Over the last few years as I’ve gone through my faith transition my husband has been by my side. He’s listened to me and tried to understand me, even though we haven’t agreed on everything. He may not be a full-fledged mormon feminist, but he’d qualify as an mofem-empathizer.
Recently my husband and I were discussing feminism. I felt prompted to express to him how grateful I was for him and how he “led” our family, even though I rejected the concept of “presiders.” My husband is a patriarch who serves first, like King Benjamin, and not a dictator, like King Noah. I compared my support of egalitarianism over patriarchy to Mosiah’s creation of a council of judges over having a king in Mosiah 29. Sure, the very best of men in a system of kings/presiders can create a peaceful situation, but because of the imperfectness of all men when they gain power – it was more wise to set up a council of judges. Because of the awful destruction and abuse that comes from the King Noahs/presiders in abusive and oppressive homes I could no longer support that type of system. The cost to wives and children is too high. So in the words of (feminist?) Mosiah:
11 …..let us appoint co-equal partners/judges, to judge this people according to our law; and we will newly arrange the affairs of this people, for we will appoint wise men and women to be co-equal partners/judges, that will judge this people according to the commandments of God.
13 Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your
kings/presiders/patriarchs, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings/presiders/patriarchs who would do even as my father Benjamin did for this people—I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings/presiders/patriarchs to rule over you.
14 And even I myself have labored with all the power and faculties which I have possessed, to teach you the commandments of God, and to establish peace throughout the land, that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity;
31 For behold I say unto you, the sins of many people have been caused by the iniquities of their kings
kings/presiders/patriarchs; therefore their iniquities are answered upon the heads of their kings/presiders/patriarchs.
32 And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man and woman may enjoy his rights and privileges alike, so long as the Lord sees fit that we may live and inherit the land, yea, even as long as any of our posterity remains upon the face of the land.
and if Doctrine and Covenants 121:39 is true,
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
then I’m pretty sure this reasoning could apply to all systems patriarchy; at least with an egalitarian system of co-equal judges, men and women have an equal chance of exercising unrighteous dominion, amirite?
I know there are people out there who can’t fathom the concept of patriarchy not being from God. I really liked an analogy I heard the Givens’ give about the relationship between God and the prophets. It can be likened to when Pharoah made Joseph his vizier, the equivalent of a King giving someone his ring with the royal seal. In the King’s absence, any decision made with the royal seal had the same power as if the king had done so (like a modern-day power of attorney). This doesn’t mean that all decisions made by the Vizier are the decisions the King would make; but it does mean that legally the King is bound to the decisions of those he chooses to give his power.
While no analogy is perfect, I found this helpful when talking to supporters of patriarchy. Has anyone had really good discussions as a married couple (or any other relationship) to help navigate this feminist/non-feminist divide? Do you think it’s possible that patriarchy could be man’s will and not God’s will?