authoritarianism and his leadership. the fruits appear rotten to some folks. perhaps you can explain the leadership differently but i hope you do so based on the product and not the value of the self-declared authority.

    hellmut went on a mission and lived in the church. what more does one have to do to have a fighting dog?

  33. Porter Rockwell November 27, 2007 at 8:44 am - Reply

    “Your tone comes across as unnecessarily abrasive and confrontational”:
    I am addressing people who have gone onto the internet and publicly posted their opinions, they should be prepared to defend them. If you want to participate in the free marketplace of ideas be prepared to be challenged. I will challenge folks who claim to have a better way to run the Lord’s church, or that obedience is optional.

    “Wiser”: I am just nieve enough to belive that I will never be wiser than the prophet of God, and neither will anyone else that I stumble across on the internet be wiser than the Prophet. I will have to settle for the simple pure joy that comes from obedience (not perfect by any means, but I am at least trying) instead of the clearly higher form of enlightenment that can be found on internet blogs.

    There is beauty in the truth.. it can be black and white. Some things are true, other things are not. I guess your mishy-mashy, world-is-foggy & grey world can also be beautiful.. but I am pretty sure the scriptures warned about being tossed to-and-fro by (my words here: wonderfully colorful) doctrines of man.

    When the time came, Christ “brought it”. The scriptural account of him driving the moneychangers out of the temple was a distinctly un-“politically correct”. I do not owe a faux civility to those who hold their vain notions and false doctrines above the simple and clear “bright line” instructions of the prophet.

  34. Mayan Elephant November 27, 2007 at 9:06 am - Reply

    “I am just nieve enough to belive that I will never be wiser than the prophet of God, and neither will anyone else that I stumble across on the internet be wiser than the Prophet.”

    given the wisdom history of past prophets on some specific topics, this is sorta frightening.

    i think there is danger in crediting one person with ultimate wisdom in all things, including a prophet. sure, some folks are wiser in some things, but the thought of an wisdomking on earth is a bit frightening. history shows how that fanaticism can turn out and it aint pretty.

  35. Porter Rockwell November 27, 2007 at 9:39 am - Reply

    I am talking about apples, you are talking about oranges. We will likely never have any agreement on this, but I can’t allow you to mis-cast my argument. Although it is probable that the lack of understanding of my position is my fault for not being clear in my writings.

    I am not talking about the Prophet’s judgement as a man, I am talking about my belief that he is the leader of the Lord’s Church here on earth, and recieves contant and direct revelelation on any significant matter for the Church. That is why I accept his word as truth, and his judgement on matters relating to the Church as far superior to mine (and, with all due respect, yours). If you don’t accept him as an revelation-recieving modern day prophet then that is fine and I get your beefs with his fatwa’s I respect that, no prob. What I don’t respect is those who profess to believe in his position as the Lord’s spokeman on this earth, yet still feel that it is fine to treat his words like a buffet, picking and chooseing which doctrines to embrace, and which (inconvenient) doctrines to reject.

    I personally believe that the Prophet will never lead the Church astray in these latter days. The prophet has been clear that what is said in General Conference is considered official positions of the Church, and is essentially modern day scripture. So when a general officer of the Church speaks over the pulpit in GC (and is not corrected) the debate is over, and the only thing left to decide is whether or not I will obey. There are things I choose not to obey, because I am a base man, and far from perfect. But what I don’t do is rationalize my disobedience by considering the messages of the Lord’s servants to be flawed. It is apperantly not within realm of possibility in the minds of the Beck bashers that she is right, and they could be wrong (I think that is called pride, it is mentioned in the scriptures once or twice). They are certain that their judgement on this matter is more perfect then the President of the Relief Society.

    I believe the Prophet is a man, and not a perfect man. I can probably do a Soduku puzzle faster than him, and can probably beat him at handball.. but I know for sure when he speaks for the church he is speaking the will of the Lord, and I just shut up and make a personal decision to obey.. or not to obey.

    What I find absurd is running to the internet and post a dissertation rationalizing one’s decision to disobey, and seek to influence others to reject the clear and unmmistakable instructions.

    That is wrong, and counter to the way of the Lord.

  36. vegasmedstudent November 27, 2007 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    Hey, I read this thread a little late, but I wanted to comment on one thing Porter Rockwell said. He stated, “The prophet has been clear that what is said in General Conference is considered official positions of the Church, and is essentially modern day scripture. So when a general officer of the Church speaks over the pulpit in GC (and is not corrected) the debate is over, and the only thing left to decide is whether or not I will obey.”

    This was posted by John a while back and is an official press release by the church. The title is “Approaching Mormon Doctrine” and it says, “Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.”

    According to this press release, “essentially modern day scripture” is the standard works, official declarations and proclamations. It is pretty clear that statements made during talks might be based on prior established doctrine, but everything said during a conference talk is not doctrine or modern day scripture, as Porter believes. I was taught this same principle at BYU, that the Ensign edition of conference should go up on the wall next to the standard works, because it is also now a “standard work.” This always troubled me a little bit, so I was relieved when this press release came out clarifying what true “doctrine” of the church is and where it can be found.

    These individuals have a right to feel the way they do, and according to the churchs own press release, not every word stated by the current Relief Society President was doctrine, it could have been well considered, thought out opinion as stated by the press release. I’m sure she meant well by what she said, but arguing that what she stated, because it was in a general conference setting, constitutes “essentially modern day scripture” is not correct, as stated by the church’s own press release.

    I hope the Church can continue to clarify this topic as it causes a lot of confusion within the church.

  37. Porter Rockwell November 27, 2007 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Good points, except she was parroting what the brethren have said repeatedly and without deviation for as long as I can remember. The message is typically from a boring old white guy in a suit, but this was different, I am wondering if some of adverse reaction is because it came from a “polly perfect molly Mormon” so there is the catfight factor.

    The doctrine that she preached was simply not substantially different than any previous positions.

    This was not, as you would try to argue, one rogue statement taken out of context. It was part of a churchwide, systemic institutional effort by the Church leaders to subjugate women…. or then again, maybe it is just God’s will.

  38. Mayan Elephant November 27, 2007 at 4:25 pm - Reply


    i am beginning to think you are just faking some of these positions. are you for real? are you serious?

    did you really say there is a catfight factor? speaking of internets, be glad you have the internet protecting you because those cats you are referring to would rip your head off if you dared say something so ridiculous in their presence.

    yeah. you are right that it is nothing the men havent always said. that does not make it less offensive. just frequent. and to hear it from the leader of the womens institution may be alarming for some people. perhaps its just one more reminder of the way the men have taken control of the relief society, first the money, then the manuals, then the leaders, now the message. in caving to the men of the church, the relief society no longer is female organization, it is now a priesthood organization with a lot of women on the rolls.

    resisting the final usurp of the organization is not a catfight, it may just be the right thing to do.

  39. Porter Rockwell November 27, 2007 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Or how about this- you swallow your pride and accept the will of your loving Father in Heaven, that may be the right thing to do.

    I am glad you confirmed that Sister Beck is squarely in the center of LDS Doctrine with her remarks. Now we can start to reason. If you have a problem with her remarks, you have a problem with the doctrine (not her). If you have a problem with the doctrine, then you have a problem with the concept that the Savior is alive today and leading he Church through his Prophet on the earth. That by the way is a yes or no question. He either is.. or isn’t.

    So now, as with every Doctrine, once you accept continuing revelation, you don’t get to decide if it is correct or not, you only get to decide if you will submit or not. I say you should “Man” up and admit that you are going to deviate from the Lord’s prescribed path on the issue of working outside the home for personal fulfillment, and do it. But I ask that you quit trying to make the doctrine conform to you. Accept that you are prideful, and move on. Oh, while you are at it, get right with the fact that if your kids don’t turn out the way you wish, you will have to live with the fact that you choose self fulfilling work outside the home over your children’s company (REFERING ONLY TO WOMEN WHO WORK OUTSIDE THE HOME FOR NON-ECONOMIC REASONS HERE. CHURCH IS VERY CLEAR THAT IT CONDONES WOMEN WHO ARE FORCED TO WORK FOR ECONOMIC REASONS WILL BE BLESSED.) I hope your kids turn out great, and you will not be haunted by your decision, but if you are, please remember that the Prophet, and his officers of the Church did warn you.

  40. Mayan Elephant November 27, 2007 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    whew. good to know there is a plan b from god and his men, the economic need plan. ummmmm. i didnt say anything about staying home. your assumptions are drastic. though, your humility is a welcome contrast to my pride. thanks.

  41. Lincoln November 27, 2007 at 11:01 pm - Reply


    Maybe you could step down from your Rameumptom for a second and listen to some advice. Here it is:

    “Be nice to people”

    That’s it. Take it for what it’s worth. Being nice pays more dividends than standing in judgement of others. It will also help you to make more friends. Lighten up a little on the condemnation. Geeez. Ask people to do things, don’t tell them, everyone has their free agency. Ask them. Mayan Elephant is a good guy, and a friend. He doesn’t deserve this kind of bad treatment. How Christlike are your actions anyway? Take your criticisms elsewhere please.

  42. N. November 28, 2007 at 1:47 am - Reply

    Most of the statements in the “rebuttal” letter don’t seem to be responding to anything that Julie Beck actually said in her talk. Rather, the entire letter seems to be responding to unnecessary, uncharitable misinterpretations of Beck’s words…
    With all this bending over backwards to find something to disagree with or be offended by in Julie Beck’s talk, it seems a group of LDS women were just itchin’ for a fight and seized on this talk as an excuse to voice long-standing feminist gripes.

    Agreed. It read to me like a group of people who *wanted* to take offense, and decided to post a public letter to show just how self-righteously aggrieved they are.

    Whether or not one can point to chapter and verse about these things, they permeate gender behavior throughout the church.

    I did not quote the list of points mentioned. I think helpertouch is really misguided if s/he thinks those are attitudes which “permeate the church.” In fact, the libel-list is the biggest crock of horse dung I’ve read today, and that’s saying a lot, since I read the entire thread.

    Mayan Elephant is a good guy, and a friend. He doesn’t deserve this kind of bad treatment.

    We must be reading different posts. In the threads that I have slogged through, I have never been impressed by his friendly demeanor. I’m not purposefully singling out ME in this case. I’m just positive the people who read/interact with him on this blog must have a greater sample from which to judge. I believe his interlocutor deserves at least as much knuckle-rapping for his behavior.

    I really like the mormonstories podcast, and come to the blog occasionally thinking “I’m sure there be good, intelligent discussion in the comments on an episode.” Then I get here and remember why I am always dead wrong.

    In these comments, the rancor and vitriol is only second to the finger pointing and and accusations.

    This is exactly the sort of crap I left and over in the mid 90s. It’s sad to see the same old behavior but in a new venue.

    I’m off until I forget what a cesspool the comments are and come back for more.

    /me rolls in mud

  43. Porter Rockwell November 28, 2007 at 5:33 am - Reply

    Just to be clear, I am not judging any one person for working outside the home. I have no idea of personal circumstances, and don’t judge that way.

    I AM judging those make a decision to disobey (which I am certinaly guilty of)but then are so prideful that they publicly post rationaliztions for their decision, and wrapped in a loving cloak of sisterhood and empathy, trash a general officer of the Church just because she has the gaul to stand up in General Conference and repeat some doctrine, and maybe even lovingly call out some sisters to re-think their life decisions.

    I think that sort of public behavior should not stand unchallenged.

  44. Abish November 30, 2007 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    To Porter,
    AMEN! You are right on and it is a joy to read a voice of reason in all this worldly jibberish. I love Sister Beck’s talk and have respect for the divine roles we have received long before the world was. The gospel hasn’t changed, the same basic gospel Adam and Eve were taught is being taught today. Interesting how some women and men can go inactive while claiming to be active. I think everybody on this “list” is stepping on dangerous ground and I want to stay as far as possible away from them. I applaud you Porter for being able to stay calm and have a intelligent comments explaining true doctrine. I hope some of the women who think they know will have a change of heart because of your efforts. I for one love being a woman, love raising children, love staying at home with them, love picking up toys after my children, love supporting my husband, love living the gospel to its fullest as explained in Sister Beck’s talk.

  45. Maturin December 2, 2007 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    I just heard a testimony today in F&T meeting from a bright young mother who made reference to Sis. Beck’s talk. She commented how when she was in college, she had an exciting career plan before her. She didn’t say what it was, but clearly it was something she was working very hard for. She said that her plans changed when she got her patriarchal blessing in college that said that she should focus on preparing to be a good wife and mother.

    It’s good that the church says that women can make decisions on their own, encouraging them to seek out the Lord’s wisdom. But when a man, albeit a patriarch, intervenes with such counsel, the complexity of the social/doctrinal fabric of church dogma is revealed.

    Even if one accepts the word of patriarchal blessings as direct from God, then that counsel is for that individual only. But when it is shared as a life-changing experience in a public testimony, it has impact on others. Women listening today who traveled a similar path, forgoing education and career training for traditional priorities felt confirmed in their decision, whether it was right for them or not. Women who were excited about and pursuing their personal career plans, were challenged and subtly told that perhaps their plans are not right. Young women (those that were listening) heard yet another message that their only role in life is to be a wife and mother and any other choice is outside of the Lord’s way.

    One cannot be an exception in the church. There is no support for individuality. We can talk about exceptions and the individual’s opportunity for personal revelation and guidance, but if it doesn’t fit the formula already laid out, one is wrong. The impact of this one patriarch has extended far beyond the personal counsel he was conveying, and everything in the church structure encourages this kind of thing over and over again.

    Many of the faithful suggest that new members are not ready for the truth of church history because they need “milk before meat.” I suggest that that is nothing compared to the confusing waters a new member needs to navigate regarding personal revelation and guidance.

  46. Michelle December 10, 2007 at 10:10 am - Reply

    I thank Porter for his insight. We all have choices. There are many women of the church who are successful in both the workplace and at home. There are great women in the church who have never married or had children who do great things to further the work of the Lord. It is the reponsibility of each member to work out their own salvation. This is such a personal thing. No one can tell each individual what is right for them. Our prophet and other authorities give us loving council and guidelines. We are free to choose what we will do for ourselves. We will stand alone before the Lord and only He will be our judge. Each talk given in general conference should give us each an opportunity to see where we are. What are we doing well, what do we need to work on, where can we improve? We should be united as members to help each other to gain eternal happiness. When we judge one another we lose our selves.

  47. susan January 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    well, i am one who signed the letter – I was deeply saddened by the conference talk – it showed so little compassion and understanding for women and their real concerns. frankly, i don’t know many women (if any) in or OUT of the church who don’t love their children dearly, and seek the very best both in this life and in the life to come for them,
    i tried to be the kind of mother Sister Beck advocates for many years, it did not work at all for my family – I ended entering the work force out of necessity, but found it was also the best thing for my children emotionally and spiritually and in every other way. most studies actually don’t show advantages of children of working over stay at home mothers – but they do show advantages for children who are being raised by mothers who are satisfied and supported in whatever their roles are, whether stay at home or in the work force. I think it is wonderful to be able to stay at home – there is a lot of joy in that – but the fact is that most mothers in the world and the church work, at least in some part of their mothering lives. i think that is a moot point and all the Sister Beck talks in the world aren’t going to change it because it is based on other factors, be they economic, increased opportunities for women, etc. She and the brethren are really not going to be able to turn back the clock – and I do not think that all the rhetoric in the world is going to change the demographic changes that are occurring, for good or ill – they should start talking more about how to support families, mothers, children and fathers and strengthening families spiritually, emotionally, financially, etc. I have no problem with the Proclamation on the Family in this regard. I just have a problem w3ith Sister Beck trying to take away personal revelation and personal responsibility that we all have for each of our family’s well being

  48. jayspec January 11, 2008 at 10:01 am - Reply

    So this is what it has now come to? Writing rebuttals to Conference Talks. I can’t wait for the next GC and a cooresponding website,

    Now that the cat is out of the bag, where does it end?

    Or, was Sister Beck singled out because she is a woman? And not a Prophet, Seer and Revelator? Is she an easy target even for the women of the church?

    You know, in any religious organization there is a tendancy to think that if I do everything better than someone else, I will gain a higher reward. It was a problem that hampered the Jews with the performance of the law being more important than the spirit of the law. I see that in the church a lot. The Molly Mormon and Peter Priesthood stereotype was created by the well intentioned idea that a person wants to be the best Mormon possible.

    Not everyone can or wants to live up to that. If that is somehow put up as the standard, there are very few of us that can live up. As we measure ourselves against that standard and people we think are living it, we will probably fall short.

    I think that the teachings ofthe church as that we all have a different level of perfection, that we all have agency to worship and perform our church duties as we see fit.

    I hope we can beat down those phony stereotypes and as President Hinckley has said, “do the very best we can.”

    but, really, this kind of campaigning and rebuttal is unbecoming and a slippery slope.

  49. Jack Powers February 2, 2008 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    I find it interesting that a good portion of the women who signed the rebuttal letter have the hypened last name. They were unwilling to take their husbands name upon them. Young men who may be getting married and your partner will not take your last name– run for the hills! You are in for a life of feminist grief.

    I recomend these women read “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura.

    The man is the head of the family just as Christ is the head of the Church.

    The women who are complaining need to step up.

  50. BeanCounter March 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    I think it’s not only compelling that the Prophet and General Authorities didn’t get up and correct Sister Beck on her talk, but they have also proven the talk to be doctrine by having it be taught in Relief Society and Priesthood meetings throughout the Church. It further shows that the premise for Sister Beck’s talk is a matter of gospel foundation or “Perfect World” that they want each quorum or ward Relief Society to discuss and understand as modern day Church Doctrine to achieve for.

    As I have read Sister Beck’s talk, the WWKN’s response–Sounds like A Radio Station or some Club, maybe even a “Secret Combination”, and this entire blog, I am grateful for individuals like Porter Rockwell who can speak plainly and accurately about the facts.

    We all have the right to choose and while some choose one way for personal circumstances little understood by others and others choose even differently from that, our simple challenge is to “choose the right”, which is consistent with the doctrines of the Gospel. Unfortunately, we have the shortfall of being imperfect as mortals and choosing poorly at times, but we make even a poorer choice when we try to defend the original poor choice or sin.

    Public outcry or criticism of Sister Beck’s talk is exactly that–A plea of defense to poor choices for those that would rather try to re-establish the doctrines or “perfect world” or gospel foundation and principles to meet their lifestyle, allowing them to give up trying and thereby helping them feel that their poor choices are okay by rationalizing the truth. Everyone that has signed the list has in effect made that poor choice and has potentially given up trying for the “perfect world” Sister Beck outlined by proclaiming they are in support of re-establishing doctrine over Sister Beck and which the leaders of the Church has felt so important that it be re-discussed in our ward meetings to make clear–the talk is a foundation of principle and doctrine to work from and not to be rationalized or corrected by anyone.

    Sister Beck’s Talk was discussed just this week in a St. George ward where I and my family were visiting with my Grandmother. My wife, Mother of 3, a truly remarkable woman, and my Grandmother, Mother 4, Grandmother of 21, and Great-Grandmother of 43, and absolute example for all, have both agreed that the talk was intended for the sake of reminding all members of the church–men and women alike–the importance of a Mother’s role in the Plan of Happiness or Gospel. Obviously, varying circumstances exist for everyone, which requires personal revelation of how to best obey the doctrine, but it should be left at that–personal, not public. The “What Women Know” group has tried to suggest that varying circumstances ought to be the premise for the doctrine and the not what Sister Beck has represented. When has the gospel ever taught that something less than perfection should ever be strived for? Never!!! God, for instance, is a title of perfection. What are we striving to become???

    The stance that this church will eventually cave to social pressures is rhetoric nonsense. Martin Harris didn’t hear or accept the Lord’s response to 2 of his pleas for the 116 pages of manuscripts and where did that leave us today, the children of Israel were not ready for the higher law of the priesthood and were thereby sentenced to the law of Moses and where did that leave them. My father received third degree burns on his legs and forearms from an exploding radiator, but not where his garments were and what would the results have possibly been if we were still wearing garments to our ankles and wrists–we can change the church but the blessings from doctrines from which the law was predicated will obviously change as well, so should we hope to change, or try to obey??

    Obvious circumstances throughout time have shown that the Lord will only reveal his perfect truths to his children once they are READY to follow that Doctrine and not before–Look at the historical time of the Prophet Joseph Smith and state of the World, America was ready for the restored gospel and not before, same with the expansion of the priesthood. If we openly organize to renounce or criticize the called, sustained, and set-apart through the power of the priesthood whether local or general authorities, we will also cause the Lord to be concerned about the truths that are yet to be revealed and whether or not we are ready for the blessings that come from following those truths whether they be personal or church wide.

    I would hope that Mothers who are doing their best as President Hinckley requested, would feel support from their church leaders and husbands, brothers, sisters, fathers, and especially mothers, and not guilt as too often is felt in this church. Let’s hold ourselves accountable for our own actions and not judge each other or impose our own interpretations of gospel doctrine upon others even if many fall under the same circumstances and recognize the role of our church leaders–to remind of us Godliness / Perfection which is achievable by all, whether in this life or in the next.

  51. susan March 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    Bean Counter

    Amen, to your last paragraph – unfortunately much of your earlier comments were incredibly judgmental and guilt promoting.

  52. Djoser April 1, 2008 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    RE: “The stance that this church will eventually cave to social pressures is rhetoric nonsense.”

    The Church never caves to social pressures. It simply responds to new challenges by getting revelation and following it. If that revelation leads to a change that is in line with the direction that the social pressure was pushing, it isn’t because of the social pressure, but rather, because it was the will of the Lord to go that way in response to the challenge at hand. It can just as easily go the other way, where the Lord has the church go head on against the social pressure, as with the “alternate lifestyle” phenomenon.

  53. skaeb May 16, 2008 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    I am a young mother of three all under the age of three (please don’t judge me). I know a bit about the stress and pressures that accompany being a mom and wife. I feel it everyday! Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy and sometimes, honestly, I think I am crazy! But there are those are moments of pure elation and happiness and it’s those moments that tell me I’m in the right place at this time. But, if I’m being honest, there are days when I wish I was working outside my home. Constant praise and adulation surely can make the stress and pressure seem a little less burdensome. At home, you don’t always get that. And sometimes it makes it hard and it even thwarts my thinking a bit. But, because in my heart of hearts, I want to do what my Father in Heaven wants of me and be all that He wants me to be, the spirit redirects me and I feel peace in knowing that Heavenly Father is giving me the experiences necessary to refine me and help me become like Him and my Savior Jesus Christ. Ultimately, I want to go home to Them to live with them eternally. I know Heavenly Father knows that, and so instead of leaving me to fend for myself and figure it all out alone, he’s given Prophets, and the Holy Ghost, to whom he’s revealed His plan to, and then in turn reveals it to me (and all of us) by various means. Trusting that God knows all, he knows that there are certain experiences that will shape me quicker and refine me more. Those experiences and direction and guidence to and through those experiences will be and have been revealed. Often, as is the case with myself, I’m tempted to chose another way. It’s easier, more glamourous, more instantly rewarding, but it’s no more than my natural side coming out. But I’ve learned, through revelation, through a prophet, and a spiritual confirmation of the validity of that prophet, that “the natural man (and woman, for those who may get hung up on that) is an enemy to God and has been since the fall of Adam and will be forever and ever unless he YIELDS to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” In order to become like Them, I must put off those things that sometimes feel better to me, to do those things that the Lord has laid out for me to do so that I can get the best results and find true success. For whatever reason, in my limited view of things, it feels, and even logically seems, like my way would be so much better. Thank goodness for a testimony that keeps me grounded! That testimony is that Heavenly Father knows best, and if we are really honest with ourselves and not just trying to rationalize doing something our own way, we can FEEL and HEAR the voice of the Lord giving direction and guidence through His Spirit and chosen leaders. Sister Beck’s talk was one such time for me. I heard the voice of the Lord and I felt the spirit very, very strongly and I might add that my heart was pricked. I had some changes to make. And that’s okay. I’m not perfect. I know that. But, I also thank Heavenly Father for providing guidence to make those necessary changes so that I can become better than what I am now. And again, it’s okay that I’m not perfect now. It’s a process and Heavenly Father is okay with that, and our leaders are okay with that. All that is expected is that we are working toward that goal of perfection…but the only way to work toward a goal is to have the goal made clear. Clearly that was Sister Beck’s objective and certainly there are going to be circumstances in which there may need be some modifications made, and the spirit can and will guide in those situations personally. But, it’s all about being honest with ourselves and God. Listening to Sister Beck’s talk with the spirit could only uplift and help me on my way back to Heavenly Father. With the spirit as my guide, I know where there might be some exception for me, but no offense was necessary. If I was single, or if I had a certain financial circumstance, it’s a given, there is going to have to be some adjustments made to that counsel. If our circumstances are such, though, that it is possible to work toward that ideal or goal to the letter, than it is imperitive that we change our life style so to conform to that so that we may get the best results. The best result will still come if we “have” to make modifications to the course. But that’s where our integrity comes in. Are we simply trying to justify because we want to do it our way? Or are we truly trying to live the spirit of the counsel and only modify out of absolute necessity. So, if we are honestly striving, and living the counsel we’ve been given, adjusting when and where it is necessary (and again, the spirit will direct that to us personally) then there is no need for offense or guilt. But, when we are seeking not to do the will of the Lord, but to do our own will or the will of the world, then there may be some offense or horrowing guilt. I think this could be a great time to reflect, truly ponder with great intospection, honestly and whole heartedly, to see where you stand, where you honestly can change, and where the Lord is content with you being.

  54. Aimee June 11, 2008 at 6:58 am - Reply

    I am very saddened by the criticizing words toward Sister Beck’s inspired talk. I am a mother of 4 small children that lives daily in the grind of motherhood. I as greatly encouraged by her words to be better and to be kinder to myself. I did not take offense whatsoever to her words. I felt the Spirit of the Lord pouring out while listening to her speak and then again when I read it in the Ensign. I knew that Heavenly Father had inspired her to share those words and testimony to us women to help us through the hard times of mothering. I felt her talk spoke directly to my heart about not giving up and by focusing on the things that I was doing right to teach my children about Heavenly Father and Christ. I felt reminded to not focus on my faults and the things I did wrong in my mothering. I know that Heavenly Fathers loves each one of his daughters and that the leaders of the Church have been called and set apart by the power of the priesthood. Please strengthen your testimonies and your relationship with our Heavenly Father. Pray for an eternal perspective to help you see the good that came from Sister Beck’s talk. I know that every word she spoke was inspired and directed by the Holy Ghost.

  55. Glen Fullmer July 11, 2008 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    The letter states:

    “We claim the life-affirming powers of spirit and wisdom, and reject the glorification of violence in all its forms. We are filled with unutterable sadness by the Book of Mormon story of more than 2,000 young soldiers whose mothers teach them that faith in God will preserve them in battles in which they kill other mothers’ children. This is not a success story. It is a story of the failure of human relationships and the horrors of war.:

    That sounds good, but consider those mothers. Some were the wives and daughters of the men and probably women who when seeing their enemies about to kill them “prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword.” Wars of self-defence, unlike the war in Iraq, are justifiable.

    So instead of dishonouring those mothers, why don’t you try to put yourselves in their position? Did you lose your husband or father or brother who sacrificed their lives without resistance for your freedom? Honour them as you probably would have done the same!


  56. Daniel Swearingen September 8, 2008 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    I too feel Sister Becks comments were patronizing and condescending. She could do nothing less than spout the company line at a General conference. I have just gone online with a store that has messages that are pertinent to these issues. You may find them interesting and a lot of fun. It is located at
    Many thanks
    Daniel Swearingen
    Bozeman, MT

  57. skaeb September 13, 2008 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    I just want to reiterate, again, how greatful I am for Sister Beck’s talk. Again, I feel it’s powerful influence in guiding my life to a happier and holier state. The pull of the world is so great. Satan loves to distract us from our most important roles, and he does so in such crafty and deceiving ways. And, in doing so, he has a little victory. One of Satan’s greatest lies to women is that we can and we should be doing everything, and be everything, and have everything NOW. He would have have us look at others, knowing that most often from our perspective it would seem that they have it all and are doing it all, thus putting the pressure on that we, too, can and should. But we know better! That is simply not true! We know that when we try to do it all, something suffers,(this is true for everyone) and he knows that what will suffer is our homes and family. And so, he works fervantly day in and day out to get us to focus elsewhere. If the home suffers, the home breaks. If the home breaks, society breaks and we are on the road to misery, right where he wants us. Our most important stewardship is our family, our children. And in the world today, we just can’t take the chance of letting Satan get in his shots. We must fortify our homes. Men and Women who are on the Lords side of the Line know this is true and will sacrifice all the distraction to protect their home and family. I’m so grateful for the constant reminders of what is most important, what my role is in this plan, and what I can do to help the Lord and those who are on his side of the line,once and for all win this battle that has been raging since before the world began. In proper perspective, the glamour, distraction, and pull of the world weakens in light of the hope of Eternal Life…a life of pure joy, happiness and bliss, of which we are all here fighting for.

    Thanks to Sister Beck and all of our Leaders, whom the Lord has chosen to guide us in our jouney here back to our Heavenly Home. My heart is full of gratitude to the Lord and for these men and women, these watchmen on the tower, who are fighting so dilligently for the welfare of our souls.

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