Friday, January 11, 2013

Who Will I Be?

I don't think many people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints think much about the fact that we, as women, have very VERY little doctrinal view of our place in God's plan. With a triad of male Deity, and only a hushed whisper of female relevance, with the clear inference that we are appendages to our husbands on one hand, but firm assurances that we are more than that on the other, we have very little substance to go on.

It is easier, I think, for men. While they don't know what exactly it will be like to be Gods, creators of their own worlds, inheritors of God's power, that at least gives them a breath of glory, a hint as to what they will be doing.

But for women, beyond knowing that motherhood is eternal, we just don't know. We have no idea how literal or figurative that eternal motherhood is, what exactly it even means to be a mother for eternity. (Because here on earth, there is enough grit to make us doubt the glory.) Will we be doing some eternal equivalent of dishes and managing housework while our husbands go off to work on Creation? Or will we have some part in creating, too, working as a team somehow with them? Will our part be large or small? Will we continue to have our ideas counted as input, but never have the ability to carry them out ourselves, or will we be able to create also?

We just don't know. We can FEEL some of these things, but we don't have any doctrine we can point to to get a real handle on who we are. We don't wield the priesthood here in any sense of the word any more, which seems to indicate that we won't.

Anyways, my point is that the message is very nebulous, very garbled, and very subjective. Which leaves it entirely up to faith in God that the eternities will even be worth it for us. Sure, if we pray and work out a sense of our destiny through the Spirit, we can have some measure of peace. But to find a role model of what womanhood and motherhood truly is in the eternities, we must resort to piecing together whispers and hints, conjecture and hope.

I think, sometimes, people both in and out of the Church assume that only those who wish to change the Church think about these things much, or feel a lack in the doctrine. It isn't true. I spend a great deal of time trying to plead with people to see the Church with greater charity, to exercise greater patience and humility when approaching change in the Church, and yet this lack weighs on me.

Perhaps I suffer more greatly now because I don't even have a marriage any more, which is the only structure we women DO have for our role in eternity. There is nothing to replace what I have lost through my bad choices. It is as if I'm in limbo. While I could choose to rot in limbo like many singles, my character isn't made for that. I would love to move on in my covenants and discipleship, perhaps basing it on having once made those marriage covenants. But trust me, the marriage I had was NOT a good model for what marriage must be like in eternity. I know that, but I don't have anything upon which to formulate a different goal.

I admit, sometimes it's hard to remember that my marriage was not representative of Marriage. It is all I have to go on. When the only experience a woman has had with romantic relationships has been with men who objectify her, who see her only as an appendage to them, it becomes difficult to set aside the part of doctrine that seems to suggest the same thing. Yet, in my heart, I know that isn't it. I know that women are more than support to their husbands, that they have some role in life and the eternities that matters. I feel in my heart that we are more than just wind under our husband's wings, but that we too are birds, able to fly with them in glory.

It would be nice to have more direction about who we are, what we should be doing as women. It would be nice to know our special mission. But for now, we don't. All we can do is take what we have and try our best to be disciples of Christ.

The essence of humility and patience is finding peace with that until the Lord finds a way to teach us further light and knowledge by revelation. I have found that peace. But still, I yearn for more understanding.


  1. Having had two marriages like you describe, both of them sealed in the temple, both of them filled with objectification, I do sympathize. I've also felt that yawning abyss of unknowing in the eternal future. I've written about it here as well as many other times. And there is a wilderness time, a limbo, in which one feels one is rotting. I've been there too.

    I am not now. I have been divorced for 10 years. I am not likely to marry in any foreseeable future, outside of an act of God. I would like to. But I have come to know God through this experience. He has come running to me like the father of the prodigal son when I turned from my loneliness and anger and scars and decided I could risk coming home. I live a productive and hopeful life, and the glories of the hereafter have begun to take shape in my understanding. It is truly wondrous to behold.

    As I recently wrote at Real Intent, I think the revelations so many of us seek regarding Heavenly Mother will come when we are more able, as a church of women (and their men), to receive them in peace. I feel that day coming. I feel that some, like Valerie Cassler, have already begun to touch the edges of the vision of woman. I think the revelations may come from more and more women reaching personally for revelation, finding it, and finding one another. When the truth is suddenly obvious to all but has been there all along.

    I wish you peace. I know this is a torturous time. God bless.

  2. Excellent insight. This is something I wish badly that everyone understood better - and especially men. As you said, generally speaking, we just don't get it.

    I love that Mormon theology posits openly that women are divine and godly, but we haven't shed fully the cultural baggage that still allows too many men to draw distinctions I simply can't accept.

  3. "With a triad of male Deity, and only a hushed whisper of female relevance, with the clear inference that we are appendages to our husbands on one hand, but firm assurances that we are more than that on the other, we have very little substance to go on."

    Actually, it's two male Deity (Father and Son) and one female Deity (the Holy Ghost). See:

    LDS Anarchist

  4. Yes, I know that theory is gaining popularity, but it shows a distinct lack of understanding of gendered nouns. It isn't surprising, since English doesn't often use them. But just because the Hebrew word translated as "Spirit" is grammatically female, doesn't make the entity female any more than cars or ships are actually female just because some owners refer to them as "she."

    If one believes the Book of Mormon is an account of truth, the Spirit is unquestionably male. Nephi saw him, 1 Nephi 11. Some argue that he is Christ's Spirit, but that is a fairly awkward reading, given that he is fulfilling the Holy Spirit's tasks, and not Christ's.

    Believing the Holy Spirit is female is a personal interpretation not supported by scripture or my personal experience.


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