The big one: Being a woman in the temple.

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
Ann
Posts: 2575
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

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

Post by Ann » 15 Jan 2014, 21:03

Joni wrote:
So... how do you deal with that? 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.
I had a breakthrough moment when I felt inspired, or "told" by the Spirit that my thoughts were not evil and wrong. After that, it doesn't really matter what anyone else tells me, and life is too short to be constantly second-guessing myself for no other purpose than conformity. (Gee, maybe....should I "go back" to my mother's view of polygamy, which she gifted to me when I was about ten? She said she would take consolation in having been the first wife. No, I'm done with that.) The kind of submission that seems to be required of women gets conflated with Christ-like submission to the will of the Father. That strikes me now as really twisted.

But I don't want to get angry with people. It's exhausting. I love the men I've met in the church, most of them. Life is also too short to be constantly second-guessing myself there. Gee, should I flee from the company of men who love their wives and daughters, who are faithful, who serve and give of themselves? No, I want to be here.

Re. going to the temple. I don't beat myself up for not wanting to go, and I don't rule out going more frequently in the future. The new film just doesn't make much of an impact on me, btw, for many reasons. My sister no longer participates in endowment or initiatory sessions, but does baptisms. I try to take the advice I get from people here to not act rashly and cut off options.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

Joni
Posts: 558
Joined: 22 Nov 2013, 08:36

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

Post by Joni » 16 Jan 2014, 08:14

Forgotten_Charity wrote:I can't know how you feel exactly. I know I always felt extremely uncomfortable as a man even thinking that someone should obey or hearken to someone else (husband and wife). It makes me very very uncomfortable to even think about a hierarchy of obedience (especially of man and flesh). What I can tell you is the way I feel I would prefer not to live or even prefer hell to seeing myself or others be preferred or above or below anyone else. That's just who I am even as a man. I let my wife know it because she insists that I am the patriarch of the house. I am not. There is none. There is a side by side effort only and that's what I talk to her about. I talk to her about disavowing any hierarchy or seeing yourself or others as above or below another. I hope in time she becomes more comfortable with it. Just my perspective as a man. I am very very uncomfortable with any notion of such too. It's a huge clash and I see hierarchy especially in marriage as a really bad and destructive idea. (I could say evil, but I don't think or place any thought in that.) Just good or bad ideas. This one is just very old black and white idea to preserve men in power. I don't want or need any kind of power. Hope it helps you to know it's not just you or even just women who have a problem with it.
I wouldn't have a problem agreeing to "hearken to" my husband if he was also under covenant to "hearken to" me. But he's not. The only one my husband has to "hearken to" is God. It feels like we are just paying lip service to the idea of spouses as 'equal partners.'

"Hearken" is kind of an interesting word to use in the covenant because it's not really well defined in its use. I think it's somewhere between "listen to" and "obey." (I've heard that pre-1990, women actually agreed to "obey" their husbands. That was before my time so I don't know if it's true or not, but it would confirm my suspicion that "hearken" was chosen because it's a less offensive way of saying "obey.") However, I don't think that in the specific context of the temple "hearken" means "counsel with" or "have discussions with" or even "listen to respectfully" because the exact same word describes what my husband does with the Lord. And I don't think my husband is under covenant to take advice from the Lord and then weigh it against his own opinions and then decide whether to follow that advice or not. I think my husband is under covenant to OBEY the Lord.

When I think about "hearkening" to my husband, I think about the time our oven broke. Last summer the heating element in our oven burst into flames (really) and we needed to replace the whole appliance within a matter of days since we had a family event coming up. My husband's input into the oven-buying process was, "I'll stay home with the kids after dinner so you can go to Lowes and pick out a new oven." He didn't tell me what features to get, he didn't even tell me how much money I could spend on the oven. Since I am the one who cooks in this house (he only reheats :lol: ) DH recognized that I was the one more fully invested into our kitchen appliances so he didn't really have any counsel to give me. Were we disobeying the Lord? Before, I would have said we did the right thing. But this was before I realized that I covenanted to "hearken" to my husband and my husband didn't covenant to "hearken" to me - making his voice the only one that really matters in our household.

My husband is like you, F_C - he is uncomfortable with the hierarchy too, at least to the extent that he agrees with my interpretation. However - I heard an analogy once that I always apply in this situation. When you are eating a plate of bacon and eggs, who is more fully invested in your breakfast? The chicken or the pig? When it comes to "hearkening," my husband is the chicken and I am the pig. And I don't have any hope that the bias against women in the temple is going to go away in my lifetime because the chickens are running the show.

The other thing that really, REALLY disturbs me is that the parallel language of man -> God and woman -> man strongly implies that a woman doesn't have a direct relationship with God. If my relationship with God is mentioned at any time in the endowment, I haven't noticed it. (In the old endowment video, at least as I am remembering it, God never once speaks to Eve, only to Adam. That may have changed with the new videos. I'm not hopeful.) Now, I've been struggling with the lack of feeling loved personally by God. I've thought for many years that maybe I did Something to cause God to shut off His love for me. But maybe God never loved me all along because I am a woman and not a man. But it begs the question - who actually created me to be a woman? Was it MY choice? (The Family Proclamation says that my gender was part of my premortal characteristics. Was I less faithful in the premortal existence?) And why would God even go to the trouble of creating an entire gender of human beings - roughly half of all the people who have ever lived - if He is going to punish them by loving them less or not at all? That doesn't seem like a loving, all-wise Creator to me. That seems like a petty tyrant.

pdigitty
Posts: 10
Joined: 14 Jan 2014, 07:50

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

Post by pdigitty » 16 Jan 2014, 09:31

Joni wrote:[If my relationship with God is mentioned at any time in the endowment, I haven't noticed it. (In the old endowment video, at least as I am remembering it, God never once speaks to Eve, only to Adam.
Hi Joni

The lord does actually speak to Eve, but it could be interpreted as only in chastizement. Remember when He asks something like, "Eve, what is this thou hast done?" She then says, the serpent, he beguiled me. I do think that the LDS view of Eve is probably the most positive in the Christian world. Not saying a whole lot though. We generally believe that she is the first to really figure God's plan out, and Adam was like, uuuuuuhhhhh, oh yeah, right, I knew that.

I can totally see how women could interpret the Temple ceremony as sexist. But also remember you only have to hearken unto you husband as he hearkens unto the Lord. If you do not believe that what he is tell you is of the Lord, then you are under no obligation to obey. So in this way, you have a personal relationship with the Savior. You have a right to your own personal witness outside of your husband's.

I don't feel this is to belittle women at all. To me this belittles men, and shows our innate weakness. I'll explain: When I served in the mission, I discovered one really important thing. The church would completely fall apart without the strong women that support their husband leaders, I mean it would cease to exist! Good women held together the small nacient branches and wards I served in, in Brasil. The men were the figureheads, the women got it done. I think it is true in the United States at the end of the day too. Without holding the priesthood, what worth would men be to women? :lol: :lol: (This is what my mom told me growing up, and I think it is funny because it is so true)

Men, left to themselves, are most often no good to the Lord. That is why when he creates man, it is stated that it is not good for him to be alone. This does not mean that God made women as baby factories to bend at their husbands' whim. Not at all. He made women to help direct and guide men because we cannot do it ourselves. We are worthless without women, far beyond procreation only, that is just the beginning or it. Women are essential to the existence of the gospel because, well, I feel we men would not get much done productive without women. I'd watch sports all day, as would a large percentage of other men. Or some other non-productive activity for personal enjoyment. That's what I do when the wife an kids are gone. :D I don't speak for all men, but a large portion of them.

Personally, I have an extremely positive view of women as I was primarily raised by my mom and sister, 8 years older than me. I hope my comments provide a new prospective to help some deal with what they see as non-equal footing.

User avatar
On Own Now
Posts: 1754
Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

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

Post by On Own Now » 16 Jan 2014, 09:42

pdigitty wrote:I don't feel this is to belittle women at all. To me this belittles men, and shows our inate weakness. I'll explain: When I served in the mission, I discovered one really important thing. The church would completely fall apart without the strong women that support their husband leaders, I mean it would cease to exist! Good women held together the small nacent branches and wards I served in, in Brasil. The men were the figureheads, the women got it done. I think it is true in the United States at the end of the day too. Without holding the priesthood, what worth would men be to women? :lol: :lol: (This is what my mom told me growing up, and I think it is funny becuase it is so true)

Men, left to themeslves, are most often no good to the Lord. That is why when he creates man, it is stated that it is not good for him to be alone. This does not mean that God made women as baby factories to bend at their husbands' whim. Not at all. He made women to help direct and guide men because we cannot do it ourselves. We are worthless without women, far beyond procreation only, that is just the beginning or it. Women are essential to the existance of the gospel because, well, I feel we men would not get much done productive without women. I'd watch sports all day, as would a large percentage of other men. Or some other non-productive activity for personal enjoyment. That's what I do when the wife an kids are gone. :D I don't speak for all men, but a large portion of them.
I'm not really comfortable with this line of thinking. I don't want my silence to be consent, so, I feel I must respond.

I don't believe any good comes by trying to raise one group by belittling another. I have known many good and wonderful people, many jerks, many morons, and there have been men and women in all those groups. I have known great women that were "supported" by their husbands, and great men "supported" by their wives. I have known great men that were married to terrible women. I have known great women married to terrible men. I have known great people, both women and men, who were single.

The problem that we have in the LDS community in this regard is in undervaluing women. The answer is not to bring our men down, but to properly treat our women.
- - -
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
- - -
"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
- - -

Joni
Posts: 558
Joined: 22 Nov 2013, 08:36

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

Post by Joni » 16 Jan 2014, 10:00

pdigitty wrote:
The lord does actually speak to Eve, but it could be interpreted as only in chastizement. Remember when He asks somthing like, "Eve, what is this thou hast done?" She then says, the serpant, he begiled me. I do think that the LDS view of Eve is probably the most positive in the Christian world. Not saying a whole lot though. We generally beleive that she is the first to really figure God's plan out, and Adam was like, uuuuuuhhhhh, oh yeah, right, I knew that.
I forgot about that! Yes, she is spoken to directly but she's not really treated as a major player. I'm deeply uncomfortable with the way Eve is treated as an accessory to the Creation. I mean, they create this glorious, amazing Earth and finally they place upon it their crowning achievement - Man! And then they kind of look around thinking, "Now, I feel like we are forgetting something..."
I can totally see how women could intrepret the Temple ceremony as sexist. But also remember you only have to hearken unto you husband as he harkens unto the Lord. If you do not believe that what he is tell you is of the Lord, then you are under no obligation to obey. So in this way, you have a personal relationship with the Savior. You have a right to your own personal witness outside of your husband's.
I understand that I only have to hearken to (obey) my husband if his comandments are righteous. But I don't see why a righteous, covenant-keeping woman has to hearken to (obey) anyone but God. My husband could call me from the office right now and tell me to stop whatever I am doing and go read a chapter of the Book of Mormon. That would be righteous counsel. Would it be right? Do I have to do it? The Lord's way (or at least the temple's) says yes.

Taken in the context of the temple, it feels like my loss of agency & lack of a personal relationship with God is a punishment for the original sin of Eve. (Even though Eve was created to be the one to introduce sin into the world so that Adam wouldn't have to get his hands dirty. So she was kind of doomed from the start.) The Articles of Faith only say that man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression.

Another point I've never seen mentioned before... Where on earth is Heavenly Mother in the temple?

User avatar
SamBee
Posts: 5448
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

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

Post by SamBee » 16 Jan 2014, 10:22

Women's position in the temple is not hopeless, IMHO.

Women take part in all the ordinances, see what goes on, and as I would argue, receive the priesthood therein.

So yes, I've got issues about the female role in the temple, but I think there's potential there, and already some good stuff going on.

The way that Eve is portrayed in the old film, is not someone trying to get Adam into trouble, but someone who was tripped up by a master deceiver. (A man, no less.)
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

pdigitty
Posts: 10
Joined: 14 Jan 2014, 07:50

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

Post by pdigitty » 16 Jan 2014, 10:30

I don't believe any good comes by trying to raise one group by belittling another. I have known many good and wonderful people, many jerks, many morons, and there have been men and women in all those groups. I have known great women that were "supported" by their husbands, and great men "supported" by their wives. I have known great men that were married to terrible women. I have known great women married to terrible men. I have known great people, both women and men, who were single.

The problem that we have in the LDS community in this regard is in undervaluing women. The answer is not to bring our men down, but to properly treat our women.
I don't think I was clear enough in my presentation if that's what you took from it, that's my fault. My points were very generally and do not apply to all situations. Priesthood leaders in the church cannot be successful without a strong wife who sacrifices much, often more than the male leader does. That is what I was addressing primarily, not the general membership. Do women get enough credit for this? Generally, no. The church would be a bigger mess without strong, intelligent women. There are plenty in the church making incredible contributions.

I completly agree with what you saying, heck I am living it. I am completely supporting my wife emotionally and spiritually as she battles her demons, for years. I also do not propose that anyone be belittled or bring anyone down, I intend only to flip the perspective and see how a man could see a different point of view, does not mean it is correct, it is just another perpective. The basic point being that men and women are equally critical to the plan of salvation. Is LDS culture slanted in its streatment of men and women? I think so. Is the Lord? Absolutley not! Good news is that LDS culture is changing, then LDS policy will follow.

Shoot, the LDS shurch finally after 35 years finally made a final statement about race and the priesthood. I am white, but the priesthood ban was a big problem for me. That statement last month was huge for me. I don't believe it was quite enough, beacuse many members do not know it exists.

Roy
Posts: 6112
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

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

Post by Roy » 16 Jan 2014, 10:41

On Own Now wrote:I don't believe any good comes by trying to raise one group by belittling another. I have known many good and wonderful people, many jerks, many morons, and there have been men and women in all those groups. I have known great women that were "supported" by their husbands, and great men "supported" by their wives. I have known great men that were married to terrible women. I have known great women married to terrible men. I have known great people, both women and men, who were single.
There is a great tradition of benevolent sexism in the church. This form of sexism still seperates and treats genders differently but it does so from a position of "protecting."

A new convert friend of mine confided in me how his home teacher counseled him to go out and find a job so that his wife could stay home and raise the children. The home teacher felt that the children needed more of a mother's guidance. What the home teacher didn't know was that my friend is much more nurturing and able to deal with his kids particular needs. As a couple they have both agreed that she will work and he will act as caregiver. Unfortunately this is not quite accepted in many pockets of the church. My friend gets labeled as "Lazy." Why, when he is supposedly doing the hardest and most important job in the world - that of caregiver parent, would he be seen as a lazy shirker?

My sister is a lawyer and is called to work on the activity days with the young women. Her co-teacher told the girls that it is important to get an education so that you can competantly help the kids with schoolwork and in case your husband dies unexpectedly. The assumption in this statement is that the education is not to be used to pursue a career.

This form of sexism is not malicious but when a man decides to be the primary caregiver or when your daughter decides to forgoe traditional family life in order to be a career woman - it is felt and not appreciated.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

pdigitty
Posts: 10
Joined: 14 Jan 2014, 07:50

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

Post by pdigitty » 16 Jan 2014, 10:49

Joni wrote:[I understand that I only have to hearken to (obey) my husband if his comandments are righteous. But I don't see why a righteous, covenant-keeping woman has to hearken to (obey) anyone but God. My husband could call me from the office right now and tell me to stop whatever I am doing and go read a chapter of the Book of Mormon. That would be righteous counsel. Would it be right? Do I have to do it? The Lord's way (or at least the temple's) says yes.

Taken in the context of the temple, it feels like my loss of agency & lack of a personal relationship with God is a punishment for the original sin of Eve. (Even though Eve was created to be the one to introduce sin into the world so that Adam wouldn't have to get his hands dirty. So she was kind of doomed from the start.) The Articles of Faith only say that man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression.

Another point I've never seen mentioned before... Where on earth is Heavenly Mother in the temple?
Point taken! Personally I would have a problem with that to. I am a stubborn S.O.B. (not saying you are, but I sure am) and hate being commanded. I could see how this could be troubling. If you are rightous, then why the heck should you not harken straight to the Lord? Is not everyone entitled to personal revelation? I explained that point to a Bishop once when he told me they prayed and that my wife was to be the next Primary Secratary. When I told him no, I received a different witness, he was irate. He said things like, great people received this witness, etc... History would dictate my witness was correct, I will not repeat why, those who have read previous posts of mine know what came next shortly after. It wasn't until it happened that I undersood why I recieved witness contrary to my Bishop's. I felt guilty for a while, no longer though.

I have a great testimony of my ability to receive personal revelation, as should you as well. It should not be taken from you by culture, no doubt.

I would love to know more about Heavenly Mother also, I am with you. Side note, if you have not, read Joseph Smith's King Follet Discourse. Anti-LDSs love it because it deals with deep doctrine. I love it becuase it talks about the eternity of the soul and that contrary to mormon culture, Heavenly Mother is not sitting there popping out spirit childern. Though it does not address her directly. Basically our intelligence (soul) is eternal, otherwise if it was not it would have an end. Don't want to get in to a KF discussion here, but I may start a thread when I get time. Hope I am not opening a huge can of worms on this thread. :?

User avatar
On Own Now
Posts: 1754
Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

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

Post by On Own Now » 16 Jan 2014, 10:57

Thanks, pdigity.

The way I look at this kind of thing is to recognize that, in general, men and women are wired differently. Neither form is right or better than the other, they are engineered to be cooperative, either by God or by eons of evolution. Yet, not all men are a certain way and not all women are a certain way. So, when you get down to an individual level, generalizations break down. Most importantly, even if you can identify common traits in women and common traits in men, the ROLES that go along with either gender are stifling. Society has recognized it, but the Church is slow (in the same way they were slow in the case of the Priesthood ban you referenced). Like you, I see a potential parallel, in which the Church will move away from pidgeon-holing gender roles. I just hope it is sooner rather than later.

I think it's unfortunate for us to have in our temple ceremony wording that makes women feel that they are less important to God. The fact that men feel a need to help to explain to women why it isn't really so bad should be a clue that it really is so bad.
- - -
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
- - -
"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
- - -

Post Reply