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.
12 Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just.
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;
15 And whosoever has committed iniquity, him have I punished according to the crime which he has committed, according to the law which has been given to us by our fathers.
16 Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a
king/presider/patriarch or kings/presiders/patriarchs to rule over you.
17 For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked
kings/presider/patriarch cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!
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?
As Pharoah’s vizier, Joseph would be careful to make decisions that Pharoah would support. He would try to do Pharoah’s will, and not his own.
Of course he would try to – the reason why he became second in command he was so trusted by the Pharaoh. But it is impossible, in the absence of the King, to make the exact decisions he would make. Our “viziers” are not Jesus zombies. They are men he chose to do their best. It’s quite possible historically that they established patriarchy as the ruling system of the time and we’ve interpreted it as God’s eternal ruling system.
I’m happy to consider patriarchy as a “lesser law” to equal partners, just as monarchs are worse than democracy.
But nevertheless, monarchies and patriarchies are symbolic of real spiritual hierarchies that exist between us and God, us and His church. This is an important symbol, not only of our status as “subject” but also our status as “kings and queens.”
The universe is hierarchal and as members of it, we must learn the art of ruling, and the art of submission.
The last time I checked the true church of Christ did not have any subjects, only fellow citizens. You might be able to talk of subjects in God’s kingdom, but Christ’s constant subversion of hierarchy (even in parables directly referencing the kingdom) makes “subject” a poor descriptor of the kingdom of God’s residents.
Hierarchy as model for the universe, the kingdom, or the church is exceptionally flawed. All these tend toward being massively parallel under ideal conditions.
“The universe is hierarchal and as members of it, we must learn the art of ruling, and the art of submission.”
No, Nate. No, a thousand times. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with Galatians 3:27-28? One of the most revolutionary doctrines of Christianity is that Christ came to tear down the man made hierarchies that oppress many and privilege a few. There is no such thing as a “Christlike” heirarchy-kingdoms and the like are not symbolic of our inevitable future as “rulers” but indicative of our fallen nature. As followers of Christ we are called to overcome the natural man, not make excuses for it. Any attempt to construe these inequities and injustices as God’s will or somehow a parallel for God’s perfect kingdom in the next life is flat out wrong. Patriarchy is just one of many examples of systematic oppression and is not now, nor has it ever been, God’s will for his people.
Inequality =/= injustice. That’s flat-out wrong.
And the idea that Christianity’s goal is to create celestial equals has very little support. The Savior himself, the greatest of all, the creator of the earth, repeatedly demonstrates His submission to His father (who clearly presides in some way or another) and makes a point of it repeatedly. Submission is a fundamental part of the gospel. That’s not a argument to defend patriarchy, it’s merely a counter-argument to some specious arguments against patriarchy and/or hierarchy.
You may as well quote Moroni who was not seeking for power, but to pull it down.
John in the Book of Revelation describes Jesus Christ as being the ‘prince of the kings of the earth,’ and that Jesus Christ has made us ‘kings and priests unto God.’ I don’t read Nate’s comment as a glowing endorsement of patriarchy as much as the importance of studying the symbolic language that goes with king/kingdom or lord/lordship, as these terms are commonly scriptural. I think as LDS we would easily see the language in Revelation as, though not specifically spelled out that way, expanding to ‘kings and priests, queens and priestesses’ (my preference would be that both would be ‘unto God’ and not have one being ‘unto your husband’, unless that ‘husband’ is ultimately symbolic of Christ.
I guess you could cite the wording in Revelation as irrelevant because if everyone in Christ’s kingdom is a king or a queen, then why have those titles at all? That would be one way of interpreting Galations 3:28 which states we are all ‘one in Christ’. How, then, will that aspect of ‘Christ reigning personally upon the earth work?
We are not equal. We do not come into this world equal; we are not equal while on earth and we will not leave this world equals. So why propose equality in marriage?
The idea of creating equality has created enormous suffering accounting for millions of deaths. It has destroyed civilizations and economies and cultures. What’s more, the notion of equality is completely contrary to the plan of salvation which ultimately divides us based on our INEQUALITY in the degrees of glory.
Although it sounds good, the idea of co-equal partners in a marriage is a fantasy. My observation is, and has been, in every relationship or business partnership there is always a dominant individual. Historically, the dominant figure is male, but not always. We need to treat each other with respect. We need to value each other’s contribution, but we should not become equal, or even attempt to become equal.
Nate is quite correct. It is referred to the Kingdom of Heaven for a reason. Christ is the King as so correctly taught in the scriptures “Repent ye: for the KINGDOM of heaven is at hand” Matthew 3:2.
Martin, can you provide a single example of inequality that did not lead to injustice? That did not lead to oppression? That did not lead to suffering and pain? I have studied history my entire adult life and cannot produce a single example.Further, your assertion that the separate kingdoms supports eternal inequality fails to recognize the principle of eternal progression. Eventually, barring an individual’s choice not to, we actually do teach a salvation of all people in celestial glory. Equality is indeed a celestial principle.
Ken, the language of Scripture is meant to be symbolic. Not literal. We also know that the authors of Scripture use their culture and world view to describe eternal principles. Using the fact that the Savior described a “kingdom” to justify eternal inequality is just as ridiculous as saying that, because Christ refers to a “kingdom”, a monarchy is the only divinely approved form of government. This, in fact, the argument that was made for centuries and, blessedly, failed to hold up to rational and theological scrutiny. Could it be instead that our Lord spoke to pepole using language they would understand, that was relevant to the time and place they lived in? If he taught today, given our cultural and political realities, I am quite certain the words kingdom, king, queen etc…would not feature in his message. It is our obligation to liken the scriptures to our time and circumstances and utilize our greater wisdom and knowledge as well as personal revelation to make decisions about how we treat each other, approach our relationships and administer the church.
We actually support egalitarianism in our doctrine. Each individual becomes a joint-heir with Christ when they access the power of the Atonement. Each individual must participate in certain ordinances in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (I’ll address the priesthood thing below). In this way, God is no respecter of persons.
So what’s the deal with patriarchy? Human civilizations seem to settle naturally into patriarchal structures. In fact I don’t know of any true matriarchal systems. There are matrilineal societies (where lineage is determined by the mother’s line as opposed to the father’s line), but even those societies have men in charge (essentially the mother’s brothers become the role models and decision makers for the kids rather than fathers).
In this dispensation priesthood is divided along gender lines, so it tacitly supports the idea that patriarchy is God’s order. But this falls down when we consider how priesthood has been assigned in other dispensations. In the OT, only males of the Levite tribe held priesthood authority, so males of the other tribes essentially became equal with female members of all tribes with regard to church authority — just normal churchmembers. Male Israelites still had roles as fathers, husbands, and members of society, but those gender roles were not inherently tied to priesthood authority.
So why are males given priesthood power in this dispensation? We don’t know. BECAUSE we don’t know, we can’t actually argue that this is God’s ideal. Due to the “natural” human inclination towards patriarchy, it makes sense that God would have chosen male prophets to lead his people in the past — females would not have been recognized culturally with that ability (Deborah serves as pretty much the only exception to that rule). God was already overthrowing seriously embedded cultural thinking (polytheism to monotheism, rejection of idolatry, etc.). If people really learn “line upon line,” God will at times have to take baby steps in leading his children back to him. Also, since humans are “naturally” inclined toward patriarchy, we need to kind of view that with suspicion — “natural” urges aren’t usually things that God encourages.
So is it possible that God merely tolerates patriarchies like he tolerated monarchies in the past? Maybe. Patriarchies, like monarchies, can function fine if those in power rule by righteous principles. As King Mosiah II recognized, though, having one person (or one group) monopolize power runs a risk of unrighteous dominion.
We do need some sort of church structure. Even Christ recognized the need for authoritative leaders when he set apart apostles in the Old World and disciples in the New World. The organizational structure seems to have followed patriarchal rules in the past (men in charge), so it makes sense that many people view that as God’s ideal. Assuming that we truly understand God’s endgame, though, is not usually a wise idea.
And for those who want to point to the endowment as proof that God desires patriarchy, do you honestly believe that God would allow half of his children to be viewed as inferior spiritually to the other half simply because one individual made one mistake in the past? There’s a lot more here than meets the eye.
“Equality is indeed a celestial principle.”
No Eliza, a thousand times no. Not for those that don’t get there.
“can you provide a single example of inequality that did not lead to injustice”
I can provide several examples where the push for equality ended poorly:
North Korea (1950-current), untold suffering and millions killed.
Russia/Soviet Union (Lenin – Present) with millions killed.
Cambodia – pol pot, millions tortured and killed
China – Mao, over 100 million tortured and killed
Cuba—1960 –present, millions tortured and killed
Germany 1918-1944, millions tortured and killed
Ken, everyone “gets there”. Eternal progression is fundamental to our faith. It might make us feel special to think that we are somehow elevated above the rest of the billions upon billions upon billions who have no understanding of Mormon salvation theology, but in fact we are all equally unworthy of celestial glory and we all rely on the eternal atonement to facilitate our salvation. We are, every one of us equally sinful. And equally condemned without the atonement. Likewise, we are all given equal access to the grace of the atonement, whether in this life or in the eternities.
That is not in our faith. The correct teaching is in D&C 88:22-26 (and else where):
22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
23 And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
24 And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.
Ken, In every instance you provided it was not a pursuit of equality that resulted in horrific abuses. It was corrupt, power hungry men willfully perpetuating inequality and oppression in order to maintain their control that led to millions of deaths. While some may have used the rhetoric of equality to gain power, in every case the atrocities were committed in order to preserve and extend the privileges of the oligarchy at the expense of everyone else. Only the most naive reading of history would lead to any other conclusion.
Where we encounter suffering and oppression we have an obligation to act, even if that means letting go of some of the dearly held traditions of our fathers. They were wrong. We should try to be better. Of course, We will get some things wrong too and I hope my children and grandchildren have the confidence to acknowledge where their traditions fall short of the ideal and then strive to do better.
#15 – Eliza, you seriously miss Ken’s point of citing these examples of several Communist regimes and Nazi Germany (which actually was 1933-1945, the Weimar period, though it had significant flaws, was the first time Germany was a constitutional republic). The ‘corrupt men’ sell their political ‘snake oil’ of a message of egalitarianism, and class envy. The net result in EVERY iteration of the ‘workers paradise’ is a hell-hole where the privileged elite rule the masses with a varying degree of ‘blood and horror’.
I actually have a sneaky admiration for how Leonid Brezhnev did it 1964-1982: he kept a clique of ‘apparatchiks’ to run things effectively, which they did, in return for turning the Soviet Union into a kleptocracy. As for dissidents and political enemies…no longer the bullet to the neck like in Stalin’s era, but rather, the application of Soviet ‘Science’ to study why these ‘misfits’ couldn’t fit the mold of the ‘New Soviet Man’. Sure, there were STILL Gulags, but also in vogue was use of psychiatric ‘hospital’ to cure what the Communists of the time considered mental disorder in a ‘humane’fashion.
King Benjamin was not only an inspired man of God; he was ahead of his time in many ways. Were our current leaders anything like him our enemies would tremble.
I liked your analysis.
Patriarchy? Totally man made. By leaders we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators.
I do agree it was for power, just a Lucifer sought for power. They all used the same false premise (including lucifer) that equality is possible. They all sought to take away “the agency of man”
God, on the other hand, sold the concept of agency, and agency equals inequality. There is no better definition for agency, than INEQUALITY.
That is what the fight in the pre earth life was about, agency. Along these lines, if you are suggesting all will make it, does that include Lucifer and all those that fell with him? That would be bizarre, Lucifer and God as co-equals?
I am so sorry that this is what you believe and what you go about teaching other people. You so worry about the monsters of “equality” (as if there aren’t just as many monsters lined up leading systems that didn’t use equality as an excuse for their crimes) while apparently ignoring the stark fact that women have suffered and continue to suffer disproportionately throughout history and throughout the world due to a gender hierarchy. More women are today and have historically been killed, enslaved, assaulted, trapped in poverty, denied education etc precisely because they were women. Girls are left to starve so their brothers can live. Girls are subject to infacticide at triple the rate of boys. So if you want to justify hierarchy by the outcomes you are objectively under gunned.
Beyond your cheap and loose use of human suffering to feed your ideology, I am so sad that you don’t believe that you and your wife can be equals in your relationship. That your sons and daughters can’t find equal partnership in their relationships. That is a sad, sad thing to believe that it is impossible for two people to decide and act as equals. I strive for something beyond just respect or accommodation in my marriage. I believe something greater than chicken patriarchy can lead a home. I believe my wife and I can walk entirely side by side without her being required to be a shade behind. Even if such a thing is “impossible” in a terrestrial world the courageous thing, the right thing, the godly thing is to try not acquiesce to failure because that is the way it “must” be or “should” be. I believe the gospel demands no less. I believe God demands no less.
What are you even talking about?
I am saying we were not born equal, all people are at different levels. This means some women are born at a higher level than other people; and vise versa.I am not saying all men are superior to all women. I am saying we are all at different levels coming into this world. It is a pretty simple and obvious fact of life.
Likewise we are all at differnt levels while on this earth and will all end up at different levels of progression when we leave this earth. It is a pretty simple concept.
I am not saying I am opposed to a couple being equal partners, I am saying it is not a reality. Some men are at a higher level (spiritually, mentally or physically) then thier wives and vise versa.
And yes I am saying it is due to the fact we have been given agency. Some of us make bad decisions, some good decisions and some really good. This puts all of us at different levels. Is this not obvious?
We had a discussion about domestic violence in Australia on an ABC programme called QA. One of the things I learned is that Studies show that the biggest contributor/indicator to domestic violence is inequality in the relationship.
So yes it is possible to have benevolent dictators, but generally power imbalance contributes to abuse.
We haven’t yet had quoted “all are alike unto God, black and white, bond and free, male and female” The fact that that is now in the prelude to the 2nd declaration, on who should hold the priesthood is…. ironic, prophetic..?
To me being alike unto God is equality. I imagine heavenly father and mother, as equal in power and authority, and I believe celestial couples will be too.
If that is the celestial ideal we aught to be seeking to attain it now.
Lemme guess, Ken – you’re one of the ones that make really good decisions so ergo you’re pretty high up there, right? I think we all might be shocked at the end when we see those like my sister – with mental health issues and genetic markers more attuned to addictions to overcome much but accomplish much less be held up higher than the pious. The atheists and the nonchristians being held up as examples for us to strive to be like as the sacrifice much to change the world.
You are reminding me of when I was in BOM class at Ricks and the teacher asked if God loves some people more than others and I emphatically declared, “Yes, of course he does.” Using my examples as peoples being “favored” of the Lord. Bah – regardless of our “goodness” we are all unworthy and of the dust – our nothingness is equal, no matter the choices we make.
I have a different interpretation than you — I’m on a Givens kick right now so I’ve really identified with them teaching Joseph was much more universalist than anyone ever gives him credit for; and we are equal in potential because eternal progression is for everyone.
Maybe the test of this life isn’t to chalk the most “good choices” up on the tally board; but to realize the tally board means jack squat. And the only thing that matters is our hearts, and mostly how we can develop the ability to see, treat, and love others as he would. I’m woefully inadequate, yet bring my broken and contrite heart every week to sacrament. We are all at the same, fallen, broken, level every single week = unworthy.
I believe higher orders aren’t full of ordered hierarchies and monarchies, but I really think we are using our messed up human brains to make God in our own image. There is so much MORE God than we can comprehend. We are to be ONE, equal; joint heirs.
Joseph understood that receiving knowledge and revelation from God doesn’t come word for word from God’s mouth to mind/paper; that’s why he revised so many revelations and visions . . . his human understanding and english language were just so damn inadequate. And in ancient days I’m sure the sexist barbarians of the past wouldn’t even be able to comprehend a vision of God/Heaven . . . perhaps they saw it but could only see it in a way of their understanding. “I’m a King, so he must be my King, etc.”
Regarding debate with Ken, I think there will always be a tension between hierarchy and egalitarianism in the church. Joseph Smith grew up in both worlds, the world of freedom loving American revolutionaries, with their “innalianable rights” and “all created equal.” And then the world of the patriarchal Bible he was reading and learning from. So its no surprise that the church is a mixture of both worlds.
The early LDS church in Kirkland was more egalitarian, with the Elders of the church more or less on equal footing, able to challenge Joseph Smith to debate, with others also able to receive revelations. But in Nauvoo, Joseph basically ruled like a king, and had introduced an extremely hierarchical priesthood structure, which was partially a response to the chaos of egalitarianism in the Kirkland period.
The Book of Mormon has this really democratic strain, which I think was influenced by Joseph’s freedom loving American roots. But those roots are humanist, not Biblical. I think it is important to understand that the two come from distinct traditions. Humanism is a value structure that imagines that God gives everyone inalienable rights. But in Biblical Christianity, no one has rights. Rather, everything God gives is grace, not rights. People don’t “deserve” rights, they don’t deserve equality, they don’t deserve blessings. This is an act of grace, bestowed by a higher upon a lower. That is hierarchy. Without hierarchy there can be no grace. When Jesus says, “that they may be one, as I am one with thee” He is still referring to a kind of condescension, not a deserved or earned equality.
But the humanist God is present in Mormonism as well, coming not from the Bible, but from America. Maybe you could say that the God of grace (and curses) is our patriarchal God, and the humanist God is our matriarchal goddess America. In any case, I agree that a God that is entirely patriarchal is imbalanced. We need a matriarchal element, and this is somewhat missing in the Bible. But perhaps the Book of Mormon’s egalitarianism tries to counterbalance patriarchy with what could be deemed a more matriarchal egalitarianism, coming from Joseph Smith’s America. And Joseph Smith’s democratic America is Hellenic, which originally worshiped a female deity: Athena, goddess of wisdom.
“Lemme guess, Ken – you’re one of the ones that make really good decisions so ergo you’re pretty high up there, right?”
I never said anything of the sort.
“I think we all might be shocked at the end when we see those like my sister – with mental health issues and genetic markers more attuned to addictions to overcome much but accomplish much less be held up higher than the pious.”
I have a son with mental health issues and I totally agree with what you said and when his challenges are lifted in the next world we will see him for the soiritual giant that he is?
I think the lesson, again, is to focus on our progression. It makes life simpler when we focus on the mote in our own eye,
Spiritual giant that he is!
“I imagine heavenly father and mother, as equal in power and authority, and I believe celestial couples will be too.”
I totally agree as they will be prefect beings. Until we get there we need to realize we are at different levels and rely on each other’s strengths.
Ken, help me understand your thinking. Do you equate “equality” with being “the same”? They are not equivalent. If you think that those here who advocate for abandoning hierarchical relationships at home and society are doing so because we have some vision of mechanical sameness, you’ve completely misunderstood.
I have no desire to be the same person as my husband. Nor he to be the same as me. What we do want as individuals and partners is an equal voice. He has no interest in presiding in our relationship and I no interest in submitting (or vice versa). Where decisions are to be made, we make them together. When we disagree, we compromise. Neither his opinion nor mine carries more weight. We mutually defer to the other’s expertise in certain areas. You say we should “rely on each others strengths”. How would that be possible if one partner holds all the power? If my husband “presides”, then the fact that I have a particular strength for finances is irrelevant. His decisions would trump mine. He might try to consider my input but I would be denied any real decision making power. It’s only because we are committed to an egalitarian relationship that our individual strengths can shine. We aren’t perfect, of course. We both act selfishly sometimes. But just because we aren’t perfect, doesn’t mean we can’t strive to be. Isn’t that the whole point of our mortal existence?
Ken, then you’ve confused me with this: “And yes I am saying it is due to the fact we have been given agency. Some of us make bad decisions, some good decisions and some really good. This puts all of us at different levels. Is this not obvious?”
That some how there are observable bad and good choices we are making that it’s obvious make some people “higher” or “lower” than others.
There are a few concepts at play here. First off is the scripture “unto him who much is given, much is required. And he who sins aganist the greater light will receive greater condemnation”. The second is closely tied to the first and is a quote by Elder Maxwel “to some our challange will be our good looks, to others it will be a homely appearance. To some it is wealth and others poverty…” (Paraphrased to same my time not looking it up”
Perhaps one of the more annoying things to here in my Kaysville Utah area is how being born here in the heart of the Book of Mormon belt is proof we were more valient in the pre-earth life. As mentioned, I have a son with some very serious mental health issues. I also have a son who struggles with same gender attraction, but does not live the lifestyle. Thier challanges are fairly well know. If you want a different view of life in the heart of the Book of Mormon belt, just live with those issues. Add to that growing up in a very wealthy and very high profile LDS family and you clearly see things differently. You learn not to judge others, or not to judge someone’s spiritual level by outward apperance. You really appreciate Elder maxwells quote. You really understand we are at different levels and we will be judged based on the progression we make through this mortal life.
We should not try to be equal, but better. We should not compare ourselves with our spouse, or covet anyone, or try to change them. The only person we can change is ourselves. The focus should be on our progression.
No Ken, I have no intention of being better than my husband, and he has no intention of being better than me. We are working together for the edification of each person in our family, in order to be equally yoked. Neither one is without the other.Our priesthood is a shared one.
But you are using that fairly obvious fact to than argue for a system that systematically excludes women from hierarchical decision rights for no other reason than because they are women.
Clearly people are made up of a complex set of skills, abilities, potential and attributes that make them unique and not functional equivalents of one another. It is so frustrating when the sophistication of Mormon discussion on the concept of equality or egalitarianism of gender starts and stops with “equality doesn’t mean sameness”. Like seriously, every. freaking. discussion. But that isn’t what is being discussed here. And its NEVER what is trying to be discussed.
You seem to want a pure meritocracy – a place where the person best as something gets to do it and be rewarded for it. Put aside the question about whether such a place is even remotely possible. Fine. Patriarchy should be right on the top of your list of things to get burn to the ground. If there is a system that has perpetuated more undeserving power, reward or returns for substandard performance you would be hard pressed to find it.
The point of the post is about governance and decision rights and how they get distributed. There are lots of systems where you can have relative equality on such things. Checks and balances. Veto rights. Rotating leadership etc. In fact, I would speculate that a significant number of Mormon marriages work on such principles or aspire to. We are far more egalitarian in our homes than our doctrine dictates. So the question is what is wrong – our homes or our doctrine? Why do we insist on church governance structure where no matter how spiritual, how smart, how faithful, how strong a woman is she will NEVER, NEVER have a single decision right. She will NEVER get a chance to have the weight and responsibility of leadership where she gets the final say. Why do we insist on temple rituals that prompt our women to obey (now hearken) her husband with no reciprocal covenant from the man? These are serious and largely unanswered questions (officially). The bitter fruits of this structural inequality in our system are so blatantly obvious they need not be rehashed here.
I think you should follow your strong belief to its logical conclusion.
Handle With Care;
I worded that poorly.
I never meant that we should try and be better than our spouse. I meant we should be better than ourselves. The only person we can make better is ourselves. We cannot make our spouse or kids better, only they can.
As such, we are not equal and we never will be, unless of course we obtain celestial glory.
I am not quite sure what your are even trying to say.
I never talked about sameness or even alluded to such a notion. I said we are not equal, never have been and never will be in this life.
To those who obtain celestial glory, they will be equal in power and authority with one another. As for the
hierarchical there, I have no idea what it is like. If it is good enough for our heavenly parents, it is good enough for me. Quite honestly, I don’t even think about it, or care. I have too much on my daily plate.
There’s a pretty big difference, while we’re on the subject of equality, between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. It also demonstrates poor critical thinking capabilities when a person is to distinguish between natural differences in roles, talents, and abilities and artificial inequalities imposed by hierarchical (patriarchal) structures.
We may, as Nate says, all be subordinated to God. (Although I disagree that “…in Biblical Christianity, no one has rights. Rather, everything God gives is grace, not rights. People don’t “deserve” rights, they don’t deserve equality, they don’t deserve blessings. This is an act of grace, bestowed by a higher upon a lower.” That’s a little too Calvinist for me; it denies the great truths of the Plan of Happiness. Those blessings are why we’re here.) But our subordination to God provides exactly zero justification for subordinating ourselves to other humans, whether we’re talking about the Divine Right of Kings or the Divine Right of Husbands. Both of those concepts seem likely candidates to have been invented by men to justify the exercise of unrighteous dominion over others.
First paragraph above: when a person is unable to distinguish. . .
Ken, you’re backpedalling. On comment#8 you stated:
“The idea of creating equality has created enormous suffering accounting for millions of deaths. It has destroyed civilizations and economies and cultures.”
There is no historical basis for this. If you are alluding to the communist regimes (and the Nazis), regardless of rhetoric, they were never about equality. They started out as popular revolts helped along by professional revolutionaries like Lenin, but the revolutionaries were quick to seize power and consolidate it. Soviet Russia (or any Russia) was never egalitarian. What civilizations, economies or cultures were destroyed by the idea of creating equality? Theorists like Gibbons or Spengler have proposed various ideas for the fall of Rome, for example, but they didn’t list egalitarianism as a cause.
I can, however, think of a country based on the idea of creating equality. Its founding document states, “All men are created equal…”
Scripture says that God is no respecter of persons. To me that means He holds us all equal regardless of differences.
P.S. In the Gospel, there are times we are all called to lead or serve and other times we are to follow.
That applies to both sexes. Christ led but He also followed Elohim.