anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Gender Equality in the LDS Church

Recently a blog post went viral in my small corner of the internet (aka, my Facebook feed) where someone had gender-bended all the roles in my church in an effort to prove that we as women are the lesser members of the church.

I'm not going to link back to the post for a couple of reasons, but suffice it to say that I felt it was unfair and would cause people to question things that they may not currently have a problem with. I also felt as well that it crossed a line of what should and should not be said about what goes on inside the temple.

I'm not saying the question of whether or not women have a legitimate role in our church isn't a valid issue, it is TOTALLY a valid issue. Honestly, it isn't one that I thought much about until Kate Kelly and the movement for women to wear pants to church (by the way, it doesn't say anywhere that you have to wear a skirt to church... moving on). Recently, though, it seems to have come up a little bit more.

I'd like to put my thoughts out for consideration.

I'd be lying if I said that the post didn't bother me, that I didn't consider it and wonder if maybe they were right. Was I really an equal member of my church?

Then I thought about what the rest of the world defines as success. A good job. A nice home. Public recognition.

To be fair, a woman's role in this church doesn't really include many (if any) of these things. Where a man's role in this church is to be out in the world; working, running the church, holding the priesthood... a woman's role is something else entirely. We are the nurturers. The ones who stay home with the children (in ideal scenarios, though these days a lot of us are working just like our male counterparts), who work in the home, but are seen as having to bow to our husband's will and priesthood.

However, if you look at a woman's role in our church by the standards of the things that really matter, and I think that most of us can agree that people are more important than things, relationships are more important than recognition.

In this case, I think you could argue that men really get the raw end of the deal.

As children, we have in inborn connection with our mothers. They carry us, they deliver us, and in most cases, they're the ones that we're crying for in the middle of the night. They are prominent in our memories. They way that they comforted us when we were hurt or sick. The way they just seemed to know what we needed, when we needed it. They fed us. It's a thankless job, but one that has a profound impact on us and our lives. They play a huge role in who we become.

Families are the building blocks of society, of civilizations, and our mothers are the ones who teach us from the cradle. They are the ones who truly shape our civilization and our society.

However, both roles are needed, they balance each other and work synergistically. Women aren't completely confined to our homes and men play their own role in the home. Men help raise their children and women have callings in the church and jobs out in the world. We're partners, not one above the other.

I have never felt that I was less important to my God than my husband was, or my brother was, or my father was.

True, there are not many stories of women in the scriptures, but having witnessed many amazing women in my short time on earth, I have no doubt that they were there. And just because they didn't end up in the scriptures, it doesn't mean that they didn't have a significant impact. It just means that a man was keeping the records.

As for the point made about our Heavenly Mother, that there isn't much said about her. I have pondered this as well. I've heard a few explanations, that we don't hear about her to protect her. That could be true. I have no doubt that if the way our God loves his wife is anything like the way my husband loves me, then he would do a lot to protect her. But, I think that there could be another explanation as well. This is my own personal theory and I'm not trying to suggest in any way that this is church doctrine. But, thinking about how our families are here, there's a good chance that they are similar there.

Is it really that far fetched to believe that our Heavenly Mother carried and nurtured us? That she raised us from a Heavenly cradle? That the same kind of intrinsic connection we have with our mothers here is the same kind of connection we had with her there? What better way to learn about and connect with our Heavenly Father than to send us here and give us some one on one time? Perhaps one of the goals of our life here is not only to grow but to grow closer to our Heavenly Father by relying on him instead of our Heavenly Mother. Our weekend away with Dad if you will.

I can't imagine, nor do I believe that my Heavenly Father would love his wife any less than my husband loves me. Watching the leaders of my church and how tenderly they love and honor their wives, I can't imagine Him loving or honoring his wife any less.

If you want to measure by standards of prestige, of public recognition, or success outside the home, then yes, you could easily argue that women are lesser, subjugated.

But if you really believe that the family is the most important thing in our lives, the relationships are the most important, and I don't think you could argue well that we are NOT a family-centered church, then a woman has a huge and vital role in the church. A huge and vital role in this world.

I'm sure that this doesn't fix everything. You probably still have some questions, and hey, so do I. So does my husband. But I know that I am loved by my Heavenly Father. I know a lot more than I have questions about. They call it faith for a reason. Someday I'll have those answers, but until then I'm going to trust in what I know and have faith for the rest.
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