Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shhh!

We talk often and refer to the scriptures and places within our doctrine to attest to the fact that we admire, revere, and respect women. What of doctrine and scripture that says otherwise? I want to explore this today - there's just too much that makes me feel like crap.

First, the good stuff.

1. The following is paraphrased: "Woman was made from Adam's rib - not from his head to infer she should be at his head; not from his feet to infer she should be at his feet, but from his side to imply they are equal."

I liked this a lot when I first heard it. Still do.

2. We are often told about the Relief Society being the largest women's organization in the world, how it is headed by women.

The deal with the Relief Society is that it is ultimately headed by the Priesthood. The guys. Even the General Relief Society Presidency has to get approval from the Prophet. This goes for any of the organizations within the church, sure, but to say we head something is...somewhat misleading. The General RS Presidency is given loads of authority, but in the end they aren't the end-all-be-all.

3. Women don't hold the priesthood - they give life.

This seems more an effort to placate than anything else. It seems to infer that motherhood is equal to the priesthood. Not "fatherhood" - Priesthood. Beyond that, though, what of those faithful women who are infertile or never give birth due to lack of opportunity to marry? Every faithful man can hold the priesthood.

4. We have a Heavenly Mother, but we assume she is rarely spoken of only because Heavenly Father wants us to keep hush-hush about her for she is woman, she is sacred.

Eh. Sounds a little condescending, but whatever. Personally, as logic would insist that I am a woman who would then be "Heavenly Mother's" daughter, I'd like to know more about her. Yet, I am taught to be more like Heavenly Father and Christ. Not that I have issue necessarily with that, but does anyone else see the slight discrepancy here? Gender roles, people!

We often allude to family life on Earth being parallel to that of our relationship with God, our Heavenly Father. If we are so adamant about children on Earth having a parent of their same gender as well as that of the opposite, why don't we talk more about Heavenly Mother so their sons and daughters have something with which to learn from?

I don't mean to blaspheme - this is sincere.

5. The men of our church are among the most chivalrous because of the teachings of the Church stating that women are to be revered - I can attest to this one. It's fabulous. I've always appreciated this teaching of manners and...well, most girls I know like a man deferring to her in this way.

I love this. Women take care of their men, men take care of their women. Yay!

And on and on and on. But what about this:

- Women perform priesthood ordinances in the temple. I imagine this is a matter of modesty for the other women, especially given past intiatory methods, but this doesn't hold now.

- 1 Timothy 2:11: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not decieved, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding, she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."

My head spins and my stomach lurches every time I read that. Our second article of faith states that we are responsible for our own sins, and not for Adam's transgression. Is it mere convenience, then, that we don't mention we're not responsible for Eve's transgression? This scripture here states that Adam didn't transgress - the temple teaches us the same. Eve listened to the serpent, took the fruit, and ate it. We teach she heard the truth in the serpent's lie, that without knowing the evil we cannot know the good.

That much, needing opposition in all things, is true.

But it all just makes my head hurt. And no, there really is no Joseph Smith Translation to this bit of scripture other than "Notwithstanding they shall be saved in childbearing" which lends question again to infertile couples. And all this stuff about women having to be silent and in subjection because of Eve goes against what our church says.

Trust me, I like what we say lots more - but our actions speak against this at times, that men teach us and not necessarily the other way around. We answer to them ultimately.

Then there's Titus 2:2-6:

"That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things."

(so far so good)

"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

I'm fine until we get to that last bit: Obedient to their own husbands that the word of God be not blasphemed.

*screeeech*

This whole idea of obedience to the man of the house drives me up the wall. Those of protestant and evangelical churches also teach this: be in subjection to your husband. We teach it in the temple.

I can't stop scratching my head.

So we're not paying for what Adam did - just what Eve did? And because Adam was made first and insisted on listening to God's commandment to not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that makes us immediately inferior? *twirls hair*

The Bible was written by men for men at the time. To my knowledge, this is back when women weren't educated. They didn't know how to read. If they knew anything, it was because their husbands taught them. That offers a little context, but we don't teach this, we don't talk about this. I haven't heard it, at least.

In my scripture notes, I have 1 Timothy 2:11 marked, the word "authority" underlined with the words "priesthood authority" and "silence" attributed to "tranquility and quietness." I also have the words "Father --> Husband --> Wife" written.

What is up with this?

We've been talking a lot about separate but equal with the whole gay marriage thing, but the same applies here. Women and men are separate in their roles but equal. Eh, I can see it I guess. Men hunt, women nest. There is a lot of biology there - but neither is inferior. Why do we insist on perpetuating this? We say we don't, but we do.

Why don't we teach about the prophetesses of the Old Testament (Huldah)? Of the New? (Anna).

In researching prophetesses, I came upon Miriam (referred to as a prophetess in Exodus 15:20) and an interesting and somewhat unnerving piece of OT Scripture in Numbers chapter 12. To avoid typing out sixteen verses, I'll just give you the summary.

Aaron and Miriam are a little miffed at their brother Moses and speak out against him: "And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it." (v.2) God calls the three of them out and declares Moses the main, relevant prophet.

"With him I will speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" (v. 8)

God then strikes Miriam with leprosy. Aaron was left untouched, though he, too, took part in the "murmuring."

What the hell is going on here?

Then there's the prophetess Huldah. I'd never heard of her before today. In the interest of space, I'll just refer you to 2 Kings 22:14-17.

Yes, we can say we allow for women to have revelation for themselves and the things/organizations they care for, such as the Young Women, Primary, or Relief Society. However, the structure of the Church states that if a governing Priesthood body (either of the ward, stake or general church) received revelation otherwise, than it trumps what the women say. It's a system of checks and balances. We're all taught this. But Huldah was a prophetess, speaking for God. It's right there.

Perhaps prophetesses are not mentioned very often, though I'm glad they're mentioned at all. I'd just like to know more about it out of curiosity.

Yet we go off on feminists, how they're destroying very cozy and tidy gender roles. Damn them! But how can we ignore these scriptures? How can we ignore doctrine and that which goes on? Why do men and women sit separate in the temple? Why the veils? WHY.

And don't you dare tell me it's because we're somehow more holy or something. The more I hear about our inherent holiness the more condescended to I feel. The more we insist there is no distinction is to bring more attention to the actual distinction, if that makes sense.

I have a hard time believing my God would make me inferior to men, and this makes the Bible and scripture sometimes incredibly difficult to read. I am His daughter. I am to feel loved and in peace. Like I matter. Sometimes I don't feel like I really do. Want to know why?

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (1 Corinthians 14:33-35)

This is still taught, it's just quiet and subtle. We still learn of our husbands. No longer at home, and women are now able to speak in the church (is it true that up until recently women didn't give talks in church? Anyone?), but our authority is rather limited - and for what reason?

I am to be taken care of just like I care for others. My husband works his butt off for his family and receives more adulation for it. Because he's worked so hard, I've had to as well. Three young, young children. I've made sure he got the classes he needed. Helped him type his papers because he's a poke of a typist. I've sacrificed for this traditional family stuff, and I don't mind doing it because I love our family and I do believe it's best for my kids to have someone at home with them.

But the conversation when we go out as it pertains to me is relegated to "How are the kids? How's the hubby?" and less about what I think and what I do beyond changing nasty diapers and reveling in that which is my kids and Eric. I love all four of them - but aren't I something deeper than this? Is this service of which I am taught to only do as a consequence of Eve?

Scripture would tell us yes. The Church would say no - but as my scriptural notes attest we are still rationalizing, still insisting that the Priesthood trumps all, and as men hold the priesthood and not women (except for the temple), I am somehow inferior.

In this way there is no separate but equal. We can pay lip service to such bullshit, but our actions speak louder than that.

I have felt respected in our church, but enough times I've also felt very much like I don't matter. I am not the only one, and so we need to address this rather than dismiss it as silly feminism that seeks to destroy the basic foundation of God's plan. That just adds salt to an already open wound.

27 comments:

Amanda said...

I just read the part of Genesis about the forbidden fruit. What struck me is that Adam seems MORE culpable than Eve in that situation. Eve first objects to the serpent's words, and then is deceived. She hands the fruit to Adam, who doesn't even bother to object. He just eats. He doesn't go through a "Oh, I have to because i need to stay with Eve," he doesn't argue with her or reprimand her, he simply takes the fruit and eats it. No persuasion needed. Frankly, I think that's worse than getting deceived. And I'm think it's odd that we've built up this whole backstory about Adam's feeling in that section, because it's literally two sentences long.

Unless there's something else I haven't read coming up. I'm only through Ch. 12 of the Old Testament at this point. Maybe more light gets shed on this later. At this point though, I'm not really understanding.

Then again, those chapters contradict themselves, because at first they say God created man and woman at the same time, and only later do they go back and talk about the rib stuff.

Grégoire said...

Yet we go off on feminists, how they're destroying very cozy and tidy gender roles. Damn them!

Feminists exploded the phony gender roles which were created after World War II, in an effort to give Rosie the Riveter more time for mass consumption. The 'traditional family' was never traditional. Women have always worked, except for at that one certain time and place. It was, and is, an unnatural, wasteful and un-democratic ideal. It was also the very pinnacle of Judaeo-Christian philosophy and it's ironic to note that thousands of years of patriarchial religious pipe-dreams came true in Secular America.

Had I embraced Mormonism in the way my father and grandfathers did, I wouldn't know my own children today.

illogically logical said...

Personally, those scriptures don't offend me. I go with my feelings and how I've been treated within the church. I'm a person who thinks that equality doesn't truly exist. Men and women are different. Emotionally, anatomically, physically........We weren't meant to be the same, to be just alike. Men and Women are both equally strong, in different ways. I think that's beautiful.

My husband is the priesthood holder, but we make decisions together. I put a lot of value in his words becuase he is the priesthood holder, and he puts an equal amount of trust in my words because I am the wife, mother, and more in touch with all the things related to our life as a family.

I think when people are first getting to know one another, the conversation between women starts with talking about the kids because that is what we're the most comfortable with. And we know it's a generally common thing between women. I don't feel like that is the only thing that people talk to me about. I always have stimilating conversations with people all the time that have nothing to do with mothering/parenting/kids. I take the most pride in being a mother, but I know that I have so much more to offer. I don't feel put down. I feel like I'm in a perfect place to express myself and explore things that I'm good at. My husband, my priesthood holder is always supportive and encouraging. He never puts me down and makes me feel like I'm going beyond my "calling" as a mother.

I won't deny that those Old Testament scriptures come across as offensive to women. But instead of getting mad about it I remember that God has purpose in everything. I may not understand everything, but I have faith that my place in this whole plan is important and no scriptural reference is going to change that. I don't find gender roles/differences offensive. There is purpose in our differences. I think if you want to feel oppressed, you can always find ways that you're oppressed. If you want to feel valued and empowered, you can always find those things. It's all about attitude and perception.

I'm sure other commentors won't agree with my words. I'm not debating or trying to change opinions, I'm just stating my feelings and my attitude on the subject.

Lisa said...

Amanda: All interesting stuff, and all (ok, most) i've thought about as well.

I'll have to go check too, just to see myself. Contradictions...yeah.

Gregoire: Your last sentence is really very saddening. Not that you know your children, but that there was or can be a time when fathers are away from the home.

I always wonder about that when it comes to the time when fathers were called on missions that lasted years. I get it, and yet I don't.

Illogical: I'm glad you feel that way. I did too for a long time, but various experiences over the last few years have left me bereft. I'm really glad there are women out there who feel just fine, thankyouverymuch. My point is that there are women out there who don't, and their emotions and perceptions are valid, too. :)

They deserve more discussion.

And when I'm talking about discussing only children, I'm also speaking about those I've known for years. I definitely see the merit in your point, you have to consider other variables - but so far, it's the kids and my husband, even with those I've known a while. I'm just there making sure they get through life okay. Of course my husband doesn't agree, but it is the feeling I get from those I speak with.

Grégoire said...

Gregoire: Your last sentence is really very saddening. Not that you know your children, but that there was or can be a time when fathers are away from the home.

I always wonder about that when it comes to the time when fathers were called on missions that lasted years. I get it, and yet I don't.


Don't you remember those old movies, where the dad was forced to smoke outside the delivery room? Children are seen and not heard? etc. etc.

Modern Mormonism crystallized during the David O McKay years (before we both were born). That was the time of Better Living Through Chemistry, Father Knows Best and Leave It To Beaver.

Repressive desublimation, a fancy term for channeling the love of people for others into the desire for consumer goods, was high on the agenda back then. Part of the way this was accomplished was to weaken the family structure. Suddenly, mom didn't go out in the fields or into the factory with dad any more. She stayed inside, and constantly redecorated.

It's a little unfair to put all the blame on the doorsteps of Mormonism for this, as Mormonism is only a cultural fossil from the conformist 1950s and 1960s.

The Impossible K said...

Re: Amanda's comment -
I actually wrote a paper on this in college, in response to "Eve's Apology" by Amelia Lanyer. I've been told the temple account is most accurate, and though I probably shouldn't divulge specific details, it refutes this idea that Adam didn't need persuasion either. In my essay, however, I flipped this notion of deception somehow being the greater evil. Really, which is worse- to be deceived in innocence, or to knowingly sin? So then, wouldn't Adam, seeing the consequence of partaking, be more culpable?

#3 does seem like an unfair consolation for faithful, childless women. You make a great point here.

#4 ... hmmm... yes, I have a hard time understanding how we can argue that "traditional" families (i.e.- heterosexual) are better because children need a mother and father as role models, yet the same doesn't quite apply in our current (lack of) knowledge about our Heavenly Mother. Hmmm... what's up with that?!

Amanda said...

Impossible K - no need to give out particulars. I've been through the temple enough times to know what you mean. It was actually the temple version of events that I took issue with in my previous comment, because there's a lot of backstory there that simply doesn't exist at least in these chapters of Genesis. I'm currently reading through the Bible for the first time (I've read through the BoM twice, but never the Bible) and blogging my thoughts about it from a secular pov. I was very surprised there was not more in Genesis about Adam and Eve as it seems to be crucial in both religions I've been part of (LDS and Catholicism).

Natalie said...

Hum. I hate this issue.

Because I don't have answers. Still holding out for that revelation, I suppose.

But one thing that I want to point out is that Paul was political. Yes, he was an Apostle, but he was very political. He commanded women to obey their husbands, AND slaves to obey their masters. I think its obvious that not all of his views about social relationships are valid today. In many ways, I think he is like some of our latter-day leaders that have led the push towards conservativism in the church.

But it is crucial to read the words and works of Christ himself with respect to women. I think it is unapologetically clear that Christ respected women and gave them importance in his ministry. The first person to know the Messiah was coming was a woman (Mary). The first person to whom Christ personally revealed himself as the Messiah was a woman (the woman at the well). The first person to see the resurrected Lord was a woman (Mary Magdalene).

To be honest, though, I was pretty..... hurt and confused.... after going through the temple, in large part because of the role women play there. I haven't been back since my first trip because I guess maybe I wasn't "ready", but I felt devalued and distinctly uncomfortable. Then I found out that what I got was actually a super-toned down version of what it used to be.

But there is no way I can deny my testimony of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, or the Book of Mormon. I know those things are true. So there has to be some way to sort out the other bits.

:(

Like I said.... I've got nothin'.

Chedner said...

My jaw was recently clenched because of this very topic in action.

My parents are very much the strict gender role players. Pa does the providin' and protectin'; Ma does the carin' and rearin'. Pa is the head of the household, and though Ma does have a voice, Pa always gets the final say.

(Kind of as a side note, I think I'm in a rather unique situation. I don't know many people my age--25--with parents as old as mine--pa: 69, ma: 65.)

Anyway, a few days ago I was talking with my mom, and she mentioned something she would like to do. I asked, "Well, why don't you?" Her response: "Dad's in charge."

It took everything I had to refrain from making a snide comment about the beauties of strict gender roles.

I mean, this was a matter of my mom doing something that had no impact on anyone but herself--and it would have been a very positive impact--but my dad has the power to usurp that desire.

I'm not sure couples such as illogically logical realize that their relationship is not the kind of relationship once inferred within the LDS Church as the Celestial Couple. It's an evolution where the woman is given a little more say in how things are done within the family--and evolution that came to pass by people being brave enough to stand up and say, "I'm not happy or comfortable here."

Don't get me wrong, though, I'm actually a lot with illogically logical in the sense of the difference between the genders.

That is, I believe the equality of a couple mirrors that of the yin-yang philosophy where the yin is equal to the yang in that each provide an equal portion to balance out the whole.

However, where we most likely disagree is that I do not believe in the strict sexualization of yin and yang. For example, I am as nurturing in regards to children as my mother. My means of protecting my family are the same as my father--kind of the puffing up and beating of the chest mentality.

And I think this is where my beef with the issue lies. It's all rooted in "You have chromosomes XX, so you are to play this role; you have chromosomes XY, so you are to play that role."

It gets rid of the responsibility of an individual to contribute his/her uniqueness to the Celestial Oneness I picture Zion to be.

As I recently wrote in Tanka: But, 'lo I am I; you are you as I am I. Whole are you as I; you and I as whole as one, as you an eye, I a lung.

... I have more to say, but I think I'll move it to my own post...

Lisa said...

Gregoire: Good point. It would be an interesting comprehensive sort of study. Not just comprising of secular vs. Mormon family culture and how each one is influenced by the other, but of all Christendom (and if you were especially ambitious, you could get into other religions and cultures as well).

Impossible K: Welcome, and thanks for sharing your reactions. I hadn't thought of what Amanda and you have brought up regarding Eve - certainly additional food for thought.

Natalie: Sweetie, it took me so long to get to a point where I could deal with it, so don't feel bad. Maybe you'll decide it doesn't matter, maybe you'll decide it does.

Honestly, I had some instances of "Ah! Weird!" during my first trip, but I was okay for the most part. It wasn't until a few trips later where I felt a little...on the outside, so to speak.

It's a very itchy issue. I wonder how many women think about it but don't think about it. It's frightening and given other testimony building experiences, it's rather confusing to say the least.

I have a really difficult time believing God would make the patriarchy in this way...I don't know. I don't mind being different from men in my body structure, the way we think, all of that. I've seen those differences firsthand and I believe in them. In many ways, men and women complement each other both physically, emotionally, and mentally.

I think the inequality and sexism lies mostly with the emotional/mental aspect. We should be regarded as more equal or at least valid in those respects than we are.

Oh! And your points regarding Paul: excellent. Thank you. I thought something to that point as well but then wondered what the *hell* it's doing in canonized scripture. Probably due in part to those who made it canonized and the culture therein.

Chedner: Yep. And it kind of seems to seep into LDS culture too. I hate that it's true, but it seems it is. Women (or anyone below the authorized leader - be it Prophet, Seventy, Stake Pres, Bishop, RS President, etc) can have a say in something, but the presiding authority always has the last say.

"Bishop said so."

yeah.

Dan Knudsen said...

About 50 years ago, Eldred G. Smith, Church Patriarch, came to our Stake Conference. After the afternoon session, people were asking him questions, and a girl, a couple years older than I was then (I suppose she’s still a couple years older than I am now), asked Elder Smith about Eve eating the apple and all the bad said about her for doing so. He answered that Eve was inspired to eat the apple and she was right in doing so. That answered the question for me. Eve made the right choice and Adam followed after her so he wouldn’t lose Eve; otherwise, they’d still be in the Garden of Eden.

Dan Knudsen said...

Our ward switches to the early schedule in January, which has been 8:30-11:30; Sunday we were told it’s been changed to 9:00-12:00--why? Several of the sisters complained, including the bishop’s wife, and somebody up the line made the change--none of the men thought to protest, since it wouldn’t have done any good for them to have done so.

Lisa said...

Dan, I'm not unaware of the explanation behind Eve's action and Adam's reaction to follow her. I know, and I imagine most of my commenters at least (can't speak for readers I'm not aware of) also know.

The problem is when it doesn't follow through, and I think I discussed that in the entry. The scriptures speaking about women needing to be silent in the church cites Eve's actions as the reason why; also Adam being made first.

As far as women complaining to their men to get their way...enough of that. Really. I hear so much of this. Matters that small don't matter. Really. I'm talking about bigger things. The priesthood holder gets the revelation. His wife can pray and discuss it with him, but ultimately he makes the decision. That isn't a partnership. It's not even compromise. It's a parent-child relationship.

That's the problem.

Natalie said...

Another thing about Dan's example...

This woman with the scheduling had to complain to her husband to get things changed. She had to go through a man to make it happen.

Our former bishop, and current member of the stake presidency, has a very strong wife that I admire greatly. When she had opinions, she turned them into action. He listened to her, and so she had a big say in what happened in the church. But she couldn't act for herself. She relied on her husband to get it done. As Lisa eloquently points out, that is not an equal relationship. It is one of advocacy and representation. Women can't speak for themselves, they have to speak through their husbands.

You can say all you want that thats okay, and that the end result is the same, so it doesn't matter. But until you have to go through an official channel of female approval for every thing you want to see happen, I don't know if you can understand how much it can sting.

Lisa said...

Oh, and Natalie: Thanks for the reminder. I always loved that Mary was the first to see Christ.

It really does help me. Not that I necessarily think Mary would have the idea is hopeful.

Thanks for that. If nothing else, I do hold onto things that Christ taught. The other stuff I could and would do without. It just seems to invade our doctrine and culture far too much.

Dan Knudsen said...

I guess I’m an exception, since I don’t get revelation, so I can’t “lord” that over my wife. I just cause other problems with my otherwise puffed-up ego. She flew into Doha, Qatar, today, and when she asked a few months ago what I thought about her going there for a month, I replied that it didn’t bother me at all--she’d have gone even if I’d opposed it. The reason she went is a gender role-playing thing, which offends a lot of people, but it was her choice and, in my weakness and failure as the Family Revelator, I fully supported it. I will follow on Christmas Day to see what the grandson is really like and to participate in his blessing--sexist, patriarchal privilege that it is.

On our 40th anniversary she announced that she was no longer intimidated by me, and I asked how long that’d been going on and she replied that it had been about 6 months. I remembered that when we’d gone to Hungary a few months before, I’d stayed a week, or so, and she’d remained a couple weeks after I’d gone home so that I wouldn’t interfere with her and our daughter having fun without me being a stick-in-the-mud. The end of October this year she wanted to take a cruise and I forgot to have the final say again--where’s my Priesthood authority been hiding? Hmmm, that’s three times in the past couple years that I haven’t had the final say in something big in our lives. Someone ought to alert the bishop so he can set me straight, as I’ve been falling down in my Priesthood-Patriarchal responsibilities.

I know, I need to back off with my sarcasm, but I think there’s a potential danger of making mountains out of molehills, and of proclaiming victimhood--and it’s not always totally unjustified; and, a certain amount of “whining” is necessary to get some of the important things accomplished when those in power fail to do it. There will always be problems since we’re in an imperfect world. Perhaps all of you will be able to straighten that out when you are in charge and build your own world the way it should’ve been done this time. It’s called Eternal Progression, where it gets better with each repetition.

Love and kisses to whoever wants it.

Chris and Annalee Waddell said...

I have unsettled feelings about this issue. Mostly I choose to set them aside because, like Natalie said, we don't have the revelation and I want to live in peace.
The majority of my feelings concern the eternities and how families will be organized there. Considering that our church can seal more than one woman to one man (as in the case of death or a cancelled sealing), I wonder how this will impact my own family and concept thereof. Thanks for this post!

Lisa said...

I think I'll pass.

This is a larger scale issue.

"I know, I need to back off with my sarcasm, but I think there’s a potential danger of making mountains out of molehills, and of proclaiming victimhood"

This bullshit really gets to me. Until you've been in a position such as this, you won't fully understand it especially if you've no interest in even empathizing, and it's apparent you do not. Whenever a group of people feel they're not important enough within an organization, there is reason enough to address it without condescension, sarcasm, or dismissal. You're performing all three all at the same time. Bravo.

"--and it’s not always totally unjustified;"

Gee thanks.

"and, a certain amount of “whining”

Your word choice really doesn't help you out here. If we're merely amusing you, then there's nothing I can do about that. Be amused.

"is necessary to get some of the important things accomplished when those in power fail to do it."

And what, exactly, is it that makes men able to have that ultimate power - by what virtue? Their chromosomes?

"There will always be problems since we’re in an imperfect world."

Yes there is. But when there are problems, we should discuss them instead of sit back and take it.

"Perhaps all of you will be able to straighten that out when you are in charge and build your own world the way it should’ve been done this time. It’s called Eternal Progression, where it gets better with each repetition."

I've got to tell you, this whole thing about getting my own kingdom was never a "YAY!" thing for me. I only care about my family. I don't want anything in the next life beyond them. Telling me I get my own kingdom if I'm good sounds similar to the times I tell my kids they can have a lollipop if they behave at the grocery store.

I would also think if things are perfect now, there would be no room for betterment in any sort of "do-over"

Again, I don't care about getting my own Sim City. I just want to be happy - isn't that what God wants, too?

Enough with the crap. I don't mind open discussion, but you're bordering on disrespectful and offensive. Go make fun of us silly women somewhere else. These are real emotions and real hurts. It is comments like yours that drive more and more people from the Church. Comments like yours perpetuate the problem and do nothing to help it.

Lisa said...

Annalee (I'm assuming? Or Chris?)

Thank you - I know the feeling you describe, and I respect it. I'm just at a point where I need more. I haven't felt like I matter enough in a very, very long time. The fact that my husband sees it now too propels me further. It's nice to have his support. Discussing it helps me keep my perspective and sort through things.

Thanks for being a part of it :)

Jessica said...

so, as a non-mormon, i have this to say:

we don't believe in a heavenly mother, as protestants. however, there are protestants who would find it heretical that some christians, like me, believe that god doesn't subscribe to gender. even i call god "he" because it FEELS fatherly, because of its implications, but i believe that god has the potential to be motherly, as well. the bible says he will be a husband to the husbandless, and i think this also means that he will be a wife to the wifeless; he fills those gaps.

i believe that the bible is the story of my faith, a living historical document--but it isn't ACTUALLY my faith. it isn't ACTUALLY my relationship with god, which exists as its own entity, faith itself. i say that as a preface to say this: i think a lot of the patriarchal issues in the bible, specifically with paul, exist precisely because it is a historical document. the gender issues in the OT and the NT are not inherent gender issues as much as they are comments about a cultural problem (i'm thinking, for instance, about female adornment--which is an issue with materialism, not being a woman--and about women speaking in the church, which you pointed out, which, during that time period, would have drawn attention away from the gospel and more toward the politics of gender). and don't get me started on paul--who wrote most of the passages i assume you take issue with.

i don't bring this up to argue or whatevah. just something to chew on. some people who believe in the same god as i do would think i'm going to hell because i don't necessarily see the bible as inerrant, and i won't even go there.

Lisa said...

Ack, Jess, you know you and your heretical Christian self is always welcome here. I appreciate new things to chew on.

Really, this whole idea that what Paul wrote as purely cultural and definitive of the times (as well as probably other things) is new to me. It makes me reconsider how I view the Bible as more of a historical document than purely spiritual.

Which, by the way, does not in any way decrease my interest in it. I think it's fascinating - but canonical? Nah.

:)

Natalie said...

Hi Annalee! Good to see you around here. :)

As far as the Bible being canonical/historical/inerrant/etc.:

It is a historical document. I believe in it. I believe it was inspired and preserved by God. But you can't deny the facts of its coming forth.... We guess the first 5 books of the OT were written by Moses. I think this could very well be true. But how did Moses know all of these things in order to write them? Looking at that region of the world, at that time, it was probably through oral traditions. It was probably through the stories and lessons that had been passed down verbally through generations. If this is the case, I think it is important to realize that many of the facts might contain aspects of legend.

It is also important to realize that the authors of the OT were writing of things with the knowledge that they had. Why isn't evolution in the Bible? Well, probably because someone from 2000 BC was utterly incapable of understanding molecular structures and functioning of DNA, and a knowledge of it is utterly unessential to our salvation. Why do ancient prophecies talk about dragons and wild beasts wreaking havoc in our day? Probably because that was the only way authors at that time were able to describe the visions they were given in a way that could be understood at the time. How else could they explain visions of fighter jets and bombs?

One example I like of this is the flood. Now, I'm not saying there WASN'T a truly global flood in the days of Noah. Too many emotional people have been researching that question for too long. But if there wasn't, it doesn't invalidate the Bible. It is very possible that there was a flood at the time that encompassed the whole region of Mesopotamia, and perhaps all the known regions round about. This, along with the cultural practice of oral memory, could explain why many different cultures in that region have a great flood in their cultural lore (ie: Gilgamesh). For people living in that time, that WAS the whole world. It could have been very literal for them, but not for us, with our more complete knowledge of Earth.

Like I said, I'm not saying what did or didn't happen literally. I'm just saying we have to read the Bible with the authors and their culture in mind.

Hope I didn't offend anyone with my thoughts.

This got WAY off topic Lisa, sorry about the thread-jack. :)

Um... Girls rock. :D

Grégoire said...

Dear Dan,

She flew into Doha, Qatar, today, and when she asked a few months ago what I thought about her going there for a month, I replied that it didn’t bother me at all--she’d have gone even if I’d opposed it.

You're still operating from the structure of master/serf here. It doesn't matter that she'd have gone anyway, in fact, that's the problem. Rebellion doesn't happen in horizontal, democratic relationships. It's a foreign concept.

I don't want to self promote here, but I've got an article (it's really just a first draft) called Revolutionary Womanhood here...

http://pristalica.wordpress.com/

You'll have to dig through a month of crap to get there, but I'd love to get your thoughts on it if you have the inclination.

Dan Knudsen said...

I wonder how the following applies to this discussion: “Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.” (Jacob 4:10)

Of course, here he’s addressing the “brethren” so the “sisters” may be exempted; however, it might also be expedient for them to comply with it.

We all have our own crosses to bear to test our faith so that we can prove ourselves worthy of exaltation. Do you think your burden is greater than that of gay Mormons? My burdens (I am not gay) are different from yours, but to me they seem more horrific than yours are, because they’re mine and yours don’t affect me as directly--I try to be empathic, but fail. When I hit my thumb with a hammer it hurts me much more than how much it hurts me when you hit your thumb with a hammer. Anyone who tells you differently is probably lying. Do you think that men not in leadership positions don’t feel worthless, since they never get to make the big decisions? Am I really that different from you? I do make comments and ask questions and am ignored, and they hope that I’ll shut-up and return to my cave where I belong.

What are you expecting in “heaven”? You only care about your family and nothing else, so how is that going to work? How about your parents and their parents--where do they all fit in? Are your children still going to be children, or what? What about their children, and their children, etc.? Is life there going to be different than life is here, or will it be the same arrangements we now have? I’ve never understood the hymn “Families Can Be Together Forever”--is there something else below the superficiality of little kids living with their parents forever?

We can pat each other on the back all we want to but we need to consider other points of view, just in case we don’t understand the facts as they really are.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Gregoire--You missed the point trying to be made: She didn’t consult me before making that decision, but said that she was going to Qatar for a month and did that bother me? We do discuss our separate plans to see how it affects the other. She lets me know what she’s going to do and I do the same--we are not master and serf! Ours is not a perfect marriage, like so many others around us appear to be, but we do have some good things going on between us. Also, I didn’t find “Revolutionary Womanhood” at the address, http://pristalica.wordpress.com/.

Grégoire said...

Dear Dan,

I'm not trying to offend you. Just making an observation.

Gregoire--You missed the point trying to be made: She didn’t consult me before making that decision, but said that she was going to Qatar for a month and did that bother me? We do discuss our separate plans to see how it affects the other. She lets me know what she’s going to do and I do the same--we are not master and serf! Ours is not a perfect marriage, like so many others around us appear to be, but we do have some good things going on between us.

You operate from a vertical mentality. The structure you suggest and the frame through which you see your relationship is -- at least from my perspective -- the structure and frame of master and serf.

My wife and I know what the other is doing without declaring it, and neither of us asks the others' permission. If I didn't like something she was doing I would walk that long mile to the door, and vice-versa. Of course, we don't do things the other wouldn't like, because we like each other more than whatever temptations might arise. It's unconscious, and the sort of interaction you describe would be completely foreign to either of us.

I understand that you don't understand it because I didn't understand this for the first few years of being married. There's no way I can describe it, except to say that I've been where you are and this place is better.

I learned it from her, and she learned it from her parents. She was able to teach me the meaning of equality, because she had never been a Mormon.

Take Care...

The Flints said...

Of course, I too, hate the fact that my XX chromosome make me "lesser" in some people's eyes--and in the Church. But, I have a theory that makes me smile AND keeps me going. I think that living in patriarchy is similar to living the law of Moses. Moses was a great person (as men are great) but the law was not very enlightened. Eventually, we all were able to live a higher law and leave the Law of Moses behind. Someday we will be able to shed patriarchy and live a higher law.

I told my husband my theory and he said he has always thought that. Yipee for him!

In my house, my husband never ever pulls rank on me. I, on the other hand, do it all the time. Just practicing or the future!

Grégoire said...

I'm really glad I started reading Mormon blogs of late. It's renewed my gratitude to have left it all behind.

Someday we will be able to shed patriarchy and live a higher law.

...

In my house, my husband never ever pulls rank on me. I, on the other hand, do it all the time. Just practicing or the future!


If you're "pulling rank" then you're not really leaving patriarchy behind. You're simply inverting it.

In the future, there won't be marriages like yours. People like you will disappear. It's an alien concept to most of us in normal households to "pull rank". Think about having your index finger "pull rank" on your thumb, for an example. What purpose would it possibly serve?

I know you don't understand this, and I don't expect you to.

I think there are young people (probably in Utah) who might read this blog in the hopes that there is something more than the fractious, dysfunctional, prozac-addled hell that is the average Mormon family. If you're out there, and you know who you are, then I want to throw up the flag and let you know that normalcy is possible.