Zelophehad’s Daughters

Through the Looking Glass: The Worth of Men

Posted by Kiskilili

(See here.)

Men have a sacred role in the purification and sanctification of women, said a member of the Coven of the Sixty-six at Tuesday’s devotional.

Whether a father, husband, brother or son, men have the divine nature to love others and the destiny to complete women, said Elder Gwendolyn L. Petunia.

Woman’s ability to obtain the purification needed to get back into the presence of Goddess is dependent on her eternal marriage to her spouse, she said.

Elder Petunia read the account of Eve and Adam from the scriptures and pointed out Eve’s desire and need for “an helpmeet.”

When the couple was united, Eve’s first words were, “Therefore shall a woman leave her mother and her father, and shall cleave unto her husband, and they shall be one flesh” (Jael 5:18).

Eve’s feelings when she first saw Adam, Elder Petunia said, were a result of being in the presence of one of the sons of heavenly parents.

“Women and men can accomplish marvelous things alone,” she said. “However, they are incomplete until united intellectually, emotionally, physically and most importantly, spiritually.”

Elder Petunia spoke of her adoration for her father as she reflected on his continual teaching and love for her.

Her appreciation for men grew as she met and married her husband, and their two sons were born.

If all women had the perspective of seeing men the way a mother sees her sons, “respect for and treatment of a young man during her dating years would improve significantly,” Elder Petunia said.

The respect and love the Lady had for men is shown through her teaching and understanding of them in the scriptures, Elder Petunia said.

Not only did the Lady love and help men, but men provided immense comfort to her, Elder Petunia said.

“[The Lady] needed them as she journeyed toward living a perfect life in order that she could provide the ultimate sacrifice,” Elder Petunia said.

Elder Petunia encouraged men to enjoy opportunities and experiences that are available to them, but warned them to avoid anything that would keep them from or harden their divine nature.

78 Responses to “Through the Looking Glass: The Worth of Men”

  1. 1.

    applause!

    (men) have been given the blessing of procreation,”

    remember men, you have the amazing and unique gift of procreation!
    you and the males of almost any animal species.

  2. 2.

    I know my husband will be uplifted by this. Upon leaving the house a few minutes ago he said, “Well, thanks for being the tool that gets me to the top!” (with sarcasm).

  3. 3.

    It continually amazes me that many men in the Church don’t seem to understand how condescending it appears when they speak like this.

    I am NOT here as only a support to others. I have my own happiness to consider as well, and my own salvation to strive for.

  4. 4.

    Grrrrr

  5. 5.

    You know, the first thing I thought when I read that original piece (besides nausea) was that this cried out for a role reversal. Thank you.

  6. 6.

    Bravo!

  7. 7.

    Oh man. Hasn’t my blogpost about “helpmeet” reached the upper echelons yet?

  8. 8.

    My dad’s response:

    I wouldn’t look so hard for what probably isn’t there. Despite the language of Elder Pace’s generation, the men of the church understand well their place in the eternal scheme of things.
    All divine work and creation built and improved upon that which came before. Woman was made last.
    It was Adam who was identified as needing help, not Eve.
    Men must be given the obligation to serve. Such an obligation does not, apparently, need to be imposed on women.
    Men must be tested for worthiness at regular intervals in their growth; women do not.
    Men must be handed responsibility in manageable increments; women do not.
    Men are given responsibility for sweating and working the dirt of this life; women hold responsibility to nurture God’s own children.
    Women are handed the same blessings as men, but without all the required preparation.
    Adam would still be chillin’ in the Garden if Eve hadn’t taken the whollistic approach to their collective growth and improvement.
    Regardless of matters of culture, intellect or physical facts, women are here on somewhat different spiritual terms than men are and the women who figure out how to strenghten their “Adam” reap the blessings that divisiveness will only erase.

    My response to my Dad:

    Darn. I hate a really good response typed up and then I hit a button and it all went away.

    My point was this. I do think women and men are on somewhat different spiritual terms, as you said, and I agree that we have the most postive view on Eve of any Christian sect…but women are defined by their roles in the Church, and not necessarily by their individuality or personhood. We are raised to be “wives and mothers,” not “women of faith.” Our purposes are laid out for us with very little room for manuevering and even less patience for questioning. We are obligated to serve (I have never had a Church lesson that didn’t include the words “so you can be of service to your future families/husbands”), we are tested for worthiness at regular intervals (unfortunately this is usually done in the court of public opinon by lots of external circumstances that are used as measures of internal worth: marriage and children being numbers one and two), we are also handed responsibility but it’s usually done in unmanageable increments and we are told to make due, we sweat and toil just as much in the dirt of this life as men because we live on the same earth with the same problems, and I think we are not handed the same blessings as you without preparation, preparation is just as important to us, we just often don’t get the kind we need (how many girls I could name who got to go through the temple without being at all ready for it! But when I wanted to, for myself, as the next step in my personal spiritual growth, I was told I couldn’t unless I was getting married, serving a mission, or “likely to remain unmarried.” Verbatim quote. Unacceptable).

    Being defined almost solely by what you do, and who you do it for is not equal. Especially when I’m held accountable to a human being and a man is held accountable to God. I am more than a wife or a casserole baker. I have more work to do than just having children. I think we see the issue differently because you’re male and I’m female. But in the Proclimation it says “men are responsible” and “mothers are responsible.” Not women. A role, only one of them, that we play. I am not a role, neither am I an object (even one as good as a refiner’s fire for these supposedly inferior men).

  9. 9.

    In spite of the shortcomings (and every talk has some) I must admit that I appreciated references to priestesses, goddesses and Heavenly parents.

  10. 10.

    Shouldn’t it be “Eldress Petunia”? (I love that Shaker title for women. I wish it had said Eldress on my name tag when I served a mission.)

  11. 11.

    -ess endings are stupid. I dislike them immensely.

    Well done, Kiskilili.

  12. 12.

    On a positive note, I just got some great new quotes for the next time someone asks why I have a problem with how the church handles gender.

    Seriously, I just want to be seen as a real human being, how is that to much to ask?

  13. 13.

    @cchrissyy (#1),

    Good catch–I had only read the Daily Universe article, which didn’t include the “men have the priesthood and women have been given the blessing of procreation” line.

    “Procreation” is an odd word to use; women don’t independently procreate. I think he must have meant that “men have the priesthood and women have been given the blessing of motherhood.” But that’s about as problematic, of course, because fatherhood (not ecclesiastical authority) is the male equivalent to motherhood.

  14. 14.

    But Elder Petunia, what about single men? What’s their purpose in life, without a woman to purify?

    (Or maybe we could assume that all men are purifiers, regardless of marital or fatherhood status; it’s their divine role and identity as they aid in bringing to pass the eternal life and immortality of women.)

  15. 15.

    Even though I understand the issues with this, I was really touched by the end:

    “Sisters, I testify that when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and you look into Her eyes and behold Her countenance, any question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny.”

    It’s not often that our Heavenly Mother is spoken of.

  16. 16.

    #14–Are we not all men?

  17. 17.

    K,
    Great post. So awesome. It reminds me of a funnier version of Caroyln Pearson’s over at fMh a few years back.

    I did like the last paragraph, but only if I can use it compeltely out of context for my own agenda :)

  18. 18.

    #16 — We are Devo

  19. 19.

    #15 – I agree. It’s nice that the crap sandwich had a sprinkling of condiments on it.

    But it was still a crap sandwich.

  20. 20.

    You’re going to hell for this, for sure.

    Perhaps I could be your helpmeet and use my masculine intuition to help you preside over a brood of hellions.

  21. 21.

    Wonderland is where Queens don’t need Kings,
    And women travel farther than those with wings,
    Sometimes seeing things before they occur,
    Not letting even the impossible things deter.

    Some look in the mirror and see a game of chance,
    While others say the moves are determined in advance,
    The Mad Hatter was sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit,
    Except that for his certified madness he had no permit.

    In the end Alice left her love for the dream of her father,
    And took men’s business where no one else would bother,
    Halfway across the globe to turn the world on its head,
    Spurning the lord who was properly born but not bred.

    It is greater to be feared than to be loved it was once said,
    Living with anger means you will never have tears to shed,
    So maybe they really could not have survived without Alice,
    And perhaps any who say the same we should wish no malice.

  22. 22.

    I love that the scripture reference is to the book of Jael. That’s one of my very favorite stories in the OT.

  23. 23.

    That’s the thing about Mormonism. We women get to be goddesses; it’s just not clear we get to be people.

    Small dog has articulated well what the problems in the talk were (sorry the first version of your comment got eaten!): women are construed fundamentally as roles and relationships in reference to men. Men’s value is assumed, where women’s is contingent on men’s.

    I laughed over the procreation line too–now we believe in parthenogenesis?

    And I’m not sure how I feel about a talk that thoroughly denies women their subjectivity ending by assuring listeners that seeing Heavenly Mother, about whom we’re barely permitted to speak, will clear up problems that the speaker himself has raised.

  24. 24.

    That is beautiful. Thanks so much for putting that out online. I hope it helps people realize the nuttiness of these kinds of speeches.

  25. 25.

    I noticed that this is a clever parody of the BYU Universe report. Did you hear the speech it reviews? I heard about it and went back and listened to it on-line and must say that I was not pleased with the filter that the reporter used to write the review.

    Pace’s talk made me think about Lynnette’s comment in her “Languages of Faith” piece. She wrote:

    “It’s all too easy to dismiss expressions of faith that aren’t in the mode that sounds most natural to you–whether assuming people who talk in more traditional Mormon ways are simply brainwashed automatons, or critiquing people for being too intellectual, or insufficiently faith-promoting, in the way they talk about their beliefs.”

    So, here’s my creative challenge for K. Let’s imagine that Glenn Pace understands, very well, what you understand about what women face in the church. Let’s also imagine that he comes to you with his speech written and says that he realizes that he speaks in phrases and perspectives that are the products of his age and culture and asks you to edit it thoroughly so that it is more clearly expresses the truth that you would hope a speech on the topic would entail. He asks you not to write a new talk, but to edit the one he has written, keeping the form of the essay and the sequence of sub-topics, but changing the words and adding or deleting sentences and phrases so that the speech speaks truth in a way that will be clearly understood by women and men who hear them. He welcomes any word changes and the editing can be as extensive as you wish. He does request that the tone of the speech be unmistakeably respectful of all who might hear it.

    It takes a few weeks for BYU devotional talks to be available in printed form, so you might not be able to do this right away, but K, I respect your ability as an essayist and would be very interested in what you would produce with such an editing invitation.

    Looking forward to it if you take on the challenge.

  26. 26.

    mb, that is an interesting comment, gave me pause.

    BTW

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yael

  27. 27.

    It’s an interesting challenge, mb. I’m not sure how I would go about it, though, since I’m not sure personally what the “truth” about women is, from a religious perspective.

    But let’s set aside for a moment the issue of truth and suppose I were allowed to edit Elder Pace’s talk from the perspective of what I hoped were true about women. If I’m understanding your reference to Lynnette’s post correctly, you’re framing the issue as one in which Pace’s devotional lacks clarity in my particular idiom (he’s not speaking “my language of faith”). But I see the problem as more serious–I outright disagree with him. Thus, if I were to edit his talk in order to convey what I wish were true, even maintaining a respectful tone, the resulting talk would likely jeopardize his membership.

  28. 28.

    Gosh, I love a good ZD parody!

  29. 29.

    Okay, now this article reminds me of a joke that I think is very relevant. Adam and God are walking thru the Garden of Eden togethor and Adam says,” God , you know I want to thank you for this glorious (sorry for the spelling) garden and this fantastic woman Eve that you gave me, But I do have one question” God says” what question is that?” Adam says,” you know the woman Eve that you gave me is the most beautiful creature ever but why did you make her so dumb?” God replies,” So that she will love you my son”

  30. 30.

    Diane, ouch!

    mb, on second thought, I have some reservations about the very context in which men address the issue of women’s value. So in a more orthodox vein, what I would perhaps advise Elder Pace to do, in all seriousness, is to deliver a talk on the value of men, assuring them that masculinity has a place in the eternities and that when they see the face of their Heavenly Father they’ll never have cause to doubt their value again.

  31. 31.

    26 I get what you’re saying; Yael’s “love language” is “conquest.”
    Awesome and too-often overlooked!

  32. 32.

    you imagine a case of gaslighting
    when the truth is surely more frightening:
    like the witches before you, you say ok
    i’ll do and i’ll do and i’ll do all day
    but when the sun has dropped, the day is done
    despite being meet, meek and weak, your only prize
    is coming face to face with Her so Wise
    she wants to know- are you the Rescue?
    or is being chained to Mighty Him your view
    exalted via proxy, you’ve got moxie
    to face me at all- what’s a mom like me
    gotta do to raise a daughter with eyes to see
    while a subservient role blocks the gate
    please rewrite my part so I can escape!

  33. 33.

    brilliant. Maybe next time I’m asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting I’ll just read a revised GA talk of this stripe.

  34. 34.

    If you think this is condescending to women, imagine how it seems to men. Men have no moral character without the priesthood. Men cannot advance spiritually without women. Men are inherently carnal. Men must be forced to do service. Yadda, yadda.

  35. 35.

    Kim,
    I think a lot of men actually believe this (perhaps my husband on some days). It does make them feel better about themselves when they actually do good things. I mean, if you start out so bad naturally, then when you perform well you’ve overachieved, right?

    This is why I have a problem with the way women are supposed to be naturally selfless, as though it isn’t a problem for us at all.

  36. 36.

    Exactly, Jessawhy. IMO, men and women are equal. We are all children of God struggling with difficult choices and enticing temptations. We all have access to His mercy and Christ’s example. Equally.

  37. 37.

    Kim, exactly. I think that’s the inevitable flip side of talking about how amazingly wonderful and spiritual women are–it leads us to draw some rather disturbing conclusions about men. (That’s one reason I see feminism as having a lot to offer both sexes!)

  38. 38.

    K,

    So, edit it with your outright disagreements. I didn’t say you needed to agree with him. I thought that perhaps you could identify the principles he’s attempting to address in the order in which he addresses them, and edit the essay so that it reflects the truth as you see it.

    Parody is fun and easy. So is cleverness. Comprehension and rearticulation and clarity is more challenging. But I think you could do it justice.

  39. 39.

    If all men had the perspective of seeing women the way a father sees his daughters, “respect for and treatment of a young woman during his dating years would improve significantly,” Elder Pace said.

    Hmmm. So a boyfriend should treat his girlfriend like his daughter? I’m finding too many distracting sexual overtones in this post that I don’t think Elder Pace intended.

  40. 40.

    mb, I really would like to see the text of the talk–I need to listen to it. So I don’t want to jump to conclusions.

    However, I do want to clarify what I was saying in my earlier post; I wasn’t asserting that I think it’s problematic to disagree with people, or raise questions about the way they’re describing a situation, or–particularly with GAs, since what they say is so influential in shaping our sense of what “church teachings” are–closely examine their ideas. What I was getting at is that I don’t think it’s fair to automatically jump to conclusions about people’s sincerity or personal faith based on the way they communicate–and I can’t imagine that I would ever accuse Elder Pace of not being faithful. I absolutely believe he’s sincere, and genuinely means well. But that isn’t to say that I might not disagree with his ideas, or the way he’s framing things.

    The question of whether he understands feminist issues–that to me is kind of the core question here. Because if he really does, it’s hard for me to believe that he would propose a model of gender relations that exacerbates those concerns in its attempt to resolve them. But I’ll say more once I’ve heard the actual talk.

  41. 41.

    I prefer Eldrix, because that would be totally awesome.

    Also, I was completely delighted by references to “The Lady”.

    One thing that has always puzzled me: within Mormonism one can’t want for references to the divine and eternal differences between men and women (the discourse verily overfloweth with such things), and yet, oddly and incongruously, both sexes have one god to know, obey, emulate, and address in prayer.

    The divine and eternal differences between men and women must not matter all that much if there is only one divine pattern to follow.

  42. 42.

    mb, I’m honestly not understanding the project you’re proposing. If I rewrote Elder Pace’s talk to reflect my own views, it would no longer be his talk in any meaningful sense, nor would it be particularly Mormon.

    A more interesting project to my mind would be to analyze the Church’s rhetoric on women’s alleged value with the intent of exposing both problematic context and problematic assumptions, about both women and men. But I feel I’ve done that 100 times on this blog already. Sometimes a simple regendering of the language more forcefully and clearly highlights the issues than a whole cascade of fustian prose.

  43. 43.

    I agree, Mary Ann. God’s gender–and his heterosexuality–are in doubt as long as Heavenly Mother is consigned to the shadows.

  44. 44.

    This talk (the Pace version) is cringe-inducing. But I do think he means well.

    If I had been a teacher of African-American kids at a segregated school in the 1960′s, I think I might have said things to them like, “You can do anything white kids can do. You are just as valuable, important, and smart as they are. You can be a doctor or a scientist or an artist, just like a white person can.” In those words, there’s a clear, unfortunate implication: it’s already a given that white kids can do stuff. It’s already a given that white kids are valuable, important, and smart. It’s a given that white people can be doctors, scientists, and artists. And it’s implied that there’s some additional hurdle for African-American kids to believe/achieve these same things themselves.

    The fact is, society has been racist and discriminatory for years. And my words might have been seen as perpetuating this imbalance. But I really intended the opposite: to help these kids overcome the status quo, to address it, to change it.

    Similarly, men in our church give a lot of talks about women that sound horribly condescending. But I think, from their perspective, when they hint that it’s already a given that men are full human beings, whereas women need to be reassured of their status, it’s because these G.A.s are at least vaguely aware that the scriptures and the history and the culture DO leave something to be desired. Women have been marginalized. It hasn’t been clear that we are equal to men. So to their credit, these sweet old men are trying, in their own clumsy way, to make things better – not make things worse.

    Now there are some details of his speech that I’d still take issue with. But overall, I really think he’s trying to bring about a more equal, mutually-beneficial relationship between the sexes.

  45. 45.

    #11

    -ess endings aren’t stupid. You just dislike them immensely.

    I personally like goddess, priestess, and, yes, eldress. And you’re welcome to your preference.

  46. 46.

    mb, perhaps one reason we’re seemingly talking past each other is that we (maybe?) don’t share a basic assumption about whether it’s possible in the context of the Church as currently construed to assert unambiguously that women have value or personhood in the same way men do. So if I were to edit Elder Pace’s talk to assert women’s personhood in a way that was satisfactory to my way of thinking, it would ineluctably call into question virtually every aspect of Mormon thought, from the Godhead to scripture to ecclesiology to liturgy. It would not be a BYU devotional; it would be a Sunstone presentation.

    But this post is intended to highlight a much narrower issue–the problem of making women’s value contingent on the benefits they bestow on men, thus existentially subordinating women to men. Men confer value, and women are the recipients of that value. To my mind, that’s already a problematic dynamic.

  47. 47.

    It’s a good point, Jane, and I recognize Elder Pace’s intentions are likely benevolent. And of course all of us say things we regret or come across in ways that are unfortunate.

    I’m not sure your analogy holds, though. If the Church News and Daily Universe articles are any indication, what Elder Pace did was the equivalent of telling black kids they’re valuable not because they can do anything white kids can do, but because they can do things that will benefit white kids. That’s a problem.

  48. 48.

    Parts of his talk are defintely worded to highlight how women help men. But as I read through the church news account, there were also sections that focused more on the fact that both sexes need each other. My reading of the talk is that both men and women are incomplete without the other, and that we’re all intended to serve and help our spouses become better people.

    But yeah, I’m with you. My first reaction was to cringe. It took a concerted effort to try and give it a charitable re-reading (feeling kind of chastened/inspired by mb’s comments).

  49. 49.

    Kiskilli – Did you make this using a website that converts all the gendered items to the other gender? I remember a long time ago coming such a website but haven’t been able to find it again, despite numerous and varied google searches.

  50. 50.

    I regendered it freely, but a few years ago Seraphine used such a website:

    http://regender.com/index.html

    (See this post: Why Words Matter)

  51. 51.

    Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how much time I spent looking for that over the last few months. And looking at Seraphine’s post, that’s where I first came across it (yes, I’ve been lurking that long…)

  52. 52.

    Glad to oblige! :)

  53. 53.

    Okay, I watched it! And I do believe in the sincerity of his intentions, his genuine desire to reassure women of their importance. (In other words, I don’t think he’s just out to be an evil patriarchal oppressor.) I liked some of the stories he told, like about being scared he would fail out of kindergarten. And as others have mentioned, the talk was striking in its mention of priestesses and goddesses, and even a direct comment about HM at the end. (Though I’m struck by his phrasing–he says in a rather awkward sentence construction, when you meet your heavenly parents, you will look into her eyes and behold her countenance–is it still verboten to use the term “Heavenly Mother”?) But wow! Heavenly Mother makes an appearance! That’s definitely something worth noting.

    That said, I don’t even know where to start in explaining why I find the entire framework troubling. It’s not that there are disturbing comments scattered here and there–the whole point of the talk is how women purify men. He says that flat out at the beginning: “the focus of my remarks is the divine nature and destiny of women, and the sacred role they play in the sanctification and purification of men.” (Don’t know if I got that word-for-word, but that’s pretty close.) The value of women is entirely framed in what it is they do for men. Eve is given to Adam so that he won’t be alone, because he can’t complete his mission alone. Women are only discussed in terms of what they give men. You might argue that the reverse is true as well–it’s just that his focus here is on what women do for men and not vice versa–but that doesn’t really go with the Eden story (and he spends quite a bit of time on it).

    I thought some of the later stuff was somewhat better, when he switched to focusing on what couples could achieve together. But still–the approach was incredibly androcentric. And there’s a whole lot of the “women are angelic” rhetoric (yes, the term “angel” is used, and he says at the beginning that he goes so far as to venerate righteous women).

    He also warns women of things that will detract from their divine nature, that will make them “hard” instead of “strong” or undermine their spiritual sensitivity. And if that happens, the marriage relationship won’t bring about the necessary sanctification. Setting aside the question of what exactly women’s divine nature is (as usual, that’s pretty vague), I found this model notable in that sanctification is evidently dependent on the contributions of women–given that men are described as the ones being in need of sanctification, it seems unlikely that their lack of spiritual sensitivity (or what-not) would undermine this process–because their spiritual inadequacy is a given. In other words, there’s no hint that if women do start to slip into worldly ways, their husbands could provide a counteracting influence. (To be fair, he might well say that if you asked him, but you wouldn’t get it from this talk.)

    Aside from the gender piece, I actually found this rather depressing to hear as a single. He says that spiritual development can only go so far if you aren’t married, and something about how progress toward exaltation can begin here in this life (specifically in the context of sealed couples); you don’t have to wait for the next one. Though if you’re single, you evidently do; I’m reminded once again that my life is just in a holding pattern as a I await a situation where I can actually progress.

    But going back to the gender stuff, he also emphasizes that men and women are different–again, without too many specifics. I’d question the generalizations he does make, though–he tells a story of how his sister was reassuring about his fears of starting school, where he imagines a brother would have made fun of him. Let me just say that I have an older sister and an older brother, and with apologies to Eve, the roles probably would have been reversed in our family. (And you don’t even want to know the ways in which I was mean instead of reassuring to my own younger sisters!)

    So–I really am trying not to be snarky about him personally –honestly, I watched this and thought, he seems like a sweet guy, despite the fact that what he is saying is making me crazy. And I do want to cut him some slack in terms of coming from a very different generation and so forth. But I think the problem goes beyond the issue of him wording things in unfortunate ways–he’s setting out a theological model of gender that I find immensely unpalatable. In a nutshell, for those who were troubled by the report in the Universe or Church News, I don’t think listening to the actual talk is going to clear up any of your concerns.

  54. 54.

    I’m thinking also that if this were an isolated talk, I don’t know that it would be worth getting too worked up about. The problem is that this isn’t the only time I’ve encountered this particular model of gender in the Church. He’s not pulling this out of thin air.

  55. 55.

    Lynnette, thanks for watching it and giving your honest feedback. At first I just read the last paragraph and was encouraged, but it seems like the tone and subject are just so troubling it’s hard to see this as a net win.

    I just picked up a book called The Hidden Brain and read from a random page and came across this,

    “It’s like we (the women) are in a forest and the men are the trees, and what we can do is water the roots and make the trees flourish, but we can’t move the trees. We can live in the canopy of the forest and be bathed by the light filtered through the canopy. It does not occur to men that a woman can frame the issue and that we are entitled to frame it differently.”
    This quote is from Joan Roughgardner who is some kind of animal/marine biologist (she also used to be a man, and unsurprisingly received much more professional respect when she was).

    My point is just this. Mormons aren’t the only ones that are experiencing the androcentrism. Perhaps the difference is that we’re being told it’s God’s will and not our unconscious brain.

  56. 56.

    Lynnette, my first cringe was for my singlehood, not my womanhood, too… we are just doubly screwed :)

  57. 57.

    #45 – I think that -ess endings are stupid because I don’t see why we need to stick the same suffix on all titles and jobs to indicate that it’s a woman holding the role. We don’t have a masculine ending that we stick on words to indicate that it’s a man holding the job.

    To me, it’s a subtle way of suggesting that men are the norm and women are other.

    But like you said, to each their own and all.

  58. 58.

    Actually, I think the queen/priestess/Heavenly Mother stuff is an interesting feature of our gender discourse. There seems to be an assumption that things will be just and equitable in the hereafter, but that this justice is so utterly different from anything we can comprehend in our fallen human state that we should just not worry about it in this life. Or something like that.

  59. 59.

    This totally falls flat in its purpose because this isn’t reversible. I don’t find this insulting. I wish anything like it were remotely true. Men don’t care, they don’t ennoble, and they don’t make anyone better.
    The fact is, without religious duty to draw men in, we are a sad bunch of vagabonds and drones with no perspective of anything outside ourselves. While I realize you are too busy being oppressed to ever consider that the grass is not, in fact, greener on the other side, you should realize just how wretched manhood really is these days.

  60. 60.

    Lynnette, never fear. Doc (59) just showed us that we are, in fact, much better off for being single and not associating with sad vagabonds/drones with no perspective but wretchedness. *high five* single ladies

    Seriously, I hope that was a joke…

  61. 61.

    Men don’t care, they don’t ennoble, and they don’t make anyone better.

    If this is supposed to be a serious comment, and not a joke, my reaction is . . .

    Who wants to become a lesbian with me and start our own church?

  62. 62.

    yeah, we’d better do that – no way we’ll find spiritual refining from some male-piloted church. What uncaring, un-ennobling, unimproving wastes of our valuable time! who wants tt be led by “a sad bunch of vegabonds” anyway?

    besides, I just read on FMH that lesbians are the only true feminists. time to jump ship?

  63. 63.

    Doc, I find your view of men both unfortunate and foreign. That absolutely has not been my experience of Mormon or non-Mormon men.

    Also, I’m not sure why pronounced androcentrism would help men overcome their alleged self-centeredness.

  64. 64.

    I wonder about our appeals to the next life as the site of ultimate justice too, Kristine. On the one hand they don’t really work unless we use terms like “priestess” and “goddess” that actually indicate power. On the other hand, that leaves several features of our doctrine unexplained, not the least of which is why we don’t worship a goddess or have priestesses.

  65. 65.

    Enna, good point! Maybe I should be grateful I dodged that bullet. I wouldn’t want my sweet pure nature corrupted by someone who was carnal, sensual, and devilish.

    Kristine & Kiskilili (the special Ks? ;) ), those are good questions. I can see at least two problems with the, “in the next life you’ll see how wonderful it is” idea. The first is that if priestesses and goddesses, now matter how cool-sounding their titles, are in the position in relation to men outlined in our teachings and liturgy here, it’s pretty cold comfort. But if it is indeed the case that all inequities will be overcome in the eternities, why would it be a problem to try to work for that ideal in this life? Elder Pace said in this very talk that we can start progressing now. (Well, at least if we’re married.)

  66. 66.

    “That’s the thing about Mormonism. We women get to be goddesses; it’s just not clear we get to be people.”

    If you want to be a regular Joe then start by doing the things that regular Joes regularly do — like taking a blue-collar job. Go drive a trash truck or flip burgers or trim trees or pick apples — for a living. That’s the world that “people” live in.

  67. 67.

    Driving a garbage truck is one of my highest aspirations.

  68. 68.

    Anything written by the daily universe could be parodied easily. How disapointing that the OP didn’t take the time to listen to or understand the actual talk, but instead went with the slanted view of the reporter. With the actual talk you get information that the role to help sanctify each other is a part of marriage, but today he is talking about women. The majority of the marriage part of the talk is about how it is a recipricol responsibility, women and men helping each other.

  69. 69.

    I did listen to the talk. And I actually found the DU summary to be a pretty good representation of what was said. It isn’t about men and women sanctifying each other–it’s about women sanctifying men, and that dynamic as part of an eternal marriage. I’m looking back through my notes, and I see a lot about how marriage is required for spiritual development, and only couples can be exalted–but nothing about reciprocal responsibilities. The talk is primarily about the role and divine nature of women, and how those things benefit men.

  70. 70.

    Doc and Jack,

    Sounds like you men are kind of grumpy and in need of an extra strong dose of purification. Maybe you could try to work your masculine wiles on a woman who is extra-spiritual and who possesses purification superpowers and convince her to marry you. Or maybe you want to wait until the next life when we men will be assigned to righteous women as rewards for their righteousness. Then we will have the privilege of being brother-husbands. If that idea kind of makes you sick, well, welcome to the club.

    Good point, Lynnette. Heck will freeze over before we hear a talk praising men for their spirituality and telling them how they should sanctify and purify women.

  71. 71.

    Mark, before you get too discouraged about your eternal role, I hope you’ll remember what Elder Sheldon Don’t said about the blessings which arise from the fact that all men are fathers.

  72. 72.

    So true, so true. Are we not all fathers?

  73. 73.

    Dear friends,

    We welcome comments which disagree with our positions. However, we won’t tolerate insults or name-calling (see our comment policy). As long as you feel able to restrain yourself from calling your interlocutors “stupid” or “scum,” please feel free to contribute your thoughtful critiques.

  74. 74.

    Thanks also for expunging the lascivious link

  75. 75.

    I missed a lascivious link? Rats!

  76. 76.

    Taking the risk of commenting on this conversation without actually having read / heard the original talk at BYU, I’d like to add my own perspective.

    I find stereotyping to be hard to swallow whether directed toward women or men. There seems to be an implied assumption that both men and women are both so carnal as to require an institutional role to redeem them. Men are said to “need” the priesthood and its attendant responsibilities to make up for our selfish natures whereas women “need” motherhood to give them a redeeming role in the society of men. I disagree with both assertions.

    I think there has to be a way to acknowledge that gender is an essential characteristic of individual identity and purpose while recognizing that we are all children of Heavenly Parents (a Father and a Mother) with a divine nature and destiny.

    I think its important to remember, while supporting the central place of the family in the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children, that the most important family we belong to is the one in which we are all offspring of Diety. That is the only family relationship that remains constant regardless of upbringing, marital status, social standing, the number of or lack of children that we have, the faithfulness of our spouse, parents or children.

    I don’t pretend to know the mysteries of the roles our Heavenly Parents employ in the eternities. But I think it’s fairly safe to project statements from The Family proclamation to them.

    I believe that our Heavenly Parents “love and care for each other and for their children … rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.”

    I believe that our Heavenly Parents are married and ” honor marital vows with complete fidelity” and that our heavenly family is “established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

    I believe that our Heavenly Father preside[s] over [our family] in love and righteousness and [is] responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for [His family].

    I believe that our Heavenly Mother is “primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

    I believe that in these sacred responsibilities our Heavenly Parents “help one another as equal partners” and that extended family members may lend support when needed.

    I believe that Divine beings are unique in their character despite being one in purpose and glory, which leaves open the possibility of individual adaptation in marital and family relationships in the eternities as they do here in this life.

    I think that we tend to overly simplify the character of our Heavenly Parents just as it’s easy to artificially simplify and distinguish the characters of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by assigning stern justice to the Father and loving mercy to the Son. I believe these Beings we worship are much more complicated than that, but that sorting all of this out is going to take a lot more prayer and study and fasting.

    It’s helpful to me to see myself as a child of God first, a disciple of Christ and a member of His Church second, and a husband and father third and fourth.

  77. 77.

    Last shall be first, greatest among you is your servant. The best leaders are those who intimately understand their subjects. There is no better way to understand your subjects than to be one for awhile. There is no shame in being a subject or a servant when the point of it is revealed.

    In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.. thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee… in the celestial sphere there will be no sweat to eat bread, nor will there be any husbands ruling over their wives. Both of these curses will be removed.

  78. 78.

    Goodness, I was going to write about this over at the exponent, but I think you said what I was going to say. So, well done!

    you and I think a lot alike.

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