Zelophehad’s Daughters

The Ticket Fallacy

Posted by Kiskilili

(Adapted from a comment Starfoxy made years ago.)

You need a ticket to ride the ferris wheel, and your ticket needs you to ride the ferris wheel. That doesn’t make you and your ticket equal in value.

Personally, I hope to be more in life than a man’s ticket onto the celestial ferris wheel.

18 Responses to “The Ticket Fallacy”

  1. 1.

    Clearly you just don’t truly understand a ticket’s divine destiny and role.

  2. 2.

    Right on. Getting chosen only gets you so far. I’m not interested in being praised merely for what I am; to reach fulfillment, I must also be exhorted to do great things, and to be recognized for what I do.

  3. 3.

    I guess I’m missing why you (or Starfoxy) think this is the most appropriate analogy to describe the male / female relationship from an LDS perspective?

    You buy a ticket to go on the ferris wheel, then you throw the ticket away and enjoy the ride by yourself. The ticket has no part of your life from that point forward. Then you buy another ticket (!) and throw that away if you want to ride again. I don’t see a compelling and insightful parallel here to the male/female dichotomy even within ultra-orthodox LDS theology.

    I understand fully the struggle with women supposedly being equal yet obviously not equal at the same time, but surely there’s a better and more productive analogy out there for discussion?

    (I’m sure you don’t like the traditional “head” versus “heart” comparison any better, but isn’t that a little closer to what LDS theology actually says about gender roles?)

  4. 4.

    This isn’t a response to the sum of LDS gender theology. This is a label for the particular argument that the church values women, as evidenced by the fact that men can’t be exalted without them.

  5. 5.

    To be clear: this argument does indeed demonstrate that women are valued (although it’s worth pointing out that men’s value is taken as axiomatic). It just doesn’t demonstrate that women are valued as agents.

  6. 6.

    If that were the ONLY reason women were valued in the church (as a tool to unlock exaltation for men) then I would see the point. But it’s not. Even the most traditional and ultra-orthodox man in the Church values women for more reasons than that. (Motherhood, eternal companion / help-meet, etc.)

    Do women genuinely feel Church doctrine (and their relationship to their husbands) makes them feel comparable to disposable pieces of paper without life or meaning, printed only to allow others (men) to achieve happiness?

    If so, I withdraw any objection (and note that male-female relations in the Church are far worse than I ever would have imagined, even as a longtime ZD/FMH reader).

    If not, then I still see it as a vast oversimplification of a complex issue with limited utility.

  7. 7.

    So would it be fair to say, KMB, that you object not to the analogy itself, but to the limited scope of the topic?

    (I’m responding to jenw’s comment here, especially the following:

    Elder Packer gave a talk and, for some reason, in the beginning of his talk, he addressed the idea that some people feel the Church treats women unkindly. He said that he wished women knew how much men in the Church value them because, in essence, they enable their husbands to be exalted. He said that this is their greatest value: getting their husbands into heaven, and the mean of the church love and appreciate them for it. It was deeply troubling to me and I’ve been wrestling with it for weeks.

    I just didn’t want to jack Petra’s thread. But this idea comes up often enough.)

    Maybe if you explain the complexities of this argument to me—that women’s value can be demonstrated by the fact that men need them for exaltation—that would help? Because I find the argument both straightforward and unhelpful.

  8. 8.

    This is of course a threadjack, but why even jump to the variegated ways men value women?

    If that were the ONLY reason women were valued in the church (as a tool to unlock exaltation for men) then I would see the point. But it’s not. Even the most traditional and ultra-orthodox man in the Church values women for more reasons than that. (Motherhood, eternal companion / help-meet, etc.)

    Isn’t that just replicating the problematic dynamics of the ticket-fallacy arguments? Men’s value is inherent; women’s is contingent on men.

  9. 9.

    Here is the BKP quote in question:

    “We are sometimes charged with being unkind to the sisters in that they do not hold the priesthood and therefore do not hold the offices that the brethren do. But it is well understood that whether or not we are exalted depends upon the sister who is at our side—the wife, the mother of our children—and no holder of the priesthood would in any way depreciate or mitigate the value and power of his wife. When I hear those comments that the sisters are less than the brethren, I wish that they could see inside the heart of every worthy holder of the priesthood and understand how he feels about his wife, the mother of his children—a reverence, not quite worship but a kind of worship, a respect for the companion in life that causes it to be that he can be exalted ultimately.”

    http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/worldwide-leadership-training/2012/01/priesthood-power-in-the-home?lang=eng

  10. 10.

    Thanks for quoting it, maria!

    For the record, I think the problems here go far beyond the ticket fallacy, although that’s a prominent piece. Men almost worship their wives? That’s “not quite [idolatry] but a kind of [idolatry].” And how does men’s love for their wives excuse massive structural inequalities?

  11. 11.

    Okay, I hadn’t read the previous thread and won’t defend BKP’s quote. If we’re viewing the OP as purely a response to that particular talk then you’re right not to feel especially “valued” at being the key to men’s eternal progression. Fair enough.

    I guess the question is, then: does giving the priesthood to women change anything in this equation? (Exaltation would still require a man and woman tied together for each other’s benefit. “Priesthood” becomes irrelevant.)

    Or perhaps the point is that the Church should be emphasizing valuing womanhood in the here and now without having to depend on future concepts in the afterlife like exaltation?

    (Still, it is an extreme analogy — the ticket is an inanimate object without goals or feelings. It doesn’t “need” or benefit from the ticket-holders presence in any way comparable to how women “need” or benefit from a husband to achieve her full eternal potential. Perhaps a better analogy would be a man and woman both needing each other to enter the ferris wheel…whereupon the man gets to ride and the woman watches from the gate and “supports” him.)

  12. 12.

    maria – thank you for finding the quote. I spent a few minutes looking for it because I didn’t want to paraphrase and let my own bias taint my re-telling of it. (also I’ve been wanting to find it just to make sure I actually heard what he said…yep, i did.)

  13. 13.

    I’d never heard that one before! That’s awful!

  14. 14.

    Yep. That’s what we all heard, after waking up at the crack of dawn to be inspired by the leadership training meeting. It is a sad commentary that I feel like I need to *avoid* leadership training meetings so that I can retain the spirit.

    Utterly defeating that morning. Ugh.

  15. 15.

    Sorry, KMB—I probably should have clarified the context in the original post. That’s what I get for putting it up in a rush!

    I’m not sure ordaining women would necessarily correct this problem so much as insisting women are not subordinate and constructing a more robust cosmology for women. After all, in our most canonical articulations of our cosmology, it’s not really clear what women are for, besides to benefit and serve men.

    Here’s what I like about the ticket analogy: it’s a near reductio ad absurdum to an unstated argument. It’s true you can measure something’s value by its usefulness. A ticket can have enormous valuable. But it’s valuable as an object, not as an agent. It only has value in reference to someone. Your analogy is charming; it captures the sex-based discrepancies in opportunity. But I don’t think it captures what’s wrong with the reasoning in this sort of argument. My point isn’t so much that women are treated like tickets by the church (although some statements run along those lines) as that this entire line of reasoning is horribly problematic.

  16. 16.

    I don’t swing by here that often, but this discussion drew my attention and I particularly like this question from Kiskilili:

    “So would it be fair to say, KMB, that you object not to the analogy itself, but to the limited scope of the topic?”

    I think it’s a great analogy for specifically targeting some of what was distressing about Boyd K Packer’s comment.

    I think KMB has a point if Kiskilili were saying this a good analogy for explaining the relationship between men and women in the Church, but I don’t think that’s what she’s saying. It’s much too narrow for that, but it’s great at highlighting what was concerning.

    I also don’t think it helps that these comments are coming from BKP.

    In a broader sense I’d also be a little concerned if someone said: “whether or not I am exalted depends upon all you guys to my side. I’m not going to depreciate or mitigate the value and power of the people around me, because hey, I need you to be saved.”

    I’d prefer that people do it because it’s the right thing to do, not that you get me “something.” The fact that it appears to have been more narrowly applied to women and perhaps in some ways unidirectionally, makes it that much more concerning. So I think the ticket analogy is great at pointing out some of the specific aspects that were concerning.

    I don’t think there were ill intentions on BKP’s part, but there’s obviously a difference in perspective.

  17. 17.

    I guess the question is, then: does giving the priesthood to women change anything in this equation? (Exaltation would still require a man and woman tied together for each other’s benefit. “Priesthood” becomes irrelevant.)

    I don’t think the priesthood itself would change anything; it’s more the fact that giving the priesthood to women would signify a change in how women are seen and treated by the church.

  18. 18.

    You buy a ticket to go on the ferris wheel, then you throw the ticket away and enjoy the ride by yourself. The ticket has no part of your life from that point forward. Then you buy another ticket (!) and throw that away if you want to ride again.

    I think this comment by KMB actually demonstrates how this same analogy could point to different Mormon gender inequity as well. A women is like a ticket because she “gives herself” to a man as part of the LDS temple marriage ceremony. However, the man does not give himself to her. After all, a man owns a ticket; a ticket cannot own a man. If for some reason, he loses his ticket (through divorce or death) the same man is free to get another ticket (marry another woman for eternity in the temple) but if the same tragedy happens to a woman, she cannot remarry for eternity in the temple. (The same ticket is not valid for two different men and she is already owned by the first ticket holder.)

    The only problem I see with this analogy is that the man does not discard his tickets. He gets to keep all of them for eternity. Even if he literally discards his wife by divorcing her, she cannot remarry a different man for eternity in the temple unless she can convince her original ticket holder (and other men in authority over her) to give her a temple divorce and release her from ticket holder #1.

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