Posted by Zenaida
Photo by playingwithbrushes
Why do I have to wear a veil in the temple?
A friend asked me why I don’t like being veiled in the temple. I asked him to imagine that the moment in the endowment when we speak directly to God, in the TRUE way, the he was asked to cover his face. I suggested that the next time his wife offered family prayer that he cover his head and face. I would be very surprised to hear that he actually took me up on that suggestion. I wouldn’t either. Even saying it out loud sounded like blasphemy in my ears.
If the temple is the Lord’s University, what am I supposed to learn from having my face covered. I admit, it would feel much worse if I wasn’t allowed to speak, but I am, so maybe I’m overreacting? It would also be much harder to accept wearing a veil anywhere outside the temple. In defense of equality in Mormon religion, men and women do wear the exact same article of religious clothing outside the temple.
A veil separates us from God, so by wearing a veil are we closer to God?
Is there a parallel between wedding veils? The idea that a women being given in marriage (shudder) is pure and already closer to God that her male counterpart sounds suspiciously unequal to me.
Ideas that are not paradoxical tend to be sentimental, incomplete, and dogmatic. According to psychotherapist Scott Peck: “[I]f a concept is paradoxical, that itself should suggest that it smacks of integrity, that it gives off the ring of truth. Conversely, if a concept is not in the least paradoxical, you should be suspicious of it and suspect that it has failed to integrate some aspect of the whole” (1988, 238). The same can be said of symbols
As with all profound symbols, the face veil, worn as a headdress by women throughout the temple and used to cover the faces of women during a ritual prayer, reflects this dualism. The veil is a paradoxical symbol evoking both positive and negative associations.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
This is a very important point. Why do women wear the veil? They do it as a symbol of power or authority. We would normally, when thinking of fallen humanity, think of power and authority resting with the male. However, when the woman veils her head (and I believe the suggestion is that she is doing this herself; she isn’t being forced to do it nor is someone doing it for her), she is literally ‘covering up’ (or denying) the idea that man is her head. When the woman chooses to veil, she is choosing to exercise power or control over her head–physical and metaphorical. In the context of praying or prophesying, a veiled woman is one in a direct relationship with God–man is no longer her head. Further, remember that the veiling is not done all the time, but only while engaging in prayer or prophecy. This is important: it points out that, particularly while in that relationship, the woman has direct access to God and, as her physical head is covered, so her metaphorical head (i.e., man) is covered or denied. While some have interpreted Muslim (and other uses of the veil) as oppressive to women, this is a gross misreading of this particular text, where the veil is a symbol of women’s liberation from man’s headship.
I would love to hear your thoughts about the veil. Does it empower you? Does it irritate you? What is your interpretation?