This morning, I read a petition signed by a minority of women who are fighting for more gender “sameness” in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I’ve heard about these movements but this was the first petition I have actually read.
I was surprised at how trivial the requests were. Even more, I was surprised at the lack of true understanding each item illustrated. Women who know (at their very core) their worth and value do not need trivial changes to feel equal, respected or worthwhile.
As a strong, educated Christian woman, I find safety and peace in the different roles men and women have and have had since the beginning of time. I am grateful to be a woman. I feel blessed to be a wife and a mother.
The first item on this petition states that church leadership should “Encourage partnership in marriage and eliminate the idea that husbands preside over their wives.”
Without trying to belittle the opinion of others, I must admit that this statement is humorous and confusing to me. In my humble opinion, it illustrates a poor understanding of what it means to PRESIDE. This statement seems to suggest that partnership in marriage cannot be achieved while one presides and that is simply not true.
I wonder if supporters of this petition are recommending that church leadership edit scripture, edit history, or edit every single ordinance performed in the church today. “Eliminating the idea” of a patriarchal church would, in a sense, be eliminating the idea that God in and of himself is a male and that He presides, that His kingdom is and has always been a patriarchal kingdom. Patriarchal meaning that a righteous father presides over his family and that a righteous, male prophet presides over God’s church on the Earth. This is a foundational principle of Mormonism and I would even dare say most of Christianity or even religion in general. Eliminating the idea of one who presides is going to be quite a large undertaking.
Ephesians 5:33 “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” The Family a Proclamation on the Family to the World.
I LOVE that my husband is called to preside in our home. Having a good, good man “preside” is a shield and a protection to me and our children. I am not made weak as he cares for me, I am able to rest, to heal, and to fortify myself to do the work that I am called to do.
There have been times in my life where I have presided. I was asked to be the president of our school PTA and served in that capacity for two years. As the president, I felt the responsibility for financial issues, planning issues, every activity, every meeting. When people serving on our board made mistakes, I stood in and took the heat for them. I was very grateful to hand that position over when my term came to an end. Serving on the board in the following years, did not diminish my equality or my innate abilities in the least. My role was different even as my value remained inherently the same.
Obviously marriage is different than PTA. I don’t believe that Todd is the president in our home and I am his counselor. We are co-presidents. His calling to preside in our home is of a spiritual nature and it, in my opinion, relates directly to his divinely appointed responsibility to protect me and our family, and to provide for our needs (physically and spiritually).
I really want to talk about this, even though I know it is so controversial. This is my opinion. [As odd as it sounds, I’m actually careful to give you my own opinion without researching the official stance of the church. Be gentle as you criticize my reasoning, I’m still on pain meds. Ha!]
Presiding means protecting.
I believe our families are under attack, physically and spiritually. I have felt the influence of Satan buffeting me and buffeting our home. When I am alone and I feel darkness, I know that I have access to the power of God to cast evil from my midst. I do have access to that power.
There is GREAT, GREAT peace that comes in the moments I feel down, depressed, sick, lonely, tired, cranky, beaten up, and I am not alone. Having a husband who presides in righteousness who blesses me in strength and power is a great gift. He also has access to the power of God, through the priesthood that he holds, and using that power he protects me, he casts Satan from our midst, and he presides over our home and family. I LOVE FEELING PROTECTED physically and spiritually.
Another unpopular thing to say is that today mental illness and depression is rampant, especially among women. I do not want to argue about whether or not these illnesses are actual medical conditions- of course they are. But, I will say boldly, that if I were Satan, I would work very hard to get good people to feel bad about themselves. Secondly, if I were Satan, I would try to get good women to actually fight against their greatest protectors. Duh. Today we need men to preside and protect MORE, not LESS.
The problem with our society today, as I see it, is NOT that women are presided over. The problem is that many men do not know how to preside. Some men do not know the power they have to protect their families. I know that this is a very unpopular, traditional opinion. Yes, I firmly believe that a righteous man, using the power of God, can protect his family from physical and spiritual buffeting. This is a blessing, not something that belittles women.
Women, turn to your husbands for spiritual protection. Feel the safety that comes from being equally yoked to a strong man. This is a great gift, not something to fight against, in this there is safety and peace.
“Encourage partnership in marriage and
EMPHASIZE the idea that husbands preside over their wives.”
Presiding means providing.
How does a husband working to provide for the physical means of his wife and family ever weaken or lessen a woman? It doesn’t. What a great, great blessing it is to me that I don’t have to worry about paying our mortgage or working to feed our family. This is a blessing.
Todd’s role as a provider doesn’t diminish me, it strengthens me. Because I don’t have to worry about providing for the physical needs of our family I can focus on spending my time and energy serving however I feel inspired to serve. I GET to be home with my children. This is a gift, not subjugation.
I CAN get a job. But, having a husband who provides for my family leaves me with options I would not otherwise have. I am not LESS than him. His sacrifice and diligence BLESSES me with freedom to spend my time doing that which I deem to be MOST important and significant.
In my opinion, anyone can be the CEO of a corporation, but I am irreplaceable as my children’s mother. Home is where I choose to be. Having a husband that presides and provides for our family is a gift and a service to our family not something that makes me less equal or valued.
I’m sad and concerned for women today. I’m afraid we can’t see the gifts that we have been given. We are being deceived into believing that value comes from sameness, when in reality honor, respect and value come because we are respected and cherished.
There have been times, both in the history of the church and even in our own personal histories, where women have needed to act alone. Before marriage, when men are not living righteously, during illness or times of weakness, when men have been killed or called away from home. During these times, strong and faithful women have stepped forward to preside and provide for themselves or their families. Of course they have. Of course we would, if we needed to.
This is a case of Huck Finn trying to convince mothers everywhere that painting a fence alone is more fun and equal than being cared for by a strong and diligent man of God. Perhaps those who have signed this petition have never felt the peace and comfort that comes from being yoked to a good man.
In the name of equality, we are fighting for things that will diminish womanhood not strengthen it. Men who preside in the home are honoring and respecting women.
You are not fighting for equality, you are fighting to be nominalized and undervalued.
I am very aware of the blessings I have been given.
There are days when I preside in my home.
But, I thank God for the days when I am blessed with a good man by my side.
He is my protector, he provides for me spiritually, emotionally and physically.
I do not want to preside.
I find safety and peace being married to a man who nobly holds and presides with the priesthood power of God.
My righteous husband is my greatest blessing.
How I love and trust that man.
Life is good.