#hearLDSwomen: After My Proudest Performance for My Degree, I Was Told It Didn’t Matter Because I Should Just Get Married and Be a Mom
When I was a freshman at BYU-I, the bishopric in my ward wanted to interview all of us to start the semester off. I ended up meeting with one of the counselors. When we sat down, he asked if I was seeking a “M.R.S.” degree. I didn’t get it at first because I wasn’t accustomed to the LDS marriage culture. I was totally clueless and confused. When I realized what he said, I laughed uncomfortably and then told him my deepest ambitions…like getting a BFA and then getting my master’s so I could teach art at any level. These are things I’d been wanting to do since childhood. He stared me down, and then said, “Well what if you meet someone here?” Immediately I felt uneasy, since my parents had always encouraged me to go as far as I can with my education. Why was he not happy with that, and seriously why would I spend all the time and money on education if all I was here to do was “meet someone”? I answered, “I’m sure we will figure that out together”. Which was the wrong answer. Now he’s almost glaring at me, and next he is explaining why I need to be thinking about my future husband and his career, and our need to start a family. I was crushed. All I could say was, “I’m not even dating anyone right now”. I left that meeting thinking, “Am I wrong? Was he somehow inspired to tell me this?”. Sadly, then I didn’t know the difference then between inspiration and his personal bias. This one horrible conversation derailed me, and pulled my confidence out from under my feet. I started feeling anxious about dating, like maybe I’m supposed to find a husband and not worry about my love for art. Oh how I wish I never had that interview. It changed me, but luckily I’ve found myself again.
I was about a week away from leaving my hometown in Missouri for my first semester at BYU. I was talking to someone in my ward about being excited about starting college and going to BYU. They asked me what I planned to study. One of the counselors in the bishopric heard us talking and decided to butt in with his opinion that “it doesn’t matter what she studies. Her job is to go to BYU and accept the proposal of the first returned missionary that asks her to marry him.” I laughed, thinking it was a joke. Turns out he was serious.
I had a hard time figuring out what to major in and one of my guy friends said, “Well, it doesn’t really matter what you major in. You’re going to be a mom!”
I had someone tell me after one of my proudest performances in my undergraduate degree for music performance that it was nice but didn’t actually matter because I should just get married and be a stay at home mom. I was so hurt.
Pro Tip: See women as people apart from their relationships (or potential relationships) to others, such as marriage or motherhood. Women’s career choices and aspirations are valid and deserving as much respect as men’s.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)