Guest Post: The Future of Mormon Feminism

Posted by on April 28, 2014 in feminism | 37 comments

DSC_0023 - Copy (2)by Aimee Hickman

This past Saturday night, I was delighted to speak alongside one of my idols, Claudia Bushman, at the Exponent II 40th Anniversary Speakers Series outside of Washington, DC. I was asked to speak on the future of Mormon feminism and what follows is an abbreviated version of my remarks. I would be very glad to hear from Exponent readers about what the future of Mormon feminism looks like to you. I hope you’ll leave a comment below.

In the Winter 2014 issue of Exponent II, Helen Claire Sievers contributed an essay titled “What Mormon Women Have Lost in My Lifetime.” Reflecting on her 70 years as a Church-member, Helen Claire catalogued the opportunities Mormon women experienced pre-correlation that she argues have diminished over time. Here are just a few of her examples: an expansive international Relief Society General Board which provided more opportunities for direct access to Church leadership; control over assets, money and travel; direct access between the General Relief Society Presidency and First Presidency; control over the content of Relief Society, Young Women’s and Primary manuals; innovation and experimentation with Primary, Youth and Relief Society organizations; the Relief Society Magazine and more.

Though nostalgia may leave a rose-colored tinge (freedom from fundraising, in particular seems like a valuable gain earned through correlation), the losses Helen Claire outlines have come as shocking revelations to two generations of post-correlation Mormon women who have never heard of or experienced the dynamism and ambition of pre-correlated women’s work in the Church. In our correspondence as we edited her essay, Helen Claire noted that she “tell[s] people I missed the entire women’s movement because it was so exciting to work in the Church back then.” This statement made me gasp in front of my computer screen. For women like me, who have only experienced Relief Society as a mandatory Church program under the direction of the priesthood, the notion of choosing to join Relief Society, of paying dues, or reading from magazines and lesson manuals written by women for women is entirely foreign. Rather than a dynamic body of its own, I, and every generation after me, have only experienced the Relief Society as an “appendage” whose movements are dictated by the head, of which we are not a part. I believe that, among many factors, the dissatisfaction with these institutional limits placed on post-correlated Mormon women bears responsibility for bringing us to this particular Mormon feminist moment.

In 2012 EXII Founding Mother, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, delivered an address which Caroline Kline thoughtfully discussed in a previous blog post. The basic premise of Laurel’s argument was that the “last forty years of Relief Society were in some ways an attempt to integrate men and women, as they both learned from the same (androcentric) manuals, read the same (male-dominated) Church magazines, and more. In contrast, Laurel reflects that ‘During a period when there was a notion of separate spheres, women…created amazing things. . . women’s voluntary activity was very powerful.’”

While many Church members express that they are satisfied with things as they are, Mormon feminism recognizes that the current correlation-as-integration model is untenable if we want to see women having more voice, visibility and authority in Church matters. In my view, the notion of strengthening “separate spheres” or fully completing the “integration” models Laurel outlined, will continue to shape the conversation Mormon feminism will be having in the coming decades. Are Mormon women better off when they are “integrated” into the larger church body, or does finding full expression in “separate spheres” offer the greatest potential for development? Or can there be something in between? The following are three modes of thought that are currently under debate and will, I think, continue to give shape to Mormon feminist discourse in the coming decades.

On the side of complete integration we have seen the emergence of an energized and passionate movement to ordain women to the all-male priesthood. Ordain Women (OW) calls for women to be fully integrated into the ecclesiastical and administrative structure of a currently all-male hierarchy. And they have chosen to do this publicly, rather than quietly work through back-channels by “put[ting] ourselves in the public eye and call[ing] attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.” OW relies on a revelationist strategy–a public appeal to those in power to ask for revelation that would move the Church toward the ordination of women. Such activism challenges a frequently held belief that revelation happens from the top-down and has provided ammunition for many OW detractors. Yet it’s precisely OW’s model of public activism which has in part galvanized a movement (particularly among post-correlation born feminists). OW has created something which feels exciting–which feels like work akin to the excitement Helen Claire described experiencing as she worked for the RS in a previous era. For some women, the opportunities for action that OW offers, replaces something what has been missing since correlation went fully into effect. OW rightly contends that a women’s organization under the direction of an all-male priesthood leadership is not the same as full integration, and is successfully converting an increasingly diverse cross-section of women and men into their ranks. Whether or not they are successfully converting those in leadership is another question which deservedly receives a lot debate among Mormon feminists.

On the other end, are those who advocate for a robust “separate spheres” argument which would include a fully-fleshed out model of Priestesshood. Pulling from aspects of the temple endowment and historical practices among Mormon women, these proponents believe that a parallel Priestesshood that employs the unique qualities of women must compliment an all male Priesthood. In the upcoming ordination issue of Exponent II, Elizabeth Hammond argues for a kind of Priestesshood that “is practiced outside of oversight, without a script, without rules, and without specific forms. There are no statistics to keep and no hierarchy to navigate. The Priestess is an individual agent, guided by the Spirit alone, who is her companion by right. Outside of supervisors and institutional limitations, the Priestess practices with pure intent.” In addition to drawing on a restorationist argument that emphasizes early Church practices when women were set apart to bless and heal, proponents of Priestesshood are eager to see the Divine Feminine have greater presence in our culture and Church practice, that women may have a divine model that can model this feminine order of Priestesshood. Rather than being incorporated into the existing hierarchy of the Church, many advocates of Priestesshood envision an autonomous, parallel organization which would operate independently but share one ultimate cause.

Among more mainstream Mormon and “moderate feminist” circles, recent attempts have been made to find a middle ground between these two poles which simultaneously aim to focus on expanding and reinvigorating the separate spheres that Mormon women already inhabit, while making them more visible within the greater structure of the Church. Neylan McBaine recently articulated this notion in her widely-read paper presented at the 2012 FAIR conference titled “To Do the Business of the Church: A Cooperative Paradigm for Examining Participation Within Church Structure.” She suggests a separate spheres/integration approach in which the Church might make moderate changes to Church policies that would increase women’s visibility without challenging a notion men and women’s roles are divinely ordained differences, or that the way things are currently structured are doctrine rather than policy. Neylan and others make the case that barriers for female leadership can be removed where specific priesthood offices or keys are not required. For example, some would like to see the Relief Society president of each ward participate in bishopric meetings, or create opportunities for girls to be given visible ward responsibilities when turning 12 that parallel the visibility of their 12 year old priesthood bearing brethren. They want to see women’s work receive greater respect and influence but foundationally believe that men and women have different work to do. Women having the priesthood neither advances their cause nor fits into the currently gender-divided system that many see as divinely ordained.

The Church seems to be hearing some of these critiques and has made recent efforts to increase the visibility of its women. Unfortunately they might be taking the notion of visibility a little too literally–displaying photos of the auxiliary presidencies in the Conference Center for the first time or placing those same presidencies very visibly in the middle of the stand in the most recent General Conference may be “good optics,” but it doesn’t fool many Mormons who recognize the difference between good optics and an optical illusion.

There is a sense that we are standing at a fork in the road where institutional revelation and social change could combine to set us on any one of these paths or one far better (or worse) than we can foresee in the next century. As Mormon feminists, we are tasked with taking the long-view. For me personally, I believe that we all must grapple with current questions being raised around women’s ordination, but I see the current conversation around ordination as only one manifestation of a deeply felt, deeply believed, deeply practiced and deeply troubling doctrinal teaching–that the Mormon woman is profoundly invisible when it comes to the eternities and all that she is is “unto” her husband. While I hesitate to open the Pandora’s Box of having Heavenly Mother revealed to us (I tremble to think of the domestic goddessthat we might find!), we have no clearer indication of our fate or our status as Mormon women than when we look in vain for our Heavenly Mother’s image. These larger cultural and doctrinal underpinnings must be addressed and I hope that as Mormon feminists we will be able to move forward creatively, wisely and harmlessly so that at the 80th anniversary of Exponent II 40 years from now our daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters might be able to sing the Exponent II anthem, “Woman Rise,” and stand on shoulders which have helped to raise them higher than ever before.

 

 

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37 Comments

  1. Wonderful summary of the current state of Mormon feminism, Aimee. I too feel like we are at a crossroads, and I so hope for movement forwards. It’s fascinating to think about the possibilities. And you are so right that we have to deal with larger patriarchal underpinnings within our theology. Priesthood or priestesshood for women is no final solution — it’s only a first step.

  2. so interesting–thank you. It will be fascinating to see how it all plays out.

    And I loved the Helen Claire Sievers piece in the winter issue. I am just barely old enough to remember the old Relief Society, or rather to remember my mother participating in it. She led the Singing Mothers–aka The Relief Society Chorus–and they would give concerts and charge admission as RS fund raisers. I remember playing under quilt frames set up in the cultural hall when the RS had a quilting bee. I remember that she actually liked to read the lessons, and as a missionary, I understood why: translation is difficult and takes time, and Chinese lesson manuals were among the last translated, so our manuals were at least a decade older; the RS manual I was given had lessons on modernist poetry (T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound) and the stained glass in Chartes Cathedral. Imagine topics like that in RS now.

    • Thank you for this, Holly. You’ve illustrated these losses so vividly. When I imagine being a part of something like what your mother participated in, it’s easier to imagine how satisfying church-life may have been.

  3. This post has given me food for thought all day. I don’t have strong feelings about women’s integration into priesthood vs. a separate priestesshood, but I absolutely think women need a stronger voice within the institutional structure. My biggest concerns, though, are what you address in your final paragraph–the very troubling theology surrounding women’s position in the eternities.

    Thanks for this, Aimee. I’m encouraged by your hopefulness that our generation of Mormon feminists can help improve things for those who will follow us.

  4. Beautiful written, Aimee. As a middle-aged Mormon feminist, I find myself in an odd position. I’m not as (rightfully) enraged and discouraged as my younger feminist sisters. Yet, I’m not old enough to have witnessed correlation firsthand. So, I’m a little unplugged from that experience. I do feel I’m representative of a wide swath of women who would characterize themselves as moderate feminists. Few of my feminist friends are as vocal as I am about feminist issues. But we have rich and thoughtful day-to-day conversations about the future of Mormon feminism.

    What I feel from my mostly Utah County Mormon feminists friends is a general awareness that change is good and that we all hope for change. What we want is for the church organization to bring us closer to Christ and to the heart of His doctrine – which is built upon social, political, financial and sexual equality. That’s what I want for sure.

    Personally, I think we’re all part of an exciting, broiling convergence of several huge rivers of truth. Knowledge of Divine Feminine being one of those rivers. I believe many women and men are feeling an awareness of God the Mother in intimate, personal ways. I know I am. This is a monumental boon to Mormon feminism. My grandchildren have a much more concrete awareness of Her at a much earlier age than I did.

    The thing about the restoration (which I believe Joseph Smith really did begin for our church) is that, once the floodgates of knowledge were opened, there was no stopping the tide of enlightenment. No doubt, this was happening on a subtle, global scale long before Joseph asked his questions in the grove. But I’m profoundly happy and grateful he was courageous (crazy?) enough to answer the call when it came and to dive in and swim for his life. I suppose that’s all any of us can do. That’s what I’m doing right now. And I love it.

  5. Your last sentence gives me chills!

  6. As with the underlying false assumptions which inform the Ordain Women movement, so too, this author, not withstanding the professed depth of her feelings and beliefs, is still in error as to the true doctrine and status of women before God. That false assumption as to the invisibleness of women, arises from her reliance on the arm of the flesh, and its related flawed methodology to truth. Those enlightened by the Holy Ghost, who are willing to acknowledge the flaws of humankind and trust in revelation from God, recognize the doctrinally correct and glorious status of women within the Kingdom of God on earth and through the eternities.

    Only those who rely on their own reason, and who, like others in the world seek to make God in their own image, (rather than trust God and learn of him as he is), look in vain for the image of their heavenly mother. Those who humbly seek the truth, as revealed by God, have seen and known that image from the beginning, and have witnessed by the power of the Holy Ghost that it is glorious, and beautiful.

    The author’s concluding plea, is akin to the desires of the people of Babel, whose pride lead them to believe that they could , by human effort, reach the heavens, when in actuality their conduct was bringing them lower. It is not the Mormon Feminists that will assist women to rise, but rather it is the Spiritually reliant, true daughters of God, who will recognize their already high and holy standing, and who will help others to reject the flawed human reason that teaches them otherwise, and to embrace and rejoice in what is the eternal truth with regard to womanhood.

    • Well said FWJ.

    • Sorry, FWJ, but I find it difficult to see what you’re saying other than that you endorse the status quo (including, e.g., the female priesthood ban), but it’s not clear to me *why*.

      “the author . . . is still in error as to the true doctrine and status of women before God.”

      This is a frequently-made accusation of feminists. But why? What *is* the true doctrine and status of women before God? Are you suggesting that it’s what is revealed through the structure of the Church, where the decision-making structure and androcentrism of the teaching convey pretty clearly that women are merely appendages to men? And if so, can I understand your comment as a call for women to learn to simply be happy with their appendage status, because that’s how God sees them?

      Or perhaps are you claiming that the true status of women before God is *different* than what’s revealed through the Church? In which case do you think it’s actually *lower*? Is that why you would still oppose Mormon feminism? Because the Church is treating women too *well*? Or perhaps you think the true status of women is *higher* than is revealed through the Church? In which case I would guess you would be on board with Mormon feminism and the many movements to get women’s treatment in the Church to match up to their true status before God. But you already said you don’t like such things, so I guess this isn’t your position.

      So in summary, I guess what I hear you saying is that you’re okay with the Church not treating women as well as men, because you think that’s what God really thinks. I am totally not on board with that. I think any god deserving of worship would love women just as much as men. I can’t agree with your view of God as an eternal sexist.

      • Thanks for asking. It provides me with an opportunity to restate what I thought was clear before.

        It is clear that I support the status quo, by which I mean God’s divinely revealed doctrines, as opposed to human constructs and even human based but flawed and misleading terminologies such as “the female priesthood ban”

        The true doctrine of the status of women before God, is that they are equally loved, equally cherished, equally important to the purpose of life, equally heirs to exhalation and eternal life, equally essential to God’s work and glory. It is a false and self serving construct for persons to look at the church with their biases and then make erroneous claims such as ” women are merely appendages to men.” The Church, the true Gospel, and its doctrines never have taught that. That interpretation of doctrine and teachings is a false constructed adopted by feminists to give them a cause. Since that underlying premise about the Church’s true position with regard to women is in error the related constructs are also in error.

        The fact is that those enlightened by God’s Holy Spirit recognize that women are truly valued and equal before God. The movement of feminism, like the OW movement, represent those who see wrong, inequality, androcentrism, etc., where it doesn’t exist, and do so because it meets their flawed human experience, and desires to be relevant. They are but manifestation of the culture of envy. That is the tragedy. Those who know the truth see that women already are relevant and equal and do not need human based and flawed organizations to fight for a cause that is in the absolute sense baseless.

        It is not unlike the race baiters, who under the pretense of demanding equality, actually foment and stir up racial issues and division to keep their power, and their cause alive. They seek to heal something that is no longer broken, because it provides them with purpose. Thus if it is healed they will seek to break it again or at least to convince others it is still broken for their own purposes.

        So in summary, though it destroyers the OW movement and debunks Mormon Feminism, what I am really saying is that the Church actually does treat women as well, if not better, than men precisely because God really does love and cherish his daughters as much as his sons. God is not an eternal sexists, though it serves the purposes of the Don Quixote’s of the world to so label Him , and sexism actually does not exist in the doctrines of His Church and Kingdom. Therefore since God is in the absolute sense perfect in equality and treatment of His Daughters and Sons, he is worthy of worship.

      • Thanks for your response, FWJ.

        “what I am really saying is that the Church actually does treat women as well, if not better, than men precisely because God really does love and cherish his daughters as much as his sons.”

        I hope that your second point is true. As for the first, though, the evidence against it is just overwhelming.

      • ZIFF:

        The second point is true, and can be known to be so by direct revelation from God.

        The first point is also true. The most you can honestly claim is that your private interpretation of the evidence, or your personal human based experiences overwhelmingly convince you otherwise. However, just as with point 2, a person can know by revelation that the doctrines, and the real church which seeks to implement those doctrines, demand fair, equal and just treatment for all God’s children.

      • ” The most you can honestly claim is that your private interpretation of the evidence, or your personal human based experiences overwhelmingly convince you otherwise. ”

        Um, no. The most that *you* can say is that you’re willing to privilege the wishes in your mind for what you’d like the Church to be over the overwhelming clear evidence that women are not treated equally to men in the Church. This isn’t a question of revelation. This is a question of observation.

      • Right and Wrong. This is indeed a question of observation. The point is…. your observations are based in your personal bias and human error, and constitute your own “Privilege of wishing in your mind” that they are so.” My observations contradict yours and stand as evidence that you are in error. Revelation comes into play in that it is the only way for sincere truth seekers to know whose observations are correct in the absolute sense.

      • “your observations are based in your personal bias and human error, and constitute your own “Privilege of wishing in your mind” that they are so.” My observations contradict yours and stand as evidence that you are in error.”

        You are hilarious, FWJ. And your observations *aren’t* based on any bias or human error? Are you calling yourself God? Because that would sure explain a lot.

        Seriously, though, try something like reading Heather’s “Equality is not a Feeling” series at D&S and tell me why all these evidences of inequality don’t count, because underlying them all there is somehow equality.

        http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/category/columns/equality-is-not-feeling/

  7. I really, really loved this. Thank you so much for sharing it here.

  8. Aimee – I sure wish I could have heard you in person! I absolutely agree with your diagnosis of the crux of the problem: the eternal invisibility of women. I puzzle over the solutions. There is so much at stake here.

    Ziff – I’m so glad you comment here. You are the best.

    FWJ – I will not attempt to change your mind on these things. But please believe me, I say this with every ounce of honesty I have: feminists do not falsely and intentionally construct grievances to “give us a cause.” Our questions are authentically, deeply, and I would argue, widely felt. It is extremely uncharitable to say that we invent things to unnecessarily rouse ourselves and others to division.

    • Emily: I have known enough OW’s and Feminists to grant that you may honestly believe what you claim, and I do not fault you that. However, it is good to remember that the Pharisees honestly believed that in persecuting Christ and his Church they were doing God a service. The depth and sincerity of their belief did not make that belief a reality, and they were still in error.

      It is possible for women to authentically, deeply and widely believe they are treated as lesser beings, or that without the priesthood ordination they are somehow less than what they could be. Those beliefs do not make it so. The truth, as revealed by God, is that they do not need the priesthood ordination. They already enjoy the status of perfect and just equality with God, and with those who truly worship Him.

      As to Charity…..if it is true that the OWs and Feminists reject revelation, and rely on the arm of the flesh, their own private judgments and perceptions, and go forward in their deeply felt cause…. and if in doing so they cause great harm to others, demean the Lord’s Church, destroy faith in His leaders, and cause unwarranted discontent in his daughters, then pointing out that truth is actually very charitable, and denying it, while carrying on in those harmful actions, would constitute the real lack of charity.

      • Oh my heck, FWJ. Seriously? How did you get chosen to call feminists to repentance?

        If anti-feminists like you are earnestly driving people from the Church for daring to merely *observe* that women’s treatment doesn’t match men’s, rather than doing the required mental gymnastics to convince ourselves that somehow the drastic inequalities actually constitute equality in some bizarre way, then it’s only charitable of *us* to point out that you’re doing evil by attributing sexism to God. Please stop. The sexism in the Church is not of God. It’s not Godly. You are calling evil good when you attribute it to him.

    • Emily, thanks so much! That really means a lot to me!

      • Ziff, I want to “like” your comments so much!

  9. The obvious question back to ZIFF is: “how did she, other feminists and the Ordain Women movement, get chosen to call God’s church to repentance?”.

    The fallacy of logic that plagues ZIFF’s comments here, and the whole underlying premises upon which OW and feminism are based, is clear. ZIFF presupposes that there is sexism in the Church. If ZIFF set aside her bias, and read my remarks carefully she would note that I also affirm that God is NOT a sexist, and neither is his Church and Kingdom on earth. If ZIFF sees sexism in God’s Church, but also thinks God is not Sexist, then she must also believe that God is no longer in control of his kingdom, which is also a false doctrine. ZIFF is entitled to her “observations” as I am entitled to mine. That they do not coincide leads the sincere truth seeker to look to God, for the absolute truth of the matter. Thankfully, revelation disposes of any need for “mental gymnastics” on either side.

    • Thanks for getting down to brass tacks, FWJ.

      “I also affirm that God is NOT a sexist, and neither is his Church and Kingdom on earth. If ZIFF sees sexism in God’s Church, but also thinks God is not Sexist, then she must also believe that God is no longer in control of his kingdom, which is also a false doctrine.”

      So this is really the fundamental point, isn’t it? You believe that the Church is the perfect manifestation of God’s will in the very moment that God wills it. So in short, prophetic infallibility. Church leaders don’t even claim infallibility for themselves, but you’re so sure that they’re always doing exactly what God wants in the very moment God wants it?

      Rather than believing in perfect leaders, I have what might be thought of as a more Mormon view. I think Church leaders, while possibly inspired, are in fact fallible, in fact have their own agency, and are in fact living their lives to learn like the rest of us rather than to serve as God’s puppets. So it’s entirely possible for God to not be a sexist and for Church leaders to still lead the Church in a sexist direction. In fact, it’s pretty clear that this is the case, because if you can’t see the sexism in the Church, you’re blind.

      Also, BTW, I’m a guy, and even *I* can see the Church is drenched in sexist practice:

      http://zelophehadsdaughters.com/2013/05/02/i-never-noticed-women-werent-praying-in-conference/

      • Here Ziff provides us with another example of why human reason is not to be trusted with regard to seeking truth. There is a human penchant among the dogmatic, to characterize another’s position to be something that it is not, in order to then attack and debunk the straw man. That should not surprise anyone, since faulty characterizations of the church fill this and other blog cites and FB pages.

        So to correct Ziff’s willful and self serving interpretation:

        1. I know, not just believe, that God is perfectly just and loves his children equally.

        2. I know that He is directing his church and kingdom on earth by teaching and revealing doctrines which are, as He is, perfect. There is nothing in the doctrines of the restored church that is sexist.

        3. I know that God uses flawed and imperfect humans to run his church and kingdom, because that is all he has to work with…..and yes they do make mistakes, in judgment, policy, practices that are not doctrine. However, when it comes to doctrine God has promised that he will not allow imperfect humans to corrupt them, or to damage them in such way as will lead his children astray. Thus while some individual members may have sexist tendencies, the church does not, and never will. Ziff sees a church drenched in the practice because he wants to, and it suits his preconceived notions. I will post the blatantly flawed reasoning of the writer of “Equality is not a feeling” on that site if anyone is wanting to see it.

      • My favorite part is when FWJ mansplains to Ziff what his “real” feelings and intentions are even though FWJ isn’t Ziff and can’t really know.

      • “Thus while some individual members may have sexist tendencies, the church does not, and never will. Ziff sees a church drenched in the practice because he wants to, and it suits his preconceived notions.”

        This would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. FWJ, do you really value women *so little*? That you’re anxious to call the Church “not sexist” even when it systematically denies women the opportunity to have any general-level decision making power? It kind of calls into question whether you’re able to observe any sexism at all, when you can’t see sexism that blatant.

      • Typical to the flawed reasoning of the OW and feminist movements is the inability to understand things as they really are, because they misuse or ignore context. The latest posts from Ziff, are a perfect illustration ……as sincere truth seekers will be able to clearly see. In context it is clear that I do not see God as sexist, nor do I see it in his church and kingdom, doctrines, teachings, etc. It is those who see it in such places who must logically see God as sexist (condoning) or weak (no longer in control of His church)

        Similarly, contrary to Ziff’s self serving summary, I value women far greater than OW, feminists or Ziff. I see their great, foreordained and eternal roles, power, destinies, and I see God as the author of those destinies. The aforementioned see women as weak, subservient, needing men to give them something they don’t have, relying upon the actions of men to get value, being unable to impact the church or gospel because they are not ordained. All are false and demeaning views of womanhood, but convenient for those like Ziff, who want to see sexism where it does not exist. Again sincere truth seekers will see the truth of those matters.

    • I shouldn’t have to state the obvious, but neither OW nor feminists are calling the Church to repentance. They are asking and hoping for further revelation, while they still and serve, tithe, teach, attend, etc. in Church. There’s a big difference between asking questions and calling to repentance.

      But really, whatever FWJ. If you can’t see the difference it’s no skin off my back. All I can say is, it takes a rare form of hubris to say if you don’t see something, it simply doesn’t exist.

      • While it may suit Emily to claim her position as obvious, and to try and distinguish what the true motivations and actions of the OW and feminists are, the sincere truth seeker will come to know that in fact they are not humbly seeking revelation of whatever God’s will is, with an open and submissive mind, but rather they are ark steadying. They have a preconceived notion of equality and fairness, and are protesting, acting, moving to force the church to adopt their view and implement their preferred practices. Another form of the rare hubris is to take something that does not exist, and say that it does, for ones private, personal, agenda. Still another form is to place one’s judgment of what is happening in the church above all others, and to seek to prove their point with Google over God, or research over revelation and to willingly see what they want to see, as opposed to seeing things as they really are.

        http://farwestjournal.weebly.com/far-west-commentary.html

    • FWJ, you seem to be passionate about the gospel, which is a wonderful trait. I admire you for that. Here’s how I see it. . .

      One of the things I love most about God is that She is willing to allow us to struggle within the context of a fallen world. She and God the Father only give us what we can handle with regard to absolute truth. Because of this, it’s entirely possible that some among the body of the church will receive personal revelation in preparation for global or general revelation yet to come. This helps stabilize the organization during the Restoration of All Things with its inevitable ongoing change.

      Not every member of the body of Christ moves toward absolute truth at the same rate. We push and pull against each other as we exercise our agency, our gifts, our spiritual muscles, if you will. This actually helps strengthen the body of the church as we receive greater light and knowledge together, then work to understand it. This conversation is a perfect example of that process.

      I can’t speak for members of OW because I am not part of that group. I can speak to issues of feminism, because I am feminist. And I can speak to issues of personal revelation, because I seek it and receive it gratefully. Christ is at the head of the church. He also happens to dwell in the hearts of the righteous – feminist or not – and will bring us all to the place we need to be on the truth spectrum.

      It might be worth your time to consider the possibility that you are missing something here. I can’t say what that something is, because I don’t know you. But your rigid stance and your closed-end statements suggest, like the rest of us, you have room to grow.

      • Melody. There is a reason that absolute truths are preceded by the word absolute. It is true that the existence of absolute truths may appear to be both rigid and closed, but that is the nature of such truths. Your vision of God, Goddess and Christ seem to be of a rigid nature in that they exercise control over the hearts of men, “only giving us what we can handle” and “Bringing ‘everybody’ to where they need to be on the truth spectrum.” The absolutely true doctrines do not support such conclusions. We are agents, free to choose and to act and are accountable for those actions. In the end Heavenly Father and Mother, along with a loving and redeeming Savior, will sorrowfully have to see some of their rebellious and disobedient children cast out from their presence. Not because they willed it, but because contrary to their wills, those individuals choose to reject truth and to give head to fables, and to follow the carnal man, to trust in reason over revelation. That is an absolute truth, and as hard as it is, it must be known, so that we can act to try and help keep our sisters and brothers from ending up in such a state. Love motivates teaching the truth even if the recipients take that truth to be hard.

  10. Ziff, you are heroic. I’m so glad you comment here.

  11. Ziff, you are heroic. I’m so glad you comment here. You too, Emily U. I just don’t have the energy right now, but I’m glad you two do!

    • Thanks, Caroline!

  12. Tophat might want to check her doctrine:

    Alma 12:7, Alma 10:17, Alma 18:16 among others

    She also might want to check her bias, in that numerous posts on this blog insinuate, or assume, to know my thoughts….worse yet…both feminism and OW movements do just that with the Church leadership, assigning intentions to their words and actions……but she only takes exception to my example.

    • FWJ might want to check himself before attributing so much sexism to God, not to mention casting the beam of bias out of his own eye before casting the mote of bias out of his feminist sisters’ eye.

      • Another indication of fraud in the enemies of Christ’s kingdom is the hypocritical appeal to the mote and beam scripture. Shallow thinkers often employ it, without being able to discern that on a deeper level, in the very act of declaring me to have a beam which will blind me to the mote, they themselves have just violated that command. The difference is that flesh reliant persons, eventually move to the position that their reason, views, arguments are flawless, and so they are free to judge, while condemning others for judging, free to mischaracterize, demean, and be sexist, while condemning others for those same actions. Of such the Lord said that “wisdom is justified of her children.” It is not my judgment of OW, feminists or Ziff, that is really important, nor is it their misjudgment of the church and kingdom of God, it is in the end only God’s judgment that really matters. He will reveal to the sincere truth seeker , that he is not a sexist, and that his church and kingdom does not teach, nor promote, sexists doctrines.

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