A Woman Prayed Today
At the April 2013 General Conference for the LDS Church, a woman was “allowed” to pray for the first time. Feminist Mormon women had mixed reactions to the event. On the one hand, it certainly was progress. On the other, it was something that should have occurred at least a hundred years earlier. It was such a small step toward equality that it was in the end almost laughable.
Mormons teach that the family is the most important unit. While men and women are “equal,” they have “different roles.” The man’s role is to be the head of the family. The wife’s role is to be the co-equal submissive partner.
The idea of family is central to Mormon theology, because it is only as families that we can reach exaltation, the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, where we become gods ourselves over our own planets. A temple marriage is essential because gods aren’t single—they are married. Our Heavenly Father has a Heavenly Wife, our Heavenly Mother. She’s a god, too.
But her eternal “role” is still to be submissive, throughout eternity. She’s worked hard, been an outstanding human before she became a god, has become perfect, in fact. But she’s still no one worth talking about. There are no sermons or books about Heavenly Mother.
Why? Well, the few times the issue has been addressed, we’ve been told, “We don’t talk about Heavenly Mother out of respect. People all the time take God’s name in vain. We can’t have that happening to our dear Heavenly Mother.”
So this woman who has been tried in her mortal existence so thoroughly that she’s made it to the Celestial Kingdom is such a dainty flower that she would just crumble under the pain caused by hearing some guy curse, “Goddess damn it!”
Someone strong enough to become a god is that fragile?
Why are women practically never mentioned in the scriptures? Have they never made any important contributions to God’s work on Earth? At best, considering the number of times they are named, they contribute ten percent? They are the tithing of humanity?
If Heavenly Father is perfect, he doesn’t have an ego that is threatened by sharing the spotlight with his wife. Surely, Heavenly Mother is good for something more than birthing spirit children throughout eternity. Is her womb her only godly feature? Can’t we hear what other significant contributions she’s making?
Until the LDS Church truly considers women equals, we will continue to see such minimal steps forward as maybe a woman actually being able to speak during the regular sessions of General Conference once in a while, or being able to wear a lovely, dressy outfit that includes pants. She might even, at some distant point in the future, be able to help shape policy.
But let’s not get all apostate and think a woman actually capable of such a thing.
Mormon women know their place, and Mormon goddesses do, too.
They’re equal, in that separate but equal kind of way which doesn’t work well when practiced in worldly institutions, but which works just heavenly when furthering gospel principles.