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#1 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A while back, I read a thread about a mother and her friend who were acosted by their church over nursing myspace photos. These wonderful mommas were accused of "mentally raping" the men in their congregation by having "pornographic" pictures on their personal myspace accounts and nursing in church. I was so upset for them and proud of how they handled the attacks. Privately, I was so relieved that it wasn't me.

It is me now. I just recieved a visit from a member of my congregation. She (a woman, no less) came bearing cookies and the news that I was corrupting the "young men" in my congregation by nursing around them. She told me that even our bishop (head of the congregation) has been made "uncomfortable" and didn't feel up to telling me himself. After repeating that she is "all for nursing - nursed 4 children myself", I was left wondering - "why then did you not tell him to stop sexualizing the nursing of my children"? Or in other words - go stuff it! No, she left begging me not to be offended. Apparently there have been several calls to the bishop by women in the congregation that they were concerned for their son's eternal salvation. (Ok, I don't really know what they said to him, but that's the gist of it.) All of the offended parties wanted her to ask me to hide my dirty self and my dirty act of nursing away from their precious son's pure eyes. Um, those are my words, again - you get the gist.

How did I handle this? I refused to agree to nurse in the bathroom - excuse me, "mothers lounge". I insisted that I was doing nothing wrong, immoral or pornographic. I replied that it was very sad indeed that me doing the most natural thing in the world and using my breasts for their God given purpose was bothering them so much. I said that they need to see people breastfeeding as it is NORMAL!! I told her to consider me asked and after she left, I promptly threw the cookies into the trash.

I have called the bishop and left a message that my dh and I need to meet with him. I need some help though. I don't want to disolve into angry tears in front of him. I want to be calm, collected and get my point across. I guess I need ammo! Thanks so much for your cyber support - it means the world to me.

Mamma to 3! nurslings Emma (4) Daniel (3) and our new baby Beth! 10/10/09
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#2 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 06:53 PM
 
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I don't realy have any advice, I just wanted to offer support!

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.)0(
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#3 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 06:56 PM
 
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Oh, man I'd be a shaky mess, so sorry you are going through this!! Kudos on keeping your cool during that conversation! I can't help but think now you have a more serious complaint than she did - now you have a complaint that you've heard that men in the congregation are thinking impure thoughts at the sight of children eating... what kind of strange fetish is this, and how can it be allowed in our congregation... Half serious here.

I agree that preparation for your meeting with the bishop will be your best bet for staying cool and being able to say what you need to. If you find it helpful you may use text from my site. I hope the mamas who have been through this will jump in, I am sure they will have much support and info for you.
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#4 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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oh my goodness That's just wrong!

I agree...maybe approach it from the angle of "How can these men be thinking this?!?"

-sarah-
mom to three, 4 and under.
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#5 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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I would be so angry! I think you should try not to assess the situation until you've spoken to the bishop, though. You know how some people have a knack for blowing things out of proportion and "exaggerating." The cookie lady may well be part of a very small minority. I think I would approach him as if cookie lady's request was just really bizarre and naturally he wouldn't see anything wrong with you FEEDING your BABY, but has anyone approached him about this?

If he shares cookie lady's unfortunate stance, I would just have to leave that church. I mean, you don't need that kind of ridiculous censure for doing something so wonderful and NORMAL.
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#6 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:08 PM
 
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What did they do, send the RS president after you? :

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#7 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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What state are you in?
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#8 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:15 PM
 
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[QUOTE=velcromom;7353958]I can't help but think now you have a more serious complaint than she did - now you have a complaint that you've heard that men in the congregation are thinking impure thoughts at the sight of children eating... what kind of strange fetish is this, and how can it be allowed in our congregation... Half serious here.
QUOTE]

I think this is a great idea. In all seriousness. It apporaches the problem from a totally different perspective. If you defend your right to nurse, even if you are able to do so in a competent, calm, tear and angerless way, your are still in the defensive. If you take the offensive by reversing the complaint you put the defensiveness where it belongs - in the laps of those having immoral/impure thoughts about your breasts!
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#9 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:21 PM
 
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If the bishop feels so outraged, he should have the leadership to sit down and express his concern to you and your dh(?).

Is it possible this is just one nosy busybody who's got her knickers twisted?
In churches I have been a member of, there is often some older lady who keeps herself busy by butting into other peoples' business under the guise of "helping." Many times I have heard people spreading gossip so that "others can pray for" the person in question. (I was probaby the subject of some 'prayer group' concern myself at various times!)

If in fact you do get a call from the bishop, try not to get sucked into a debate on the phone. Have a meeting with him as a family.

Have you visited http://www.gentlechristianmothers.co...astfeeding.php ? (I'm basing all this on the assumption you're talking about a Christian church.)

You're doing the best thing for your child. Are there no poor and homeless in your town that this woman has nothing better to do than harrass you? Grrr!

Go get'em momma!

Dawn - Mom to : Jack 11/04 and David 5/08
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#10 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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Oh my... hugs to you momma.

I'd definitely go the "why are they looking lustfully as my child eating" bit. That's perverse, not nursing.

I don't have much advice for you, I wish I did. I would act very offended at your meeting though. I'd act offended as all get-out that a) not only were you asked to not feed your child, b: the women in the congregation are acting so disrespectfully by gossiping behind your back, and c) the so-called men of the congregation are watching you nurse your child while they should be paying attention to the sermon.

Big, big hugs... Please update us with what happens, hopefully it's resolved fairly!
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#11 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:23 PM
 
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I'd approach it from a religious perspective. How can they call the method that Jesus was fed immoral? If not a Christian, weren't Moses and Mohammed breastfed too?

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#12 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:25 PM
 
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oh my goodness That's just wrong!

I agree...maybe approach it from the angle of "How can these men be thinking this?!?"



Flip the tables on them. You are shocked, offended, and very concerned that teenage boys could possibly find breastfeeding to be sexual. You really hope that the clergy will consider meeting with their parents and talking to them about why they might be having these thoughts about something as innocent as feeding a child.
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#13 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:25 PM
 
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I agree with the PP, but this back on the men in the congregation you're "corrupting". THEY'RE the ones with the problem, not you.

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#14 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by HeatherHeather View Post
What state are you in?
I am in Idaho.

Thanks for the good advice. I definately would rather not be on the defense about my normal actions. But I feel a bit anxious about talking with him because not only does he agree w/ "cookie lady" (RS pres) but he has always been very patriarchal around me.

I also nurse my 2 yr old in church and I wonder if that might not also be something they're not coming right out and saying is part of this.

Mamma to 3! nurslings Emma (4) Daniel (3) and our new baby Beth! 10/10/09
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#15 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:32 PM
 
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Flip the tables on them. You are shocked, offended, and very concerned that teenage boys could possibly find breastfeeding to be sexual. You really hope that the clergy will consider meeting with their parents and talking to them about why they might be having these thoughts about something as innocent as feeding a child.

What she said.
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#16 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:33 PM
 
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honey i'm so sorry

Sarah - Mama to Vic (1/19/00), Syd (4/06/02) Sam (4/20/06-born at 30wk2d), JackJack (2/14/07) and Charlie (4/30/10)
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#17 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:36 PM
 
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You stand strong Momma, you are NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG.

YOU ARE RIGHT! You and DH need to have a serious confrontation with your BISHOP - afterall, who's the one who has a problem, - you who is doing someting natural.... and beautiful.

Or are THEY the ones with the problem- sexualizing something perfectly natural. Are the offended by dogs or cats nursing their puppies/kittens, do they hide their sons eyes from that!

Do not back down for any reason. Put the focus of THEM!

This judging is comming from HUMAN BEINGS THAT HAVE A SERIOUS ISSUE THEMSELVES NOT GOD. Remember that.

Warm hugs from CALIFORNIA!
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#18 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:37 PM
 
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Wow. If you tithe, I would stop that first. They don't need your money or support if they refuse to support YOU. It is ridiculous to think that religious leaders appear to be in serious need of sensitivity training re: breastfeeding. Kindly remind them that this is the 21st century and women are PROTECTED BY LAW to breastfeed in public.
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#19 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tuansprincess View Post
I am in Idaho.

Thanks for the good advice. I definately would rather not be on the defense about my normal actions. But I feel a bit anxious about talking with him because not only does he agree w/ "cookie lady" (RS pres) but he has always been very patriarchal around me.

I also nurse my 2 yr old in church and I wonder if that might not also be something they're not coming right out and saying is part of this.
I figured that's who they sent. Perhaps we should come to your ward one Sunday. I don't have a nursing toddler right now but I do have my wiggly miss Kara. I could corrupt some souls with you.

:
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#20 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:47 PM
 
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I don't understand how these patriarchal religions think they actually have the right to interfere with children's needs. :

secular classical-ish mama to an incredible 5 year old DS and an amazing 6 year old DD.
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#21 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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Isn't there some Bible verse about a public gathering and it says "bring the suckling babies, bring the elders" or something like that?

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#22 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 08:00 PM
 
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Good for you for not backing down. You're not doing anything wrong; I know you know that. I'm sorry you're going through this.
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#23 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 08:03 PM
 
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I assume this is a Christian denomination? Ask the bishop if he would feel comfortable turning away Mary from the church for nursing the infant Jesus?

I know that sounds trite, but come on, think about it -- it's good enough for the Lord and Savior but not good enough for the members of his congregation?

Take a lot of deep breaths and hang in there. I have a really hard time getting through confrontational meetings like that without bursting into tears (ugh) so I feel your pain.
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#24 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 08:05 PM
 
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First off.... HUGS. This is one reason I've been nervous and avoiding church as I don't want this to happen.

I'd be LIVID. Good for you to throw away the cookies. I'd also follow church protocol and complain all the way to Gordon B if this issue is not resolved. Really.

If your Bishop has the patriartical "aura" around him, turn that on him too. Let your DH talk of his support. Those kinds of bishops make me grrrr and move.

I'll dig around at home tonight... I believe there are Ensign quotes supportive of nursing. I know there are several scriptures in the BOM and DNC. One keeps coming to mind is in one speech (I think the sermon on the mount, but I don't have a bible at work so don't quote the location.) Jesus says Woe to those who rejoyce in the paps which do not give suck, or something like that.

If you're in Southern Idaho, I'll come nurse with you next Sunday. Or I'll come on fast sunday and bear my testimony.

Why are they sexualizing nursing? I highly doubt you are flashing the ward. What is their problem? How is this risking thier souls?

I looked it up, Idaho does not have laws that protect breast feeding other than exempting from jury duty.

As for the tithing... YMMV, but if you're paying a tithe, consider not stopping. You need the blessings that tithing brings right now.

I'll be praying for you and your bishop. He needs the Lords inspiration right now, IMNSHO.
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#25 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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Flip the tables on them. You are shocked, offended, and very concerned that teenage boys could possibly find breastfeeding to be sexual. You really hope that the clergy will consider meeting with their parents and talking to them about why they might be having these thoughts about something as innocent as feeding a child.
Oh yes to that.

I'm also thinking that God gave you breasts. God gave you a child. God filled your breasts with milk to nourish that child. Is he questioning God?
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#26 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 08:21 PM
 
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Hugs, Mama. That must have been quite a shock to have the RS pres come to your door (and with cookies! - I'm sorry but that was off-putting to me). When/if you do go see your bishop about this, please don't jump the gun and assume he's going to side with the RS pres and vocal minority. Give him the benefit of the doubt, and just state the facts. There is nothing immoral or inappropriate about nursing a little one. You know that. Just firmly and cordially stand your ground.

This problem belongs to others...they are just projecting their insecurities and (archaic) beliefs onto you. And I'm sorry for that.

Pray for guidance in this matter and He will lead you to the best course of action. And I agree with Intorainbowz about still paying tithing. This is not the church's standpoint, it's a few peoples' problem.

I hope all is resolved to the best possible outcome. I'll also be praying for you, but especially for the others involved. I think they need it more than you do.
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#27 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 08:22 PM
 
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I'd suggest s sermon on why breastfeeding boobs should not be sexualized. : And if the men/boys have impure thoughts - WHY ARE THEY LOOKING?????????????

You have every right to feed your child on demand and if that means you're in the communion line and need to stick dc on a boob, so be it.

Jenn
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#28 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 08:25 PM
 
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The first questions I would ask his was if it was Mary nursing Jesus in church would he ask her not to?

I actually keep waiting for someone at church to say something about me nursing ds there because I intend to use that line if it ever happens : so far not a word tho.

 
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#29 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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I'd approach it from a religious perspective. How can they call the method that Jesus was fed immoral? If not a Christian, weren't Moses and Mohammed breastfed too?
yeah... mary went a step further than breastfeeding in church. she nursed the son of God! i don't have any good advice... just s and hoping this never happens to me!

all those biblical folks were bf. there was not a viable alternative 2000 years ago.
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#30 of 192 Old 02-20-2007, 08:30 PM
 
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The first questions I would ask his was if it was Mary nursing Jesus in church would he ask her not to?

I actually keep waiting for someone at church to say something about me nursing ds there because I intend to use that line if it ever happens : so far not a word tho.
just read this. yeah. i am waiting for somebody to start something! haha. so far, everybody has been very accomodating. i nurse my dd in church all the time.
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