Friday, October 24, 2008

A new day, a new issue

This is a relatively difficult post for me to write because, while I want to write about this subject matter, I also want to maintain sensitivity to the fact that some of the people who read this blog harbor very private and sensitive feelings about this subject and I don't want to offend. I simply want to question.

Echidne of the Snakes (if you don't read that blog, I highly recommend it) has been doing a 3-post long explanation of why she is a feminist. Her last post in this series has to do with religion and the concept of God as a male figure. I think it is an excellent post and would encourage everyone to read all 3 posts since they have a lot of material worth consideration. The religion post, talks a lot about how women grow up with male deities and often times only have higher access to God through a man.

Suppose that I have just arrived on earth and am eager to learn about the human religions. A kind earthling has given me the names of the possible members of a nuclear family: father, mother, daughter and son, and one such nuclear family takes me to their church on a lovely autumn Sunday. While in that church I learn that the family worships the Father and the Son. I also learn that it does not worship the mother or the daughter.

In the LDS religion, Heavenly Mother has a very miniscule spot in doctrinal/cultural affairs. Church doctrine states that, in order to enter the celestial kingdom, one must be married. By that logic, God must be married and there must be a Heavenly Mother up there. The church hymn "O My Father" has a reference to Heavenly Mother and I remember loving the song for it's tiny acknowledgement of a goddess figure. However, I was told growing up that Heavenly Mother was not to be prayed to and that God chose not to give information about her because he was "protecting" her and keeping her sacred.

As people who have left the church can attest, it is a process. Part of that process includes having to re-think and reevaluate everything that you've grown up relying upon. It can be painful and terrifying and infuriating all at once. Since leaving, I haven't once thought about the church and their lack of a female divine until today. While a member of the church, it didn't really bother me all that much because I sincerely believed that women were sacred and that it made sense that a Goddess figure would be protected.

Thoughts as of Today:

Protected from whom? Her own children?

Who would do what? Blaspheme her like they do God? What exactly is Heavenly Mother being protected against?

And if she is present, why discourage church members from praying to her? If women and mothers hold such a vital and sacred part of the church, why would they not be encouraged to pray to the one person (goddess) who would be able to intimately identify with their concerns and their pain? If the emphasis on the differences between men and women is so important in the church (and it is), why is Heavenly Mother not included to be an example and a specific support to this emphasis?

Why would a church who stresses the importance of mothers being specifically available to care for their children, have what essentially amounts to an absentee spiritual mother?

Unfortunately, I don't think there are really any good answers to these questions within the church or church doctrine. I guess my asking them is more just part of the fact that I had never considered the issue before and, now that I question everything (religion based or not), I figure I'll get around to it.


thepworth said...

I'm totally with you on this. This would be an easy little "fix" to help the Church get headed in the right direction -- although they still have a loooong way to go before women have equal rights.

KianABC said...

We need to have lots of talks together on this and many other similar topics. I like the way you think, but you're missing something very important.