Our planet’s head support staff is comprised of three males: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Heavenly Mother gets an occasional sideways glance in current publications (and so do her sister wives if you go back a bit), but is never mentioned even once in any scriptural or liturgical text; she’s a grainy mirage of a shadow in the corner of the family photograph, explicitly excluded from the Godhead and an inappropriate subject of veneration or invocation in ordinances. She does not communicate with us, nor we with her.
We know Abraham has become a god. Not sure what status Keturah has.
All known angels are male. So is the devil.
We know Peter James and John served our world before birth. They have no female equivalents.
If Eve existed before the creation of the world, we know nothing about it. If she participated in the creation, unlike that of Michael/Adam, her role is apparently too unimportant to mention.
Section 76, our most detailed outline of the afterlife, includes no mention of women in any kingdom, and gives clear indication that women are not in evidence in the celestial realm (“They [in the celestial kingdom] are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fullness, and of his glory; / And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son”).
Thanks to a single slender verse, we have evidence Eve and her daughters participate in the Great Beyond (see here; naturally in detail and attention, even here, they’re dwarfed by their brothers).
Relying on a recipe of one part extrapolation and two parts wishful thinking, we’ve concluded from this promising panoply of attestations that women are Very Important in both the pre- and post-mortal existence, although, unlike their male counterparts, it’s not clear they have any authority or any contact with us. Our canon and liturgy portray them as absent or barely marginal.
In the other monotheistic traditions, the universal God transcends gender. In polytheism, goddesses abound. Not so Mormonism! We believe both that gender is eternally significant and that the eternities are significantly masculine.
Here’s my challenge to you, gentle reader. Point me to a religious tradition whose cosmology marginalizes women more than that of Mormonism.
- 20 April 2012