Mitt Romney’s town hall debate response to a young woman’s question about women and
equal pay went viral. With the flurry of attention on women’s issues, author Kendal Sheets
notes that now is an important time to take a look at the Mormon Church’s views on
women. He urges voters to consider how its views might affect Romney’s positions.
McLean, VA (October 2012)—Binders. Full. Of. Women. There were many heated exchanges during the recent town hall debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. But these four words uttered by Romney set off an Internet firestorm almost immediately. And since the debate, they’ve brought a renewed focus on Romney’s positions on women’s issues. One thing voters should consider, says Kendal Sheets, is what effect Romney’s Mormon faith might have had on his views on these important issues.
“It cannot help but be noted that Romney is a devout Mormon,” says Sheets, coauthor along with Meredith Ray Sheets of Book of Mormon, Book of Lies (1811 Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-9391790-0-5, $24.95, www.BookofMormonBookofLies.com). “And that Mormons, in general, have very traditional views on women’s roles.
“One can’t help but wonder whether Romney’s views on women have been shaped by the Church,” he adds. “Especially when he seems to think, as he intimated in the debate, that being a champion of women in the workplace means making sure they can get home in time to cook dinner.”
Sheets is an expert on the Mormon Church. He’s spent many years researching and writing Book of Mormon, Book of Lies, which shows that The Book of Mormon, written by Joseph Smith and published in 1830, is nothing more than a cleverly disguised plagiarism of The Travels of Marco Polo, the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World as recorded by his son, histories of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, and travel journals. Sheets’ experience as an intellectual property and patent attorney makes him uniquely qualified to uncover plagiarism and fraud and compare content from historic books with the content of The Book of Mormon. The results are astonishing.
Below Sheets provides a few noteworthy talking points on the Mormon Church’s views on women:
The Mormon Church doesn’t allow women to hold leadership positions. When Joseph Smith and his father organized the Mormon Church, they created an ecclesiastical structure with distinct purposes and privileges for Church members. “They called the privileges ‘priesthoods,’ and only male Church members could receive such honors,” notes Sheets. “Even today, Mormon women cannot join the priesthood. No woman is on ‘Area Seventy,’ a governing group representing the Quorum of Twelve, an LDS Church governing body, or can ever be a president or prophet of the LDS Church.”
The Mormon Church gives men power over women. For a woman to enter a Mormon temple for any reason, including a ceremony of marriage (Marriage is a Mormon woman’s path to entering the highest level of heaven, Celestial Heaven), she must have a “temple recommend,” which is valid in one-year time windows.
“The LDS Church’s ‘Relief Society Personal Study Guide 1988,’ (Relief Society is the Mormon women’s alternative group established by Joseph Smith) explains that this ‘recommend’ is given to women by men who determine a woman’s ‘worthiness,’” says Sheets. “Thus, men in the Church hold the power over women to enter the temple and to reach Heaven.”
The Mormon Church believes a woman’s place is in the home. It is still a widely held belief (and practice) that Mormon women should be homemakers and produce the children, while Mormon men should be the breadwinners. “Thomas Monson, the current president of the LDS Church, believes that a family should remain patriarchal,” notes Sheets. “In other words, a man should have a profession, and a woman should be the homemaker. If a strife or problem arises in the home, it is the woman’s fault, not the man’s.”
Sheets presents as evidence Monson’s explanation presented in Pathways to Perfection: Discourses of Thomas Monson. Monson writes:
How might we as leaders live righteously? I believe first of all there should be a good relationship between each man and his wife. A man cannot be an effective teacher, leader, or counselor if at home there is bickering and quarreling, if his wife is forever nagging him and suggesting that he should have been an engineer, that he should have been an architect, or should have gone into this field or that field. But if the wife is supportive, if she lets her husband know that he is engaged in the greatest work that a man could possibly pursue, that she sustains him with all her heart and with all her soul, I have a feeling that he will do the same with her and sustain her in her role as a homemaker, as a companion, as a wife, as a mother.
The Mormon Church opposed the Equal Rights Amendment. In the ’70s, the ERA was put forth as a Constitutional amendment to guarantee equal rights regardless of sex. At the time, Mormon Church leaders vehemently opposed the amendment because of the effect they said it would have on “moral issues.” The Church famously excommunicated outspoken member of the Church Sonia Johnson for speaking out in support of the amendment.
The Mormon Church holds a pro-life stance. From the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
In 1973, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement regarding abortion, which is still applicable today:
“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.”
The Mormon Church holds that a woman gets to Heaven via her husband. The Church’s doctrine states that the only way for a Mormon woman to reach the highest levels of Heaven is for her to be married. Her husband is her way to paradise, not her belief in God.
“Relegation of women to second-class status began with Joseph Smith’s revelation of polygamy, which forced women to accept the practice by men or be punished by God,” explains Sheets. “In 1843 Smith produced a revelation called ‘For Time and Eternity,’ which claimed God ordained him and other men in the priesthood with rights of polygamy. The LDS Church leaders still believe this was God’s commandment during that time period and have never denied the validity of Smith’s doctrines, but hold that in 1890 the LDS prophet of the day was told by God not to follow polygamy any longer.”
“It’s certainly true that many religions have questionable histories when it comes to women’s rights,” notes Sheets. “Those who think Romney’s religion shouldn’t be called into question ask why we aren’t asking President Obama about Christianity’s history of discriminating against women. But we know where President Obama stands with women, don’t we? We know he’s pro-choice. We know he believes in equal pay. It’s difficult to achieve that same clarity when you start examining Mitt Romney’s past statements and constantly changing views on women’s issues.”
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