(This is the 2nd in a series of posts that looks at questions in theology that should be answered by a Prophet, but to date have not. These are questions that the lack of answers causes harm to members. Last time I talked about children born with mental and physical disabilities, and what that means about their pre-earth life, and for their salvation.)
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, and I did my regularly scheduled post, but it was not related to Mother’s Day in anyway. One woman commented to my post and thanked me for NOT talking about mothers and not bringing up mothers in my post. This got me to thinking about why Mother’s Day is so triggering for some women and brought me back to when I was bishop and had to plan “Mother’s Day” sacrament meetings. It was a no-win situation. Whatever I did would please some and disappoint others.
This problem of Mother’s Day seems to be worse in an LDS setting. Why is that? I believe the main reason is that since women are not given the Priesthood, they have been told that motherhood and its accompanying responsibilities (i.e. child-rearing) are the equivalent to priesthood. Women have other roles just as important as the priesthood. While this is not canonized doctrine, it is nonetheless commonly taught in church.
(Is there anybody reading this that has NOT heard this reason for women not getting the priesthood?)
If this is indeed the reason women do not have the priesthood, then there are quite a few unanswered questions about how this is applied to:
- Women that are infertile: “I’ve always wanted to be a mom, that’s my whole identity. What am I if I’m not a mom?”
- Women that are empty nesters, and are not “active” moms anymore: They don’t feel like mothers anymore. 
- Women that expect motherhood but have aspirations beyond that: They can feel unfulfilled as full-time stay-at-homes mothers. This leads to guilt for not valuing the role of motherhood.
- Women that dislike kids and don’t want to be mothers.
- Women that had a horrible relationship with their own mothers.
- The most ironic of all: Women that want to be a mother, and marry a faithful priesthood holder, only to find out later that her husband is infertile!
Men have the Priesthood, regardless of their fertility or desires to be a father. If there is an equivalent responsibility for women, what is it?
The problem is no one (Q15 included) actually understands and can articulate how women have responsibilities equal to what men have with the priesthood. To make up for this lack of understanding, our leaders overcompensate by accentuating the role as mother. This causes hurt feelings in the women that can’t/won’t have children. The leadership picks up on the hurt feelings but does not understand where they come from, so they double down on the Mother’s Day celebration thinking that will help, thus starting a vicious cycle.
What is the reason woman can’t have the Priesthood in the LDS Church? There is no answer. There is “no agitation” for women to hold the priesthood, according to President Hinckley, so the Prophets have never asked. This is an unanswered question that hurts women, and the men that love them.
Is it time to just say “We don’t know why women don’t have the priesthood, but it has nothing to do with women being mothers”?
 If a woman has a life of say 80 years, and she has her first child at 20 and her last at 30, then she is an “active” mom for maybe 30 years (less if she only has 2 children quickly), then she isn’t an “active” mom for most of her life.
Photo by William Fortunato
“The problem is no one (Q15 included) actually understands and can articulate how women have responsibilities equal to what men have with the priesthood.” I don’t think they care. It’s enough for them to keep women on an uneven playing field.
As long as women are routinely placed in the category of “other,” whether in society or church or any other institution, their concerns will be invisible to the people (men) in charge. Typically, those men will focus on whatever it takes to maintain the status quo and keep the machinery running smoithly and efficiently. As the familiar saying goes, None are so blind as those who refuse to see.
Women don’t have priesthood in the LDS church because the men that run the church don’t want them to. What ever excuse is used is just gaslighting. The argument that women can’t lead congregations and large institutions and give birth to children and be good mothers is empirically false. The three female pastors of my local UMC congregation show that every week. And as BBill points out, only a small part of a women’s life, even with multiple children is directly taken up by active child-bearing and child rearing.
50 years ago, maybe you could chalk up the lack of female ordination and leadership to LDS leadership of the time not even being able to conceive of a model of a sharing leadership with women so they couldn’t discuss or pray for inspiration. But now days there are so many obvious models, that the lack of meaningful change just seems emblematic of top LDS leadership confusing their personal will with God’s will.
I can’t say I have felt the same about Widtsoe since reading the essay mentioned here: https://askmormongirl.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/who-was-the-first-lds-leader-to-pair-motherhood-and-priesthood-what-else-has-changed-about-priesthood-over-the-course-of-lds-history/
I most certainly can’t consider him to be progressive, and am always irritated when he is listed or described as such.
Seems to me to be some post WW2 justification for getting women out of the way of the men..
To me it’s totally obvious. Motherhood is equivalent to Fatherhood. Period. Men need to be equal partners in child rearing. Women should be equal partners with men in leading their families & the church.
However, we are not equal partners no matter how often you say we are as long as men make all the important final decisions in the church.
I was in total emotional pain last week as good men tried to do the right thing by repeating the gaslighting about motherhood. Women and children are cherished and protected by the church, but more as possessions than as equal partners.
Women’s positions in the church above the ward level that should be about leadership are often reduced to ornamental. It’s denigrating.
The idea that women have the priesthood too in their callings because they are called under the priesthood keys also feels like patting the silly women on the head to make them feel better.
If we have the priesthood too there should be female prophets, stake presidents and bishops. Women should be able to get their temple recommend from a woman and callings from women.
Pretending we are equal does not make it’s so. It’s just demoralizing, and it feels bad to know they think us women are stupid enough to actually believe it.
Well, first of all, I object to the idea that as an empty nester, I am no longer an “active mother.” The wording is just bad. Let’s say that now my work load of mothering is about equal to my husbands. My involvement is reduced to parenting that is really very much the same for both mother and father. The “only mother” part of pregnancy and nursing is long gone. And the physical work load of daily care is down, but there is still the emotional work of staying in contact with busy children raising their own children. We have done the emotional work of supporting them through four divorces, five babies, a stillbirth, a ectopic pregnancy, surgeries, and all the problems of living. There are also issues of how to keep our disabled daughter as independent as possible. We still help financially, so yes we are still active parents, but my role is about the same as my husband. No reason for me not to have had priesthood for the last thirty years.
But I agree with your premise that we harm women by having their whole identity revolve around motherhood. But to fix the problem, they have to stop from having men build their whole masculine Mormon identity around being a priesthood holder. But if they reduce the importance of priesthood they remove the main reason they claim our church is better than other, that we have the one and only priesthood and our men are so great that ALL of them get the priesthood.
First problem is that priesthood was never designed that way in the first place. It was to make some men the representatives of God to the rest of the men. But Mormon men all have to be special, so as the villain of The Incredibles says, “if everybody is special, nobody is special.”
This problem goes back to Joseph Smith who wooed followers by making them feel special. So, there was priesthood inflation as he tried to make more and more men feel special. For example, the roll of deacon in the D& C is a calling that sounds like an adult role. The duties of deacon, teacher, and priest are all adult duties. But we make 11 year old boys deacons, and then have to invent work that they can actually do to make them feel special. There is no reason that carrying around sacrament trays requires priesthood, for crying out loud. But we make the little boys feel special by giving them this sacred duty. And leave our little girls feeling like they are a big nothing.
So, since 11 year old girls can’t possibly be mothers, but we have given the adult status of deacon to little boys to make them feel special, the girls are told to wait for adulthood to be special.
Adulthood finally comes and the greatest day of her life (wedding is only one of many great days of HIS life. He has been ordained a few times and gone on a mission) and she is marched through the temple on a wedding assembly line and it isn’t special at all but horrifying as she finds out exactly how unimportant she is to God. (See lots of the blogs by feminists on the temple and how many women feel traumatized by it) so, on her most special day, she finds out just how unspecified she is, not only to the church, but to God himself. Then comes pregnancy and instead of something that makes her feel good about herself, she is throwing up for hours a day. Then about four months into the pregnancy she finds out there are complications and she is high risk. Albumin in her urine and her blood pressure is high. At six months she is hospitalized with toxemia. She can tell the doctor doesn’t think the baby will make it, and is scared she won’t either. Being a military doctor, he cannot suggest abortion until she is literally on her deathbed, but he sort of hints around that she might want to save her own life. Yeah, being “special” in the Mormon wold is horrible and it could kill you. After the birth, her HUSBAND gets the only special moment at church by blessing the baby, and after all her risking her life and everything, she is just someone sitting in the congregation. Then of course she is left with all the ugly work of parenting; while her husband is off “priesthooding” she is home changing dirty diapers and cleaning up after a toddler, and struggling to nurse the latest infant with bleeding nipples and a screaming baby who can’t latch correctly. And because he has priesthood, she is alone many evenings. So, she feels abandoned and isolated alone in her home for days at a time with no company or any one to talk to over the age of 4.
Yeah, motherhood in the Mormon church sucks just a bit more than in other religions, and not being worth anything to your church by not having priesthood sucks more than in most churches. But who’s complaining, we mothers get honored one day a year and priesthood gets honored the rest. But then, since the “restoration of the priesthood” day hits every year right about the same day as Mother’s Day, sometimes we don’t even get that one day because sacrament meeting is devoted to celebrating the restoration of “making all the males feel special.”
I love my children. I don’t love being a mother in the church. And I hate being a woman in the church. So, I stopped being in the church. It is just too sexist and that is the problem that Mother’s Day can’t fix.
Hedgehog, thanks so much for that link. Where were you when I was writing my post last week!
Women being denied Mormon version of priesthood also speaks to the larger issue of blind obedience. Many members accept that hoarding billions of $ is justified, women are subservient, LGBTQ is evil…the list is long. Until there are channels for dissent, criticism and self examination, nothing will change. We can’t even distinguish between secret and confidential.
My last day at church back in 2018 ended with one of the girls in my primary class looking up at me, beaming, and exclaiming, “Priesthood!” She was so excited and so totally unaware of what it would mean for her life. I couldn’t do it after that. I called in that week and made some excuse about how I’d be traveling a lot that summer and couldn’t do my calling anymore.
We had just been through a horrible newborn stage at home. PPD, torturous sleep deprivation, health and employment challenges—I still can’t quite comprehend how anyone decides to have a second child (my mom called our son’s sleep challenges “legendary”). In the midst of our struggles my wife and I had practically begged the bishop for financial and emotional help and were met with nothing more than a bunch of red tape that our sleep-deprived brains couldn’t deal with and a bishopric visit that was nauseatingly tone-deaf (They actually told us, “It only gets harder from here.” Thanks, priesthood mantle. Truly inspired /s). That was the final straw for my wife on a camel’s load of straws including polygamy and racism and the whole 9 yards.
She and I have spent a lot of time and tears unpacking the priesthood and motherhood expectations we absorbed. Our relationship instantly improved upon leaving the church together but we both still struggle with feelings of shame that bubble up from deep wells of church conditioning. The church’s rhetoric on gender roles is truly toxic.
It took me a while to back up far enough to see the big picture but once you see it you can’t unsee it:
The sexist priesthood ban is every bit as shameful as the racist priesthood ban and the fact that we aren’t met, as a church, with more scorn, disdain, and ridicule over it is an indictment of the sexism of our larger society. The church deserves to be canceled over this one issue alone.
Many of the LDS “revelations” that we are familiar with are the answers to questions…or because someone was agitated about something (Emma Smith and Word of Wisdom for example). So when GBH says in 1997 that there’s no agitation for women to have the priesthood, I guess we understand why they haven’t asked.
But in 2023, many members want to understand (1) why women can’t have the priesthood (2) the nature of Heavenly Mother (3) why we have different races (4) the future for LGBTQ among us. Maybe it’s time to ask Bretheren. It’s not 1997 it’s 2023.
These are all good points. Another issue that does not get addressed regarding mothers is that some mothers are not good mothers.
Priesthood isn’t given to all men. It’s given to worthy LDS men who are willing to go in for an interview where they talk about preparing to hold the priesthood and go through a list of questions to make sure they are worthy to hold the priesthood. There is no such threshold for women. Motherhood has nothing to do with worthiness, and you don’t even have to ask to be a mother. In fact, unless you file a police report about the impregnation process, you can even become a mother against your will. (Referring to the fact that Utah’s rape exception to abortion is conditioned on filing a police report about the rape.)
Church leaders have never even tried to address why some women who shouldn’t be around children are able to have children, while other women who would be good mothers remain childless. I really want to read a sci-fi novel with the premise that reproduction has to be entirely voluntary. Many studies have shown that if you give women access to birth control and options to motherhood, they have fewer children. What would the population look like if men and women were equal in reproductive choices? The Brethren aren’t interested in that question, but I think it’s an interesting topic. Imagine how tiny the world population would be if only worthy LDS women could become mothers, in the same way that only worthy LDS men can become priesthood holders.
Paraphrasing George Orwell, men and women are created equal, but some are more equal than others. Nothing to see here folk.
I’ve frequently heard the push-back response expressed against husbands and fathers who leave the church: “Who is going to give priesthood blessings?” 1) So God is going to not hear at best and punish at worst a woman for giving a blessing to her children? 2) What about a single mother? Should we call upon a man to go live in that household just so that she can have easy access to blessings that she is forbidden from giving because of her gender? 3) Priesthood blessings have no observable effects on blessees. If that were the case, we would see recovery rates throughout Utah hospitals go through the roof.
The only equivalency between motherhood and priesthood is that both words end with “hood.” And my active work of motherhood did not drastically drop off once the kiddo was off to school, it just changed. I am a widow, inching towards 75 yrs. My daughter is mid-forties. She is permanently disabled and unable to support herself financially. I have the daily work of contributing financially and physically towards her sustenance while simultaneously protecting myself from falling into financial risk and poor health –a fine line, indeed. She has two near-teenagers, one who has an encyclopedia of medical and emotional disorders. She spends her precious energy navigating the byzantine “welfare” system, and I spend much of my time being a second mother to them. I love them and it is exhausting. For some the active stage of motherhood: Never. Ends. Ever.
“There is ‘no agitation’ for women to hold the priesthood, according to President Hinckley.” Really? Then what was Ordain Women Now about? That statement rings as false today as it did then. The conference talks we’ve heard in the past few years, especially in the now-defunct Women’s Session, seem to indicate that top leadership is aware that many women are no longer accepting this aspect of sexism in the Church. If no one at the top has taken this issue to God in serious apostlehood/prophethood, pleading for the priesthood to be extended to all worthy female members, it isn’t because there is “no agitation” for it. But there sure would need to be a ton of changes, including new emphasis on the heavy role of being a father, help mete for the mother, especially if she is off to a leadership meeting as Stake President.
I want to point out that in church history women gave blessings of healing regularly. In fact there were specific rooms in the temple where pregnant women could receive blessings from other women in preparation for the birth. At no time did the church leadership rescind women’s right to give blessings. It happened in the early 1900s about the same time as correlation when it came to be seen as preferred to call the elders, rather than the sisters, when a blessing was needed. There was a shift in the culture about that time and women were primary drivers of the idea that men should step up and carry these areas of leadership and women doing these things became unfashionable
I have some random thoughts—
First, this isn’t just about motherhood, but any discussion of any topic about women/church is going to end up centered on mother-ish stuff, because of the relentless focus by the men in charge. They are accountable for this, but it’s understandable why they don’t have much grasp of any of it. They aren’t supposed to ask women the hard questions, and less still aren’t supposed to listen to and take direction from the women. They’re still accountable and capable of fixing it all the same.
Second, the primary guideline regarding understanding motherhood is that it’s not a role, not a job, but a relationship. Someone who’s brilliant said upthread that there’s very little to parenting that can’t be done by both parents once gestation and lactation are wrapped up. It’s simply not just for women to do this job or fill this role, it’s for parents both, as equally as possible.
And thank you LHCA for pointing out that the claim that women don’t agitate for equal leadership opportunities has been settled, at a dear cost, by Ordain Women and others.
And last, lws329, thanks for the reminder that it was common for women to give blessings of healing and comfort as taught to them by Joseph Smith and encouraged by Brigham Young. It became a well-established practice until it was gradually done away with over a period of years, and during the rise of correlation has been erased from church history so thoroughly that most members are surprised to learn of it.
Also, I am a mom with young kids. It is not the most interesting thing about me. It is not the thing I do best (and how). It is not the thing I want to be celebrated for. But it is hard work that ought to be recognized all 365 days of the year with policies and a culture that supports the people who do this work. Anyhoo…
My daughter told me today that she’s really excited to maybe be a bishop one day. She has all kinds of ideas for how to make church great and help everyone, she says. She is eight, and I’m sure I had this conversation with her before when she was even younger, but somehow it only really sank in today that, as things are, she can’t be bishop ever. Because she is a girl. It was absolutely unthinkable to her. “Wait. What?! WHY???”
The thing is, she wasn’t even angry. She seemed truly worried about the mental stability and wellbeing of anybody who’d make or enforce a policy like that.
Last week my 45 year old daughter got a phone call from the Queensland fire service asking if she could go to Canada to fight forest fires for 40 days. As I understand it in north America the people who fight forest fires are professionals (paid). In Australia they are volunteers, but are trained to the same standard as Canada. Both men and women meet the same fitness and training standard. The fitness standard is that while carrying 50 pounds they walk 5 miles in 43 minutes. She is second in command of her fire brigade station, which also deals with traffic accidents. On previous developments she has been put in charge of 6 fire trucks each with a crew of 4, and also a water bombing aircraft and told to get a flank of the fire under control, and save the houses in its path.
Her full time job is as a federal police officer, equivalent to FBI. Her specially is bomb apopraisal and disposal.
At church she is respected by the women but because she works shifts she has no calling.
I don’t think she has ever been on a 2 person date, as opposed to groups.
She loves children and is aunti to some.
The fire service respect her enough to give her responsibility, and ask her to go to Canada. The Church do not.
Margie, I have a childhood memory of coming home from church one Sunday and making a pulpit out of the piano bench and the scriptures open, and I was reading aloud. One of the adults (maybe my dad?) asked what was my theater and I proudly replied “I’m going to be the first lady bishop!” My clearest memory of this incident is the scorn in the laughter of several people, and the shame I felt replace the innocent ambition. I was seven or eight.
And I totally agree with your assessment of the hard work, that goes unsupported, and the worthlessness of being pedestaled for that. The way mothers’ needs are neglected and ignored by people in power is an abomination.
Anna, your comment resonated with me so deeply. Thank you for sharing. I’m a mom in the thick of that daily physical load and it seems we’re bombarded often with comments like “enjoy every moment now because they’ll grow up and you’ll be irrelevant.” I love hearing experiences from mothers in different times. Additionally, I completely agree with you. I hate being a woman in the church and don’t like being a mother in the church as well.
Margie, my heart aches for your little future bishop.
The comparison between motherhood and priesthood and its root of gender inequality is the biggest issue for me in the church. As stated by Kirstall’s fabulous comment, it cannot be unseen and also cannot be ignored. It’s everywhere from the physical layout of our meetings to the male only pronouns in the hymns we sing. Worse yet are the mental gymnastics required for apologists to “make it right.” It’s offensive and needs to stop.
I just want to echo LHCA and MDearest on Gordon B. Hinckley’s infamous “no agitation” line. What he should have said, to be complete, is “There’s no agitation for that in the Church, because when people do it, we excommunicate them.”
Also, if you haven’t seen this yet (Negotiating Away Women’s Authority in Christianity), you should watch it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGoxg1OmpHI&t=49s
Dan McClellan’s work on TikTok, youtube, and now his podcast Data Over Dogma with Daniel Beecher are fantastic and incredibly relevant.
The church deals with the unequal gender roles that it has assigned to men and women by putting mothers on a pedestal. If you point out that not all women are mothers, they come up with convoluted language to suggest that all women still deserve to be on the mother pedestal. If you suggest that men and women still aren’t really treated equally, they make the pedestal taller. The non-mothers still feel awkward about being included on the pedestal, and the pedestal has now been built so impossibly tall that women who are mothers feel they can’t possibly live up to it, so many women go home from church on Mothers’ day feeling miserable in their own unique way.
Margie, you story about your daughter is the reason I blog. Getting to hear stories like this about the next generation that is going to make great changes in the Church and the world makes my day!
So many things to say about this. One thing I’ve heard many times, that is even more absurd if the church believes motherhood and priesthood are separate, is that mothers partner with Heavenly Father to give bodies to spirit children. Knowing we have a Heavenly Mother, let that sink in. So even motherhood ultimately has to be connected to a male God’s creation, plan, and priesthood to give it legitimacy. Of course if the Mormon leadership truly believed motherhood was the highest and holiest call, truly believed that mothers are responsible for the nurture of their children, then Mormons would worship and pray to our Heavenly Mother. She would be the one nurturing us, instructing us, and leading us in our mortal journeys. Heavenly Father would be on the periphery. I also think it’s funny Mormons claim to live the 10 commandments but ignore Jesus’ “honor your father and your mother.” Jesus never restricted this commandment to earthly mothers. The LDS church has been breaking this commandment for decades. You cant honor someone whose existence you tolerate and barely acknowledge. And the church doesn’t even follow this for earthly mothers anyway. Hypocrisy and lip service is no way to honor mothers.
I 100% agree motherhood in Mormonism is way more fraught than in other Christian religions. To be a Christian, is to be a disciple. It’s gender neutral. The actions of disciples are about faith, not about office or special male privileges. But instead the church has put up two different discipleship paths for men and women and ultimately to different unequal exaltation.
“The sexist priesthood ban is every bit as shameful as the racist priesthood ban and the fact that we aren’t met, as a church, with more scorn, disdain, and ridicule over it is an indictment of the sexism of our larger society. The church deserves to be canceled over this one issue alone.” Thank you, thank you. This should be said over and over again. Misogyny and sexism always somehow get a pass because they have existed from the beginning and are somehow seen as natural inevitable outcomes of poor man’s fallen nature. I guess we can forget about the natural man being an enemy to God. Heaven forbid we don’t make the men feel special with exclusionary doctrine that treats women like subhumans.
Geoff-Aus as a resident of the province on fire please send my thanks to your daughter
Mary, you write that “mothers partner with Heavenly Father to give bodies to spirit children.” A lot of Latter-day Saints might believe this, but it isn’t a recognized doctrine of our Church, and the scriptures are positively silent on it. And I am aware of no revelation on it. Even talking about heavenly parents goes beyond what is necessary to believe. I don’t have a problem with heavenly parents per se, but we know nothing about how spirit children come into existence. We might guess a procreative act, but I am not sure that heavenly biology mirrors earthly biology. It might, but it might not (we’re told that we won’t have blood in resurrected bodies, and I don’t know if we’ll eat/drink and pass waste material. If we publicly teach about Heavenly Mothers, then we open to door to discussing how many: are there four to represent the four major races groups? or are there many, many more? Are some more righteous than others? It all becomes fair game, and we’d would all be talking about something where we know positively nothing. Salvation is available equally to male and female, black and white, bond and free, and we know that we can become joint heirs with Christ to all that the Father has. That is a glorious future, and those promises are sure. I agree that comparing motherhood for women to priesthood for men is positively hurtful and unwise, and completely unnecessary, and I wish that men in leadership positions wouldn’t talk about things where they are perfectly ignorant.
I maybe wasn’t clear enough in that comment. I’m talking about how mothers today are told that their role is important because they help fulfill Heavenly Father’s grand design by giving bodies to his spirit children, not eternal polygamy. Rather than natural comparison of earthly mothers to Heavenly Mother, women are likened to Heavenly Father. But this OP is all about harmful results from knowledge/revelation gaps in doctrine. The Heavenly Mother gap is a hugely harmful gaping hole. It makes no sense to tell women they can become like a male God and then proscribe eternal gender roles that limit women’s exaltation. I say limit because there is no indication women will be able to use their talents or develop their potential like men do in the eternities. Right now women can’t inherit what the Father has because they can’t even be queens and priestesses to him or exercise his priesthood. A priesthood that we’re told created the world. If eternal polygamy is real, then women also won’t be able inherit a loving eternal marriage relationship based on fidelity.
Words reported by the Salt Lake Tribune from President Dallin Oaks to a global gathering of young single adults last night:
“For many years, the church has counseled our youth not to date before age 16. Perhaps some young adults, especially men, have carried that wise counsel to excess and determined not to date before 26 or maybe even 30”. He told the young adults that “marriage is central to the purpose of mortal life and what follows.” Delaying childbearing “means fewer children born to grow up with the blessings of the gospel.” He continued that young couples should not postpone their families due to finances. “Our concern includes the causes, such as the shortage of homes young marrieds can afford to buy and the growing amounts of student debt,” still recommending that such families go “forward with faith, and do the best they can in housing circumstances less favorable than I or your grandparents encountered in our early years. And especially to minimize student debt.”
The LDS church’s understanding gaps are not limited to gender. President Oaks’ lip service to challenges facing our new adults fall very short. His counsel demonstrates that patriarchy also harms men.
The affordability crisis has been steady for decades. I have ysa children, and older yma children. Housing unaffordability increased severely for my younger children than for my older children. That’s less than a decade.
Similarly, he only comments on those who may be able to purchase a home. Does he have any clue about exorbitant rent rates in Salt Lake City and beyond?
He shared a letter from a 16yo member who requested more talks from church leaders about what the letter author considered a line being crossed regarding the increasing sexual identity among their peers. Pres. Oaks said, regarding transgender members, “affected persons and family members should therefore take the long view and seek to rely and act on eternal principles”. He counsels a goal of “trying to live both of these commandments [love and law] in a more complete way.” He reiterates the church’s position on LGBTQ members that being attracted to a person of the same sex is not a sin, only acting on it is, while reminding church members to treat individuals with gender identity challenges with live and dignity.
There’s still an LGBTQ understanding gap, as well.
My kind of more-on-track response to this OP:
I want women to have the priesthood. Personally I am no more interested in holding the priesthood than I am in doing my taxes.
Off track, I cringe when I imagine the audience laughter to the “funny” dating quip from President Oaks.
Sister Kristen Oaks’ comment, “…When I was single, I always looked for opportunities to serve. Now, every night at dinner, my service project is sitting directly across from me.” is interesting.
Mary, I sympathize with you. We’ve done a lot of bad teaching. For decades, we taught all kinds of reasons why Blacks couldn’t have the priesthood or temple blessings, and all of those reasons were wrong. Yet leaders, including apostles and prophets, taught them from our pulpits and in their books, and they were wrong. What awaits us? Paul tells us somewhere that God has prepared a future for us more wonderful and glorious beyond anything that we can imagine. I can imagine polygamy, and I can imagine heavenly sex, and I can imagine women being subordinated to their husbands. Maybe the future is more glorious than any or all of that. Maybe we limit our vision of the future when we think of it as something like unto what we know. Will women in the eternities be subjugated to unrighteous, arrogant, proud, and ignorant husbands? I don’t think so. I don’t know what the future will be like, but I have faith that it will defy all description, and I am confident that we will all be happy there, particularly those who believe and have faith in Christ. I wouldn’t worry about being wife number 129 out of 854 all sealed to one man. You’re also looking to inherit a loving eternal marriage relationship based on fidelity, but what kind of fidelity? I’m not sure that sex occurs as we know it, because if we don’t have blood, then men won’t be able to have erections as we know them. I am not trying to be gross, but I do think that we should listen to Christ’s and to Paul’s promises, for I think that these are certain, and they are beyond my ability to comprehend. I don’t want heaven to be like anything that I can imagine, for I imagine too small. I ignore people who tell me what life will be like in heaven, or in the highest degrees, because they simply do not have the words or capability to describe, and I am confident that it will wonderful beyond all mortal ability to describe it. If my wife and I can be joint heirs with Christ, to inherit all that the Father has, then I think that we will both be supremely happy.
Georgis, if you think men and women receive the same exaltation, then you don’t understand the temple ceremony. They have confused the issue with changes, starting when the ceremony was changed the first time sometime after the death of Brigham Young, then again in 1990, and again in 2019, but women will be priestesses to our husband/God and we will be that God’s servant/wife. We are not priestesses to our Heavenly Father, who stops being our Lord and God. We become priestesses to our husband and subject to him and he becomes our Lord. This is why men take their wives through the veil in the temple, with the knocker still addressing the person on the other side of the veil as “lord”. The husband becomes his wive’s lord. Not at all equal when my husband becomes my God. Check out the old versions of the endowment and some of Brigham’s comments if you don’t believe me.
I don’t believe all the harmful doctrine myself. But the point is it needs to be corrected. I agree that humans can’t properly conceptualize heaven or eternal happiness. I believe you are sincere in your sympathy and well-intentioned. Thank you for that.
But the specifics that have been taught do not paint an equal or joyful experience for women. You can’t ask women to simultaneously trust in God’s promises in the scriptures and to trust in modern prophets/the temple ceremony, which gives contradictory views. What are women supposed to be believe about themselves or they destinies? I belive that all are alike unto God, but the church leadership doesn’t which is why they insist on a patriarchal structure. Per Anna’s point, even with recent changes, men are told they will preside over their wives for eternity in the sealing now. If church leaders truly intended on equality with the changes, they wouldn’t try to codify male leadership in a new way in the sealing. All they did was try to soften the blow and disguise an ugly doctrine. If sealings were just about making earthly marriages eternal, then it wouldn’t matter if living women were sealed to multiple men they had been married to. But it does to the church. Because if a woman is sealed to multiple men, which husband presides over her?
My point is telling women to have faith does not solve these issues. In the church, men = priesthood = potential. Women only equal anything if they are inserted into a patriarchal structure. Like I said above, even motherhood, an awesome uniquely female power, is only valued in its service to the patriarchal structure and its comparison to a male God’s work. Because men are not the default human being, a male God is not the default God. There is no reason for female divinity to be cloaked in an incomprehensible hushed mystery, while male divinity is openly worshipped and lauded.
Anna and Mary, the brethren misspoke when they explained, over many decades, why Black men could not hold the priesthood and why Blacks in general could not receive temple blessings. We know now that they misspoke, and we eschew all the explanations that they taught from our pulpits and printed in their books. My trust is in God, and not in men. Do we think that Heavenly Mother, or Heavenly Mothers, are kept pregnant, barefoot, and in the heavenly kitchen? I think that they are supremely happy. What does it mean when we assume/teach that our Heavenly Father “presides” over His family, with one or more wives? I think that women today have a hard time imagining what is means to fully and wholly love a husband and to be fully and wholly loved by him, and therefore the prospect of eternal marriage scares us. Men also err, because they think that they will be dictators and women to do what they ask, like some heavenly harem. I think that both of these images are wrong and do injustice. While I cannot explain it, I think that heaven will be more just, more wonderful, more beautiful, and more fair than anything that we can imagine. And for that reason I won’t do like Job’s wife asked her husband to do, and curse God and die.
I am fully faithful, I understand the endowment quite well (at least I think that I do), and I don’t foresee a celestial kingdom where male gods oppress female goddesses. Indeed, I foresee pure partnership, pure oneness the likes of which I cannot imagine in mortality. So I keep my faith even when I cannot understand, just as Abraham kept the faith when he didn’t understand why he was taking Isaac for a little trip, or as Mary saw her son crucified and buried and couldn’t understand how this could happen when she knew too well what the angel told her 33 years previously, or as Black members kept the faith when they were told all kinds of wrong reasons about why they couldn’t receive the priesthood or go to the temple, or as Jews performed those sacrifices for generations, although those sacrifices could not save. I am an adult convert, and I have a mighty ability to believe, maybe even a gift.
I believe enough that I do not need to have everything explained to me by the Q15 and 70s and local authorities, because I can read the scriptures for myself, and the Spirit testifies to me. How can the leaders err? I do like the Bereans did when Paul came through and taught the gospel: after each day’s preaching, they went back to their homes and compared what Paul had taught against the scriptures, to see if Paul had taught correctly. Luke gives them praise for this wise practice. I read the scriptures. Try D&C 88:51-61, parable of the man sending his servants into the field and visiting them in turn. Joseph was the prophet of this dispensation, and he labored in the field, and in his hour the land owner came unto him, and Joseph beheld the joy of the owner’s countenance. This is a modern parable for our dispensation. Maybe the land owner (God?) is perhaps now visiting others (I don’t know where or how this is done). Joseph’s successors in office do the best that they can, and we sustain them, and they sometimes err. But they sit in the modern version of Moses’ seat, and we know what the Lord told His disciples about their duty to those who sat in Moses’ seat in Jesus’ day. So I sustain them. But I also know that church leaders are men who can err, and perhaps I brought this learning with me when I was baptised, because in Utah and Mormon-land this teaching is unknown: we speak against infallibility, but we absolutely teach, preach, and cling to infallibility, although we say that we don’t. I do not believe in infallibility, so I am not worried when leaders teach wrong things about things that don’t matter. And our eternal destiny, and the particularities of it, really don’t matter: what matters is Christ born, lived a perfect life, gave His life for mankind, crucified, dead, buried, and risen from the grave, priesthood keys given to His apostles, the gospel with priesthood keys restored in our time, and salvation by faith–a faith that produces good works, but not salvation based on our good works. There are many truths, but very few truths that we must believe.
I think that women and men who are faithful and true will inherit a glory that we cannot describe, and that will leave no room for complaining. I want to be faithful when I do not know, and I want to be faithful when I have not seen. Maybe that is simplistic or even naïve, but we told to believe as children, and maybe a little naïveté is a good thing. Maybe. I am travelling for the next couple of weeks with little to no internet access, so I won’t be around, but I thank the good people here for a stimulating discussion.
George’s, I believe God too, which is why I know that the leaders of this church are false prophets. Simple, they are too wrong, too often, on too many things. I’m good with that. I know that any God worth worshipping loves his daughter as much as he does his sons, and I believe in the priesthood of all believers, because that is what I find in the Bible. As far as polygamy, the Bible says the two shall be one, and that isn’t the 37 will be one. Two, one man and one woman, or even two women or two men, but not a conglomeration.
I probably more excepting of polygamy than most women, but you have to admit that “I wouldn’t worry about being wife number 129 out of 854 all sealed to one man.” is probably the most ridiculous thing that has been said all day. Georgias: Would it bother you to be 129/854 men all sealed to your wife?