- Religion and Philosophy
Are Mormons Sexist?
I am not a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Members of said faith are often refered to as Mormons or LDS, I am not. These hubs include ideas, concepts, and precepts that I was taught that may or may not be official church doctrine (people like to teach what they feel, often times not in line with official doctrine).
If you try to strike up a debate in the comments section, I will likely allow it if you are not racist, sexist, or militantly vegan. No threats, though I find condemnation a little funny. "F-bombs" will not be tolerated, even though it is my favorite four-letter word. Keep in mind this is the internet and people will say what they want to say, to whom, and when they see fit. If you get your panties in a wad, start a hub and tell people about your feelings.
Women in Mormonism
Are Mormons Sexist?
Yes and no. Official policy is to treat women like they are equal to men. Officially. But all the other ways to say this are that women are second to men.
Example number one: Men are considered the head of the household. In modern America, men and women share the responsibility equally, but not in Mormon culture. The man is the head and the woman is his sidekick at best.
Example number two: men have all rights and privileges, even when single. Women have all rights and privileges as long as they are accompanied by men.
I can list them off one at a time, but I hate laundry lists. Try to imagine growing up in a culture where all you get is the scraps from someone else’s table. Many people know exactly what this feels like even if it’s not a sexist thing. That is what women go through in Mormonism and it is sexist.
Women are not allowed to hold the priesthood. Therefore, they do not have healing power. Nor do they have authority unless she is put into a weaker leadership position – and only with the authority given to her by a man. The Relief Society President is a position that falls in this category. She is allowed that position under the approval of the prophet, a man.
An excuse I heard on multiple occasions for why women cannot hold the priesthood is that women are given the power of creating life. The priesthood is given to men only to balance the power. Note that a man is not required to have a woman to hold the priesthood but that a woman requires a man to create life. Equal? Fair? I think not. And if you read the article on racism in Mormonism that is also here on Hubpages, you will see that black women are still given the power of creation - which makes black women equal to white women and black men were just plain screwed.
Women are not allowed to wear pants to church. Despite this being an issue that should be between god and the individual, people will go out of their way to make it their issue. Friends will cut ties, publicly even, for some woman wearing pants to church. Yet I have seen men come to church with jeans and a t-shirt. Consistent? No. And people will, for the most part, respect a man’s decision to wear what he wants to wear. I did get a little flack on one occasion for wearing a hat to church. Despite that being incredibly irritating, it was a single incident that is the only time I ever heard someone call out a male for what he was wearing.
There are multiple signs and tokens of the male in the temple. To enter the celestial room of the temple there are handshakes that are symbolic of the chosen people, faithful followers of Jesus Christ. All of these handshakes are considered signs of the male. If a woman wants to enter the celestial room, she must be accompanied by a worthy male. Men can enter alone.
In the Endowment Ceremony, multiple hand gestures are presented. These are all tokens of the male. They have different sub-names to tell them apart, but all are tokens of the male. There is not a single sign or token of the female. Someone tried bullshitting me saying "There are no signs and tokens of the female that we know about in this mortal life." As if this forever leaves them the possibility on some level of not being sexist.
Let me say that again: There is not a single sign or token of the female.
In the temple, there is an altar that faithful adults can stand around and pray together. This altar is representative of the same altar Adam built, that Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac on, and the priests of Jerusalem sacrificed on and so on. When praying around the altar at the temple, the women must veil their faces. Men do not. Psychologists who have studied how people identify others know that the face is the most identifiable attribute of a person. Humans can remember an unusually high number of faces, more than places, smells, sounds, and touch sensations. The face is your identity. That’s why when an attacker destroys a victim’s face, the CSI people know that it’s meant to be personal whereas shooting someone in the heart is not nearly as personal. When a kid destroys a photograph of a parent they’re angry at, they start with the face. What does this have to do with the veil at the temple? It might be a stretch, but it’s kind of a way of saying women do not have an identity before God.
Mormons believe there are three degrees of glory. The Celestial Kingdom is what is viewed as Heaven. Men and women can go there whether they are single or married. To reach the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, one must be married. Typically it is considered odd for women to ask men to date or to wed. Even though it is the case in most societies, this expectation that it is the man’s job to ask is stronger in Mormon culture. That leaves women lonely a lot – and out of the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. Now there is still a choice and women can ask men out or to marry. Men are given the authority to take multiple wives but women are only allowed one husband. Since the abolition of polygamy in the LDS faith in the late 1800s, you won’t see any Mormon polygamists here in the mortal existence. However after we die there will be opportunities to meet partners, including polygamist partners – polygamist for dead men only. Most Mormons will deny polygamy if you ask them, but it really depends on what stage of eternal progression you are talking about.
One of the reasons you need to have a partner of the opposite sex to enter the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom is to create life. The ability to create worlds and souls of your own is somehow glorifying and gratifying and can only be done if you have the opposite gender by your side. Mormons believe god used to be just a man who was worthy of exaltation. That leads me to puzzle out that there is a female entity by god's side if he was to create earth and all life on it. A "Heavenly Mother" is logically a member of the team. Mormon individuals are either completely in denial of her existence, or admit the possibility of her existence but give her absolutely no credit whatsoever. Dear female readers, if you are taking the Mormon route to exaltation, know that you will likely get little if any credit for all the hard work you do.
Another problem that exists in multiple cultures and backgrounds can also be found in Mormon culture. Even though this is not official church doctrine, many men in Mormon culture believe it is not possible for a man to rape his wife because she's his wife. Consent has nothing to do with it as if consent was forever given with "I do". This is not a problem with all married couples, but it is with a significant number. Dear female readers, if you are looking at Mormon males for potential husbands, make sure he understands your definition of consent.
I ask you again, are Mormons sexist? You may run into a Mormon that is not, then claim that it's an over-generalization to call all Mormons sexist. I point out that most Mormons do not consider themselves sexist. If you call the above doctrines and practices sexist, they will say that's church policy as if it is somehow not their own policy. It's up to you if you believe it or not, but I've stated my stance on the issue. If you're a woman and looking into the church, be prepared to give up your equality.