The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Jan 2014, 16:20

Dax, I'm not disagreeing with anything you just said. However, there are lots of areas where both men and women really can choose to see things differently than one particular view - especially when that view really is a minority view.

In the end, however, as I said in an earlier comment, once is enough in our theology for one's self - so, if an important view can't be changed, not going to the temple absolutely is an option, cultural pressure notwithstanding.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

conflicted testimony
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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by conflicted testimony » 16 Jan 2014, 16:30

Joni wrote:
Ray Degraw wrote:
It tells us absolutely nothing, since your mother-in-law is wrong. That is not a church-wide policy.
I'm glad to hear that. Maybe it was just a Utah policy or specific to the temple she was working at (I forget which one, Timpanogos maybe?)
From my conversations with abused women, there are a lot of men out there that simply do not deserve the role of priesthood holder in the family, yet they have it, and it seems to be held over the woman's head. It is yet another way to keep these women downtrodden. In all 3 cases I have seen lately, the male still holds a TR, attends the temple, and the woman is encouraged to stay with him - regardless. 1 lady ended up in hospital after being beaten in front of the children, another took his female "friend" to a temple session one week and his wife the next. One, after she left, had a woman come up to her in church and ask how she could possibly leave such a good priesthood holder and did she realise what she was doing to her and her children's eternity. Makes me wonder what a man has to do to lose that esteemed priesthood status. Also makes me wonder what the counsel to the husband would be if the wife did those things.
Conflicted, I think part of the problem is that we do a really, really bad job of defining unrighteous dominion. I think every woman should know what unrighteous dominion is starting with maybe the Beehives. Out of all the RS lessons I've heard about how wonderful the priesthood is and how we should sustain the PH holders in our home, I've only heard unrighteous dominion brought up once. And that was because I was the teacher! I was shocked at how few women have a working definition of unrighteous dominion but we absolutely should know what is and is not okay from a priesthood holder. I remember one woman commenting that she believed it was totally fine for a man to boss a woman around because that's how it was done in her home. It wasn't until her marriage that she realized there was any other model available. That makes me sad. I'm raising a son and two daughters, I need to know what to tell my son to do and my girls to expect, but there's a total lack of dialogue about it in the Church.

I agree - unrighteous domain should be strongly taught to all at church, male and female. There should also be strategies taught to deal with it. I was often left sitting in church hearing how wonderful the PH is, how we should always sustain the PH holder, etc, while thinking "well that is all carp in my situation".

Here's one example: FHE, I am giving what I think is a really important lesson for our family and husband is acting like a child, teasing, poking, prodding the kids and making a mockery of it. Yet we are supposed to sustain the PH? The kids are taught that. So what do they do - follow their father - it is much more fun that spending 5 - 10 minutes on a boring lesson from mum about respecting each other. He also behaved like that during sacrament. It is not exactly unrighteous domain like the cases of abuse I mentioned of course.

Context: husband grew up in the church, ha a strong testimony of the church, just doesn't want to follow the commandments.

It's all roses in the church when everyone is doing the right thing (or appears to be), when someone doesn't there are no coping strategies available.

So from my perspective, the temple teachings simply don't work. I am sure there are a lot of other women in worse situations than mine both in and out of the church).

Joni
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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by Joni » 16 Jan 2014, 16:39

Conflicted, I'm going to spin off another thread, I think unrighteous dominion is a good issue to discuss separately.

Dax
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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by Dax » 16 Jan 2014, 17:57

Ray, you are correct in that we can choose how we view church. Also that we only "need" to go the temple once per say in this life. Though that is sort of like saying "hey you only HAVE to ride in the back of the bus once after that you can always walk" which I know is not what you meant to imply. So yes I could view having to ride in the back of the bus or "harken" to my husband as simply the way things are. The problem is that in America at least, the only place I have to sit in "the back" is at church. At least for now I am willing to cling to my spot in the back as best I can while holding onto my hope of the gospel vs the church/culture.

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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Jan 2014, 19:16

So yes I could view having to ride in the back of the bus or "harken" to my husband as simply the way things are.


I just need to point out that I haven't said that in any comment in this thread. :D
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Dax
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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by Dax » 16 Jan 2014, 19:59

No sorry Ray no you did not! :)

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On Own Now
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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by On Own Now » 17 Jan 2014, 09:00

This seems like a good opportunity to focus this thread a little. I think we can take as pretty well-established fact that the language and representation of Eve is viewed by many, both men and women, as being demeaning to women. OK. So, I think there are a few things we can talk about, but they are really separate issues, and conflating then only serves to exacerbate the problem.

The God Issue - It is fair to ask ourselves if God thinks of women in this way. Personally, I don't believe so, feel free to pipe up if you disagree. I think that is a very real concern that Joni expressed as
Joni wrote:I'm really afraid of getting to the Celestial Kingdom and being my husband's inferior for all of eternity. But I'm also afraid of turning my back on my temple covenants and losing my eternal family forever. It seems really unfair of a loving Heavenly Father to place women in this position.
My own answer is that I don't think God should be viewed in that way. The Adam/Eve story is something like 3500 years old. It's mythical. It has great symbolism, as long as we don't take it too far. But I think holding God to that story is a mistake. I don't think I want to follow a God that would wipe out the Caananites. I don't want to follow a sexist God either. I think it is safe to assume that that's not the way a loving God would be, and that it is acceptable to follow our own concept of God.

The Culture Issue - A separate question is, does the Church or do the people of the Church think of women in this way. In my opinion, the answer is unfortunately 'yes'. OK, so now what? Leave? Stay and try to change the culture? Hide in a hole? Only we can decide. Because I don't believe God is that way, I think it is wrong for the Church and its people to be that way, but ultimately spirituality is between each of us and God. We have to do what makes sense for us.

The Temple Issue - Can the endowment be changed? Absolutely. As Ray pointed out much earlier, the rite has never been in a fixed state. As I said earlier, it can be changed without changing any point of doctrine. Changing it would be simple. If I were suddenly put in charge, I would strike the creation of Adam first, then Even as an "accessory" as was so well stated earlier. I'd have the creation of Adam and Eve as one event. I would get rid of the beguiling serpent in battle with Eve and just narrate that "Adam and Eve were beguiled by Lucifer and partook of the forbidden fruit" I would have Adam and Even together covenant to hearken unto the Lord. I would have both A&E do every action equally and together. If anything in that simplification bothers members of the Church, I would argue that it is because they take this figurative story too literally. But while this is a great academic exercise, we have to accept that the ceremony isn't changing any time soon. I am all for continuing to point out its inherent sexism in order to help "the Church" see that it needs to be changed, but we can't hold our personal faith hostage over it.

The Coping Issue - Finally, and most importantly, because it is what WE control within ourselves.... what can we do to be more at ease with the way that it is? Or as Joni asked in the OP:
Joni wrote:is there any way to resolve these concerns in a constructive manner?
Which basically falls under the mission of StayLDS as I understand it. OK, so, yeah, the Church isn't perfect. Now what? I think there have been a number of good thoughts in this thread about how to be at-peace with the way it is. Some of the thoughts have to to with how to interpret symbolism of the ceremony in a more positive way, others have to to with accepting that it isn't perfect and working out our own caveats so that we can be at peace. I think too, as has been mentioned, that if a person still cannot be at peace, then there is no need to participate.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by mom3 » 17 Jan 2014, 09:59

I haven't attended the temple in a while, but my reasons aren't for those being discussed here. I am an odd duck in loving the Adam and Eve story - and the Cain and Abel story. The temple depiction of the Garden of Eden event is straight from Genesis. Adam says the same words exactly. I guess because of that I never really worried over it. For me the stories of Adam and Eve/Cain and Abel paint a God I like. (No Rock Throwing Please).

As I read each account/telling - God is generous. Adam/Eve make a choice - the choice results in a necessary change. God himself knows it will be a painful change. He also knows he can't reverse it, no matter how innocent or deceptively it came about, all he can do is help them go forward. Thats what he does, he makes them clothes. Clothess to protect their inexperienced bodies from elements, clothes to keep as a reminder gift of him - think of a gift you use that someone you love gave you - for even just a moment you are reconnected to them as you use it. Last of all - the gift is a model. When the clothes wear out, you can use those to fashion new ones. That's the God I see. That's the part of the story I love. That is the covenant my heart makes - "No matter how bad I mess up - Will you please come find me and help me find a way."

To me a very similar story takes place with Cain - As Cain is being sent away because of his fall, he pleads for his life - "They will kill me". God notes this plea and wants the lesson Cain needs to learn, to be between God and Cain. Hence the skin change (If that's truly happened). But again a God who keeps trying to find ways to give people chances.

I know it doesn't play out 100% according to scripture, but for me I see it more often than not.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Jan 2014, 11:07

Thanks, On Own Now and mom3. There is a lot of wisdom in those comments that can teach all of us, even if we still don't see the ceremonies exactly the same way as each other.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Post by hawkgrrrl » 17 Jan 2014, 12:09

The Culture Issue - A separate question is, does the Church or do the people of the Church think of women in this way. In my opinion, the answer is unfortunately 'yes'. OK, so now what? Leave? Stay and try to change the culture? Hide in a hole? Only we can decide. Because I don't believe God is that way, I think it is wrong for the Church and its people to be that way, but ultimately spirituality is between each of us and God. We have to do what makes sense for us.
This is the crux for me. I have never been comfortable with the sexist covenants in the temple, that women are treated as second class to men. I also dislike these attitudes in the church. Mostly I cope by ignoring it. In practice, the people I know personally are not like that. Older generations sometimes are, but even then they are willing to have reasonable conversations that question the assumption that women are irrational and untrustworthy (seriously, watch any movie from the 1940s - these women are portrayed in a way that doesn't even resonate for us today, but people from my parents' generation laugh and think it's accurate). I sometimes wonder how Catholics deal with this same type of issue. There are a whole lot more Catholics than Mormons, and they've got some very outlandish stances, particularly for women. And yet they are comfortable disagreeing yet still being Catholic. Catholic is almost more of an ethnicity for them.

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