Women are not responsible for the world’s morality
On Saturday, October 5, 2019, President Nelson gave a talk at the Women’s (and girls age 8 and older) Session titled, “Spiritual Treasures,” where he explained priesthood power and covenants. He said that the heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood.
Let’s break this down, shall we? When President Nelson uses the term “endowed” does he mean that all women are endowed with God’s power, or only those women who have gone through the temple and received their endowments? And if it’s the latter, why are boys as young as 11 now receiving the priesthood while women have to wait until they enter the temple in adulthood? Women and girls over 8-years-old were just given the opportunity to witness baptismal ordinances while their counterparts have been able to actually perform these sacred ordinances for a century now. How are the heavens just as open to us as women with this great contradiction?
President Nelson went on to say this quote:
“Let me be very clear about this. If the world loses the moral rectitude of its women, the world will never recover.”
Not surprisingly, I take great umbrage with this statement. First of all, using the possessive pronoun “its” implies that women belong to the world and not to themselves. Considering the patriarchal structure of the church, it’s problematic at best to continue to push the belief that women as a collective belong to something other than themselves.
Secondly, I’d like to remove myself from the narrative that as a woman I am responsible for other people’s morality, let alone the entire world. This thinking is what drives the toxic purity and modesty culture within the church, which puts the responsibility of men’s sexual thoughts and actions on the shoulders of women. When are men going to be punished for their own sins, like we say we believe in our second Article of Faith?
Thirdly, if there is any moral rectitude lost in the world right now, it comes from members who support immoral men like President trump, who lie, cheat, steal, sexually abuse, cage children and separate them from their parents, break promises (which is now leading to a genocide of the Kurds), etc., ad infinitum. Members who support leaders like this in the United States and throughout the world are contributing the moral downfall of the world.
Lastly, I believe that this quote was spoken to the women in the church because we are seen as more compassionate and more accepting of our LGBTQ loved ones and this was a reminder to us to fortify our walls against this “immorality.” When our LGBTQ Mormon children are taking their own lives because of this painful rhetoric, it is not us who is in danger of losing our morals.