Should Mormon Men Have Retreats Too?
Last weekend , Brooke, Amelia, and I went to the Rocky Mountain Mormon Women’s Retreat in Colorado. Despite the nearly two full days of travel it entailed, I loved it. There were about 40 women there, ranging from age 28 to 70-ish. We ate, we met people we only knew through cyber-space, we told our stories, we walked in the beautiful Colorado mountains, we listened to panels and presentations. A great time. This was my second LDS women’s retreat. Two years ago I attended the Exponent Retreat with Jana and also loved it. There, as well as at the Colorado retreat, I could feel various women’s relief as they talked about questions, feelings, and experiences they didn’t feel comfortable sharing with other Mormon women in Church-sponsored settings. It was cathartic for many of them to be figuratively held in the arms of this small group of Mormon women as they told of their spouses’ divergent spiritual paths, or of the sadness of knowing that their singleness has prevented them from ever having children. And for me it was a transcendent experience of empathy as I listened to them and tears freely rolled down my face.
As I boarded the plane home, I couldn’t help but wonder why Mormon men don’t also have retreats. (or do they?) Is it because so many of them are already overstretched with professions, church callings, and families? Is it because they feel like they can say everything they want to say in Church-sponsored settings? Is it because they just aren’t all that interested in bonding emotionally with other men?
And if you are a woman who has enjoyed retreats, what about them has been appealing to you?