Mormonism, Feminism, and being snarky

6/16/14



I've been putting this post off for a while now. Partly because it's a very mormon issue, and not all of you reading this blog will be mormon. Partly because it's ridiculously emotionally-charged and I really just need people to CALM DOWN. But mostly because there are two things that make me so frustrated I get a little snarky and this is one of them.

The other is communism, in case you were wondering.

There is a movement that has raised itself in direct opposition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that accuses God of being oppressive to women. Yep, I mean LDS women trying to leverage the church into ordaining them. Some of you may cringe over the way I've phrased this, but can we be real for a few minutes? Can a group of people who admittedly oppose the doctrine, to the point of launching a media campaign, really consider themselves as being 'within' the church? And as mormons, we truly believe that the church is operated by Christ himself, in a person-to-person link with latter day prophets. So yes, opposition to doctrine is opposition to God, according to our own beliefs. There is no vote.

But equality is an important issue just in general these days, so why shouldn't it come up at church as well as everywhere else? And yes, we need to discuss it. Especially when so many women are torn between what their faith tells them and what they hear on the 6:00 news or read on sister so and so's blog.

But lets approach this issue first from a more secular angle. Because I like to do that.

Men and Woman are NOT THE SAME. Do I Have to Draw you a Chart?

I worked for ten years as a human rights activist at the United Nations. And one of the greatest and most profound threats I found to human rights in our time is radical feminism : a topic guaranteed to bring the snark to my lips.

It's not that I'm NOT a feminist. If you and I sat down for a chat and a cupcake, you'd insist that I am one. But you see, some words leave a bad taste in the mouth thanks to life experience. And after so many years of being told, and not nicely I might add, that I'm a brainwashed fool who needs to smarten up and toe the company line, I have eschewed the term 'feminist' forever. I have yet to come up with an appropriate substitute label, but I think 'reasonable human being' sounds good to me.

I love being a woman. I love what makes me inheritantly female. And I refuse to believe that I am the same as a man. I know we have many similarities, being of the same species and all, but men and woman have many differences; beautiful differences; equalizing differences. And I find incredible value in that. I have never in my life been so offended, in the true sense of the word, than when I had other women trying to sell me the idea that my value as a person lies in how closely I resemble a man. What the hell is that?

It's 2014 ladies, and men are not telling us that the roles of wife, mom, teacher, and caregiver are submissive and demeaning. They are not telling us that they are better or more powerful or more righteous because they hold God's priesthood. It's other women telling us so. It's other women telling us what to think. It's other women belittling the roles that make us different from men - and even belittling our men. And it's other women who are scrutinizing and patronizing. How dare they?

I believe that women can and should do anything they want to in this life. But I also believe that we need to be true to ourselves, and sometimes our femininity gets a little tainted by society's driving need to make us all identical little comrades.

Okay, time to add a spiritual layer to this cake.

Priesthood Responsibilities Are Designed to Grow Good Men

The most perfect and yet challenging relationship in all creation is man + woman, whether as family, friends, or companions - how they complement each other and teach each other and drive each other bananas. I believe it's God's design that we do so. But in the western world, women do everything - and by that I mean we take on a man's roles as well as our own and men are more than happy to let us. There is no true partnership when a woman thinks she can do it all and do it better. Golly ladies, there's a purpose to this life and we need to let the men have their mortal schooling too!

{ Oh, and before you retort with a million stories of how some male manager at work did this or said that and women can never get ahead, we're discussing the priesthood mantle, which deals with church and home. Neither of which is a corporation based on promotion and competition. Thanks. }

You see, I believe that priesthood responsibilities teach men to develop and use skills that women are already darn good at. It's an equalizing force, not a divisive one. They need this role to become more like God. We need it to...what? Demonstrate our organizational and empathetical superiority?

Some ladies just can't let the men have any task or position tailored to their needs. It's like a mosquito bite they just have to scratch. Yet women can have all the exclusivity they want. Uh, huh. Because that's fair.

The Priesthood is Not a Status Symbol, Yo

Sister Sheri Dew said that none of us came to earth to gain our worth, we brought it with us.

Activist, Kate Kelly said that equality in the church can be measured.

Does she mean measured in righteousness, commitment, value, importance? Are we supposed to measure what we give and how much we receive? Personal intent and spiritual progression aren't really things we can weigh against the next person. Although, if you compare a lifetime of service in the church, in time and resources and sacrifices, men are not even on the same plane as women. So it can't be more opportunity to serve that these women want. Is it just power at the heart of this issue? Is it really just 'middle management' that these few women are after? Is it about titles? There are no little brass nameplates in the Kingdom of God.

Or is it the power to perform ordinances and miracles that they want? Because I'm pretty sure the priesthood is powered by faith and humility...and trust...accepting God's will...stuff like that...

Anyway, can you even imagine if we did hold the priesthood? Ladies, we'd be doing everything!!! Every. Thing. Just imagine Sunday morning, sisters and how your list of things to do would double...even triple. Because we'd take over. You know we would. And the ward would be run smoothly. Not equally, but smoothly. And God's plan for our progression would be thwarted, because if this was something we needed to be doing right now, we'd already be doing it. Perhaps it's in our future, perhaps not, but it's not in our present and thank...well, thank God for that!

Same Destination - Same Airline - Different Carry-on Luggage

I have seen many systems in this crazy world of ours and I can plainly recognize the value in God's plan based on politics and economics alone. But when you plug faith into the equation, it becomes so much plainer. We are here to become something more than what we were - to become like our Godly parents. And darned if we think we know the best way to do that. No, silly little humans! Only God knows how to become like God. So perhaps we should all pay closer attention.

There isn't a single blessing or gift of the priesthood that isn't ours. True, men carry the priesthood. And some women are soooooo bothered by it because we insist we can and should carry everything they do.

But wait a second...do men have everything we have? What about those little rugrats playing with toy cars on the carpet - the ones we completely recognize as being as much of a gift and blessing to dad, even though he didn't get to carry them. Do you see where I'm going here? Men have a pretty intense claim for inequality when it comes to baby. They may be incredible dads, but they never get to experience anything like motherhood. Never. It is our very powerful, very exclusive responsibility. So exclusive in fact, that not even every woman gets to experience it in this life. And yet every woman gets to utilize and experience the priesthood. If you want to get technical, Motherhood is actually the great inequality.

So doesn't the fact that men and women share complementary roles in an effort to create an eternal working relationship just make good sense? Don't we want our men to cultivate the gifts that come from this specific type of service? Doesn't whinging about not being able to carry the priesthood, in addition to everything else we have, seem a little...I don't know...hypocritical?

Dial it back Ginger, snarkiness is just a paragraph away.

*takes deep breath, sidesteps temptation*

Now let's get to the real meat of the matter.

Trust in the Lord with all Thine Heart

Yeah, I actually just quoted that scripture. It's cheesy enough for a pinterest poster, but do you believe it? Do you have a testimony of this promise?

I've had a few sticky moments in life when God was my only champion. I came out of those moments knowing that every time I accosted some gospel principle or teaching that made me pause, I could sort through it using both my mind and my connection with the Holy Spirit and get the assurances I needed. And I did. Every time. My role as a woman was probably the most empowering personal investigation of all. I can honestly say, that I have absolutely zero insecurities as a woman. Which is probably why I have no trouble allowing a man to take his role as a bearer of priesthood power.

In fact, I insist. Go forth brethren and be exalted by your priesthood! I certainly don't think it makes you any better or higher up the spiritual food chain than me. I don't feel that I'm missing anything. And I don't see that I am either. Having this responsibility makes you better men and I honor that.

But then again, I've already dealt most efficiently with the tangled web of secular feminism, so perhaps this wasn't as much of a struggle for me...?

My point is that in every deep personal battle, there comes a time when you have to place your trust. Because we don't exist in isolation. I can trust myself in matters that concern only myself. But for something that concerns God's kingdom, I have to be able to trust God. Not because I'm subjugated. But because He has earned it. During all my past adolescent torments and grown up melt-downs, He earned my trust. This isn't some CEO we're talking about, it's GOD.  It's our FATHER. If he says I don't need to hold the priesthood right now, then I know it's the truth. Because I know what He hopes to make of me. And what He hopes to make of me could not. be. any. better.

So why do some people turn from faith to feminism? They don't like the answer we've been given? They don't trust the God who gave it? Is that why they get angry and confused and go to the media? I guess that makes sense. Because the world understands. The world relates.

The world knows how it feels to have God tell them no and ask them to follow a better way.

Ah, my sisters. All of my sisters.

Being a woman is something special. But so is being a man.

What reason could we ever have to deny our brothers their role as sons of the Almighty God?

To this strong, confident, opinionated woman in the world, some manufactured idea of carefully apportioned sameness is just not good enough. My mind is satisfied. My spirit is at peace.

I truly hope all women and men of the church can seek and find the spiritual affirmation they need. To those who don't, you will be sorely missed. And I mean that.


Hey everyone, just a quick note after the fact...thank you for reading my blog. I honestly never expected anyone but a handful of friends and family to even notice this post. I know not everyone agrees with me, but I didn't write it to gain anyone's approval. I write what I think and feel and I do it for my own peace of mind. However I did read your comments with great interest. Unfortunately, I can't continue to keep up with them or answer all of your emails. If you feel that you have something to say, please share it through your own personal media sites. The fact that this post has been viewed by so many is proof that we all have a voice. Add yours to the discussion! 

And one more sidenote - I've had many helpful notices about the word 'whinging' and I just wanted to clarify that it is actually a real word. It's British and it means 'whining'. And I use it occasionally because I am a nerd.