Zelophehad’s Daughters

What Is Priesthood?

Posted by Kiskilili

On the heavenly side, it’s the “eternal power and authority of God” whereby Creation itself was undertaken; on the earthly side, it’s the “authority to . . . act in [God’s] name.” All sorts of grandiose claims have flown quite naturally from the claim that priesthood is the power of God; after all, if priesthood holders’ blessings […]

Why Are There No Women At This Party?

Posted by Kiskilili

In the past we’ve discussed the problem of women’s exaltation and role in the next life generally. Let’s look now at the complementary problem: women’s absence from the pre-mortal existence. Cosmogonies around the world often make a connection between creation and procreation: female and male elements unite to engender aspects of the known universe. In striking […]

Is Mormonism Anti-Catholic?

Posted by Kiskilili

Here’s how I see the situation (and I’ll admit at the outset that I haven’t entirely been able to make sense of it or read all the relevant history). In a sense, Mormonism is anti-everything. In the ideal Mormon realm no other religions would exist, since their understanding of truth is partial and corrupt; other […]

Musings on the Mormon Mary

Posted by Kiskilili

Among Mormons motherhood is held up as the “highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind [sic].” One might discern, then, a vaguely Mary-shaped silhouette in our discourse in the negative space between our focus on Jesus as the consummate man and our insistence on the near-divinity of motherhood.  In the heavenly realm we lack anything other than a wisp of an ultimate example of […]

Christianity and Women’s Rights

Posted by Kiskilili

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by Ann Braude, a scholar of the religious history of American women, on the topic of the role Christianity played in the fight for women’s rights in the United States. I’ve heard Professor Braude speak in the past (once to Mormon women at an Exponent II series in […]

Halloween and Ritual Boundary Crossing

Posted by Kiskilili

Mormons tell more jokes about alcohol than anyone I know. There’s a simple reason for this, I think, and it’s not (in my reading of it) that many faithful Mormons are on the verge of losing their grips on the teetotalers’ wagon. Quite the contrary: the humor of such jokes derives specifically from the transgression […]

Who Are the Neanderthals?

Posted by Kiskilili

Mormons on Evolution

Posted by Kiskilili

According to this study, Mormons aren’t terribly likely to accept the proposition that “evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth” (however one interprets this statement).

Could God Have a Tail?

Posted by Kiskilili

Our insistence on an embodied (male) God leaves us open to all sorts of doctrinal head-scratchers, especially regarding the relationship between the universal and the particular: can God in some way be a prototypical human male encapsulating or representative of characteristics of all, or is he just one more specific example in the category “human male,” with his own […]

I Don’t Hear Any Complaints

Posted by Kiskilili

Caller: Since we’re getting into the 21st century, President Hinckley, what is the chance that women may hold a priesthood in the Mormon church? Gordon B. Hinckley: Well, they don’t hold the priesthood at the present time. It would take another revelation to bring that about. I don’t anticipate it. The women of the church […]

Patriarchy is Cultural. Is Equality?

Posted by Kiskilili

A popular feminist argument against Mormon patriarchy asserts that it is simply a cultural relic absorbed unquestioningly from the surrounding social textures of past prophets. We learn that Paul was a product of his time, that Joseph Smith made assumptions about women’s status consonant with his own cultural milieu, or that the Book of Mormon’s androcentrism can be dismissed as […]

Theory and Practice

Posted by Kiskilili

“I know it works in practice,” a French scholar (steeped in a tradition emphasizing Cartesian rationalism) is reported to have said, “but does it work in theory?” Certain churches may be the only institutions in this country that are more sexist in theory than they are in practice, as Mark Chaves suggests in his study Ordaining […]

Dear Dr. Freud

Posted by Kiskilili

Recently I dreamed that it turned out Elder Richard G. Scott was some sort of intelligence agent sent to spy on a fellow apostle, a certain Elder Nat Ott. Elder Ott, in turn, had been hired by the Church to spy on Elder Scott. (Alas, the details of the operation escape me.) What does it all […]

Modesty and Body Image

Posted by Kiskilili

Modesty, defined increasingly narrowly in the Church as deliberately dressing in ways that are not intended to be sexually provocative, or, even more rigidly, conforming to a dress code dictating the boundaries of acceptable non-provocative attire, is frequently understood in terms of its effects on (male) onlookers. When modesty is discussed as something individuals might do […]

If A Woman Strips Naked in a Forest and No One Sees Her, Is She Still Pornography?

Posted by Kiskilili

“And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you.” (Elder Oaks, April Conference 2005) This statement raises a raft of thorny issues, several of which have been hashed out elsewhere and some of which I’m not entirely sure […]

Miscellaneous Temple Questions

Posted by Kiskilili

A few months back, “Lawrence” raised an interesting question at BCC: The temple covenants when my spouse and I took our endowments differ from the current covenants. When we are asked in an interview if we keep our temple covenants, does this refer to the covenants as they were for our endowments, or the covenants […]

Shrines and Icons in Mormon Thought

Posted by Kiskilili

Recently I spent a pleasant evening with one of my sisters in a Catholic church, taking in the smell of the votive candles, the prominently placed mosaics depicting aspects of Jesus’ ministry, and the statuary, and I got to wondering about the way both sacred space and images operate in Mormonism.

A Bloggernacle Bestiary

Posted by Kiskilili

We’re fond of the terms “conservative” and “liberal” to describe a spectrum of approaches to Church teachings, from unwavering compliance on the one extreme to thumbing one’s nose on the other. However, while certainly useful in a limited way, these terms fail to take account of the network of possible methods whereby members can interpret various Church teachings in light of […]

Secret Vows and Time

Posted by Kiskilili

The secrecy surrounding the temple can be viewed from several different angles, but in this post I’m interested in exploring how it functions with respect to time. Because investigating details of the ceremony is forbidden to the uninitiated and people are required to receive their own endowments before being allowed to do vicarious work, time–to […]

Chicken Patriarchy Dissected

Posted by Kiskilili

Not infrequently statements from Church leaders contain instances of full-fledged Chicken Patriarchy in all its muddled, labyrinthine, self-contradictory splendor. But in other cases, both patriarchy and equality are being taught separately as appropriate ideals.