As I was sieving through a slew of religious and atheist blogs, I had stumbled onto a link which, in my opinion, provides a keen insight into the key reasons why Religion seems hell-bent on influencing society from the core denominator of society: The Family Unit.
The Modern Day Family Unit
One of the more unique features of the modern day family unit is its rather loose, less cognitive nature: Unlike the families of yesteryears, mothers today tend to be working mums, are more educated, and generally don't stay at home for 24/7.
Unlike her earlier predecessors, the modern mother is quite akin to a multi-tentacle octopus: Not only does she need to manage her office work, she is also required to prioritize with household commitments, and if financial ability permits, she may even be able to utilize her work income to engage a maid or outsource child rearing responsibilities to nannies or childcare centers.
While there are pros and cons to the shifting nature of the role of mothers, the evolving trends and economics of social progression requires fundamental changes and sacrifices from the everyday family, and according to some religious morons of the fundamentalist stereotypes, the "ideal" family unit would be a drastic return back to the good "ole" days, where:
1. Children are home-schooled in archaic, religious settings.
2. Women must "be fruitful and multiply", i.e: Breed like sows so that enough children can be bred to work in the cornfields or some other backbreaking, low-yielding jobs.
3. Become a matron and take care of the household, without ever coming out of the house except when required. In some cases, wearing burkas may be required, lest she arouses the insatiable desires of virgin-inspired, horny male monsters.
Cue the "Knowing Mother"
According to Julie Beck, the President of "Relief Society" (Relief what? Boredom?) is adamant that the married woman should have only one role and one place in society: At home as a yarn-spinning, child bearing and child rearing mother. Her reasoning, it seems, has more to do with proselytizing than mere conservatism.
Being a good mormon, Julie is perhaps the stereotypical fundie: One who wants society to move backwards in time, where children are less liable to live beyond mere childhood, folks have less access to clean drinking water, and women are subjugated both socially and politically.
In a bid to elucidate the depravity of her arguments, I will attempt to dissect certain portions of it. For those who are interested to read her morbid writings, click the link here.
1. Mothers Who Know Bear Children
Mothers who know desire to bear children. Whereas in many cultures in the world children are "becoming less valued,"2 in the culture of the gospel we still believe in having children. Prophets, seers, and revelators who were sustained at this conference have declared that "God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."President Ezra Taft Benson taught that young couples should not postpone having children and that "in the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels."
Faithful daughters of God desire children. In the scriptures we read of Eve (see Moses 4:26), Sarah (see Genesis 17:16), Rebekah (see Genesis 24:60), and Mary (see 1 Nephi 11:13–20), who were foreordained to be mothers before children were born to them. Some women are not given the responsibility of bearing children in mortality, but just as Hannah of the Old Testament prayed fervently for her child (see 1 Samuel 1:11), the value women place on motherhood in this life and the attributes of motherhood they attain here will rise with them in the Resurrection (see D&C 130:18). Women who desire and work toward that blessing in this life are promised they will receive it for all eternity, and eternity is much, much longer than mortality. There is eternal influence and power in motherhood.Here, Beck is in favor of breeding, to "go forth and multiply" for Gawd: Apparently, the idea that "women should not postpone having children" alludes to an all-out campaign for mass breeding mothers.
Beck seems to be traveling in a proverbial time machine here: A time when families till the lands, work on farms, and amenities which we all take for granted today, such as medicine and clean drinking water, are clearly lacking.
These Christian morons love to expound on the virtues of the "good ole days": Reminisce is one thing, but to hanker after a lifestyle which involves high child mortality, poor sanitation, low education levels, oppressive living conditions and the subjugation of women just stinks to the high heavens.
The idea that women used to (which included my mother's mom) breed like jackrabbits is simply a vicious combination of abject poverty, ignorance and mortality: Children tend not to grow into adulthood, most of them succumbing to diseases that can be easily cured with medication or better yet, vaccination against these diseases would virtually eliminate the chances of getting infected. The need to replace dead infants, plus the absence of contraceptive knowledge, meant that women living in the good ole days prior to the 20th century had little option with regards to their fates, and clearly such a deplorable style of life cannot be emulated in the 21st century.
While I am not against women who have numerous children, one must understand that raising a child in a city requires adequate financial resources: Food and lodgings aside, education is also mandatory. There is something inherently wrong about a large brood in a family which has hardly enough to feed the large army of suckling babies, let alone provide a decent education for even one bawling baby. Hence the need for family planning, and not the mandatory and largely insipid idea that the role of women is to breed like sows in a pigsty.
2. Mothers Who Know Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants
Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants. I have visited sacrament meetings in some of the poorest places on the earth where mothers have dressed with great care in their Sunday best despite walking for miles on dusty streets and using worn-out public transportation. They bring daughters in clean and ironed dresses with hair brushed to perfection; their sons wear white shirts and ties and have missionary haircuts. These mothers know they are going to sacrament meeting, where covenants are renewed. These mothers have made and honor temple covenants. They know that if they are not pointing their children to the temple, they are not pointing them toward desired eternal goals. These mothers have influence and power.Ah, the good, old-fashioned days, where being a straight-laced and formal was formal attire, and girls turn up in schools and churches in nice little plaits, pigtails and the Victorian era varieties. Of course, the good mother has a role to play in all this: Enforce church attendances amongst her children, so that they can all turn out to be tithe-paying sheep when they become working class adults.
Keeps the vicious cycle of religious kowtowing and obeisance alive, not to mention the all-important tithes.
3. Mothers Who Know Are NurturersMothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness. To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a "house of order," and women should pattern their homes after the Lord's house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women.
While there is nothing remarkably offending about the old fashioned, home-making housewife, the problem I have with this kind of archaic, stone age perception is that women are rigidly segmented from the rest of society: Other than the home and the pious housewife bullshit role, a career in the workforce will "avail them nothing", according to Prez Beck, which is just a nicety way of saying: "Woman, stay at home, look after the kids, and live your largely ignominious life in abject obscurity".
4. Mothers Who Know Do Less
Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world's goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord's kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.Here, Julia apparently takes a swipe at the media and its "negative" influence to the family unit. Less TV, less computers and yes, more abject ignorance in an increasingly technologically-savvy world.
While she is not exactly wrong about the importance of spending quality family time, she punctuates that with more talk about preparing kids to be "builder's of the Lord's kingdom for the next 50 years".
If breeding a generation of mindless, bible-spewing and narrow-minded bigots and androids empowers housewives, then one would surmise that breeding vermin, rats and cockroaches is an empowering experience as well.
In a world which demands for doctors, engineers and other socially enhancing professionals, the last thing we need is a surge in priests, reverends and other minions of religious institutions to spread more ignorance and bigotry to the masses.
The True Role of Mothers
Whether it is the modern family setup (one working father plus one working mother) or the traditional family setup (one working father and a housewife), the true role of the mother is to empower her kids with the skills and requisites to survive in an increasingly modern, global world.
While older folks may reminisce about the good ole days when kids get all dressed up and strait-jacketed for their mandatory Sunday School services, the truth of the matter is that as society becomes more secularized, with adults becoming more aware and skeptical about the amorous behavior of priests, reverends and scumbags of the same irk, religion is bound to play a less pivoting role in society, even far less than Beck and her Mormon spewing folks can ever imagine.
The time has come for us to realize that women are not baby-bearing machines or household androids, completely devoid of rights and entirely under the subjugation of a patriarchal male husband, much less serve as indoctrinating serfs to sustain the church-going masses.
" The day will come when men will recognize women as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race."
-Susan B. Anthony, women's suffrage activist (1820-1906)