In recent threads people have commented on various words that the church redefines for its own use. While most are words I know are redefined by the church, one word which was often included I’d never seen on a similar list, or thought of myself. Patriarchy. Yes, I’m quite familiar with how the dictionary and the world define patriarchy (I studied anthropology). I just wasn’t aware that the church defined it differently.
Of course, I then read through Elder Oaks’ talk on presiding in the home v. presiding in the church, and came across this gem:
A most important difference in the functioning of priesthood authority in the family and in the Church results from the fact that the government of the family is patriarchal, whereas the government of the Church is hierarchical.
Since patriarchy is hierarchical, obviously Elder Oaks, at least, is redefining the word. But how?
I really haven’t ever come across the idea that patriarchy is defined differently in the church than outside it (yes, I obviously haven’t been on the bloggernacle long enough, because this discussion has probably occured many times). So (and this is a genuine question), how do you define patriarchy? How do you think the church defines patriarchy, and how does it differ from the world’s definition?
To assist with the discussion, I thought I’d include a dictionary definition:
A family or society in which authority is vested in males, through whom descent and inheritance are traced.
- 16 January 2007