Issues in Mormon Masculinism

I would first like to say that I do not consider myself a masculinist, and that as far as I know nobody in my family is a masculinist. None of my best friends are masculinists. I am not even sure that masculinism and masculinist are words. If they are, I am probably not spelling them quite right.

I am also quite ignorant concerning any issues that may be faced by any masculinists in general, and Mormon masculinists in specific. There are several LDS blogs that are centered on feminism, but I have not yet come across blogs like ‘Masculinist Mormon Providers’ or ‘Zelophehad’s Sons’. I am not even sure if there is an exclusively male equivalent to ‘A Prayer of Faith’.

I first started thinking of this one afternoon while I was sitting at my desk, starring at my computer screen at work. I realized that I did not want to be there. I wanted to go home. This was much more than a ‘it is such I nice day, maybe I could sneak out early’ thought. I wanted to go home, and not come back. I imagined quitting my job, going to my house, and saying, ‘Honeeeeey, I’m Hoooooome….To staaaaaay’.

Of course I did not do this. I couldn’t. I have obligations and responsibilities. My wife and kids are counting on me to be their provider. When I was deciding what to do in life, I felt I needed to go to college, so I could get a decent job, so I could provide for a family, so my wife could stay home if she wanted. That is my responsibility, that is my role. I did not pursue a career for worldly ambition. I just want to do well enough to keep my job, and get by on a single income in modern American life.

As I thought about my minor sacrifices and obligations which recent church leaders have passed along, I wondered if there was such a thing as masculinists in the church that resented their role as providers. Might there be other issues facing masculinists in the church. I giggled at the thought.

I came up with a few thoughts that I didn’t dare express on the bloggernacle for fear of having my head symbolically ripped off. So I may offer just one to possibly start things off. The masculinist subject is Relief Society rooms.

Relief Society rooms are often the most beautiful room in the church. They often have nice padded chairs, artwork on the wall, possibly a large mirror, a permanent chalk board, a piano, and a nice table that is just perfect for a lace tablecloth with a centerpiece and room for lesson props. I am glad that the women of the church are able to have a nice haven from the warld (that’s a combination of ward and world said with an American Fark accent).

It might be interesting to compare the Relief Society room to an Elder’s Quorum room. Unfortunately I have never seen an Elder’s quorum room so I can make no such comparison. I have visited many wards in my time. The Elders typically meet someplace like the corner of the gym, where they set up their own hard, folding chairs. The instructor is lucky to have so much as a music stand to set his scriptures on when he is holding his manual, and his manual on when he is holding his scriptures. A portable chalkboard is a luxury available only to the assertive and resourceful. If this area in not in a corner of the gym, it is likely in the overflow, or the stage. I have even attended an Elder’s quorum that met at the end of a dead-end hallway with chairs set up in a way that resembled seating on a turbo-prop connecting flight.

So I humbly submit that the lack of an Elder’s quorum room in local churches as a possible issue in Mormon masculinism.

I hope you can tell that this post is an attempt to be amusing. I am not trying to mock those who have real issues, nor am I trying to stir up any negative feelings. If you can think of interesting or unique things that men in the church go through please feel free to share them. If this post rubs you the wrong way, I apologize, and will try to do better next time.

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23 Responses to “Issues in Mormon Masculinism”


  1. 1 C Jones May 7, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    I love it! I think the church should immediately provide EQ rooms featuring recliners with drink holders in the arms.

  2. 2 Travis May 7, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    What a great way to make a very poignant observation. I AM MAN! HEAR ME ROAR! 😉

  3. 3 Connor May 7, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    I propose that a BBQ grill be provided in every such room.

    On a more serious note, this subject raises the issue of double standards seen not only in feminism, but in almost any -ism advocacy pushed by those seeking change.

    How’s that for a blanket statement? 🙂

  4. 4 Eric Nielson May 8, 2007 at 6:34 am

    CJones:

    Glad you liked it. But let’s not go to far with this. The drink holders should be optional.

    Travis:

    I am glad you found some meaning in this. I just hope not to much meaning 🙂

    Connor:

    Grills are a nice idea. I think there is a policy agains open flames in the church. How to get around that is no trivial question.

  5. 5 Connor May 8, 2007 at 7:15 am

    Eric,

    George Foreman grills it is, then.

  6. 6 ECS May 8, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Hey, great post! Though the tone is sort of tongue in cheek, you raise important issues/questions about how men deal with the expectations of the Church, which sees men as primarily as providers, protectors, and presiders (the Three “P”s).

    For example, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to support a growing family on one salary, unless the single earner is a high-earning professional (lawyer, doctor, business executive, etc.) What if your calling in life is to be a piano tuner? You can’t buy many boxes of Cheerios, not to mention start a college fund for your children, on a piano tuner’s salary. On the other hand, even if you do want to become a doctor or business exec, these professional occupations typically demand a huge time commitment. Which means less time to spend with family.

    Given the Family Proc and statements by prophets, men in the Church must deal with the expectation that they are to be the single wage earner/provider for their families. I think this works out okay in many cases, but it can become a problem when men prefer to pursue less lucrative career paths, or when their career choices sacrifice developing meaningful relationships with their children.

    In any event, I wish we heard more from our Church leaders about the responsibilities men have to their families outside of the Provider, Protector, Presider context – primarily their responsibilities to nurture their children as a father, in equal partnership with the mother.

  7. 7 ECS May 8, 2007 at 8:46 am

    P.S. It’s “Zelophehad”, not “Zelophadad”. And he didn’t have any sons (which was the point of his daughters’ story) 🙂

  8. 8 Eric Nielson May 8, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Connor:

    You’ve done it again!

    ECS:

    Interesting points ECS. If you want to keep up with the Joneses in America on a single income, you had better have a lucrative career, which isn’t an easy thing to obtain or keep.

    Also, thanks for correcting my spelling error. If my spell checker doesn’t catch things like that I am often in trouble.

  9. 9 KyleM May 8, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    I’ve never complained about anywhere I’ve met for Elder’s Quorum. As a Priest, we met in the boiler room.

  10. 10 Eric Nielson May 8, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    KyleM:

    That sounds about right.

  11. 11 Ryan May 8, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    P.S. It’s “Zelophehad”, not “Zelophadad”

    Oh.. I thought that was actually a very clever joke. It seems I overestimated you Eric 🙂

  12. 12 Eric Nielson May 8, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Yes, I should have claimed it was intensional.

  13. 13 Michelle May 8, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Ha. I missed it! Funny how the brain fills in what you think should be there. Clever, Eric. Clever. I loved this post, at least the tongue in cheek part of it. 🙂

  14. 14 fMhArtemis May 9, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Great post! Seriously!

    Actually, to take things to a more serious level (and I know you were being funny and I thought it was funny, but I’d like to run with this thought for a minute), I think ‘masculinism’, or “promoting the equality, interests, and welfare of men” (as I define it, my parallel definition of feminism), is actually a very important thing. It bothers me that so many LDS assume it’s okay to man-bash and not woman-bash. (I don’t think we should bash either sex.) And I think the Elders and High Priests should have as nice of a meeting place as the Relief Society Sisters. I can think of all kinds of feminist and masculinist issues to go along with these, but the short answer is that I think both women and men would benefit from more equal regard and respect for each other.

    Men don’t do many centerpieces for church lessons, nor do they seem to need to check their appearance frequently (another couple of topics we could easily deconstruct), but maybe we should encourage them to? What would be a church appropriate parallel to the R.S. room? Let’s start with sharing the nice, cushy chairs. And let’s get the men some artwork and a permanant chalkboard, plus some hallway signs that say ‘Elders’ Quorum Room’ and ‘High Priests’ Room’. Would you use the table?

    Come to think of it, it might be good for the R.S. to do without the table and attendant lesson displays. Maybe we should just trade rooms for awhile…..

  15. 15 Eric Nielson May 9, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    FMHArtemis:

    Thanks for your comment, and for not taking me to seriously. I actually remember a post on FMH about not male bashing about a year ago.

    When I was EQP I actually would pull out a folding table like those commonly used for pot-lucks in case the instructor wanted to use it.

    I certainly have not thought this stuff through very much. I mostly care about the content of lessons more than anything else.

    Anyway, thanks for humoring me with a nice comment.

  16. 16 Jettboy May 9, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Men generally don’t care about where they are at or what the place looks like. Can’t speak for the women if they generally feel the same way or would much rather have the RS rooms they have. Is this biological or cultural? Men are from Barns and Women are from Museums.

  17. 17 Ujlapana May 11, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Wait, I thought the cushy chairs are what demonstrate to women that they’re not “second class citizens” in the church. See, men get to have God’s authority, and you get a beautiful room with cushy chairs and a piano! Seems like a fair trade to me.

  18. 18 Ugly Mahana May 11, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    Does anyone really think “men get to have God’s authority”? If that’s what the Priesthood is – an opportunity to take power over others in the name of God – then the men can keep it! That type of authority is usurped authority, and, by cutting ties to Him who rules us all, is utterly meaningless. I rather think that ordained men have a specific assignment to serve under God’s authority in certain ways. Much like all of us are called to serve one another.

  19. 19 DianaJo May 12, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    I always thought that the most nicely appointed room in our building (a Stake Center) was the High Council room. Now THOSE are some cushy chairs, and a nice table!

  20. 20 Jonathan M May 13, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Be careful what you ask for… We meet in the high council room in those nice chairs around the big conference table. Hopefully the instructor has thick skin because many of the men are asleep by the end of class (and some before the lesson even begins).

  21. 21 Eric Nielson May 14, 2007 at 6:33 am

    Jettboy

    I think you have hit on the main reason for how things are.

    Ujlapana

    I hope that is not the reason.

    Ugly Mahana

    I like your explanation.

    DianaJo

    Doh! Good point about High Council rooms.

    JonathanM

    Hey buddy! Thanks for stopping buy. It was so good to hear from you! I had never heard of an EQ meeting in the High Council room. The EQP must have had some connections!

  22. 22 menareangrynow December 5, 2009 at 7:26 am

    There is indeed such a thing as “Masculinism”. I’m a part of that movement. One of the things we want is the removal of discriminations against men, such as the male-only draft, to name one of many sexist laws against us.


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