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While reading “Woman, know thy place” from James Marples, I was disgusted at what I read. Though it is only about 5 paragraphs, he did plenty of damage. But he brought up a point of conflict for many members of the LDS faith. Why haven’t women been allowed to pray in General Conference in the entire existence of the church?
Yes, women are allowed to speak in this, and all other meetings, save the Priesthood Meetings. This typically takes place Saturday nights during General Conference Weekend. Women can lead and sing music, and are near equals in most regards of the LDS religion.
But Marlples’ point is that, scripturally speaking, women shouldn’t be so… loud. He references a few scriptures from the Apostle Paul in Corinthians stating “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak…for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
He goes on to state that women were created for man, and that man was created in God’s image, not a woman’s. Also that American society is to blame for the politically correct treatment of women, and it spilling over into theology. Marples ends his letter with stating “If Brigham Young were alive today, I’m certain he would denounce women overshadowing the proper sphere of men.”
Problem number one: The scriptures he was referencing took place over 2,000 years ago. I feel like we shouldn’t have to lose ground on what women have accomplished since the ancient time of Paul, or abide by rules that have dictated a society full of prostitution and slavery, men and women included.
Problem number two: As a member of the faith, I’ve had a unique experience of not having a father who is an active member of the church. So I was more willing than most to look to other leaders as father figures to some degree, and truly respect them. But I’ve never had a leader go as far to say, "please don’t speak in church because you are a woman." I’ve never felt pressure to be anything but myself when I attend my church meetings. I don’t think President Monson would ever say anything like this, and Marples has no right to speak on behalf of an entire religion.
Problem number three: One sex should not dictate what the other does. I believe each of us has the right to choose what we do and don’t do, and if we live in a country where we possess great freedoms, shouldn’t we be able to practice them inside and outside of religion?
As an outspoken woman who typically runs more to the left than most of my congregation, I sometimes have to hide my crazy feminist ideals when I attend church. This is simply because others are conservative, and the religion also tends to be. I respect their political views, and try my best to be open-minded. But when it comes to having dinner ready at five, whilst barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, I almost explode with fireworks from my ears. That is my decision and mine alone. No one should get to take my agency away and say “Get Married, and have 5 children, or you aren’t a good member of the Church."
So James, if you would like to travel back to Paul’s time, and feel justified in your opinion, you build yourself a time machine and go there. You would probably fit right in.