Feminist Options for Baby Blessings

Madonna of the Rocks

Two and a half months ago, I gave birth to Baby A, my third and last child. As with my other two, his advent has inspired a lot of reflection about baby blessings. I still feel, as I did six years ago when I gave birth to my first child, that I should somehow be involved, that I should somehow be included in this ritual. But how to do it?

One option is to do the baby blessing at home. At home, there is a lot more freedom for innovation, particularly if you aren’t concerned about getting the fancy certificate. (The baby can be entered into the system as a child of record by the ward clerk without the certificate.) At home, couples can decide to hold the baby together, can write the blessing together, etc. This might be considered a more informal “parents’ blessing” upon their baby.

Another option (to consider at least) is to see if your bishop is open to having the mom hold the baby during the baby blessing in Sacrament Meeting. The handbook is clear that only Melchizedek priesthood holders can be in the circle. But if the woman is sitting down inside the circle, she’s not really in the circle, is she? It might be worth asking your bishop about this option, particularly if he’s the type to not be afraid of innovation.

Similar to the previous option, you can ask if you can hold the microphone during the baby blessing in Sacrament Meeting. Since this is a job that usually teenage boys without the Melchizedek priesthood do (at least in our ward), it seems clear to me that having the mom hold the microphone should be a viable option. It would look a bit funny and awkward, I think. And it might seem a bit unchivalrous to the observer to see the mom craning her arm around to hold the mike in front of her husband’s face, but the image kind of tickles me. I like the idea of the ward seeing that female presence up there doing something a bit awkward because she feels so strongly that she would like to be a part of this ritual.

These three options above are what I would call integration options  — options that bring women and men together during the blessing of the child, though they do still tend to be male-voiced and male-centered. Another category of options would be separation options, in which a woman/women blesses or prays for the child without men being present.

This could take many forms, of course. One way to go about this is to invite friends to bring a poem, story, song or thought to offer which might help the baby navigate his/her life. As women sit around a circle, they could share their offering, and the mom could close the gathering with a blessing/prayer for the child.

Alisa wrote a beautiful post about a ritual she and her friends participated in before the birth of her child. Her experience is more of a blessing or ritual for the mother-to-be than for the baby, but several of the ideas could easily be adapted for a female-centered baby blessing.

Another idea is to have the women surround the mother and child. They could join hands with one another forming a ring, or they could all put a hand on the mother/baby, as they take turns praying for or pronouncing blessings upon the child.

Personally, I like the idea of doing both some sort of integration baby blessing and some sort of separation baby blessing. I think it would give me peace to know that the more male-voiced baby blessing ritual would be balanced out by a female-voiced baby blessing ritual.

Which of these options resonates most with you? What other ideas do you have for either integrating women into the male-centric traditional baby blessing or for creating women-centered baby blessings?

 

 

Caroline

Caroline is a PhD student in Women's Studies in Religion and mother of three.

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59 Responses

  1. MissRissa says:

    With my first daughter, we had a traditional blessing at church, and it just sort of happened “like it’s done” and I didn’t think much on it (sad!) but with my second daughter we had her blessing at home. I loved having the blessing at my home but I wish with all my heartI had decided to hold the baby during the blessing (instead of holding the computer for our family who were skyping in).

    One thing that happened with both my daughters though, was that my husband and I sat down together and decided what we anted to bless our daughters with. He asked my opinion and i made suggestions based on the personality of my girls that I had spent the last 9+ months getting to know. My husband just looks at them like just a baby, so being able to really share my insights during this “preparing” together was a beautiful experience for both of us.

    I don’t mind having my husband be the one to give the blessing, even for our daughters. I think it’s a good bonding experience for him and the baby. I do wish though, with my whole heart, that it was just me and him standing together and blessing our child within the walls of our home. No need for the arbitrary bishopric member, we hardly know, or even other family members or close friends. Not for everyone I know, but for me that would be a perfect blessing.

    • Caroline says:

      MissRissa,
      That’s great that you both sat down and thought of things to say for the blessing. My husband and I have done that as well. And I’ve had similar ideas about having it just be a private thing with the two of us.

  2. JM says:

    My husband isn’t a member of the LDS church. We had our baby blessing at my parents’ house (across the country). We still got the fancy certificate (which wasn’t that important to me anyway). I had asked my bishop and my dad’s bishop ahead of time if it was okay.

    I didn’t take advantage of the out-of-chapel opportunity to make it more feminist. But, given my father’s failing mental health (Alzheimer’s), it was tender to see my non-LDS husband hold the baby and my father bless the baby. I had also made it clear to my father that I didn’t want anything specific to the LDS faith in it (e.g., going on a mission, getting married in the temple). It was a very short sweet blessing about the baby being loved and bringing love to others.

    I’m not sure if baby #2 is going to be blessed. He is almost 6 months old. Even if we were closer to my parents, my father’s mental state is such that he probably couldn’t give the blessing.

    • Caroline says:

      JM,
      They let your non-LDS husband hold the baby? That’s terrific. I bet some bishops would be sticklers about that and not let someone without priesthood get anywhere near the circle.

      • JM says:

        I didn’t ask for permission to have my husband hold the baby. I’m not sure what the response would have been if I had. I suspect my bishop would have been fine with it. It was just my husband holding the baby and my dad blessing him–no other participants and therefore no “circle.”

  3. JohnE says:

    When doing a baby blessing at home, does the ward need to be notified?

    • MissRissa says:

      Yes, they usually require a member of the bishopric to be there. Then you notify the ward clerk that it happened and he records it. We had to get “permission” from the bishop.

      • MissRissa says:

        Just realized you might have meant the ward as a congregation and the answer to that, I think, is no. When we and ther we know did it at home, hardly anyone knew the blessing happened, they didn’t announce it or anything like that.

      • April says:

        I was told by my bishop that a member of “a” bishopric had to be there (not necessarily your own). We blessed one of my children at home, with the knowledge of our bishop, and no member of our own ward bishopric was there, but my dad was in a bishopric at the time and he was present.

    • Caroline says:

      We’ve done at home baby blessings without a bishopric member present, though my husband has informed the bishop that that’s what he’s doing — just out of courtesy. I personally don’t think that’s necessary. Whether you inform the bishop beforehand or not, you will then have to ask the clerk to enter the baby as a child of record.

  4. Alisa says:

    Caroline, thank you for bringing up the topic this way and for linking to my blessingway post. I also wrote a post about how my husband and I blessed our baby, with the bishop and family there, in the Relief Society room on a Sunday evening (our home was too small to host everyone). Basically, because we weren’t in Sacrament Meeting, we set the program. We chose primary songs as opening and closing songs. We had the two grandmothers give the invocation and benediction so they could be involved. And because the bishop was late, I gave my ‘remarks’ first rather than after as planned, which everyone in the room recongized was actually a mother’s blessing on our son prior to the men blessing our baby. I am really happy with how it turned out.

    I don’t know if that is integrationist or separate. I didn’t participate in the men’s circle, but I blessed my son at that same event and in public. I got a lot of praise from my traditional/orthodox family for what they called my “mother’s blessing,” and no one seemed to have an issue with it.

    Here’s the link to the post: http://www.the-exponent.com/a-circle-of-two-a-mothers-baby-blessing/

    • Caroline says:

      Alisa,
      I’m so glad you linked to that post! I was thinking that you had posted about your mother’s blessing, but wasn’t sure where to find it.

      I think what you did is another beautiful option.

  5. Jack says:

    C’mon, let the guys have their little bit of glory. It’s only through the priesthood that men get the slightest glimpse of what it’s like to give birth. They help in their own little way (via the priesthood) in organizing the body of Christ — which is still in some sort of cosmic gestational mode, I suppose. Whilst women see more to the bodies of those individuals who comprise the cosmic body. Capiche?

    All that said, which creative process is more important? The micro or the macro? That’s right — both. You need both to have Eternal Lives.

    • amelia says:

      What I find amusing about this is that opponents of feminism (and I’m not saying you are, Jack; I honestly can’t tell based on your comment) so often scream about how feminists mistakenly want men and women to be the same but they’re not, they’re Different (said very emphatically). Well, that’s right. They are different. Which means men just don’t get to know what it’s like to give birth. Sorry. That fact should not therefore dictate that only men get to be involved in the macro/cosmic/body-of-the-church creation.

      And no, I don’t see what Caroline is suggesting as being yet another gambit on the feminists’ (those dirty feminists!) part to either 1. be the same as men; or 2. steal something from men. I see it as simply being a proposal about how women can be involved in their own way in the act of blessing their children (the separation options she discusses) or of signaling that mother and father are unified in seeking goodness and blessings for their children (integration). In neither situation is there stealing what is rightfully men’s role. How is a mother performing her own blessing making it less valuable or possible for there to be a more traditional father’s blessing? How is mother and father working together robbing the father of his opportunity to bless? Shouldn’t cooperation in such a good thing be a positive?

      There is the one other motivating factor: gender equity in the church. But that doesn’t have anything to do with robbing men of what should be theirs or with turning men and women in to the “same,” either. It has to do with acknowledging that women have a great deal to offer their community that they cannot presently offer because of the inherently inequitable structure of the institutional church.

    • Annie B. says:

      Trust me, if my husband could physically give birth to a child, I’d let him. As it stands, any husband can divide up the child-care roles with his wife so that he can be more involved in the nurture of his children if he truly wants to. Men can even take steps to be as involved as possible in the birth and feeding of their babies. For adoptive parents, the woman is still left on the sidelines for the baby blessing even though she didn’t get to have her “little bit of glory” in physically giving birth.

  6. Caroline says:

    Sorry, Jack, but I’m not a fan of your line of thought — though I know that’s a common narrative for LDS folks. Giving birth shouldn’t preclude a human being from being involved in a blessing. Early Mormon women certainly knew that.

  7. Jack says:

    Caroline,

    My thinking is this: Priesthood is motherhood on a macro scale and motherhood is priesthood on a micro scale. I don’t think that’s a common narrative among Mormons.

    • spunky says:

      I think that is a common narrative, Jack. The emphasis on service in Preiethood sessions of conference mirror the teachings that are used to “prepare” young LDS women for motherhood. Just as the very common teaching that if a father is absent in a home, then the mother is the “presiding authority”, but that is only in absence of a father, and only within that individual home. Micro vs. macro, where women are *always* micro.

    • Olive says:

      Ya, I’ve read that a lot…priesthood is to motherhood. Pretty sure that’s the basic party line taught and believed in most wards. I don’t buy it either though. Fatherhood is to motherhood imo. So why can’t both father and mother participate in blessing their baby, that they both helped to create, and will both help to raise?

      Men don’t “need” to do this any more than women need ritual in their lives, too. We both need these kinds of things in our spiritual lives.

    • DefyGravity says:

      I’m with Olive; fatherhood is the counterpart to motherhood. Priesthood is something else entirely, since having priesthood does not make a man a good father and not having it does not make a man a bad father. You don’t need the priesthood to be a father. So why is just one parent involved in the blessing of a child that both partners are responsible for?

  8. I’m a bit ambivelent (of two minds) about these suggestions.

    When it comes up in the talk of ordinances, someone always pops up that it is “not a saving ordinance”, meaning that it snot necessary for our salvation. It’s a “nice to have”, mostly because it is a chance for the family to feel a part of bringing a child into the world, which is pretty exclusively the mothers domain. That’s part of why the rhetoric of “let the father have his due, since the mother got to do so much” sticks around.

    I believe the practice originally hails back to a combination of the Jewish practice of presenting a child at the temple and the practice of some Christian faiths of baptising and/or christening children. The scripture on it is pretty simple:
    Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name (D&C 20:70).

    Notice the little e in “elders”. This is about presenting the child to the Church, not about making sure the child gets someone with authority to make sure they marry in the temple, two decades before the possiblity. This is about the elders, those who have lived and seen many children grow, expressing their hopes for this child, hopefully tempered by some spiritual revelation, not a chance to show off how many Priesthood holders there are in your extended family. (I’d limit the circle to six. I’ve seen with as many as 20, and it just gets absurd, imo, trying to cram everyone in.)

    So I’m a bit ambivelant about it. On one hand, these could be good chances for the mother to feel more included in a cultural practice that has authority assigned to it. On the other, there is the public invoking of Priesthood power, as directed by the Church at this time.

    Any historians want to research into how this practice was done in the early Church? With the now lost practices of women giving blessings (and publicly using other spiritual gifts), is this another practice that has been driven to “Priesthood only”?

    • amelia says:

      I love your understanding as being about young parents or new parents bringing their child to those who have witnessed a lot of life to give their blessing.

      And I’m also curious about the historical practice. I wonder if this is something Ardis would have researched at any point.

  9. Whoa-man says:

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately. When I was pregnant with my daughter I really tried to do the integrationist approach. I talked to my husband about wanting to feel a part of the blessing and we decided to go talk to the bishop and see if we could creatively interpret the CHI. My main reason for having a hard time with women being excluded from baby blessings is that the Church talks NONSTOP about how important motherhood is, how it is our divine role and how women don’t need the priesthood because their main contribution to the church is raising children. Yet, the one and only thing that celebrates bringing forth a child in the public sphere of the church and on the records is a all male circle. It just makes me feel sick inside when I think about it. It is just so wrong.

    Before we got a chance to talk to our bishop the executive secretary asked my husband (of course not me) if we could meet with a member of the bishopric instead. My husband hesitated and said we would like to speak to the bishop. The ES asked why and my husband without thinking straight blurted out, “My wife wants to know if she can be a part of the baby blessing.” As soon as it was out of his mouth he knew that he shouldn’t have said it. The ES gave him a weird look, scrunched up his face and had the audacity to say, “No, I don’t think so, but I’ll ask.” A few minutes later (and we all know going up and down the gossip and rumor mill, seeing as the ES’s wife started talking about it later) he came back to my husband (again, not me) and said, “No. that won’t be possible. So can you meet with a counselor instead?”

    We decided not to even bother and just canceled the meeting. My husband felt bad for what he said and I was judged about it–people exaggerating things to say I wanted the priesthood and to bless my own baby, blah, blah, blah. We got some tragic news a week after my daughter was born. My father-in-law had very serious cancer and we decided to move to CA to help take care of him. A few weeks before we moved my husband met with the 1st counselor to get permission to bless our baby in CA so that his Dad could be a part of the blessing. All thoughts about how I could sit and hold her or integrate myself somehow were forgotten as we were just trying to make it through the slow and painful death of a parent. This counselor was brutal. He gave my husband a hard time and even had the gall to say, “Is your father really sick?” He assumed we were getting permission so that we could do our own blessing or something.

    The blessing was typical. All the men in the families surrounding my sweet baby and me watching from the sidelines. I was too distracted by imminent death and new mommy woes to care too much. When my father-in-law passed away and we came back to our home ward, the 1st counselor didn’t even have the decency to send his condolences or apologize for being such a jerk.

    It’s been two years and lately I’ve realized that I’m not going to just take no for an answer anymore. I am going to demand what I want. Either I hold my baby during the blessing or it doesn’t happen. Period. We’ll see what happens……

    • Diane says:

      I’m sorry that happened to you, but good for you for sticking up for yourself.

      I would talk to your Bishop anyway, just to let him know what an idiot the ES was to you.

      At any rate, I would not sustain him.

  10. Jack says:

    Nope — I’m not towing the old priesthoood = motherhood line as it’s commonly understood. I *do* believe they are very analogous though — but on a broader scale. You have to look at them from a more (shall we say) quasi multi-dimensional perspective.

    We experience Eternal Lives in relations. The priesthood is the ultimate gathering power. And the fruit of that gathering is the emergence of “bodies.”

    • Caroline says:

      Jack,
      Where and how does fatherhood come into your framework?

    • Caroline says:

      And since both men and women participate in making bodies emerge (and the nurture and raising of those bodies), why shouldn’t both men and women participate in the ultimate gathering power and the salvation of the Body of Christ?

  11. Jack says:

    Spunky: “Micro vs. macro, where women are *always* micro.”

    That’s only if you believe that the salvation of individuals is less important than the salvation of the Body of Christ — which would be a logical fallacy as the cosmic body is saved only as fast as the individuals who constitute it.

  12. Jack says:

    Caroline,

    Good question. Fatherhood without the priesthood can only produce a weak reflection of what goes on in the upper world. Men in this mortal realm have been largely responsible for the organization of society — a natural expansion of their familial guardianship. But, society without priesthood is merely a functional body of individuals striving to make sense of its identity with, more often than not, catastrophic results as said identity can rarely, if ever, be agreed upon. However, the priesthood allows men to work in this sphere in an organizational process that crosses boundaries; a birthing process (if you will) that has eternal cohesion under Christ as the head. Women on the other hand tend to be more involved in a birthing process that is more complete in this sphere and, therefore, not lacking in the ways that make the men’s “birthing process” unsustainable without the priesthood.

    • Annie B. says:

      “Fatherhood without the priesthood can only produce a weak reflection of what goes on in the upper world.”
      I have not seen this to be apparent at all. I’ve seen amazing fathers who do not hold the priesthood, and really horrible (even serving as bishops) fathers. It’s not the priesthood or a lack thereof that makes what you call “men’s birthing process” unsustainable, it’s a lack of living the principles that Christ taught. Anyone can live the principles that Christ taught, priesthood or no. Women are equally expected to learn to live those principles, and I don’t think an ability to give birth makes them inherently better at that than men. I’ve seen women who have no children who are patient and loving, and women who have children shouting profanities at their toddlers in wal-mart. Your statements just don’t hold up.

  13. Jack says:

    Annie B.,

    Well, yeah. Without Christlike love the priesthood is meaningless. But let’s not make the fatal mistake of making the priesthood meaningless by supplanting it with principles — or even good ethics, if you will.

    • Annie B. says:

      Isn’t the priesthood a representation of God? The power and authority to act in God’s name? If a person is acting Christ-like aren’t they already doing that by default? By saying that men need priesthood but that women don’t because of their inherent goodness, or ability to give birth, you’re insulting men and making priesthood meaningless for women.

    • amelia says:

      As interesting as it may be to discuss the nature of the priesthood, I’d like to nip in the bud such a threadjack. This post is not about the nature of the priesthood. It’s about alternative options to traditional baby blessings that will allow mothers to participate in them. We’d appreciate further comments to focus on some aspect of that particular topic.

      Thanks!

  14. Amy Anne says:

    I would want to hold the baby at the very least. With my boys that didn’t happen though, no one in our family was actually in the circle. The oldest because I was a young single Mom and none of my family members held the priesthood. Actually several male cousins did, but I didn’t know them & they lived 2,000 miles away. With #2 our friend did his name & blessing since my husband isn’t a member. With #3 we just didn’t see it as necessary to do since neither of us could be involved.

    I have however given all of my children blessings when sick or injured in the past 6 months. I gave one to #2 after we were in a horrible accident and he was unable to crawl or stand on his own, let alone walk, almost two weeks after the accident. I gave my sweet boy a blessing and in the morning he was crawling around on the floor some, by the end old the 3rd week post accident he was back to his normal running around like a crazy boy.

  15. DefyGravity says:

    Caroline, I love these suggestions. Thanks so much for putting them together. I passed them on to a friend who is 8 months pregnant in the hopes they will be useful to her. Thanks!

  16. Jessawhy says:

    Caroline,
    I love these ideas and I hope this post becomes a resource for women who want to participate in their baby’s blessing.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences here.

  17. jenna says:

    I loved reading these suggestions. I was talking about this with my husband and he said that in his mission in Mexico it was the most common for the mother to hold the baby during a blessing. That was what the people in the congregation thought made most sense. Also he had seen older sisters hold microphones. I love the idea of the blessing showing a families combined love for this new child. I thinknmy husbands experience shows how our males only approach is so purely cultural and unneccessary

  18. Tiffany says:

    Fabulous suggestions, Caroline. Thank you for writing this.

  19. April says:

    Just a note in response to comments about how only women give birth, so it is fair that only men give baby blessings. In the past, men were completely excluded from childbirth. They sat in the lobby. Now, even though there is no way a father can give birth, he is included in childbirth. He has an important title (coach) and stays in the birth room. He is offered the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord and give the baby her first bath.

    I think that even if I were permitted to give the official baby blessing myself, I would still choose to have my husband do it because I think it is a special bonding experience for him and the baby. But I don’t see any reason why including me in other ways, such as by holding the baby during the blessing, would detract from this experience for my husband. Involving my husband in childbirth in ancillary ways certainly hasn’t made childbirth less of an experience for me.

  20. Rachel says:

    I love this post, and all of the ideas presented. My husband and I do not have children yet, but I imagine that when the time comes I will want to give some sort of mother’s blessing in the home. I would also love Love to hold my child if/when it is blessed in church. I wonder what you did for your third, and might secretly hope it involved craning your arm to hold a microphone.

  21. Jenne says:

    My third baby was just recently born and we had a party for her that acted very much like a baby blessing/presentation ceremony from women. If you c&p the link, you can see the photo book that I made from the party. It was originally intended to be a mother’s blessing for me before her birth but she was born earlier than I anticipated. I kept the date for the party and it became a baby blessing.
    http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0IcNnLRs4asWET&eid=115

    She hasn’t gotten the LDS name and blessing yet but we plan that it will follow the pattern we used for the other two children. Like others have said, my husband and I discuss beforehand what we would like for our child to be blessed with. When we’ve done it out of the ward meeting, I’ve felt like I’ve had a bigger part in it. I think this time I would like to ask that I sit in the circle holding her, but if I were to really wish big, I’d like to see some kind of honor given to the mother of the baby.

    • Rachel says:

      I love that idea of speaking together before hand, so even if one partner acts as the voice, both voices are genuinely represented.

  22. Tracy says:

    It’s late I’m tired….but I am always confused as to why not being included in a ritual = oppression? (some comments lend themselves to this belief).

    I am also a bit confused by the notion of “deciding ahead of time what to bless the child with”. Perhaps I do not understand the full idea here, but in my experience, baby blessings are not to be human pronouncements of wishes for a child, but is an opportunity for father to act as voice for God the Father. (i.e. the blessing should be God’ word and not man’s).

    Furthermore, a friend of mine’s dad has always instructed his sons thusly, “While your wife nurtures and provides for and grows that child in her belly, your job for those 9 months is to think on your child, pray for inspiration to know that child so that when the time comes you will be able to speak as directed.” As any mother can attest she DOES participate in the life of her child, women know their child in intimate ways during those nine months – they learn of their temperament and personality, etc. *because* of the literal physical closeness and being bound together and “one flesh”. Dad does not get this experience – HE is left out – for NINE months 0f this VERY intimate relationship. So for a woman to then feel “less than” or “uninvolved” because she doesn’t get to participate in the five minute “public ritual” is odd and sincerely lost on me.

    How is mother diminished in ANY way by not being a part of “blessing” of the child? She blessed him with her BLOOD and WATER and her body and soul and sacrifice for nine months. So to make a big deal about not being a part of the “public” ritual seems, well, mis-placed angst over a larger issue (or appears to be more about mom being recognized publicly than the child being blessed). Women EMBRACE yourself as the life-giver and think of your swollen belly as THE testament to your contribution and blessing of your child. Without YOUR womb, the seed has no place to grow. Does being involved in the circle really add to or take away that much?

    While I like the idea of mom holding the baby (we’ve never done it in our family, but that seems fine), we “let” mom sit alone quietly and listen to the words of God’s blessing upon the child’s head and let her concentrate solely on what HF is saying to her child, and the rest of us scribe furiously the words of the blessing and present to the parents as a gift.

  23. Chrissy says:

    I know this is very late into the game, but I would appreciate advice. My baby will be born soon, and the bishop is insistent that I not be able to hold the baby sitting in a chair while the men do the blessing. We’ve said emphatically that I don’t want to “participate in the blessing” like it says only Melchezidek presthood holders can do, only to hold her in my arms for emotional (not political or activist) reasons. He still says no, that there’s a “proper order to things” and only men participate. But the deacon doesn’t have the MP, and he participates holding the microphone. And I’m very extremely anxious about seeing my baby bounced on multiple-one-hands. I’m not giving up, so any advice about a different approach to take would be very helpful.

    • Nick says:

      I didn’t get to give my 1st or 2nd child baby blessings. I was a recent convert and still hadn’t been given the priesthood. So my wife decided to have them blessed anyway. I felt awful just sitting there while some guys I didn’t know and had never met held my kids and did what I should have been doing. Fast forward 7 years. My wife wants me to bless our 3rd child. He is now almost 8 months old, and I am nervous about participating in this ritual since it is new to me. I want to include my wife (just have her hold him) but she doesn’t want to be included. I want to do the blessing at home. She wants to do it during sacrament meeting. We’re supposed to do this the first Sunday of 2016. I’m not sure what to say or how to move forward with a little more female equality. I just want to see progress because this Church is all about progress (even if it is slow progress).

  24. Michelle says:

    I have been looking up baby blessings this morning. It has been 6 years since my husband was disfellowshipped. It has been a long hard trial for both of us, but mostly for him. He did not get to bless our second and third child, or baptize our son. Not for a lack of effort either. We have had our boundaries change for the ward and the stake and we have had 4 bishops since this began.

    I asked him when we were going to bless our newest baby. He wants to wait awhile because his words were “it would break his heart” if he didn’t get to do it. I want him to be able to with all my heart.

    Please don’t take the Priesthood for granted.

    • Michelle says:

      I hope that did not sound like I was blaming the bishops. My husband has faithfully attended church and has tried to meet all the requirements for having his fellowship reviewed, but having the constant changes in leadership has added an extra element of difficulty.

  25. Nate says:

    There is wisdom in seeking to understand why God does things the way he does rather than thinking we know a better way.

    • Ziff says:

      There is wisdom in not attributing every discriminatory practice of the Church to God, just because, for example, we ourselves might be sexist and therefore totally satisfied with the status quo.

  1. January 8, 2013

    […] Days before the blessing, however, something dawned on me. I had overlooked another option so obvious that I’m embarrassed to admit it: I never even considered asking my wife what kinds of things she would like to hear in the blessing. Wow. My wife, of course, was quite content to provide me with her ideas. (Side note: maybe I should read more Mormon feminist blogs.) […]

  2. January 13, 2013

    […] Days before the blessing, however, something dawned on me. I had overlooked another option so obvious that I’m embarrassed to admit it: I never even considered asking my wife what kinds of things she would like to hear in the blessing. Wow. My wife, of course, was quite content to provide me with her ideas. (Side note: maybe I should read more Mormon feminist blogs.) […]

  3. April 5, 2013

    […] I wanted to give my bishop credit for an original idea that I hadn’t heard discussed in conversations about baby blessings. It’s not what I wanted and I’m disappointed in that, but props […]

  4. January 13, 2016

    […] And some of us wonder….”Where’s her mother?” We think that all too-often, don’t we? Oh, there she is! A few pews back, arms reverently folded as she strains to hear the man’s blessing on her child while other shrieks and squeaks punctuate the sacred silence, the same plight afforded to a father only when he is deemed “unworthy.”  Is she also unworthy?It seems paradoxical that in a church which reveres motherhood as a woman’s highest and holiest calling, she cannot participate in presenting her newly born child in front of her friends and ward members, let alone act as voice for the blessing, despite it not being a saving ordinance. While some members see no problem with this, many woman have felt wounded by this exclusion.  For example, according to the Church Handbook, there is no direct prohibition of having the mother hold the child during the blessing, and while some women have been successful at getting permission from their bishop to do so, others have been turned down. It seems to be left up to the discretion of the bishop or stake president in most cases. And even then, as Caroline points out, it’s still a male-centric ritual. […]

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