Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Real Fathers Wanted - and Needed

When young mothers are able to provide a reasonably comfortable living for their children within a welfare system (and are economically advantaged by that system for having more children), any historical provider role for men vanishes - leaving them far more exposed to the natural tendency to sire offspring with no concern for consequences. That has a terrible impact on families, in general, but it also has a terrible consequence on young men - who are able to escape much of the responsibility that for thousands of years, from a purely biological perspective, has helped "civilize" them and curb the natural man. (and, all charges of sexism aside, there are collective natural MAN tendencies that are different than collective natural WOMAN tendencies - whatever their genesis). 

That's one of the reasons I sympathize with the dilemma the Church faces in reworking the traditional view of presiding - that I really do believe eliminating much of the responsibility that historically has tied a man to his mate and his offspring has disastrous consequences, as evidenced in the communities in which I have spent many of my professional years.


Anonymous said...

Very good point.

ji said...

I agree -- and I'll go a step further -- the disastrous consequences are not just for the male of the species -- both male and female will be negatively affected. There is some validity to the pattern of thousands of years, the pattern of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the pattern of Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel, the pattern of the scriptures, the pattern of sanctifying our souls. There is value and dignity in the role our God expects a man to magnify in the home.

Anonymous said...

Catch 22-should we as women choose not to use our abilities to provide for our children when their fathers have failed to do so, in order to facilitate the concept of men being necessary?

I'm really glad my mother girded her loins and set about doing what my father had signally failed to do.I accept that it leaves us with an imbalance,but it's really not a problem of our making.

Maybe it would work better if the church spoke more clearly about the necessity of our guys manning up in preparing themselves to provide for their families,both physically and spiritually,rather than this culturally loaded and largely discredited concept of 'presiding'.

I'm baffled as to what this means in practise,and so is my responsible and conscientious husband.We just play it our way,but it's open to so much misunderstanding and opens the door to much unrighteous dominion in my experience,often without malice but in a mistaken effort to control outcomes.
I've seen families destroyed by this word.

It seems to me that priesthood authority resides in the power to provide,bless and protect,but never to control.That,in my opinion is an Old Testament view of the concept,that just won't stand the test of living in more enlightened and less repressive and aggressive times.

Papa D said...

Anonymous2, thanks for your comments on the last few posts (sincerely) - but this post is not about the situation of your mother.

Of course, I applaud her for doing what she had to do. Women who have husbands who don't fulfill their responsibilities absolutely are NOT addressed in this post - and this post is NOT criticizing the women who do take care of their children the best they can, even within a welfare system that discourages the baby-daddies from "manning up". There is some criticism of the practice of having multiple children (often from multiple men) and getting paid for doing so, but, at heart, this post is not about women at all. It's about a system that destroys families on a wide-spread level in too many areas in this country - and what that system does to men.

As to the concept of "presiding", I agree that it can lead to abuse - but I really like the LDS Church's movement over the last decade to redefine the term. One speaker in the last General Conference said explicitly that husbands and wives preside together, and the new definition stresses marriage as an equal partnership - even eliminating the old rhetoric about wives not working outside the home.

Finally, the LDS Church always has asked its men to "man up" and prepare to provide for and take care of their families. Yes, "preside" has been abused in too many cases - but it has NOT been abused in FAR more cases. I am very glad a new definition is being taught now that doesn't include the previous connotations of control, but, in the vast majority of marriages, that control never existed anyway - at least, that has been my experience with the thousands of LDS marriages I have known throughout my life.