It is not easy to be a man in this Church it's a lot of responsibility, and their path for life and most of their choices are already made for them: to be a good mormon man you do this, then this, then this, then mission, then marriage, then career, then provide, then father, etc. They know exactly how they should live to follow their plan on earth: the check boxes have been laid out before them. Men are judged very harshly for varying from their check boxes. I have heard family members express frustration at such harsh cultural consequences - even if they feel they have followed the Spirit in not walking the line.
A Christian man’s highest calling is not priesthood; a Christian man’s highest calling is to follow Christ.
It isn't easy to be a woman in this Church, it's a lot of responsibility, and women have a much more ambiguous path. We only have two check boxes: marriage and children. The focus of which has good and bad consequences. As in my case, the over-emphasis in my life lead me to ignore God's will in my life in how I was to build His kingdom with all the talents and unique gifts He has given me. There was only one way to be a good Mormon woman and all else was choosing the wrong!! Those poor souls who are single or infertile - they just have to suffer through this life until they get their check boxes! Those check boxes are the only thing that matters!! And yet in my life, the atonement healed the hurt and pain of infertility when I was prompted to celebrate and embrace it -- to love that I get to follow God's plan for me a different way, and to reject the message that my Womanhood is found in wifehood and motherhood. Those are very important ways to be a Woman of God, but is not how to define being a woman of God.
In our modern Church we embrace religious complementarianism: which ties a female's identity and value only to that of a wife, mother, and homemaker (the 1950s June Cleaver). The gender roles we currently have are not a result of ancient history of how the bible treated women (thank goodness): Most do not want to return to a time when fathers owned their daughters and sold them to the highest bidder (Exodus 21:7; Nehemiah 5:5; Genesis 29:1–10), when multiple wives and concubines were a part of everyday life (even for men of God like Abraham, Jacob, and David), when women were forbidden from owning property, when foreign virgins could be captured as spoils of war (Judges 21), when a woman’s lack of virginity could get her executed (Deuteronomy 22:11, Leviticus ). We know we don't want to return to Biblical Womanhood, but even then If you follow the history of the Church, the scope of women has not always been so limited as it is now. And the timing of the rise of the complementarianism is exactly the same timing of the movement of Second Wave Feminism.
Here is where so many women get SO ANGRY. Complementarianism is wonderful because it celebrates that a woman honors God in the home -- this is such a wonderful, beautiful, needed message. Where the confusion comes in . . . is when it says that is the only acceptable way for a woman to honor God. This is where I find Elder Christofferson's talk to be beautiful: because it doesn't say, women you have to only do one thing . . . it says, "women exercise moral authority in homes, classrooms, boardrooms, etc."
"A common refrain among Christians is that “motherhood is a woman’s highest calling.” I must have heard this 1,000 times growing up. While men can honor God in varying capacities through work, family, and ministry, a woman’s spiritual aptitude is measured primarily by her ability to procreate. I understand that many pastors elevate motherhood in order to counter the ways contemporary culture often dismisses the value of moms. This is a noble goal indeed, and the Church should be a place where moms are affirmed, celebrated, honored, and revered....[yet]
A Christian woman’s highest calling is not motherhood; a Christian woman’s highest calling is to follow Christ. And following Christ is something a woman can do whether she is married or single, rich or poor, sick or healthy, childless or Michelle Dugger. (Rachel Held Evans, Women of Valor)