Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Et Tu, Dieter?

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is no longer my Obi-Wan Kenobi. For a long time Dieter Uchtdorf was, from my perspective, the only hope for any kind of positive shift away from the dehumanizing corporation theology of the LDS church. My hopes have been dashed before. But this is more significant because he was literally the last best hope among the hierarchy for common sense and human decency in a church that isn't necessarily malicious but is more and more thoughtless as time marches on.

In March of 2010, Uchtdorf gave a talk in the General Young Women Meeting (an annual meeting the weekend before the April General Conference of the LDS church). It was titled Your Happily Ever After. This talk encouraged young women to reflect on the experience of fairy tale princesses for guidance on how to find happiness in life. Disturbing to be sure, but we've all given talks that we didn't put enough time and thought into and that ended up going badly. I guess I was hoping this was one of those for Dieter Uchtdorf.

Turns out, not so much.

Dieter Uchtdorf and Marlin Jensen are the only two within the LDS hierarchy I've had any significant hope for in the last couple of years. Jensen seems to have been completely sidelined. Also, Jeffrey Holland (hopes dashed years ago) had his epic, and frankly pathetic, meltdown in his October 2009 conference talk.

Now, Deseret Book is publishing Uchtdorf's misogyny-wrapped-in-a-poofy-prom-dress-and-toppe​d-with-a-tiara talk as a book, also titled Your Happily Ever After. By publishing this book, Uchtdorf is essentially chiseling it into stone and the church is endorsing it as the "proper" way for women in the church to live their lives. He and the church are setting women and men (and entire families) up for disappointment, misery and lifelong guilt if their devotion to the church doesn't have the perfect (and impossible) fairy tale ending. It's a disgusting example of inoculating devout members against "the world" (i.e., REALITY).

How can any of us have much hope for Dieter Uchtdorf now? This development makes me angry and sad. It seems that he's revealed himself as yet another clueless corporate manager speaking truthiness.