Football, Mormonism and Female Ownership

Posted by on January 19, 2013 in feminism, Gender roles, manhood, women | 39 comments

I have long held that football is the worst so I was thoroughly unsurprised when another scandal presented itself this week. But rather than another story about a football player and his involvement in a rape or assault, this scandal involves a seemingly good Mormon boy caught up in a cruel hoax. I have no idea whether Manti Te’o was complicit in this lie, what is interesting to me is that we have yet another high-profile Mormon man unconsciously, or consciously, displaying the complexities of Mormon gender relations for the world to see.

In fact, it doesn’t really matter whether Manti lied, the gendered impulse behind both possibilities is the same. Mormon men benefit profoundly by being romantically attached to women. But before we examine the privileges that come from being a partnered man, it is important to understand what Te’o had to gain either by believing he was in a relationship or lying about being in one.

I can understand why Manti might have invented a girlfriend; it is important for those who participate in patriarchal, hyper-masculine sub-cultures to prove their virility and ability to attract women.  For example, there is a meme going around, presumably from Alabama fans, that draws the connection between being the real champions with having a real girlfriend. Additionally, having a girlfriend, even a fake one, probably protected Manti from having to participate in a culture that has proven itself to objectify and harm women–something that a good Mormon boy would hopefully be sensitive to.

If, indeed, Manti Te’o believed he had a real girlfriend and was the victim in this story then he is only guilty of joining a tradition of Mormon men who have romanticized long-distance relationships. Mormon history is rife with examples of men who have gone out into the larger world, leaving an idealized woman behind. Some of the best Mormon love stories involve famous missionaries like Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, and John H. Groberg who left a loving wife or girlfriend behind. The practice of waiting for a missionary has fallen out of favor somewhat, most likely due to their poor success rates, but there is still cultural acceptance and romanticization for this practice. If Te’o was sincere, his online relationship with Lennay Kekua is really just a modern-day version of the mythic missionary love story.

Either way, Manti Te’o relied on a woman to provide him increased credibility and notoriety and he is certainly not the first Mormon man to do this. Indeed, unless a man is partnered with a woman, he is infantilized and mistrusted in the church. Everybody knows Brigham Young’s famous declaration that an unmarried man older than 25 is a menace to society. And while we laugh at the outrageousness of this opinion, we have instituted it as part of our culture and theology. For example, while both men and women need to be married in order to be exalted, our culture gives more latitude to women as to whether or not this happens in mortality. Additionally, Mormon doctrine at least pays lip service to the idea that the Fall could not have happened without Eve and that Adam only progressed because of her actions. And while both of these examples can be viewed as progressive, they also serve to dehumanize women in some way–namely, because they view women as tools for eternal male progression in ways that are not reciprocated for women.

The darker side to this tradition is that it can lead some men to believe that women owe them eternal progression and so they have the right to own their female partner. This belief is not without merit. The language in D&C 132, a section still canonized as scripture, is “if a man marry a wife”…”she belongeth unto him and no one else.” Research has consistently shown that this type of religious dogma correlates with increased incidence of intimate partner violence and marital rape. This doesn’t even take into account the fact that this doctrine negates women’s humanity and identity as a child of God with their own free agency.

It is doubtful that the non-Mormon world will pick up on the Mormon gender implications of the Manti Te’o story. After all, as I heard one NPR commentator put it, a fake girlfriend is better than a beaten girlfriend or a raped co-ed. But this also doesn’t mean that the gendered implications for Te’o’s fraudulent relationship aren’t there. The cultural and doctrinal imperative that men be attached to women may seem harmless at worst and a societal boon at best, but there is always a darker side when this occurs in the context of patriarchy. We, as participants in this religious tradition, have an obligation to examine our doctrine and consider all the conclusions that could be drawn from them, even if what it tells us about ourself is horrifyingly ugly.

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39 Comments

  1. Alternatively, a kid fell in love with a girl he met online, wanted to meet her, but was always frustrated when it didn’t work out. Then he got his heart broken, publicly and cruelly.

    Religion touches a lot of aspects of a Mormon’s life, but I don’t think this is one of those places.

    Something similar happened to a (non-Mormon) friend of mine in high school. It’s not just Mormons who romanticize LDRs, it’s romantic people.

    Everyone likes to be in love, even young boys on football teams. He just wanted to be with his girlfriend. Mormons haven’t cornered loving your Significant Other yet, have they?

    • I never argued that Mormons have cornered the market on love or relationships. And I think you’re version of events is probably correct. Where the Manti story differs is that he consciously made the girlfriend part of his public persona. I can’t think of another football player, college or pro, that has done anything similar.

      And even if I’m way off in the example I chose, the fact remains that Mormon men do receive privileges from being partnered and those privileges can be used to harm women.

  2. I love reading your perspective on this, Mraynes. I had not thought to look at this story through the lens of Mormonism and gender, and I think your insights are important.

    I think you are right on on this in particular: “Additionally, having a girlfriend, even a fake one, probably protected Manti from having to participate in a culture that has proven itself to objectify and harm women–something that a good Mormon boy would hopefully be sensitive to.”

    I’d like to think that if he was a part of the hoax, perhaps he invented the girlfriend in order to have an excuse not to go to strip clubs or hire prostitutes or whatever. And if he wasn’t and honestly thought he was in a relationship, that would also have protected him from having to participate in activities he might have found unsavory. I think these are the kindest interpretations of this story.

  3. I also agree that football brings out some ugly behavior. However, hopefully the true conclusions can be drawn from the scriptures. We can see that those in marriage both benefit. From section 132 it says those in marriage, “shall come forth in the first resurrection…and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths-…to their exaltation and glory in all things.” Men and women are privileged to be married.

    I’ve thought a lot about some of the issues of Mormon feminists and while I think some are definitely issues in the church I also feel that a significant portion are strictly feminist arguments (and usually justified) but don’t have a good correlation to church doctrine. I think men and women, in and out of the church, would say things like “That’s MY husband” or “She’s MY girl”. Those statements don’t reflect true possession of another person. I haven’t found the Gospel to justify any man or woman who is violent and/or abusive. We might be ugly and horrifying at times as humans but the church doesn’t encourage that behavior.

    • Married Mormon women definitely receive privileges from marriage but as that was not the point of this post I didn’t feel the need to address it.

      As for your last point, the church and its doctrine is used to justify all sorts of horrifying things. I counsel Mormon victims of domestic violence on a frequent basis and almost uniformly these women have been told by either their husband and/or bishops that they belong to their partner in one sense or another and so therefore must put up with the abuse. And that’s my point, while it may not be the intention of this doctrine and most people won’t interpret it this way, it can be used, and is used to hurt women.

  4. I was recently watching an episode of Dr Phil. Three women were taken in a similar scheme. They all thought they were dating someone (whom they met online) . The relationship went on for three years before they realized the person wasn’t even male, but, female. Unfortunately, the internet, being what it is makes things like this possible. Its become the latest way to prank someone(anyone for that matter) and ruin and humiliate them publicly.

    I’m not sure if Manti is lying or telling the truth, I don’t know that we know enough about what actually took place. Hopefully, it will get sorted out

  5. “he consciously made the girlfriend part of his public persona.”
    I wouldn’t say that. He was on the phone with her all the time. If he was with friends they would speak to her on the phone. There was no way for him to keep the drama away from the public because he was famous.
    The perpetrators created tons of drama and this guy seems to have been a victim. Sure, the media and fans and everyone ran with the drama, but as far as I can tell he’d known her online for 3 years and it was the hoax perpetrators that kept upping the drama and reeling him into it. When she lost her father and he was the shoulder to cry on. When she was in a car accident and his family was on the phone with him all the time. When she was in a coma and people there claimed she stirred when she heard his voice. When she got luekemia and she wrote dramatic letters to him all the time.
    Anyway, this is about manipulation of emotion. He was manipulated into high drama situations that made him feel close to her.
    If that is how the hoax went, then I cannot agree with you that even if it was a hoax “Manti Te’o relied on a woman to provide him increased credibility and notoriety.”

  6. I’ve reread this and I still don’t get your point. Perhaps because I am a victim of this “catfish” hoax just like I believe Manti Te’o was (well, obviously he was victimized to a far greater degree). Somewhere on the bloggernacle someone mentioned this football player’s good qualities and I then looked him up and told my son some of his worthy qualities.
    I was wondering why I was reading about this hoax so much it so much and then I realized it was similar to 2005 when I read some stuff on a fake blog with fake people until it came out it was fake and then I couldn’t get enough of reading about it. I also was not one of the main victims but was still a victim nonetheless. It was and is fascinating as well as personal to me.
    I’ll never know all the details, but since I’m leaning towards Te’o being a victim (just like me) and maybe this post comes off as victim blaming. Maybe it isn’t victim blaming though. But anytime you say someone benefited from a perpetrator’s interaction is sounds like victim blaming.

    Is that what this post is about? That if he was a victim, he shouldn’t have wanted a girlfriend anyway because men wanting a girlfriend perpetuates poor gender roles?

    If Te’o is a victim, he was being manipulated and controlled. In fact, probably anytime he tried to change or make the calls in the relationship the perpetrators upped the drama to prevent him from it. If your girlfriend’s dad died you can’t push her for answers. If she is in a coma she can’t come see you, etc.

    My life isn’t ruined by this, just like it wasn’t when I happened to read fake stuff on a blog that I couldn’t really remember where I’d read what and by who. I’m sad for victims of this kind of stuff. Even sad for some perpetrators who didn’t know where the line was.

    Thanks for bringing it up so I can comment about it, even if I don’t get your post since it seems so far away from what the story really is.

  7. This was probably the wrong example to use for the point I am trying to make due to the sensational nature of this story. My point was obviously obscured and for that I apologize.

    First, I purposely don’t take a position on whether Manti was in on the hoax, mostly because I don’t care, and maybe I have misread this situation. But I still believe it is telling that, even with all the human drama, that Manti Te’o’s girlfriend became such a large part of his story.

    Regardless, the point of this post is that Mormon men gain something by being openly connected to a woman. My goal in this post, which I obviously didn’t accomplish, was to examine those privileges and see how they might negatively impact women.

  8. I don’t think you researched this story more than very superficially. Bad example of the point you were tying to make.

    • How about you give me a specific example instead of just making a drive-by comment? I’m happy to be wrong but as of yet nobody, including my football-obsessed husband, has shown me how.

  9. Sure
    ‘Either way, Manti Te’o relied on a woman to provide him increased credibility and notoriety’
    Completely untrue, Te’o already had credibility, he was a hero on campus and in large part because of his spirituality as well as his prowess on the field and off the field, the girlfriend lent no ‘credibility’ and he had nothing to gain by it.

    ‘only guilty of joining a tradition of Mormon men who have romanticized long-distance relationships.’
    It’s disingenuous to single out males as having a tradition of long distance relationships. Bethany makes this point above. It’s romantic ‘people’ that tend to romanticize LDRs

    Comments ‘he consciously made the girlfriend part of his public persona.’ That was a natural outcome of the fraud perpetrated on him, he’s famous and ND and others certainly knew the pain he was going through, talked about it and talked with him about it. How would it NOT end up attached with his public persona?

    As for seeing ‘Mormon gender implications’ I think that’s a stretch in this story’s case.

    I hope this young man is not too hurt by what was perpetrated. This column just gives the impression of pilling on a nice (albeit naive) young man. :(. Perhaps Mormon male naïveté would have been a much more on-point case study to make from this?

    • Point 1: I agree, Te’o already had credibility so there was no need to bring a girlfriend in to it. And yet he did. I don’t think having a girlfriend gave him anymore credibility with “the world”, my argument is that it is a subconscious need based in cultural/doctrinal Mormon expectations that Manti Te’o was playing out publicly.

      Point 2: As for LDR’s, it is a side point that doesn’t add much to the point of my post so I can concede that. Although I do think there is something interesting going on with mythic missionary love storie but I really don’t have the time to explore that now.

      Point 3: From all I’ve read on the subject, it is clear that Manti talked about his girlfriend to family members, teammates and the media well before he announced her death in September so I don’t see how this contradicts my point.

      Point 4: I think you’re holding the bar a little high here. No example will ever fit perfectly, I chose this one because it was in the news this week and worked well enough to go along with the actual point I was trying to make.

      To be fair, my husband informed me that my tone did come off as a little critical of Manti which probably led to your opinion that I am piling on him. I really was trying to be objective but I am sympathetic to Te’o. He just happened to be the pawn I chose this week in my nefarious, feminist plot to overthrow the patriarchy. ;)

      Cheers!

  10. No, this post is accurate and insightful, and the Te’o situation is a legitimate example.

    We talked about this today in priest’s quorum (I’m the advisor) and these 16-18 year old young men caught onto this, without prompting from me. Several of these young men mentioned how if they were in Te’o’s situation, they would want to have a serious relationship with a woman, but one where she was two time zones away. It would help with the immediate temptations that accompany being the BMOC, but you still get the benefit of being emotionally intimate and connected.

    I do not want to be unkind to Manti Te’o. God knows, when I was his age I did some pretty crazy things. However, he did promote this relationship, *even after he said he knew it was a hoax*. He has said that December 6th was the date he found out that he had been pranked, and ESPN has counted at least 4 times after that date where he spoke publicly, to reporters on TV, of his girlfriend as thought she were real. I think the most charitable approach to take is that he is basically a decent and somewhat naive young man who got caught up in something he didn’t quite know how to get out of. I also think that most of us can readily identify with that feeling, if we are honest with ourselves.

    • I don’t think you’re updated on the latest, ESPN did a 2 1/2 hour interview and posted the highlights. http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8859544/highlights-manti-teo-interview-jeremy-schaap He did not know it was a fraud on the 6th of Dec. the column is not accurate, and poorly researched, as far as ‘ insightful’ I guess that’s in the eye of beholder :)

      • “However, he did promote this relationship, *even after he said he knew it was a hoax*. He has said that December 6th was the date he found out that he had been pranked”
        Incorrect: see link I provided:

        JEREMY SCHAAP: People who question your story say, Jack Swarbrick said [Te'o] knew about this hoax on Dec. 6th, yet he continued to talk about his girlfriend in subsequent interviews on Dec. 8, for instance, at the Heisman Trophy ceremony. But you’re saying what? It was just unclear to you what was going on?

        MANTI TE’O: Yeah, I didn’t know. I didn’t know what was going on. For all I knew, she could have been really dead. I was trying to figure it out myself. I wasn’t sure myself what was going on.

        JEREMY SCHAAP: I went back and looked at the transcript, Jack Swarbrick never says you knew on Dec. 6 that it was a hoax. He only says that you got the phone call on Dec. 6?

        MANTI TE’O: Exactly.

        JEREMY SCHAAP: So people have made the leap that they shouldn’t have?

        MANTI TE’O: Yeah. They think that I found out it was a hoax on Dec. 6.

        JEREMY SCHAAP: That’s what everybody’s writing?

        MANTI TE’O: No, I got a call saying that she was alive on Dec. 6th.

        JEREMY SCHAAP: Which explains why you continued to talk about her?

        MANTI TE’O: Correct.

        JEREMY SCHAAP: But certainly your feelings must have been confused?

        MANTI TE’O: Yes, very confused.

        JEREMY SCHAAP: The fact that you continue to talk about her, why?

        MANTI TE’O: Because I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know what to believe. All I knew for sure in my head was that she died on Sept. 12th.

        JEREMY SCHAAP: Were you concerned that if you started changing your story in interviews then this would all come out?

        MANTI TE’O: No, because I wasn’t — I wasn’t really sure. I was confused. I didn’t know.

        JEREMY SCHAAP: You thought there might have been a Lennay Kekua that really did die on Dec. 12?

        MANTI TE’O: Yeah, there were a whole bunch of possibilities going through my head. She could have died. This could be U’i trying to pull a stunt on me.

      • I’m going to step in here and insist now that we actually deal with the substance of my post. It really is about much more than Manti Te’o. C. Rider, feel free to share your opinion on how my point isn’t insightful, though.

    • Thanks, Mark! It’s always nice to have you around these parts.

    • I have to agree with C. Rider and disagree with Mark Brown’s idea of the facts (which as requested I won’t bother with getting into details).

  11. Just listened to your first FMH DV podcast yesterday and realized it was the 3rd Saturday so I would probably read you on here!
    This is a fascinating deconstruction of the Manti Te’o situation. Thanks for opening my eyes to things I have missed as I’ve read about this!

    • I’m glad you got a chance to listen to that podcast and that you found me over here! Thanks for the nice comment.

  12. I’m trying to see your point without the Manti Te’o distracting from it. But I’m not sure what your actual point is. That football players and LDS men need to have a girlfriend for social status and to make themselves feel masculine? Your post starts off that you dislike football and that football players have scandals that often include sexual assault. But then it sounds like you want to discuss Mormon men benefitting from being romantically attached to women.

    I can maybe see a post that discusses how men have status based on relationships with women. Football players/athletes/politicians/powerful men need to be seen as wanted by many women. There hero status means women chase them and then they don’t even notice/believe when a woman says no. Rape doesn’t seem to detract from their masculinity.
    However, Mormon men have to have chaste only relationships with women. They should have a relationship with a woman that leads quickly to love and marriage. The Mormon community feels this is far more noble that the athlete/powerful man kind of relationships with women. We spend years indoctrinating our boys to try to get them to get married and be family men.
    I think this is a good thing. I see so many good happy Mormon marriages. I think it is beneficial in many ways.
    As a mother of a son who is going to spend time in football culture I will counteract the male athlete culture of treatment of women with the church’s teachings and feminist teachings. My son just got his first phone call from his “crush” where he had to turn her down when she asked him out. I came from a family of nerds so it will be very odd raising a very goodlooking football player as a son. As a feminist I care about raising my sons to not be rapists, not just raising my daughters to avoid being raped. But I am absolutely going to raise him to want to get married as well as treating his wife as a person.

    • I don’t know what to say, JKS, I just think you’re missing the point. Using a real world example to expound on a larger point is a pretty standard formula for us here at Exponent so perhaps you’re just getting caught up in the football thing because it hits too close to home for you? As for your other points, they’re good and I absolutely agree, they just aren’t related to the point of my post.

      My point is that people, in this case men, receive privileges from being married. I’m not arguing that marriage is bad and that men shouldn’t get married, just that they shouldn’t extend that to believe they own women. Unfortunately, our cultural expectation that men should be married (which is good) can lead some to use scriptural/doctrinal statements like those in D&C 132 to harm women (which is bad). This post and the example I used didn’t work for you–that’s fine but it doesn’t invalidate my point.

      • “Using a real world example to expound on a larger point is a pretty standard formula” Yes. And since I didn’t understand your point I was asking you to clarify. If there is a case for the Manti Te’o situation to showcase your point you didn’t manage to make it clear to me. If you would like to clarify how him being manipulated illustrates your point that would be interesting.

        “My point is that people, in this case men, receive privileges from being married. I’m not arguing that marriage is bad and that men shouldn’t get married, just that they shouldn’t extend that to believe they own women.” OK, if this is your point I completely agree. But there is still plenty to discuss and I would love to hear real world examples of this. Also, I think bringing up football culture is legitimate in this instance and as you can see above I find it interesting to compare the football culture and LDS culture. Are there similarities in feelings of “ownership” even if there are different expectations of sexual behavior?

        Just because I am married to a former football player and at least one of my sons is now a football player doesn’t mean I don’t want to think objectively about that culture. I am also LDS and I try to step back as see things from an objective perspective sometimes. And just because I think a catfishing hoax that duped so many people doesn’t support your point doesn’t mean I am not trying to discuss your point.

      • The reason I don’t want to go there is because it was not the point of the post.. Since you’re in agreement with my point there’s really nothing to argue about. I apologize that the example I chose was confusing, and I agree, exploring football culture would be interesting…but that’s a topic for another post. Thanks for engaging with me, JKS.

  13. Mraynes, I love the way you use Manti Te’o to show how Mormon culture privileges men in relationships. It shows the pervasiveness of patriarchy (one can’t be a patriarch if he’s not a father, after all) and I think you make a good case for how this culture affected Te’o.

    I particularly like what you said about Brigham Young’s quote. As a church, I think we do laugh at it, but on some level, we ostracize young men (more than young women) for being single.

    • Thanks, Emily!

  14. “Manti Te’o relied on a woman to provide him increased credibility and notoriety and he is certainly not the first Mormon man to do this. Indeed, unless a man is partnered with a woman, he is infantilized and mistrusted in the church. Everybody knows Brigham Young’s famous declaration that an unmarried man older than 25 is a menace to society. And while we laugh at the outrageousness of this opinion, we have instituted it as part of our culture and theology. For example, while both men and women need to be married in order to be exalted, our culture gives more latitude to women as to whether or not this happens in mortality.”

    Fantastic post, Mraynes! We rarely talk about the ways in which men, too, are gendered, and the ways that cultural constructions of masculinity play out in the lives of Mormon men. (Though it’s probably not surprising that we rarely talk about it, since masculinity studies is still quite new as a discipline.)

    I think the gender expectations placed upon American Mormon men are, in many respects, deeply complicated, particularly when those men are in the public eye. Mitt Romney and Manti Te’o have each managed to perform many ideals of American masculinity – Romney because of his political and business acumen and extraordinary financial success, and Te’o because of his exceptional athletic talent. But they also, as Mormon men, are performing masculinity within Mormon culture, and a great deal of current Mormon masculinity is defined by a specific model of ideal heterosexual married monogamy. It totally makes sense to me why Te’o, as (presumably) a good Mormon kid trying to balance the gendered expectations of those around him, would seek out a long distance relationship.

    • I think you very clearly articulated the connection I, not very successfully, was trying to make between Mormon men and the need to be partnered. Also, I love how you point out that we rarely gender men–you are absolutely right! We do this because masculinity is considered normative and so there is no gender to speak of. This is ridiculous, of course. We definitely need to undertake more of these exercises within Mormonism if we have any hope of showing men how they are negatively affected by patriarchy. Thanks for your comment, Galdarag!

  15. Not sure if I quite followed everything but I do want to add to mraynes post that I agree with her about LDS men receiving “brownie points” when they marry, ie: their wives are “given” to them via the temple sealing ceremony (see this recent post at Wheat and Tares http://www.wheatandtares.org/2013/01/17/temple-sealing/) I commented there that my X certainly believed that, which led to years of marital rape that he, and numerous p-hood leaders felt was ok. A reading of D & C 132 leads one to pretty specific doctrine of plural marriage, with women again being used as objects for men, which again fueled X’s belief that I was the beginning of his harem. After I married a NOMO and X remarried in the temple, I had my sealing to X cancelled – he was furious! Are YM sometimes told that if they serve a righteous mission they will find/get a “hot” wife as a reward? Are YW are constantly told to be uber modest and that they are the “keepers of virtue? Are the YM told the same? Yes, I do believe men in the LDS church can come to the (erroneous IMHO) conclusion that women are objects that they need and are entitled to to attain the CK. My X certainly thought so and could quote scripture and the temple to prove it! I will say at this point that I love being married to a NOMO, with no preconceived ideas about “owning” me. His mind is unsullied with convoluted with LDS beliefs. Our marriage is between two equals and we respect each other, even with our differences. I no longer worry about doing EVERYTHING a Mormon woman “should” do, I am simply me…and new DH loves me because I am ME. I feel sad for the young football player. I think young LDS men are pressured to find a woman and “take” her to the temple, an I agree with a previous post here that supposes having a g-friend may have given him an out from going to strip joints, etc, and that is good. Too bad it was all so public and humiliating.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience here, Sherry. Yours is exactly the kind of story I was thinking of when writing this post and unfortunately, I have heard way too many of them. You provided several other excellent examples of how our culture contributes to the belief of men like your ex-husband that they own their partner. It is one of the darkest aspects of our religion and one that is incredibly painful to see. Stories like yours help us to see and that is so important. Thank you again for sharing.

  16. Thank you mraynes for being on the forefront as you minister to women in situations like mine. Unfortunately I had no one to turn to during the years other than finally reading about abuse and talking with two trusted female friends. I can’t begin to tell you how horrible it was to be at BYU in the mid to late 70′s when the marital rapes began and to feel I was the one who was defective. I gathered up my courage several times over the course of our lengthy marriage to tell bishops but was met with either bewilderment or told to go home and do my duty. I find it telling that the people who believed me were non LDS then later my SP. Long, long story. As I sit on the cusp of turning 60, I am deeply blessed to be married to a NOMO. I dated LDS men after my divorce but as soon as I told them I had nine kids and was going to college, they couldn’t run away fast enough! Sad that they wanted a playmate and/or a submissive woman. I wish we, as women, could tell out church letters what its’ like to be abused by “good” LDS men and why these men feel that it’s their right to abuse their wives.

  17. “Everybody knows Brigham Young’s famous declaration that an unmarried man older than 25 is a menace to society.”

    ” And while we laugh at the outrageousness of this opinion, we have instituted it as part of our culture and theology”

    Personally, I do not think we have “instituted” this as part of out culture.

    More importantly, Brigham Young never said this. It is completely false. Getting all worked up and basing arguments on things that are not even real is a huge waste of time and effort. Let alone perspective.

    • Why does that not surprise me :/

      • C. Rider, consider this your second warning. Either contribute something meaningful to the conversation or move along.

    • ‘Personally, I do not think we have “instituted” this as part of out culture.”

      Then please explain why it is as soon as a young man has returned from serving a mission, they are pushed to marry.

      • The only thing I have ever experienced is young men being told not to delay marriage due to education, employment etc.

        I have never experienced a Church leader encouraging a newly returned missionary to pursue marriage immediately. Older single men, yes. Newly returned missionaries, never.

      • Davis, I didn’t see this comment before responding to your initial comment. I understand that you’ve never experienced this but plenty of men have, including many in my own family. I have heard countless stories of returned/returning missionaries who have been pressured by their mission president, bishop and/or stake president to get married quickly. This does happen. I also am aware of several talks by general authorities bemoaning the new practice of “hanging out” rather than dating.

    • I appreciate you setting the record straight about the veracity of this quote, Davis. I disagree, however, that this somehow shows a lack of perspective. This is an often-referred to statement, despite its apparent lack of credibility. I would say that you are probably in the minority of people who actually know this, a fact which is telling in and of itself. It may be a waste of time to get worked up over thing that are not real, but this is a real statement in LDS culture, despite it’s not being attributable to Brigham Young, and completely worthy of being analyzed. Additionally, I would love to hear your specific opinions on how we haven’t instituted this as part of our culture.

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