Meet an LDS Feminist: Me

For the last little while, I have posted the thoughts of others, and my own comments have been made only to support their thoughts, or to at least give them validity. I haven’t really said it straight yet what I think about feminism. So I’m going to give it to you. I don’t apologize for any of it to anyone. If you disagree, good! Leave me a comment or a question, and I’d be happy to discuss it with you. Here it goes.

I wish feminism didn’t exist.

Yes, it’s true. I sincerely wish it didn’t exist. So now your question is probably, “What? But all of your posts either highlight feminists or support feminism.”

You’re right. I do highlight feminists, and as it happens I also agree with a lot of what they stand for. I would pretty confidently bet that most people in this church agree with them. So why do I wish it didn’t exist? Because I wish there was no need. The reason feminism exists at all is because somewhere along the line, the world decided that men were superior to women. I say the world decided, but the world didn’t decide, the men decided. And from a physical standpoint, the men were able to force that onto the women. After a time, it became accepted. Then it became tradition. Then it became culture. And now, we have feminism to counteract thousands of years of a false tradition. Do women hold the priesthood? No. At least not nominally, and not administratively. Are they generally of a smaller physique than men? Yes, genetically, they’re not made to grow the same way men are. These are the only two real differences between men and women. We don’t look the same, and we have different gender responsibilities with regards to the family. Yes, I firmly believe in the Proclamation to the World.

However, beyond those obvious differences, I can see no reason whatsoever why we shouldn’t be equal. Sadly, I know of a few men who still believe that their priesthood makes them better, more important, or more capable than their wives, or women in general. They think that their priesthood means that they can rule. It does not. Leading is not ruling. Christ told his Apostles, when they were vying for leadership, that a true leader is a servant. No priesthood holder can expect the Lord to honor his priesthood if he uses it as an entitlement to anything. The Priesthood entitles you serve. That is all. It does not entitle you to rule. Especially within the family.

I wish the Priesthood was stronger

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the priesthood, and I’ve heard a lot praise for the priesthood. I say “The priesthood” but I mean “The men” or “The priesthood holders.” So let’s get one thing straight. The priesthood is not the same as the men of the church. It isn’t. So what I’m really saying is, I wish the men of the Church were stronger. Now, some might take that to mean that I wish the men had more control or something, but that’s not what I mean at all. I wish the men in the Church would realize their full potential. Brandishing the priesthood isn’t living to your full potential. Feeling superior isn’t living to your full potential. Forcing a woman (or anyone) to do something, especially because you have the priesthood is not living up to your full potential. These things weaken you. They negate the very priesthood you claim to use. If the men were stronger (and I include myself in that, I’m nowhere near perfect), there would not be a problem. There would be no need for the feminist movement. There would be equality. There would be peace. But Alas, we live in a fallen world. If the men were stronger, they would be strong enough to give women the respect that they are due, to give them the voice that they are due, and recognize the power that they already have.

And since we’re talking about priesthood, and power, and representation, now’s as good a time as any to tell you how I feel about women and the priesthood. I don’t think women will hold it any time soon. I do NOT mean to say that they shouldn’t, or that they can’t. I just think that they won’t. I don’t know why they don’t, but “because they have different responsibilities” doesn’t cut it for me. I know they have different responsibilities. But I also know that everything has not been revealed. So while I don’t think that women will hold the priesthood, I also think that they will hold something. Maybe a priestesshood. I have no idea what that could be, but I know that women are promised that they will become “Queens and Priestesses” in the temple. So why not a priestesshood?

Food for thought

“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Articles of Faith, 1:9 Italics added)

It is easy to say, “it’s the doctrine you’re messing with” to a feminist, especially if she wants the priesthood. However, let us not be too hasty. We don’t have it all yet. Women don’t have the priesthood. There is no doctrine that I can find that says women never have, and never will hold the priesthood. It’s not doctrine. The only doctrine is that women don’t hold the priesthood. Why is that? Think about it. Research it. I promise you will never find any doctrine that says that women never have and never will hold the priesthood. You may find quotes. You may find allusions. But you won’t find any church-sanctioned doctrine supporting that thought. But the scriptures, and even modern church history is rife with women who could have, (or, if you care to do the research, actually and officially did) hold the priesthood. So before you go spouting off your “doctrine,” do some research, and then open your heart and your mind and honestly ask “why?” The question is worth while to study, to pray and to fast about.

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One comment on “Meet an LDS Feminist: Me

  1. Jessica F. says:

    I really liked your post. I wish for a world were were were post feminist, post racist, but I think we have a lot of work to do. I was a Marriage, Family, and Human Development major at BYU, shortly after the proclamation came out. One thing that was discussed over and over (which at the time I thought was blasphemy) was the concern of many of the professors that all anyone will ever talk about is

    ” By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

    And my experience over the 15 years have proven that to be true. I think it is so sad that we reduce this document to the one section that discusses difference. When we totally seem to forget this next line

    “In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

    The language immediately proceeding it and following it are brilliant. I wonder why this line (or the rest of the document) does not get the attention that it deserves. I think it is rather sad really that they do not come up much.

    “HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

    THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

    I noticed that you included a reference to “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus” in you title. I would encourage you to read the overwhelming research that discusses this very point.

    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/men-arent-from-mars-and-women-arent-from-venus-20130212-2eaje.html

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brainstorm/200807/why-gender-doesnt-matter

    I believe that we are much more similar than we often like to think. Reducing men and women down to roles is reductive and allows for stereotypes and I believe often stops personal revelation. My husband and I help each other reach our goals, we help each others as equals raise our kids in truth and light, and we try out best to build a home that is based on the teaching of Jesus Christ (one who often ignored gendered roles)

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