The principles I have identified for the exercise of priesthood authority are more understandable and more comfortable for a married woman than for a single woman, especially a single woman who has never been married. She does not now experience priesthood authority in the partnership relationship of marriage. Her experiences with priesthood authority are in the hierarchical relationships of the Church, and some single women feel they have no voice in those relationships.
I can’t read this paragraph without scratching my head.
Although it’s phrased as if it’s an empirical statement, I suspect Elder Oaks came to this conclusion through deductive reasoning of sorts. A couple of assumptions seem to be at play here: One is perhaps that since marriage is unequivocally a partnership, feminist objections must be to the ecclesial privilege that the priesthood confers on men in the church community, and not to “patriarchy” in the home. (Elder Oaks comes close to acknowledging that women are being excluded from something important but then backpedals by locating this observation in their “feelings” and suggesting, ideally, they should be included anyway, even if they’re excluded.) Another seems to be that married women are content to participate in church governance through their husbands, or are perhaps satisfied with their opportunities to participate in domestic governance instead of church governance; I’m not sure how else to make sense of the fact that he singles out singles for discontentment.
I’m not convinced by either of these premises, assuming I’ve accurately uncovered them. The church gives indications that wives are subordinate to husbands, which, if anything, should be of more concern to married women than to single women. And I fail to see how marriage ameliorates women’s exclusion from church government, especially if the two are as distinctly separate as he claims.
But let’s come at the question from another angle. What is your experience? To those who formerly fit the profile of the concerned single woman: Did your concerns with male ordination and domestic patriarchy diminish when you got married?
- 19 May 2011