Ender's Game (mild spoilers)

Jacob Proffitt Jacob at Proffitt.com
Sat Mar 15 14:30:49 EST 2003

---Original Message From: deborah
> On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, Dorian E. Gray wrote:
> |Now that you mention it, it does seem to me that OSC 
> probably doesn't 
> |know many women who, say, do martial arts, LARP, are 
> soldiers or police 
> |officers, or any other "agressive" (for want of a better 
> term) pursuit.  
> |Then again, aren't Mormon women encouraged to stick to more 
> traditional 
> |feminine roles?
> (Hmm.  Much as it occasionally amuses me when, in a group of 
> friends, someone turns to me and asks me to answer for 
> Traditional Judaism (once, in another life, I was an Orthodox 
> Jew), I'm afraid I'm about to resort to Tokenism...)
> Jacob, Honey Bee dear, will y'all be out experts to answer 
> this question?  Why engage in speculation when we can make 
> you Answer A Question For All Mormons?  More fun that way.  ;)

Well, my ego is big enough that I don't mind answering for, well, *some*
Mormons :).  We catch a lot of flack from feminist groups for a number of
things.  Official church position being one.  Official statements vis a vis
women is often misunderstood.  Officially, *mothers* are encouraged to stay
home to raise the kids.  We don't so much care if women stick to traditional
feminine roles as that children have a resident care-taker.  Families are
extremely important to us.  There's even been a recent "Proclamation on the
Family" (official title is "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" you can
read online at http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,161-1-11-1,FF.html)
that delineates the actual doctrine.  The pertinent passage is:

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and
righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and
protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the
nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and
mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability,
death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."

In application, there's actually quite a wide range of adaptation.  One
family in our ward (we call our congregations "wards"--I'm not sure if the
implication of insanity is deliberate) has the husband doing piece-work at
home and caring for their small children while his wife works full time.
They don't catch any flack for it and are, in fact, some of the leaders of
our ward (Mormons have a lay-priesthood, meaning that the members run
everything--there's no paid ministry).  He's the Elders' Quorum President
(in charge of the largest men's group--he's my successor :).

As some of you know, Melissa stays home and teaches the kids.  I dare you to
accuse her of "sticking to more feminine roles", though.  Heh.  She catches
flack for that from our intellectual friends (even the LDS ones--LDS is yet
another nickname for the church).  "You're doing society a disservice by
withholding your talents" is the gist of their accusation.  She *is*
extremely bright and society could use her level-headed input.  But the
family is more important and I believe our kids benefit greatly for her
willingness to care for them.  She can probably articulate that better.
Maybe she will.

And don't judge Orson Scott Card too quickly.  Not all the characters speak
for his actual position on things and you'll find him hard to pigeon hole
because his writing is so well layered.  You can't really make assumptions
based on his religion because while he *is* a devout Mormon, and very
faithful, he can hardly be called a representative member.  His politics are
very different from your average Mormon (assuming you can find an average
Mormon), for example (though, really, member political affiliations are
undergoing rather seismic shifts lately).

Jacob Proffitt

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