Some Womanly Duties

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , ,

I have mentioned the book my Mom bought me at an antique store in July a few times, and I have shared many quotes from the book that was copywrited in 1925 by Heber J. Grant, and then re-published in 1951 by John A. Widtsoe.  The title, The Discourses of Brigham Young.  

This wasn't my first clue that Brigham Young was a complete asshole.  Not only is he a racist, but he is a sexist.  There is no mention of polygamy in his discourses, and that is due to the "arranging" John A. Widtsoe did before they released the book for the second time.  Even in '51 they knew they had to shush up about polygamy and pretend it was a quiet part of the religion that barely anyone practiced.  Brigham Young told people that polygamy was neccessary to reach the Celestial Kingdom, but there is no evidence of that in this book, or anything else that was published with the help of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Shady.

I decided to type out a chapter from the book, to share exactly what Briggy thought about women and their "duties."  



The housewife-I am addressing myself to the ladies of the Kingdom of God, to those who know how to keep their homes, furniture and beds pure and clean, who can cook food for their husbands, and children in a way that it will be clean, tasteful, and wholesome.  The woman that can do this I call a lady.  In this view I differ from the world generally for the lady of the world is not supposed to know anything about what is going on in the kitchen; her highest ambition is to be sure and be in the fashion, at no matter what cost to her husband or father; she considers that she may as well be out of the world as out of the fashion. 11:138.

I love how using "ladies of the Kingdom of God" to make it seem like he gives a damn about them or their wants and needs.  Instead, we focus on what their husbands and families need.   Children should be clean, tasteful, and wholesome. Forget fashion and work towards the demands of your family.  Hell, talking about fashion with the other women was probably their only relaxation.  Can you imagine everything they had to do?  Sheesh!

A good housewife, whether she possesses much or little, will have a place for everything she has in the house, and make her house orderly and comfortable, and everything when wanted can be found in its place. 9:157.

If I had nothing but a piece of an old newspaper folded for a holder I would have it where I could put my hand on it in a moment, in the dark if I wanted it.  And so with the dishcloth, the broom, the chairs, tables, sofas, and everything about the house, so that if you had to get up in the night you could lay your hand on whatever you wanted instantly.  Have a place for everything and everything in its place. 14:89.

Good for you Briggy.  You are a good little housewife. 

When I go into a house, I can soon know whether the woman is an economical housekeeper or not; and if I stay a few days, I can tell whether a husband can get rich or not.  If she is determined on her own course, and will waste and spoil the food entrusted to her, that man will always be poor. 4:313.

Oh yes, men never waste.  Only women.  Women are the ones to blame.  If a man is poor, it's because the woman wastes too much.  Bitch.

It is an old saying that a woman can throw out of the window with a spoon as fast as a man can throw into the door with a shovel, but a good house-keeper will be saving and economical and teach her children to be good housekeepers, and how to take care of everything that is put in their charge. 12:195.

Ahh, when do the men chip in and help?  Never? Really?  They go out drinking? Oh, damn... that sucks.

Ladies, if you are the means of plunging this whole people into debt so as to distress them, will there be anything required of you?  I think there will, for you will be judged according to your works.  Are not the men as extravagant as the women? Yes, certainly they are, and just as foolish.  I could point out instances byu the score and by the hundred of men who are just as unwise, shortsighted, and foolish as the women can be; but a condemnation of the male portion of the community will not justify the female portion of it. 14:105.

Again, why is it the women's fault if the money isn't what it should be?  Why is the woman to blame?  Maybe the husband has extra-curricular activities, or a drinking problem, or maybe he likes the "ladies" if you know what I mean... and I think you do... 

Women are just horrible creatures who suck the money out of relationships.  Hell, I have a couple guy friends who will testify to that.  Really. :) Not joking.  

In reality, I don't think the women had much control over anything in the home. The husbands made the money, and chose who got what.  Maybe I am wrong, but I have not read anything that led me to believe that the women could go shopping or spending.  Even comments that Briggy makes, like "make your husbands get you so and so..." leads me to think girls cooked, cleaned, and looked pretty.  Oh, and they also took the blame for everything.

Now, sisters, if you will consider these things you will be readily see that time is all the capital stock there is on the earth; and you should consider your time golden, it is actually wealth, and, if properly used, it brings that which will add to your comfort, convenience, and satisfaction.  Let us consider this, and no longer sit with hands folded, wasting time, for it is the duty of every man and of every woman to do all that is possible to promote the Kingdom of God on the earth. 18:77.

What are you doing? Sitting?  Good hell woman! Get up and do some work!  I don't care if you haven't slept in 48 hours, get out of that chair right now! 

If there are women who want to do good, let them do their own work, and save their sixpences and dollars for the building of the temples, tabernacles, meeting-houses, educating the youth, preaching the Gospel, and gathering the poor.  11:351.

Eh, I know this is a popular thing to do and a nice way to think, and many families went without things in order to build meetinghouses and temples and tabernacles... it's a shame it was all based on a fraud, isn't it?  They could have enjoyed life a little more?

What I saw of housewives will fully apply to farmers and mechanics.  I labored many years as a mechanic, and in the darkest night I could put my hand upon any tool I used.  You may call this boasting, but it is not.  It is merely mentioning the order in which I kept my shop. 8:296.

Of course it's not boasting... you are Brigham Young... whatever you say, goes.  Oh, and you have no idea how hard it was for me not to make a joke about Briggy and his "tool."

Count the steps that a woman takes when she is doing her work, let them be measured, and it will be found that in many instances she had taken steps enough to have traveled from fifteen to twenty miles a day; I will warrant this to be the case. 4:101.

How true Brigham.  How true.  Yet, you still wont let them sit with their arms folded... let the ladies rest for crying out loud.  Alas, they are women, and they are less than you.

Woman's fashions-Beauty must be sought in the expression of the countenance, combined with the neatness and cleanliness and graceful manners. 18:75.

Anything is ridiculous, more or less, that is not comely. 14:17.

Let the beauty of your adorning be the work of your hands. 19:75.

I love to see the human form and the human face adorned, but let our adorning be the workmanship of our hands, from the elements with which we are constantly surrounded.  I love beauty whether adorned or unadorned.  I love chaste and refined manners, especially when they are founded upon virtue. 10:6.

Oh Brigham, please tell us what else you find attractive?  Do you like earrings?  Dont' worry, any answer you give will be ignored as soon as you die and the new prophet receives "revelation" on what women should and shouldn't wear or be adorned with.

I am really grossed out by the way he says he "loves to see the human form adorned."  Not sure why, but it puts a really gross thought in my brain.  Can you imagine Brigham Young making a pass at you?  Could you turn him down? Probably not... if you did, you would be sorry, wouldn't you?  Eww... poor ladies...

In the works of God, you see an eternal variety, consequently we do not ask the people to become Quakers, and all the men wear wide-brimmed hats, and the ladies wear drab or cream-colored silk bonnets projecting in the front, perhaps six or seven inches, rounded on the corners, with a cape behind. 14:17.

Oh, yes, we are blessed Brigham because you are not as strict as the Quakers.  God bless you!  Can I sit down now?  No?  Okay...

The daughters of Isreal should understand what fashions they should have, without borrowing from the impure and unrighteous. 12:220.

Who decides what is impure?  Men.  If a man looks at a young woman and is turned on by her style of dress, she is immediately labeled as impure.  It's her fault that he can't keep his little buddy in his pants.  Stupid unrighteous women!

Create your own fashions, and make your clothing to please yourselves, independent of outside influences; and make your hats and bonnet to shade you.  I wish you, sisters, to listen to these counsels, and place yourselves in a condition to administer to the poor.  Get your husbands to provide you with a little of this and a little of that of which you can make something by adding your own labor.  I do not mean that you shall apply to them for five dollars and ten dollars to spend for that which is no profit, but manufacture something that will be useful as well as beautiful and comely. 12:202.

Yes, make things and sell them.  Then, give that money to the church.  Why are you sitting down woman?!

Not flaunting, flirting or gossiping, as a great many are, and thinking continually of their dresses, and of this and that and the other that will minister to and gratify their vanity.  Such women seldom think of their prayers. 15:162.

Yes, anyone who flirts is an obviously evil person.  Anyone who flirts or gossips will never pray.  What a stupid argument.  Ridiculous.

I am ashamed to see the tight clothes-to see the shape of the ladies. 19:75.

Sure, you are Briggy.  Sure, you are.

Let's not forget that "tight clothes" in his day pretty much constituted a tighter bodice to a dress.  It was very much in fashion to make the waist appear smaller.  That must have turned him on, and therefore the women were dressing like whores.

Ask your mothers, then, to make your clothes suitable and becoming; and keep your hair smooth and nice.  The hair is given to the female for adornment; and therefore let the ladies, young and old, adorn their heads with their hair.  Mothers should study and children should study to preserve the skin of the children from being ruined by the dirt, and the heat of the scorching sun, and to keep themselves clean and pure. 19:65.

Looks like the Mormon woman's pressure to have everything perfect started a loooooong time ago.  

Let me get this right... the mother cleans, cooks, makes clothing for her children, gets chores done around the house-and no sitting-all while making sure their children are not "ruined" by dirt, and that they are clean and pure.

If I were a lady and had a piece of cloth to make me a dress, I would cut it so as to cover my person handsomely and neatly; and whether it was cut according to the fashion or not, custom would soon make it beautiful. 15:38.

You would make a lovely lady Briggy.  I like to think that he is in Hell somewhere, being someone's bitch.

It adds no beauty to a lady, in my opinion, to adorn her with fine feathers.  When I look at a woman, I look at her face, which is composed of her forehead, cheeks, nose, mouth and chin, and I like to see it clean, her hair combed neat and nice, and her eyes bright and sparkling; and if they are so, what do I care what she has on her head, or how or of what material her dress is made?  Not the least in the world. 18:74.

Yeah... umm... thanks for the lesson on what a face is composed of.  Gee, you are sure smart you prophet of God you!  

You try being a woman in those days!  Heaven forbid a woman feel good about herself!  If she bought some feathers for her hair and it made her feel good about herself, good for her! Oh, and not everyone has the same tastes as you, Brigham. Contrary to what you might think, it's not all about you!

The Lord instructs us in a revelation, to let our clothing be plain: "Let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands."  He never said to us, "Do not make a silk or satin  ribbon, or fine broadcloth," but he has said to us, "Make the articles of clothing that you wear," if we do not, we shall find by and by that we shall not be able to get them. 10:311.

Oh, so forget saving a little time and aggrivation by buying a dress that is already made?  We have to make them all by hand?  Super... can we at least sit down while we do that?

Let the sisters take care of themselves, and make themselves beautiful, and if any of you are so superstitious and ignorant as to say that this is pride, I can say that you are not informed as to the pride which is sinful before the Lord, you are so ignorant as to the excellency of the heavens, and of the beauty which dwells in the society of the Gods.  Were you to see an angel, you would see a beautiful and lovely creature.  Make yourselves like angels in goodness and beauty.  Let the mothers in Isreal make their sons and daughters healthy and beautiful, by cleanliness and a proper diet.  Whether you have much or little clothing for your children, it can be kept clean and healthy, and be made to fit their persons neatly.  Make your children lovely and fair that you may delight in them.  Cease to send out your children to herd sheep with their skins exposed to the hot sun, until their hands and faces appear as though they lived in an ash heap.  I call upon my sisters to lead out in these things. 12: 201.

Do this, do that. Do this, do that.  Blah Blah Blah... you are never good enough... are you sitting!??

It is a disgrace to a community to drag their cloth in the dirt.  How many women are there here today who walked to this Tabernacle without throwing dirt every step they took, not only on themselves but upon those who walked near them?  I shun them; when I see them coming.  I try to make my way in some other direction in order to avoid their dust.  I can get enough of it without receiving it from them.  If there is a nuisance in the path, they are sure to wipe up a portion of it with their dress, and then trail it on to their carpet or into the bedrooms and distribute it through the house. 

On the other hand I will say, ladies, if we ask you to make your dresses a little shorter, do not be extravagant and cut them so short that we can see the tops of your stockings.  Bring them down to the dust, and do not expose your persons.  Have your dresses neat and comely, and conduct yourselves, in the strictest sense of the word, in chastity. 12:299.

Okay, so the dresses are too long for you, so you want them shorter... but not too short! Oh, no... we can't have that.  

Oh, and don't even get me started on how many of the MEN trampled dirt into the tablernacle that day, or the house for that matter... and the women were expected to stop everything and clean up behind them.  Insane.  

I am surprised a group of women didn't get together and try to poison the bastard.

If my mother and my grandmother got one silk dress, and they lived to a hundred years old, it was all that they wanted.  I think my grandmother's silk dress came down to her children.  She put her silk dress on when I went to see her.  It was, I think, her wedding dress, and she had been married some seventy years. 19:74.

Good for her.

That which is convenient should be beautiful. 15:38.

Whatever you say.

As for fashion, it does not trouble me, my fashion is convenience and comfort. 14:21.

Uhhuh... okay...

Some duties of the Relief Societies-These societies are for the improvment of our manners, our dress, our habits, and our methods of living. 19:68.

The sisters in our Female Relief Societies have done great good.  Can you tell the amount of good that the mothers and daughters in Isreal are capable of doing?  No, it is impossible.  And the good they will do will follow them to all eternity. 13:34.

As I have often told my sisters in the Female Relief Societies, we have sisters here who, if they had the priviledge of studying, would make just as good mathematicians or accountants as any man; and we think they ought to have the priviledge to study these branches knowledge that they may develop the powers with which they are endowed.  We believe that women are useful, not only to sweep houses, wash dishes, make beds, and raise babies, but that they should stand behind the counter, study law or physic, or become good bookkeepers and be able to do the business in any counting house, and all this to enlarge their sphere of usefulness for the benefit of society at large.  In following, these things they but answer the design of their creation. 13:61.

Oh, if only the church had grown out of this way of thinking... and by that, I mean how they put so much emphasis on gender and gender roles.  

If course women can be bookkeepers, and work behind counters... but you know what else? They can also be doctors and even *gasp* President of a church!

Now, ladies, go to and organize yourselves into industrial societies, and get your husbands to produce you some straw, and commence bonnet and hat making.  If every Ward would commence and continue this and other industrial pursuits, it would not be long before the females of the Wards of our Territory would have stores in their Wards, and means sufficient to send and get the articles which they may need, that cannot yet be manufactured here and which they may want to distribute. 12:195.

Can we sit while we do that?  No? Damn...

When the sisters, for instance, meet together at a quilting or for a visit, if every one speaks, believes and loves the truth, and there is nothing in them that is deceptive, how easy it is to converse and pass the time! We all delight in the truth; and if a wrong, or that which is false, is manifested it must be corrected or banished, and truth be adopted in the place thereof.  It is the easiest life to lead on the face of the earth.  How do I know it?  By experience; I never tried the opposite much. 14:76.

Ooooh, I like the truth!  Do you think you could appear to Thomas S. Monson and share some "truth" with him?  Of course not.

I will  here say to the Latter-day Saints, if you will feed the poor with a willing heart and ready hand, neither you, nor your children, will ever be found begging bread.  In these things the people are right; they are right in establishing Female Relief Societies, that the hearts of the widow and the orphan may be made glad by the blessings which are so abundantly and so freely poured out upon them. 12:171.

I am sure that people fed the poor because it was the right thing to do... not because he told them to....

Sisters, do you see any children in your neighborhood poorly clad and without shoes?  If you do, I say to you, Female Relief Societies, pick up these children and relieve their necessities, and send them to school.  And if you see any young, middle aged or old sustain themselves; but don't relieve the idle, for relieving those who are able but unwilling to work is ruinous to any community.  The time we spend here is our life, our substance, our capital, our fortune, and that time should be used profitably.  Take these old ladies, there are a great many of them around rather poor, and give them something to do; that is their delight.  You will hardly find an old lady in the community who has not been brought up to work; and they would rather knit stockings or do some other useful labor than eat the bread of charity.  Relieve the wants of every individual in the need of your neighborhoods.  This is in the capacity and in the power of the Female Relief Societies when it is not in the power of the bishops. 14:107.

Wow.  He sat in a room of men and women and called some of them "old ladies."  It's a shame that it was before the time of 24-hour news shows.  That would have been on Inside Edition or The Insider so fast his head would spin.  That would have been fun to watch.

I wish to call to the attention of our sisters to our Relief Societies. We are happy to say that many of them have done a great deal.  We wish them to continue and progress.  In our Relief Societies we wish to introduce many improvements.  We wish to our sisters of experience to teach the young girls not to be so anxious for the gratification of their imaginary wants, but to confine themselves more to their real necessities.  Fancy has no bounds, and I often thing it is without form and comeliness.  We are too apt to give way to the imagination of our hearts, but if we will be guided by our wisdom, our judgment will be corrected, and we will find that we can improve very much.  We can improve the language we use. 12:298.

What exactly is an imaginary want?  Is that like a young woman who daydreams about having a purple unicorn?  What is he really saying here?

Real necessities, huh?  Like sitting down?

The ladies can learn to keep books as well as the men; we have some few, already, who are just as good accountants as any of our brethren.  Why not teach more of them to keep books and sell goods, and let them do this business, and let the men go to raising sheep, wheat, cattle, or go and do something or other to beautify the earth and help to make it like the Garden of Eden, instead of spending their time in a lazy, loafing manner? 12:374-375.

Yep, let the men to manly stuff, like making the earth look like the Garden of Eden! The women can do the rest.  They have to look good doing it, but not too good.  They have to keep the house in order, the children have to look perfect.  If you don't do this, you are not good enough.  Shame.

I have a short sermon for my sisters.  I wish you, under the direction of your Bishops and wise men, to establish your Relief Societies, and organize yourselves under the direction of the brethren, and establish yourselves for doing business, gathering up your little amounts of means that would otherwise go to waste, and put them to usury, and make more of them, and thus keep gathering in.  Let this be commenced forthwith. 12:201.

God bless us, Every One!


  1. purple-goat Says:

    "You would make a lovely lady Briggy. I like to think that he is in Hell somewhere, being someone's bitch."

    LOL, I certainly hope that he is. What a sexist pig.

    Great post!

  1. [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] Says:

    I simply could not stop laughing at how incredibly ridiculous this is. How did HE have the time to think about all the things women are doing wrong, and then formulate so many ways to fix them?

    Seriously... are you sitting down? If so, then the LORD TM is displeased with you! The LORD hates those who so lazily recline upon their posteriors.

    GOD HATES!!!

    I'm guessing that BY knew so much about womens' affairs because all he did all day long was screw them!

  1. Andee Says:

    Thanks for the comments guys!

    Brigham Young angers me SO MUCH. The guy has been dead for do freaking long, but his arrogance and ego make me MAD.

    Emma Smith didn't even like him... not one little bit. Dont' blame her.


  1. [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] Says:

    Yeah, she was a lot smarter than most in the church give her credit for. I actually feel really bad for her and what she had to put up with. It makes me angry that she is seen as disloyal and sinful because she didn't want agree to plural marriage, etc.

  1. Andee Says:

    I think she was smart as hell, too!

    Can you imagine the pain she was in when she found out Joseph Smith had other "wives" behind her back? I would have killed the guy!

    Recently there was a movie made about her that was probably only seen in Utah. They only mentioned polygamy once in the whole movie. It was much more to her, and to her life than a quick mention. It's insulting to the life she led.