Are women’s perceptions less reliable than men’s? Does this policy not privilege the validity of male experience over female, signaling the stance that men’s perceptions should be accepted by the community as “truth,” where women’s experiences must be measured against men’s?
When it comes to patriarchy, the Church is all over the map. Husbands preside, but husbands and wives are equal partners. “While the husband, the father, has responsibility to provide worthy and inspired leadership, his wife is neither behind him nor ahead of him but at his side” (Boyd K. Packer). The two are “equally yoked” side by side, but the husband “provides leadership,” implying that the wife supplies the “followership”–not from a position behind him, but rather at his side: perhaps they are meant to walk sidewise? (This all sounds more awkward than a three-legged race.) Read More
Religious secrecy is nothing new; ancient mystery religions enjoyed a long history and vital following, and even some early Christian groups apparently did not reveal key doctrines to catechumens until after baptism. A number of instantiations of institutional secrecy in the Church can be identified, among them the veil over the handbook of instructions and the lack of public information on how tithing dollars are spent. But what interests me here is the significance to community dynamics of the conducting of secret ceremonies. Read More
Dr. Seuss got at least one thing right: music is absolutely essential to any celebration of Christmas, perhaps even the most essential element; for me, the day the Christmas season begins is the day I bust out my collection of Christmas CDs (though I admit, I often cheat and start singing Christmas music in October or November, even though I refrain from listening to it that early). This year I recently compiled a list of about 80 most cherished Christmas songs, my favorite of which is actually not a Christmas song at all but an Advent song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Of course, my choices are guided chiefly by music, but this 12th- or 13th-century Gregorian chant is the setting for wonderfully gloomy, plaintive, moving lyrics, answered antiphonally in the refrain by the promise of deliverance–as one popular translation from the Latin original renders two of the verses:
It’s now been almost two years since I received my endowment, and these have been, without question, the least religious two years of my life.
I was not a closet feminist before my temple experience. I was quite upfront with my bishop about the fact that I think there’s no good reason for women not to hold the priesthood, and how I pray the Proclamation on the Family is uninspired. I took the temple prep class four times over the course of several years, and drove a series of teachers crazy with questions. (Why are ordinances necessary, anyway?) Read More