I was thinking a while ago about how hard it sometimes is for me to get my Young Women calling done now that I'm working fulltime. (It was hard before, too, but for different reasons.) This made me think that a secondary reason for the Church encouraging mothers not to work outside the home might be a simple workforce issue. Or should I say, a callingforce issue. Without all the at-home moms giving obscene amounts of time to Primary, Young Women, Relief Society, Activities Committee, and other callings, not to mention taking care of children while husbands serve in their own gender-specific callings, whotheheck would run the dang Church? GOSH!
(I think maybe I've watched Napoleon one time too many.)
But another reason occurred to me that is more complex, and bear with me while I think it out a bit.
When I was at home with my kids, I was immersed in a gospel-centric environment. By this I mainly mean that my friends were almost all church friends and my social activities almost all church activities. When I heard an opposing viewpoint on the radio (I continued and continue to be a rabid fan of This American Life, with which I often disagree) it was easy for me to dismiss it because, I knew, all my friends agreed with me. It can be a very insulated life when you're a mom at home.
Not that I have any good excuse for insulating myself so completely. I didn't grow up in a heavily-Mormon area. I went to high school in Pennsylvania and Alaska. Plenty of people disagreed with my beliefs, I know. But those who let that be known were easy to dismiss because they were mean-spirited and rude (Ben Seekins, if by some weird chance you are reading my blog, you have to know that I will never forget when you passed around your "Mormonism's Temple of Doom" pamphlet in AP History). And those who didn't let it be known ... well, maybe I was just too immature to recognize it.
And I've worked before with people who were not members of the Church. But that was in Utah. It was still easy to be recklessly, sometimes thoughtlessly confident about my faith, because that's what it's like to be in a majority.
It's not like that now. Right now I feel like I have to give a lot more careful consideration to opposing viewpoints because I work with and know personally many wonderful, intelligent, caring individuals with whom I disagree on important issues. The last several months have been an adventure as I realize, maybe for the first time, that my beliefs are just plain bizarre to most of the people I work with. We have a new assistant who I'm fairly sure is lesbian. Another woman in my office is the wife of a local evangelical minister. My office mate is secular-Jewish. I've never been in such a diverse workplace, and while I love it, I can also foresee interesting things coming down the pipe as California continues to confront things like same-sex marriage. (And by the way, my own stance on that is not exactly in line with the LDS Church, but it's also not too close to what most gay-rights activists are looking for. I think the government ought to get out of the marriage business altogether and just perform civil unions for anyone who wants them. Let the churches define and perform marriage as they will.)
(In a funny synchronicity, there's an interesting article in the March issue of the Ensign about this. It arrived at my house yesterday, but it's not online yet. I'll come back and link it when it comes up.)
Anyway, I haven't arrived at conclusions about this. Is it good for my testimony, my being in this office? In the long run, I hope so.
What about you? Is your work good for your faith?
And maybe sometime we'll have a followup: is your faith good for your work?