The Patriarchal Grip of Mormon Marriage

Troy Williams has encapsulated what will no doubt be the LDS Church’s last stand on the Same-Sex Marriage debate in California.

It’s time to call out the Mormon temple marriage for what it really is; the ritualistic humiliation of women. It is a ceremony we queers would never want to emulate.

Having been born LDS (and believe me, that was definitely not a choice) I was indoctrinated my entire life to be morally “worthy” so I could enter the temple. Marriage in the temple is the ultimate goal for all Latter-day Saints.

Troy IS well-qualified to say the following.

The Church is in no position of moral superiority to dictate what is “sacred”. Their pro-family rhetoric should be laughed out of the public sphere. What Mormons call “traditional marriage” I call patriarchal submission. The temple ceremony is an insult to all women. I know many LDS wives will disagree. They will argue passionately that they feel liberated in their temple marriages. But underneath their testimony and tears, they each know they have been ritualistically humiliated in their wedding ceremony. They made their husbands their god. On some deep psychological level, this shadows every aspect of their relationship. No wonder Mormon women abuse their Prozac.

I must admit, I have heard this consistently from women, but only from a safe distance from the pall.

Go read the whole article and leave Troy some comments.

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  1. #1 by Matt on October 16, 2008 - 10:50 am

    Hey Cliff,

    I’m LDS and I’m afraid I have to disagree with some of what Troy says and his general thesis. Some of his information about the ceremonies is inaccurate, and as with anything, we all have our own interpretation of things.

    I’ve thought of some of the concerns he brings up, but after much thought and observation, it is clear to me that in the LDS faith men and women, husband and wife, are equal partners. In practice, they might not always be equal, just like in any relationship, but in doctrine and theory they are.

    Best,

    matt

  2. #2 by Cliff Lyon on October 16, 2008 - 11:12 am

    Matt, Its hard to generalize about equality in Mormon marriage. It varies across Utah and class.

    Personally, I think it somewhat a function of the relationship. If the man needs or wants obedience, he can and will invoke doctrine and his own interpretation of it and he will find support for that within the membership.

    But you didn’t adres the Church’s position on Gay Marriage. Do you dare go off script?

  3. #3 by Matt on October 16, 2008 - 11:44 am

    I agree, Cliff, any man or woman can invoke doctrine or interpret it in a way to suit their own purposes (in any religion). This does not mean, however, that the doctrine is what they say it is. We all have a responsibility to seek to understand the doctrine and apply it to our lives the best we can. It’s unfortunate that some men misuse doctrine for their purposes, but that doesn’t change the doctrine. I could, but can’t take the time now, cite dozens of quotes from LDS leaders that say that husband and wife are supposed to be equal partners.

    Sorry, no time to get into gay marriage today, I just wanted to try to make that one point clear.

  4. #4 by Danite Warrior on October 16, 2008 - 12:33 pm

    Cliff Lyon, you have exposed yourself as a Mormon hating bigot and hypocrite. Instead of listening to the Lord and his prophets you have chosen an immoral and filthy life that can only lead to misery and hopelessness. Do not trifle with sacred things, for God will not be mocked. Repent ye sinner and you shall once again stand on the right hand of God and inherent all the blessings he has promised. Listen to the brethren that are the mouthpieces of God and you will find your way to the promised land, not evil politicians and those that claim to be wise for they will lead you to destruction.

    Only in a Temple of God can a man and a women claim eternal matrimony. It is the only marriages recognized by God after death for without it all marriages are null and void beyond the grave. Those who believe will be saved but those that disbelieve will be damned. You have been warned!

  5. #5 by Nephi's Ghost on October 16, 2008 - 12:39 pm

    DW, You are an idiot!

  6. #6 by Jenni on October 16, 2008 - 12:56 pm

    As a former Mormon, I can’t see how anyone could interpret Mormon marriage as a marriage of equals. It’s one of the main things that helped me to leave the church. I didn’t find the idea of being part of a harem of females producing countless spirit babies for eternity that would populate the planets that my (shared) husband was going to get create to be a pleasant way to spend the after-life. His role for eternity sounded a lot more enjoyable.

    The Mormon Church was always very careful to give us females the bad news couched in praise — we couldn’t have the priesthood because we were more spiritual than males, and males needed the priesthood to teach them to be more spiritual. Or: the reason that there is polygyny in the celestial kingdom is because women are more spiritual and live more worthy lives so more females make it to the celestial kingdom than males, and since you have to be married in the celestial kingdon . . .etc.

  7. #7 by Cliff Lyon on October 16, 2008 - 1:07 pm

    I think Danite Warrior is funnin.

    He’s right. I have mocked God. God is the filthy beast that has delivered hell and suffering in his name. If God were a decent fellow, she would strike me from this earth, and banish me forever to the party in hell.

  8. #8 by Don on October 16, 2008 - 1:49 pm

    I especially liked this part, “Those who believe will be saved but those that disbelieve will be damned. You have been warned!”

    Mormons don’t believe in damnation, do they?

  9. #9 by Sarah on October 16, 2008 - 2:05 pm

    I believe the LDS belief in “damnation” is to be cut off from the presence of God forever. We do not believe a sinner will burn in Hell forever for that would be contrary to the love and mercy of God. Hell is a metaphor of the anguish and grief that souls feel when they can no longer sense the presence of our Father in Heaven.

  10. #10 by bekkieann on October 16, 2008 - 2:40 pm

    Jenni has it exactly right. We women are second class citizens in the Mormon church. Doubt it? Do you remember the grand sustaining (it had a name I’ve forgotten) they did at General Conference a few years ago? They started by sustaining the top authorities and continued right on down the hierarchy to the 12-year old boys who were deacons. Guess who did not stand to be sustained by the entire body of the church: the woman and all children under 12. Women have no power in the church and cannot so much as participate in the blessing of their own babies. Equal?

    Matt, please explain where Troy is wrong. I, too, am a reformed Mormon with a pretty good memory of the temple ceremony and I don’t see where he is wrong.

  11. #11 by Allie on October 16, 2008 - 7:24 pm

    I’m not saying that any of you shouldn’t feel the way you do about the LDS church and it’s doctrines of temple marriage, but please recognize that some of us will respectfully disagree with you.

    Isn’t there a way to express your frustrations without attacking people?

    We’re all doing the same thing- Troy and many others lash out at the LDS church because they are hurt/angered/baffled/whatever by the church’s stance on SSM. And here I am trying my best not to lash back because I feel attacked. I don’t feel like my temple ceremony was a ritualistic humiliation. Do I have issues with my church? Yes, most people do, but those who choose to stay do so because we believe that despite the shortcomings, this is where we need to be.

    It does nothing to forward dialog when we dog pile. Especially when there are many in the group you are dog piling who are doing their best to support you.

    Bekkieann- I’m sorry you felt that way, but I will not be made to feel like a second class citizen just because other women have felt that way. I am truly sorry that many seem to have that experience, but that doesn’t mean that it’s supposed to be that way.

  12. #12 by bekkieann on October 16, 2008 - 7:53 pm

    Allie, I want you to know I respect you and will not criticize your devotion. I know you are sincere. I felt incredibly marginalized and stifled in the church, especially as a young mother, and it caused me great distress. This oversimplifies what I experienced, but I have to say the choice to leave the church 30 years ago continues to be right for me. Believe me, I am sincere, too.

    I am sure you and I feel equally strongly about our choices, and we’re not going to change one another’s minds. But I value your friendship and that of your family, Allie, and while I feel I have to be honest about my own beliefs, I will also try not to offend you with my remarks.

  13. #13 by Allie on October 16, 2008 - 8:03 pm

    I didn’t mean to minimize your experience either Bekkieann. We all have our own experiences and none are more valid than any other.

  14. #14 by bekkieann on October 16, 2008 - 8:13 pm

    Thanks, Allie. I think you’re right about that.

  15. #15 by Cliff Lyon on October 16, 2008 - 9:00 pm

    I can’t help but feel sad about the above exchange of pleasantries between active and non-active.

    One free. The other compromised and making the best of it.

    Of the people that have raised this question with me, about half have left the church and half remain.

    The question is: “Is the church more likely to change if I am in it, or outside of it.”

    Allie said, “despite the shortcomings, this is where we need to be.”

    I hear that and I am reminded of the Beatles song Blackbird and I feel sad and a little bit angry.

    I doesn’t need to be that way,

  16. #16 by Allie on October 17, 2008 - 7:49 am

    Life is complicated that way Cliff. Take for instance how I feel about you- sometimes I think you’re almost endearing, and sometimes you’re a complete ass.

  17. #17 by Danite Warrior on October 17, 2008 - 11:08 am

    The reason we follow the patriarchal order is because that is the way God has commanded. The reason active homosexuals are excommunicated is because they are not following the commandments of God, the same as heterosexuals who do not obey the law of chastity. We do not follow men, we follow God and he will never lead us astray.

  18. #18 by Nephi's Ghost on October 17, 2008 - 12:00 pm

    Danite, You are an idiot!

  19. #19 by Danite Warrior on October 17, 2008 - 12:11 pm

    Your name mocks a prophet of God, therefore you are in need of repentance. Why not try reading about the prophet Nephi instead of mocking him. You will become happier and closer to God.

  20. #20 by bekkieann on October 17, 2008 - 12:26 pm

    DW, what does your name say about you? If I remember correctly, weren’t the Danites outlaws? You are the worst kind of Mormon – the type that alienates people with self-righteous, pompous preaching. My advice to you, DW, beware of Instant Karma.

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