Monday, December 30, 2013

CTNAHM-Mr Command Part 10 (Silly Women Like Dominant Leaders)

p 123-125

We are now in the section where Michael offers his points to ponder. This is where he basically sums up the chapter into concise little bites.
Text is in purple.

Proffered Points to Ponder
*Mr. Command will be very objective and unemotional, and he will not enjoy small talk. His vision is like a man looking from a high mountain: he sees the distant goal. Mr. Command will want to talk about his plans, ideas, and finished projects. A wise man will ask his wife to help him stay balanced by reminding him when he needs to express empathy or listen patiently or sit still and be quiet during a boring meeting.
   The thing that stands out to me is how Michael insists that EVERY Command Man is exactly the same. In case you're curious, not every person who hates small talk sees the distant goal. Maybe they are socially awkward. Maybe they just don't like particular people. Who knows? Just because somebody identifies as Command doesn't always mean that they will be self-centered and only want to talk about themselves.
   I also am confused as to how the wife, who has been taught that to question their man is nothing short of rebellion against God, would feel safe enough to "remind" her Mr. C that he needs to express empathy. Once again, Michael seems to be saying that emotional regulation of the man is left up to the wife. I don't see how one can claim to be a leader of men, yet not be able to "lead" himself.
*Most Command Men do not get close to many people-maybe none at all. They are uncomfortable when other men try to get inside their space. They don't like to be touched by another man. A salesman who touches a Command Man will lose his sale. I don't even like a  man to sit next to me when I eat. If you are close enough to touch me, you are too close. I have backed all over a room trying to stay four feet away from some man trying to talk to me. For clarification: I do enjoy ladies sitting next to me when I eat.
   Michael isn't gay! In fact, he doesn't even like to be close to other guys! 4 feet, gentlemen! Give this heterosexual man his 4 feet! One amusing thing I noticed in this part is how Michael doesn't even pretend to make a broad point. It's about Michael-all the way. In fact, I didn't even notice the part about touching in this entire chapter. Does anybody else get a creepy feeling when Michael says he enjoys ladies sitting next to him? Because he doesn't say he likes his wife. In fact, I get the feeling that he prefers anyone but his wife.
*Mr. Command Man will be most uncomfortable and at a loss when dealing with the sick, helpless, and dying. Where there is no hope, there will be no need for a Command Man. A wise man will share those feelings with his wife and ask her to be his stand-in. As a leader of men, it is important to have good friends who can step in and take control when you are inadequate in dealing with emotional issues.
   In previous sections, Michael told Visionaries and Steadies what they needed to change. He basically told them to be more Commanding. But apparently, Mr. Command is good enough. Because Michael just lays out "This is how Command Men are-deal!" I guess his bias for Commands is pretty clear. I also don't see Mr.C being alright with handing over the reins.
*A born leader is a man who can, when necessary, adapt principles or rules to circumstances for the greater good of the greatest number of people.
   Born leaders are only men. Ladies, if you think you're a leader, get over yourself. And I got the feeling that Michael feels that rules don't apply to him. Which is interesting. Because this demographic is very "I will read the Bible so literally that my culture is 20 years behind the times.", but principles and rules can be "adapted" for the greater good. But who defines the greater good? Who gets to say what rules can be changed? Who decides when it's OK to break a rule and when it's not? Well, I guess Michael-that's who.
*A wise man doesn't use the strength of his personality or his gifts to control others for his own selfish desires.
   What about unwise men? What about men who think they're wise, and so allow themselves an "exception" or two to adapt the rules for a vague greater good? What I'm trying to say is with these guidelines for Command Men, there is a lot of gray area for abuses to happen.
*A wise man knows that silly women like dominant leaders. He will know that sharing glances with an admiring, foolish woman always brings death to things eternal. A wise man fears God,  disease, loss of virtue, shame, and tarnishing his good name. He keeps in mind that cute as she may be, but those who follow her go down to hell.
   Those silly women, turning men away from God! How dare they! I think it's interesting that it's OK for Michael to sit next to women during meals, but can't "share glances" with them. I guess Michael just wants women for arm candy?
   Remember the parable of the poor daughter who had one chance at marriage, and her dominant mother ruined it? Well, in that story, the daughter had no say about her marriage, her mom's attitude, or her fiance finding another fish in the pond. But suddenly these women who have no say in their lives are fully capable of seducing grown, married men. And sometimes it happens-I'm not overlooking that. But it's hard for me to imagine a woman who grew up in the culture that requires modesty to "help their brothers in Christ" not stray, a culture that blames women for pretty much every sin a man does, willfully seduces a married man.
   I grew up Mormon-another very conservative culture. I was scared of the idea of sex because it was preached from the pulpit that sex before marriage was evil, wrong, and damning. You know what idea didn't scare me? Being thought of as beautiful. There was a time when I was doing some things that I shouldn't with a married college professor. Why? Was it because I wanted to make a mockery of marriage? Was it because I was attracted to powerful men? No. It was because he treated me like I was pretty and special.
    Women in PearlWorld aren't given many choices. They have very few places to assert their opinion-indeed, they are TOLD what they should do, think, and be-nearly from infancy. Michael himself says women shouldn't be trusted because of their lady hormones. And yet, in sexual areas, it is totally the woman's fault. That idea is just weird. Women aren't capable of making decisions, except when it's something wrong, then it's their fault.
*A Command Man can presume too much in conservation and in social settings. To say it another way, he can think of himself of more highly than he ought.
   Let's think back for a minute. Think of all the places where Michael assumes he knows what everyone thinks. Remember all the times where Michael has presumed he knows the character of Every. Single. Man on the planet. Heck, read his blog posts on his website and tell me this man doesn't think more of himself than he ought. Michael, if the shoe fits...
*A Command Man can think his viewpoint is worth more than others'.
   Says the man that writes an entire book about what men need and how to "fix" one's wife.
*He has an impulse to take charge even in areas where he has no skill.
   I've known people that try to be the boss everywhere. They are the people who have no clue what they are doing trying to boss everyone around. Have you been in this situation? I'm assuming Michael has, too. Why doesn't he tell people not to do this? Why does he just leave it out there like it's a fact of life? It's not! I consider myself a Command type, and I do well with being a leader. But in areas where I have no clue, I shut my mouth. First, so I can learn. Second, because I know my limitations. Third, because I don't want to turn into that person that everyone hates.
*A Command Man tries to learn as much as he can about everything so that he is never caught at a disadvantage.
   Everything Michael has told us about the Command Man makes it seem like image is everything. He has to have the perfect wife, perfect job, be perfectly in control of everything. If Michael truly believes in these stereotypes, then he would put more energy into helping men learn humility. Instead, he just keeps saying "This is a Command Man. Isn't he awesome?"
*A Command Man is more likely to carry through a rebellion started by a Visionary.
    This is the first I've heard of this. I really have no clue where this is coming from. I really don't know what to think about this one.
*The Visionary may explode into violence, but the Command Man is more likely to mete out controlled and thoughtful force to counter resistance. In other words, the Visionary will scream at you on the court steps but the Command Man will quietly sue the pants off of you.
   My first thought was sociopath. Instead of talking about feelings, or even lashing out in anger, the Command Man will quietly plot revenge-even if it takes years. That's just scary, honestly. What truly frightened me, though, was when Michael says "resistance", I think of wives. Wives resisting their Command Man, and the need Mr.C's have to punish anyone that goes against them. Scary, scary, scary.
*The Command Man is absolutely essential to all corporate endeavors. If it requires organization, division of duty, and delegation of authority, he is the man of the hour.
   Aaaand here is the point of this whole chapter. Command Men may be uncompromising, cold, logical, bossy, tyrannical, and rude-but he's necessary! Just look at all the places he's needed! Nevermind a manager might be better if he would listen and adapt his plans. Nope. If something needs a boss, the ONLY man for the job is someone who doesn't think he has no equal.

   Ugh. The more I read about the Command Man, the more I'm grateful there aren't very many of them in my life. It's sad how Michael seems to think that tyrannical dictators are not only fine, but every other type of man should aspire to be them. But really, this chapter reads like justification for Michael to do whatever he wants.

Friday, December 27, 2013

CTNAHM-Mr Command Part 9 (Your Wife Will Be What You Make Her)

pp 122-123

We're starting to finish up the Command Man chapter.
Text is in purple.

Your Guiding Verses
Ephesians 5:25-29
25-Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26-That he might sanctify and cleanse it wish the washing of the water by the word.
27-That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28-So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29-For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth, even as the Lord of the church:

Matthew 23:10-12
10-Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ
11-But he that is great among you shall be your servant.
12-And whosever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that humble himself shall be exalted.

As a Command Man you have the potential to become a productive leader, but you need your help meet to stand by your side as your reigning queen. When you demonstrate to your woman that you need her, want her, enjoy her, and are willing to go the extra mile for her sake, she will be your most devoted admirer.

Here is where I have a problem. People define and show love in very different ways. Just because someone thinks they are showing love, doesn't mean the other person is seeing that. Also, it is easy to justify any action as "for the good" of the other. This is something I've noticed with my foster kids. When I get frustrated, it is a lot easier for me to come up with "consequences" that are more punishment than than a learning experience. Yet I tell myself it's better for them.
Also, with the idea that the husband can sanctify the wife, I'm wondering how he knows WHAT needs to change. Does that make sense? If the man is given the generic idea of sanctifying the wife, without any specific details as to what that means or how to do it, then all he is left with is his opinion. Don't like your wife's constant chatter? You have to fix that-for her sake! When there are vague ideals with no direction, there is a HUGE margin of error. Not to mention room for abuse.
And still there is no mention of asking what your "queen" what she wants or needs.

The Command Man's Five H's
*Humble
*Honor
*Have more patience
*Hesitate
*Home

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall life you up (James 4:10)". Of the three types, the Command Man is most in need of humility and the least ready to express it. Humility comes by crashing into the reality of our own fallibility.
   If a man his head of his house, and his wife isn't allowed to disagree, and children aren't allowed to have an opinion, how is Mr. Command going to crash into the reality of his own fallibility? Michael admitted that Command Men rarely admit their mistakes. How is telling someone to be more humble (without telling them how to do it) really going to work?
Honor your wife "as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)".
   How is thinking and treating somebody-that you supposedly love-as a "weaker vessel" honouring? According to the dictionary, Honour means:
15.to hold in respect or esteem
16.to show courteous behaviour towards
17.to worship
18.to confer a distinction upon
19.to accept and then pay when due (a cheque, draft, etc)
20. to keep (one's promise); fulfil (a previous agreement)
Not encouraging someone to fulfill their dreams because Mr. C views his ideas as most important, isn't respecting. Demanding respect and obedience, or "shutting the door" to become emotionally unavailable isn't worshiping. Frankly, treating a wife (or anyone) the way Michael says Mr. Command does naturally is bordering on abuse, not esteem.
Have more patience with respect toward the other two types of men. "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what has thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1 Cor 4:7)"
   
Really? Mr. 
 And you can expect my bias towards the Command man type to come through in my writing. Pearl, who calls men "double dog jerks" and "trash" is advocating respect for the other types? Go re-read the Mr. Steady section and tell me Michael has respect for the other types.
Hesitate before stepping in to take charge. "Be not wise in thine own eyes (Proverbs 3:7)".
   
I'm having difficulty figuring out why Michael would spend the first half of the chapter telling Command Men that people want to listen to a leader, that Mr. Command men are necessary, and that they represent God on Earth-then say "Oh, but don't move TOO fast." It's like he doesn't reread anything he wrote.
Home is where the heart is-or should be. Exercise your impulses to rule in your own home, for if you fail to be a benevolent ruler at home you are not fit to rule anywhere else. "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. (1 Timothy 3:4)".
   
Let's rehash.  A man is ruler of his home, and hopefully he's a BENEVOLENT ruler. But if not, then he's really not fit to rule anywhere else. Except he will, because Michael has spent this whole chapter explaining what a great leader Command Men are. Also, if a Command Man is ultimate authority in his home, then who exactly will let him know if he's not benevolent? There are very few checks and balances in this system-and that's a recipe for disaster.

Your Theme
Your help meet will become what you make her.

Really? This is the takeaway from this whole chapter?? Your wife will be what you make her? What about what the help meet wants? What about what the help meet needs? I've been getting comments lately that I am completely misreading Michael's intentions and that I am being hateful towards this book. But it's lines like this that convince me I'm right. This book is supposed to help marriages be better-more Godly even.    Yet all of Michael's advice is about making marriage better for one half of the relationship-the male half.  The only thing Michael says women need is to be needed. I don't understand how a man that has been married for 40 years actually advocates this. Nowhere in this book is emphasis on communicating, nor compromising. It's "Tell your wife this is what you need, and she'll be happy to do it."
  In case I am being unclear-this is not a marriage-this is servitude.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

CTNAHM-Mr. Command Part 8 (Turn Your Husband In for Physical Abuse-Then Take Him Back)

p 120-122

We are continuing in the section titled "Make Her or Break Her". And yes, it's as bad as you think. Trigger warnings for abuse.
Text is in purple.

A Command Man's wife wears a heavier yoke than do most women, but if you cause her experience to be rewarding she will double and triple your life's work. She will quadruple your joy and you will become more than your mama ever dreamed.
   It's interesting that there is no area for the woman's feelings. She wears a heavier yoke, but if the MAN allows her to have a "rewarding" (how?) experience, she will make his life better. No mention of doing anything to support the wife, except the usual vague generalities. We are not off to a good start.
Of the three types of men, your wife will most readily mold to your needs if you just give her half a chance. You are by nature dominant and a leader. Everybody is ready to follow your lead. She will as well, unless you treat her so badly you make it impossible for her to honor and respect you. If you are even close to the man you think you are, your wife will be delighted to share your yoke and pull your load, not for you, but with you.
   Again, no mention of the wife's needs. Just the general idea that women are to serve men's needs. And how easy it is for a Command Man to "mold" his wife.  Also note that while Michael adds a caveat if a Mr. C treats his wife "so badly" she won't respect him, he never says she won't do what he says. Keep in mind that Debi's book equates not respecting one's husband is right up there with blaspheming God.
   It's frankly frightening that, after building up domineering, bossy, tyrannical men by calling them "leaders" and "king-like", he talks about how simple it is to mold one's wife, and how happy it makes her to share the yoke. If Debi's book can be seen as a guide to being abused (and acting happy about it), Michael's book is definitely an abuser's rationalising reference. "I'm a leader! You need to do this if you want to be my helpmeet."  Still, there is no talking about the wife having individual autonomy. Nothing except how happy serving makes her.
It is important to note that a Command Man gone bad is likely to be abusive. His strengths can easily be directed toward destruction. He might harshly make demands and then react when things don't go his way. The smallest souls whose bitter words lose power resort to violence. The women who stay with them become so browbeaten that by the time the self-centered dictator husband turns to physical abuse, they have learned to endure it with a feeling that they somehow deserve it.
   Here is where I get really upset. Nowhere does Michael define what a Command Man gone bad looks like. He, dangerously, leaves it up to the reader to decide what is an abusive situation. I pulled this quote from a few sections back: A Command Man doesn't want his wife involved in any project that prevents her from immediately attending to his interests. His endeavors are the most important thing going; everything else is a waste of time. he likes for his wife to stay busy and productive, but when he calls he expects her to drop everything and come running to his side. He needs and wants a helper. Michael doesn't view this as abuse-indeed, he actually thinks this is how things should be in a marriage. His constant comparisons to women as children, dogs, and trucks really make it seem like he views women as less than people.
   I also think it's scary how he describes the woman in this situation. Browbeaten, and feeling like they deserve the abuse. The worst part? In Debi's book to wives, she tells these women that they DO deserve it, because they aren't reverencing their husband enough! I'd say it's a vicious cycle, but it's not really a cycle at all. More like a steep slope into hell. Because people with the mentality that they are owed respect, than those in their lives will NEVER show them enough. And it's always the abusee's fault.
There are a few men who are so cruel and violent that even when their wives do all that is required, they are still physically abusive to her and the children.
   Does it sound, to anyone else, like he is victim blaming here? "Even when the wives do all that is required." Honestly, I have been in this situation, and I'd done EVERYTHING I could think of to make the bad times stop. After he moved (and plenty of therapy), I realised there was nothing I could have done to change him. When people want to find excuses to do things, there will always be a reason.
I know I am shooting over the heads of some of you tyrants. You want to say what I have heard a thousand times, "My case is different; my wife provokes it; you just don't know her." Command Men are often good communicators and great manipulators, so they cause everyone to think their pitiful wife is emotionally disturbed of mean spirited, which leaves her at his mercy. Counselors need to beware. Closed doors can conceal evil things.
   Nowhere does Michael say this attitude is really wrong. Oh, sure, he throws out the word "evil". But he doesn't define it-doesn't give examples of what it looks like. And you know what? Abusers seldom think they are abusing! They honestly see it as the other person's fault, and they can't help their reactions. Even his readers that might acknowledge there's a problem will probably say the same line, as they read it. "My situation really IS different, though! I've tried to mold her, but she is rebellious! I just want to sanctify her! I really do love her-this is all for her good."
   It's irritating to me that Michael cautions counselors to beware. Because abusers are charming, charismatic people. It is easy to fall into into their traps, because they MAKE YOU WANT TO SEE IT THEIR WAY. Oh, and I find it ironic that the man who advocates beating children with plumbing line until they show proper submission is cautioning others on the dangers behind closed doors.
When your wife writes me, I will carefully instruct her how to gather evidence against you and report you to the law. That way I may get a chance to minister to you in prison. Wife beaters don't have much to do behind bars, so they have lots of time to repent. And Command Men don't' get any special respect in the slammer. I will encourage your wife to wait for you, and to receive you when you get out. Ex-cons are usually humbled a good bit. I know. I work with them every day.
   Good gravy! Instead of encouraging the wife to leave an abusive relationship-he literally counsels her to stay. Oh, sure, he wants the husband put away. Because ex-cons are extra repentant. I guess he's never heard of recidivism, or convicts learning MORE illegal activity inside the slammer. Also what's frightening. He encourages a wife to turn in her abusive husband. Then says "Take him back when he gets out." Clearly he's also never heard of "revenge killing".
   I mean think about it. An abusive man's wife turns him into the cops. He gets arrested and goes to jail. Michael has already told Mr. Command that he deserves and wants unconditional respect and reverence. Turning an abuser in is viewed as the ULTIMATE disrespect. No matter how "repentant" an abuser may seem, sending him back to the person who turned him in-with whom he has a history of hurting-is asking for disaster. (And I'm not discounting the fact that women can be abusers. Nor am I saying there's no changing people.)
Thankfully, most Mr. Command Men aren't cruel or evil. They would never be physically abusive, but some are almost as destructive with silence. Command Men can control their wives just by shutting down and refusing to communicate. 
   Newsflash, Michael. This is called emotional abuse. There are more ways of being abusive, besides using one's fists. Honestly, emotional abuse is harder to prove-even to oneself. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for a long time, and I told myself plenty of times that he loved me, and that I deserved it when he cheated on me, lied to me, and wouldn't talk to me for days.
We have counseled women who say their husbands avoid meeting eyes, have sex only when necessary, and then keep it very impersonal. 
   Again, emotional abuse. And marital rape! Having sex only when necessary, and keeping it impersonal? That is rape, rape, rape. Where's the condemnation, Michael? Where's the scathing response?
They try to communicate only through the children. It is awful being shut out. A closed door is the greatest of all insults. When he shuts her out, she loses hope. She feels worthless. no matter how hard she tries to please, she still falls short. Instead of honoring the weaker vessel, he is insulting her for being alive. This is a grave sin that God will surely judge. Such cruel evil is not to be considered. Think about how it would feel if God responded to you in that matter.
   I think it's odd that Michael only talks about the woman trying to please. I guess men deserve to be served, and shouldn't try to please their wives. I fail to see how expecting a woman to put out on demand, serve her husband cheerfully, and only work on projects the man feels is worthwhile is "honouring" the weaker vessel. (Plus I hate the term "weaker vessel".)
   Oh, and God will surely judge these cruel, cruel men. Arguments about God aside, that does not stop a man from abusing, it doesn't protect the wife or children of an abuser. And the argument "think of how it would feel if God responded to you in that matter" is odd. Because Christianity teaches that only by "drawing near unto God will God draw near unto you." This is the God that destroyed entire cities because of blasphemy. Who killed a couple of kids for making fun of a bald prophet. Tell me that's not a cruel tyrant.
I know that most Command Men do not deserve this dressing down, but I receive hundreds of letters confirming that there are enough of you out there mentally and physically abusing your wives that these things must be said and you must face your fault and reverse course. I have never met your wife and I care more about her than you do, and I am speaking for all those abused and ignored ladies that have sent me letters with tears staining the pages.
   I'm bothered bu this section. For a few reasons, but mostly, if I were being abused, Michael Pearl would be the last person I would want speaking for me. I'd prefer a .22 or a lawyer, honestly. And I don't see how the man who "approved every word" of his wife's book that says "Stay with your abuser and try to serve him more, because God hates divorce" cares more about the woman.  I feel awful for the wives. Because there seems to be no out. 
It is time to repent before God "even as Christ also loves the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." you need to listen to my Romans Verse by Verse teaching. You can download it free of charge from our website or purchase a disc. If you don't have the money, I will send it to you free of charge. Just call and request it.
   

I'm thinking of downloading the Romans teaching, just to hear what Michael says. 

Overall, this section sickened me on how off Michael's counsel is. He claims to speak for the women, but he encourages them to stay with an abuser, even after he's out of jail. Yes, people can change, but people can also hold a grudge. I'm not saying anything else because I'm so triggered by this section. Hopefully next post will be less traumatic.
   

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Confession

Over the past few days, I've reflected on this blog, and what I really wanted to accomplish by it.

I honestly feel like it's served it's original purpose. I started writing it because I was trying to figure out my place as a Mormon feminist. Through writing, I have come to realise where I stand and what I believe. I have learned more about myself than I thought possible. I have received inspiration, support, and love from total strangers.

But I've changed, my life has changed, and my situation has changed so much since June, when I started this journey. And I'm not sure that this blog is what I need anymore.  I'm not sure where to go from here. Lately, it's seemed like my posts are about my struggles with foster kids, and not so much about my religious idealizations. I have strayed so far from the blog's premise, I have no idea where I am now.

It's bittersweet, really. I feel like I began the blog as a child, curious about the world around me. In adolescence, I questioned, fought, and ultimately left the faith of my youth. I matured into my personal philosophy and spirituality, though there is still room for improvement and change. And now, it's as if I'm ancient, looking back over my life from the safety of my rocking chair.

So this is not a goodbye, really. It's a thank you. Thank you to all of y'all who have been with me on this journey. Thank you for your support, your advice, your love, your comments, and your strength. Outside of book reviews, I don't know what I will post, if I will post anything. All I know is that I am a stronger, better person from writing this blog, and sharing parts of my life with you all. Much love and appreciation. :)

(If you want to stay in contact, my email is: ashleyr.taylor@gmail.com...I may not be a consistent blogger, but I'm an excellent penpal!)

Oh, and reviews will continue to be MWF, as much as possible.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Great Priesthood Race PR Machine

A few weeks ago, the Mormon church unveiled a new page on their official site. On this page, the church addresses one of the biggest skeletons in it's closet: How race affected Priesthood. For those of you not familiar, in 1978, Church officials declared that ALL worthy men should get the Priesthood-not just the white ones. This was a change, because for the previous 100 years or so, black members were not allowed.
   A bit of history-in the early days of the Church, and up until Joseph Smith's death, every worthy man was given the Priesthood-regardless of race. That all changed with Brigham Young. He subscribed to the "mark of Cain" school of thought which basically said people with dark skin have inherited the shame of Cain (God punished him with dark skin for killing his brother). This was upheld until 1978 when it was declared null and void.

   The wording of the page is odd. Yes, it spells out what was formerly church doctrine. But it begins those sentences with "According to one view, which had been promulgated in the United States from at least the 1730s, blacks descended from the same lineage as the biblical Cain, who slew his brother Abel".  And "Those who accepted this view believed that God’s “curse” on Cain was the mark of a dark skin." This is interesting, because the wording makes it seem like there were just a few members who believed it. Instead of what it really was: An offical pronouncement from the Church from the mouth of it's current prophet, and held up as WHAT GOD WANTED.
   Also, nowhere in this page full of history, jargon, and more history, is there an apology. No saying sorry for the pain the ban caused. No real repentance. While there is a small nod to the socio-political climate of the times, nowhere does it say "The prophet in 1978 got a different answer, because the times were changing." I think it's interesting that the Church has always been about a step behind current social norms. And by social, I mean mainstream upper-middle class white norms. Because that is what the Church leadership is made up of.
   Which is odd, because the church boasts that it is in like 98% of the world. So why is the leadership so...traditional. Here is what the current General Authorities look like. Like I said, mostly white, mostly upper-class. One of the problems I have with the church is how Ameriocentric it is, while it proclaims to be a global organisation.  It seems that that the Church makes Gods of their culture. All you'd have to do is spend an hour in Provo to see that!

   This new "honesty" from the Church brings up some interesting questions.

   1) If the church was wrong about the issue of race-for 100 years-what else are they wrong about?
   2) If they are wrong about something else, how long will it take for them to make it right?
   3) How will lessons and cirruclum change with this admission? Instead of being something glossed over, will there be whole lessons on mistakes of prophets?

    It really seems this pronouncement was more PR than revelation.
 
   A parallel people can't help but draw is the Ordain Women movement. The church is saying a lot of similar stuff to women that was said to African Americans in the 50s. (I am not equating the two, I am saying they are similar). So here I sit, wondering if, in 50 years, if members will look back in shock about how backwards it was not to give women the Priesthood. Hopefully the PR webpage will be written by a woman Bishop, and she will offer a genuine apology for all of the years of pain, suffering, and sexism.
 
 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

CTNAHM-Mr. Command Part 7 (Command Men Need Reverence and Respect!)

p 119-120

Possible trigger warnings for emotional abuse.

Text is in purple.

Make Her or Break Her
If a girl has been raised by a bossy mama and a silent Steady father and has not been taught the Word of God concerning her role as a wife, she will not understand or appreciate her Command husband's great need for respect and reverence. When a wife sees her husband as overly critical or demanding, she is going to have an opinion-and an attitude. Of course, she has a right to an opinion. Only a brainless, broken woman would be without opinion. She might keep quiet but she will flare her nostrils in disdain. When a self-centered Command Man sees his wife "disrespect" his command, he takes it as complete revolt.
   Well, we are starting off wonderfully today, aren't we? I noticed that Michael equates knowing the Word of God concerning her womanly roles with doing what the husband says when he says. I'm fairly certain the Bible did not mean jump when your man says jump. Also, nowhere in this book has there been any talk about Mr C's EARNING the respect they want. (And frankly, demanding reverence is unhealthy and wrong) It just seems like the argument is: Mr. Command feels he deserves respect. Mrs. Command better give it-or else!
   It's amusing that Michael "allows" women to have an opinion. As long as they don't share it, or show it in any way, it's fine. What, then, is the point of an opinion? It is really bugging me how he calls women "brainless and broken". I would contend that Mr. Command's way of dealing with his wife would probably lead to brokenness and apparent brainlessness. I mean, if Mr. Command is so sensitive that he feels nostril flaring is a revolt of his "God-given" male authority, then that poor wife is on-guard constantly, to make sure she isn't screwing up somehow.
  I've grown up in a house like this, and it's not called "reverence" or "respect". It's flat-out abuse and dysfunction-regardless of how often the abuser calls on his God-given right.
The unwise Command Man gets that much more demanding and self-centered. When the Visionary might holler and openly fight, and the Steady Man will be silent and hurt, the King will withdraw and starve her out emotionally. He communicates the idea that his kingdom can get along with out her. It's her move. The family either engages in a protracted cold war or the wife who doesn't believe in divorce breaks and becomes a pitiful shell.
   Does Michael call out this unwise Command Man? Verbally humiliate him like he's done with women, Visionaries, and Steadies? Nope. Honestly, it sounds like he justifies what's going on. "It's the wife's move! She started it, she should finish it!" It is completely unreal to me that Michael compares yelling/fighting, silence/hurting, and starving one's spouse emotionally, like they are all valid options. Let me be perfectly clear: If, every time your SO does something you disapprove of, you choose to emotionally starve them out, you need therapy.
   And yet, it's the woman's fault-and her options are either admit she screwed up, and wait until the next "episode", start a cold war which will probably end in divorce, or not divorce and live as a pitiful shell. The most horrifying thing about this section, is that Michael doesn't seem to think it's wrong to do this to one's wife. Nowhere does he say "This is unhealthy, and unfair to your wife. Don't do it. This is an abuse of spousal power and will cause her tons of hurt." He just calls those who do this "unwise".
Early in marriage most wives will try to bring peace. She slaves, she tries to please you, and then she slowly begins to give up hope of you ever seeing her side of the matter. Many divorces happen at that point. Sometimes it takes 20 years. Some of the ladies that hang in there, suffering a perpetual lack of fulfillment, shrink as human beings, withdrawing into the shadows with their aprons on and a broom in their hands, faithfully doing all that he demands, and keeping the peace. SICKO! You do not want a slave. You want a lover, a friend, and equal partner in life. You need a spirited, opinionated help meet. You want a woman who reflects who and what you are-a leader.
   Oh, there we go. Some reproach. Finally. I'm not even going to talk about the first half of this paragraph, because it triggers me so much. Feel free to pick it apart in the comments.
   What I don't understand about this, is the Michael sets up this chapter by saying how Mr. Command is a natural leader, that people automatically flock to and want to serve. A few sections ago, Michael told us that Command Men see all sides-that's why they're so great as leaders. But, apparently, all sides doesn't include the wife's side.
   And while I agree a person with these characteristics is a sicko, Michael telling these Command Men what they should want is laughable. Because he has spent 4 previous sections telling Command Men that they are awesome, and that they don't take advice from anybody (or apologise). Also, there is no case made why these "unwise" Command Men should even want "spirited and opinionated" helpmeets. It's probably really the last thing they would want, actually.
   This may be just me, but my first thought of someone who "reflects" a leader is a follower. Because isn't that how you can tell somebody leads-is that somebody else follows? Because 2 leaders doesn't seem to work out very well.
   Michael, please stop with the name calling. There are better ways to make your point.
Some Command Men are so insecure that they do not want anyone knowing them well, so they shut out the one person that is most likely to gain access to their inner sanctum. They cannot rebound from criticism and are totally uncomfortable with a woman that has an opinion. As they shove her into the shadows they grow smaller until one day they are less than what they have made her become. They get no criticism, but they will never earn any praise or admiration either. They learn the art of hypocrisy and try to win the approval of those who do not know them.
   I see now! It's OK for women to be opinionated-as long as they agree with their man. That makes totally more sense. Because, you see, Command Men NEED respect and reverence. They need a sycophant who dotes on them. So, by all means, let her have opinions-as long as they are all "Why, I do believe you are right, dear!"
   I don't understand the rest of this paragraph. I'm having a hard time reconciling the King-type, pushy, bossy, uncompromising man as "getting smaller". Truly, this makes no sense to me at all. If Michael is trying to explain why treating one's wife like a human is necessary, he is doing a terrible job of it.
When you break your wife, you break your home. You break your children, and you break yourself. She is your rib, and a man with a broken rib next to his heart is a crippled man.
   This is a really good point. It unfortunately makes no sense without having a definition of "broken". Because I'm sure there are lots of Commands that would say "My wife's not broken-she loves serving me!" or "Broken? No, she's just tired." And, for a woman brought up in the culture of "show joyful submission or else you're rebelling against God", especially if she was raised with Michael's child-rearing training-she has no outlet or experience showing (or knowing) her true emotions.
   To put that more succinctly-how can a husband tell if his wife is "broken" (and I'm really starting to hate that word-it sounds like a toy that needs replaced), if his wife is not allowed to show her true feelings? Most Mr. C's (even those that treat their wives like this) would look at their wife and say "Nope. No trouble here." and move on.

The problem that I'm noticing with the Command Man is that Michael gives few reasons to stop behaving unhealthily, fewer condemnations of unhealthy behaviour, and even fewer examples of proper actions! I was taught that to replace a bad habit, one must pick up a good habit. But Michael seems to think that just saying "Stop it, old boy...things will be better if you don't do that." will fix everything.
   Michael seems to have no idea that abuse can be anything other than physically hitting one's wife, or raping one's children. Emotional and verbal abuse seem to fly under his radar. Oh sure, he'll admit they're not good, but he still throws it back on the wife. "If only she'd give him the respect and reverence he needs!" That's called victim-blaming, Michael.

I was going to keep going in this section, but I'm squicked out. Expect more of the same next time.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

CTNAHM-Mr Command Part 6 (Twits, Sluts, and Slut Makers)

p 117-119

Last time, we talked about the Command Man's weaknesses. We're still discussing these weaknesses. And through it all, I am so very confused at Michael. It seems like, sometimes, Michael has no idea how he perceived outside of his church circle. Or if he does, he doesn't care. I could give examples, but I'll let him make the point for me. On we go!
Text is in purple

Exhortation to the Command Man
Even though you are a Command Man and think you need no advice, especially from an old geezer with a long beard who cannot pronounce his words with the proper English accent, I am going to tell you what you need to do. Mister, if you don't like it, choose your weapons and name the time and place. This town is not big enough for both of us. (Excuse me, please. I too am a Command Man, but I am old and set in my ways, I have these outbursts.)
   You can't see it, but I'm laughing right now. Because, yes, this is truly how he starts off this section. By picking imaginary fights with readers. And then brushing it off, because he's an old Command Man set in his ways. What I'm wondering is, what he would do if he realised his "opponent" is also an old Mr. C.
I have exhorted the Visionaries and the Steady Men to diversify their image expressions. The perfect man is a proper balance of all three, as was Jesus in his humanity. I have said that a strength can become our greatest weakness by its excess and disproportionate application. 
   This is a good point. Everything should be in balance, especially in personalities. In fact, I could definitely use more patience and compassion when dealing with others. I'll add it to my list.
I am okay with who I am, I like myself well enough. But I know I have glaring deficiencies in my lack of Priestly/Steady expressions. If I arrogantly flaunt my Command/King nature I become offensive in my insensitivity. I must give the greater part of my energies to expressing that side of my humanity that is not natural to me but is extremely valuable to the people whose lives I touch. I must get out of my comfort zone and act the Priest from time to time. I must get down in the ditch and take up a shovel with the Steady Man when I would rather gather a crew and manage the completing the job in record time.
   I often wish, while reading Michael's book, that he would give more "how-to's" instead of "what-to-do's". How does Michael overcome his nature and find the motivation to labour as a common man? What is his definition of "arrogantly flaunting" his Command nature? (I could argue the above fight as arrogant flaunting, but what do I know-I'm just a woman)
   Though I will say it is healthy that Michael considers the people around him, and how his attitude affects them. Props for that.
So, Mr. Command Man, the most carnal thing you can do is smugly hide behind your image and expect your wife and everybody else to come under your spell. Many grouchy, selfish men like to think their cantankerousness is the expression of a Command Man when it is nothing more than sin.
   He really just doesn't get it, does he? Though I would thoroughly hate to be the person to point out to him how hypocritical he is...
There is one Lord and one Master. And we Command Men should be humbled by our callings, using our gifts and abilities to bless the world, not to milk it. Knowing our natures and what makes us feel and think the way we do is not justification for insensitivity or lack of openness and humility; it is a warning, and opportunity to understand our deficiencies and seek the grace of God so we might live as the men God meant for us to be. It is living larger-or smaller-than our natural gifts and inclinations that make us men of character.
    There might be one Lord and one Master, but the whole basis of Michael's 3 personality types is that men typify one (maybe 2) aspects of the Holy Trinity. In this case, the Command Man is like God the Father. Who, according to the Bible Michael claims to know isn't humble in the least! He kills people for blasphemy, punishes them for going against his will, and threatens others until he gets his way.
   How is a Command Man who is taught from birth that men speak for God (especially in their families), truly going to know the difference between "using" his gifts, and "milking the world"? Because if there's one thing I've learned through many dysfunctional relationships-it's that people will justify ANYTHING to make themselves feel better. I can easily imagine a Command Man saying "It's not like I'm really doing anything wrong by paying my workers less than minimum wage...they need the money, and if these workers quit, there are always others that will step up. If it were that big of a deal, someone would stop me." or "It's not that I'm pushy or demanding, it's just that I'm a leader, and sometimes, people don't like being led!" (Yes, I have used this one on occasion.)
   The culture that encourages men to be above reproach gives no motivation or instruction for men to curb their lesser natures! Simply telling them that XYZ is wrong and they shouldn't do it doesn't help. Either they will rationalize, and say, "Well, I do XZY, so it's not the same thing." or tell themselves "I'm really not hurting anyone...that advice is just for people that hurt others."  Or simply, not care.  And honestly, it's easy not to care when there is no reward for doing "the right thing", especially if the right thing makes one's life less comfortable.

The Command Man Loser
There is a tendency for the Command Man to feel superior just because of his God-given  nature, not remembering that "unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask them more. (Luke 12:48)". For that reason, the selfish Command Man will just get mileage out of his personality and social persona and not experience the humility that drives other men to try harder and prove themselves.
    I will quote Michael for a moment:
             *  Are you guilty as charged? I know I am, but I don't feel guilty about the drive, only the use I make of it sometimes. I am a Command Man first and foremost, 
            *  If you are a Command Man, chances are you expect your wife to wait on you hand and foot. By choosing not to comply she may have broken you from your native expectation, but your need for a close subordinate remains. Kings need advisers and heads of state to carry out their wills. The Command/King type just assumes that those within his jurisdiction, especially his wife, are there to assist in his rule. What other purpose could they have...could SHE have?
            *This is expressed in marriage by his presumption that his wife should joyfully support him without questioning the wisdom of his actions. He is often surprised at his own failures and does not easily take the blame for his presumptuous mistakes. He seldom apologizes. 
            * He trusts his own judgement above others'.  He is often accused of being proud, arrogant even. Of course, pride comes readily to the one in command.
      It seems that the Command Man section is almost nothing BUT ways Commands feel superior. Nowhere in this chapter so far, have we even touched on ways Mr. C could do anything other than get mileage out of his personality. Nowhere. Sure, there's mention of things that would be best not to do (see the section above), but no real reasons for not doing it, nor ways to stop!
There is nothing more pathetic than a loudmouthed, over-confident inept talker trying to lead men where he has never gone. Here we go...this is going to hurt. As a Command Man, you do not develop productive skills and you have no record of personal accomplishment, you may develop a habit of telling exaggerated stories about yourself until people just tune in for fictional entertainment.
   I'm wondering how Michael defines "inept". Not doing things according to the prescribed Christian way? Also, I'm curious what he sees as practical skills. Reading is a practical skill. Knowing how to build a spreadsheet or website is a practical skill. Piloting a helicopter, baking bread, pottery, firefighting, medicine, and driving are all practical skills. And personal accomplishment can be defined in so many ways...I guess that's why there's a "personal" attached to it. As someone who suffers from severe mental illness, some days, it's a great personal accomplishment if I get out of bed, get the  kids off to school, and microwave dinner.
   Another thing that's bugging me about this section is-who is Michael (or anyone) to judge how someone else defines accomplishment? Because it sounds to me like flat out judging people. "Oh, Larry's business failed...he must be a terrible manager." Nevermind that, to Larry, owning his own shop for the 6 months that it was in business taught him a lot about ownership, leadership, and responsibilities-things he needed to learn for his next job.  This whole personal accomplishment section really sounds like Michael is saying "If you don't measure up to my standards, then you're nothing!" Which really seems to correlate with his views on Mr. Steady.
   Though, to be fair, nobody wants to hear a pile of made up BS stories all the time. If you do that, just stop-please.
If you divorce and lose your children, leaving you with no legitimate "kingdom" of your own, you may become obnoxiously garrulous. Those who know you will have dismissed you as irrelevant years before you were aware of it, for you will still be gaining the attention of bored people with your minstrel tales. Oh, I feel your pain, really I do. Don't give up yet. Later in this book, I will show you a way back to productive humanity an darned honor. For now, let's get back to the heart X-ray.
   I have to say, I am very pleased that Michael didn't blame the divorce on the woman. This is really a change! And clearly, Michael has never heard of shared custody, or child support. Just because someone is divorced, does not mean they are cut off from their children (their "kingdom", if you must) forever and ever. Considering that the Pearl's advocate NO DIVORCE even in the case of sexual abuse against children, I'm shocked that he even takes a divorcee into consideration.
   After reading this paragraph, I'm wondering if his honeymoon assessment is nothing but a minstrel tale. "See how callous I was! Hahahah!" I can't decide which is worse-if Michael actually treated his wife that way, or if he made up the story to get a reaction.
   And I don't know about you, but I am super excited to learn a way back to productive humanity.
You may have slid so far down the slippery slope that you think it is your right to look at pornography. You console yourself with a belief that you are sublimating unfulfilled human need. I have known Command Men preachers who fornicated with half the women in the church. When caught, they admitted to having excused themselves with a belief that they had greater needs than other men and had served God so well that he made allowances for their gratification.
   ...Was anyone else surprised that suddenly Michael is talking about porn? Because I was blind sighted! There really is something about sex every section, isn't there?
   Also note that Michael doesn't condemn the man. Oh, there's a vague "shame on you", but not the scathing insults of previous sections. For exampleHey, Mr. Steady, grow a pair and tell the lady when to cease and desist. She might even begin to find you exciting for a change. (This was in the section about Dominant Mamas) It's as if, in PearlWorld, not steamrolling over your wife is worse than adultery! I haven't memorised the Bible, but I'm fairly certain Michael's God would disagree.
Women are attracted to dominant Command Men and, like Bathsheba, are drawn to his commanding web of authority, yielding their souls and bodies to him as if he were God. They are little twits and sluts and don't even know it, and you, Mister, are a slut maker. "Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death (Proverbs 7:27)".
   O.o
   Here is where I'm confused. If you teach women that they are weak and sinful, and insist they dress a certain way to keep men from temptation, AND instill in them that men speak from God and are naturally to lord over them, as well as demanding absolute submission in everything-how could they have the will to say no? Or even realise that they have the option of saying no? What Michael is talking about is abuse of power-ecclesiastical power even.
   While it may look like these women are drawn to power (and maybe some of them are-who can say?), perhaps a lot of it is grooming, and charisma on the abuser's part. But to call these abused women-because there's no consent in a culture like this-sluts and twits is pure evil. If I remember the Bible correctly, Bathsheba took a bath on her roof, David saw her, asked after her. He found out she was married, and then HAD HER HUSBAND KILLED, so he could be with her. How is that her fault? Because she was bathing? 
   It just goes to show that everything bad that happens in PearlWorld is the woman's fault. Those slutty, tempting women that turn good men into sinners! Never mind that these women have been conditioned from birth to acquiesce to authority. Forget that these women are taught to obey, to submit, to give in.  For a culture that preaches men are the ultimate authority, there is a sad lack of oversight. And that hurts everybody.

 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Apologies

I am so sorry for being absent from blogging most of this week. We were asked to take 2 temporary kids for the week. Temporary kids aren't in school, so I've been super swamped! Regular posting shall resume Monday. (If I survive this insanity! :D)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

100th Post!

This is my 100th post. When TV shows hit 100 episodes, there is usually a party. At the very least, the episode contains a lot of inside jokes or nods to the show's history. So in that spirit, I'm going to reflect on the many ways I've changed over the history of my blog.

July 4
My first post was about who I am, as a comparison to the "Molly Mormon" ideal. I was struggling to fit in to a culture that has a very narrow view of what a woman should be. (Housewife, meek, and positive-in case you were curious.) I re-read that post, and felt so sorry for the woman who wrote that. My struggles to accept myself for who I was are heartbreaking now. It's strange to think that just 6 months ago, I was trying so hard to squeeze myself into a mold that I would-and have never-fit.
   If I could go back in time, would I change this somehow? Would I have left the church in college? Would I have experimented more before marriage? Could I have saved myself years of therapy by doing something different? Honestly, I'm not sure. So much of who I am is because of the church. Yes, I felt pigeonholed and isolated. But those feelings made me strong and independent. I met my wonderful husband because of the church. Growing up Mormon has taught me many things about myself and the world-probably just not what the church hoped to teach...but that's a post for another day.

August 11
This was the post where I described how liberating it was to take off my Mormon Temple Garments. Garments are basically loose shorts that come to the knee, and a top that covers the shoulders and a significant amount of the chest. They are to be worn under clothes at all times (except during sports, sex, and swimming). Wearing garments made me ashamed of my body. I felt there was something ugly or sinful about my flesh that had to be covered.
   Taking off my garments was amazing! Not only did I eliminate an awkward layer of clothing, but I started to feel beautiful and sexy. It's been a few months since then, and while the sexiness factor has faded, I am viewing myself with less loathing. I can wear what I want when I want. It sounds so simple, but it is such a wonderful feeling! It is such a relief to believe that it is not my responsibility to keep others from having lustful thoughts.
   Coupled with taking off the garments was disposing of the Mormon lifestyle and theology. It's still such an amazing thing to feel free to make my own choices, without having to worry about the disapproval of anyone except my family.

September 17
This was the post where I first started dealing with the death of my sister. To be honest, I still struggle with this. I'm glad that she's not suffering anymore, but I'm sad because our relationship was healing. I feel like I'm the only one that remembers our childhood, and that I have to carry all of the memories now. I wish I had done things differently by her.
   There are still so many things that I regret, in my relationship with my sister. Some days I can function, and put thoughts of her in the back of my mind. And some days I can barely get out of bed or keep from crying, because I'm still in a lot of pain.

October 8
Here are my reasons for leaving the church. I re-read this post today, and I feel so proud. It took 10+ years to get to the point of leaving the Mormon faith, and I can articulate why I left.
   I thought about editing the post, but I really feel like it perfectly sums up who I am and why I left. I'm seriously thinking about sending the link to my mom, so she can understand, too.

November 12
Having figured out why I left the church, I finally cemented what I now believe. A summary of those beliefs would be: life is a journey with shades of grey. Nothing is as clear-cut as I was taught growing up. Not even people. Every Hollywood villain has a redeeming quality or tragic back story. Every hero has a flaw or blind spot.

To sum up these past 6 months, my life has changed a lot! I left the church I was raised in, got foster kids, lost a sister, and am starting to figure out who, exactly, I am. Thank you everyone for your support, advice, and comments. :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

CTNAHM-Mr. Command Part 5 (Surprising Introspection From Michael-Sort Of)

p 116-117

Today we are talking about the Command Man's greatest weakness. And I have to say, I'm surprised at what Michael thinks it is. Does he handle the subject well? Does he offer feasible techniques for overcoming said weakness? Hahaha. I'll let you guess.
Text is in purple.

The Command Man's Greatest Weakness
The Command Man's greatest weakness is confidence in his hormones-in his innate nature. He trusts his own judgement above others'.  He is often accused of being proud, arrogant even. Of course, pride comes readily to the one in command. That is why the Apostle Paul warned that in selecting leaders to "rule" the church, "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he falls into the condemnation of the devil (1 Tim 3:6)" A novice Command Man, one that has no history of humble leadership, is in danger of being carried away with pride.
   I think it's interesting how much Michael dogs on women's hormones, but men's hormones seem to be OK-as long as there's not TOO much trust in them. (And who judges that, exactly?)  Also, the way Michael describes Mr. C-arrogant, not trusting anyone but himself, does not really lend itself to practicing self-restraint. If "pride comes readily", then why not spend a few paragraphs discussing humble leadership? Or at the very least, defining it!
Being created with the nature to lead does not qualify one to lead anymore than being born a man qualifies one to parent.
  I'm really surprised by this line. Because it is 100% true. And yet, no matter how much lip service Michael may pay to this idea, in practice, and in most of the rest of this book, he disagrees with this. He flat out says, Command Men are leaders, and people follow them. He argues that having kids is the only way of a Godly marriage. So while he might write this line, and while it is true, it would probably mean more if his entire ministry echoed this, instead of "Mighty Man, you are called to lead! Your judgments are right, because you speak for God!"
The will to lead is not the same as the wisdom to lead. The ability to persuade others to follow does not mean one is going to lead them in the right direction. So the greatest weakness of a Command Man is his stubborn assumption of his own superiority.
   Oh. I get it now. He's talking about OTHER Command Men. Because Michael is righteous and just in all things. I mean, he doesn't even have to apologise! Clearly he has the wisdom to lead, and is obviously leading others in the right direction. I'm going to stop before I use all my sarcasm in this one paragraph.
This is expressed in marriage by his presumption that his wife should joyfully support him without questioning the wisdom of his actions. He is often surprised at his own failures and does not easily take the blame for his presumptuous mistakes. He seldom apologizes. Of the three types of men, the Command Man is the most prone to think he could manage just fine without a wife...if ONLY he could have sex three times a week and have a cook and housekeeper who mind her own business!
   I am having a hard time seeing how knowing the difference between ability and correctness of leadership translates to marriage. And nowhere does Michael say "This is not a healthy attitude! Your wife is a person with her own needs!" I also think it's weird that Michael tends to boil wives down into little more than serving automatons, and yet he (jokingly?) says Mr. C doesn't think he needs a wife-as long as all his needs get met. One question I have is how is Mr. C going to get sex (in this culture) without marriage, and when masturbation is a sin? The nookie-fairy?

Commanding Hope
Don't despiar, Mr. Command Man; you can have an amazing marriage. I know because I am this type, and my marriage has been exceedingly rich and rewarding. More importantly, it has been rich and rewarding for my wife.
   I'm calling bananas on this. All one has to do is read Debi's book, and see how much self-loathing she has, and what little respect she has for her husband. But, again, the culture of the target demographic does not allow for women to express anything other than contentment. The saddest part is, how are women supposed to realise they are unhappy if they are told anything other than submissive joy is unacceptable (from childhood)?
You may be uncomfortable sharing your personal feelings with anyone, even your wife. Command is a lonely thing. The sanctity of one's command must be protected from the public. It takes awhile for a wife to raise her clearance level so as to be admitted to the inner sanctum of strategy and power. All this changes as a man learns to really love his wife and she learns to appreciate her husband's strengths and virtues, and accepts him on his terms.
   I might have had an idealistic dating relationship, but isn't "clearance level" something that should come during dating? If you don't think your SO accepts you, and you don't trust them, WHY MARRY THEM? Why turn marriage into the CIA? Here's a tip to those of you dating. If you don't trust your partner enough to share your feelings (and I'm not talking about those who have difficulty understanding their feelings-let alone sharing them), if there is no level of trust, you should either break up or seek help. Because a relationship without trust is unhealthy.
   Oh, and I think it's insulting that man only has to "love" his wife (with no explanation as to how this happens), and the wife has to appreciate her husband's strengths, and accept him on his terms. Nothing mutual about this, folks; walk on...other things to see.
As time passes, the King-type man will become more vulnerable to his woman then will the other two types. Because of his self-imposed remoteness he will pour all of his personal intimacy into the one person on the whole earth whom he dare trust. It is this act of becoming one flesh and one heart that is the essence of marriage. It is more than physical, more than emotional; it is the act of becoming soul mates. It is what God created marriage to be. It is worth any sacrifice to get to this place in your marriage. And it will be a sacrifice. Marriage in its highest form takes a great deal of giving over, especially for a Command Man.
   I'm amazed how how often in this marriage-help book, Michael makes marriage sound unappealing. If becoming one heart and one flesh means 1/2 the partnership (the half with women hormones, of course) being "on-call" and "joyfully submitting" to the other, I'll pass. I also am really irritated at the phrase "as time passes". Yes, I believe that relationships can get closer and/or better over time. But to set up marriage as "Well, it'll be hard and require sacrifice, but eventually it'll be worth it!" seems a bit...odd to me. Especially in a culture that marriage is the ultimate achievement.
   Why not talk about the little ways that marriage is delightful, even when their are differences of opinion? What about discussing strategies to keep the love alive, despite illness, poverty, or distress? Why not provide concrete examples and options, instead of making the entire relationship sound like a drudgery?
   For people that purportedly are fans of marriage, their idea of it sounds unhealthy and awful. Honestly, I am so glad I married a man who loved me for who I was at the time (undiagnosed and unmedicated, even), instead of a man who loved me for who I would become once I submitted, and accepted him on his terms.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

That's Just How Kids Are!

There are a lot of frustrating things about being a foster parent. Dealing with social workers and bureaucracy, managing behaviours of unruly kids, finding out one's own weaknesses, and others. The thing that I, personally, find the most aggravating is talking with parents.
   One of the things that I frequently do is discuss behaviours of my foster kids, to try to find solutions. On Facebook, in person, and on message boards. I have read parenting books and blogs. As someone who had rather negative childhood role models, I am trying to navigate being a decent parent. I want to be able to understand where the kids are coming from, and have them understand me. Some days go better than others, but that's expected.
   What I dislike the most, when I'm asking how to deal with certain behaviours is when somebody remarks, "Well, that's just how kids are!"
 
   I want to yell at people that say this. I want them to understand that they had 10+ years of a learning curve to understand their children. Their children that they raised from birth. The children that they know inside and how. Children whose behaviours and actions they have monitored and noticed for years.
   As a foster parent, I don't have that luxury. As a brand new foster parent, I am distinctly at a disadvantage. Parents of natural-born kids get to learn and grow with their children. Foster parents are thrown in 6, 10, 15 years after birth, and expected to make a difference in the kids' lives.
   The children in foster care have had years with their parents. Usually in dysfunctional or traumatic circumstances. These children have learned to do what they have to do to survive. Their brains and actions are usually different from their "normal" peers. Typically, there is more manipulation, more behaviours, more issues in foster kids than with biological kids. Which makes total sense.
 
   But most lay people don't get that. And most people don't realize that I've been a parent for 2 months. Trying to raise children that have had 9,10 years of someone else's conditioning/raising. Essentially, I'm jumping into the ring halfway through, and expected to TKO the opponent-even though I was only the towel girl until that morning.
   I'm not griping about dealing with the kids (this time!). I'm upset because I have been told over and over that these behaviours that I'm seeing are totally normal, and just typical kid stuff. You know what? These behaviours might be normal for their child-who they have watched and known for 12 years. They might have had a breakthrough 7 years ago where they understand the child's main motivation, and can adjust learning accordingly. And that is awesome. I'm glad they have a good relationship with their child.
   That's just not my experience. From either the parent or child side! So these "normal kid" behaviours are not normal for me. Me trying to connect with a wounded child that has been pulled out of their home and lost everything important to them is not very similar to dealing with the child that a bio parent has had a relationship with since conception.

  I'm not trying to say that I have nothing to learn from bio-parents. I just wish I would be cut some slack sometimes. Because, at the end of the day, we all want what's best for the kids in our lives.

Friday, December 6, 2013

CTNAHM-Mr. Command Part 4 (What Other Purpose Would A Wife Have-Except to Serve?)

p 114-116

Now that we have finished talking about how Command Men are servants, we'll talk about the REAL servants in the Command's life. Namely, the wife of a Command Man. Here goes.
Text is in purple.

The Command Man's Help Meet
If you are a Command Man, chances are you expect your wife to wait on you hand and foot. By choosing not to comply she may have broken you from your native expectation, but your need for a close subordinate remains. Kings need advisers and heads of state to carry out their wills. The Command/King type just assumes that those within his jurisdiction, especially his wife, are there to assist in his rule. What other purpose could they have...could SHE have? (Emphasis his)
   Because isn't that the sign of a healthy marriage? Being waited on hand and foot. I'd understand if there was sickness or injury that required nursing, but Michael isn't talking about that. He is, literally, talking about being waited upon, pretty much forever. Why? Well, because he's a Command Man, and that's his nature!
   The King analogy is silly, because the Kind's advisers and heads of state can actually make their own decisions. And their advice was actually heeded, because even kings (especially kings) need to delegate, and why put someone in charge if you don't trust their opinion? Even back in the day, the Lords and Earls pretty much ran their estates as they saw fit. And as long as the King was getting his taxes, and nothing too hinky was going on, he stayed out of it. So I think it's odd that Michael would equate a head of state with a wife, when Michael has been saying this whole book that women aren't logical, are too emotional, and can't be trusted to make the right decision (because of their wimmin hormonz).
   Honestly, what Michael assumes are traits of a king, are more aligned with oppressive, tyrannical dictator.
Are you guilty as charged? I know I am, but I don't feel guilty about the drive, only the use I make of it sometimes. I am a Command Man first and foremost, and a Visionary second, so it is one type I know well, both strengths and weaknesses. And you can expect my bias towards the Command man type to come through in my writing. I can't help it; just ask my second in command-my wife. At 66 years old I have made my share of mistakes, and I have also seen the constructive things a man can do if he uses his leadership powers to organize others in the pursuit of a worthy goal. Working together we accomplish much more than the sum total of our individual endeavors. Without a strong leader, people don't rally or focus.
   I know that throughout the book, especially the chapters on the 3 types of men, if the whole manuscript is Michael's justification of his actions. I read this paragraph, and I was chilled. He doesn't say that it's not OK to treat your wife as a servant. He doesn't really apologise for anything. Just "Hey, it's my nature. People need to be led."
   Honestly, he's made some very disturbing points, but I think the worst thing he ever said is this paragraph. He is blatantly not sorry for...well, anything. Even when he admits mistakes, 3 words later, he's pontificating about how necessary and wonderful command men are. Not to mention he openly admits his bias towards Mr. C. Not that that was wholly shocking, having read the other sections.
How does being a Command man affect a marriage relationship? A Command Man doesn't want his wife involved in any project that prevents her from immediately attending to his interests. His endeavors are the most important thing going; everything else is a waste of time. he likes for his wife to stay busy and productive, but when he calls he expects her to drop everything and come running to his side. He needs and wants a helper and will value her greatly, exalting her to a place of prominence, setting her beside him on the throne.
   Holy cow. I am so creeped out right now. Because Michael just assumes this type of relationship is normal, healthy, and great for everyone. I don't really see how this can be a relationship, unless it's the parasitic kind. The wife is literally on call every minute of every day. Can you imagine how frazzling that must be for her? She can't even count on having time to do her hobbies (as long as they are productive and husband-approved), because she knows she'll have to put aside her knitting to get him a glass of water-even when he just walked through the kitchen.
   I just can't get over how awful this marriage sounds, nor how normal-or ideal-he makes this sound. I feel sick.
The Command Man can be the most principled and outwardly loyal to his woman of all three types. He will do everything he can to make her a queen in private and in public, but he does so on his own terms. Don't expect him to conform to the customs and amenities of that regulate others; he charts his own romantic course. But if his wife resists his authority and shuns his overtures, he of all the types is most likely to just move forward without her as if nothing is wrong. He will not come back to beg or apologize and make a third appeal. If he is a generally intolerant and immature person he can become very cruel to his unsubmissive wife.
   I'm struggling to see how a tyrant is principled and outwardly loyal. And what is with the "outwardly" qualifier? Is he not internally loyal? Is loyalty something that can be turned on or off, depending on the environment?
   Also, the more I read about Mr. Command, the more sociopathic he sounds. He does everything on his own terms, never apologises, conforms to his own customs, and takes no responsibility. The type of man that Michael is describing (maybe himself) sounds terrifying.
   Michael doesn't explain what he means when he talks about the wife shuns his overtures. Does he mean not immediately come running? Gossiping or complaining to others? The vagueness of 'resisting authority' is worrisome, because it is open to interpretation. Poached eggs instead of hardboiled? Rebellion. Mother-in-law visited out of the blue? Resistance. This vagueness truly makes any decision the wife makes on her own a target.
   Not to mention how Michael seems quite OK with the philosphy "If you're wife isn't doing what you need, just keep going. Don't worry about how she feels-YOU, sir, are most important." Plus the ease in which he assumes any Command who is cruel is immature and intolerant. Because cruelty and people's psyches are SOOO easy to boil down into simple explanations.
Of the three types of men, it is the Command Man that is most likely to shut the door on his wife and leave her behind if she does not share his vision. A Command Man will often demand respect, honor, even homage, whether he deserves it or not. When his wife, who might have been raised by a kind, forgiving Steady father, doesn't chalk his line, he will often walk off and leave her before she has a chance to realize she is even close to losing her marriage. When a man quits, he is a quitter. When a man shuts the door, he is not only shutting out his wife, he is shutting the door through which the blessings of God were to be delivered. He is relegating the rest of his life to second place or lower.
   If something goes wrong in the marriage-it's the woman's fault. Really, no surprise by this point. You didn't share your husbands vision; you weren't submissive enough; you, Mrs. Command, deserve to be left behind. And what is up with a man demanding homage? One definition I found was : the relation thus established of a vassal to his lord.  This is what Michael thinks is OK and normal in a marriage? It's a terrible relationship in economics or feudal systems. I can't even begin to describe how damaging it is to view one's wife as a serf, and then say that by serving him, he will "elevate" her to a place beside him on the throne.
   If there's one thing that reading a bunch of medieval-period books have taught me, it's that a serf is a serf. To kings or lords, serfs are little more than animals. Animals that are expendable, interchangeable, and inhuman. (Yes, there are exceptions). This should not be how one sees-or treats!-their spouse.
  I also think it's odd that while Michael compares the Command Man to God, the words "kind, forgiving father" are attributed to the Steady Man. Apparently the God Michael worships is petty, mean, and unforgiving. Which I suppose gives Michael permission to be the same? Poor Debi.
   Considering how dreadful Michael makes divorce (or leaving) sound, I wouldn't be surprised if people interpret passages like this to mean "Stay in your marriage no matter what the cost!" As someone who grew up in an abusive, dysfunctional household, I can honestly attest that there are things worse than divorce.

   Oh, one other thing I noticed. Read sections from Debi's book. It is really hard to determine the differences in the voices of the authors. There's been speculation that the same person wrote both books, and every now and again, I'm inclined to believe it.

Next post, we get to talk about the Command Man's great weakness. Because, apparently, viewing and treating one's wife as chattel, never apologising, and generally being a tyrant are the traits of a strong, well balanced person. Oh dear.