One of the biggest problems lots of Mormon women face is fast and testimony meeting. Every month all these perfect wonderful people get up and talk about all the blessings they received from Heavenly Father. People talk about how much they love the Gospel and they just seem like the most perfect and wonderful people in the whole world who live perfect lives. Here’s a dirty secret the vast majority of testimonies in fast and testimony meeting are empty virtue signaling.
What is virtue signaling?
Virtue signaling is people loudly parroting what the cultural narrative wants them to say. For example if you are in Berkeley, California you virtue signal by loudly declaring that gays are the most moral and upright people on the planet and straight White men are evil rapists ruining the world. In the Mormon community our cultural narrative is that our lives are perfect and wonderful because of all the blessings Heavenly Father gave us. So when people in fast and testimony meeting virtue signal they repeat our cultural narrative.
This is why you hear things like, “I would be very ungrateful to my Heavenly Father if I didn’t get up and thank him for all my blessings” in fast and testimony meeting. These people are loudly showing their support for our cultural narrative and doing a pubic affirmation of faith. Believe me, Heavenly Father isn’t personally intervening in their lives making it wonderful.
Why it is important to recognize virtue signaling in fast and testimony meeting
Women struggle to recognize narrative. When women hear a narrative they believe it. This is why (((the media))) is so powerful. Women make up over half of the population and they believe narratives. It’s the same in the church. Women believe narratives they hear.
When Mormon women hear narratives about how everybody else’s life is perfect, they believe it. They also know that their life isn’t perfect. They don’t feel like Heavenly Father is making great things happen for them. They conclude that they must be doing something wrong because they aren’t getting all these magical blessings from Heavenly Father.
When women feel like they aren’t as good as other families, they feel bad. Lots of women get really sad and depressed over having to hear how everybody else is perfect in fast and testimony meeting. When we hear about high female depression rates in the Mormon Church a big part of it is because so many of them feel like they don’t match up to our cultural narrative.
How to confront virtue signaling in fast and testimony meeting
Narratives and virtue signaling aren’t going away. Mankind has been making cultural narratives since the dawn of time. They aren’t going away. If we get rid of the Mormon Church’s current cultural narratives new ones will appear. Who’s to say that the next batch of cultural narratives will be any better? In reality they most likely will be a lot worse. We will never live in a world without cultural narratives.
The best way to handle virtue signaling is to recognize it for what it is. It is a public affirmation of faith and belief in the program. Is it really so bad that these people are getting up in church and declaring that they believe that Heavenly Father is helping them get through life? No it really isn’t.
The next thing to do is not take their virtue signaling so seriously. It’s virtue signaling, nothing more and nothing less. It can be annoying to hear and deal with but it isn’t hurting our lives. It is just annoying us for half an hour on Sunday, once a month. We can handle hearing it.
If you are married and your wife is feeling down because she believes that everybody else is more righteous and better than her, just tell her what is going on. Explain the concept of virtue signaling and tell her that their lives aren’t any better than hers. It all just empty rhetoric and your wife doesn’t need to take is seriously.