Skip to main content

The Plan of Equal Opportunity

Feminism has brought many blessings to women. However, sometimes it seems that feminist views are not about being feminine at all, but about being masculine. The glory of womanhood--motherhood--is demeaned and attacked. Being masculine is more prized. How is that "equality of the sexes" if the characteristics and purposes of only one sex are praised and encouraged and the other is still viewed as inferior?

Both the brain and the heart are vital organs. Although they have very different responsibilities, neither is better nor more important than the other, for without either one, the body cannot live. Both are necessary for a fully functioning, healthy body: the brain tells the heart to pump, and the heart pumps blood to the brain so it can work. The same principle applies to family life. In General Conference April 2011, President Packer said,
“The great plan of happiness” centers on family life. The husband is the head of the home and the wife the heart of the home. And marriage is an equal partnership. A Latter-day Saint man is a responsible family man, faithful in the gospel. He is a caring, devoted husband and father. He reveres womanhood. The wife sustains her husband. Both parents nurture the spiritual growth of their children. [emphasis mine]
Neither fatherhood nor motherhood is better or more important than the other. They are simply different. Both are necessary for a fully functioning, healthy family. Each plays a different role in family life, and together they support each other and balance the family. We should acknowledge and respect these different roles men and women play in family life, just as we do for our brains and hearts. We don't tell the heart that it is inferior to the brain or not important at all to the body, nor do we try to turn the heart into a brain. So why do we say and do these things to women?

"The Family: A Proclamation to the World" confirms these important truths:
  • Men and women are supposed to be different.
  • Men and women who choose to become parents are obeying God's first commandment and enforcing the plan of salvation.
  • Mothers and fathers have different primary roles, but both are responsible for the temporal and spiritual care of their children and for helping each other fulfill their duties.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said the plan of salvation is not one of equality but of equal opportunity (Phoenix East Stake Conference, Sunday, August 26, 2012). Satan's proposed plan was one of equality: everyone would be saved; there would be no agency. Heavenly Father's plan is one of equal opportunity: "through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel" (Articles of Faith 1:3, emphasis mine). The opportunity to be saved is available to everyone, but it is our responsibility to take it.

How does this apply to gender roles? That the plan of salvation is not one of equality does not mean that men and women are not equal or that their roles are not equally important. It simply means they are not the same. But the opportunity of salvation is equal, whether we bear the priesthood or bear children.* If we take the opportunity to fulfill the different but equally essential roles we have been given, exaltation will be ours.

Challenge: Elder Oaks advised that if you have any questions about the Church that bother you, put them on the shelf. You may not have received the answers yet because you are not ready to, and some answers won't come in this life.

*Elder Oaks used the example of D&C 38:42, which he had not thought of in the following way until that moment. Usually this verse is interpreted to mean priesthood bearers, but it also means child bearers. He said that women's ability to co-create a temple with God is "just as sacred [as holding the priesthood], perhaps even more so."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Family Home Evening for Babies

Family home evening can sometimes be a challenge because we don't know what to do. This is especially true for those of us with only a baby. There are plenty of ideas for single members, couples, and families, but I have yet to find good suggestions for planning a family home evening lesson for a baby (not yet in Nursery). So I compiled my own list: Read gospel-related board books. They are short and introduce common scripture stories in a very simple manner. Read the scriptures. Elder Bednar said, "Youth of all ages, even infants, can and do respond to the distinctive spirit of the Book of Mormon. Children may not understand all of the words and stories, but they certainly can feel the 'familiar spirit' described by Isaiah (Isaiah 29:4; see also 2 Nephi 26:16)." Sing Primary songs together. There is no better way to invite the Spirit, teach basic gospel principles, and prepare your baby for Nursery and Primary. Sing interactive songs to get wiggle…

The Sacrament Prayers

We hear the sacrament prayers every week, but do we listen to the words and know the purpose of the prayers? I have broken down the blessing on the bread to help us better understand the sacrament, something I was advised to do in my patriarchal blessing.

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ,
First, we address Heavenly Father. Then we ask Him in humility and verify that we are doing so in Jesus's name, as we are commanded to do all things in His name (3 Nephi 27:7, 9).

to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it,
The Guide to the Scriptures on lds.org defines the words bless and sanctify as follows:
Bless: To confer divine favor upon someone. Anything contributing to true happiness, well-being, or prosperity is a blessing.
All blessings are based on eternal laws (D&C 130:20–21). Because God wants his children to find joy in life (2 Ne. 2:25), he grants blessings to them as a result of their obedience to hi…