Thursday, September 26, 2013

In response to the General Conference protest: What does equality mean?

Let's set the record straight. I am an average 60% postmodernist as a help
professional, a Chinese woman, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints a.k.a Mormon. Notice I say average because there are times
when I do lean closer to modernism / postmodernism. One thing that has grounded
me to stay in the middle ground is my testimony of the absolute truth, the restored
gospel, and I know with all my heart that God does exist.

Being a progressive Chinese Mormon woman, I think and do things in a pretty
unorthodox or creative way and one of them is studying gender studies/ feminism.
Feminism is no stranger to me as it falls under the postmodern camp. I hate the
fact that is needed at the first place and the term itself is so stinking misleading.
The whole point of feminism began by recognizing women were unequal comparing
to men thus came forth a movement promoting equality and raising the social
status of women. It is not about women ruling the world or whatsoever.

The key here is being equal doesn’t mean identical. It is in God’s design that
there are 2 genders, male and female. Just like being a parent, you will never treat
your children identically forever but that doesn’t mean that you don’t love them
equally. That pretty much covers the controversial discussion on women seeking
for priesthood ordination.

As a daughter of God, I am empowered by my identity and my potentials being
created after the image of my Father. That includes potentials for intellectual
development, leadership capacity, and opportunity to fulfill them even at this point
without holding the priesthood. I don’t need to seek after what men have to feel
that power and authenticity. Being female is not a secondary gender and it’s time
for a wakeup call for all members of the Church. If there is anything in our culture,
traditions that are not in harmony of with gospel principles, it’s time to change.

That pretty much sums up what I have been asked a lot lately. No, I won’t be
joining the priesthood session broadcast (but I always do watch it online and learn
from it) and I won’t be wearing pants to Church. That doesn’t change the fact I
deserve and still seek equal respect as a female member.

P.s. 5 reasons why I am so into gender studies particularly in the Chinese
Mormon cultural setting

1: My leadership experience and quality depends upon my gender
(Still get played the priesthood card a lot………)
2. When I talk about my desire for a higher education, I am asked
when I will decide to be a mother (even when I’m single.).
3. Girls (LDS) of my age think it’s abominable to be more educated
than their husbands.
4. Someone trying to teach my young women to only date or marry
5. People comment on the law of chastity as a countermeasure of
sexual assault.



  1. Loved this. Your beliefs as a Latter-day Saint and as a feminist are well articulated.

    I think you're fantastic, btw.

  2. Thank you for writing this. This particular subject has been on my mind for some time now, and it's relieving to hear someone articulate this so well.

  3. The problem with your view -- and what I think is the mainstream view of women in the Church -- is that it doesn't recognize what is a fundamental inconsistency in the Church's position. Men and women are equally yoked but the husband provides leadership (the post linked below asks if this implies 'followership'--a good point); men and women are separate but equal but the husband is the patriarch and has final say.

    So you can dance around what you think is 'equal' and rejoice in the inconsistency and claim to find room for everybody, but it's still a fundamentally contradictory position.

    1. but the husband provides leadership (the post linked below asks if this implies 'followership'--a good point)

      What is leadership? Leadership is the blessing to do something more, not less. If we understand the word leadership it was never intended to be a gift for those who are not willing to do more. You will not see Peter or Paul or Thomas S. Monson playing the trump card and say "I am the Prophet so I can decide if I want to keep the Word of Wisdom today".

      I don't really see the inconsistency that you mentioned. Equally yoked means one is standing on one side carrying his burden and one STANDING ON THE OTHER END OF THE YOKE and lift the burden TOGETHER. I wonder what would happen if both of them standing on one end together and try to lift that thing up.

      I am sad because the word "leadership" is being seen as a title that can be conferred and used as an honorary rank. Well you can say that man has the calling at church and priesthood and they are the stars on the show but do you actually think that they are in an inferior position just because they are not the "superstars"? What did the First Presidency mean (and virtually the Lord as those were His Oracles) when they said "motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels"? I could almost say that man are not as important in the plan of God.
      men and women are separate but equal but the husband is the patriarch and has final say.

      “In the Church there is a distinct line of authority. We serve where called by those who preside over us. In the home it is a partnership with husband and wife equally yoked together, sharing in decisions, always working together.”

      -- President Boyd K. Packer
      So you can dance around what you think is 'equal' and rejoice in the inconsistency and claim to find room for everybody, but it's still a fundamentally contradictory position.

      Who threw the idea that man and woman are equal?

      "In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as EQUAL partners."

      "Nevertheless NEITHER is the man without the woman, NEITHER the woman without the man, in the Lord."

      "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be ONE FLESH."

      "For the body is not one member, but many......If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, AS IT HATH PLEASED HIM. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but ONE BODY. And the eye CANNOT SAY unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you."

    2. Well, the Boyd K. Packer quote you mentioned is very egalitarian (I think--it depends on the context & what he says about the presiding). But there's also the 'patriarchical' side, as shown in the Ensign here (and, honestly, passed around in Church a lot):

      "Let us begin by saying that a Latter-day Saint husband or father presides over his wife and family in much the same way a bishop, stake president, or elders quorum president presides over the specific group to which he is called."

      And that isn't egalitarian at all. Presiding is presiding, it doesn't matter the attitude that the leader brings, which you seem to suggest. Even if the presider has a humble attitude, he is still presiding.

      Neither is the temple egalitarian, if you'll recall: how can a women promise to hearken unto the counsel of her husband and still be yoked equally? Even if the counsel is righteous, humble, whatever, that's certainly not an egalitarian position, and seems to be at odds with the quotes you just mentioned.

    3. Also, I can very much picture Paul playing the trump card, mostly because he did. Ref. First Cor. 14:33-35: "women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak/rule." If that's not the mother of all trump cards (and a very Pauline one at that) I don't know what is.

  4. It also comes down with how you define "patriarch", "leadership", "men", such words contain the connotation of what the norm calls "power", "authority". As we follow the norm and the way how people signified these words, we are trapped by the meaning of these words. The men and women issues argument will never end if we discuss it along with the norm. We need to break the norm in order to have a ground for men and women equality discussion.