The Face of Mormonism

I’m a fan of the “. . . and I’m a Mormon” PR campaign. (See also here.) The videos and profiles reflect the eclectic diversity of saints that I’ve known and loved in my wards across the country.  They deliberately strike at the notion that homogeneity is the keystone to being a Good Mormon.

Check out this latest entry: international, working mom, stay-at-home dad. When have you ever seen a stay-at-home dad extolled through official church channels?  A beautiful family and a lovely addition to this on-going video diary of saints.  Your thoughts?

We expect that the people running Mormon.org will receive a lot of negative emails about this profile which doesn’t showcase prescribed gender roles. Please consider sending a letter or giving some online feedback (see below) to let them know that we appreciate profiles like this which highlight Mormon families in all their diversity.

LETTER: Missionary Department, 50 E North Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150

ONLINE FEEDBACK: Go to www.mormon.org, scroll all the way to the bottom, click on the feedback link, then click on the type of feedback you want to give (i.e.compliment) and once you write out what you want to say it will ask for some personal information (unless you want to remain anonymous which is okay too) and then click submit. It will give you a printable version of your letter which you can then print out and mail as well.

Deborah

Deborah is K-12 educator who nurtures a healthy interest in reading, writing, running, ethics, mystics, and interfaith dialogue.

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12 Responses

  1. Kelly Ann says:

    Thank you Deborah for this link. It is good to see it modeled as I know several families who have stay-at-home dads and feel out of place in the church. It is interesting though when I look back to my BYU days over ten years ago and realize how many student fathers I knew balancing a major portion of the child care while their wife worked. I think it is unfortunate that it hasn’t been modeled longer. And while this is great, I also think it is unfortunate that it is portrayed as the financially viable solution … what about those mothers who want to work while the dad wants to stay home?

  2. Wow! When are we going to see this kind of model in our RS lessons?

  3. james says:

    I want to be encouraged by the site, but know far too many stories of other profiles created and presented, but rejected by the church. There is clearly a fine line here, the church can’t accept whatever story is presented in this campaign and I understand that they must censor to a degree. The allowed profiles often include some nuanced approaches to the church and that is positive – encouraging. My own profile, after 6 months, was published and my answers are not main-line LDS pablum – again encouraging.

    Time will tell.

    • MB says:

      Because this is PR I think they’re looking for interesting and at least mildly engaging stories.
      I would assume that if I submitted one and it was rejected it would be because my life is actually rather unremarkable or that they already had a whole bunch like mine.
      Congratulations on your interesting life, James!

  4. Hydrangea says:

    I too love this stereotype-breaking Mormon campaign. It’s exciting. I’ve wasted years lamenting that I wasn’t churchy enough and wondering what people think. I realize now that God wants us to be ourselves, our best selves. He wants us to embrace who we are. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Olive says:

    My thoughts? Its a sham.

    Sure, focus on a handful of exciting, talented, successful families…where the mother has a career or travels the world, or the father stays home with the kids, and everything is great! That is not the true face of Mormonism, and its not what they teach us every week in class, or in general conference, or in the proclamation of the family.

    It has been said over and over, women stay home unless you HAVE to work and its unavoidable. And even then, be prepared to feel ostracized or guilted for not doing your eternal duties correctly.

    Its a nice way to get non-members to not think of us as freaks. But its not the norm. I don’t think I know a handful of Mormons like that- and if they are, they are seen as “too liberal” or “too unorthodox”, they are certainly not made Bishops or Relief Society Presidents.

    • rachel says:

      amen, olive, amen. you took the words out of my mouth.

      i wish i could get behind this campaign, but it feels like false advertising considering what is preached at church.

  6. Alisa says:

    Like Olive, I at first had a negative reaction to the video. I am a working mom, and my husband stays home with our 1-year-old. I should love a video like this, right?

    But I felt there was some false advertising. That only Mormon.org, which is run by the missionary department of the Church, could promote a mother of a young child choosing to work outside the home, but that the rest of the Church would slam her for what she’s doing. I mean, just look at the Institute manuals (that were updated just last year) on the subject of working mothers: http://institute.lds.org/manuals/eternal-marriage-student-manual/m2-mothers.asp . This kind of stuff makes me so angry.

    But then I realized that there was a backlash against the video — not for what I call the “false advertising” aspect of it — but for this woman talking about making the right choice for her family, even though it’s against the mainstream. At that point I decided I had to get behind this video. Even if it’s just the missionary department right now, maybe other leaders or people in authority will pay attention to how this plays out. And what we need is more faithful women speaking up and speaking out about making choices that are right for their families and owning those decisions, even if they are not the norm.

    Although, a note on it not being the norm. In my ward, a slight majority of the mothers are working outside the home. Two presidency members (one in primary) work at Eddie Bauer, part time. The RS pres works full-time as a school teacher. Even most of the stay-at-home moms sell Mary Kay or Avon or Pampered Chef or jewelry or whatever.

    So rather than saying that the video of a working mom of a young child doesn’t match the real Church, I’d disagree. Even in Utah, it wouldn’t be too far off for a large number of LDS moms. What is just doesn’t match is the teachings, and the Institute manuals, and the BYU Marriage and Family class curriculum, and what some people are saying in GC. Aside from Irene Caso’s high-profile/near-celebrity status as a broadcaster, I think the scenario of a working mom is actually very common. We just need to come out and say so, and hopefully the creaters of the curricula, manuals, and talks on the subject will begin to change.

    • Caroline says:

      Alisa, that manual you linked to is positively primitive! I’m astounded that would be published in this day and age. What is so maddening to me is that the subject of women working is invariably treated as something women do either for the extra toys they want or to support their families in cases of divorce or desperation. What about a woman working because she has talents to share and develop, communities to build, something to offer the world?

    • Aimee says:

      I agree with you, Alisa, in that if these depictions of more unconventional Mormon families were being embraced by the general membership of the Church, we would be in a much better place. That said, I’m going to remain suspicious about the “and I’m a Mormon” campaign until I see the Church showing these less conventional profiles in materials going out to the membership at large (i.e. General Conference, BYU TV, The Ensign, LDS.org, etc.).

      That said, if this campaign has the (what I’m sure is a very unintended) effect of getting mainstream Mormons to embrace more egalitarian models of parenting and providing an income, I would be more than willing to send this link to every Mormon that I know. Sadly, I think these links are more likely to get sent by Mormons to their non-Mormon friends to show that they aren’t weird even though they don’t embrace this family as the ideal themselves.

  7. Alisa says:

    I also heard that the First Presidency has to approve these videos? If that’s true, and they approved this one, Bravo!

  8. Spunky says:

    I am pleased that they church is showing some different aspects of Mormonism… in the first ward I lived in when I moved to California about 15 years ago (no longer there)- the Relief Society president was an attorney (she later ran for and won a local office), and her husband was a stay at home dad. Now, the dad was “officially” unemployed due to a layoff… which frnakly I thought was deeming to him… many people, under their breath would shake their heads and say “I wish he could find work”– but the sentiment was for him to find work for his self-esteem, not because the family needed the money or anyone expected this woman to give up her very sucessful career. It is so twisted that this isn’t a consideration for (I think) most Mormon women who are SAHM’s– they are not “unemployed”, and depression isn’t assumed to be fixed by finding a job, but by going to therapy or doing arts and crafts.

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