#hearLDSwomen: My Leaders Assume My Husband Is My Superior and Permission-Giver

The stake clerk emailed my husband to ask him to attend a meeting with the stake president and to “bring your wife.” When we got there, he wanted to talk to me. I was so livid I almost walked out after giving him more than a few pieces of my mind. He defended his actions by saying that my husband was “the head of our family.” My husband backed me up calling BS on that one. It was particularly irksome because it was done via email. How hard would it have been to email both of us? Seriously.
– Lori LeVar Pierce

 

Something as simple as a home teacher asking for my husband when wanting to set up an appointment for home teaching while I am right on the phone, or asking my husband if I can give a talk in sacrament is pretty annoying. I always would just say, you can talk to me about that. So small but undermining.

When I was a single mom, the bishop would not let any other home teacher in my home because I was single…he did it himself. I loved him; he was a wonderful man and made sure that we had blessings and asked about temporal needs, but it offended me if I am honest that just my singleness made me a risk…I mean, I would have to participate in something inappropriate and would never do that, so it always bothered me…maybe I am wrong on that.
– Sherry Andersen

 

In my last ward they did fast offering collection religiously. If my husband and I fasted, we paid fast offerings with our tithing, so it didn’t make sense for us to donate through people coming to our door. My husband was on the verge of leaving the church when they knocked on the door one Sunday. I answered and told the man at the door that we didn’t have anything to donate that day. He looked at me and said, “Is your husband home?” I looked at him with disbelief. My husband heard this and came to the door. The man asked my husband if we had fast offerings this month and my husband, in anger, told him my answer should have been sufficient and told him not to come back. I felt like such a child that day. This was from a man in the ward who I respected because he had such a nuanced and intelligent perspective.
– Alisha U.

 

One Sunday, as ward organist, I was playing prelude. Sacrament Meeting was to start in like 3 minutes. The bishop’s counselor came up to me and told me the stake president wanted to meet with me. I said ok, after the meeting. He said no, they wanted to meet with me right then. I pointed out the meeting was about to start; he said it could wait.

Turns out they had my husband in the office and had extended a call for him to be the executive secretary but had to do the formality of asking me if I would support him. They wanted to make the change that day, so I said I always support my husband in his callings.

But when I left the office and went back to the meeting, I thought, yeah. I should support his calling just like you guys have just supported mine.
– Anonymous

 

When an issue arose with one of our children at church, my husband and I discussed how we wanted to handle it with the leaders. When we met with our bishop, I acted as spokesperson because it’s more my strength than my husband’s.

Our bishop didn’t like our response, so a few nights later at Scouts, he pulled my husband aside to talk “man to man.” We think he assumed that without me there, he could get my husband to come around to his point of view.
– Natalie G.

 

Pro Tip: Treat women and men equally. Women are their own agents; their husbands are not their superiors, over-rulers, or permission-givers.


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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3 Responses

  1. Dani Addante says:

    Shortly after I got married, my husband and I went to meet with the bishop for tithing settlement, and the bishop told me that “the priesthood holder is the head of the family.” I was speechless then because I had never heard someone say that directly to me before, but the next time someone says that, I’m going to speak up next time. I will tell them that there is no head of the family in my family. If a husband and wife are equal partners, then aren’t they both the heads of the family?

  2. Risa says:

    When we moved into our current ward almost 10 years ago it was a new neighborhood with a lots of new homes being built. The ward was completely overwhelmed with newcomers and so they had on the Sacrament program every week a spot to fill out for new families to give to the bishopric, because they were afraid of missing any newbies and their records transfers. On the program it had a spot to list head of household, spouse, and children. I put in an S after the head and wrote both my husband’s and my name. It’s better to let the new people know you’re the feminist subversive right away.

  3. Liffey Banks says:

    Reading these anecdotes makes me feel like I’m going to break out in hives.

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