Friday, November 16, 2007

SS Permutations on the Letters of John

OOOOOOHHHH, just wait until you hear what was discussed in SS today under the auspices of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John! Bro. SS Teacher went from expounding on the topic that "God is Love" to telling us that women are naturally more spiritual than men, one of those Mormon throwaway statements that annoys me greatly. I was sitting in the second row, which you Mormons know really means the first row, and I said, just loud enough for him to hear, "Could you repeat what you just said???" in an incredulous tone. So he further expounded, "Yes, women are more spiritual than men, that is why men have the priesthood." And I couldn't let that pass, so I replied, this time loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, "You have absolutely no scriptural support for that opinion." And, dear readers, he TOOK ME ON with chin raised high as he spouted more extreme speculation: "Of course they are more spiritual than men, otherwise why would we have polygamy if not for the condition that will exist in heaven of more righteous women than men?"

And the whole room erupted in buzzing private conversations.

Bro. SS Teacher went on for quite a while in this vein, saying that he had come to this conclusion after "working backward from the scriptures." Meanwhile, I was accosted from behind by a woman who was visiting in the ward. She was anxious to tell me her story about when she was single and had many struggles with immorality. She went to her Bishop to discuss the unfairness of having to remain chaste for eternity and her equal horror of solving the problem by becoming the plural wife of some hypothetical man. The Bishop calmed her fears by telling her of the many male babies who died in infancy, thus evening the male/female ratio in heaven. (Heard that before, folks?) Not understanding my objection to the SS Teacher's comments, she mistakenly felt she had put to rest my anxieties.

I am reminded of the reason why I rarely challenge ignorant statements made in Church meetings. I find that 90% of the time, the members of the class are unable to understand what my objection is. But, lucky me--now I have my blog to spout off on.

Those of you who know me well have discovered that polygamy is not one of the doctrines which troubles me. Rather, my issues lie with this "Mormonism" that priesthood is given to men to compensate for their alleged lack of spirituality compared to women. In the next few days, I'll be looking for the answers to these questions. Help me out, readers, if you will:

1. Is there any doctrinal support for this notion, i.e. Conference Talks, or authoritative statements from Mormon leaders? (I'm already pretty sure you can't come to this from scripture, working backward or forward or any other way. But if there are scriptures that can be construed to make this assertion, what are they?)

2. Would a "greater spirituality of women" postulation support bestowal of the priesthood upon men to the exclusion of the entire female population?

3. What arguments have been made against the idea from an LDS point of view (GA statements, Sunstone/Dialogue articles, blog posts)?

4. Is there a succinct reply contesting this type of assertion that one could make in the context of polite company, say a SS/PH/RS lesson?


Téa said...

Ack, maybe it's a good thing I'm not going to be in SS this week... I'm pretty sure the teacher already thinks "oh no, not Sister Téa again" when I have something to say.

It's when we insert reasons where none have been given, that's where the trouble begins. And where there's trouble...

It's the Super Pseudo Doctrine Deconstruction team to the rescue! Good for you to flash your badge, BiV.

Tanya Sue said...

I love the story and I love that you called the teacher out on it.

Funny, I did some brief research and I couldn't find a GA who said that, although more local leaders have said that than I can count.

brooke said...

well, it sounds like a load of malarkey if you ask me.. personally, i am currently an inactive mormon who believes that women should have the priesthood.. so, therefore to me it sounds like an excuse to shut up active women like me.. tell them that giving the priesthood only to men because they need help. if they need that much help, well - there's got to be a way that doesn't exclude 51% of the church from the priesthood. personally i think its just the patriarchy raising its sorry head again.. too bad the patriarchy forgets that there are a whole lot of women who are smarter than that.

Anonymous said...

"As daughters of God, you cannot imagine the divine potential within each of you. Surely the secret citadel of women’s inner strength is spirituality. In this you equal and even surpass men, as you do in faith, morality, and commitment when truly converted to the gospel. You have “more trust in the Lord [and] more hope in his word.” 15 This inner spiritual sense seems to give you a certain resilience to cope with sorrow, trouble, and uncertainty."

James E. Faust, “What It Means to Be a Daughter of God,” Ensign, Nov 1999, 100

Though, I don't see that this as a reason for men to have the priesthood...

Ann said...

Welcome, Dear BiV, to the Church of Making Stuff up.

Good job.

Dr. B said...

I went to LDS org to check out the assertion that BiV made this is what I found . . .

The gift of the Holy Ghost is conferred on both men and women. So are spiritual gifts. As Elder Bruce R. McConkie declared in Nauvoo at the dedication of the Monument to Women: “Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord. He is no respecter of persons nor of sexes, and he blesses those men and those women who seek him and serve him and keep his commandments.” (BRM, Ensign, Jan. 1979, p. 61.)

McConkie feels that in spiritual matters men and women are equal. See more quotations at my blog.

littlemissattitude said...

I used to cringe every time I heard someone insist that women don't "need" the priesthood (as in holding it) because they are "so much more spiritual" than men are. I would especially cringe when I heard a woman say it.

What it is, really, is a backhanded compliment that serves the double purpose of pacifying the women at the same time pointing out their "place" to them.

It is very much like telling a fat woman that she has "such a pretty face". Yes, being told she is pretty is a compliment. Still, what is really being said is: "Yeah, you might have a pretty face, but you're fat and don't you forget it."

Saying that women don't need the priesthood because they are so much more spiritual than men is really saying: "Women don't...and can't...have the priesthood and don't you forget it."

Just my 2 cents' worth.

Anonymous said...

Why do you waste your time going to church if you don't really believe the teachings are correct.

Here's a story to consider

Tanya Sue said...

Anon/Martha-get over yourself! Really!

Back to the topic at hand...I worry about what it does to men when they are told they are spiritual inferior. Does it give many men the excuse to be slackers? Also, does it make women more arrogant to hear that?

I had someone who used to be a good friend. Her husband was my bishop and we were discussing my issues with women and the priesthood. She told me how she watched her husband and knew of the power in the calling. I replied, "does that mean if a woman held the calling it would be less real?". She had to admit that no, it wouldn't.

In regards to question 4-Is saying "bite me" wrong? In all seriousness, at this point I would request documentation of that. I think in reviewing church history, we can find more reasons for women to hold the priesthood than for with holding it from them. i.e, the examples that women may have been given it in the past, etc.

Bored in Vernal said...

Thank you for sharing.
Do you have evidence that this is a doctrinal teaching?