In this week's installment, I'll be posing as Andrew, a married man whose wife doesn't want him to convert to LDS.
You are speaking live with Jule', who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Information provided in this session is to provide assistance only and is not an official statement of the Church.
Jule': His this is Jule' and Kenzi, how can we help you?
Me: Hi I'm really interested in the Church of LDS, but my wife has a lot of hesitations.
Jule': What can we do to help?
Me: Well, I wanted some reassurance for her that she won't be treated any differently if she's a member of this church. She's a science teacher at a local community college, and wants to keep working. Also, she doesn't want to have children.
Jule': God will provide a way for everything to work out for the best if you follow his teachings.
(Is this seriously the best response you can come up with?)
Me: well, can you answer some marriage and family life questions for me?
Jule': Of course we can.
(Then why did you give me that craptastic pat answer before?)
Me: Do many women in LDS work in academic careers?
Jule': I don't know an exact number, but many women in the church have very academic careers and degrees.
Me: Excellent. That's certainly a relief.
She's been worried I would ask her to give up her career to become a stay-at-home mother.
Jule': Education is highly encouraged in our religion.
Me: Really? It seems to me that most LDS youth are encouraged to engage in missionary work, rather than seeking a college degree.
(Cause who needs an education when the rapture's on its way?)
Jule': They are encouraged to do both. Education is stronly advised for both men and women.
Me: So they go to college while doing missionary work, or beforehand?
Jule': Usually afterwards, but some go for a little before they leave on a mission. I personally received my Associates Degree and will work on my Bachelor's when I get home.
(Good for you honey! College=good, unless of course it's BYU.)
Me: Are you a woman?
Me: Do you think it's okay for a woman in LDS to never have children - on purpose?
Jule': It's a personal decision between a husband, wife and God.
(God, in LDS, talks only to male prophets, so that's sort of like giving hubby two votes, including the veto power.)
Me: Would other members of the church look down on her for not wanting children? This is a really big concern for her.
Jule': People are different. It depends on the people in the area, but we are encouraged not to look down on anyone and love everyone no matter the choices they make.
(That sounds so sweet - you'd never guess the Mormon church spent oodles on making sure gay Californians couldn't get married!)
Me: She says that women in LDS have fewer opportunities, and that she wants to be free to dress, think, and behave as she wants. What do you think?
Jule': We are not given any fewer opportunities than anyone else. I'm not quite sure what you mean by the think and behave part of the question though.
Me: Well, what are the rules or sort of guidelines for women in LDS?
Jule': The same rules apply to the men as to the women.
Me: But, since I'm head of the household, obviously some things will be different. I mean, I get the final say, right?
(I'm sure she'll say no to this now, but later on when I ask if I should just convert anyway and threaten to leave my wife if she doesn't follow suit, we'll see how she responds then.)
Jule': That's up to you and your wife. You must council together in all family decisions.
Me: What about within the church? I know women are not prophets. Are there other things women can't be?
Jule': Women aren't prophets, bishops, preists, or hold the preisthood.
That's the only difference.
Me: That seems like a pretty big difference, lol.
Does the Church have an official stance on birth control?
(I asked this of a guy in Take ___ and want to see)
Jule': it is a big difference. ha
Me: So how does that difference play out? Are there women who want to be bishops? What happens then?
Jule': no the church doesn't have an official stance on birthcontrol, but if your wondering if it is acceptable, it is.
i don't know of that problem ever arising. as women, we accept and support the men as the leadership of the church.
andrew, we have to go, could we transfer you to someone who will continue to answer your questions?
Me: Yes please
Jule': ok. it was nice talking to you, hopefully we were able to help you out. have a nice day!
Me; Thanks so much for your time
Jule': Has transferred you to:
You are speaking live with Brent, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Information provided in this session is to provide assistance only and is not an official statement of the Church.
Brent: Hello Andrew
Me: Hi Brent, how are you?
(Pause while he catches up on reading prior conversation)
Brent: Not too bad. How are you doing today?
Me: Good. I'm interested in LDS, but my wife has concerns.
Brent: Ok I will see if I can help you out. Where would you like to start?
Me: Well, she wonders about why only men are in priesthood or leadership positions in the Church.
Brent: That is a very valid concern. I will see if I can help you out.
The women in the church do have leadership positions, they just have different authority and different responsibilities.
(Different = lesser)
Me: Different how?
Brent: Well in the church there is the priesthood, which as I think you know is only men. However there is the Relief Society for women.
That link describes more what the relief society is
Me: Okay, so it's essentially charity and missionary work.
But not leadership or doctrinal teaching, right?
Brent: Well. During a typical Sunday service there are 3 meetings (Sacrament, Sunday School and Pristhood/Relief Society). Each ward has a "Relief Society Presidency" which oversees the Relief Society
Me: And that Presidency is run by women, right?
Brent: Does that make sense?
Me: Yes, I think so. Sacrament for all (overseen by men), Sunday School for all (taught by men and women, I think) and Relief Society for women
But no woman could ever become a member of the priesthood, even if she was well-read in the Book of Mormon and the Bible?
Brent: Yes that is correct. Sunday school is often team-taught (husband and father). For instance my mother and father teach a class together. But it isn't always that way
Correct, the priesthood is reserved for men, however women are blessed because of the priesthood. You cannot use the priesthood for yourself, only for others. So women in a sense have the priesthood through their husbands if they are worthy
Brent: In order to have the priesthood, you must be worthy (keep the commandments, pay tithing, obey the word of wisdom, etc.)
Me: Okay, well I think you've answered my questions on priesthood. I have a few other questions though.
What is the LDS view on evolution?
Brent: We don't have one.
Me: Does BYU teach science courses?
Brent: They do, but I am not familiar with those courses, you would have to look at BYU website
Me: Okay. I just know that evolution is the foundation of all science (bio, chemistry, etc.) so that's a big concern of my wife's
Brent: Andrew I have to run, but can I transfer you again to someone else (sorry about all the transferring)
Me: No, that's okay. I'll try again another day.
(I've got places to be and things to do.)
Brent: Ok. Thank you for your time and concerns. Come back any time
Have a great day!
Me: You too :)
Massive image credits goes to the site Salamander Society