There are many misconceptions about women who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is often mistakenly called the Mormon Church, and its members nicknamed Mormons, because of the LDS Church’s belief in the Book of Mormon. Members of the LDS Church are often confused with polygamists and other fundamentalists who are not connected with The Church of Jesus Christ. Because of this misconception, many people think that Mormon women are forced to stay at home, be submissive, and bear children.
The truth is, polygamy has not been practiced by Mormons for nearly 150 years. Mormon women are encouraged to gain an education and to pursue personal interests. Couples are encouraged to have children, because Mormon doctrine teaches that the family is an eternal unit and that a good part of our purpose on the earth is to bring more of God’s children into the world and raise them in love and righteousness. No woman is forced to have children or forced to stay in the home to raise them.
President David O. McKay, ninth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” Further revelation from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” gives specific instruction on fathers’ and mothers’ callings: “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” This does not mean that women’s places are in the home because they are not capable of anything else, but that their talents are specifically conditioned to raising children because there is no more important nor more fulfilling work they can do. Many women raise families and pursue careers or other interests at the same time. There is no doctrine forbidding Mormon women from doing whatever they choose. What Mormon doctrine does say is that children are an heritage of the Lord and require time, love, and complete commitment.
Mormon women are often involved in their communities and neighborhoods, organizing projects, improving school boards, serving in food banks—the list is nearly endless. There is no limit to what Mormon women can do because each woman is unique and has her own talents and strengths.
Mormon women often draw strength from one another through the organization of the Relief Society, one of the largest women’s organizations in the world. This society, organized for women ages 18 and up, brings women of all ages and cultures together to “provide support for the temporal and spiritual needs of all women in the Church” as well as those in their communities and around the world who also stand in need. Women can learn skills they may have not had the opportunity to acquire before, but even more importantly, they have a support system to help them through whatever trials they may face.
Mormon women are strong, humble, happy, and generous. They find joy in serving those around them and in striving to reach their full potential.