Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mission Matron

I've decided that I wouldn't mind becoming a mission matron too much. Mike and I were driving in the car today talking about his mission, and at some point he said that I probably would like being a mission matron. Apparently, they are treated as counselors and can talk with and give advice to missionaries alongside their husbands. They also travel around with the husbands and give lots of talks and some training.

I like the idea of being a mission matron because it sounds so much more active and involved than being a bishop or stake president's wife. It seems like those wives' duties are to keep the home fires burning as the men go off and have tons of meetings, personal appointments, etc. And the part that bothers me the most is that the bishop is not really supposed to tell his wife what he's counseling people about. I absolutely understand the need for ecclesiastical privacy, but it would still be hard for me to know that my husband was expending a lot of mental and emotional effort and time on things that he couldn't talk to me about. I'm afraid I would feel a bit shut out. I wonder how these women handle it...

Of course, by the end of our conversation about me being a mission matron, I had realized that the only way you get to that kind of position is if your man has put in probably decades in bishoprics and stake presidencies. Thank goodness that Mike is now off the fast track for such positions (thanks to me :) )


Anonymous Mike said...

Minor comment. I think it more accurate to say "they are often treated as counselors" instead of "are treated as counselors." That's because it will depend on the personality of the mission president.

3/06/2006 12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you even talk about the LDS church all the time when you dont even evidently beleive it's doctrine, or at least dont take advantage of all the blessings available to you? Are you in it simply for the social aspect of LDS life?

3/06/2006 11:41 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I do believe in many of its doctrines. I'm quite invested in the Church, as I have based and still do base my eternal future on many of its concepts. I am just one (of the few?) LDS who is willing to say that I wish that things would improve in the institutional Church. There are a lot of good things about it, but that doesn't mean to me that couldn't be better.

As for the question about the social aspects - no, that's not the reason. The social aspects actually drive me a bit crazy at times. Though I do acknowledge that over the past couple years, I have made quite a few interesting friends through the Church. That has been great.

3/06/2006 3:45 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...


You could also back track a little to Caroline's post entitled "Why I Stay", if you are so interested:

As for myself, I think that the things I post about and spend time thinking about and in dialogue with others about are all things that are important to me and into which I invest my time. I think most of us would say the same. Furthermore, I think we have to remember here that things some people consider to be blessings might not be blessings to others. Just a thought.

3/06/2006 6:35 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Hi Brooke! Thanks, you're right - reading my "Why I Stay" might provide the best answer to anonymous' questions.

I agree, Brooke. What you spend time thinking and talking about does often denote how important something is to a person. I think the death knell of my involvement in the church will be the day that I am no longer interested in talking about gospel/church issues. I hope that day does not come.

Also, good point about blessings. What some consider spiritually uplifting and peaceful is not necessarily experienced by everyone the same way.

3/06/2006 7:03 PM  
Blogger Dora said...

I've always thought that it would be fantastic to be a mission matron. It's one of those callings that (depending on the personality of the MP) can combine the best efforts of both husband and wife. Spiritual excellence, leadership, and desire to serve, financial independence and the opportunity to see a bit more of the world ... what more can a girl ask for? And while I'm dreaming, can I ask for someone 6'2"?

3/10/2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger Tigersue said...

"I absolutely understand the need for ecclesiastical privacy, but it would still be hard for me to know that my husband was expending a lot of mental and emotional effort and time on things that he couldn't talk to me about."

If you would like to think of this outside the context of the church, but on a secular level, my husband is a licensed Professional Counselor, he can't talk to me about His clients at home, as a nurse I can't talk about patients I take care of on a daily basis. This is called proctection of privacy. Now, would you really want your husband coming home telling you all the problems in the ward? How would that make you feel about others and their problems, many of which are very, very serious? How would you feel if you had a very emotional private problem and the bishop went home and told his wife all about it? Would you like that? I know that when my husband and I had some difficulites, the last thing I wanted was anyone else knowing about these problems. I pray for my husband daily to have help in his profession, help that I can't give him, other than loving him and being there for him. I would do the same if he were a bishop or stake president.

3/28/2006 9:36 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Hi Tigersue,
Like I said, I really do understand the need for ecclesiastical privacy. I would not try to get my husband, if he were bishop, to tell me the private things people confess to him. But I still think it would be hard - for me - if my husband came home, weighed down with burdens and problems of ward members, and he was unable to communicate what was on his mind. I've often heard that being the bishop's wife is the loneliest time of a woman's life. I would not look forward to that.

3/28/2006 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Linda said...

My husband was a Bishop for five years and a member of a Stake Presidency for nine years after that. Raising the family nearly alone is one of the toughest parts for the wife, since he is never home. I had no desire to hear about people's marriage problems or sins so that was never an issue with me. Really the most difficult aspect of this role for me was being the example of rigtheousness, that God and church members expected me to be. Having served a mission, I have no desire to be a mission matron, where you are responsible for 200, 19 year olds. No thanks.
Too much grief!

5/27/2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Is there a specific instance or showdown of sorts you've had with Church leadership that is responsible for removing Mike from the fast track to those callings, or do you think that it is just the general difference of opinion and heterodoxy that wil disqualify him from those specific leadership positions?

6/18/2006 3:13 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Mike, I've not had any particular showdowns with authority, though it's widely known that I'm a feminist. And the bishop did ask Mike if I had issues with patriarchy. Mike said I had issues with hierarchy (this was a more diplomatic answer - really my issues are with patriarchy), and the bishop didn't pursue it beyond that.

I had hoped that my very clear self-identification as a feminist and liberal would be enough to keep Mike (who himself is a faithful, conservative Mormon) out of hierarchy. Unfortunately a week ago he was called to be ward clerk, so I haven't kept him off the fast track as much as I would have liked. I'm actually quite bummed about it. He has to go to meetings 3 hours before church starts every Sunday, which means I'm stuck getting the new kid ready, etc. every single Sunday. Sucks. And of course, Mike is far too noble to tell me anything that is discussed amongst the bishopric, so I'll be shut out of that part of Mike's life.

6/18/2006 4:22 PM  

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