#hearLDSwomen: When My Husband Was Inactive, My Bishop Told Me I’d Never Hold Important Callings

Recently, I was sealed to and married to a wonderful man whose parents had different relationships with the church. His father is a strong, wonderful man who struggles with his faith. His mother is a devout, two-time cancer survivor and has worked for years to be able to attend the temple with her children. He and I wanted to honor our mothers by having them sign as witnesses on the legal marriage certificate provided by the city we were married in. We were told that the priesthood bearers acting as the witnesses for our sealing were the only people allowed to sign. This was not a legal, state matter, but rather a policy given by the First Presidency. I’m happy to have a priesthood holder witness the eternal, spiritual sealing marriage but why can’t my mother sign the temporal, legal paperwork?
– Kell

 

Many years ago, I was called as assistant cubmaster and my husband was called as cubmaster, because … you know …

I told the member of the bishopric issuing the call that I would accept on one condition: that I be cubmaster and my husband be the assistant, since that would be how the work load would happen regardless. He looked stunned. He eventually picked his chin up off the floor and said he would talk to the bishop. The callings did indeed get reversed. Many people were unsettled by a woman having her husband be her assistant, but that’s their problem.
– Suzanna Rickard Nope

 

I’d been struggling with the POX (exclusion policy for LGBT families) and some history and finally stopped attending church. No contact from anyone in my ward. After a few months, my husband stopped attending. You guessed it, “ministering visits”.
– Anonymous

 

When my husband was inactive, I was told by a bishop that I would never hold important callings….important? I knew that what he said wasn’t true, I had seen amazing women hold callings with inactive husbands…. it still hurt…and I doubled down on my poor husband to conform to what looked like the perfect family…..

He’s active now 15 years later, but I think it did irreparable harm…. as I step back now…..
– ReNee A McDonald

 

Here’s a funny thing: lots of times it’s other women who try to reinforce the traditional culture. My husband is a fantastic cook and likes to try new recipes. Despite the fact that we’ve mainly be ignored since we quit attending, my husband bakes yummy treats and takes them to people, including the bishop’s family. So I’ll get a random text thanking me for the treats and saying how good they were. Usually I don’t even know where my guy delivered them. So I respond to these texts and let them know there’s no need to thank me, as I had nothing to do with it. Why do they assume that I do the cooking? I used to, but not since my job has longer hours I really don’t cook or bake anymore.
– Anonymous

 

I sent my youngest daughter to Fathers and Sons campout because I thought it was stupid that she couldn’t go with her dad. Also, I had a wonderful friend who was widowed young and had 5 sons, and when fathers and sons came along the bishopric offered to take the boys, and she told them she was taking them. They were so uncomfortable and suggested she would feel awkward and really tried to discourage her. She did it anyway.
– Sherry Andersen

 

Pro Tip: Women in the church are marginalized in many ways–large and small–when men’s roles are seen as (and, in actuality, are) more important. When the church and its leaders place priority on retaining and reactivating men, women notice.


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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9 Responses

  1. Jessa says:

    I’m so disappointed to learn that women can’t sign the legal marriage license! I’m getting married in December and was hoping our mothers could be our legal witnesses. It’s perfectly reasonable to have both parents officially stand as witnesses for their kid’s wedding.

    • violadiva says:

      But the tricky thing is that anyone present at the wedding ceremony can sign the legal paperwork. The temple folks were wrong in this regard.

  2. Dani Addante says:

    I think it makes no sense that only men are allowed to sign the marriage certificate for temple marriages. By the way, does anyone know if women are allowed to sign the certificate for a wedding held at the church? I once attended a church wedding and saw two men sign the certificate as witnesses. I don’t know if this was just a coincidence or a policy.

  3. Princess Charlie says:

    Two of our last four RS presidents had husbands who I’d never seen at church. A third was a single professional.

  4. Em says:

    I always find it ironic that on one hand you hear talks that “no calling is more important than any other” and “the nursery leader is as much called of God as the prophet” — but the example of lowly that we give is always nursery leader, so clearly we all know where that stands in the unspoken hierarchy. I’m willing to bet that the bishop who said she’d get no “important” callings would, in another context, state with no sense of inconsistency that all callings are equally important. Sometimes I wish we could just be honest with ourselves and not insist on speaking out of both sides of our mouths. Either every calling is equally valuable and so the insight and inspiration holds equal weight, or they aren’t. Since it is self-evident that our culture has a hierarchy of the value and power and prestige of callings let’s just admit it instead of suggesting that people who call out the power differential are nuts.

    • Moss says:

      Just once I’d like to see an entire sacrament meeting dedicated to the calling of a new nursery leader. We’d hear from the outgoing leader, the incoming leader, and their spouses. Their parents would come from out of town for their setting apart. Then I’d know that all callings were equally valued.

    • Ziff says:

      Oh my gosh, Em and Moss, I could not agree more. It is laughable when people defend the idea that there’s no hierarchy of callings. I recall when Elder Oaks gave his (in)famous talk responding to OW and he talked about a stake president being released to serve in the nursery that I *saw* *red*! Like hello, you, Elder Oaks, are in a calling where you will *never* be released to go serve in the nursery. Let’s not pretend that’s not a thing, or that you’re not commenting on the movement from SP to nursery leader because it’s *unusual*.

      (Here’s the link to his talk: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2014/04/the-keys-and-authority-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng)

  5. I have been “inactive” for just over a year. My husband still attends. No one has every reached out to me. Ever. None. My sister and her husband went inactive as well and the stake president and bishop both visited them. I believe it is because they are more concerned about the activity of a priesthood holder. Am I just imagining this?

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