Men’s Commandments/Women’s Commandments

Some of these gendered commandments of Mormonism are stated explicitly. Others are more implicit. But these are what I heard when I was still in the church.

Men’s Commandments

Be a leader.

Speak boldly.

Trust your instincts because that’s the Holy Spirit.

God tells you what other people should do.

Your body is yours.

Once married, you will have as much sex as you want forever. This is your right.

Women are dangerous. Their bodies are tempting.

It’s important to have male-only groups so you can learn to be male.

There are just places women don’t belong.

There’s nothing you shouldn’t have an opinion on.

Serve a mission and you’ll be rewarded.

Missions are a training ground for your leadership skills.

Wear a white shirt and tie to church.

Be a good provider.

Be a good father. (Make sure your children prove you are a good father.)

Be a good grandfather. (What your grandchildren choose to do and not do is a reflection on your righteousness.)

Continue to improve yourself, but don’t read books that conflict with the church’s ideas.

Be conservative, most often Republican.

Be active politically, but only if you agree with other people. If not, keep your head down.

Pretend you don’t seek for callings, but remain aware that bishop and higher are the only callings that matter and get respect.

When your leaders say jump, you say “how high?”

Never be above menial tasks like cleaning the church.

But make a lot of money so you can donate a lot to the church.

Own a nice home. (But not too nice.)

Drive a nice car. (But not too nice.)

Don’t wear a beard or mustache. (This is a sign of disobedience.)

Do some kind of interactive sport with other male church members. (It builds community.)

Be forceful, not aggressive.

You are in control of everything. You are also responsible for everything. Good luck with that.

Women’s Commandments

Speak softly.

Lead through obedience.

Lead through gentle submission.

Your body is a temple. It belongs to God. Then it belongs to your husband.

Sexual desire isn’t important.

Pleasing your husband is important.

You don’t own your husband as he owns you. You will share him in heaven.

Get an education, but “just in case.”

Don’t be too ambitious. It’s not feminine.

Separate male and female spheres.

Some things are not for you.

Be ladylike, but not sexy.

Modest is hottest.

If you’re not married by 20, you need to start looking at problems in yourself.

Don’t study anything too masculine.

Don’t be threatening to men.

Wear makeup and be inviting.

But don’t get raped because that’s your fault.

Your job is to be the moral leader because men can’t be trusted.

Guard your body like a vault.

You are more spiritual (but God doesn’t speak to you except on little things).

Your eternal job is motherhood. Not world-making. Baby-making.

Stay attractive.

If your husband strays, it’s probably your fault.

Don’t make a fuss over things.

Hint at what you want; don’t say it directly.

Take care of things yourself; your husband has more important things to do at church.

Be independent, but not too independent.

Stay in shape, but don’t make your husband feel like’s there’s competition.

Content yourself with what your husband/the church offers you.

Accept callings without question.

Don’t ask for compensation (or recognition) for what you do at church. God sees all and will reward you.

Let men think you need them more than you do.

Wear long skirts and long-sleeved shirts. But stay fashionable.

Author of The Bishop’s Wife mystery series, The Mormon Sabbatical Podcast, Princeton PhD, fiction editor at Exponent II, autist, she/her

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