Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Blogging Amish

Every few weeks, an idea will sweep through the bloggernacle that bothers me.
This week, it's a series of posts at Times & Seasons regarding dating and courtship. Reading these apparently serious posts and the affirmatory comments following, makes me wonder if I have anything in common with these people.
I don't know if the rest of the bloggernacle is significantly older than me (28), but I have a hard time believing people from my generation can read about "courting" without laughing or shuddering. These rules would be great if we lived in an early-19th-century agrarian society, but we don't. People actually live apart from their families, have apartments, and interact with people of the opposite sex unchaperoned! Shocking!
These "courting rules" point up a more disturbing problem: they seem symptomatic of people getting married too young. Obviously, if you're 18 or 19 when you get married, your family will play a huge role in your marriage. You're not really your own person yet, which may be why many of these marriages fail.
In short, I find it disturbing that so many of my co-religionists embrace such reactionary leanings.

6 comments:

m said...

holy shit! i can't believe that those people have the same religion as me. i don't even know where to start, but i was always pushing for a liberalization of the law of chastity. i was always hoping that some GA would get up in conference and say that it's okay to touch a girls boobs as long as her bra's on or something like that. then i could rationalize it somehow to be able to take her bra off but not have to talk to the bishop about it, becuase it's not that far from acceptable behaviour.

you're right, these people aren't mormon, they're amish. sometimes i'll read their posts and comments and think "hey, these guys are somewhat liberal and thoughtful, i can identify w/ them." and then they go and post something like this and it destroys any goodwill that they had built up w/ me.

i think that they should do a post over at T&A about whether or not levi lovin' is okay, and whether it's something you'd need to confess to your bishop. or something fun like that. what do you think?

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that a discussion of the reason why people get married so young in the Church in the first place was pretty much absent in the T&S "courtship" posts.

I think people who get married after knowing each other for three weeks are crazy, but so is staying a virgin for 45 years because you never get married. Maybe the scare tactics of the iron law of chastity are useful for younger people, but it's a bit extreme to not allow consenting adults over age 30 to have a sexual relationship before they get married.

Anyway, I think the T&S post was well done, but it skirted the more interesting issue - why people generally get married way too young in the Church. Even more interesting, why people feel comfortable marrying someone they barely even know (thanks to confirmations of "the spirit").

m said...

anonymous said:

I think people who get married after knowing each other for three weeks are crazy, but so is staying a virgin for 45 years because you never get married. Maybe the scare tactics of the iron law of chastity are useful for younger people, but it's a bit extreme to not allow consenting adults over age 30 to have a sexual relationship before they get married.

i have to say i totally agree. i have mormon friends who are over 30 (guys) and i think are still virgins who are basically going to pass through their sexual primes as the big V because they haven't found the right girl to marry. and of course they haven't been able to keep the law of chastity completely, and so they're also plagued w/ non-stop guilt for their shortcomings. it's insane, and i am always trying to find a way to express my feelings on the subject to them while not dissing on their beliefs.

NFlanders said...

These are really good points. I think the bottom line is that the Law of Chastity is pretty much impossible to follow perfectly. This unrealistic standard pressures couples to get married right away, before either person slips up.
Young married adults are more likely to have children (before fertility problems start) and they have extra years in which to have even more children.
Also, a woman who bears children before she has a career is more likely to stay home with the kids.
I think we should ask: is the culture of the church a side-effect of the Law of Chastity or is the purpose of the Law of Chastity to propagate the traditional culture of the Church?

Anonymous said...

"I think we should ask: is the culture of the church a side-effect of the Law of Chastity or is the purpose of the Law of Chastity to propagate the traditional culture of the Church?"

Wearing my cynic's hat, I think the purpose of the law of chastity and the commandment to have as many children as you can (and not to wait to finish one's education, or to be financial stable before doing so) are the primary means of controlling the lives of the members of the Church, and making them dependent upon the Church to justify their choices. I may not be making sense here, but I think that if you're so busy raising your six children, schlepping them to church activities and meetings, there's not much time for contemplation of whether or not the Church is actually a positive influence on your life - or whether you're just "checking off the boxes" of your eternal to-do list.

It's so sad to see talented women get sucked into the lie (too strong of a word, but going for drama here), that having kids and cleaning house will be the sole means of fulfillment in a women's life. Fertility doesn't start dropping dramatically until a woman is in her mid-30's. Why not encourage women to become educated and work for 10 years or so in a career before having chidren? Then at least she'd have some perspective and outside interests to fall back on when the kids start to drive her crazy.

Also, I find it contradictory that GBH and other prophets encourage women to get all the education they can (in a recent talk, one GA exorts women to go into the hard sciences for a career), but then discourage women from working outside the home. So, how exactly are they going to use their chemistry degree? Developing their own household cleaners to clean up puke?

I think there will come a time when all the educated women will say "stop the insanity!!!!" and then the Church will become much more progressive and less controlling of its members lives.

I'm a huge fan of the teach people correct principles and let them govern themselves, instead of preaching fire and brimstone if they step out of line and have sex before they are married.

Hmm. Now what was the original question? Sorry for the rant.

NFlanders said...

Rants are always welcome, anonymous. I also was surprised by the talk encouraging women to get degrees in the sciences.
Unfortunately, the church seems to move at a glacial pace when in comes to social changes. I think if more and more women complete their degrees, more will have careers, and gradually the church will become home to more progressive ideas regarding their roles. I just hope I'm still alive at that point.