Thursday, October 12, 2006

pre-exit 5: women and the priesthood

Regarding women and the priesthood, I felt intellectually, emotionally, and personally that women are the equals of men. Period. Even when there were direct and explicit teachings in church that said otherwise, I let myself discount them somehow. So I figured that there must be some reason God wanted only men to have the priesthood. I heard and considered the following explanations:

-It was to teach us something, we just don’t know what…yet.
-Women didn’t need it because they were already spiritual betters of men.
-Men have priesthood, women have motherhood.
-Women don’t need it because men already have it.
-Priesthood is not a privilege, it’s a responsibility. And you don’t really want all the responsibility, do you?
-That’s just the way God wants it, so learn to live with it.
-If you covet the priesthood, you don’t understand it.
Etc., etc.

I hated all these explanations, though I seriously considered a couple of them at different times. They are patronizing, misguided, and sorry attempts to justify institutionalized inequality.
And yet at one point I came to feel that not having the priesthood was okay. It didn’t bother me. I’m not really sure how I came to that point or why. I suppose I managed to put the idea far in the back of my mind, and told it to stay put.

And that’s really, really sad. I accepted the inequality imposed on me by the church. I believed it was okay. I think a lot of Mormon women do this—that’s how Hinckley can say, “There’s no agitation for that [to give women the priesthood]. We don’t find it. Our women are happy. They’re satisfied. These bright, able, wonderful women who...are very happy. Ask them.” (Find the transcript here.)

It’s sick that otherwise intelligent, "bright, able, wonderful" women (and I do believe they are) can be made to believe and internalize inferiority. Such is the power of Mormonism.


Sister Mary Lisa said...

Amen. For me, being married to a non-mo, it was me thinking to myself that I am not inferior, and thank God I was born a woman, because I felt deep down that I was better than any man, or the priesthood. But then I noticed myself teaching my 12 yr old son how important it was that he was the only priesthood holder in the house, and I look back and get sick about that.

from the ashes said...

No doubt. Witholding priesthood from women is one thing; giving it to men and boys brings in whole new issues. Making them more special, more responsible, more powerful--that's not a good thing, either.

Just one of many said...

In the OT there were women prophetess' who ruled and judged over Isreal! I asked about that in GD class and they said the restored church has made everything perfect the way god had intended it to be in the first place! *gag* Liked your thoughts!!

from the ashes said...

Anyone who has studied anything about the OT church knows it's absolutely nothing like the "restored" church.

Here's one for you: there were temple prostitutes. Is that where rumors about sex in the temple came from?