Thursday, December 13, 2012

Equal but Different . . . Get Over It

(NOTE: If you don't already know, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is often called by the nickname Mormon Church. This is the church I am talking about in this post. In my church, worthy male members between 12 and 18 are ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. Worthy male members age 19 and older are ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. These ordinations come with responsibilities.)

I heard about this little demonstration that is being planned where women are being encouraged to wear pants to church meetings on a particular day to show that they feel "marginalized" by "gender inequality" and to show "solidarity" and be able to recognize and support each other. It feels an awful lot like a rehash of the old Equal Rights Amendment movement. I never understood why women would want to be equal to men. That would be like losing ground. (Okay guys, that was a joke.) (Sort of.)

In looking at this group's list of complaints, they all start with "I feel unequal when . . ." I find it sad that anyone feels they are not valued as much as any other member of the church. We are all of infinite worth. Christ's atonement applies to each of us individually, whatever our gender.

Now to boil it down, it seems that most of this group's statements can be tied to the fact that men in the LDS Church are ordained to the priesthood, and women are not. We'll get to that. Keep reading.

If you feel unequal because you want more recognition or power, that's pride. Repent.

If you feel unequal because you are demeaned or belittled, that is abuse, and it needs to be dealt with as abuse, not inequality. Grow a spine, get some help (it is out there), and do something about it. Do not confuse an individual priesthood holder's unrighteous actions with church doctrine. (Doctrine & Covenants, Section 121)

If you feel unequal when you are told it is the husband's role to "preside" in the home as a priesthood holder, somebody doesn't understand the role of the priesthood.

The priesthood of God is all about service. Presiding is not about being in charge and controlling. It's more of a shepherding role, taking care of responsibilities. Notice I said shepherding (love), not sheep herding (power). A priesthood holder who is doing it right should see his wife as a true partner. He should be more concerned with her welfare than his own. He should listen to what she says and how she feels. He should pay attention to his wife's observations because while he has his head down, completely focused on what he has to get done, she notices everything going on around her. (That's the way men's and women's brains are wired, but that's a whole different blog post.)

I believe (not official church doctrine, just my observations) that men are given the roles and responsibilities associated with the priesthood because they NEED it. They need the assignments to take care of people so that they can learn to CARE FOR and HAVE COMPASSION FOR others. That comes more naturally to women. Because we see all the details around us, we see what needs to be done and who needs help and we do it. If women had the priesthood responsibilities, everything would be done correctly and taken care of and the cloth on the sacrament table would always be straight and there would be nothing left for men to do. (Okay, that was a joke, too.) (Sort of.)