Mothers Who Know

Recently at a major university, a class on Christianity in the modern world spent an entire class discussing Sister Beck's talk Mothers Who Know. Instead of discussing the merits of the talk, it was dissected piece by piece, examining its flaws, stereotyping the "stupid" women who would follow such outdated ideas and discussing how dangerous these teachings are for the women's movement.

I'd love to sit in a similar class that examined piece by piece the flaws, stereotypes and dangerous ideas of the women's movement, the damage that's been done by taking an idea like equal pay for equal work and spinning it into an entire movement that undermines families and belittles men...

but that's another post.

I distinctly remember the day that talk was given and the desire I felt after listening and feeling the spirit, that I could and should do better and that as a mother, I was a critical part of God's plan. I was inspired.

I remember being shocked in the days and weeks following the talk, that people were finding fault with it. As I looked at blogs and articles about people protesting the talk, I re-read it, baffled that anyone could take issue with the beautiful message.

Now, three years later, students at a major university are paying for the privelege of figuring out what's wrong with the message and how it sets back women.

Women who know bear children - President Benson said, "In the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels."

Women who know honor their sacred ordinances and covenants - Hard for me to imagine this being a bad thing.

Women who know are nurturers - "To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow."

Women who know are leaders - "In equal partnership with their husbands, they lead a great and eternal organization."

Women who know are teachers - "A well-taught friend told me that he did not learn anything at church that he had not already learned at home."

Women who know do less - "These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all."

Women who know stand strong and immovable - "Latter-day Saint women should be the very best in the world at upholding, nurturing, and protecting families."

I strive to be one of those "stupid" women. I hope my daughters grow up to be two of those "stupid" women and I pray my sons come home from their missions and find one of these "stupid" women to marry.


Leslie said...

i loved reading this. i loved reading her talk.

i agree whole heartedly with it all.

how amazing this world would be if we had more 'stupid' women who would devote themselves to their families before trying to 'have it all'.

Anonymous said...

What about teaching your daughters to be independent and think for themselves?

And what about teaching your sons to want more from a wife than to be barefoot and pregnant?

I agree that there are some pleasant thoughts in this, but it's a pretty narrow view.


Mindy said...

Karey, I completely agree. I strive to be "stupid", if this is what "stupid" is.

Janelle, I hope you will realize that Julie B. Beck never said that women should not think for themselves and should only be "barefoot and pregnant". Her view is not narrow at all, and if read with an open heart will only inspire.

Anonymous said...

To Janelle:

From a perspective of a young man in college, I see first hand the various choices different women are making regarding families, education, careers. I'd like to say to you that the women who are striving to be mothers and wives are the ones who are being the most independent and thinking the most for themselves in a society and world where majority of women are giving top priority to careers and putting having families and raising children on the backburner. The women I see making the choice to have a family and be a mother are by far the most independent and confident girls I come in contact with. I respect them and their choices.

Leslie said...


with all due respect.

could you show me where it said in that message that we should teach our sons to want a wife 'who is barefoot and pregnant'?

maybe i need to work on my reading comprehension because i missed that part entirely.

i do not understand people who say that something is a narrow view just because it is a view that they do not agree with. i could just as easily say that yours is a narrow view, but really i just think that people who disagree with this message about 'mothers who know' really just have a selfish view... a view about themselves instead of a view about what is best for their children.

i believe that if most mothers were asked privately what they truly believe is best for their children (putting their children's needs first before their own), they would agree with the message in this talk.

but too many mothers in this day and age are too afraid of being considered 'narrow minded'.

but i would rather be 'best for my kids' minded.

Anonymous said...

I think what Janelle is trying to say is that expectations in the church for women are so limited. You should be a wife and mom. You shouldn't be a doctor or a lawyer or an artist or anything else, even if you're talented in those areas because it takes away from being a wife and mother.

I know you can't have it all and do it all well, but there should be just as many options for women as men. But I guess in a church led by men, that's to be expected.

Leslie said...

you seem a little hostile 'anonymous'.

if you are a member of the LDS church, then i suggest you do some soul searching and decide whether or not you truly sustain our leaders and Prophet... because if you have a problem with our church being led by men, then i am sorry for you and you need to gain an understanding and a testimony of God's plan.

if you are not a member of the LDS church, then you should probably set aside your hostility because you don't really know what it is all about.

God bless you either way though.

Mindy said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am a member of the LDS Church. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am also an accomplished photographer, violinist, fitness instructor, and marathon runner. I have only ever felt uplifted and encouraged by the church and it's members in my endeavors. I have never felt limited in my options... I can be what I want to be, and be damn good at it too. Yes, I'm a mormon and I said damn.

With Love,

Jason said...

I am always amazed to hear people talk about being a mother and raising children as being limiting, or the importance of these responsibilities as being a narrow view. What could be more important, more fulfilling, more enjoyable, more rewarding than raising children?

How many "careers" can even begin to compare with the joys of raising a child? Most of us men trudge to work every day because we have to earn a living for our family. Sure, there are some doctors and lawyers and artists in the world, and those careers are probably better and more fulfilling than what most of us do for a living. However, I certainly don't hold them in higher esteem than a good mother.

I do agree that women should have any opportunity that men have, and they should have the right to choose a career doing whatever they dream of. I would only hope that the women who choose a full-time career also choose not to have children, or at least wait to pursue their career until their children are older. It breaks my heart to see children get treated as a "side job". They get put in a daycare or preschool all day while their parents go do more "fulfilling" things. I think we can all see some of the damage this has caused children and society as a whole.

I firmly believe that if we all saw the true value of raising children, and I mean REALLY raising our children (teaching them, feeding them, playing with them, spending the majority of their waking hours with them, etc.), then we would be living in a much better world. Stupid, I know.

Anonymous said...

I am a child of a mom who felt that her "sucess" came from getting back to work...and continuing her career. I really wish that she had found her value and success with just being the wonderful mom she is. I can still remember being dropped off at daycare and crying all the way there.
I know that my mom loves me very much. I just wish that the feminist movement hadn't told her that in order to be successful in life, that he needed to be in the workforce. I really wish that she would have left that to my very competent father and stayed with me and my siblings...spending time with us during the day and being the class room mom. Of course, working 40 hours a week didn't leave time for this...and it even meant that many days, I came home to an empty house...
My mom has said many times that hindsight is 20/20 and that if she could go back, she would change a lot of of which is not having lost out on so much of her children's childhoods.
My hope is that this talk can help other moms realize that there is no replacement for their just being there...being a mom. That is the most important job a woman can have.
I must say that I love my mom. I know that she loves me. Hindsight is 20/20. I am my kids mom. 5 wonderful kids!! I am a stay at home mom and cherish the time that I get to be a mommy. They will grow up so fast...already are. I find my success in their happy, confident faces. The ones I am able to send off to school in the morning and welcome home after school. No other career could be so gratifying!

Aim Aug said...

Isn't it sad that society has taken the most challenging, joyous, and rewarding job in the world and belittled it to the point of nonrecognition? You can call me stupid from dawn 'til dusk, but I will not let someone else raise children I brought into this world, children I am responsible for, whose world revolves around their parents. I will not rely on the government or the schools or even my church to do my job. I chose it, and I will do it. And I will love and cherish every moment of it, for I know it goes by all too quickly. Call me stupid...I consider myself blessed.

Christie said...

Whoa...can of worms here, eh?

I don't think motherhood is our one defining role in life, but I do think our most important job is our children. However we do that is up to us.