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Former Mormon youth leader Elaine Dalton laments the ‘unladylike’ behavior of women’s marchers

First Published      Last Updated Feb 28 2017 05:13 pm

In a speech Sunday to Mormon women, a former global youth leader in the LDS Church contrasted members of the audience who "will lead the world" with participants in January's gigantic Women's March in New York.

"You exemplify everything I prayed you would be," Elaine S. Dalton, who served as general president of the LDS Young Women organization from 2008 to 2013, told female members from two east Salt Lake City stakes (clusters of Mormon congregations). "You are everything we prayed for, and I am so, so grateful to you for taking advantage of the things that were there to prepare you."




The protesters, she said, offered a less-flattering picture.

"We were in a cab, and as I watched those women marching and yelling," Dalton went on to say, according to a report in the LDS Church-owned Deseret News, " ... behaving anything but ladylike and using language that was very unbefitting of daughters of God, my heart just sunk and I thought to myself, 'What would happen if all those women were marching and calling to the world for a return to virtue?' "

The notion of virtue is especially dear to Dalton's heart — she is the one who suggested adding it to the LDS Church's list of ideals for Mormon teenage girls.

Ironically, hundreds of the marchers were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who were demonstrating on behalf of what they saw as virtue. They have taken to social media in droves, disagreeing with Dalton's characterization of the massive movement.

"For my whole life until I die at age 100+ and even beyond, I will feel proud that I participated in the Women's March of 2017," Andrea Radke-Moss of Rexburg, Idaho, wrote on Facebook in response to Dalton's quotes. "I marched to defend virtue: I marched against hatred, objectification, assault, injustice, intolerance, racism and the tearing apart of families."

For the historian, it was a moment seared in her memory.

"I listened (even to ideas I didn't fully understand or agree with); I learned (especially about the viewpoints of women with different experiences than my own)," Radke-Moss wrote. "I loved, and others showed love to me. I kept my covenants as I stood up for what I believe. I tried to reflect the light of Christ, and I also made my children and my husband proud of me."

She is not willing, however, to join the chorus of critics, scolding the one-time Young Women president.

"Sister Dalton probably didn't mean to exclude or hurt," Radke-Moss wrote. "She needs more awareness, not public shaming."

Peggy Fletcher Stack

 

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