I appreciate this article and the suggestions. As a teenager in the 1970s and a victim of sexual abuse, there were comments made at my church lessons that were not helpful and increased the shame so common among victims. One teaching that I've heard many times is how it's the responsibility of young women to dress modestly in order to keep from tempting the young men with provacative clothing. Modesty is necessary on both sides and clean thoughts are our personal responsibility, not contingent on the actions of others.
Some good ideas expressed herein, yet also difficult to read due to the PC tone infused throughout. I wonder if this author also takes issue with the language of the Ten Commandments, OR upon our Savior’s return, with what He should or should not say, or how He could “more effectively” say it.
My concern about “political correctness” today is that it is a stealth attempt to undermine that freedom of speech provided us by our Founders via inspiration from God.
OF COURSE we must understand what sexism and prejudice are and work at eliminating them from our souls, but while this is occurring (and overcoming the “natural man” may take a lifetime) we must allow people to speak freely; even if it means they are sometimes wrong. For THIS is how we learn. Allowing “fear” to be the reason someone withholds their actual thoughts, rather than expressing them, helps no one, and is driven by the adversary.
I can not imagine a family operating effectively under this sort of program, much less the Church. Can you?
Thanks for this. I appreciated how the author contrasted "less effective" teaching methods with current counsel from the Brethren via the church's website. We need to be careful about the messages about purity we give youth, and especially our daughters, and avoid outdated and damaging modes of teaching not advocated by the church. I appreciate this article calling out those older messages and perhaps some feel defensive because they have taught these things, but when we know better, we do better, right? That is what the atonement is all about.
Wonderful examples. Thank you for including so many resources for teaching these sensitive topics.
We want to be careful that we don't teach double standards for virtue. As a seminary teacher, I want to emphasize the hopeful reality that any sexual missteps can be repented of. Hope and healing, not suffering in private shame. Of course, so many worthy adults in the church have sexual missteps in their past. I sometimes wonder if in teaching the seriousness of these things, we may fail to adequately convey the very hopeful message of the atonement.
Also, these thoughts seem particularly timely, given the current news stories about harassment and assault. How wonderful that Elder Ballard included sexism in his October 2017 Conference address when he said, "We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism." Amen, Elder Ballard.
Sister McPhie nailed this problem squarely. Men, including us of the priesthood, have been insensitive at best and certain untutored when it comes to how to address these important issues to today's Church youth. Politically correct is often a code word for please don't mess with my favorite prejudices. Well that time is over. The youth aren't buying the old way of speaking or outmoded, unscientific and often doctrinally incorrect messages. We have to get it right and Erin McPhie has helped us. Loving critics are desperately needed. Not uncritical lovers--we have too many and it isn't helping our urgent cause. Keep them coming Sister McPhie--we need to hear more.
Yes! Thank you for writing this.
Having lived in a previous generation, when men were inspired to be protective of women, when virtue was emphasized, including sexual purity; and when women and men regarded sexual relations within marriage as a joyful experience of bringing forth their posterity--I think these (old fashioned) attitudes were virtuous, basic and effective. There is a difference between the natures of women and men. It takes sacrifice today as it did for our grandparents to dedicate their lives to bringing about Zion within families. .
I have felt for years that we need to be teaching these matters more clearly and compassionately. Thank you for expressing what many are feeling.
While I appreciate the work that went into this article and agree with many if not all of the examples I worry about the tone. I wonder how a newly baptized member might feel trying to teach sexual purity after reading this. He or she might feel as if they were tiptoeing through a land mine of almost unavoidable offenses. While it is important not to give offense it's aequally important, if not more important, to not take offense. Especially when it's unintended and the teacher is just giving his or her best. While there is certainly room for improvement, let's be careful that our own LDS brand of political correctness doesn't creep into our meetings.
Just a few thoughts: I agree, completely, that Sister McPhie's "More Effective" comments, were definitely.....more effective. I guess I've been blessed, that I haven't really run into any of the "Less Effective" scenarios. (Except that my great grandmother had a similar experience to number 9.) Hopefully, in the church, these examples are as troublesome as it gets. If so, we're not doing too badly. It IS important that we teach our boys to respect women, and at the same time help them internalize the value of virtue for themselves. We need to also teach these virtue lessons, while teaching that through the power of the Atonement we can become clean again. One other thing - I've heard it said that some girls have been raped or molested, and felt that they had sinned. That is Satan's 'cunning' working upon them, and doesn't make sense, if you think about it. Would you accuse a murder victim of suicide? Or someone who is beaten up, of self harm? The Lord knows our hearts, and will judge us through our intentions.
The contents of this article will help me be more sensitive in the future to inadvertent sexist undertones my teaching may have.
I do feel there is an appropriate place, even a gospel sanction space, though for special deference and reverence to be given to women and children. In our aim to purify our lives and remove inappropriate sexism, let us not remove the appropriate dignities, honors, and regard that the Savior showed to women and children.
Email (will not be published)
Daily news, articles, videos and podcasts sent straight to your inbox.