Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why is the Church Behind the Times?

I've heard this question nearly incessantly in the LDS sphere, particularly by those who perceive themselves as progressive. Usually it refers to the patriarchy and perceived female inequality. The answer that continually comes to mind when I read such opinions is this: Perhaps because the Lord is trying to teach us that life is not about equality?

I personally believe that the Lord is trying to teach us humility. He is not particularly concerned with making everyone feel worthwhile. To him, that is a given. He has presented a way for us to feel valued that is much more important and much more real than allowing women to pass the sacrament or lead the Church. In general for men, the challenge is to lead righteously. For women, the challenge is to righteously follow. It becomes quickly apparent that the point is not who leads and who follows, but to be righteous.

At the risk of sounding rude, I wish that more time was spent on becoming more righteous and less time on becoming more equal.


  1. Yes! Once again, IMO you have hit the nail on the head. I loved it when you wrote, "It becomes quickly apparent that the point is not who leads and who follows, but to be righteous."

    I was talking to my husband today about some of the recent posts on LDS blogs that are yet again working over complaints about inequality for women and girls in the Church because they don't hold the Priesthood and can't hold certain leadership positions.

    Why is it that I know so many women whose husbands have (or have had) leadership positions, who are genuinely happy to support their husbands, and never envy them their callings?

    Why do so many of us take particular joy in seeing our husbands or sons carry out their priesthood responsibilities, without coveting them?

    Why do I know so many women who, like me, are never envious of men when they give us, or our loved ones, Priesthood blessings?

    Why are we sincerely happy they can give those blessings, not at all disturbed that we can't, and grateful that we are both able to feel the influence of the Spirit during those blessings?

    I didn't even bother to comment on those "inequality" posts, because I know what the reception to my comments would be.

    But it is so heartening to read your post, and see you express so beautifully the answer to the question posed in your post title.

  2. Thank for saying this. I think that some of the problems people may have with issues are more cultural and that there may be some good addressing these. This could involve little stereotypes such as saying a man cannot cook or do laundry. I had a friend write a very good essay on the negative stereotype of visiting teaching being about women gosspiping and how how such attitudes may undermine the program. Both dialogues can be important. When one is trying to dictate how the Church is run, then I think we need to be careful. God has a pattern that I think is the way things should be. I have my own issues that I can identify with at times and do not keep them in check as much as I should. And that scares me because I would not want an "issue" to keep me from the great blessings that I know my Father in Heaven will give if I am obedient. I have already been blessed so much as it is. And I want to make it clear that as a single woman with severe mental illness that my local Priesthood leaders have done much to make me feel welcome and provided much help for me in both their time and also providing assistance and offer to pay for Mental Health Professionals. I could easily be marginalized. I can think I am so strange that I wouldn't want me around. I am so glad that God is not a respector of persons.

  3. I should clarify that by severe mental illness, I mean obsessive compulsive disorder. I always try to avoid talking about it online as it is an ocd free environment. And yet, I end up talking about it.

  4. SilverRain, thanks for your thoughts. I would add that equality for God comes in the eternal scheme of things. We are all able to receive all the blessings God has for us. And interestingly enough, the only way we can reach that full potential is bound as a man and woman in eternal marriage. So I think another thing the Lord wants us to learn is that we aren't supposed to be self-sufficient entities as men and women. We are supposed to need each other, to have different roles and responsibilities so that we come together as one in a spirit of service and faith (in our families and in the Church), not so that we can be separately and independently equal.

  5. Are you sure that people's motivations are as simple as coveting their husband's callings? I don't know anyone who really *wants* to go to PEC :)

  6. Kristine,

    I am not sure the motivation is as simple as coveting the specifics of the calling, but I don't think that is what RoAnn was getting at.

    Incidentally, I love meetings like PEC so I would enjoy that. :)

  7. m & m, Thanks for clarifying that my examples in comment #1 were not meant to imply that there were not other motivations beyond "coveting the specifics" for some women who desire to hold the priesthood in the same way that men do right now.

    I also totally agree with your point about some aspects of what we may think of as "equality" coming to us in an eternal timeframe; and that "another thing the Lord wants us to learn is that we aren't supposed to be self-sufficient entities as men and women."

    Some sisters seem to feel that as women in the Church we are somehow "less" than men because we can't perform certain ordinances, or hold certain callings. And even when the yearnings to be ordained to the priesthood are couched in terms of being able to render more service, there usually seems to be a definite desire for more perceived power and/or prestige.

    Do we care more about people receiving needed blessings and ordinances, or being the one who who actually gives the blessing, or performs the ordinance?

    Perhaps the reason I found SilverRain's post so compelling is that she emphasized the importance of humility. She she also stressed the reality of feeling valued as we act righteously, no matter what callings we may hold, or what our situation in mortal life (i.e. married, single, divorced, etc.)may be at any particular time.


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