Thursday, July 19, 2007

LDS Patriarchy

Men and women are consider to be of equal status in the LDS church. The reason mormon women do not preside in LDS congregations is a matter of role and not status. [women weekly preach sermons, give prayers, teach sunday school, and hold presidency positions over local, stake and church-wide general primary, young women, relief society organizations]. Being the same is not being equal.

Because childbirth and child-rearing tends to be spiritually sanctifying endevers for women, the priestood assigns men spiritual duties that they would not normally take on themselves. So, by priesthood assignment, the father is supposed to “lead out” in getting the family together to read scriptures, have family prayer, and family home evening. They are also supposed to call family councils and conduct family priesthood interviews and give father’s blessings. These are all spiritually-minded tasks that help fathers be more spiritually minded to off-set their primarily temporal role as breadwinner outside the home.

How does this presiding business affect decision-making? Not much. When my wife and I make a decision, we make it together. I would never just tell my wife, “I am the deciderer.” The patriarch is the presiderer, not the deciderer. Therefore, we pray about decisions together and do not act until we both feel like we know that the Lord is accepting of our joint decision. Church council should operate the same way.

Then when things get tough, we dont look at each other and say , “good going, this is all your fault, I never thought this was a good idea in the first place.” Instead, we say, “hey, we both felt good about this, that the Lord was okay with it. So, lets be patient and faithful and things will work out in the end.”

In conclusion, God has given that men preside because of our lack of spiritual fitness. We need the exercize. Church leadership is not a status symbol. The Bible teaches us that leaders in the church should be the servants of all. God gave his church leaders like Peter keys to suggest that his status was more like a janitor than a king. And many Apostles reminded the Saints that they were the least in heaven. There is nothing about a calling itself that will get you into heaven any sooner or in front of anyone else. Callings do not save. But the spiritually-minded service that men have the opportunity to perform can help draw us closer to Christ who is the only and true Savior.

5 comments:

Ujlapana said...

You seem to be suggesting that men are less spiritual than women, so men must lead women. Speaking in generalities, as you are, suggests that at no time would a more spiritual man marry a less spiritual woman (who would then, presumably, be more fit to preside than her husband). Do you honestly believe this?

This would also follow in a congregation, where no female member is in a less-spiritual state of existence than any of her priesthood leaders.

If God is omniscient, God can assertain individual needs at an individual level. Why would God need stereotyped roles? It demeans God's capacity to know and love us.

BRoz said...

God does both. God deals in generalities at the same time as dealing with individual circumstances. You seem to want to create a false dichotomy.

The 10 commandments are a great example of God dealing in generalities. Thou shalt not kill. But there have been exceptions.

When it comes to traditional men and women's roles the LDS church teaches that fathers (generally speaking) do better focusing on their family's temporal and spiritual needs while the wife does better focusing on emotional and social needs.

I have a male friend who studied to become a CPA and wanted a simple 9-5 job so he could stay home more with his family and do the social and emotional stuff. Well, turned out that he could only get a job that earned 24-36,000 a year and the financial stress almost tore his marriage and family appart. Well, he recognized that it was his primary role to "bring home the bacon" so he started working longer hours, traveling, and getting more training and now makes $80,000 and his marriage and family is doing great.

Did the kids miss their Dad? Sure. But, all that time they had a stay-at-home mom who was their to do the social and emotional stuff and they are all very intelligent, motivated, straight A, straight arrow kids (and they have had serious issues they've needed to work through).

If mom had decided to work instead of Dad working harder, It wouldn't have worked out as well. Having 2 people doing the same job is inefficient. Division of labor is the most efficent way to get things done.

Ujlapana said...

No, not so much a dichotomy as an acknowledgement of the purpose of generalizations. They are a tool for weak human minds. For example, I cannot speak about my family members in stereotypes because I know them too well. I am aware of the many subtle differences that create individuals, rather than broad abstractions. God must be like that. "Thou shalt not kill" is about actions. God can dictate alternatives to you as God sees fit. But descriptions of classes of people, and worse yet, role-assignment based on those over-simplified classes; that's not divine. Bigotry and sexism are clearly flawed as descriptions of reality. Too say that women are more spiritual than men therefore reaks of the philosophies of men.

Glad your friend is happy. I had a meeting with Warren Buffet a few years back, and he kept driving home the point that all that really matters in the end is the relationships you form with family and friends along the way. You know, the "emotional and social stuff." And he's worth some 40 billion dollars or so. I hope Mr. CPA is happy in 20 years when his kids don't call to talk to him (only to Mom), etc.

"If mom had decided to work instead of Dad working harder, It wouldn't have worked out as well."

That's a hypthesis contrary to fact. Maybe there wouldn't have been some of the same serious issues to work through...who knows?

BRoz said...

Ujlapana,

Good points. I am not sayint the fathers shouldn't get involved emotionally in their kids lives. And my cpa friend still is very involved with his kids and he does dishes and cleans bathrooms. But when a sacrifice needed to be made to make more money (of necessity and not of extravagance), they had to decide who was going to make the sacrifice.

The Bible clearly teaches the principle of gender roles with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam was told that by the sweat of his face he would eat his bread all the days of his life and Eve was told that God would multiply her sorrows (and joys) though child birth.

So, my (simple-minded) friend applied the principle taught in the Bible and realized that he wasn't sweating enough. He could work harder. He prayed about his decision and felt God's confirmation of his decision by the Holy Ghost.

He still spends tons of time with his kids, and is one of the most emotionally available fathers ever. But when an extra sacrifice needed to be made, the Bible pointed their family in the right direction

His working harder, and longer hours was better than having both spouses work and leaving noone at home at all or leaving the kids at daycare all day. Im sure you don't support that. Daycare is gross emotional negligence.

Also, I am not saying that their aren't exceptions to this rule. Many women have to work. Is it the ideal. No. But if you have to work you have to work and you do the best you can.

Ideals are like the stars. We are never going to reach them but by them we can stear our lives through troubled seas (Monson)

BRoz said...

Ujlapana,

After some consideration. I agree with you. I should deal in such gross generalities. So, I am removing the phrase "because women tend to be more spiritual than men." I agree that it is too stereotypical and bigoted to say something complementary.