Equal Rights for Women
We, as humans, have created various types of organizations, each for a different purpose; however, as humans, we have no power to create or to dictate to God how He may or may not organize His own heavenly kingdom. Neither can we re-write the history of mankind and cause it to match up with current view of our culture. We cannot say to God that our culture is superior and does not really like the way God has organized His Kingdom and that God will now have to change the organization of His Kingdom to match it to the whims of our own culture. It does not work that way.
The organization of God’s heavenly kingdom has stood the test of time; it has worked for eons. What we see here on earth is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized similar to how God has organized His kingdom. The organization of the LDS Church here on earth is not perfect, but we will have to agree, the organization of God’s heavenly kingdom is as perfect as it can be, in fact, it is perfect.
The Prophet Joseph Smith lived during a period of history when women had few or no political rights or rights of ownership. The Prophet left us with a pattern, to give us guidance on how to develop the organization of God’s kingdom here on earth. The organization of the LDS Church is still evolving, but it has not embraced the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Like God’s heavenly kingdom, the LDS Church on the earth is fundamentally based on the priesthood. This infuriates people who support the ERA, because the LDS Church currently, only extends the priesthood to its male members. If the ERA were passed, the LDS Church, the Catholic Church, and other Christian faiths may be obligated to extend the priesthood to its female members. Our country has strived to maintain a separation of church and state. The ERA or equal rights for women may potentially alter that status.
Recently, in April of 2013, I read an article in the Ensign that was seemingly announcing a new doctrine into the LDS Church, a doctrine of equality between husband and wife or between males and females.
Contrast this article to other articles from the Ensign, for example the March 1977, The Equal Right Amendment by Elder Boyd K. Packer, or the March 1980 article The Church and the Proposed Equal Right Amendment: A Moral Issue. The LDS Church would never condescend to air out a political issue within its covers; and specifically it would not claim a political issue, such in the article in the April 2013 Ensign, to be Church doctrine.
The article, as I remember, although not mentioning the ERA directly, the article totally endorsed the Equal Right Amendment (ERA) in word, if not in fact. And though the LDS Church supports the ERA in theory, it does not support ERA in fact, based on legitimate moral issues.
What is meant by “equal” rights? What is meant by the word “equal”? I cannot be specific because of the wide variety of inherent differences between males and females and between men and women. The differences are not just between the genders, great differences exist within each gender. Therefore, males and females are not equal, and men and women are not equal; and, in fact, males are not equal to other males or men, and females are not equal to other females or women. So, can we really legislate equality?
God created variety to diversify this earth in all things, for a good reason, including humanity. We believe that within a marriage, there are two very different specific roles; the role of the father and the role of the mother. These roles are not exclusive, meaning, that the father can assist the mother in performing her duties and responsibilities. Likewise, the mother can assist the father in performing his duties and responsibilities. These are considered the “soft” issues within a marital relationship, meaning, they do not redefine the formal roles, duties and responsibilities of either the husband or the wife; they are on the behavioral level and may be shared.
Following the pattern of God’s heavenly kingdom, God’s children, who are males, have a role that is different from the role that God gave to His children who are females. These two roles are not equal and can never be equal, these two roles are different. Both roles must be combined together to complete the pattern of an eternal marriage. All of God’s children are organized according to the pattern of God’s own family. The position of father is a role of leadership and the father of each family is designated by God to be the individual who is formally responsible to God for the family unit. Because we do not have a perfect understanding of the roles of the father and mother, in this life, there is a lot of cross-over between a husband and a wife in this generation. But the father and mother’s formal roles are not equal, not identical; they are different and are patterned after God’s own family.
There is no such thing as a perfect husband or wife; however, some husbands are more perfect than other husbands and some wives are more perfect than other wives. The actual role of a father or mother is unaffected by how well a father or mother executes their duties or responsibilities. What is affected by the individual father or mother is how well they performed their duties and responsibilities. Being a father or a mother is difficult and anyone can fall short and not perform well. In the LDS Church, a lot of attention is given to counsel fathers in their role, when in fact; similar counsel should be given to mothers too. Contrary to popular belief, mothers wreck families as frequently as men do. Men are provided behavioral counsel in the D&C on how to conduct themselves within the relationship of their marriage. Again, neither the male nor females’ role is altered by individual behavior; the role is still there, we either measure up or fall short. But the roles are not equal, will not, and cannot ever be equal.
The Library of