FED UP: Some vocal LDS men claim they’re fed up with gender inequality within the church, so they’ve gathered in secret with plans of an “awareness rising” demonstration near the Conference Center before the General Women’s Meeting. The Bugle spoke with Elder Showalters, organizer of the group “MOTHER THE BROTHERS” for the scoop.
BUGLE: So what, exactly, will you be demonstrating?
SHOWALTERS: There has been a lot of press recently about the Ordain Women movement, and it got us thinking about the inequalities within the church between genders. When I spoke to a few of my fellow brethren, we all agreed that we felt that we were being excluded from the option of motherhood in all of our decisions. This, at our core, deeply upsets us.
BUGLE: What is it about motherhood that you want?
SHOWALTERS: We feel that we’re automatically left out of any decision that takes place in the home. Why don’t you think Mormon Daddy Blogs are a thing? We’ve got this system working against us to try and turn us into working class heroes, when what we really want is to stay at home and work on crafts with our kids.
Further, when we turn to the doctrine, it teaches us that motherhood is the greatest of the gifts that anyone can be given in this life. We don’t think it’s fair that simply because of our Y-chromosome we’d be denied that gift. In a conference talk by Sheri L. Dew, entitled, “Are We Not All Mothers?” (which, we’re not, thanks), she quotes Elder Matthew Cowley who said, “men have to have something given to them [in mortality] to make them saviors of men, but not mothers, not women. [They] are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls … and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.” Where’s the fairness in that? We want to be able to be those saviors, too.
BUGLE: You realize that you’re incredibly outnumbered, right? An overwhelming majority of men within the church do not feel this way.
SHOWALTERS: Although we may be the first group that is bringing up these issues, we strongly feel that we will find a number of menbers…er, members, that share these sentiments.
BUGLE: What do you plan on doing at the General Women’s Meeting?
SHOWALTERS: Right now, since our numbers are few, we simply want to raise awareness to women that they’re not the only ones who feel this inequality. We want to reach out to women that men, too, want to share roles, and participate in the church equally. We feel that eventually, our numbers and mission statement will grow.
BUGLE: What would you say to the people that feel like men aren’t excluded from Church decisions in any way whatsoever, in all ways vertically or horizontally hierarchical?
SHOWALTERS: We find it deeply sorrowful that not all are able to recognize the systemic abuses that men in the church face every day.
BUGLE: …like what?
SHOWALTERS: Like for example, we don’t get to choose what gets taught in the Relief Society. The women get to make those decisions. We’re also consistently left out of Primary and Nursery positions. And for what? We want the right to guide these choices. Let the brothers be mothers, too! We want to nurture, we want to create, and we’re constantly being denied these rights.
As of this publishing, there have been no official statements from the Church in response.