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Mormons and motherhood


YPestis

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My ex-fiance had an ex-wife who was mormon. He converted to marry her in the temple. She definately seemed, from what she wrote on exmormon.org and what he told me, one of the ones who cracked under the pressure. But, she was very very smart, but sort of bought the mormon line hook, line and sinker. She kept feeling like she was being forced into a box where she didn't fit. Of course, my ex-fiance was also a complete bastard, so that didn't help.

From what I read, it seems like there are three kinds of mormon women. Women who are perfectly satisified with what the church says, doesn't think to question, and is fine with what is expected of her. Then, there are women who know that there are issues, but are able to sort of pick and choose what they believe and do. Then, there are the women who just can't reconcile or ignore it all, and tend to flee and can be pretty damaged.

It might be more of a continuum, actually. And I'm kind of talking about of my butt. After all, most women catholics probably fall in the middle range - they know there are parts of their religion that are pretty unpalatable and unreasonable, but they just sort of work around it.

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defending your life is a BRILLIANT depiction of heaven.

i also really connected with the depiction in The Lovely Bones.

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I know a young Mormon family who lives in my decidedly non-Mormon area, and so far the woman of the family has continued working, even though they started having kids immediately after marrying. They only have one child so far, although they've only been married three years. No one went to BYU, and much of their families are Catholic.

I wonder if being Mormon, but not surrounded by Mormons, lessens the pressure? There aren't a lot of Mormons around here to judge them for not being Mormon enough.

ETA: Mormon, Mormon, MORMON! My post needed to repeat the word Mormon some more. (mon)

I used to read stuff on exmormon.org and I recall there being a few board postings in which ex Mormons who lived in areas where there wasn't a huge Mormon presence said the pressure was lessened a bit and it became easy for them to leave the church. With my uncle's ex-wife her family lived in Southern California which doesn't have extreme Mormon influences or control that Utah has. My aunt said that when her family left the LDS church it wasn't hard for them to cut ties with people from their ward because they had already had established friendships with other people outside the LDS church. My aunt also said that her parents disagreed with some of the LDS beliefs including having kid after kid. Her parents only had her and three other siblings.

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My best friend from childhood came from a very conservative Mormon family. She married another Mormon, and he left her a few years ago for another woman. He dumped her and the kids out of the blue and left them with nothing. I couldn't imagine going through that in itself, but then the devastation of a failed marriage in a world where women are defined by marriage, the waste of her precious virginity, and the humiliation at continuing to be spiritually married to her husband until a Bishop released her from that... good grief.

Her father didn't make much money, but her family of 8 squeaked by in the tiniest house I've ever seen. One boy had his own small room. Seven girls shared a room of equal size. Awesome.

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I think the church itself puts a huge emphasis on women being a stay at home wife/mother but I think it varies from one family to another. There are some family members who prefer their children to get an education first before motherhood and then there are those who would rather have their daughters just be a housewife and focus more on that.

With that being said, I think the LDS church is all about image and they do whatever they can to keep that up. Plus, they're just extremely secretive on what they do that to us outsiders it's easy to assume they have cult like behaviors. Don't they have a special ID number they need to use to purchase temple garments?!

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I used to live with two Mormons and to be frank they were as annoying as shit. This was in student accomodation back in the day. A lot of their issues were around women's behaviour and sexuality in general.

They would make a big deal over a sex scene in a film or even two people kissing on TV (we had a communal telly) and complain, walk out or whatever. But then they would take over the TV and watch really ultraviolent films, which apparently was fine, whereas showing a kiss was not.

They were also quite controlling of women. My best mate was a *very* liberal Muslim and they confronted her on a few occasions. She didn't cover her hair and didn't mind dressing up for a night out, or downing a Bacardi Breezer. They would say stuff to her like "Why don't you keep to the beliefs of your faith?' and "You would be a better person if you didn't drink". She would say very patiently "Look, I was brought up to know that Allah can see my heart, and if I do something to hurt someone, that's what makes Him angry, not silly human things like clothes and drink".

They also tried this on me but I was not impressed. It was always the women they "had a talk with". No one liked them much. They were from Utah, I get the impression there is a fair bit of difference?

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I think Utah Mormons are more conservative than other Mormons.

Didn't they used to teach that black people were descended from Cain and their skin colour was the taint of his sin? When they did they change their mind about that?

I read on exmormon.org that most people had a 'licked cupcake' lesson in Young Women's concerning girls having sex. Obviously some places are more liberal than others but one person posted that her daughter had just come home from having it.

JFC, that's something I really don't get. From some encounters online, the ultra conservative Christians were APPALLED by the merest kiss or flash of skin, but were very gungho and didn't have a problem with watching something where people got their brains blown out and were all for having guns in the home.

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A good friend of mine is mormon. She's extremely intelligent and educated, but then her husband is freakishly smart (and he acts like Sheldon Cooper), I suppose they match that way. She loves LOVES babies, and enjoyed being home with them. Now that they are done (not really by choice, bad pregnancies) and the kids are in school, I think she's very unfulfilled. First, she's told me she feels a lot of pressure to be homeschooling, but they chose to send the kids to the small rural school here that offers french immersion. Second, she spends a shit ton of time on facebook. She has started a creative sort of business, but that's really more of a hobby that pays for itself.

The weirdest thing, she considers herself a feminist. I'm not questioning that, but the shit she puts up with from her church would have me spitting fire. Her daughters are being put under a ton of pressure to maintain modesty - covering collarbones and elbows type shit, and they are children! 8 and 9!!!! Holy mother of fuck, my rage would have burnt the building down.

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Mormonism seems to be all about marriage and motherhood. Unlike many other denominations, it doesn't look like there's much of a place for people who intend to remain single or childless.

This. I resigned my membership in the LDS Church over Prop 8. However, in some ways it was made easier by the fact that there's really no place for never-married Mormon women of a certain age. Especially never-married Mormon women who (for whatever reason) don't want children. But, I will say this--my observation is that evangelical and fundamentalist Protestant churches have the same problem because they also put so much emphasis on the "faaaaaamily" over everything else.

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They were also quite controlling of women. My best mate was a *very* liberal Muslim and they confronted her on a few occasions. She didn't cover her hair and didn't mind dressing up for a night out, or downing a Bacardi Breezer. They would say stuff to her like "Why don't you keep to the beliefs of your faith?' and "You would be a better person if you didn't drink". She would say very patiently "Look, I was brought up to know that Allah can see my heart, and if I do something to hurt someone, that's what makes Him angry, not silly human things like clothes and drink".

Off-topic, but she seems awesome.

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She is :)

I also remember her after a heated studenty type argument on Israel/Palestine. She was pro Palestinian (natch) quite firey about it, then hugged the guy arguing against her and said "one day, all Jews and Muslims will be friends. I look forward to it."

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The book I'm reading right now (Anthropology of Childhood) talks quite a bit about the mormons as the author is a non-mormon living in Utah and he points how mormons emphasis mothers raising their kids and being the only ones doing it (and how this is in stark contrast to most societies in the world) and how Utah has the highest rate of bankruptcy and a high rate of anti-depressant usage.

So...clearly they're very happy and fullfilled with their lives. As long as they have the right dosage of happy pills.

Edited to add: My family has a tons of mormons and we lost ancestors on both sides during the whole handcart thing. My father reconverted and my mother was Super Mormon . But they left when my mom started questioning some things in the church and then they were kind of cut off when she was on bedrest while pregnant with me and no one came to help her take care of her other two kids or provide any kind of support of any kind. A friend told her that their Bishop had told her not to help my mom. I don't know how much of that is true, but it does seem that the same with most religions, if it's taken to extremes, the more cult-like it becomes.

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On the topic of Mormons and wholesomeness, I think it varies from family to family. My aunt said that when her family was in the LDS church, her parents didn't have strict rules about TV shows or movies. Her dad cursed occasionally when he was angry and both her parents were occasional drinkers with some of their non LDS friends. She also knew Mormon families that didn't own TV's and they approved all the books in their homes.

Back in the 90's, some Utah Mormons were heavily involved with Feature Films For Families FFFF movies were direct to video. The company made a lot of money selling their movies to schools, Protestant and Catholic churches, youth centers etc. The characters were never directly portrayed as Mormons. FFFF has been accused of shady stuff over the years which mostly involves their telemarketing practices. Brooke White who was on American Idol back in 2008 was raised in a Mormon household that banned R rated movies and she said as adult still doesn't desire to see any R rated movie.

The Mormon blogger that I've been following lately seems to have a somewhat wholesome personality. She goes to the movies often, but seems most of the movies she watches are PG-13. She did a blog posting on the Footloose remake and she complained about some of the swearing, the dancing and the sexual innuendos. She then said that she would never let a teenager watch it because "teenagers are impressionable." I think she was dumbing down teenagers in general. Not all teenagers do the stuff they see in movies. She does like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies. She watches TV, but the stuff she watches is the tamest stuff on broadcast and cable TV. She probably would never watch Glee, GCB, Being Human, True Blood, Modern Family etc.

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It's seems like there is a huge emphasis on having children, being married, "being happy". I don't think I'd fit in well there at all. Then again, I grew up in a Chinese household. Among my parents' friends, their stress is on which child gets the best test scores, goes to the best schools, gets the most scholarships....and later, who makes the most money/most prestigious job....Really, it's the same pressure but a different emphasis.

My fascination with Mormonism started after I began reading Mormon housewife blogs. I know I"m not the only one who enjoys them because Salon did a story about the addiction of those blogs! It was like a bizarre fantasy to see these happy, shiny Mormon housewives with their brood of happy, shiny children living in their large homes and wholesome friends. I kept on wondering if it's possible to experience that "Leave it To Beaver" lifestyle, insulated from the harshness of reality.

Then I shake myself out of my reverie and remind myself that I, too, came from a happy, two parent household, my fiance came from a happy, two parent household, we both have good friends etc. Yet, we know our lives aren't joyful songs and dances all day....why would I expect some Mormon family to have that perfect existence? I guess even a liberal-minded, future working mother like myself sometimes envy the "simple, traditional" household in some dark corners of my mind.

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I read on exmormon.org that most people had a 'licked cupcake' lesson in Young Women's concerning girls having sex. Obviously some places are more liberal than others but one person posted that her daughter had just come home from having it.

Ew, gross. I am not Mormon, but I went to a Mormon summer camp the summer before high school. Our group of girls (13 year olds) had a "special lesson" during Golden Hour in which we were given snow-white hangers for our wedding dresses that were only to be used if we were virgins. Even at that age, I recognized this as manipulative, patriarchal garbage. I can only imagine my reaction if "licked cupcakes" had entered the equation.

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This. I resigned my membership in the LDS Church over Prop 8. However, in some ways it was made easier by the fact that there's really no place for never-married Mormon women of a certain age. Especially never-married Mormon women who (for whatever reason) don't want children. But, I will say this--my observation is that evangelical and fundamentalist Protestant churches have the same problem because they also put so much emphasis on the "faaaaaamily" over everything else.

There was an interesting article in the New York Times from the perspective of a never-married Mormon woman: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/fashion/09Modern.html?pagewanted=all

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This. I resigned my membership in the LDS Church over Prop 8. However, in some ways it was made easier by the fact that there's really no place for never-married Mormon women of a certain age. Especially never-married Mormon women who (for whatever reason) don't want children. But, I will say this--my observation is that evangelical and fundamentalist Protestant churches have the same problem because they also put so much emphasis on the "faaaaaamily" over everything else.

One reason I resigned my membership was that when I divorced my abusive Mormon ex-husband, I could tell that there was no place for a woman like me who basically dishonored the priesthood by getting a divorce even though he was abusive. While there were plenty of Mormons who understood why I divorced him, there are hard-liners who believe that divorce is never an option. We were married outside the temple because his mom hadn't paid enough tithing to be able to get the recommend card. As it turned out, there was pressure from the church itself for me to start having children right away, but in the end, I'm thankful that never happened as I was able to completely cut my ex out of my life. Not only was my ex abusive, he was only in the Mormon church to take advantage of their welfare program as he was basically a parasite who didn't want to support himself, yet one form of abuse was that he didn't want me to work as well. His excuse was the chance of working on Sundays, but in reality, it was just another way he could control me.

Now, there's really no place for me inside the LDS church since I'm still child-free by choice, and while I am going to get married again, my fiancee and I aren't setting a date until we're more financially secure than we are, as both of us were hit by the recession. I was laid off, and spent over a year looking for another job and he's had his hours drastically cut. With the job I have now, I've also had hours cut, and took a massive pay cut in the first place when I accepted it as I was sick of being unemployed when I took it. One thing though is that my experience with my ex-husband did leave me fascinated by Mormonism, so I was reading Mormon mommy blogs for years.

The only thing people in my step family know is that I was married to an abusive Mormon briefly, but I reassured them that I understood that he wasn't like most Mormons. Now, my stepdad's ex is one of those Utah Mormons you hear about, who freaked out when my mom gave her youngest stepdaughter The Catcher in the Rye as a birthday gift, saying she heard it was risque, and searching through the medicine cabinet for something for headaches that didn't have caffeine in it. Every other Mormon isn't as uptight as that ex who I never met, and probably never will, as they accepted my mom and the rest of us from her family even though we're not Mormon. They didn't get upset that the non-Mormons had coffee at the wedding reception, which was dry out of respect for their religion. Those of us who weren't Mormon didn't mind a bit, as we got to show Mormons that even non-members can enjoy themselves without alcohol.

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On the topic of Mormons and wholesomeness, I think it varies from family to family. My aunt said that when her family was in the LDS church, her parents didn't have strict rules about TV shows or movies. Her dad cursed occasionally when he was angry and both her parents were occasional drinkers with some of their non LDS friends. She also knew Mormon families that didn't own TV's and they approved all the books in their homes.

Back in the 90's, some Utah Mormons were heavily involved with Feature Films For Families FFFF movies were direct to video. The company made a lot of money selling their movies to schools, Protestant and Catholic churches, youth centers etc. The characters were never directly portrayed as Mormons. FFFF has been accused of shady stuff over the years which mostly involves their telemarketing practices. Brooke White who was on American Idol back in 2008 was raised in a Mormon household that banned R rated movies and she said as adult still doesn't desire to see any R rated movie.

The Mormon blogger that I've been following lately seems to have a somewhat wholesome personality. She goes to the movies often, but seems most of the movies she watches are PG-13. She did a blog posting on the Footloose remake and she complained about some of the swearing, the dancing and the sexual innuendos. She then said that she would never let a teenager watch it because "teenagers are impressionable." I think she was dumbing down teenagers in general. Not all teenagers do the stuff they see in movies. She does like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies. She watches TV, but the stuff she watches is the tamest stuff on broadcast and cable TV. She probably would never watch Glee, GCB, Being Human, True Blood, Modern Family etc.

Mormons have been counseled by Church leadership to not watch R rated movies. It's part of the YBU honor code. Here's a blog post by a Mormon man detailing different leaders' counsel to avoid R rated movies.

ldsfriendsDOTcom/the-counsel-against-rated-r-movies/

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Ew, gross. I am not Mormon, but I went to a Mormon summer camp the summer before high school. Our group of girls (13 year olds) had a "special lesson" during Golden Hour in which we were given snow-white hangers for our wedding dresses that were only to be used if we were virgins. Even at that age, I recognized this as manipulative, patriarchal garbage. I can only imagine my reaction if "licked cupcakes" had entered the equation.

I looked up this tradition, and found a few things.

I wonder what this woman's children (class? not sure if the "girls" are her own or not) made of the fact that their hangers were off-white! :lol:

sugardoodle.net/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4537

This is what I gave my girls last Sunday for lesson 18. It's not original, but it's always a good one to go with this lesson. I couldn't find white satin hangers, so I settled with off white (from Bed Bath & Beyond, 10 for $13.00)

Some of the poems that go along with them:

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/16275347/Temple-Hangers

This one extends that hanger metaphor for all it's worth:

"Forever Hanger"

In a bedroom closet

a hanger, silently grasps an Iron Rod

Just an ordinary hanger?

No, for upon closer look,

this hanger seems different somehow...

It doesn't seem to have the sharp corners

or the same colors as the others hanging there.

This hanger isn't clad with dresses, shirts, or sweaters,

but stands quite apart.

The hanger doesn't strain or bend

beneath the load placed upon it.

It carries no burden at all.

For this hanger is arrayed in spotless white.

It's gentle gathers whisper conviction.

All corners are softly padded in preparation

of tomorrow and of eternities to come.

A low, tender reminder

of Heavenly Father and his plan of love and security.

Then at the very top,

A sturdy look which clings to the Iron Rod.

For the hanger knows

That this is the only road

That leads us to happiness

And lasting satisfaction.

This hanger is hanging on "Forever"

Through each day and hardship.

And though the hanger sometimes feels

pressured and crowded,

It darest not release its grip

upon the safety of the rod.

For when it looks upon it with an eternal perspective...

It realizes with time,

one of the other hangers may move,

sending it crashing down

where it will surely become torn

and trodden upon.

So this hanger stands alone,

beautiful, patient, and pure.

It's mission: to hold your temple dress

and as an example to endure.

So as you dress each morning,

in preparation for a new day.

Let your eyes gaze upon this hanger,

Remember to stand tall,

and with your hanger....

Hang on to "FOREVER"

I've never seen clothes in psychedelic confusion, myself.

One White Hanger

I see it there. In the closet.

That which will carry my wedding dress. {You could put temple dress

instead}

It is white. Temple white.

In my keeping, it has not known ball shirts,

nor everyday wear.

It is clean. Waiting. . .

there for a special day. A special purpose.

The colors of the closet mix and swirl in

psychedelic confusion. The song of the world pulls & tugs,

but there it is. In the whiteness, waiting.

Suddenly, there is peace and calm.

Gently, I finger it's softness, and feel the joy

of the dreams of tomorrow.

That which is special knows a time & a season.

To have used it before would have robbed. . . .betrayed,

the purpose of it's creation.

It must be new and clean and white. Temple white.

Created lovingly for noble purposes.

It has waited. . .in my keeping.

The waiting and resisting will be worth it.

We will wait together.

One white hanger. . . .and me.

For my temple wedding day.

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Here's the lesson that coincides with the white hangar illustration. I mean the official lesson besides the unofficial one that teaches girls that a Temple Marriage is the only one of worth and in order to obtain that you'd better not lose your virtue. :roll:

http://www.lds.org/manual/young-women-m ... e?lang=eng

Edited to add this well written article from Daily Kos on what the LDS church teaches young women.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/2 ... oung-women

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I'm surprised Mormon fundies aren't brought up here more often, even if the majority of the popular bloggers are QF/ATI/VF. They are even more insidious than the brand of fundies we usually snark on.

I volunteer at a hospital, and today I noticed a pair of Mormons walking around one of the outdoor areas for patients and visitors, talking to them. This isn't allowed at the hospital (I think they thought they could get around the rule by being in a common area rather than a ward), so I went up to them and explained it was against policy and I would have to report them to security.

They started turning their sales pitch onto me (Before you go, just let take a moment to tell you about our work here...) and I was curious as to if they were going to try and convert me or just talk me into not reporting them, so I decided to give them a few minutes of my time.

Typical Mormon sales pitch. After they were done, they asked for my phone number and address, and I said 'I suppose you need those for the 'I care' phone call, and the uninvited drop-in the next day?' They exchanged a glance and walked away.

I had kind of hoped to find a way to squeeze in something I had learned from exmormon about the Book of Mormon being the only completely correct book in the world despite having over 3500 corrections made to it by Joseph Smith, but I didn't get the chance. It's probably for best, because every second you spend speaking to those people just encourages them.

I did point them out to security anyway, and I told them they probably wouldn't send back the same two people, but they would always send young people in a group of two and they would be similar in dress and manner. The security guard I spoke to particuarly hates people who try to come in and take advantage of the vulnerability of patients and families so I'm hopeful that the LDS will leave the hospital alone eventually.

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A sturdy look which clings to the Iron Rod.

Her virginal vagina-hanger clings to an iron rod... that's hilarious!

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Those poems are really creepy. *Shudder* From what I've read, more liberal Mormons don't force modesty rules on young children as they don't think modesty is an issue until puberty, but once you get to Young Women's they start doing things like modesty fashion shows and play 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' to make sure those areas are covered (the head part is to make sure their stomach stays covered when they touch their head). I'd hate to be made to feel guilty if I wanted to wear something revealing or just something without sleeves!

What do Mormons say about the fact that the BoM has a) been changed a lot and b) has been basically disproven as the archaeological records don't match up?

It infuriates me how they set Joseph Smith up as this wonderful man when in reality he went round marrying fourteen-year-old girls and that Brigham Young was responsible for a massacre of 120 people.

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I will put my two cents in as the topic applies to me (I'm an active Mormon).

I attended public school and was virtually the only member until I got to high school. I attended and graduated early morning seminary and currently attend institute at my university (not BYU, not even close). I am graduating soon with a B.S. degree in secondary science education (biology and chemistry) and am headed to graduate school in a medical program that will be my future area of work. I have a very supportive boyfriend (also a member and probably future husband) who is graduating from a different university and is trying to find a job in the same area where my graduate school is located. He understands that I want a family, but I don't want to be a stay-at-home mom.

As for this attitude in the church that all women should be stay-at-home moms, this is usually found in original families that have been around since Joseph Smith or the members that have lived in Utah for too long. Growing up, these families usually home-schooled, had a ton of kids, and then sent the girls off to BYU (if they could get in, that is) to get married and the boys off on their missions (and then to BYU once they got back). More recent members were generally more relaxed and sent their kids to public school and encouraged their sons and daughters equally to go to college (my situation, I'm a second-generation member) and serve missions.

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I will put my two cents in as the topic applies to me (I'm an active Mormon).

I attended public school and was virtually the only member until I got to high school. I attended and graduated early morning seminary and currently attend institute at my university (not BYU, not even close). I am graduating soon with a B.S. degree in secondary science education (biology and chemistry) and am headed to graduate school in a medical program that will be my future area of work. I have a very supportive boyfriend (also a member and probably future husband) who is graduating from a different university and is trying to find a job in the same area where my graduate school is located. He understands that I want a family, but I don't want to be a stay-at-home mom.

As for this attitude in the church that all women should be stay-at-home moms, this is usually found in original families that have been around since Joseph Smith or the members that have lived in Utah for too long. Growing up, these families usually home-schooled, had a ton of kids, and then sent the girls off to BYU (if they could get in, that is) to get married and the boys off on their missions (and then to BYU once they got back). More recent members were generally more relaxed and sent their kids to public school and encouraged their sons and daughters equally to go to college (my situation, I'm a second-generation member) and serve missions.

Nice propaganda - you've sold me! :roll:

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