Sep 22

Spiritual Authority Figures and Spiritual Role Models

I am going to start out with a couple of thought questions.

First of all, in general do Mormon women see Mormon men as spiritual authority figures and spiritual role models? I would say, yes.  Many Mormon women look up to their Bishops and Stake Presidents and listen carefully to the insights that they share over the pulpit.  Many Mormon women listen carefully during General Conference and later study and highlight the words of the male General Authorities.  When they attend council meetings, most Mormon women will agree that the Bishop or Stake President gets final say and will do everything they can to support the leader’s decisions. Continue reading

Sep 23

Most Quoted Parts of the Proclamation on the Family

A recent discussion at fMh turned, as so many do, to a discussion of whether Church teachings about marriage emphasize more that the husband should preside or that the husband and wife should be equal partners. Given this question, I thought it might be interesting to look at whether the “presiding” part or the “equal partners” part of the Proclamation on the Family had been quoted more.

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Dec 29

The Problem of Eve’s Submission

From a feminist perspective, Genesis 3:16 is one of the more difficult passages in scripture.  The last phrase, “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee,” sets up a hierarchical model of marriage in which men lead and women follow.  Though the terms have shifted (rule/preside for the men; obey/hearken for the women) over the years, the general model remains in LDS teachings and liturgy–providing a topic of endless discussion for Bloggernacle feminists. In grappling with the contemporary arrangement, in which women covenant to hearken to their husbands, I have encountered a number of arguments which attempt to deal with the apparent sexism.  The most commonly cited, at least in my experience, are: Continue reading

Jun 19

Women and the Priesthood, Fifteen Years Later

Maxine Hanks’s 1992 anthology Women and Authority includes a chapter by D. Michael Quinn, provocatively entitled “Mormon Women Have Had the Priesthood Since 1843.” Quinn makes it clear that he’s not arguing simply for what I’ll here call “soft” claims about women’s priesthood status, for example, that women hold the priesthood only “through temple marriage or through the second anointing” (368). On the contrary, he’s arguing a “harder” claim, that women actually held–and therefore, by the successive conferral of authority that authenticates Mormon ordinances, continue to hold–the Melchizedek priesthood completely independent of marriage, on the basis of temple endowment alone. Continue reading

Apr 01

Renouncing the Philosophies of Women, Mingled With Scripture

We at ZD are pleased to announce that we’ve made a surprising and delightful discovery: our radiant inner femininity is a true blessing to the world, and, in light of this ephiphany, we’ve begun embracing our divine gender roles in earnest. We’ve long felt there was something sadly lacking in our lives, and we’ve found it in the most surpising of places: patriarchal authority. We feel strongly (and the men in our lives concur) that there’s no more reason to worry our pretty little heads over things of the world, so the single among us are moving back in with our fathers where we can hone our skills as full-time homemakers and practice submitting to male jurisdiction, “learn[ing] in silence with all subjection,” while the wives on our site have committed themselves to renewed effort in surrendering to the presiding wills of our husbands. Continue reading

Jan 18

Follow-up on Huckabee and “Chicken Patriarchy”

As a follow-up to ECS’s post on Huckabee and “Chicken Patriarchy”, I thought I’d link to this post which explains in more detail how “submit” is discussed in evangelical circles and how Huckabee’s recent explanations do seem to be either a substantial revision of evangelical beliefs or a deceptive way of making evangelical teachings more palatable to the masses:

http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/2008/01/huckabee-called.html

Here’s a quote that Majikthise takes from the official SBC website: Continue reading

Nov 19

Secular Usage of “Preside”

In a discussion last year at T&S about what it means for a husband to preside, Jim F. argued that it doesn’t really matter what preside means outside the Church because the word just isn’t much used outside the Church (and perhaps court). Kiskilili disagreed, saying that she thought that secular usage was more common.

At the time, it occurred to me that this would be a relatively simple question to get data to answer, but I put the thought on the back burner, so I am just now getting around to trying to answer it. I chose to search newspapers to attempt to answer the question, given that they tend to have a very broad target audience and are fairly widely read (although I know they aren’t read as much as they used to be).

1. Is preside ever used in a secular context? Continue reading

Sep 16

Obedience and Blessings

In sacrament meeting last week, one of the speakers in my ward quoted in passing some verses from D&C 130 which have often perplexed me:

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. Continue reading

Aug 22

Endowed Before Mission or Marriage: Discuss and Enlighten Me

On Ziff’s recent thread the subject of the church discouraging people to get their endowments before a mission or marriage was discussed (a little bit). Since I’m very interested in the subject, I thought I’d start a post where we can discuss it. I’m going to share my experiences with and impressions about this. I hope that the rest of you will share yours as well. Continue reading

Jun 23

Amen to the Priesthood or the Authority of that Man

That they [the rights of the priesthood] may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. –D&C 121:37

So why do I so rarely see “amen” being said to someone’s priesthood or authority?

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Apr 22

Memories of Family Council

When I was growing up, my family had two regular Sunday activities. The first was going to church. The second was the weekly ritual of family council, a meeting which all family members were expected to attend. (It helped that there were usually treats at the end.)

Family council could go on for hours and hours. The length of the meeting was at least partly due to the fact that so many of the members of my family (including myself) find it rather difficult to stay on-topic for even five minutes at a stretch. Continue reading

Mar 16

History and Faith

A couple of recent discussions have gotten me thinking about the relationship between history and faith. Not every person takes the same approach to navigating the challenges posed by historical problems, of course, and I respect that there are a variety of ways of conceptualizing the interplay betwen the two. What I can’t quite make sense of, however, is the idea that they can be completely separated, that one can talk about faith without reference to history or dismiss history as being irrelevant to faith. (In other words, the “if you have a testimony, then history doesn’t matter” line of thought.) Continue reading

Mar 11

Running from God

I’m rather fond of the story of Jonah. Partly this is just because it’s so funny, what with the cattle of Ninevah repenting in sackcloth and ashes, and Jonah melodramatically announcing that he would be better off dead after God kills his shade plant. But I also like Jonah because there are ways in which I see myself in him. In particular, I’m quite sympathetic to his decision to flee in the opposite direction when God calls him. That’s frequently my reaction to God, too. Continue reading

Feb 16

Lost Things

I don’t know quite what I think about petitionary prayer; once you raise those sticky questions about God intervening in the world sometimes but not others, it all gets so complicated. But I’m more than a little skeptical of any theory of prayer that treats God like a vending machine who dispenses blessings if only you can come up with the correct combination of change. Rather, I’m drawn to the idea that the point of prayer is relational, that it’s not so much about coaxing stuff out of God as about developing a relationship with him.

That’s how I like to think about prayer in the abstract, at least. But to be honest, I don’t necessarily live that way. Continue reading

Jan 30

The Names of My Wounds

But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

–3 Nephi 12:22

And the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

–1 Corinthians 3:13

I’ve been ambivalent about blogging for a long time, and I have to admit that on the balance, I have found it spiritually destructive. Not because I found any dirty little Mormon secrets that shattered my faith; for whatever reason–perhaps sheer intellectual laziness–Joseph Smith’s amorous adventures and nineteenth-century English in the Book of Mormon and the Mountain Meadows Massacre and institutionalized racism, while they do disturb me, don’t fatally damage my commitment or conversion. I suppose I figure that prophets are human, that God has to work with what he has–us–and that moral complexity is an inevitable part of life, even life in the true and living church. Blogging has breached years of loneliness and helped me come to terms with questions that at times I’ve barely had the courage to admit to myself. I blog, in some measure, to know I’m not alone–intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually. Online conversations have sharpened and complicated my thinking, advanced my understanding, and broadened my perspective.

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Jan 07

A Year of Blogging

Well, Christmas break is (sadly) over, and I believe all the ZD bloggers have made it back to their scattered homes. Perhaps this will mean that we’re going to be blogging a little more again– though I suppose the more ambitious among us might have other plans, such as (gasp!) studying.

As of this past Thursday, January 4, Zelophehad’s Daughters has been in existence for a year. I was going to post something to mark the occasion (because what’s the fun of blogging if you can’t indulge in occasional navel-gazing?), but I ended up spending the day driving multiple times through the snow to the Salt Lake airport to get various sisters to their planes, and then squeezing in a few last games of Settlers of Catan with the sisters who were still around before I left the next day. Continue reading

Dec 21

How the Grinch Found Christmas

I will be the first to admit it. In constrast to my five Christmas-maniac sisters, I’m a Scrooge. I find December by far the most stressful month of the year, thanks to papers, finals, grading, parties, overflowing malls, cards, baking, jammed airports, stressed-out travelers, delayed and cancelled flights, and the short, gray days that inevitably kick my chronic depression into overdrive. When the holidays begin at Thannksgiving, I’m always irritable and grumpy about them. I let my husband decorate the tree, hang the stockings, put the wreath on the door, and play the Christmas music and tell him not to bother me with any of it until the semester ends. I’m not much of a shopper or a socializer under the best of circumstances, and I always spend the first weeks of December feeling too exhausted even to think about Christmas as I pull all-nighters writing papers I no longer care about and memorize paradigms and fantasize about watching Infomercials and reading nothing more challenging than soup cans. Every year I threaten to buy myself a Bah, Humbug T-shirt. Continue reading

Dec 19

the last 5 Decembers

There hasn’t been much going on around here the past few days (I know, the end of the semester), so I decided to follow Bored in Vernal’s example and reflect on what I have been doing for the past [5] Decembers (yes, she did 10, but that would be a lot longer, and besides, my husband gets sad when I talk about old boyfriends in nostalgic ways). And unlike her, I’m going to go forward instead of backward. So here goes: Continue reading

Dec 12

Sisters

I’m sitting in my bedroom, and thinking about the fact that all five of my sisters live hundreds (and in the case of Kiskilili, thousands) of miles away. Looking around, though, I can see traces of them everywhere. On my wall hangs a giant poster of Aragorn–a recent surprise gift from Amalthea (who personally prefers Frodo). Over my desk is a calendar of “Nuns Having Fun,” courtesy of Melyngoch. Continue reading