In my discussions with LDS women concerning the topic of male domination and misogyny in the LDS church, I am surprised at the amount of resistance I hear from the women concerning any push for equality especially concerning the priesthood. Probably the number one comment I hear is something along the lines of “we don’t want the priesthood, it’s too much responsibility!”. I believe strongly that God’s Spirit is pushing for greater gender equality in the religious and secular world, and that marginalized groups must be empowered to escape generations of subtle psychological suppression and manipulation, which leaves them not recognizing inequalities or discounting them when they are pointed out. The older I get the more I seem to discover ways that I have unknowingly marginalized or unfairly viewed women according to accepted social norms and cultural traditions. I believe that sadly, most LDS people & leaders are also too blinded by the “traditions of men” to listen to that spirit and ask in faith… so with satire I prod the issue. (For some great examples think about the level of self actualization of the women in this LDS fundamentalist documentary and realize this is the LDS heritage and there are many inequal aspects of that heritage we still need to escape.)
Why try to take a step forward and ordain women when we could instead take a step back and polygamize women? You’re right girls, the LDS priesthood is a lot of responsibility, but so is being the solitary queen of your castle. Just think how much easier it would be if you could share that responsibility with other handmaidens!
You’re right, there isn’t a lot of scriptural or doctrinal basis for ordaining women to the priesthood… but there is ample doctrinal basis for polygamy! Think of how little responsibility many of Brigham Young’s 55 wives must of had. The lucky one’s that got to live in the primary residence were more like princesses than queens, having many cohorts to share the work and responsibility with. Doesn’t that sound better? Women don’t want to be burdened by power or authority or a say in what goes on religiously or politically, their job is to multiply, replenish and be a helpmate to their husbands. And who wants to be a lonely helpmate when you could share the responsibility with 5 or 6 or 55 others!
And perhaps women should remember that Paul tells you to “be silent during the church meetings; for it is not permitted unto [you] to speak; but … are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” (1 Cor 14:34). And God doesn’t change his law until he’s good and ready, so don’t vocally petition your church leaders to pray for any changes unless you want to be excommunicated! (we don’t mind if you ask as long as you ask in a way that we can easily ignore you)
And who wants to join their husbands in laying hands on the sick in order to heal them? Everybody knows that only men have the power to heal. Women may have the ability to create and grow another human being inside their bodies, and the ability to feed and suckle that same human with their own bodies but they do not have or need the ability or authority to put hands on that child’s head and invoke God’s priesthood to heal them! To do so would be blasphemy! We all know that heavenly mother does not exercise any type of priesthood to help heal the earth or its inhabitants (well, maybe she uses limited priesthood occasionally like LDS women for a few temple ordinances, where gals would freak out if a man did it). The reason God waited until 1978 to give blacks the priesthood, wasn’t because it took Church members and leaders that long to be moved in love to ask with sincere intent in a unified fashion for equality (Alma 29:4–5, D&C 29:6, 3 Ne 15:18–19, 16:4 3 Ne 27:27–29). It was because 1978 was a magical year, which was foreordained before the world was to change policy that some leaders earlier said could never be changed. Just like the revelation to end polygamy in 1890 had nothing to do with the sincere unified “asking” brought about by social pressure.
And who wants equality in governing the affairs of the Church Anyway? After all, if Joseph, Brigham and many of the other early head-strong church leaders would have only been married to one woman with balanced relationships of equal power and authority Joseph might not have been murdered, the Church might not have schismed and we wouldn’t have the important precedence of the polygamy experiment. After all, women have the relief society, babies, and home-making night, what more do you really need? Don’t they realize that heavenly mother is happy not calling any of the shots? If the leadership of the Church could pull these single and disgruntled young women into polygamous marriages like it used to be, maybe they would be more happy and not feel like they need to “rock the boat” and cause division by pushing for an equal say in ward counsel, high council meetings or other priesthood leadership meetings. Between frequent excommunications and ample polygamization we ought to be able to keep all the disgruntled women in the Church happy!
How about instead of dishing out platitudes about not being able to change doctrines, we start telling the truth and say “when thats what the majority of the Church wants then we will prayerfully start moving in that direction, because God gives religious leaders power to adapt and change doctrine according to the prayers, desires and common consent of the Church” (D&C 26:2). We know that God gives to man (Church leadership included) according to their desires, even if it brings about their pain or destruction (polygamy being a good example). So since no one wants to see major policy changes that might be detrimental to the church… lets move forward slowly and prayfully. A good start might be to start encouraging women to lay hands on the sick, as blessing the sick is not even exclusively a priesthood ordinance but a gift of the spirit; as is the gift of prophecy or understanding differences in administration and more (D&C 46:10–26, 1 Cor 12:4–12, Mor 10:7-17). Or showing with action the concept that priesthood power and responsibility are shared equally in all priesthood offices of Bishop and above. These offices require a married individual, for important metaphysical reasons and Saints should understand they are shared positions. And to the women of church (especially those in leadership) you need to understand the wisdom of peacefully gained equality over the misguided self-sacrifice of subservience. When you submissively shirk your responsibility to maintain a feminine/masculine balance in this world—you inadvertently help facilitate the division, disharmony and war that are always a result of inequality!
As you can see in video posted in the introduction, most of the people within the polygamy of LDS fundamentalist sects are very good people. They are selfless people trying to do the best with the system and worldviews they were born into. There are advantages and disadvantages to their culture. But I think most people agree that what can not be justified in our pluralistic society is a culture where very young girls are manipulated or strong armed into marrying older men when they have not had the chance to escape their closed society and see what the world has to offer, so that an informed, balanced opinion can be made by them as to what kind of lifestyle they chose to live. The women in that culture are subjugated and they don’t even know it. This is also the issue I have with mainstream mormonism. Like fundamentalism I am not seeking to demonize or glorify it, I am just trying to make people recognize the inequality and seek to address it. For a few examples of inequalities I have seen in Mormonism see the following articles…
see also Women and the Priesthood