Watching the left come unglued and resort to the original tactic of the Democratic Party, demagoguery, the same tactic used to attempt to preserve the institution of slavery, I am left to address something that people may feel is somewhat true.
The claim is that Mormons are misogynist, meaning, they hate or disrespect women.
As a Mormon who has sat through countless sermons and priesthood quorum lessons, and read the canon of the church as found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, I am honestly mystified as to why anyone would believe a Mormon could be misogynist. In fact, I’d dare say that Mormons have the most love towards women of any mode of thinking in the world.
Let me share with you a few recent anecdotes.
(1) In priesthood quorum, among a meeting of men, we had a lesson on revelation. Someone raised their hand to add their two cents. “Brethren, we need to listen to our wives. They are, for whatever reason, closer to the Lord than we’ll ever be.” Everyone nodded in agreement.
(2) In a similar environment, someone shared an anecdote of a temple sealer, someone who has been given the power to seal families together forever. He was giving a short sermon to the group of husbands and wives assembled in the temple in preparation of doing the sealing ceremony for their ancestors. He was an old sealer, ordained as a sealer by President Kimball, so his words have special meaning to us, because he has spent so much of his life in the temple contemplating this sacred ordinance. He spoke to the women, “Sisters, thank you for being here and bringing the Spirit with you.” Then he turned to the brethren, “Brethren, this is a sacred ordinance. You need to prepare yourselves spiritually. Follow the example of your wives.
These are some of the most private moments of the sharing of pure doctrine I have experienced.
Let me teach to you Mormon Doctrine considering women. I do this not to argue about doctrine, but to explain what every young mormon has inculcated in their minds as absolute doctrine.
First, Heavenly Father is male, the father of all the spirits. However, he is not alone. At his side is Heavenly Mother. This is rarely spoken of, because we do not wish to see the world misuse her or her name, and we do not take this doctrine glibly. However, it is doctrine, doctrine which no one can deny is ours.
Second, all women are created in God’s image, just like Adam was. They have a different role in God’s plan than the men, destined to be mothers in this life and in the eternities. We often refer to mother as the highest and most holy calling of all callings in the universe.
Third, we teach that Eve ate the fruit, then persuaded Adam to so partake. Our doctrine is very different than the typical Christian’s, however, since we celebrate Eve’s wisdom in partaking of the fruit. Had she not done it, we would never have been born, nor would we have fallen into mortality, and been provided with the opportunity to grow and become like our Heavenly Father. Eve is credited with being the first mortal being to comprehend the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to explain why it is necessary that man must fall first.
Fourth, although the father in the family is the head, or as we might say, the president, he is under strict command not to exercise his authority except with pure love, patience, tolerance, and so on and so forth. The moment he tries to compel anyone, including his wife, that’s the moment all authority leaves him. Also, he is to counsel with his wife, meaning, pay attention and do what she thinks is best. Not every Mormon family is ideal, but divergence from this divine structure is a gross sin of the worst sort among Mormons. Not only are you injuring your wife, but you are injuring your children. If we do not live up the high standards, we are under greater condemnation as husbands and fathers than our wives ever will be.
On this point, I cannot stress enough what we really mean by president or head. I think the best example is how George Washington behaved during the Constitutional Convention so long ago. There really aren’t many parables in life outside the church that would help people understand.
Fifth, people see the priesthood as only available to men, but this is not true. Women are ordained to offices within the church the same as men by the same authority. It is true that women will never be apostles or presidents of our church. I do not understand completely why men are only eligible for these callings. I will say this, however. (1) We do not consider a position of leadership as a promotion, but a demotion. The greatest among us will be our servants. (2) There are no perks of office. In fact, the higher you go, the less time you have to yourself, and the higher standards you must live from day to day. (3) When we call men to high positions in the church, we have their wives right beside them. Without her consent and support, leadership in the church would be impossible. (4) Women do hold positions of authority, and are entitled to just as much revelation as men are in their respective callings. On the ward leadership counsel, there are, at minimum, 3 women, the leaders of the Primary (children’s organization), Relief Society (women’s organization), and Young Women’s (teenage women’s organization.) They are not superior or inferior on that counsel to any other member of the counsel.
In a technical sense, and this is something that is not well-taught or understood by most including myself, but women are entitled to all blessings of the priesthood, and have the same authority as their husbands through the sealing covenant. I cannot explain further what this means since I myself am ignorant. I will say that women in our temples enjoy all of the temple ceremonies except one: the ordaining to the priesthood. This suggests to me that the priesthood is more of a family affair than an individual affair, IE, the father received the priesthood, blesses his family with it, and his family are entitled to all of its privileges because of the father.
Sixth, and most importantly, we teach that salvation in the highest degrees of glory is impossible without our wives, and that our wives will share with us all the benefits of exaltation. In fact, it is frequently alluded to that many more women will be worthy of this salvation than men, which is why, logically speaking, there will be polygamy in the afterlife.
I cannot imagine a mode of thinking that would elevate women any higher. Women are a critical part of the plan of salvation, women play a huge role in the afterlife, and God himself couldn’t be God without his wife beside him.
After understanding these doctrines, how can anyone say that Mormons are misogynist? I cannot understand it. Sure, some of our members fall well short of our high ideals, or some do not understand correct doctrine, and so we might find instances where women are treated poorly by specific men, but this is the exception, it is contrary to what we teach, and when we discover it, we do whatever it takes to remedy the situation. We would even go so far as to excommunicate a man from our church if he fails to treat his wife properly.