Which one are you?
I tried to think of something else – anything else – to write about for my first official post. But it kept coming back to this.
I went to the gym last night for the first time since having my last baby two months ago. One of the motivating factors that actually got me there was the need to clear my head. We’re blessing my son this coming Sunday, so it seemed appropriate to put some thought into how I feel about that and what it means to me. And I’m surprised by my thoughts.
I don’t feel angry or excluded because of the fact that my husband gets to bless my children. In fact, I have beautiful, tender feelings toward him when I remember the blessings of my other children. Perhaps part of it is that as a convert, my husband is still relatively new to these rituals of religion, and that because he gets so much out of them spiritually that I don’t want to take away from him and his role. Or maybe it’s something else.
You see, I’m an analyzer. Some might say an over-analyzer, but it gets me by. So when I think of the argument for women holding the priesthood, this is where my brain goes. If both men and women had always held the priesthood, or if it became the norm tomorrow, what would our church culture look like? I can think of dozens of examples of inequality that would cease to exist – not the least of which would be more women speaking in general conference! It would be lovely to know that the Relief Society Presidents had more autonomy, or that the best person for a calling would be chosen regardless of their chromosomes. But more specifically, what would life look like in our homes? Aside from “presiding” being an obsolete term, if either the father OR the mother could bless their babies and baptize their children, how would we decide who does what? What would the significance of that choice be? Would it make sense for our daughters as well as our sons to be passing the sacrament?
When I think about it from this angle, I begin to question the reasons God may have for choosing one group to serve a function for the whole. I’m not sure I’m right. I don’t know if I’m even close. But I do know that I don’t feel powerless or “less than” because I don’t hold the priesthood. I know that if the need were to arise, and it were expedient, that I would be able to heal my children by calling upon the power of God. To me, the power of God is our potential for divinity, and it is within each of us. But it doesn’t make me feel more heard here on earth.
So; Am I a Mormon Feminist, or a Feminist who happens to be LDS? We can be so many different variations of the same things. If I believe in social and economical equality for all women everywhere and I do my part to make that a reality, I am a Feminist. But what of my Mormon Feminism? This question has been asked and debated so many times, and maybe it’s not worth pinning down because I suspect many of us are evolving our beliefs daily. We can believe that the church owes us complete and equal voice, representation, treatment and access without wanting the Priesthood, and yet the rest of Feminism laughs in our faces.
For me, I want so much in the church to change and I don’t want my daughters to ever be subject to the unrighteous authority of someone else, or an incorrect interpretation of the Gospel, but I also don’t want to be guilty of crying “It’s not fair!” to God, when fair and equal in the eternities end up being entirely different.
So my questions are these; Is it Feminist to stop short of total equality? How many of us out there really believe that the Priesthood is meant to be exercised in equal capacity by both genders? Are you a Mormon Feminist, or a Feminist Mormon?