At age seventy-one I have now been a convert of the Restored Gospel for thirty-six years. I have never looked back nor doubted; yet I have still not become a master of religious books or writings, beyond what the Spirit, the Holy Scriptures and the prophets have taught me over the years. With the religious education afforded me (I am a Physician by occupation) by the Spirit and the written word, I have never been led to feel superior or condescending to Woman in any way. All my life I have honored Woman's place and calling and power among the children of God. It has not occurred to me to rate Woman's value or power in the Priesthood of God on a hierarchical scale; nor has the Church, Holy Scripture, or any teaching, given me the notion or tradition to doubt that Manhood and Womanhood are of equal value
Interesting read. Much of it, I agree with. I love her view of Eve. However, I find her narrow view of how she defines women's apprenticeship in correlation to the priesthood very upsetting. I understand she is explaining that pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation, as well as motherhood, are sacred actions, and I agree. However, I don't agree with her equating them to ordinances. Ordinances are rites of passage with sacred meaning, often administered by the priesthood and are gifts available to every worthy member. They can also mean statutes and laws of Heavenly Father. If, we, as feminists, proclaim pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation are ordinances given in this life, meant to bring us closer to becoming Heavenly Mothers someday, as she explains, then where does this leave powerful women who are not able to bear children? That would profess infertile women are not given the same rites of passage to become more like Heavenly Mother, as other women are, and are therefore somewhat inferior or unworthy of the apprenticeship and ordinances to become like Heavenly Mother. It could also bring questions and a negative connotation that infertile women have not lived to the statutes and laws of Heavenly Father. Therefore, we infertile women are not created equal to either priesthood members or women who are able to carry pregnancies, give birth, and feed their children through lactation. Yeah, I just don't agree with that. That thinking is VERY destructive to many women within the gospel. Pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation are sacred, just as motherhood is sacred. I do believe these are gifts given that help us grow and become more like Heavenly Mother. However, they are not ordinances nor rites of passage exclusive only to certain women and not irrevocably essential to becoming who we need to become in this life. Women that never have children and women that raise other's children as their own are just as qualified and loved and worthy and entrusted with sacred progression as women that carry, birth, and feed biological children. We each have our own paths in becoming more Christlike and earning our eternal state, none of which hinge on pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation. Just my own thoughts. Hope you don't mind me sharing them.
This article makes me want to stand up and shout "AMEN!" At last, a writer whose grasp of the truth cuts through the lies and distortion about LDS gender beliefs (some of which are aided by some ill-advised cultural attitudes in the Church) like a hot knife though butter. There is no double standard, and there is no "favored" gender. Both are equal in every way before God, and one is not without the other for those who want to reach their highest potential. We are not the "same;" we often come at the same issue or problem from different perspectives, but that is part of what makes our union so strong. Unlike a few of the other posters, I caught Sister Cassler's comments about her spiritual conversion being the basis for her testimony, not politics. I take her article title simply as expression of the fact that her feminist beliefs reinforce her testimony of the Gosel and vice-versa, when seen in proper perspective. This also indicates that her version of Feminism is a positive one centered upon true equality, and not the anti-male, so-called "Separatist" version of Feminist ideology.
I agreed up until the moment when childbirth and lactating were put as the womanly equivalent of the Priesthood. I have two children and was unable to successfully breastfeed them...does that mean I have failed in my respective "priesthood?" Was it because I did not have enough faith in my womanly powers that I could not sustain my children naturally?
The title of this article is intended as an attention getter. It got my attention. Just the same, All female members of the Church should catch this vision. You bring clarity to many misunderstandings. I can
While I would say that you bring up many beautiful and well expressed points about femininity and women in the gospel, I have to respectfully say that I am still not a feminist and never plan on becoming one. I never will be, or could be, having studied the lives and words of those who developed feminist theory. It is in stark contradiction to the truths I hold dear and the goals I have for myself. Also, while I understand that titles are meant to be shortened versions of articles, your title seems strange to me, given your introductory paragraph. It is, needless to say, quite provocative, to make the claim that you are a Mormon on the basis of a political ideology. For that matter, I would argue that it is somewhat destructive. I would argue that basing your religious beliefs on anything other than a firm testimony is building them on shaky ground at best. It's similar to those who say "I'm Mormon because I love families," not that families are not all well and good, but "I am Mormon because I have a testimony of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ seems to be the preferable option, wouldn't you say? I understand that you clarify your coming to a testimony in your open paragraph, but still wonder if your title is not a bit of a contradiction?
I have always been convinced that if I ever get to heaven, it will be by holding as tightly to my wife's apron strings as I can. Valerie, thanks to your article, I feel that I can walk into that glorious place arm-in-arm with her, rather than trying to catch up. Who knows? If I work hard for the rest of my life, my angelic wife will grant me that privilege. I can also appreciate why our Heavenly Father protects our Heavenly Mother from worldly vicissitudes.
This is also my favorite Meridian article. Your points are very well stated. I have always admired Eve for her desire to push forward. My heart, however, goes out to those women who will not be mothers in this life. Equating motherhood/priesthood gives them no comfort. My daughter is one of those women.
Thanks for your article. I once listened to a talk on tape given by one of Bruce R. McConkie's daughters on Mother Eve. You both shared wonderful clarifications about our role as women under God's plan. Men and women don't have to be the same to be equal. Just today in Sunday School we studied about the gifts of the Spirit, we are all given different gifts and sharing those differing gifts makes us all stronger, and so it is as brothers and sisters in God's church. As Sharee commented above, I think that the equality we share is equality as brethren and sisters in the Gospel, not necessarily just husbands and wives, as all faithful members are not married at this time. Their contributions to the Kingdom of God are no less valuable than those of us who are married and have children at this time. It is pitiful to me that most Christians in the world look down on Eve and think Adam and Eve's actions in the Garden were sinful. I am grateful that we have the full picture.
I have been a member since 1973.
The "light" came on as you explained the trees as doors into this life and then back to our heavenly home. That Eve opened the door to this life and Christ opened the way back.
Our critics say that this is a church of "men over women." I've never found this to be true, and in fact in many ways the opposite is true.
Consider the fact that the building closest to the door of the Salt Lake Temple is dedicated to the Relief Society, and that women do not need the Priesthood to enter the Temple.
Consider also that, when a marriage breaks up, no amount of pleading by the former husband can annul the sealing -- only the former wife can request this.
Lastly, to critics to argue that only men can hold the Priesthood, I am reminded of the aged sister who commented that "men NEED the Priesthood -- I'm able to do what the Lord asks without that crutch!"
Beautifully written and well explained article. It provides wonderful insights into the role of women and men. It's sad that many LDS men don't understand this concept. Much greater education is needed to help these men progress, wherein, men and women as couples can progress.
Great article. You very clearly explain how God wants men and women to work together to bring about His plan, and how it is Satan who tries to drive men and women apart. Your article brings back to mind the great Hugh Nibley speech on Patriarchy and Matriarchy. It is available on the web at https://mimobile.byu.edu/?m=5&table=transcripts&id=151
Loved your article!
I was blessed to be raised by a father & mother who understood this concept & taught us this growing up. We joined the church when I was 3 & since I am now 60, I feel very blessed to "know that my husband & I are equals to Our Father in Heaven".
I love how you have expressed it is such a way that it can be understood easily & succinctly.
I appreciate the reinforcement and clarification of the teachings I have had in the church and in my home. I am however a product of the society in which I live and should my actions not be congrent with the ideals presented here - will forward this to my sons and daughters and their spouses to reinforce what I believe but have fallen short on modelling. Thank you for your sincere and well presented insights and for incorporating teachings from the prophets
A great article. you state many things that I've stated over the years when questioned about my Mormonism and Feminism. Most people questioning don't understand what true feminism is. I've also often noted that Jewish mysticism teaches that Eve was created from Adam's side because she was to stand beside him as a partner, not from the shoulders to lead or from the heel to follow. In that mythology Lilith was created first to be Adam's wife, but refused to be partnered with him because she was created separate from him.
After I first read this article I then shared it with my wife who is half way through reading your book "Women in Eternity Women of Zion" which has answered many question.
I think the priesthood should all read your article as well. I will be forwarding it to all my friends.
An insightful article. One comment, however. Valerie writes, "The LDS do not preach submission of wives." While I understand her intent, the fact is that both husbands and wives need to submit themselves to each other. Paul teaches this most beautifully in Ephesians 5:21-22. Unfortunately we have made the concept of submission a negative term, when it is the essence of our relationship to God.
Great article!! I was a research assistant for a BYU prof for 2 yrs. Studied the women of the early church and during Christ's time. I should have paid the prof for the opportunity! Everything you say is verified time and again - The LDS Church is totally feminist-culture is the problem. God loves his daughters equally as he loves his sons.
Awesome. Great article, very well written. I wish there would be a translation into Portuguese, as I would love to share with many friends, specially women who fail to understand their self worth and use ignorance to justify their lack of self esteem. I am capable of doing a translation. Who do I contact for permission? Thank you.
Thanks for your outstanding article. It has only been the last few years that I have felt I might finally understand Eve's role in the overall plan of salvation. This is by far the best treatment of this subject I have ever read and has greatly increased my understanding and appreciation of her critical role. Thank you, well done.
I'm one of those who identify as a Feminist BECAUSE I'm Mormon! Valerie - amen to all said in this beautifully written article. I hope it gets wide exposure.
I think this article is well written and thought provoking. I feel that you have written about the ideal pattern for life, but there are those who don't have the ideal life because they never marry or have children. However, all those who do not marry in this life or have children in this life will be given those things in the eternities. This is one part of doing work for those who have died.
I have read and reread and then celebrated your insight and intelligence in the presentation of such eternal truths. I too queried the term feminist having come from the era in which it was born and having been part of its life during my university days. However then and now I knew that the equality it sought and fought for could not be found in society. Only as a convert to LDS theology and spiritual insights did I find true equality. The gift from my Heavenly parents to me.
I love and resound with all the truths you have taught in your insightful article. I do however question your semantics in choosing to identify your stand as "feminist." Even though that may be literally and technically true, it carries with it a host of associations that should never sully the name of our dear Mother Eve. I would love to quote your article and freely recommend it to others. To that end, I hope you choose to change that word to something more accurately descriptive of the godly woman you are describing. Thanks!
What a great article, men and women alike should read it.
Women have Motherhood, Men have Fatherhood. That is the correlation, not Motherhood/Priesthood. You don't have to be LDS to be a mother or father, but you do to hold the Priesthood. Although I liked what you said about Eve and her gift to women (and the world), I don't think your correlation is accurate. Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those ultra-feminists who think women should be ordained to the priesthood. I think we already have the priesthood inherently. And to equate motherhood with priesthood does a disservice to those of us who have not had the opportunity to be mothers. Does tha make us less righteous?
Oh, what a wonderfully written and important article. So many could learn so much from reading it. Thanks for taking the time to explain such important gospel truths in such a simple, straightforward manner.
Beautifully and clearly written! I have always believed that women are equal partners with their husbands in raising their families! I will definitely share this article, especially with my daughters!
I really loved this article. I have read a couple of books about Eve from a female member of the church and she also reminded us about the wonderful person Eve is. I get quite angry when in Sunday School, when men blame everything on Eve. They are very judgmental and ignorant of the true plan. Thank you very much. This article is going in my file!
Your article is so clearly and beautifully written, thank you.
Thank you for your very thought provoking article addressing a very difficult subject. I feel this essay helps me to better explain from a woman's perspective why there is equality
Doctrinal equality however does not mean that men and women treat each other equally. That is a behavioral issue. If we truly develop a Christ-like love, we will treat each other with equal respect and this subject and those like it, discrimination, racism, ethnocentrism, etc,. would not be issues.
That is erudite! It needs to be printed in the Ensign.
I echo all comments here. I loved this article and will share it with my daughters and other women in the church. Very beautiful explanation! In just ten minutes, my life was made richer because of this insightful article! Thank you!
Thank you! Very thought provoking. It rings very true.
This is the most clear and beautiful explanation of the equality and roles of men and women in the church that I have ever read. Thank You!
This is probably my favorite Meridian article of all time. As an equity feminist, I appreciate the insight and the symbolism that you see and explain so very well.
"In a sense, Adam himself was born of Eve." and "What gift will Adam give to further the Great Plan? The LDS believe that Adam and his sons will give the gift of the fruit of the Second Tree to the children of God, those who are worthy to receive it, just as Eve and her daughters give the fruit of the First Tree to all who are worthy to partake of it." set The Plan up so well. To those in and out of The Church that declare there is "gender inequality" here, I give a resounding, "Nay!" and pass this article on to them.
Thank you for writing it, and thank you to Meridian for publishing it.
Really a great and insightful article. You answer and clarify questions beautifully.
It is a great insight to me to have learned in the temple that Adam and Eve were not cursed, but the earth was cursed FOR their sakes and ours.
I look forward to reading other articles that you have written and will
Thank you for sharing your testimony in a way that rings true and will be referred to to help others.
May God bless you in this work
THANK YOU! I have found many good members of the Church are so influenced by our cultural attitudes toward Mother Eve that they fail to truly understand and respect the role of motherhood/women. I hope and pray that this will help people to gain greater insight and practice true doctrine.
WOW! This is absolutely wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing this perspective!
I love your beautiful article, my sister in the Gospel, thank you for explaining these restored truths and Doctrine so that any one especially those out there searching the truth, may understand why we are truly daughters of God, preordained to come to earth to perform our duties in being helpmeets or eternal companions to our husbands. That was what drew me or attracted me to the true restored Gospel of our Lord and Savour Jesus Christ was learning for the first time that I AM A DAUGHTER OF A KING...thank you for your courage in writing this as so many women are suffering from unrighteous dominion of their cruel dominating husbands who are still in the dark about the worth of a woman in the family in the Church and in the world....
That was very well written and expressed. Thank you!
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