Mor­mon women told to fast from so­cial me­dia

Santa Fe New Mexican - - NATION&WORLD - By Julie Zauzmer

For more than a year since the #MeToo move­ment be­gan, women have turned to so­cial me­dia with sto­ries of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and calls for re­form that have pow­er­fully re­shaped our so­ci­ety.

At this time, the pres­i­dent of the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints is­sued an un­usual de­mand: Women, get off so­cial me­dia.

Rus­sell Nel­son, the 94-yearold who be­came pres­i­dent of the church in Jan­uary, pro­claimed Satur­day that all Mor­mon women should try a 10-day “fast” from so­cial me­dia.

His call for a fast has noth­ing to do with pol­i­tics, many Mor­mons say. Still, the tim­ing is a cause of con­ster­na­tion to some.

“I in­vite you to par­tic­i­pate in a 10-day fast from so­cial me­dia and from any other me­dia that bring neg­a­tive and im­pure thoughts to your mind,” Nel­son said as he ad­dressed the women-only ses­sion at the church’s Gen­eral Con­fer­ence on Satur­day.

“Pray to know which in­flu­ences to re­move dur­ing your fast. The ef­fect of your 10-day fast may sur­prise you,” Nelseon said. “What do you no­tice af­ter tak­ing a break from per­spec­tives of the world that have been wound­ing your spirit? Is there a change in where you now want to spend your time and en­ergy? Have any of your pri­or­i­ties shifted just a lit­tle?”

Many women who find that their pri­or­i­ties do call for them to be on so­cial me­dia right now — whether for busi­ness, for ac­tivism, for com­mu­ni­ca­tion with fam­ily or for their ca­reers — are grap­pling with how to heed Nel­son’s call while still pur­su­ing their goals.

Nel­son, in his 16-minute speech to the meet­ing at the Gen­eral Con­fer­ence, did not ex­plain why his so­cial me­dia di­rec­tive was ad­dressed to women only.

It was the first of four items he de­scribed as “in­vi­ta­tions” and as a “prophetic plea,” in­clud­ing read­ing the Book of Mor­mon by the end of the year; go­ing to a Mor­mon tem­ple more of­ten; and par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Re­lief So­ci­ety, the church’s arm for women’s com­mu­nal en­deav­ors — was de­liv­ered only to women.

In June, Nel­son is­sued the same call for a 10-day so­cial me­dia fast to youth mem­bers of the church.

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