Friday, January 11, 2008

Reactions to Sister Julie B. Beck's Talk

There have been some negative reactions to Sister Julie Beck's talk, Mothers Who Know .
At first, I was surprised and baffled. I truly enjoyed her talk. As I listened, I remember thinking how pleased I was with my daughter, Mindy who is one of those really young "mothers who know". She is one of my heros, and examples of how to choose righteously in a world where righteous choices are not very popular.
But I was quite taken aback by the reactions to Sister Beck's talk. I didn't understand why it caused such a stir. It seemed like pretty standard counsel to me, nothing new or controversial. I read about the reactions to Sister Beck's talk online after hearing that a man in my ward had a pod-cast. I went to his website, and I listened as a panel of various women in the church discussed the negative reactions to her talk and was dumb-founded. I loved her talk. My thoughts, as I heard about the reaction reading from blog to blog, were not very kind toward the people writing them. My first reaction was that the wicked take the truth to be hard.
Somehow I wanted to let Sister Beck know of the women in the church that felt the Spirit during her talk and said a hearty "Amen".

Then a few weeks later, I read an article in our local paper about the people in our community that signed the rebuttal/petition. One of the signers is a friend of mine. I know her and love her. She has taught what I felt were uplifting, spiritual lessons in young womens this last year. Reading that she signed this rebuttal compelled me to read it. Some of the items in it were just expounding on Sister Beck's ideas, taking more time to detail what they felt that was missing in her talk. Some things, in my opinion, were just "puffed up in their own understanding". But because of my friend signing it, I have tried to seek for better understanding of why so many were offended. I haven't come to any great conclusions, but I realize that Satan wants us to be divided, and that he wins a battle if we forget charity in the face of conflict. I have wanted to blog about this for a while, but have had such strong feelings surrounding it that I couldn't put my thoughts down.

Tonight as I was reading from one of my favorite blogs, ANWA's Founders and Friends, I linked over to Christine Thackeray's blog and read her thoughts on the reactions. I agree with what she said.

I was talking to a different friend in my ward about the uproar and she pulled a letter out of her purse from Sister Beck to herself thanking her for writing words of support. Then, I received an email from another friend about someone who was gathering signatures from people who wanted Sister Beck to know of the silent majority's love and gratitude for her message. Last I heard they had over 2500 signatures and had sent them on to Sister Beck. I was happy to sign it. Words and voices can be powerful and dividing things.


Dancin Queen said...

I've also been a little baffled by the reaction to this talk. I'm in the RS presidency in our ward, and we've wondered how to address the concerns floating around.

I thought it was a great talk, a call to action for the women. It seems like they've really been trying to raise the bar for the YM/YW, and I felt like it was Sister Beck, understanding what's going on in the world right now, raising the bar for the women. I loved it.

However, I also understand that those who have been frustrated/offended by the talk just want to be heard and validated. As it says in the scriptures, reprove betimes with sharpness, showing an increase in love afterwards. I think many women just felt the sting of the talk (hello--don't we all already feel inadequate as mothers :) I know I often do), and now long to feel the love.

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. Thanks for your comment on my blog.

Anna Maria Junus said...

I haven't heard of any backlash against what she said.

However I do recall that I didn't feel that great after her talk. It seemed that it was someone else saying "your not doing good enough" even though all women tell themselves that anyway.

I think so many of us are struggling with inadequacies and depression and living in a world where nothing we do is the right thing that it was difficult.

Having said that, I try to take from it what I can and recognize that I can't do everything.

MuralMama said...

Interesting how several years after this talk it has still made an impression on the women of the church. I was at a friend's house for Thanksgiving yesterday with another family. The mother of the other family and I were engaged in a long, expansive conversation about a number of topics (much to my husband's chagrin), and some how the subject of Sister Beck came up. She asked me if I was a "Julie B. Beck hater" or maybe if some of these other women we were discussing at one point were...can't remember the specifics. Anyway, I had to do an eye roll, as I remembered one of my BFF's older and much more "liberal" sisters were instrumental in developing the website "What Women Know" as a rebuttal to Sister Beck's talk of several years ago. I puled up both again last night when we got home and wasn't surprised that Sister Beck's talk filed me with some hope and understanding, and yes, a little bit of self-loathing for my failings, but alas, that is Satan's work, not Heavenly Father's! However, the "What Women Know" website did nothing of the sort. In fact, it made me feel as if these were women who were willing to buck Priesthood blessings to go after things of their own understanding, who placed things of a true spiritual natural as naught and were offended because Sister Beck failed to be politically correct by mentioning each and every circumstance of each and every sister around the world. It was quite sad. I am a life time member married to a supportive non-member. I did not feel offended or left out, slighted or ignored because she did not mention my exact family...even by name. I feel that many of these women have gotten caught up in the minutiae and forgotten the big picture.