I think the fundamental problem is that we've separated men and women into two easily-classifiable teams, as if we're playing sports or watching a political rally. It ends up in a false dichotomy. It means that we generalize too broadly; while there are of course beautiful biological/physiological differences between genders, it's too easy to go too far and characterize all men and all women as being more similar than they really are.
A man has experiences with a few women and because they are
women he assumes that their personalities are representative
of the entire gender. A woman knows a few men and because they are
men she assumes that their personalities are representative
of the entire gender.
(This is especially bad on social networking sites like Facebook; I see men constantly putting up jokes and complaints about "women" and women constantly doing the same about "men" when really all they're saying is these particular men/women that I know
are behaving this way -- and then they go on to generalize about all
men and all
women, each side complaining about the double standards that only
the other side ever enacts. My "masculinist" friends post articles that purport to show all the problems "feminism" is causing; my "feminist" friends post articles that purport to show all the problems "masculinism" is causing, and the divine widens.)
It's all based on false premises. It's Nibley's old problem:
"I have been quite half-hearted [...] and much too easily drawn into what I call the Gentile Dilemma. That is, when I find myself called upon to stand up and be counted, to declare myself on one side or the other. Which do I prefer -- gin or rum, cigarettes or cigars, tea of coffee, heroin or LSD, the Red Rose or the White, Shiz or Coriantumr, wicked Nephites or wicked Lamanites, Whigs or Tories, Catholic or Protestant, Republican or Democrat, black power or white power, land pirates or sea pirates, commissars or corporations, capitalism or communism [and Matriarchy or Patriarchy
The devilish neatness and simplicity of the thing is the easy illusion that I am choosing between good and evil, when in reality two or more evils by their rivalry distract my attention from the real issue."
The real issue is that the radical Restoration posits that every single person
, every man, woman and child, is a God in Embryo. But the inevitable corollary is that every single person
, man, woman and child, also
has the potential to be a devil, an accuser, a false God.
This is no time for patronizing stereotypes about which gender
is "more spiritual." That's the false choice. Each individual -- regardless
of gender! -- has equal potential to Fall, which means that each has equal potential to become a Servant of All. If we deny one gender the ability to sin grievously based on some intrinsic "goodness" which they have access to which the other gender is barred from by their very anatomy, then we've effectively denied the agency of both
genders and justified it with an appeal to maudlin sentimentality. It's insulting to everyone involved.
The beauty of the Restoration is that in its best expression, it exalts both men and
women, who are capable of making themselves genuinely Good because they are Free Agents deliberately choosing
the right, based not on some inherent "goodness" (which, if it is truly inherent, is not "goodness" at all since there is no agency involved) but rather on their ability to act and not be acted on.
The Restoration is the ultimate form of exalted humanism
, which philosophical monotheists disdain as primitive "polytheism", as if the mere number
of people we give worth to means anything at all. We really do
) believe the Bible when it says: "Let this mind be in you
, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God
: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant."
A True God is one who serves others, regardless of their gender. Being as Good as God -- being a servant of no reputation -- is not robbery
. It takes nothing away from one good person to see another good person doing good! And since that is the case, why do we insist on withholding Priesthood from women based not on any actions
which might disqualify one from being an authorized servant anointed with oil from the olive Tree of Life, but rather on their mere biology?
It makes no sense
But because it makes no sense, some try to uphold mere tradition by claiming, for instance, that "God moves in mysterious ways!" without naming a scriptural reference for this noncanonical Proverb, which is actually from the 19th century hymnalist William Cowper.
Well, in that case, doesn't Yahweh saith "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways" in Isaiah?
Yes! That's exactly right and true! Because in Ezekiel 18, God cries "O house of Israel, are not my ways equal
? are not your ways unequal
? Therefore I will judge you
, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity
shall not be your ruin."
And yet we still maintain a "separate but equal" clause in the Priesthood. This is not like biological inequalities, where one gender has physical attributes that the other does not. Men and women are both equally beautiful in their unique ways, that's true; why should this uniqueness extend to the Priesthood? Why did we insert an emphatic "hereafter" into the washing and anointing ceremony for Queens and Priestesses, but not for the men who will be Kings and Priests, though they are both
only anointed to "become" such?
What are we gaining
by this separation into politicized teams? What would we lose
if we Restored the Priesthood to women, seeing that we believe that it is not robbery
to be equal with God? "The saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him.
" (D&C 88:107)
Note well that it says the Saints
. Not women
. Those who are Servants of All.
This is like delaying the Law of Consecration because we "haven't been asked" to practice it yet. It's not going
to happen unless we make
it happen ourselves
. Zion is not going to built unless we build it
. There has to be a stirring below before Revelation is received from above; we have to be looking
for an answer before we can find
one, not resting on our laurels proclaiming all is well in Zion.
We, with our doctrine of a literal Mother Goddess as well as a Father God, we with our doctrine of a literal Heaven where there are Gods many and Lords many, are in an absolutely unique position in all of Christianity to offer this Restoration
. Yes, there were a few tentative steps in this direction in the 19th century, with Mary Baker Eddy and others teaching about a feminine "aspect" to their disembodied deity, but it was all spiritualized abstractions, not the Gods of Flesh and Bone that we believe in. Instead of cozying up to philosophical monotheists and making ourselves indistinguishable from conservative Evangelical Protestants, why aren't we proclaiming this from the rooftops? We should have been the first
people to ordain Priestesses, not the embarrassed last few, racing to catch up!
Myself, I think we should be following the spirit of Eliza R. Snow's more progressive poems ("The Significance of 'O My Father' in the Personal Journey of Eliza R. Snow
" by Jill Mulvay Derr) She was the Poetess of Zion, a Priestess, a Prophet too, as Emmeline B. Wells wrote.
"While sit[t]ing here [said Snow] I have been looking upon the faces of my Sisters and can See the form of Deity there and I have been Reflecting of the Great work we have to perform, Even in helping in the Salvation of the Living and the Dead," she told sisters of the Lehi, Utah, Relief Society in October 1869. "We want to be ladys in very deed not acording to the term of the word as the world Judges but fit Companions of the Gods and Holy ones." A month earlier, she had been in Provo asking:
"Who are these my sisters they are the daughters of the most high God, and we are here in this dispensation to cooperate with God and our brethren in saving the human family. We read that one hundred and forty-four thousand Saviours are to stand upon Mount Zion, has women anything to do in this great work of salvation, or are the sisters merely machines to be saved by the brethren, In these last days woman has her part to perform, which is a significant part."
She counseled, "In your lives seek to refine and elevate, that you may be prepared to come into the presence of holy beings, and associate with Gods, we do not know our own abilities until they are brought into exercise."
So let's help each other to exercise our abilities, regardless of whether we are men or women. It's the Plan of Salvation that matters, not who brings it or what gender they are; whether by God's voice or the voice of one of His servants, the message is the same: to help in whatever way we can to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of humanity. Inasmuch as we are not Saviors, we are as salt that has lost its savor.
Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith, 01 May 2012 - 02:01 PM.