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Judith Dushku is not speaking for anyone but herself telling her own story as she's asked. I detect zero mean spiritedness, and she simply has a larger world view than many members of the church. And this is where we Mormons miss the boat so often -- we line up to easily in matters both within -- and especially outside of -- the church religious culture. But when someone throws his hat into the ring of politics, it's open season, and it's time for a robust debate, EVEN if it's uncomfortable. Especially if it's uncomfortable. It seems that Romney and those critical of Johanna and Judith need to dip back into American history -- and the history of the church -- to realize that the vast diversity of opinion is one of they key pillars of both the country and of the church, and only in recent memory has this been frowned upon by the church. The Johannas and Judiths of the world should be revered, thanked and encouraged in their work!
Maybe I liked it so much is because I admire you both for all you have accomplished. Maybe also because I am an active Mormon Democrat. I like Mitt, he's my brother; but my vote will go to Mr. Obama. (Who is also my brother!)
Thank you Joanna and Judy... well done.I can't help but think how much better an example Jon Huntsman would be as a candidate for POTUS. While extremely wealthy, I'd be curious to know how Judy and Jon might have interacted if their paths were intertwined spiritually and politically.Mitt just doesn't get it.
The Republican party as it exists post-Reagan is a party that claims the ideals of good character and moral values for themselves. This is all they run on nowadays. That being the case, it's absolutely acceptable to bring into question a man's character when he uses it for his own political gains.
Keep up the good fight Sisters. I'm not Mormon, but I'm a feminist, so we're sisters in that manner, I suppose.
Three cheers for both of you--this is a wonderful interview! Thanks! Hugs to you both.
If this is the strongest level of 'criticism' allowed in the Mormon church... it's easy to see that anyone truly critical has left long ago.
This adds a Mormon dimmension to the presidential race. There are two kinds of Mormons, Romney Mormons, and Judy Mormons. Romney Mormons are the majority, and if Romney wins there is no question they will increase their percentage. They will be the 99% of Mormonism, and in Mormon culture any others who feel differently will just quietly accept things and not question. If Romney loses, the Judy Mormons will grow, especially if they are perceived as having said anything to influence the outcome.
A Romney loss is far more interesting to contemplate from a Mormon perspective. It would cause a little division for a short time, but that just provides an opportunity for the presidency to prophecy what just happened. He could see the danger of the many misdirections in the political campaign, and seek a way to chart a new direction for Mormonism. The women might be blamed by some, but they could also be given credit by others. When you think about it, it makes sense that only a woman could save Mormonism from the boys club. A woman reluctant to speak is perfect. once the direction is given, all Mormon men will be willing to follow along. That is the strength of Mormonism. Our other religions could never change that fast.
That is terribly simplistic, and an inaccurate reflection of the Mormon church. There are Romney Mormons, as you describe, and Judy Mormons, and Jim Mormons, and John Mormons, and so on. To pigeon-hole like that is to create an "us vs. them" mentality--precisely what Judy and Joanna do not seem to want.
As far as "sav[ing] Mormonism from the boys club", that is a preposterous and invidious view. Surely women should be treated as peers, as equals in the church. However, your statement puts women on a higher plane than men, and seems like a shallow endorsement of the feminist cause.
As an aside, while I appreciate that Judy states that there are many progressive women in the church, I wish she would say progressive members. Too often, the actions and focus of Joanna and Judy belie this, and make it appear that the church has only a few progressive women, with the men and remaining 99% Romney Mormons, to paraphrase Mr. Reed.
Isn't it interesting that whenever a feminist starts talking about women taking leadership roles, someone pops up to warn about role-reversal, that somehow breaking up the boy's club of male privilege is automatically going to put women "on a higher plane than men." This is the terror of the privileged, that they'll be as subordinate as the ones they've been subordinating. You can't even conceive of an equal relationship, can you John?
I don't think your rhetoric is harmful to men. It is demeaning to women. A platitude, pat on the head, hoping it will suffice.
Platitude? Pat on the head? I guess the women will have to decide about that. Or maybe their husbands can help them decide.
Women, and men, will certainly decide for themselves. But I feel that your statements are a hollow endorsement. You disparage all men with what you say, and do not give any critical analysis to support your assertions.
@David What am I supposed to be fearing? I welcome more participation by all and equal status for all, whether within the church or outside of it. I have expressed nothing but support for equality. Stop with your fear-mongering.
Where did I say, or even imply, that I am terrified that I will soon be a subordinate? Where did I warn, or imply a warning, of role reversal? In fact, where did I say or imply any of what you said? And why the cowardly attack?
You need to work on your reading comprehension skills.
This is not something to fear.
What am I fearing? I do not believe I have expressed or implied any fear. You are being disingenuous with your argument.
What am I supposed to be fearing? I would welcome equality in the church. I have not expressed anything but support of such a proposition.
Paul,Our posts are getting clobbered here on this thread. Ours are getting marked down, and the other side is getting marked up on their posts. I'm not complaining. This might not be a bad thing.Jim
They should add a flip option to the website. If you check it then those that are down will be first, and those that are up will be last.
As a man, I would say women ARE on a higher plane.
Not exactly. I was saying if Romney is elected then the church will switch even more that way, and be 99% Romney Mormons. At that point it will become very difficult, or even impossible, for a Mormon to oppose him, especially a woman. Now is their chance to make a big difference, and help the post election shift go the other way toward a more balanced church.
My comment still stands.
God can't speak through the leaders of the church since this is a message that must be delievered to them. God would have to use a woman, a woman who is subject to their authority, and submissive, but not bent. Romney is the respected man on the white horse who is due authority. That is precisely why he can't have it. Men and women are equal in the Mormon church only if a woman is allowed to right the wrongs. If she is cut off, the church is cutting off so much more than just her. They will have to learn this lesson, either now or later.
You make a lot of assumptions, theological and otherwise, in that statement. If you are referring to the "White Horse Prophesy", well that is just silly.
What is the "White Horse Prophesy"?
I'm a Mormon and I would have to agree in most part about this. Given the choice between Mitt and Obama it's clear who to vote for, but your absolutely right that Mormon's are diverse in there home, and life. There is defiantly people like Mitt all through the church and it's not all bad, they just view the world differently. I love that the more diverse people of this faith are speaking up and telling people how different we are. After all, A world faith wouldn't be around too long if we only accepted one view and culture.
I understand this is one person's opinion, and a chance for this person to share her story, but without any countering stories, it just doesn't ring completely true to me. Who of us wants to be judged by only one person -- and a person whose personal philosophy is so different from our own? Also, even though I'm a fan of Joanna Brooks, I feel like this piece falls flat -- partly because of Ms. Brooks leading questions.
Maybe you'd find Dushku's story more credible if it were backed up by 3 men?
Fannie, I was thinking of the speeches that I heard in his behalf of Romney on the Thursday evening of the RNC, where even a self-proclaimed liberal member of his cabinet as governor praised the way he worked with women. So when you hear those stories -- all by women, some Mormon, some not -- and then you hear this one, I just get the sense that what we are hearing is one person's opinion and not the full story. I do not doubt that she felt less valued by Romney than perhaps others did in the congregation. And I do not doubt that they are not friends now, nor will they be. (Would you want to befriend someone who was criticizing you in a personal way in the press?) But I do doubt the veracity where she supposedly quotes him verbatim. That may be how she interpreted him, but I doubt he said it exactly the way she remembers it. My simple rationale for that is that in all of my years in the LDS Church, I have never heard nor could I ever imagine hearing a church leader say, "Judy, I don't know why you keep coming to church. You are not my kind of Mormon." It would be something so completely out of character for a church leader, that I just don't believe it. People may not like his positions or policies, but Romney is no monster.
David, I don't know how to describe someone like Mitt Romney except as a monster of some type. If you strip away all the rumours and attacks, the facts that remain show conclusively that he has no problem changing his 'core values' to suit whatever his desires are at the time. His own political career is full of examples of this. The story at the beginning of this article about his 'pro choice' position seems to fit perfectly with this idea.
I am fully aware of the nature of all politicians - they are all liars unfortunately - and indeed all *people* are capable of changing their minds or values over time. But the quotes we have seen from Mitt back in the 1990s compared to his professed values today show a degree of felixibility far, far in excess of any kind of personal development. He implemented a wonderful healthcare system in MA and was rightly lauded for it. Today, he say that a near-identical system created by Obama is a disaster and must be repealed.
I just don't understand how anyone can look at this and not see someone who is a purely political animal with no genuine values of his own. Very few politicians show a willingness to bend in the wind that is even close to this.
There are dozens of other reason why I personally don't want to see Mitt as president of the USA. But I see plenty of reason to accept that others disagree with me on many of them. But this issue of flipflopping seems to stand out as something not even hardcore republicans can honestly defend. That is why the anecdote about his pro-choice position is relevant and included in this article.
And ultimately, your opinion of what things are like for Mormons, and the "veracity" of Dushku's account, is just that. One more person's opinions. No more or no less credible than Dushku's.
It's just interesting, and perhaps reflective of the way your faith assigns more weight and credibility to the male voice, that you don't think one woman with a disagreeable view of Romney has much credibility.
You seem particularly swayed, however, by speeches made by Romney's supporters at the RNC. And.... what did you expect, for the Romney campaign to trot out his critics at that particular venue?
Fannie, we all make opinions and you have obviously made your own opinion of me based on two comments posted here. In both of your posts, you essentially call me a sexist, even though you know nothing about me other than the fact that I am LDS. My point in my posts is simply this: I tend to doubt anyone -- male or female -- who paints such a one-sided opinion and states something as a fact when that "fact" is so much out of character that it strains credulity. Again, I do not doubt that she felt the way she did or perceived it the way that she did, I just doubt Romney said things the exact way that she remembers them. I do not assign more weight to the male voice, I simply give ample weight to the women who have also spoke in positive terms about Romney.
Seriously, if you are LDS you are sexist. That's just a fact unless you don't believe your religious teachings. Aren't men the only priesthood holders? Don't men get their own planets while women have to get sealed to men and be brought along to those planets? Isn't their polygamy for men in heaven but not for women? Your religion is just as sexist and patriarchal as most others. It's just a more modern, American version created by a con man from VT who wanted to marry a lot of women. Whatever...you can believe what you want but your beliefs are sexist if you live your religion because your place in it is determined solely by gender.
"In a home where there is an able-bodied husband, he is expected to be the breadwinner...Brethren of the priesthood, I continue to emphasize the importance of mothers staying home to nurture, care for, and train their children in the principles of righteousness...In a pamphlet published some years ago by the Council of the Twelve, we said the following: “Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership. It has always been so; it always will be so. Father, with the assistance and counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home” (Father, Consider Your Ways[pamphlet, 1973], 4–5)."
When your church tells you how to run your personal life and family based solely on gender, guess what? That's SEXIST!
Quiverfull. Embraced by Evangelicals, Baptists and Mormons. Men are the lords--in marriage counseling before nuptials, women are asked if they will accept their husband as their lord. Wives subjugate themselves to their lords, enhance his stature by their wifely submission, have as many children as possible (artificial or chemical birth control such as the Pill or IUDs are equated with abortion) home school them, keep home and hearth welcoming and orderly, and accept that if their husband cheats on them, it must be because of their own failings. The Christian Patriarchy Movement. Great book on this written by Kathryn Joyce
Dave... I have found that critical and fair-mindedness does not abound on this forum...Fannie is a categorical representative of the narrow-minded thinking on this site and in our country when it comes to issues of faith and politics. The only way for their to be peace with this kind of thinker, is to totally agree. The concept of divergent and respected critical thinking is lost in so many sectors of our culture... too bad.
"[M]y children were not perceived as useful or as having any contribution to make." I think she is genuine in this remark but somewhat contradicts it is saying that as her bishop Mitt advised against moving from the Belmont ward out of concern for her sons (concerns misplaced or not).
She claims Mitt told her "“In Salt Lake, they told me it was okay to take that position in a liberal state.” Does this sound even remotely plausible?
Somewhere in her story is the truth but it has been massaged over the years, with or without the intention of deceiving. I tend to think she is not lying, just remembering through the lens of time and politics.
I knew Judy and was a member of the same congregation for a number of years while I was in law school and working as an attorney in Boston. She is a lovely and caring woman, and I couldn't think of a better Relief Society President to watch over the women in the congregations there.
That is why I continue to be disappointed by her statements in the press about Mitt Romney. She is an incredibly intelligent and insightful woman, but she comes across in these pieces as petty, vindictive and a little dishonest. Obviously, she and Mitt have some fundamental disagreements with respect to some political issues, and apparently a troubled personal history. But I don't consider it to be particularly courageous to paint him as a backward uncaring misogynist in the media with a few cherry-picked personal anecdotes that are clearly colored by personal animus and are completely divorced from the countless hours of service Mitt provided in that community and the experiences of countless women who have worked with him before and since.
Please don't misunderstand. Many Mormons have political differences with Mitt Romney and I think it is entirely appropriate for Judy and Joanna and anyone else to publicly express those differences. But Judy's comments about Mitt always seem to cross over from respectful political disagreement to petty mean-girls type character assassination.Judy, I have the utmost respect for you, so please take this in the spirit in which it was intended: You are far too good of a person for this.
maybe a Mormon lady would react like this, but to me, non-Mormon, I didn't feel she was being petty or mean spirited. I liked her honesty in relating his feelings for women and women issues.
In the Mormon environment there is a high level of conformity. It is all voluntary. This is a self sustaining situation that is hard to alter once it is set in motion. Independent thinkers tend to leave the group for one reason or another, and it becomes increasingly locked into its conformity.
Perhaps, if by conformity you mean that we try to place a high value on not gossiping and trying to focus on the best in others rather than the worst, particularly others in our congregations. I posted because I have personal experience with the congregations in question and to the extent Judy's recollections are not distorted by personal feelings, they describe the unflattering exceptions in Mitt's character, not the rule.
As for the rest of your comment, you know what they say, there's no such thing as an original thought. I hate to burst your bubble, but you are no more or less an independent thinker than anyone else. I might be old fashioned, but I believe that "independent thought" doesn't justify the neglect of good manners.
The unflattering exceptions in Mitt's character are pretty significant when you talk about the office of president. A couple weeks back he declared religious war, and today he is trying to inflame hatreds over unrest in the middle east and rush to make the problems bigger. He seems blind to the importance of what is happening, and he rushes to the same extreme as Sarah Palin because he sees the possibility of a political gain.
I respectfully disagree with you on all of the above, but I am not going to resort to character assassination to try and buttress by point of view.
He did declare religious war, and he did unfairly slam the president today, even to the extent where the right wingers in his own party thought he was off the deep end, and only Sarah Palin supports him on this. You might respectfully disagree with today's news.
I do not agree with Mitt Romney on a number of issues, but, again, I disagree with you on both counts.
I do not support the "war on religion" rhetoric (or really the "war on" anything else rhetoric). It is a lazy and profoundly unserious rhetorical device. That said, the contraception provisions in question, and liberal defenses of them, raise serious concerns for religious people everywhere. The right of free exercise of religious beliefs should be at least as protected as the freedom of speech.
As for his "slam" on the President today. I can only assume you are talking about the President's response to the attacks on the embassies in Syria and Egypt. Frankly, I agree with Mitt that the President has a disconcerting habit of coddling these Muslim dominated countries and their false moral equivalencies. The United States of America should not be in the habit of apologizing or opining on the personal speech of individuals. Let other people opine on the appropriateness of that stupid movie and it's stupid promoters. The United States of America's response should be to defend the universal right of free speech and to forcefully condemn any attempt to justify violence of any kind in response. It should demand that these countries prove that they will live up to their commitments to protect human rights by publicly hunting down the perpetrators of these crimes against life and property and bringing them to justice.
The statement from the embassy that Mitt and you claim was 'coddling' terrorists, was a desperate attempt by terrified embassy staff to save their own lives as the situation outside was deteriorating rapidly. Nobody at the White House saw the statement before it was released but I doubt they would have argued with it. You are suggesting that these people should have valued 'standing up for free speech' more than their own lives.
This is extraordinary hypocrisy, and nobody with a brain and an ounce of honesty can take anything you say seriously as a result.
Just because I disagree with you I don't have "an ounce of honesty?" I think that says about all we need to know about you.
How does requiring insurers to provide the same coverage regardless of who a person's employer is, "raise serious concerns for religious people everywhere"? That happens now and I haven't seen any earth shattering consequences. Why assume religious people don't need the same insurance as everyone else? No one HAS to use health care they don't want. But no one has the right to say their religious belief trumps my right to the same coverage as everyone else simply because a religious affiliated group runs my hospital or college. There is already an exemption for religious institutions-it's only when religions want to run regular businesses that they have to follow the same rules. Religion doesn't get to avoid complying with laws otherwise applicable just because of their religion.
And your disdain for these "Muslim dominated countries" is clear. That's why someone like you or Mitt should not be running the country. Muslims have just as much right to practice their religion as you do. Their beliefs are frankly no more absurd than your planets and magic underwear and, you know, people in glass houses and all....
Why should we defend the content of speech that is clearly absurd, disgusting and designed to denigrate another religion. Can you people not understand the difference between supporting the right to free speech and supporting the content of that speech. No one said the movie maker couldn't make the movie. They said it was bad, insulting, doesn't express american values etc which it doesn't. Our government must treat all religions equally so our governmental representatives would hardly support a movie that is so stupid and badly made and does nothing but insult people. If nothing else it's like the worst movie I've ever seen in terms of production value, content, etc
Now me, I find all religions absurd and I have the right to make fun of them as much as I want but I hardly expect my government to chime in and agree with me. See...difference...right to free speech and content of speech...rinse repeat
We may not support the war on religion stuff, but Romney was the one with the message declaring religious war. He can't back down now, unless he backs down. Nobody else could do that for him.
The president's response to the attacks in Libya and Egypt was measured, strong, and presidential. Romney called the president's handling of the situation disgraceful. Republicans (except Sarah Palin) were at least smart enough to not criticize the president when they spoke on the matter.
A quote from the internet,"They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up," said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an "utter disaster"
I'm not sure what you are trying to say about the religious freedom issue or that you understood my point.
While I disagree with his branding of the issue (which is no less idiotic than the "war on women"), I agree with the underlying point. Democrats (and liberals) would have a lot easier time winning over Christian moderates, many of whom are not opposed to government solutions for helping the poor, sick and less fortunate, if Christians had any confidence that the Democratic Party would protect their religious freedom. This whole episode with the contraception mandate and the arguments being made to support it just show that Democrats have no intention of protecting a religious person's right to free exercise if their beliefs become inconvenient to other elements in the Democratic base. Romney would be a fool not to take advantage of that long running trend in Democratic Party politics.
The Egyptian embassy's initial statement along with the President's snubbing of Israeli dignitaries this week were just the latest examples of what many view as his overly accomodating foreign policy to islamist "democracies" in the middle east. And I just don't buy the spin of the President's media allies. The statement from the Egyptian embassy was not made for self-preservation. The demonstrators aren't watching CNN. It was perfectly consistent with all of the the President's and his State Departments responses to similar events over the past 3 years. And I agree with Romney that their tone is usually too focused on the actions of people exercising their universal right to freedom of speech (and relgion--again--no matter how imbecilic and ill-advised) and not focused enough on the fact that no movie or cartoon or statement or action, no matter how insulting to the memory of Mohammad, justifies the types of violence to life and property that we continue to see--without any apparent repercussions.