Mormon men are not patriocentric

This is one of the reasons Mormon culture retains many aspects of normal life.  Being a father is high-status in Mormon culture, but father-rule in an individual family is not.  This is a crucial difference between Mormon elevation of fatherhood and the acceptable fringe fundamentalist and conservative Christian elevation of fatherhood as godhood.

It’s not that the father isn’t the head of the household, he very much is, but he isn’t supposed to run unchecked in the broader community.  He’s supposed to demonstrate his paternal quality by contributing as a peer in the community.  The Mormons have a very practical view of servant leadership, let’s just say.

This isn’t entirely Mormon, it’s kind of Nordic, a sort of egalitarian gloss on Christian patriarchy, fellowship of equals and all that.  Some of the specifics of how it plays out among Mormons are related to their religion, but the broad practical fact that men aren’t individual lords of the manor running unchecked is not specifically Mormon at all.

A quick example: It’s currently a mark of lower status *from other men* to have 10+ kids.  Mormons converged on 3-6 kids as the normal family size range over time, even though they started with the idea that it was fine for the women to pop them out as fast as possible.  But this was not producing “productive” wives and children, so they scaled back what was an acceptable number of kids for a guy to expect from his wife.  It also means women aren’t under pressure to prove their “openness to life” by having babies near-constantly (a real issue in both Catholic and Protestant superfecundity subcultures, of which Quiverfull is merely the most well-known, but not the only one).

So Mormon women like the housewife life quite a bit more than a lot of other conservative women because they aren’t as likely to be under hyperfertility pressures that hit in a lot of conservative Christian and Christian-like groups.

Basically, since Mormons are expected to have the leisure and energy to provide free community services to each other, they converged on a standard of household formation that is traditional-enough, that can leave married households with that time available even during some of the time the children are little.  Mormon men also take provision very very seriously and just aggressively try to earn good wages early on, and they prove it’s still quite doable if you really want to do it.  This pursuit of what is now “early maturity” in the wider culture means Mormon men are much more open to hierarchy and authority being implemented in mostly traditional fashions and don’t tend to be full of “I’m too holy for discipline/attending church/participating in my local community” like the worst of the patriocentric conservative Christians.

 

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