Zelophehad’s Daughters

The Role of Women in Heaven

Posted by Kiskilili

Inspired by Starfoxy’s excellent question about the role of women in heaven (see the thread on gendered language), I thought I would take this opportunity to ramble. :)

I admit, I’m confused. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that our sliver of knowledge about Heavenly Mother (i.e., she exists), was a “revelation” to Eliza R. Snow: she logically deduced that it would be nonsensical for there to be two genders on earth but only one in heaven–if God is our parent, and parents come in pairs, shouldn’t he have a partner?

So far, so good. But by similar logic, I wonder, could we not posit the existence, for example, of heavenly cat parents? Otherwise where in heaven or hell did all these cat spirits that are being born into cat bodies at a rapid rate all over the globe come from? And if we assume God, all by his lonesome, is able to somehow come up with cat spirits and zebra spirits and all the rest, why could he not have produced women in the same manner, all by his lonesome?

In the second creation account (Genesis 2:4-3:24), God comes off as a little bit, well, bumbling; he makes the decision to create a “help meet” for Adam, randomly creates animals in an effort to that end, and then seemingly finally chances almost by accident on the creation of woman. Doesn’t exactly sound like Heavenly Mother’s at his side, does it?–or why couldn’t he have just modeled Eve on her and figured the whole thing out a little sooner? Man is undeniably central in this account; woman, far from being God’s “crowning creation,” is derivative of man. Of course, Eve’s subordination to Adam is explained as an eternal curse, but let’s not fool ourselves: Eve was never equal to Adam to begin with.

If God created animals simply because a network of creatures in symbiotic relationships was needed in this earth life (after all, men can’t perpetuate the species on their own!), how do we know women weren’t created for nothing more than the same purpose? Man, after all, is granted divine dominion over both the animals and woman.

And then there’s the old refrain that all those of us who faithfully attended seminary have heard chanted ad nauseum whenever the topic arises: the reason we know nothing about Heavenly Mother is that she’s too, well, special, too *holy even. If this is the case, I wonder, whose decision was it that Heavenly Mother be an absent parent? Did Heavenly Father make it–essentially sticking his most valuable possession in a safe where no one could get to “it” and sully “it”? And was it really his decision to make, and if so, why? Or did Heavenly Mother decide herself she was too holy to have anything to do with her earthly children? If the way we pay highest respects to the holiest of heavenly beings is by refraining from attempting to make any contact at all, don’t Heavenly Father and Jesus deserve this much respect too? Why not throw the scriptures away, give up prayer, and disband the Church–all as an act of ultimate worship?

I’ve been reminded on several occasions by several individuals that women must be valued by God, because–men can’t get to heaven without ‘em! I’m afraid I take little comfort in this fact. Several objects facilitate men’s passage into heaven. They have their physical temple recommends, the vehicles that convey them to temples, baptismal fonts, the bricks that go into the construction of church buildings, on and on and on. But does God love the bus that shuttles his faithful flock to his holy house *for itself*? Does he feel concern for the bus when it encounters obstacles and weep when it breaks down and is replaced by a more efficient model?

I, personally, am either going to mean more to God than an object facilitating someone else’s salvation, or I’m going to refuse to have a relationship with him at all. I simply will not be an eternal housepet.

In short, I’m not at all sure what exactly the women in heaven are doing, but I’ve become increasingly convinced I would rather not be doing it.

42 Responses to “The Role of Women in Heaven”

  1. 1.

    finally someone has heard me.
    Wake up, America!

  2. 2.

    Thank you so much for posting this.

    I’m having a Jane Doe-style crisis about this very subject. It’s been ongoing for over 20 years, since I first heard the concept of polygamy in the afterlife. I was a young teenager then, and thought, “Surely it must be that I don’t understand it. The temple will probably help.” In the interum, I prayed about it, raged about it, and hoped that somehow, it was wrong. D&C 132 made me feel like retching (still does).

    Then, I went to the temple. I got my endowment and was sealed the same day, so it was kind of a blur, but I noticed that I made a different covenant both in the endowment and the sealing ceremony than my husband did. I went back to the temple numerous times, hoping that in my obedience, I would be given if not understanding, then peace. I asked for a blessing about it. I decided to “put it on the shelf.”

    As I began having children, I missed my mother (who died when I was 7) intensely. The latent anger resurfaced as I wondered why God would not only take my earthly mother, but not allow me access to both the comfort and example of a Heavenly Mother. Having children also caused me to reflect on the church’s position on a mother’s responsibility to live up to her divine potential, her most important calling, her highest achievement (and the innumerable other ways this role is emphasized, culminating in the Family Proclamation)–a mother should be there for her children to nurture, teach, provide an example, and be there “at the crossroads” to comfort and guide. And yet, if I were to become a Heavenly Mother myself, I would not be able to help my spiritual children in a motherly role, in their mortal probation; indeed, I would be a Silent Speculation. Is motherhood an eternal role only in the sense of being a vessel (and, most likely, one of many such vessels) for a husband’s progeny? I can’t abide it. Compound that with the wording of endowment and sealing covenants, and I wonder if exaltation is something I even want to aspire to.

    Perhaps I could continue to keep this disappointment and dissillusionment to myself, but I’ve got five daughters, and they are starting to ask questions as they get older. I have a hard time knowing what to say to them.

    I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I’m wondering how much more toxic the bathwater can get before the baby dies.

  3. 3.

    My only daughter Emily who is attending UVSC is a very independent thinker who has challenged me on this issue. I have therefore pondered the subject and written this:

    First knowing God to be just, wise, merciful, kind, loving, all knowing and etc. I have concluded there most be a good reason for this mystery. My conclusion is women rule in heaven. Yes, it might be a man’s world, but I think it is a women’s heaven. Why? Think of the symbol of Deseret (a beehive). Who is at the head of the hive? Also it is a know fact women in numbers are more righteous than men. Therefore there are a greater number of women are deserving of exaltation. To be exalted and continue the growth of her household she needs a man. Since there are fewer men in heaven and the women being more righteous they are willing to share their husbands with others out of pure charity. Men may preside, but women rule. They rule over their own children in the pre-mortal life and their eternal seed in the eternal worlds to come. They send their husbands out to do the dirty work of dealing with mortal life and they raise their spirit children and glory with their resurrected children, but are always mindfully praying for their mortal children. In my PB it refers to a day in the future when I shall live with my wife in heaven as a priest and a priestess; a god and a goddess. I hope my daughter can get some hope from the things I’ve written. To know in the end God will make all things clear and fair. Just the thoughts of a father to his only daughter.

    Love,
    Dad

  4. 4.

    As a mother of two girls, I related to a lot of what you wrote, idahospud.

    I’ve noticed how sexist, racist and homophobic the church is (both past and present)…and my idea of God doesn’t match up with those things. That leads me to two conclusions, either God is all those things and that isn’t something I aspire to worship, or man has created God to be those things. I’m not sure which one is more horrific. I’m still looking and hoping for a third choice.

  5. 5.

    Wendy,

    I may be misunderstanding you, but I think the third alternative is that God is not sexist, etc., but man (I use the word advisedly) has perpetuated the myth that God is sexist, etc.

    I guess I’m not sure if when you say “man created God” you mean that God doesn’t actually exist and is made up, or if you’re saying what I said, which is that God exists and is not sexist, but God has been mischaracterized.

  6. 6.

    Nice, (albeit horribly depressing) post. :)
    I came up with a solution recently that addresses several questions along these lines. I’m not sure I really like it all that much, but it feels better than anything else I’ve ever heard. It would take far too long to explain in detail here. The main idea is that if we knew more (read: anything) about Heavenly Mother and the place of women in heaven, then earthly women wouldn’t have put up with the poor treatment they have recieved, and men would have been guilty of *gross* wickedness by allowing women to be treated that way. Here’s the main point, women had to be treated that way to, in essence, force them to make the choices(like having tons of kids) that have allowed the plan of salvation to work. I’ll write a whole post about it sometime today to flesh out the details if anyone is interested.

  7. 7.

    Kiskilili,

    Nice ramble! As you, Eve, and others have pointed out before, the seminary pseudo-doctrine that Heavenly Mother is too holy to be sullied by contact with her children is just another example of contorted after-the-fact reasoning we get when we try to justify loony practices. We don’t pray to her, she never appears anywhere in our scriptures, and we can’t just break down and admit our sexist doctrine, so it must be because she’s too holy! That’s it!

    By similar reasonsing, black men were prohibited from holding the priesthood before 1978 because . . . they were too holy for it! That’s it! Think how widely this approach could be employed! Women don’t get the priesthood and can’t be in serious leadership positions because they’re too holy. Homosexuals shouldn’t have sex because it would be too holy a practice. Also, we abstain from heroin because it’s too holy.

    Well, come to think of it, abstaining from heroin is probably a good idea that doesn’t need weird rationalizations to explain it.

  8. 8.

    Starfoxy,

    Yes, please write a whole post. I would love to read it.

    Running randomly with a snippet of what you said, do you think women are allowed to be pushed around to more fully condemn men? I’m thinking of Alma and Amulek’s experience in Ammonihah where the Spirit prevented Alma from stopping the killing of the new converts in order to allow the killers to be more fully condemned (Alma 14:9-11). Could God be allowing something similar in order to more fully condemn men who have warped his doctrine in order to control women?

    I’m just spitting out ideas here; I’m not committed to them. Tell me where they’re too false to be believed.

  9. 9.

    Ziff, I think I combined the no God/man mischaracterized God into option two which should have each had their own category. Clear as mud?

    I’m hoping for your option 3! Now to reconcile it with what we have to work with here on earth. Not an easy task.

  10. 10.

    Ziff, as your only older sister, I have had to swallow a lot of strange stuff from you (as you no doubt have from me!), but that “heroin is holy” remark might just push me into spiritual bulimia ;>

    On a more serious note, thanks for posting this, Kiskilili. I don’t have anything to add–you spell out the dilemma very well–but I’m particularly struck by idahospud’s and Wendy’s concerns about what to tell their daughters. Idahospud, I’ve been having an ongoing crisis about this for years, too. During more acute periods I’ve found it impossible to sit through sacrament meeting without having to go to the women’s restroom to sob, and I can’t count the number of lessons I’ve just walked out of because I just can’t listen to the same tired, convoluted justifications.

  11. 11.

    Okay, here is the whole post as promised.
    In answer to Ziff’s question, I think that the sword cuts both ways on that. Knowledge was kept from all of us, so many righteous men did things that were unrighteous because they didn’t know any better. However mankind, and especially men(because they hold the priesthood) were given strict commandments in regards to the treatment of other people. Their disregard to those commandments in the treatment of women I think condemns them as you describe.

  12. 12.

    My current ridiculous (but hey, not more ridiculous than anything else that’s out there!) theory is that Heavenly Mother has not yet revealed herself because she can’t stand the sappy rhetoric about women, and she wouldn’t want it applied to her. ;) (Can you imagine? “I’d like to bear my testimony that Heavenly Mother is so, so special . . .” )

  13. 13.

    Lynette, that is hilarious.

  14. 14.

    I like your ridiculous theory, Lynnette.

    As for a more serious opinion, I guess I would say that I hope for Ziff’s option #3. I hope that someday we will see how messed up all of our “convoluted justifications” (as Eve so aptly puts it) have been, that God is not sexist, that there is an equal and powerful role for women in heaven, and that we will more fully understand that role as well as the role of our Heavenly Mother.

  15. 15.

    Read about the Kabbalah. Great insight into the mother in heaven heaven thing and since our church has a lot to do with these ancient origins well worth researching.

    Find out what the word Elohim means in the ancient Hebraic texts and in context of sex and women. One sex is not more important than another-more of yin yang kind of thing. One contains, the other expands. Think about it.

    One nit. The word gender is not supposed to be used to denote the sexual nature of men and women but it is supposed to be used to define parts of written and spoken speech. But hey, they even made the same mistake in The Proclamation to the Family.

  16. 16.

    Chixa said:
    /One sex is not more important than another-more of yin yang kind of thing. One contains, the other expands. Think about it./

    I’ll think about it. I wonder which one “contains,” and which one “expands.” Which one is dark, and which one is light. Which one signifies strength, and which one signifies weakness. Hmmmmmmm. . . . . nope, I don’t feel better.

  17. 17.

    To My Dad(Emma’s Son)

    Thanks for thinking of me and of thinking of me when it comes to your favorite subject.

    I think you have a good theory at hand, yet the beehive has only one reproducing female queen, all other bees in the hive are workers, and then there’s the drone(male) and his life is short and to the point, if you get what I mean.

    I think if heaven is like a beehive I don’t want any part of it, cause the odds are your not going to be the queen, and it’s even worse off if you are a male.

    Your concept of this being a mans world and heaven being a women’s
    world is not a new one. Yeah it’s easy to say that if your a man because men in this world don’t deal with heaven, that’s a nice after thought, just like they’d like to think of women having any real power in this life, yeah
    a nice after thought, now honey get back in the kitchen and clean up the dirty children would ya.

    That’s why men thought that women shouldn’t have the right to vote, that there duties where of a higher and heavenly order.

    Heres a quote you might get a kick out of written by a physician around the turn of the 20th century.

    “Her mind could be employed, but in little and in trivial matters, and her proper place was as, the companion or ornamental appendage to man”.

    This was taken from an article called “We did not know whether women’s health could stand the strain of college education”

    Even if that may be the case that women rule in heaven, we still are
    a big part of earth life and deserve equality in all things if we are to ever get to a point where earth and heaven are one under Christ. And if it’s the case that women “rule” doesn’t that mean both heaven and earth
    ultimately?

    So the ultimate destiny of mankind would be to recognize the greatness of women and to allow her to reign, then the world will be a celestial place once women rule, right dad, going by what you just said?

    So I guess we can try to focus on this life and what women can do here so as to progress the world to a higher level. Any way thanks for the chat, talk to you soon.

    Love,

    Your only daughter(good thing for you),Emily

  18. 18.

    I really appreciated you sharing your experience, Idahospud. I find the situation so intensely frustrating and painful that I’m never quite sure whether to laugh at the absurdity of it, or to just cry; I’ve definitely done more than a little of both over the years. It’s challenging enough to deal with all of this gender role stuff and female subordination in this life; the hint that the situation might be eternal has sometimes been enough to throw me into real despair. I too desperately want to believe in Ziff’s option #3.

    Emma’s Son, I have to say, that’s a unique take on the situation. (And your daughter sounds great!) I have to admit that I’m not sure I can accept the popular idea that women are more righteous than men; for me, it’s a bit too close to the “let’s put women on pedestals” mentality. (Also, since more males are born than females, but males are less likely to survive to the age of accountability, I’ve concluded that the Celestial Kingdom actually has a surplus of men. ;) My hope is for a heaven in which neither sex “rules” or “presides” or whatever you want to call it.

    3 Nephi 9:20 notes that “the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” I’ve thought a lot about that in the context of religious pluralism (the question of whether people can implicitly encounter God without having explicit awareness that they are doing so). And I wonder whether something similar might be happening with our relationship with our Heavenly Mother— that she is involved in our lives, but we know it not.

  19. 19.

    This is an interesting discussion. There are some things that I would like to highlight. First, the MiH doctrine wasn’t revealed to Eliza. It was taught by Joseph Smith in private. There is no public discourse of his that pronounced it, though a year before Eliza wrote her poem WW Phelps wrote a song for teh dedication of the Seventies Hall (dec. 1844) that conatained explicit reference to Mother in Heaven.

    As far as eternal disparity between men and women. I have written several posts on why I think that it is a fallacy. You have moved me to collate the thoughts into a single post. I think a close reading of early exaltation doctrine is also helpful.

  20. 20.

    Thanks for all your fascinating responses. I’ve enjoyed reading them.

    Idahospud, I love your comments!!!! I can definitely relate to your crisis. I too have a visceral reaction to D&C 132. I have absolutely no desire whatever to be some man’s concubine–ahem, um “plural wife”–in the next life. Your last sentence phrases it so perfectly. I too wonder “how much more toxic the bathwater can get” before the baby isn’t worth keeping.

    I think I’ve often reached conclusions somewhat similar to Wendy’s: God is either a jerk (the church is characterizing him correctly) or he’s pretty unavailable (the church doesn’t know what it’s talking about). I’m not exactly thrilled with either possibility.

    Chixa, I assume you’re referring to the Shkhina? I tend to think she presents her own problems.

    “Elohim” is indeed morphologically masculine plural in Hebrew. This, however, offers me no comfort, since it is invariably (when referring to Israel’s God and not to “gods” in general) construed with a masculine singular verb. (Unlike Indo-European languages, Hebrew verbs are marked for gender in the second and third person.)
    Even supposing “Elohim” was at one time used to refer to Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother operating together, it takes a masculine singular verb. It takes a masculine singular adjective. The term is understood as representing a masculine singular entity by the text. If Heavenly Mother is behind it, her voice is being suppressed.
    (The term “heaven” in Hebrew appears to be a morphological dual. I’m not convinced that fact warrants our fabricating arcane doctrinal explanations for it.)

    Emily, thanks for your comments. You make a fantastic point that women deserve equality in earth life, too, and it’s problematic to say the inequality in the church is ordained of God, and then, to balance things out, suppose that God must have come up with some comparable inequality in women’s favor in some other sphere. If we’re supposed to aspire to behave like heavenly beings, and women rule in heaven, shouldn’t women rule on earth too in an effort to imitate heavenly practice?

    Lynnette, I love your hope that we maybe implicitly encounter Heavenly Mother without knowing it!

    j.stapley, thanks for setting me straight on the origins of our belief in Mother in Heaven.

    I have no idea what I think. I have no conclusions about anything.

  21. 21.

    Lynette, I do believe that “heavenly mother” has influence on our lives, as does “god.” (in a previous thread, I mentioned that I prefer to use the term god to either heavenly mother or heavenly father because I feel that in that single term, I can refer to “them” at once –without offending anyone!). I really do believe in divine intervention and communication–my beliefs in the logistics and exact characterstics of diety are not as clearly defined. Even though I am LDS, I’ve found the only way I can reconsile my own feelings and promptings with what we are taught and told is to understand in human falliability and to learn to objectively examine and trust my own promptings.

    So, Wendy, I am a practicing Mormon, but I beleive in option number 3– I struggle with how to reconcile that.

  22. 22.

    “let’s not fool ourselves: Eve was never equal to Adam to begin with.”

    I think you’re fooling yourself :)

    Do you know what “help meet for him” means?

    If not, read the articles on the topic listed at http://home.uchicago.edu/~spackman/temple#women (university server seems to be down at the moment.)

    Calling Eve a “help” puts her on the level of God, since God is the only other person ever called a “help” in the Hebrew bible. Hardly an inferior position.

  23. 23.

    Ok, this is going to give away my, er, creative explorations before I joined the Church, but has anyone heard the story of Lillith?

    From what I can recall (and my memory is fried by little kids and pregnancy) the Gnostic gospels (presenting their own problems) talk of a wife of Adam before Eve, named Lillith. She didn’t want to have anything to do with a subordinate roll, and basically took off to live her own life.

    While I have NO idea about the correctness of this idea, it is interesting nonetheless…

  24. 24.

    Info on Lilith can be found here.

  25. 25.

    I have a theory–the woman who is the ‘Mother of All’ has been separated into two mythological identities–Eve & Lilith–because patriarchal culture wanted to reinforce the ‘submissive is good’ ideal for women and ‘uppity is bad’ warning. So the woman who was both righteous, confident, and every bit as powerful as Adam is now known as two women. Hmmm? I was going to do a post of my own on this, but haven’t gotten around to it.

    I also find the ‘women will rule in heaven’/’women are more spiritual than men’ concept unappealing and just as out of sync with my instincts as the ‘women are subordinate (though maybe only for mortality)’ concept. I’ve finally resigned myself, more or less, to believing that God is just letting us figure things out for now, even though it’s not fair. I think equality is the ideal for this life and the next and hope that I don’t get branded heretic as I attempt to find the balance between living & promoting that ideal and still consider myself faithful.

    Though, I admit, sometimes I wish I could believe the Church _wasn’t_ true–life would be a lot simpler that way. But I can’t do that. Ah well….

  26. 26.

    Sometimes I wonder if our questions and lack of understanding about the Feminine is just part and parcel of having “feet of clay” here on the earth. Maybe the Church is as correct as our comprehension allows, but even that is tempered by the allusions and perspective of mankind.

    We are trying to wrap our earthly minds around concepts and truths that are so vast as to be inconceivable in the state we currently reside. To even grasp small glimpses beyond the veil, we requite allegories, metaphors and symbolism, and even then, what we get is limited by own capacity to see through our veil of flesh.

    None of this answers any questions for me, and I still feel perplexed and unsure of what I, personally, should do. But it does help me to feel more forgiving towards the doctrines that may be simply of “man” mixed in with the things I deeply feel are divine.

    I like the idea of Lilith/Eve being an amalgam- and I know that is probably heretical. (There are really academic and less snarky sources of info on Lilith than the one Not Opelia provided the link to, and I am trying to figure out how to link them. (No offense intended NO))

  27. 27.

    None taken. God Checker is a very snarky site. [I started to say so in my original post, but the phrase didn't flow very well.] However it’s pithy, amusing, to the point and those not willing to wade through a more academic site will still get the basic info.

    As for linking — if you don’t know coding, cheat :~) Go to FMH, put your link in there and then copy and paste the resulting code back here.

    NO

  28. 28.

    This is one of my most difficult dilemmas in the gospel. Men are able, through Heavenly Father and Christ, to see what their roles in the post-mortal world will be. The restoration shed “a wonderful flood of light” but women’s post-mortal roles were left in darkness and I can’t figure out why. It is discouraging to see Heavenly Mother as hidden and silenced and women have no idea of what our eternal responsibilities will be. The only thing I have been taught is basically I will be a breeding cow for my husband (possibly with other wives) to populate his worlds. Not much of a perk. I can’t understand why Heavenly Father would keep this knowledge from us.
    Sally

  29. 29.

    Here’s one to chew on.

    Many apocryphal and ancient texts descibe deity as a union of both male and female. Therefore, when Eve was “taken from” Adam it could be seen as to separation of the two halves of the divine Adam. Further, becoming like God necessarily would mean that celestial husbands and wives (only one wife — this polygamy in heaven stuff is a crock IMO) must literally become one. It would mean that God is literally the new creature that is the union of former husband and wife… If this is the case then we don’t hear about MiH separately because she is not separate — they are one.

  30. 30.

    ben s.,

    Thanks for the link! There’s some interesting stuff there.

    The problem for me is, as big is my ego is, I just can hardly believe I’m on the level of God. And frankly, none of the women I know are either.

  31. 31.

    Morm,

    Thanks for offering an unusual take on the story. Your idea definitely puts the sexism in the text in a different light. (And I’m with you on the polygamy-in-heaven thing–I really hope that it’s just got to be a crock.)

  32. 32.

    I didn’t know Morm’s idea was unique. That’s what I was taught in seminary 20 years ago and have believed since. I also believe that each member of the godhead has a male and female aspect since all exalted/ divine beings are partnered with a spouse. I agree about celestial polygamy being an impossiblity. Anyone who hasn’t should read Eugene England’s essay on fidelity and polygamy.

  33. 33.

    Oh and as for my kids, I always talk about Heavenly Parents.

  34. 34.

    I simply don’t believe in Mother in Heaven anymore. Much simpler.

  35. 35.

    My understanding of Morm’s idea is that exalted beings are literally physically male and female, which certainly sounds heterodox (and not even appealing to my mind!), but not the take I hear in church.
    This casts things “in a different light,” but the story still remains thoroughly sexist to my mind, since Adam (=Adam+Eve combined) is a “he” and is called simply “Adam” even though “it” (for lack of a better term) is both male and female, before the two separate; likewise God is inexplicably a “he.”

    Of course another possibility is that “god” is an office rather than an entity, and the office is occupied by a wife and husband operating in concert. Unfortunately, our scriptural texts don’t support this reading any more than the one above.

  36. 36.

    My 6 yr old just bowled me over by asking the spirit children of God and what about animals question. Now he’s got me wondering! Especially since I believe in evolution.

  37. 37.

    No Kissikilli, I am not talking about the Shekinah (another concept entirely-a female like spirit that hovers over a couples lovemaking).

    A suggestion: why don’t you check out the late Gershom Scholem’s writinngs and even Migene G. Wippler and her Kabbalah for a Modern World. Should be enlightening for you and give you a better understanding of what I’m talking about. The Kabbalah is a very intricate system just like our gospel and can’t be explained in a comment to a blog. If the women here are truly interested in finding out more about these esoteric truths all they need do is visit the local public library.

    And, as was already said, this is not a new doctrine that Eliza discovered. The esoteric underpinnings for Heavenly Mother run are ancient and taught in many mystery schools.

    As for Idahospud and her upset about “containing”-I don’t see anything weak about embracing or containing. One facet of creative force cannot exist without the other. Without a womb the seed could never come to fruition (or be “thrust” out into the world). I’m sorry to see that the women here define themselves by standards that cling to a patriarchal world view; believing that the “power” to seed is more important than the power to embrace.

  38. 38.

    I just finished reading these posts. Fantastic! It is so comforting to know there are many people out there who have the same concerns I do. As a single woman who has never married, I can’t stomach the thought of a Heaven where I am ‘given’ to a man just because there aren’t enough men. How does that ‘compensate’ me for the lack of a companion here on earth?

    I have polygamous ancestors and a father who is sealed to two women. My mom, who passed away, never had the chance to ‘approve’ of my father being sealed to someone else. She never gave permission and I doubt she ever would (Mom, if you’re reading this, let me know if I’m wrong) :-)

    All I can say is that HF will have a LOT of untangling to do…or maybe that’s the job of our MIH.

  39. 39.

    chixa,

    The word “containing,” when paired as the opposite of “expanding,” suggests “constricting” to me. I have only positive images with the idea of “embracing,” particularly when associated with nurture and especially gestation. I most certainly do NOT value the power to seed over the power to nurture that seed. Your dichotomy was unclear.

    Further, I think the last thing I’m doing is presenting patriarchal terms as the more positive. I am simply pointing out the weakness in the yin/yang parallel you use by carrying it through with the terms most generally associated with each, which are polar opposites. I believe that women and men are more alike than they are different–their needs and desires and goals are generally aligned (need for love, safety, and companionship; desire for procreation, family stability, future improvement, etc), and that their differences are complementary rather than opposing. If the two truly are one in the eternities, why not teach that principle to begin with, rather than that God is an exalted man with body and passions? I love the idea that God is a union of male and female, but I don’t know that our theology, at least in current terminology, supports that conclusion.

  40. 40.

    I thought about this a lot a couple of summers ago. Reading stuff from Starbird and from Barker made me look at how the divine feminine is viewed within Christianity yet outside of Mormonism, and made me think a lot about where our doctrine fits into everything-
    during that time, one article I really liked and found interesting was this one: http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=223

  41. 41.

    It’s probably eons too late to respond to this, but I just read this thread and had to add this: the First Article of Faith says we believe in an Eternal Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. No mention of a Heavenly Mother. It kind of seems like that should be the deciding vote, not some talk Joseph Smith gave in private (I have often heard such remarks regarded as non-prophetical, especially many by Brigham Young), and a song written by Eliza Snow. Where that leaves us I don’t know; she obviously isn’t worth mentioning, however. Isn’t it terrible that it never even struck me as odd to mention a father without a mother? That just shows how ingrained such theology is to us.

  42. 42.

    [...] LDS doctrine) does not mean that there has to be a female deity whom women are patterned after. As Kiskilili noted in a post at Zelophehad’s Daughters, “[B]y similar logic, I wonder, could we not posit [...]

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