Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mormon girls need the protection of Priesthood holders? At an overnight camp? Eeeew

Today I'm still annoyed over an exchange I had with a woman in the Mormon church (who on a personal level I really like). She sent around a request asking Priesthood holders to sign-up for overnight stays at the Young Women's campout. For those of you not familiar with the Mormon church, each summer the Young Women's group goes for a 5-7 day camp-out. The camp the girls head off to in our neck of the woods is near Midway, Utah. It is quite a compound with security (non-paid Mormon missionaries, typically), nice cabins and showers, and cooking facilities. And apparently, at least two men who hold the Priesthood (as young as 12 year old boys, mind you, have the Priesthood in the Mormon church) must be at the camp 24-7. For why? Let's find out! Here's my email exchange with "Molly."

ME: Can you clarify that the boys coming to girls camp or men being invited to girls camp... For real? I'm kind of frightened. Actually, it's ok, my daughter is opting out of this camp. Are moms required to be at Scout Camp too? I'm totally not ok with this and am disturbed that grown men are sleeping at an all girls camp out. If this were co-ed, totally different story. Sorry! Please pass my comments to the [all-male hierarchy]. I can't imagine I'm the only one who feels this way!

MOLLY: Hi Lizzy, we will miss your daughter but totally understand. I will pass this on. All of the Young Women's leaders will be there, which this year consists of almost as many women leaders as young women. I can totally appreciate your concerns about having men in an all girls camp. A few years ago near the Heber Camp there was a huge group of nudists in the are so, for me, I'm happy to have some added security. The men do sleep completely away from the girls in their own tents while the girls sleep in the cabins. Thanks for letting me know your concerns. I'll also address them with our YW Presidency.

ME: If there are problems, proper security should be hired. And as a mom, I'd be happy to carry a gun. I think the "male requirement" is highly inappropriate. Besides why aren't moms at Scouts Camp? That aside, I appreciate all your efforts. I think there is far more danger of men sleeping near girls than nudists, personally. Plus, I think it sends a message that girls can't take care of themselves, even when they're adults. Thanks for listening.

Ok, here are my biggest issues:

- Note that they weren't asking for STRONG MEN to take care of the girls and women at the camp-- they were asking for PRIESTHOOD HOLDERS. So either there is an assumption that Priesthood Holders are all awesome and the other men aren't OR there needs to be spiritual guidance of men over girls at a campout. Either way, messed up.

- I think it is FAR more likely that a man and a teen girl might make a "connection" and sneak off into the woods than a bunch of nudists making it to camp, running around naked, and raping/murdering helpless women. AND if this is truly a concern, why is there not armed security? And why would I send my daughter somewhere so dangerous?

- Why are women not equally invited to an all boys' campout?

-Are women and girls really free to be open, honest, and themselves when they know men are lurking?

-What are we teaching women and girls about their own spiritual authority and their own ability to take care of themselves?

Oh my gosh, the Mormon church has SUCH a long way to go when it comes to its patronizing, condescending attitude towards the female gender. It's seriously disturbing. (And don't you just love the Disney princess-type themes above? Seriously, how old are these girls that head off to Camp? I'll tell you: between 14-18. My 16-year old was "over" the princess-thing at about 8 years old.)

Lastly, as a side note, I took my 10-year old to get her hair trimmed up. As I was talking to the young stylist, she mentioned that she wanted to go on a mission for the Mormon church next summer. I asked her why girls served just 18-month missions while the boys served two solid years. I wanted to know what the new generation was being taught. Expectedly, she said, "Well, the church wants the girls to come home earlier so they have the opportunity to get married."

I bit my tongue. I wanted to SCREAM, "Really? At age 20? What's the RUSH? And if you don't come home early from a mission, you might not have the 'opportunity' to get married? At, what, still child-bride status?" YES, the boys and girls are still being fed this shit that getting married super duper young is a fabulous idea. I "get" why the church teaches this-- get them married young before they have a chance to (basically) potty train and, BETTER YET, get them pregnant right away, too, (after getting married in the Mormon temple). This way, the church has a better chance of keeping these very young people so devoted to the church, so engrained, so unable to make true choices and mature, that the chances of them leaving the church are tiny. And they'll likely raise their generation the same way. Those tithing dollars (mostly spent on lavish buildings that are closed 97 percent of the time) and donated hours keep rolling in. All at the expense of our children.

I think my head might explode if I say more so I'll leave it here.