In the past this blog has covered some of the ways in which Mormonism unjustly affects women:
- Women & Mormonism
- Women Are Responsible For Men’s Lusts?
- Mormonism and Rape
- Toilet Paper & Patriarchy
On the “Recovery From Mormonism” forum one contributor added another way – as female missionaries:
A word of advice to all new female missionaries preparing to enter the MTC.
As you are just heading out on your mission, I entered the MTC almost the same day back in 1990. I’m now about to turn 44.
I don’t think it is possible to understand how Patriarchy hurts women until you actually enter the mission field and you see how the church is run and you see just how little power you really have. You work and work and then have to turn your investigators over to a boy 3 years younger than you to baptize and your investigator is looking at you like you are a weak, weak woman who can’t literally work for god on her own. Wait, you’ll see.
Then, you’ll go to numerous zone meetings where the boys will get up and preside and lead and you will sit quietly with your companion and say nothing.
You will work at least 80 hours a week and still jump when the DL calls and wants you teach one of their female investigators even though you are exhausted, your laundry needs done, you’ve eaten nothing but pasta all week,…you’ll go…because the boys come first and you have to be “selfless”. And, when your companion or yourself becomes suicidal because of the lack of any control you have over your life out there…you’ll be blamed, not the church, not the program, not the regime.
So, here’s my advice and I hope you can here me. Remember this…you are doing all of this for FREE. Either you, or your friends and family are paying for you to be a saleswoman for the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For the next 18 months, you will attempt to convert people who will pay 10% to the church for a lifetime. You are literally filling the back accounts of the church, while yours is emptying. And when you come back, there is nothing for you. No tuition assistance, no lump sum payment…nothing. But the church could have already made thousands because of your work and hard hard labor.
So, I will tell you what I wish someone would have told me.
When you are tired. Don’t go out.
When you are sick, go to a doctor, listen to her/him and go back to your flat and don’t go out.
If you are mentally exhausted. Stop working and go see the sights and forget the work for the day and just focus on you and re energizing your batteries.
If you are in a flat that is too cold or too hot, or that has mold, or rats, or any infestations…DEMAND to move, immediately. DO NOT JEOPARDIZE your health for this mission.
Remember, if you spent this time in the military, you’d be making serious money, and they would house and feed you well. A mission is opposite, you are being drained and you will feel that in just a few days when your parents drive away and are thinking all is well. It won’t be and only you will know that as it’s you out there,…not them. Also, if the moment comes where you don’t want to be there anymore. If you have given all you can and your soul is on the verge of breaking…don’t worry about family, friends or expectations…get home, save yourself and do what you want where you want and pursue your dreams.
Remember, this is voluntary and you are losing money.
I’ll tell you the truth, when I got out there…after 2 months I was done. That is a LONG time to give your days and nights for free to any organization. 18 months is extortion…but you’ll find that out yourself. Most people stay out because they are afraid of their parents. I was.
Also, when you come home. Move away from your family. Spend time with YOU. Get your own routine back. Do what you love. If you want to be a plumber, go learn to be a plumber. You want to be a cowboy, an electrician…go do that.
If you want to be a parent, don’t even think about it until your late 20’s. Get your education, get your career stable, get your own place and get some money in the bank and you guard that with your life.
A mission is hard, but coming home with nothing and starting a marriage with nothing and having babies with nothing is harder. Your mother made her choices and you have yours to make. Don’t confuse the two.
I mean no disrespect to your mother, but I’ve been out there pounding the pavement in a foreign country. I know darn good and well what you are up against and no mother who has never experienced that has a right to expect her daughter not to be completely changed by that experience.
Use your instincts. Put yourself first, put your companion second and don’t shun her if she just can’t go out that day. Help her, comfort her and talk to her and don’t guilt her. She’s human like you and doing the best she can.
I won’t say “good luck” as I know it takes a heck of a lot more than that to survive this.
If you get sick, get checked for worms and parasites. If someplace doesn’t feel right…stay away. If you get a companion that you cannot get a long with no matter how hard you try, refuse to work until you get reassigned. Do not suffer out there any more than you need to. Remember, at the end of this 18 months, your bank account is zero, but the bank account of the church could very well be in the thousands that you’ll never see and never benefit from. Keep that in mind.
You are going to have to be strong. The MTC is not the real world. Be as ready as you can. And, if you get hurt and your parents don’t want to hear it because of how it would “look”, stop talking to them and find someone who will listen to you…it just might save your life.
On a personal note…I never married or had kids because I hated the gender roles in the church. When I came home from my mission after my full 18 months, my Bishop father forced me to go a singles ward to get married, he gave me no choice and that was it for me. I had just worked my butt of for nothing for the church and I was not going to come home as a 23 year old woman and be disrespected again. I left the church shortly after this. Why? How could a true believing Mormon woman leave the church after a lifetime of living it? Because as a woman I was no longer willing to be subject to a man when I had just worked as hard or harder than them for nothing…and they got the pleasure of baptizing the people I had worked so hard to convert. No, patriarchy and gender roles are not for me.
But…I would never have known that unless I had entered into the pressure cooker that is called a “mission”.
Be smart, and save yourself.