2011: The year that Modern Mormon Men, Doves and Serpents came to visit and I came to stay

Sexist Benevolent PatriarchyI remember the most commented post of 2011 very well.  Another blog, Modern Mormon Men, posted a series on patriarchy beginning with a post called A Modern Patriarch that defended the practice of patriarchy in the LDS Church. Amelia posted an articulate response at the Exponent and then Modern Mormon Men’s mostly male readers came over to our blog and engaged in a lively discussion of patriarchy with our own, mostly female, mostly feminist readers.

On the Sexist Nature of Benevolent Patriarchy BY AMELIA

Last Friday Modern Mormon Men featured two alternative viewpoints on patriarchy: “modern patriarchy” and “reluctant patriarchy.” I was wary of reading the piece on “modern patriarchy” based on a couple of quotes I’d already seen from it, but I read it anyway. …I felt physically ill.

The next two most commented posts “covered” modesty:

The Modesty Myth: Why Covering Up Just Won’t Do  BY AMELIA

Namely, while women in 21st century America (and other areas of the developed world) have many more freedoms and opportunities than their predecessors had, their value is still largely determined by their sexual appeal and reproductive capacity. And this is every bit as true of Mormon culture, with its overdeveloped rhetoric of physical modesty, as it is of the broader culture…

Modesty: Rape Culture, Rape Apology, Young Women, Young Men BY KMILLECAM

If we tell the Young Women not to show their shoulders, their legs, their skin, or even the outline of their body, it sends a clear message: You are responsible for how the boys think and react to your sexual body.

The next most commented post was a guest post—by me! I finally discovered Mormon feminism and the Exponent in 2011.  I wrote this guest post before I became an Exponent perma.

The Temple Rec Interview and the Affiliating Question BY APRIL YOUNG BENNETT 

Although I know it is coming, one particular question always tosses itself at me like a nasty curve ball: “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” I try not to growl at the bishop when he asks me such an impertinent question.

Two posts from the top ten explored issues of women and priesthood:

Priesthood as Privilege BY MRAYNES

I just completed a Social Justice/Social Change graduate seminar where we were required to go through the arduous and sometimes painful process of examining our privilege. …A couple of weeks ago the priesthood lesson was taught in my Relief Society. The teacher framed the lesson through the oft-recited phrase that having the priesthood is a privilege. She even went as far as to tack the definition of privilege up on the board. “A privilege is a right or a blessing that one possesses to the exclusion of others.”

The Other Mary BY SPUNKY

Even though the term “other” might imply a secondary position to a defining associated term, in the case of the “other Mary”, being “other” is nothing secondary. …An ordinance worker who humbly ordained Christ even when tested by Judas. I would like to follow her example. I would like to be the “other” person whom has priesthood keys and performs righteous services and ordinances.

And two others were written by bloggers exploring career options after spending time out of the workforce as stay-at-home moms:

Opportunity Cost and Careers BY JESSAWHY 

As a 31 year old, I know I’m not over the hill and yet, I am a decade behind my peers in work experience and post-graduate education.  Admittedly, I have been fortunate to be able to stay home with my children while they were young and I’m glad I made that choice.  Even now, I am looking for flexibility in my career that will allow me to continue managing my home and caring for my family.

The Next Chapter BY KMILLECAM

I used to put qualifiers onto any job I would have in my hypothetical future. I would find a job that I could do part time during school hours, that I could get the summer off for my kids, that I would work it into the existing structure of my husband’s career and my children’s needs. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much power I was giving away to the way I thought it had to be.

A Relief Society lesson was again among the top ten commented posts!  There were a wide range of opinions about the best ways to teach chastity.

Relief Society Lesson 39: The Law of Chastity BY CAROLINE

Start the discussion be reading and dissecting the Note to Parents. It is a remarkably accurate and progressive stance on sexual education.

Rounding out the top ten was a humorous piece from Claire of the blog Doves and Serpents.  For one week in 2011, Doves and Serpents bloggers and Exponent bloggers swapped places.  You can read the whole series of swapped posts here.

Confessions of a Relief Society President: How the Sister Missionaries Drove Me Crazy by Claire of Doves and Serpents, as part of the Doves & Serpents and The Exponent Blogger Swap.

And so I found myself the Relief Society President in a large urban ward far, far away from church headquarters.  …there were two unofficial members of the RS board that would rotate regularly and over which I would have very little influence or control…. the Sister Missionaries.

This post is part of our Tenth Anniversary Retrospective.

April Young-Bennett
April Young-Bennett
April Young-Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at


  1. That MMM post on patriarchy is actually one of the things that started my faith transition, my husband and I had an interesting discussion about patriarchy that week. Just a few weeks ago he read Exponent’s response and we had another conversation about patriarchy that was markedly different.

    It’s been quite the journey for both of us. This was a fun flashback. 🙂

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