Breaking Down Matriarchy (or is the Church a Patriarchy or a Matriarchy?)
Updated: Feb 24
A young woman in my LDS institute class on women in the scriptures said her biggest concern was, "I really struggle with the feeling like the Church is male dominated/male central." Another young woman from another class voices her concern as, "Being told we should not see ourselves as equal to men." Whoever said that women are not equal to men needs to stop saying that immediately! The Church being male dominated is a concern for many women and men, inside and outside the Church. Both for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the overall world around them. Such struggles have only festered and swelled with the rise of third-wave feminism. However, when I was on my mission, I too had a desire, a concern, born out of a need to understand better how God views his daughters. As I studied, I was corrupted by a thought, a struggle which pierced my very being as a man, "I really struggle with the feeling like the Church is female dominated/female central and that I feel I am told I should view myself as not being equal to women."
Many people may be wondering what on earth I am talking about; it is a simple quarry. I have a desire to express myself. Perhaps these fears we all have are rooted in penis/womb envy, though maybe not, maybe something much more. We all want gender equality; it is in our nature to seek balance and harmony in all things. We only lack the knowledge which should guide us. Such knowledge comes from acknowledging all points of view by Hegelian dialectics to transcend our current boundaries to a higher plain by merging with ideas that oppose our own instead of discarding them, even at the expense of our own being.
Amy Allebest was one who was so frustrated with the idea of patriarchy that she started a podcast all about reading historical books based around it. She finds the Church to be leaning too much towards men even as most leaders are men. It is a church where it seems that women can rule over other women but never over men; however, men can rule over women and men. She dislikes The Family: A Proclamation to the World as it says, "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."1 Some take issue that the mother's responsibilities seem fewer and lesser than the father's while reading this document.
Amy says in her podcast:
"...in my faith tradition, which is the LDS/Mormon, families have a document on their walls that says that men and women work as equal partners, and some of my family and friends point to that to say ‘see, we're equal, there's no problem,’ and they'll say their families are ‘matriarchal’ because the wife is really dynamic and strong. But in that same document hanging on their walls, it says that the men preside over their families. So, men can - and do - play that trump card. And the document has a bunch of signatures at the bottom of the authorities who issued that proclamation, and it's fifteen men. So even if they were to change it and say, ‘actually women can preside now,’ if there's a governing body that bestows those powers, they can also revoke those powers whenever they want. So, a matriarchy would be where the woman presides over the home, and if there's an impasse with a man, she could say ‘I'm invoking my status as a woman to preside over you.’ And the document on the wall would have the signatures of fifteen women authors who decided the rules. That would be a matriarchy."2
Amy very much takes issue with the idea that fathers are to preside over their families, thinking that it gives them a "trump card" on every decision made in the family. In like manner, I have never cringed harder in my whole life than when I heard Elder Bradley D. Foster of the Seventy referencing a friend of his who declared himself to his young son to be "the last word, the ultimate authority in this house..."3 To which the young boy innocently agreed with the father, saying, "you are!" Elder Foster said the father beamed at the boy, thinking it was such an exceptional answer. When asked how he knew this, the boy responded with, "mother told me." This was something the boy said many times throughout the story in correcting the father on insignificant details in a child's book. Still, the father attempted to exert his authority as if higher than the mother. I could not believe a man would label himself in such a way, especially after such an innocent answer as, "Mother told me." I would have just left it at that and kept on reading the book. I thought to myself, what was the father attempting to prove? When the father asked who was the "last word" and "ultimate authority" in the house, what would he have said if the boy answered with, "mom is" or some other answer? Would the father have said something like, "No, I am, you must listen and obey me only because of the authority that I hold." Instead, I suppose he realized that even though he held the priesthood, the mother still had a more significant influence over the child.
Like many others, Amy Allebest looks forward to a day in which there are female apostles in the quorum of the twelve to counterbalance the current patriarchy. And many more hope to one day have a female president of the United States of America and rejoice at a female CEO over a large company. Sounds great, however many still think to remove the woman from the home entirely and away from her kids, to allow the husband to take over as a stay-at-home dad. As a young woman from another "women in the scriptures" class concerning comment goes, "The opportunity to have a family and raise children is being taken away from women. A lot of women have to work and put their children in daycare centers." But we would further ask, what is a man if he can be replaced by a woman, or what is a woman if a man can easily replace her? For proponents of third-wave feminism, true equality means men can play the woman's role and women being able to play the man's part. Therefore, they believe gender to be a social construct, something that can change at the sleight of hand and something which can cease to exist. They think gender was invented as a way for those with a penis to subjugate those with a vagina. All the while ignoring the biology that accompanies gender, mainly chromosomes, hormones, gametes, and genitalia.
When you look at cultures in which men have abused their position of power by hurting the women in their community regularly, cultures in which there were harsher laws and punishments for women than men, it is easy to see why so many see the patriarchy as a bad thing. A third-wave feminist would tell you that even benevolent patriarchy is still terrible as it is still men making all the laws without women; the laws would then be filtered through the male gaze and be beneficial for men more than women. But remember, biology is very much so a variable. After all, it does not make sense to suggest that hormones would affect the body but have zero effect on the brain, the most complex organ in the body. Gender is NOT a social construct; you have heard it here folks.
The question is, how do women subconsciously respond to men in power? Ayn Rand disliked the idea of a female president. She said that a woman's place is elsewhere, stating that a woman in a power position over so many men would be miserable.
Rand indeed was a peculiar woman who did not even get a driver's license, not that she could not, but because she believed in something she called "hero-worship," so that she could look up to her husband as he drove her around. From her book Fountainhead, she outlines what she believes to be key attributes of a man. For Rand, a true man is an individualist who takes what he wants and is admired by many women. Whether or not you agree with Rand's individualist philosophy, we should still consider her point on "hero-worship." Rand explains her views like this:
"For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship—the desire to look up to man. 'To look up' does not mean dependence, obedience or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value-judgements.
"A 'clinging vine' type of woman is not an admirer, but an exploiter of men. Hero-worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack.
"This does not mean that a feminine woman feels, or projects hero-worship for any and every individual man; as human beings, many of them may, in fact, be her inferiors. Her worship is an abstract emotion for the metaphysical concept of masculinity as such—which she experiences fully and concretely only for the man she loves, but which colors her attitude toward all men. This does not mean that there is a romantic or sexual intention in her attitude toward all men; quite the contrary: the higher her view of masculinity, the more severely demanding her standards. It means that she never loses the awareness of her own sexual identity and theirs. It means that a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother—or leader."4
One needs to stop and question whether there is any truth to the bold claims of Ayn Rand. Does a woman need a man to look up to, or could she be in that place? Or does she even need a man? These are the questions we need to be asking. Is a woman miserable when in a position of power over many men? Before we take upon us all those other questions, we must ask, why the patriarchy? All of this comes back to evolutionary psychology.
In Darwinian terminology, what is the purpose of the male? To impregnate a female and then ensure that female's survival, thus ensuring the child's survival. What is the purpose of the female? To become impregnated by a male and rely on the male to provide for her while nurturing the child. (Not every female can become pregnant, and not every male is fit enough to be a provider, but we should still make the best out of what we do have.) In these terms, it does not make any sense to have a male providing for a male who cannot become pregnant; likewise, it doesn't make sense for a female to rely on another female to provide who also has the possibility of becoming impregnated herself. Likewise, it does not make sense for a male to want to pretend to be a female or for a female to pretend to be a male; none of this benefits the human's in the game of survival of the fittest. All this Jawn about imaginary genders outside of the binary has no place in any of this, do not pretend it does.
Throughout history, the man was the warrior, and the woman was the nurturer; this is the first universal truth. There never was a society, nor will there be, in which woman was the primary warrior while the man was the primary nurturer. Many men and women have shared these responsibilities, but they have never wholly taken over the other's position in society. It is always the man who was buried with his weapons. Just about all armor ever made was made for men.
Every deity to ever be associated with caregiving and fertility has been a female deity. Women have a higher oxytocin level, which causes them to care more deeply for others than their male counterparts, though this is also a primary factor for suffering. From the sorrow they suffer to deliver children into the world, suffering which men can never understand, she has an inherent connection to the children that the man lacks. According to 45 studies by Rebecca Sear and Ruth Mace, the survival of the child in its early years are primarily dependent on the mothers and subsequent female kin like grandmothers.5 Sear and Mace further concluded that fathers have truly little effect on the survival of the child. Men needed to focus most on supporting their wives to thereby ensure the survival of the child. Man needed something that made him useful to the woman. While the woman was pregnant and then breastfeeding the child when it was born, the man felt the need to be the breadwinner and take care of his house as his wife took care of the child. Children are so dependent on their parents that one needed to stay home to take care of it while the other went out to bring home the food. Despite whales having bigger brains than us, we humans have an absurdly large brain compared to our body size; this makes us the smartest species. However, this also means that we had to sacrifice coming out of the womb earlier to have a head small enough to fit through our mother when we were born. Women either needed bigger hips (in which case they would be unable to walk) or babies required to have a smaller brain and thus be dumber to fit through. Species who’s young are born well enough to survive on their own are mostly matriarchal, and the fathers are usually cast aside and sometimes eaten, like with black widows. Baby sharks are expected to swim away from the mother as soon as they are born, lest she eats them, though other times the young eat their mother or each other. Humans are different as we are born with underdeveloped brains, which require more than two decades to develop fully, this makes us more dependent on our mothers, and our mothers learn to depend on their husbands in return. This put man in leadership positions in the government, especially in ancient times when a ruler was also required to be a warrior. When there was no warfare to be had, the men would often become softer and are more willing to help the woman with her duties. But when others came conquering, the men would need to pick up their swords to defend their homeland, and their communities would become more patriarchal.
Societies have always been inherently patriarchal in nature. When Riane Eisler was researching the history of patriarchy, in her book The Chalice and the Blade: Our Past Our Future,5 she discovered that while some cultures were more equal among the sexes than others, others traced their lineage through the mother, others worship centered around a goddess, and other cultures were pure patriarchies, there never was a culture in which it was purely a matriarchy. There was never a society in all time in which a group of women made all the rules and excluded all men from power positions. Oftentimes when it seems to appear there is a matriarchy in a culture it is when the men are busy doing things elsewhere while the women stayed behind to take care of the homeland.
Do women look up to men in power? Yes. In a study, we see that these things do indeed seem to be a part of man and woman's psychology. The sexual preferences of men and women for mates is a huge determining factor. Regardless of one's situation, a successful man will almost universally attract the average woman, and the everyday man is drawn to a good-looking woman. As the article asks, "Are Sex Differences in Preferences for Physical Attractiveness and Good Earning Capacity in Potential Mates Smaller in Countries with Greater Gender Equality?"6 The article concludes that no matter how much or little gender equality a country has, women and men will always have the same preferences for mating, which means society has almost nothing to do with it. It is mostly biological. It reads:
"Sex differences in human mate preferences have been widely reported in the literature on human mating strategies. That women tend to show stronger preferences for long-term mates with good earning capacity than men do, while men tend to show stronger preferences for physically attractive mates than women do, is a particularly robust finding (see Buss & Schmitt, 2018, for a recent review). Indeed, similar sex-asymmetric trade-offs between physical and socioeconomic characteristics have been reported in actual partner choices. For example, women, but not men, are more likely to tolerate unattractive physical characteristics in a wealthier partner (Chiappori, Oreffice, & Quintana-Domeque, 2012; but see Oreffice & Quintana-Domeque, 2010). Since sex differences in these aspects of mate preferences have been reported for many different cultures (Buss et al., 1990; Buss & Schmitt, 2018), some researchers have suggested they most likely reflect evolved preferences for the types of mates that will maximize an individual's reproductive fitness (Buss et al., 1990; Buss & Schmitt, 2018; Lippa, 2007)."
This study seems to go along with the idea that women prefer older men, and most men prefer younger women. Women tend to seek older men; after all, those men have more resources, and men seek younger women because the women are more fertile than the older ones. Indeed, beauty with attractiveness in women seems most correlated with fertility. When there is a cougar in the midst, older women chasing younger men, it is done as a way for the woman to reclaim her lost youth.
Whether you find these observations sexist or not, we cannot ignore them following natural biology. If women want to have children, they cannot afford to waste their younger years lest they wait too long; before long, they are in their late 30s, and baby-making becomes less likely and can even be life-threatening. Then the woman finds herself alone, having chosen a full-time career over children, without anyone left to mourn for her death at an old age or to take care of her. Children are meant to take care of their aging parents, and who should take care of you if you have no children? The government certainly will not care for you the same way your posterity will.
Whenever a woman puts a career over motherhood, it brings misery on her head, for she only has so much time for children. Women in positions of power often are corrupted by the masculine as they seek to put themselves in the man's world. An article from the Guardian speaks of a paradox; they speak of how modern women are less happy today than in the 70s despite attempts to equalize the sexes. Since the time that women gained the right to vote in Wyoming in 1869, followed by Utah and Washington, there has been significant progress in equalizing the sexes. This appears to have climaxed in the early 70s; this was a great time to be a woman as the first two waves of feminism gave women the right to own property, vote, and equal payment and education opportunities. But with the rise of third-wave feminism, things are taking a turn for the worse as women continue to assert power in careers, forgetting about motherhood and often outright rejecting it. The article writes:
"The 'paradox of declining female happiness' was pointed out by economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, who also happen to share a house and kids. They analyzed the happiness trends of US citizens between 1970 and 2005 and found a surprising result.
"Stevenson and Wolfers discovered that American women rated their overall life satisfaction higher than men in the 1970s. Thereafter, women's happiness scores decreased while men's scores stayed roughly stable. By the 1990s, women were less happy than men. This relative unhappiness softened after the turn of the century, but men continue to enjoy a higher sense of subjective wellbeing that is at least as high — if not higher — than women."7
Women were finally equal with men, but third-wave feminism came onto the scene and demanded that they are made like men to be fully equal. Because there was equality among the sexes, the only logical way for third and fourth-wave feminists could take was an imaginary route to achieve what is in their minds as would-be genuine equality. The third wave brought on a sexual revolution and hatred towards men; the fourth wave took these concepts and ran with them.
And so now we live in a time where women believe that to be genuinely happy and equal with men, they must act like men, as the title character in the Disney/Pixar short "Purl." They think they must put off their natural maternal instincts of raising a family and take on what some would consider being toxic masculine traits. And in return, they expect men to emasculate themselves and be symbolically castrated and feminized. These women expect men to be weak and incapable of anything.
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “there is little of man here: therefore, their women make themselves manly. For only he who is man enough will—redeem the woman in woman.” With the increase of women in the workforce there is a decrease of men feeling the need to be responsible. It becomes of men to have a decrease in masculinity, women also experience a decrease in femininity. Instead of shadow integration, as proposed by Carl Jung, there is a shadow possession.
“A woman possessed by the animus (the masculine part of a woman) is always in danger of losing her femininity, her adapted feminine persona, just as a man in like circumstances (to be overrun by his anima, his feminine side) runs the risk of effeminacy. The psychic changes of sex are due entirely to the fact that a function which belongs inside has been turned outside. The reason or this perversion is clearly the failure to give adequate recognition to an inner world which stands autonomously opposed to the outer world and makes just as serious demands on our capacity for adaptation.”
Before we talk about breaking down the patriarchy, we need to talk about the consequences of breaking down the patriarchy.
I understand that it is frustrating for any woman when a man tells her that her sole purpose is to have children. In general, women find it frustrating when a man tells them to do anything with their bodies, so she retaliates hard. However, we must understand that children are a must if we can for both men and women.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man (or woman); so are children of the youth.
5 Happy is the man (or woman) that hath his (or her) quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Children bring glory and honor upon the heads of their parents. Children need both a father and a mother to raise them, and the parents are deified. For one cannot be exalted without a kingdom, nor can they be made immortal except they carry on through their children. All injustices shall be rectified in the afterlife when all are brought together as one family, as the couple moves on to have a kingdom of their own without end, to have eternal progression.
Some might think we could evolve out of needing traditional gender dynamics. However, so long as we should continue to become more intelligent, the need for diversity in the two genders will become ever more prominent. We could not survive otherwise and would begin to devolve due to a lack of diversity in the two genders. If we wish to evolve further, beyond the Homosapien, then the two sexes must diverge further than before. If there were no diversity of genders, then we would lack the ability to reproduce and could only make copies of ourselves. But copies are easily corrupted and can be destroyed by a single virus. Life perpetuates itself through diversity and originality. But we still need to retain some part of ourselves lest we should cease to exist. As the ship of Theseus ceases to be itself with the last board replaced, we too would cease to exist without one defining factor which connected us to our eternal selves; that factor is gender. The two genders are infinite in nature; they cannot be destroyed, neither can new genders be created. These two genders continue onward in divergent paths as they still seek to unite with each other and be made equals. The paradox is two becoming one yet remaining two; indeed, the commandment to be one flesh is the most literal of all commandments. Two combining to create a new and unique entity, with the prospects of the two almost entirely giving up all aspects of themselves, this is the key to deification, that two unite to create one being superior to themselves by combining their DNA. For these reasons, only heterosexual couples can be exalted because only they can truly merge into one, to pass on their genetic imprints into their children. Children make up the kingdom, passing on the genes of the parents to exalt their parents. The time is now to shake off the shackles which bind you and elevate your consciousness to a higher plane by uniting with the opposite sex.
Too many people look at a picture of the first presidency or quorum and the twelve apostles and think, "there sure is a lot of testosterone on display; I sure wish there was more estrogen." But these people are wrong to think that female representation is missing from the leadership. For the very reason I outlined in the paragraph above, the brethren in the Church's leadership are one flesh with a woman. From this, they are in tune with their feminine sides, what Carl Jung calls the anima, which manifests as their wives. Consider President Nelson's conference talk "Plea to My Sisters," in which he analyzes previous apostles' relationships with their wives. It was pure and divine. If you think there is no female representation with the Church leadership, then you are wrong. If you suppose that those men do not go home to loving wives and confide in them everything that they tell the other brothers, you were never more wrong. Those who do not think that the Brethren take council with their wives on serious manners, such as what to put in the proclamation on the family —then to borrow from Elder Bruce R. McConkie— "... have the intellect of an ant and the understanding of a clod of miry clay in a primordial swamp."8 Any who suppose that the prophets and apostles are separate from their wives do not understand the commandment to be one flesh in the least. They require an education. There is a reason why it is required of any male leadership position to be married to a female. To be one flesh and allow for both male and female representations.
The nuclear family is inherently patriarchal, that the man speaks on behalf of both himself and his wife. Feminists know the nuclear family is directly connected patriarchal and so seek to dismantle the family.
Feminist Andrea Dworkin said, “we want to destroy patriarchal power at its source, the family.”
What does it mean to preside? Contrary to popular belief, it does not refer to all power resting in one person and that that one person is the last word. The presider is not a dictator who makes all the demands. I do not know why people think this way, but for anyone to think like a dictator is to act in unrighteous dominion.
Bruce C. Hafen and his wife, Marie, explained:
"Genesis 3:16 states that Adam is to 'rule over' Eve, but this doesn't make Adam a dictator.… Over in 'rule over' uses the Hebrew bet, which means ruling 'with,' not ruling 'over.'… The concept of interdependent, equal partners is well-grounded in the doctrine of the restored gospel. Eve was Adam's 'help meet' (Genesis 2:18). The original Hebrew for meet means that Eve was adequate for, or equal to, Adam. She wasn't his servant or his subordinate."9
In Ephesians 5:25, Paul says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it ... " Any husband who gives his life for his wife's safety will indeed be greatly praised in heaven.
President Howard W. Hunter explained,
"The Lord intended that the wife be a helpmeet for man (meet means equal) --that is, a companion equal and necessary in full partnership. Presiding in righteousness necessitates a shared responsibility between husband and wife together you act with knowledge and participation in all family matters. For a man to operate independent of or without regard to the feelings and counsel of his wife in governing the family is to exercise unrighteous dominion."10
To preside means being the head of a household, to teach and call. It means being the mouthpiece for both the husband and wife. When President Nelson gets up to speak at General Conference, he speaks for both himself and his wife, Wendy. Husband and wife share in priesthood blessings together and not separately. Though women traditionally wear veils in temple and marriage contexts, it is not a sign that they should be silent, rather it is a sign of her power to control her own chastity for the man of her choice.
Ultimately, however, for a man to preside in righteousness, he does so with his household's best interests in mind. He is the head of security of his house from both physical and spiritual danger. He provides and supports his family so that everyone is happy. If someone is unhappy, he sits down with that person and attempts to establish order out of the chaos. No one in his house should go unheard. And when called upon to lay down his life for the safety of his family, he does so boldly. As the biggest and strongest person in his house, it is his duty to ensure his house's physical safety.
Why the patriarchy? My understanding is that parenting is indeed a binary. A joint effort between husband and wife. As indeed, I believe gender to be binary. Gender is a part of our eternal nature. Periods are not the curse of Eve but are a natural part of femininity, and masculinity in men does not always lead to toxicity. Both husband and wife bring something essential to the raising of children which the other lacks. They complement each other. Historically speaking, that is how it has always been. However, I equate the primary mode of raising to the maternal because women are inherently more attached to children than men. Man needed something that made him essential to woman, so evolution gave him a more robust frame to do the heavy lifting and go to war to protect his home. On many occasions, when rendered unable to perform their roles properly, men and women are obligated to help each other in these roles as best they can.
The patriarchy does not exist for men to dominate women, but rather it exists for men to protect and provide for women. Women are the heart of the patriarchy. A true and righteous patriarch is kind, loving, slow to anger, compassionate, caring, protecting, but also dangerous in a willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure his woman feels safe. The most righteous men are ones who can do dangerous things but choose not to do those things. Therefore, women love tame monsters like the beast from Beauty and the Beast, or Edward from Twilight. With his woman feeling safe, his children also feel safe. He is not abusive to his family; he knows their needs and wants. He takes council from his wife and strengthens his children.
In practice, a nurturer cannot thoroughly teach a boy to be a warrior. The boy must be ripped from the comfort of his mother's bosom and thrown out into the world on his own to toughen him up. The mother can teach the boy empathy, but the boy must eventually learn to be independent; he must learn to be a man. He requires a good father figure to teach him things that his mother could not. That is why ancient cultures employed rites of passage—something sorely lacking from today's culture. According to Carl Jung, a boy must be separated from his mother at the right moment. Not too early lest he becomes apathetic, not too late lest he becomes a man-child stuck in neverland. Men need to work hard to be men, whereas a woman becomes a woman much more naturally.
I suggest that beyond the pain of childbirth, a woman also must endure nine months of pregnancy in which the child is directly attached to her via an umbilical cord. The child is literally flesh of her flesh. The child comes from the egg of the mother, which was fertilized by the father's sperm. So, in a biological sense, children are indeed more connected to their mothers than their fathers. For this reason, it is so hard for the mother to let go of her child. My mother cannot stand two days without me calling her. This is where the father comes in to separate the son from the mother to become a man independently.
To remove the patriarchy would be to remove strong willed men. Even though our hero-worship is directed towards such manly men as Superman, Batman, Ironman, Captain America and Thor, we live in a society where we attempt to suppress a man’s masculinity to suppress the patriarchy. Many ads tell boys to stop being rough and tough, many put young men in dresses and tell them to behave like princesses. Thinking that breaking gender norms will make a person freer, it does not.
We all have to stare an uncomfortable truth in the eyes at some point in our lives. The comfy truth is easy to accept as our natural man takes over and we feel to allow dust to settle on us. To look back and desire to return to the womb, but we humans have directional eyes for a reason, either we look forward or we do not. The uncomfortable truth is hard to accept because when we see it, we fear and cower in a corner. We would like to pretend it does not exist. But it does. Accepting the uncomfortable truth means taking joy in the face of potential hell. There is nothing more of an act of rebellion, nothing more liberating than confronting hell and loving it. For us, the uncomfortable truth we must accept is the need of the patriarchy. There should be no sugar coating it or attempting to get around it. If you want to totally remove the patriarchy from the home and society then you must be prepared to face the harshest uncomfortable of truths.
For Jordan Peterson, he has noticed that the vast majority of people that show up to his lectures are male, and whenever he talks about responsibility the boy’s ears perk up. But in a world ruled by women, such as we have, young men suddenly feel like they do not need to be responsible because the women have it covered. They retreat into video games and porn. In a world where we are not allowed to be men to defend womanhood, in a world where women wield sufficient power for their own needs, we suddenly feel like we live in a world that doesn’t need men. Men today are weak; the average college male has the same grip strength as a 30-year-old mom. What happened to the manly men, the ones that women would fantasize about going out to chop down some trees to build her a house with his bare hands.
From such films as Fight Club, we see men who may as well be castrated, sitting in a boring office, working jobs they hate so they can buy crap they do not need. With built up anger, their masculinity turns toxic and they start a brutal fight club. In case you had not noticed, there is a boy crisis going on. Young boys do not know what it means to be a man because they do not have any good male role models to look up to. We need boys to be men to protect their families. Boys need to be able to run and play, to be rough and tough, and not be feminized in any way. We need good boys who will grow up to serve their countries with diligence and love for their friends and families.
19-year-old Anthony Sims was charged in the slaying of a West Oakland mother. His last Facebook post read, "I wish I had a father..." Warren Farrell observed, "… girls live in the same families, with the same family values, the same mental health problems, the same violence on TV, but our daughters are not doing the shootings. Our sons are."
Boys need both a father and a mother to civilize them, and a father needs to be the ultimate role model in his boys' life of great manhood. But most of all, children need a father, we need patriarchy:
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average. (Rainbows for All God's Children)
70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
In general, yes, it would be improper to tell a single mother that her boys will turn out as weak men. Therefore, I will emphasize a father figure and not just a father. For as children turn out better with a present father as opposed to just a figure, the figure is still relevant to enact order. The more personal the father figure is the better off young boys turn out.11 I would like to think that these are the roots of egalitarianism, to say that we are born into a matriarchy only to be removed from it and enter patriarchy. I do not think that is what third-wave feminists are saying. They say that the matriarchy should erase the patriarchy. But the patriarchy is excellent and essential. And equal rights for the opportunity do not lead to equality in the workforce. As we see that the more egalitarian a community is, as it is in Scandinavian countries, the more there is a divide between the sexes concerning work preferences.12
But the reason I give the matriarchy, attachment to our mothers, so much power is my attempt to reconcile the patriarchy with a basis on how we all came from a matriarchy. Even as I think about quotes such as this one by Abraham Lincoln, "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
We were born into a matriarchy where our mothers were the dominant figure in our lives, they gave birth to us, and we sucked from their breasts. But as we grew older, we moved into a patriarchal system where the father was the dominant figure in our lives. For this reason, those who lack good father figures, those who lack a patriarchy, are more likely to commit suicide and do school shootings. For this very reason, I say the patriarchy exists precisely because of the matriarchy. Femininity represents chaos, as all things are born out of chaos as we are a woman. The male then comes in to define order by organizing the preexisting chaotic matter, just like how sperm organizes the chaos of an egg into a human fetus. Thus, God put woman in charge of the beginning, and man in charge of the ending. Things are male-centric because they were first female-centric.
So now let us return to my original sayings, the thought which corrupted me, the idea which will surely baffle many, "I really struggle with the feeling like the Church is female-dominated/female central and that I feel I am told I should view myself as not being equal to women."
This struggle began when I read this quote from President Gordon B. Hinkley, "Woman is God's supreme creation." This quote absolutely rattled my male brain; I did not know what to do with it. Was this supposed patriarchal Church really a secret matriarchy? But it gets better as President Hinkley goes on to explain his reasons for declaring this,
"Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.
"Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth."13
So, according to President Hinkley, there is no more extraordinary creation of God than women. I can agree with the saying that women are more beautiful than any of God's creations; but when you call her the "supreme creation" it makes one wonder if there is some benevolent sexism going on here. It is possible. Propping women up on such a high pedestal may surely either make men feel inadequate or make women feel undeserving of such high praise. And this is all over the place in the Church. Such quotations evoke a certain social stigma.
The more I researched how God views His daughters through the lens of what the prophets have taught; the more my brain was wracked. Boyd K. Packer said what I positively feel to be the best description of the different roles of men and women:
"The consummate power of the priesthood has been given to protect the home and its inhabitants. The father has the authority and responsibility to teach his children and to bless and to provide for them the ordinances of the gospel and every other priesthood protection necessary. He is to demonstrate love and fidelity and honor to the mother so that their children can see that love.
"I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother."14
He also said, concerning equality in marriage, "Men and women have complementary, not competing, responsibilities. There is difference but not inequity. Intelligence and talent favor both of them. But in the woman's part, she is not just equal to man she is superior! She can do that which he can never do not in all eternity can he do it. There are complementing rewards which are hers and hers alone."15
Indeed, there are certain rewards that each sex possesses alone in association with their physical and mental differentiation. Differences in sex and gender make them attractive to each other; each has what the other lacks, something which compliments the other. This should make the sexes equal to acknowledging the inherent differences between men and women, but Elder Packer seems to infer that this equality makes women superior. As if to say she is only superior in an equal relationship with a man, a relationship in which they share in what the other has that the other lacks. I define the prophet's insistence on woman's superiority as how men, in general, should view their wives as the most significant thing in their lives.
An interesting thing that Elder Packer does outline is the origin of the priesthood as being inherently connected to and inspired by motherhood, "The limitation of priesthood responsibilities to men is a tribute to the incomparable place of women in the plan of salvation."15 It seems like he is suggesting that motherhood exists first, and as a result, the priesthood followed as a tribute to women. That is to say that the priesthood comes along as something which protects maternity. The prophets talk a lot about the idea that women wield this immeasurable influence over their children, and to some extent, their husbands and brothers.
President Howard W. Hunter thus declared that as such, men should have reverence for women for their sacred task to bear the souls of men:
"A man who holds the priesthood has reverence for motherhood. Mothers are given a sacred privilege to 'bear the souls of men for herein is the work of the Father continued, that he may be glorified' (D&C 132:63)."
President Hunter continues the tradition of telling us how much men and women need each other and should honor each other,
"… The priesthood cannot work out its destiny, nor can God's purposes be fulfilled, without our helpmates. Mothers perform a labor the priesthood cannot do. For this gift of life, the priesthood should have love unbounded for the mothers of their children.
"Brethren, honor your wife's unique and divinely appointed role as a mother in Israel and her special capacity to bear and nurture children. We are under divine commandment to multiply and replenish the earth and to bring up our children and grandchildren in light and truth (see Moses 2:28 D&C 93:40). You share, as a loving partner, the care of the children. Help her to manage and keep up your home. Help teach, train, and discipline your children.
"You should express regularly to your wife and children your reverence and respect for her. Indeed, one of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother."10
There is a fabulous article by the New York Times called "why men need women," which relays: "WHAT makes some men miserly and others generous? What motivated Bill Gates, for example, to make more than $28 billion in philanthropic gifts while many of his billionaire peers kept relatively tightfisted control over their personal fortunes?"
The article suggests that women are what helped such men. It continues by saying that getting the feminine perspective on matters is crucial to building up a company, so women should be in meetings of all kinds. We then further read about how daughters impact the lives of their fathers.
"New evidence reveals a surprising answer. The mere presence of female family members — even infants — can be enough to nudge men in the generous direction."16
Dr. Linda Nielsen has taught the only known college course in the USA devoted to studying father/daughter relationships. She found that a healthy relationship between father and daughter gives the daughter a lower risk of developing anxiety and depression. They experience less stress than those who grew up with a weak father figure or no father figure. Meanwhile, Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of "Mother-Daughter Wisdom," shows that it is the mother who sets behavior patterns in children.
James E. Faust said, "There is no greater good in all the world than motherhood. The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation."17
From these things, the Church has made it an official stance that women take up "the highest place of honor." During the time of President Heber J. Grant, the First Presidency wrote:
"The true spirit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives to woman the highest place of honor in human life. To maintain and to merit this high dignity she must possess those virtues which have always, and which will ever, demand the respect and love of mankind.… [because] 'a beautiful and chaste woman is the perfect workmanship of God.'"18
Even when we step outside the church, me thinks there is a matriarchy, or at least signs that females are favored over males. Males and females should be favored the same.
· We find that far more women than men pass college, men are sorely lacking behind.
· Men are more likely to commit suicide and more likely to end up in prison where they are raped more often than a woman outside the prison.
· People innately prefer to protect a female over a male.
· Men are viewed as predators and women as prey.
· A woman is praised for aggression while an aggressive man is demonized.
· Women are more likely to be hired based on their sex alone and not their work experience.
So, are we living in a patriarchy or a matriarchy? I think it is a little of both.
According to "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," there are specific ways each sex worships here and there, which follows the immortal and everlasting essence of their gender. Men and women have their own little ways of worshiping God Almighty with only some overlap. Many people think the covenant of circumcision is sexist as it is a male-only covenant. Still, I think we should be considering the possibility of a female equivalent of the covenant. I do not know what the female equivalent of circumcision would be, but we should understand God to be a being who denies none who come unto him. (2 Nephi 26:33) Whatever covenant God makes with one person; he makes a similar covenant unto another. The gospel he delivered to the Middle East is the same which he gave to the Americas.
Even so, the eternal nature of gender explicitly depicts various ways of worship which complement each other. We all make up the body of Christ, playing our own separate roles according to our own strengths. (1 Corinthians 12:27) The eye should not be jealous of the mouth; else how would the body see? The toe should not be jealous of the fingers; else, how would the body balance and stand? Every little part plays a vital and essential role in the body, no matter how small.
Paul said, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3) To which I add, "and woman is the heart of it all."
But know this, without the patriarchy, masculinity would fail leading to the collapse of many civilizations as women and children are forced to defend for themselves. If a nation suffers a major loss of men, it can recover. But if the nation instead suffers a major loss of women, then there is no way it can recover. And if all men fail then women must take up the life-threatening jobs of construction, mining, wood chopping, and military fighting. Without men to defend them, more women would have to replace them which would lead to many deaths, leading to the downfall of society. Women need strong men to uphold strong virtues and be paragons of justice, to defend womanhood and create a stronger society.
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102.
Breaking Down Patriarchy Podcast. (2020). Breakingdownpatriarchy. https://www.breakingdownpatriarchy.com/episodes/1#showEpisodes
Foster, B. D. (2010). Mother Told Me. Churchofjesuschrist. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/2010/05/sunday-afternoon-session/mother-told-me?lang=eng
Rand, A. (1968) “An Answer to Readers (About a Woman President),” The Objectivist
Sear, Rebecca & Mace, Ruth. (2008). Who Keeps Children Alive? A Review of the Effects of Kin on Child Survival. Evolution and Human Behavior. 29. 1-18. 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.10.001.
Eisler, R. (1988). The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future (First ed.). HarperOne.
SAGE Journals: Your gateway to world-class research journals. (2019). SAGE Journals. https://journals.sagepub.com/action/cookieAbsent
Petherick, A. (2017, August 8). Gains in women’s rights haven’t made women happier. Why is that? The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/18/womens-rights-happiness-wellbeing-gender-gap#:%7E:text=Stevenson%20and%20Wolfers%20discovered%20that,were%20less%20happy%20than%20men.
McConkie, B. R. (2020, February 4). The Seven Deadly Heresies - Bruce R. McConkie. BYU Speeches. https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/bruce-r-mcconkie/seven-deadly-heresies/
Bruce C. and Marie K. Hafen, “Crossing Thresholds and Becoming Equal Partners,” Ensign, Aug. 2007, 27.
Hunter, H. W. (1994). Being a Righteous Husband and Father. Churchofjesuschrist. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1994/10/being-a-righteous-husband-and-father?lang=eng
Brainwash: The Gender Equality Paradox. (2012, May 9). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiJVJ5QRRUE
“Our Responsibility to Our Young Women,” Ensign, Sept. 1988, 11.
Packer, B. K. (2013). These Things I Know. Churchofjesuschrist. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2013/04/these-things-i-know?lang=eng
Packer, B. K. (1989). A Tribute to Women. Churchofjesuschrist. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1989/07/a-tribute-to-women?lang=eng
Grant, A. (2013, July 20). Opinion | Why Men Need Women. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/opinion/sunday/why-men-need-women.html
Faust, J. E. (2004). Fathers, Mothers, Marriage. Churchofjesuschrist. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/liahona/2004/08/fathers-mothers-marriage?lang=eng
Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham, Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941, p. 150