A couple of posts ago, a commenter asked me what changes I want to see in Mormonism or in the world. While they are far too numerous to list in a single post, here is one that has been haunting me for nearly a year now.
I just read a fantastic post over at Zelophehad's Daugthers about the sexist nature of Mormon cosmology. While I wouldn't assert that Mormonism's cosmology is the most sexist, per say, this post lists a lot of issues I have with the male-centric
treatment of eternity in Mormon theology. Don't get me wrong, there are many things I love about Mormon cosmology, like the incorporation of the law of conservation of mass, the idea that we have always existed, and the almost reincarnation-like idea of eternal progression. So much of Mormon cosmology is beautiful, but it is incomplete in its presentation. It is presented from an entirely male point of view. As the ZD post mentions, while Jehovah, Adam/Michael, Abraham, and Peter, James, and John all play a role in premortality, there is no mention of Eve, Sarah, Mary, or any other woman in our premortal dialogue. And that includes Heavenly Mother. We are taught that the plan of salvation was Heavenly Father's, and that he taught it to all of us, his spirit children. Did Heavenly Mother have no say in this plan? Did she not teach it to us as well? Were all of the pre-Earth logistics undertaken by men alone? What were all of us female types doing that whole time? Why haven't these questions been addressed?
I am grateful that we have a Heavenly Mother at all. Given the Mormon doctrine that sex/gender is an eternal characteristic, it would stand to reason that a literally male god would have a literally female equivalent (unless you want to go down that "everyone was male until God created Lilith/Eve/Pandora and thereby introduced evil into the world" road, which I, of course, do not). But somehow, it is not necessary that we know a single thing about her, except that she exists. Men can look at all the information we have about Heavenly Father, and have some idea as to what to expect, should they succeed in attaining exaltation. They can expect to create worlds, have eternal posterity, and be omniscient and omnipotent. Women have exactly none of that. I have almost no idea what exaltation would hold for me; I only have what I learn in the temple. There, I learn that I am to be obedient to my husband and that I "get to" be a priestess to him. So all I can gather is that I am bound to an eternity of servitude and childbearing. To be honest, if that picture is accurate, I don't want exaltation. I'd rather chill in a lower echelon of glory where everyone is equally in second place.
When visiting my husband’s home
ward last Christmas, I attended the gospel essentials class taught by my
fabulous feminist mother-in-law. It was on Heavenly Father, and at
some point in the lesson I made a comment about Heavenly Mother. After church, my fabulous feminist father-in-law came up to me and
kindly told me that I can’t mention Heavenly Mother in a gospel
essentials class where investigators and new members are present. I
replied that I see no reason why that should not be addressed, and he
answered that the doctrine of Heavenly Mother is “not essential.” When I
tearfully asked why not, he fairly admitted that he didn’t know, and that it was troubling. I was certainly troubled, and went to my room and moped and wept about it a little bit.
That is my question now: why is Heavenly Mother not essential? Why
the hell not? Why is it not essential that over half of the church have
an inkling of what eternity holds for them? Why do women not
warrant actual, knowable role models: a mother, a goddess, a female angel or prophetess?
When will the entirely male leaders realize that what we have isn’t
It is not enough for me.
I wish more women (and men) would stand up and
admit it with me.