Male members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, tend to be light, wholesome, and approachable, no matter what their worldly status. Through their experiences in church service (the Mormon Church has a lay clergy - everyone serves), they have the ability to both lead and follow depending upon the circumstance. Many are Eagle Scouts and are very comfortable working with children and participating in the household with their wives. This is due in part to the Church's emphasis on the family and the fact that Mormon families tend to be larger. Although some people think that with their high moral standards, Mormons couldn't possibly be having any fun, the opposite is true. Once a solid testimony of Jesus Christ is gained, and a moral foundation is solid, Mormon men are more free to engage in professions, hobbies and activities of choice unbound by addictions, confusion, pride, or unethical conduct.
Virtually all Mormon men hold the priesthood. Priesthood is the authority and power to act in God's name, and is required to fill various positions in the Church, but also to perform ordinances and give Priesthood Blessings for healing, comfort, and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost. Imagine having this power in the home through the husband and sons, and in the neighborhood and world through the millions of men and boys who magnify their callings in the priesthood.
The Importance of Family
Much has been said about Mormon women and their potential satisfaction, because the Church teaches that family is their most important responsibility and should always take first priority. However, this priority is also number one for male members of the Church. Late prophet David O. McKay said, "No success can compensate for failure in the home."
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” issued by the First Presidency of the Church in 1995, explains to the world the importance of families as well as the spiritually inspired roles of males and females:
- “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. . . .
- “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. . . .
- “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).
This succinctly describes the responsibilities which men and women are ultimately expected by God to fulfill in their lifetimes. Mormon men are to preside over their families in righteousness, holding the priesthood power. They are never to consider themselves kings or dictators in their homes, however, and coersion or force are never to be employed in the home. No man is worthy of temple attendance who is unkind in the home. Men are also expected to provide for the well-being of their families, and are expected to be fully involved in the spiritual and moral training of the children. This is a lot of responsibility. God expects a lot. Strong, meaningful family relationships bring a sense of fulfillment, safety, and joy. In fact, many studies show that married men are healthier and happier, and that Mormon family-men are the healthiest and happiest on earth.
How Mormon Men Become Who They Are
The Mormon Church, has strict standards of morals and conduct for all of its members. Church leaders encourage these standards to be taught in the home to children so that they might know right from wrong from a young age. The same principles are taught throughout childhood, the teenage years, and adulthood. The principles taught are the same for everyone, but focus is put on the skills which each person should develop to fulfill his or her personal sacred calling while on this earth. These standards are not meant to be limiting or debilitating; quite the opposite, in fact. It is through living the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we can achieve the fullest measure of happiness.
One of the purposes of Church programs is to help teach skills to members which will bring happiness to their lives. These include social, learning, and leadership skills; the ability to develop one’s personal talents; the importance of the principle of work; service; and many, many others. Each congregation (called a ward - organized geographically) can be a community in itself, with members reaching out and helping one another in times of hardship, as well as rejoicing together in times of happiness. The skills which are necessary to be happy are taught in every age group.
Boys are taught from a young age to respect the priesthood and to work toward receiving it. Holding and exercising the priesthood power is a serious matter; one which requires respect, reverence, and worthiness.
In addition to looking forward to the time when they will hold the priesthood, young men are strongly encouraged to serve two-year missions when they reach the age of 19. They may be sent anywhere in the world, completely dedicating those two years to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others and helping to build the kingdom of God.
The Church strongly encourages young men to serve missions because it can become a period of intense spiritual growth for each faithful missionary. It is also a wonderful opportunity to serve others with no thought of recompense. Young men who serve missions rely on their Savior and reach out to all of God’s children in love. For the most part, young men (or their families) support themselves to go out and participate in the work of sharing the gospel with others and performing community service, as well.
Serving in the mission field provides an intense period of training for a young man, the benefits of which extend far beyond developing a spiritual relationship with Christ, although that is the central blessing. Missionaries often face rejection on a fairly constant basis, pick themselves up, and then go out the next day and try again. Often, this exercise is performed in a foreign culture in a foreign language. Missionaries return home with confidence and the ability to communicate, show compassion, and to persevere in the face of rejection. They develop leadership abilities as well as the ability to work in a group setting and follow other leadership. They develop a cultural literacy to back up the learning of a new language -- a missionary to Taiwan doesn't just speak Chinese, he is fluent and familiar with Chinese culture, a huge asset in the business world.
Thus, returned Mormon missionaries are in high demand in the corporate world. Their ethics, family orientation, and moral standards in addition to their missionary experiences make them very desirable hires.
What it Means to be Manly
Mormon men are as manly as other men. However, Jesus Christ was the example of meekness. Meekness is not weakness, but the sure knowledge that without God, we are nothing; and with God, we can perform miracles. It is the opposite of pride. Mormon men are constantly reminded not to take total credit for their worldly achievements. Also, many men in the world feel isolated, unable to share their feelings, and required to hide their sensitivity.
Allowing oneself to develop spiritually can help one become more in tune with the Holy Ghost and with one’s own feelings. Mormon men are not ostracized for showing sensitivity; rather, sensitivity is encouraged. By opening up to one another, a greater unity can be achieved. The Church has shown time and again that a man can be both sensitive and successful (whether measured by spiritual or worldly standards).
- Also see Mormon Boys.