Thursday, February 28, 2013


The voices within the Church pushing for women to have the Priesthood seem to be growing louder.  While I disagree not only with the message but also with the messaging, I do have compassion for most of these women.  I understand their feelings and concerns.

However, I think there is great wisdom in the Lord's division of labor, for a plethora of reasons.  For example, a man can't bear his own children, and a woman can't bless hers.  I think the division of labor is set up in a way that no one can "do it all" themselves, at least in part to remind us that no one can do it all themselves.  It was not good for man to be alone--it was impossible for man to fulfill the measure of his creation alone--and so an helpmeet was created for him.  When she had the courage to make a hard decision in order to have the ability to fulfill the full measure of her creation, she knew she needed Adam to fully realize that goal, and so she persuaded and reasoned with him to do what was necessary to join her.  In the eternal sphere, we cannot reach our greatest potential alone.  The division of labor in the mortal sphere helps to keep us mindful of that fact: not just of the desire for companionship, but of the necessity of man for woman and woman for man to achieve eternal perfection.

For example, I have no problem with women working--many of the women I respect most have successful professional careers outside their homes. I think that women are perfectly capable of being as successful, and consequently as valuable, as men in nearly all fields of work.  I think all women should get themselves as much education as is feasibly possible, and if they want to work outside their home, they should be able to get a job in their field for fair pay.  However, too many of those involved in the push for women to be equal in those respects, were pushing for women to focus primarily on the outcome of economic independence, and were of the "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" mentality. As men become economically unnecessary to women, they became altogether unnecessary in the minds of many.  And without being expected to bear the responsibility of providing for a family, and sensing or knowing this lack of desire for their presence, many more men began to view women as unnecessary, at least as anything other than an object of sexual desire and conquest.

The ultimate goal of our creation is to become good and righteous creators ourselves, and we learn many of the important skills and principles for that role in our roles as mortal creators--mothers and fathers, bound together as companions, sharing the responsibilities, joys and difficulties of that challenge.  As any single parent can tell you, having to bear all those responsibilities alone can be quite overwhelming and rob the experience of much of its natural joy and pleasure.  So the Lord divides the responsibilities.

If you've ever been in the same room as a man who has a cold, you can probably understand why the responsibility for bearing the children is given to women.  If you have ever watched a man try and run a home for a few days while his wife is out of town, you probably understand why the primary responsibility for both running the home and nurturing the children is given to women.  There are exceptions to this in both personality and circumstance, and I don't mean to disparage those men who are the primary nurturers in their families and who excel at it, but there is a reason that it isn't usually the men.  And while women are generally naturally inclined to focus on and invest in personal relationships, men tend to be naturally inclined to enjoy and excel in tasks and systems.  This makes women ideally suited to the relationship-driven and multi-tasking-needed responsibilities of caring for children and running a home, and makes men ideally suited for administrating systems and performing ordinances--where they can make good use of those natural inclinations while also being asked to do so in a manner that focuses them on their eternal responsibilities and the most vital eternal relationships.

Yes, I know that these are generalizations, but just as the Lord created our bodies with complementary features to allow us be one physically, he created our spirits with complementary features to allow us to be one spiritually.  We need each other to be whole, to be perfect, even as He is.  It is in companionship that we reach the full measure of our creation, and a division of labor prevents anyone from being required, or being tempted, to do it all alone.  Shakespeare once expressed this beautifully, when he wrote:

“He is the half part of a blessed man,
Left to be finished by such as she;
And she a fair divided excellence,
Whose fullness of perfection lies in him. ”

The fact that we need each other, male and female, in this mortal sphere helps to keep us mindful of how much we need each other in the eternal one.  After all, all things temporal are spiritual, and a division of labor doesn't suddenly cease when we reach the other side of the veil.  Indeed, it becomes more important as the labor load increases tremendously.


Kaytee Postma said...

Well said!

Sam and Kurtis said...

love love love it all of it said perfectly.