#hearLDSwomen: My Bishop Told Me to Hide My Intelligence So a Man Would Want Me

On the church hallway bulletin board, encouragement for all of us single ladies: “When the odds are one in a million, be that one.” (I don’t fault the person who created this, rather I fault the culture that created this.)
– Swiss Miss

 

I’m single and childless. I have been informed in countless ways for literally decades now about how basically my entire existence is “less than”.
– Kristin

 

I was single for a long time and got married a year ago. Right before I got married and moved, I was asked to give a talk about marriage. I told them no; why would I want to talk on that with no experience? They asked me to speak on something else asinine, and I had to explain no, that was hurtful too. Finally, I agreed to talk on the Family Proclamation, and while I didn’t really want to, I just chose to focus on the better parts and left out the gender roles crap. I’m sure I surprised my bishopric member by saying no, but why would a long time single lady want to talk about marriage?
– Sarah

 

I was called in for a random interview after a new bishop was called for my Young Single Adult ward. At the time, I was working on a double master’s degree. As I excitedly started to talk about my academic focus, he cut me off and asked what I was doing to find an “eternal companion and fulfill my divine role as a wife and mother.” He then went on to explain how I shouldn’t talk about my academic and professional achievements so much or “boast” about it because it would limit my dating pool. No guy wants to be with a woman who’s smarter than him. I think I did manage to say something along the lines of “I wouldn’t want to be with someone that couldn’t love all of me” and that I was okay waiting for the right man.
– Kelly Boren

 

At 30, when I was still single, I was counseled by my bishop (who was normally fairly great) that I needed to hide my intelligence from the guys because you don’t want to scare the rabbit before you get it in the trap.
– Beez

 

Pro Tip: Women are whole people whether they’re in a relationship or not. Always encourage women to be their whole selves.


Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

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11 Responses

  1. lisalynne24 says:

    Note to Bishop: Most men are married to women who are smarter than them in many ways. The fact that he doesn’t know this demonstrates my point. Ignorant arrogance in authority is lethal.

  2. MJ says:

    My step-grandma used to tell me I needed to “dumb down” if I ever wanted to get married. It was all she talked to me about for years. I got married when I was 28. She told me at my wedding that she was “so relieved”, no congratulations. She was horrified when my cousin (who was all of 23 and single) went to law school. I know part of it was a generational thing, but mostly, it was a church thing.

  3. Rita says:

    Honestly, not hiding my intelligence was the best way for ME to weed out the guys who weren’t a good match for me. If they didn’t like how smart I was, they would just go away. (Yes!) Then when I finally met my husband, I knew I liked him right away when he was attracted to my intelligence and accomplishments. Too bad there aren’t more Mormon men like that.

  4. MJC says:

    I hear you! The LDS men that I dated during college (BYU) and afterward were often intimidated by my level of education, the scope of my interests, my love of the arts and my being a professional musician. Rather than thinking that these things might be wonderful attributes for a wife and possibly a mother to have in order to enrich any relationship, I was constantly being told by my mom, relatives, guys that I had dated and others that I was too smart, too cultured and too independent for my own good. I got engaged to a “model” LDS RM who, as our engagement wore on started harping on the same thing. Trying to be meek and stupid just about sent me around the bend. I got out of that engagement none too soon. Ex-fiancé’s mother told me later on that if we’d married he was going to COMMAND me in the name of the PREISTHOOD to give up my music! Ironically, when I dated non-LDS men they loved all my “objectionable” traits! Our LDS men and boys, especially along the Mormon Corridor, have been culturally trained to expect pliant, quiet, submissive women who give up the right to think and do for themselves thereby ensuring that men run the show at home and at church. This DOES NOT honor our Heavenly Parents! They’ve blessed each of us women with intellects and specific gifts and talents that we should be using to bless and uplift everyone we know. I’m not sure how we go about changing the Church culture, but we can begin at home as my husband and I did when raising our son to teach our sons to cherish intelligent and talented women.

    • ElleK says:

      I gotta say, I’m pretty unimpressed that your potential MIL wasn’t planning on giving you this information before you married her peach of a son.

    • Carmina says:

      “I’m not sure how we go about changing the Church culture, but we can begin at home as my husband and I did when raising our son to teach our sons to cherish intelligent and talented women.”

      I wish there were more people like you and your husband in the world – and especially in the church. We need more parents who encourage their sons to date intelligent, thoughtful, talented women who know how to think for themselves!

  5. Andrew R. says:

    “he was going to COMMAND me in the name of the PREISTHOOD to give up my music!”

    And in doing so would be saying “Amen” to his priesthood. You can’t try to stop someone using their God given talents. The guy was obviously nuts, as too was his mother.

  6. For heaven’s sake: it’s 2019! Where do those idiots live?

  7. M says:

    Life is too short and too precious to bury your gifts.

  8. Robin B says:

    As an LDS woman with a PhD I know I have a choice: I can remain single, or I can marry outside the church. It breaks my heart.

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