Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh HELL no.

I know I've been on a kick lately, and perhaps it's welcome because Prop 8 = *groan* right now, but...I'm on a kick. It might not be a very attractive kick, as I seem to be throwing a tantrum about a lot of things, but that's kinda what this blog is for. It's not meant to be purely political. It's a place to vent because there aren't many safe places to vent about these things.

First of all, I don't necessarily consider myself a "feminist." I have feminist ideals, but I wouldn't go so far as to call myself one yet.

But this really pisses me off. I had no idea until just now. I just finished reading a post on Feminist Mormon Housewives called Am I a bad priesthood holder, or am I a bad husband?

Apparently it's modus operandi for a member of the bishopric or stake presidency to ask for the husband's permission before he can call his wife to any position?

I had no idea. Even when I was just called to the Relief Society teaching board (or whatever it is), I knew the bishopric member spoke with my husband about it, but I figured that was mostly because I was taking a much needed nap when he called.

I had no idea this happened so often. I just spoke with Eric about it, and he said "Yep, it's an authority thing. It's like informing the bishop of something first before informing the rest of the ward."

"But I'm not your child."

"I know."

"We're supposed to be equals."

"I know."

"How do you feel about this? Really?"

He shrugged. "I grew up with it. I really never thought about it before. But you're right."

I mean, what the hell, girls? Does this bother anyone else?

I had no idea. When Eric was called to be the Elder's Quorum Secretary to a rather active Elder's Quorum a few years ago, I about had a coronary and worked for weeks to get him to say no-no-no! Eric felt strongly that he should accept whatever calling comes his way, but I wouldn't relent. Again, he worked nights full time and went to school taking a full load of upper-level mathematics courses. He would sleep maybe 6 hours on Saturday, leave for work, come home at 6:30, be in bed by 6:45, and then wake up at 8:00 to get ready for church.

And they wanted him to be what? It wasn't so much the secretary thing as much as it was the meetings that would occur before church and at other random times.

It wasn't that I didn't have faith in Eric, I just knew he and the rest of us were wrecks to begin with and this calling was ridiculous. He wanted to try, though, so he did. I think he lasted a few months. I don't remember exactly what brought him to his senses, but one night the EQ president called and said "Hey, we're having a meeting right now." Eric told him he couldn't do it anymore.

It was a revelation to him. Sometimes you just can't.

But you know what? I was never asked how I felt. Nobody ever said, "So, Lisa, I want to call your husband to a rather demanding calling." It's not that I even want that. Eric doesn't need me giving permission anymore than I need him giving me permission. If it's a demanding calling, I would expect either of us to say "I want to talk with Eric/Lisa first."

I only knew Eric would be getting the EQ calling because the old secretary had just been released, and the president was picking at me for information, asking about Eric's schedule, etc.

This whole thing also reminds me, and forgive me if I've mentioned this before, a Sunday School lesson where the teacher recounted a story of a stake president calling a husband and wife in. After extending the calling of bishop to the husband, the SP turned to the wife and said, "So, can you support him in his calling? What do you think?"

"I think it sucks," she said.

She was told to basically get over it.

And people wonder why some women hate their standing in the Church. They point at the Relief Society, what a wonderful institution it is, that it is run by women...

...who have to answer to the men.

You know, that part doesn't even bother me so much. Fine. I get that we have a pyramid type organization where we all have someone to answer to. Fine. I get that the priesthood hold the big authority positions such as bishop, stake president, prophet, etc. I've never wanted the priesthood. While it is a wedge issue for some, it's never been one for me.

Just don't condescend to me.

I'm so effing tired of being condescended to. Ask my husband for permission? Screw off! I'm a big girl. If I feel I need to "counsel" with Eric about it, I'll do just that. My husband is not my father.

Again, I don't mind some of this role playing stuff. I like that he's stronger than me, taller than me, and I've always liked that he had the Priesthood, but when you start relegating me to a position akin to our children, that's when I've gotta get pissed off.

Did anyone else know about this? I'm under the impression that some members don't.

(And, by the way, I won't be posting tomorrow, so Happy Thanksgiving. Hope y'all have a really awesome, laid back, stuffed kind of day. I hope to be back by Friday)


Anonymous said...

Lisa, this issue has ALWAYS bugged me. I've been a life long member and as soon as I became aware of this "practice" it bothered me. Every time my husband or I get a calling, I roll my eyes because it either involves his "permission" for me, or my "support" for him.

Amanda said...

That's really weird, Lisa. I just asked my husband, and for the record, no one ever spoke to him about any of the callings I had while I was in the church, and I had some pretty big ones. Also, when he was called to a pretty big position, they brought us into an office and asked us both together. They didn't ask Jason before they asked us both. AND my opinion counted. They were all ready to persuade me if necessary, but if I said I couldn't take it, then that would have been fine.

Are these actually dogmatic practices, or is it just something often done? I mean, law is different from culture in a lot of places in the Mormon world - maybe this is just one of those times?

Lisa said...

I don't know, Amanda. Eric seemed to be really familiar with the practice, but it seems other places don't do it this way. That's why I wrote this (aside from a vent).

Eric just told me he was shocked to find that, in our last ward, the bishop didn't ask him before issuing me a call. To be fair, we were both in the room and the calls were...insignificant (made up, very easy, just to give us something to do that would work with our insane schedules)

So I don't know. It seems it might be. I think it's a load of crap if anyone does it, though, and it pisses me off. *shrug*

I mean, Maren's familiar with it. I'm curious to find out how many others are.

Katie said...

I just talked to my hubby about it, too - and he also has never been asked permission for any of the callings I have had (including RS and Primary presidencies and Activities chair). In contrast, the only "big" calling my husband has had since we were married (Ward mission leader) they called us both in, and my opinion mattered. Actually, our lives pretty much sucked for the 3 months he was in that particular calling (similar to Eric in EQ). We really struggled with it. Finally, the Bishop released my hubby so that he could "support his family" better :) So, I think it is supposed to work both ways...

For the record, we have been in three wards, all in PA, since being married, and hubby has never been "asked permission" for any of my callings.

My hubby did say he has heard of it being done (i.e., permission of the husband being asked), but to his knowledge this practice is not found in the bishop's handbook of instruction (and he would know, having had access to them as branch president and as ward clerk).

So, just another mormon culture thing, looks like. Exasperating, but better than it being doctrine, right?!!?

Katie said...

Lisa, you poor girl, how the heck do you manage to have all these annoyingly sexist Mormons in your life?!!? Remind me never to live in your Stake, 'kay? :-)

The Faithful Dissident said...

My goodness, I didn't even realize that this has happened to me until I read your post! And my husband isn't even a member!

A couple years ago I was called to be a counsellor in RS. If I remember correctly, my branch president did ask me whether I would accept before he asked to talk to me and my husband together, but now I realize that that meeting probably wasn't just a courtesy coincidental to the fact that my husband just happened to be at church that Sunday. Maybe the branch president really did need my husband's OK in order to have the calling? (My husband had no problem with it, he said it was entirely up to me.) I've had a few different callings but the branch president only did it with this RS one.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Ironically, though, when I got my endowments, the branch president never asked to speak with my husband. He asked me whether my husband was OK with it and since I said he was, he left it at that. When I had my interview with the stake president, he talked to my husband for a bit, just telling him a bit about what it was about, but I don't remember him asking for permission per se.

Lisa said...

Huh! Well, good to know it doesn't seem to be doctrine :)

*rolls eyes* Now Eric tells me it's "traditional"


Way exasperating.

Lula O said...

First time to this site. Awesome!!! I have a political site that's been infiltrated by some self righteous Republican's and I'm ready to do some swimming in a harbor of similar ideas. As Brigham Young said, "This is the Place!"

I agree with your frustration, and babe, trust me, it doesn't get better. It all depends on the bishop. If it's bugging you, tell him. I have no problem telling mine.
Probably why he avoids me.
"Oh, crap, here comes that Ogden woman again."

All that matters is how your husband treats you, and it sounds like he's on board.
You picked a keeper..

Lisa said...

Welcome, Lula! :D

Kengo Biddles said...

FWIW, I think that it's not so much as him being "better" or "worse" than you, it's a "he's the Priesthood leader of your family unit" thing. A righteous husband would counsel with you first, and get your opinion, because you're partners...then answer the Bishop with you there.

In my experience, the Bishop has called us BOTH in when Miki's received a calling and asked us about extending this calling to her at THAT point.