Sunday, September 13, 2009


Some of you may wonder what exactly are the religious issues I struggle with. Sometimes I forget what they are entirely; sometimes they're all I remember. I will share just one (kind of two actually), and I am not going to provide much commentary - I am not ready to get ex'd for being an apostate on the internet!

My oldest son will be turning 8 in November. I have always thought there should be no set age where everyone is encouraged to be baptized. Some children are very spiritual from young ages. Some are just going along with what everyone else is doing. I have always tried to present it as a choice: "if you believe the Church is true and decide to be baptized" rather than "when you get baptized when you turn 8". But there's my first problem - I don't like that baptism is considered pretty much automatic at age 8.

Secondly, I mentioned to my son that The Ex probably wouldn't be able to come back here to baptize him (I did not mention anything about him being able to do it, just treated it as a distance/travel issue). I asked him who he would like to have baptize him instead. He chose me. I was very sorry to tell him that that simply was not a possibility. He was very sorry to hear it. I am far from a stereotypical feminist, but I do have some feminist leanings. Despite those leanings, I've never been upset that women can't hold the Priesthood. I know many women want it, but I never have. But I was very sad that if my son's father couldn't do this for him, that I couldn't step up -- I didn't even have the option. His next choice was his friend's father. The father was recently baptized himself, and I'm not sure if he's ordained. If he can't do it, my son will be baptized by someone who has very little personal influence on him. Of course the ordinance will still be just as valid, but it's nice to have it be a personal thing too.


Chandelle said...

As for the first concern, I agree. I don't think there should be an explicitly or implicitly compulsory age for baptism. I find the age of 8 especially problematic because, in terms of child development, children are so tuned in to their parents' wishes and unlikely to make very independent decisions at this time. In the end, it should be nobody's decision but your child's when or if he gets baptized. I like your approach of presenting it as a choice, but I know plenty of people who say they present it as a choice while making it clear that really, there's only one right decision.

As for the second concern, I just want to make it clear that for feminists, it's not so much that they *want* the priesthood. That makes it sound like some hunger for power. Really, it's about feeling that there's no real reason why women *couldn't* or *shouldn't* have the priesthood. I spoke of this in my email, of feeling that it's wrong to equate priesthood and motherhood. I believe that fatherhood should be equated with motherhood, so that leaves something hanging with priesthood. You know that I have strong feelings in favor of egalitarian relationships, and that I believe that *parents* should preside, side by side, in equal partnership, rather than one person leading by virtue of his accidental genitalia.

That's all I'll say about that. I definitely don't mean to open up a debate - just clarifying that opinion. (Though really I probably muddied it up.)

Katie said...

That's a good point about saying it's a choice, but it's really not. I hope I'm not doing that. But of course you're right about their development and being tuned into their parents. So no matter what I say, he'll sense what I feel. Although if that's true, he'll sense a lot of conflicting emotions!

Katie said...

Also, I do appreciate the clarification. I agree that it's important to make it clear that I don't mean they/we are 'power hungry'.

I don't mind debate, but if people want more clarity on this topic, they should just go over to feministmormonhousewives!

You know what I find interesting? All of the FMH core bloggers are very feminist, believe in equality like you've said, and none are divorced. It makes perfect sense, although traditionalists would lead you to believe the opposite effect would occur.

Chandelle said...

Yes, fMh is certainly informative regarding faithful Mormon feminism. :)

I have seen a few articles about the connection between egalitarian relationships and marital longevity. It makes sense to me, completely, why it would be true that people would be more inclined to WANT to stay together in such a situation. There's even some indication that committed gay relationships might be quite stable for this reason - removing sex differences might reduce some of the power struggle.

At the same time, patriarchal/traditional marriages might have longevity whether the participants want it or not, just because of duty or the belief that divorce is a sin, or that nothing is worthy of divorcing short of abuse, or that all that is needed to make a relationship worthwhile is shared faith, etc.

So there are really too many variables to be able to say that one is better than the others, and I wouldn't say that one *is* better than the other. For me, certainly, I could not survive a relationship that wasn't egalitarian in nature. Others - including women - feel exactly the opposite.

I know many of the fMh permabloggers quite well and they don't have perfect relationships, obviously, but they do have relationships that strive for equality and mutual fulfillment and success outside of stereotypical or prescribed expectations. That shared support is something that forms the foundation of my own partnership.

Okay, rambling... :)