Mormon women told to fast from social media
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.