The Sacred Mormon Schvantz

I’ve been thoughtful recently about the cultural privileges that my husband has as a Mormon man in possession of his full male faculties. He is spared a tremendous amount of time thinking and wondering about what it means to be a woman amidst Mormon males. He is simply unburdened by the need to think everything I have to think about in order for this religion to make sense.   For instance,  a core Mormon belief that God has a body of flesh and bones’  which means  he also has a penis, a sexual member.   This consciousness peaked for me at aged 16 when I became cognizant of what I wore during my prayers.  If I was going to be in communion with God, I wanted to be fully dressed before this ancient supreme male being who, according to the unofficial Mormon curriculum was clearly a heterosexual, polygamous procreator.  Not that I thought that he fancied me, but I was growing into sexual maturity, and my experience with contemporary mortal adolescent males was that they had a tendency to be sexually predatory – and this coloured my perception of the entire gender – divine or not.

 

Thus, the penis, in religious patriarchies is not a culturally neutral physical organ.    Over the years be-suited Mormon men have called me into a relationship with the sacred Mormon penis.  I’ve been told  that my primary role was the pursuit of legitimate conjugal relations (involving a Mormon penis); They have instructed me to sexually reproduce (with a Mormon penis) as a measure of my feminine worth;  I’ve been asked by Mormon men to account for any illicit sexual activity; Mormon men have told me to cover up so as not to arouse said Mormon male proboscis; I’ve even been primed against the expectation that I will have exclusive claim upon the matrimonial Mormon penis in the afterlife and, my lack of a sacred Mormon penis has caused me to be excluded, silenced, and under-valued purely on the basis that I am not packing tackle.

 

So I’ve called it the sacred Mormon penis because they are institutionally sanctified.   The penis sets a man’s spiritual usefulness apart, bestows systemic privileges, entitles its owner to police Mormon sexuality, and  endows a rarified power that legitimates a call for my institutional submission.  From beneath those dark, conservative polyester and wool suits, the Mormon penis is regal and authoritative – a mighty scepter that tears asunder all of my spiritual capacities, yearnings and desires and renders me institutionally subject.

 

Yes, yes – I know I’m being rude, crude, indelicate and coarse – but lets call it what it is shall we?   In Mormon discourse my anatomical fate at conception is the very thing that has and will govern my place through time and eternity.  It’s as simple as that.  So why not call a willy a willy?

 

It’s a strange irony that no gendered impediment is placed upon my material, cultural, social, political success or contribution in any other context except the church,  where my spiritual capacities are rendered ‘less than’ by virtue of my vagina.  I may not call on the powers of heaven and provide spiritual leadership to a ward – because of my vagina, I may not process tithing – because of my vagina;  I will never know the liberation of not having to ask for permission, of not being subject to some mechanism of patriarchal approval, simply because I don’t have a dong.   This male organ, necessary for copulation and urinary excretion is apparently necessary also for ecclesiastical governance, pastoral care of the church, and the administration of the holy rites of worship.

 

Or perhaps one explanation is that it is not the penis that sets men ecclesiastically apart,  but the attendant hormonal function that affirms the right of male leadership.   Could it be that it is testosterone, that  gives rise to the secondary male characteristics including increased muscle and bone mass, and body  hair, that heightens spiritual capacities? Perhaps it is the masculinization of the brain resulting in increased activity in the left hemisphere that causes God to assign a level of spiritual authority to males?

 

Or is it indeed that there is some biblical justification for the masculine right to perform religious rites , and all of this priestly exclusiveness does indeed come down to one scripture.

 

 He that is wounded in the stones (testicles), or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.  Deuteronomy 23:1

 

But of course, if we are going to go down the Sola Scriptura track, then we need to invite all of the other prohibitions and domestic prescriptions that gave rise to the cultural traditions of ancient Levant living.  I feel pretty sure that that the threat of sudden death for ‘spilling ones seed on the ground’ instead of impregnating one’s brother’s widow might raise some protest about being too biblically literal.

 

Whatever the case, my sense is that, penises aside, the reluctance to renegotiate the place of women in conservative churched spaces is quite simply about the maintenance of gendered power, and the protection and defense of patriarchal privilege.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of the penis.  I don’t have penis envy, I don’t wish all men emasculated, I’m perfectly content with a vagina.  I’ve been the happy recipient of all of the matrimonial delights that a well-used penis can bestow.  But I have to draw the line somewhere.  If supreme spiritual power is, and has been wielded by virtue of the penis (the sedina stercoraria –or the popes historical testicular tester comes to mind here) then its time for an explanatory revelation – from a woman would be my preference.

 

Those painful and confounding gendered renderings that have me culturally subject in a patriarchal system, are in stark contrast to the searing vision I have of holiness and sanctification as something that stands apart from the sensitive (excuse the pun) issue of genitalia.

 

One’s use of ones genitalia has spiritual implications and the practice of restraint and pubic governance over one’s personal members, I believe, has a divine origin.  But the notion that the possession of one genital form ipso facto becomes a justification for hogging the right of all ecclesiastical affairs is both absurd and incongruous and to my mind more a Western cultural legacy than the will of God.

 

Does this mean that I am in favour of woman’s ordination.  Of course it does.  But I’m inclined to believe that female ordination is merely a means to an end – the end being a religious organization whose offering to humanity heals rather than divides, elevates rather than subjugates, privileges scriptural exegesis over cultural conservatism,  restores the sex balance to its rightful and divine place, and more importantly is not deathly afraid of the extraordinary, glorious and frightening power of its women.

  • http://themormonworker.wordpress.com/ Ron Madson

    I learn something every time you write. Although belatedly on board with the feminist movement I am a quick learner thanks to articles such as this one. And I would be ‘deathly afraid” to argue against you on this topic. You are once again spot on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It have been over recent years modifying my approach to my wife and daughter and now granddaughters.

    • Gina Colvin

      You are too kind Ron!

  • http://www.apocalblog.blogspot.com/ James Muir

    Short of as you would like it I simply happen to know that Heavenly Father is NOT a sexual being. I know, I know the Mormons think they will become as God is. They have been given strong delusion that they believe a lie because they did not love the truth……bring forth and establish Zion……but had pleasure in unrighteousness which was the Gentile thing of gaining all the world. So to preserve the truth down to a generation bringing forth the fruits thereof God gave them by way of his prophet, Joseph Smith, a load of crap after the lusts of their wanton faithlessness according to that which is written in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.
    Perhaps some scriptural rationale will help. God is from everlasting to everlasting, without father and without mother having neither beginning of days nor end of years. Simply put, if he did not come by way of coitus from a father and a mother then he would not have the stuff of it. Yeah its a mystery but there is one who knows it better than most. And it is he who is writing this to you now. Another revelation which you may observe presently from off The Apocalrock shows an image of God the Father with the Sophia, the female aspect of God. Which I could expound after you ask……okay then. We are organized intelligence, right? Intelligence is not created or made and is without gender. So in the beginning as organized intelligence we stood there in a council without gender. It was in fact the next phase which would add to us a gender assignment after getting spirit bodies from the coitus of exalted parents. Spiritual bodies but none the less from gametes and hence a sexual assignment is made. Since all intelligence are capable of either the male or female assignment the preference of one over the other after receiving our spirit body is incumbent upon those who would wisely want to avoid confusion. This preference means a loss of intellect as assigned. Men lose considerable wisdom and women lose considerable power. Satan and his kind refused to lose anything that would make them less like God, which God has a fulness of all light and truth, or that which makes up uncreatable intelligence……both the male and female aspect of it. And has it to an infinite degree more than any one of us. Hence God.

    Okay, I think I have made my case. Let it sit on the back burner for a while.

    • Gina Colvin

      Most interesting James!

    • Carol Joy Wilhlem

      Your comments bring up a basic question. Who determines gender? If the creator does, then we can blame Her/Him. I believe that intelligences have all their basic feelings, desires, and aspirations before they are born as spirits. I don’t think Heavenly Mother and Father have any more control over the makeup of the intelligences around which they form a spirit body any more than we mortals have over the spirit body that we form a physical body for.

      If the Gods created Satan the way he is, then the Gods would have to take the blame for what he does.

      Each of us comes into the spirit world and then the physical world with all the uncreated tendencies of our basic intelligence.

      The genius of the Gospel plan is that we can improve on what we started out as and can keep on improving throughout eternity as long as we voluntarily follow the plan of improvement provided by the Savior. Freedom of choice allows us to bail at any time we choose.

      I agree with the idea that any time we feel compelled to do a certain thing, we have to decide whether we can find a way to go along voluntarily or say no to that idea. THAT is the bottom line of the entire system. Otherwise God would cease to be God.

  • Rich

    Ah Gina, another masterpiece! That said, you missed one. It’s not the penis, nor the testicles. It’s the “Y” chromosome. Why BYU is known simply as “The Y”. Hold to the rod, the iron rod, ’tis strong and bright and true. ;-)

    • Blackie

      ‘It’s a strange irony that no gendered impediment is placed upon my material, cultural, social, political success or contribution in any other context except the church….’
      Not sure this is really true yet. Women still earn less than men and are rather scarce in CEO offices and board rooms.

      • Gina Colvin

        That’s true – be any institution I’m associated with hasn’t come up with a spiritual justification for maintaining the status quo!

    • Gina Colvin

      Very funny Rich! That song will never be the same again.

  • http://thesacredgrove-nathair.blogspot.com Nathair /|\

    I don’t see how either the lingam or the yoni can fill the measure of it’s creation without the other. It does seem that the lingam is considered worthless for anything other than elimination and filthy on it’s own, while the yoni on it’s own is considered holy. The lingam is hidden because it is disgusting, the yoni is hidden for the same reason that the Ark of the Covenant is kept hidden.

    • Gina Colvin

      I did not know the penis was called the lingam! Interesting!

  • Blackie

    Reminds me of an old joke:

    A mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, and a civil engineer are sitting in a pub. Says the mechanical engineer: “I think God must be a mechanical engineer. Just look at all those bones, muscles, tendons, joints and how it all interacts so nicely.” – “Well, but nothing would be moving if it weren’t for the brain and the nerves.”, throws in the electrical engineer. “No, I think God is an electrical engineer.” – The civil engineer takes a sip from his pint and then says: “You’re both wrong. God is without any doubt a civil engineer.” – “Why’s that then?” – “Only a civil engineer would run a wastepipe straight through a recreational area.”

    • Gina Colvin

      Hah! Very clever Blackie!!

  • http://bookofmormon.blogspot.com CB

    Gina, I would like to edit my post. Can you help me accomplish that?

    • Gina Colvin

      Done!

  • http://bookofmormon.blogspot.com CB

    In fact, just delete it.
    ;-)
    I gotta work on my anger.

  • Amanda HK

    My undergraduate Intro to the New Testament prof told me if I couldn’t imagine Jesus defecating then my Jesus wasn’t human enough. Although this post is about God the Father, I am now trying to imagine Jesus with a flesh-and-blood penis as well. I’m not sure whether to thank or curse you.

    • Gina Colvin

      Of course he had a penis! A circumcised one. But might be best to try not to imagine it?

  • Noel

    Will there be sex in heaven. If so what for? Mormons believe we still maintain our gender and if we have progressed high enough are able to produce spiritual children. Will the penis be neccessary for that? Will a man still have that desire that stimulates him to want to have sex. Will some have more than one partner? It all sounds so crazy, populating the universe with more spirit children.

  • John Smith

    This is a red herring. We are not men because we have penises, we have penises because we are men. We also have more facial hair, thicker muscles, and deeper voices (not counting the men on Juvenile Instructor). Your vagina does not equal our penis, your clitoris does; your vagina equals our testicles. Here, anatomy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vagina

    • Gina Colvin

      Knock off your bollocks then and see how much of a red herring your tackle is when it comes to the priesthood.

  • oPeniss

    I feel your pain vaGina

    As head to my High Priest Group meeting on Sunday, wondering if we will be able to get into the Family History Library or again be relegated to that space half way between the back hall and the font or if we are really lucky the kitchen -I look longingly at the Relief Society Room. I know they are in there with their table cloths and floral displays, impressive inspiring artwork hanging on the wall, handing out treats, giving uplifting lessons and planning their up and coming ‘creative night’, laughing about their silly husbands who spend hours and hours in endless meetings sorting out the world yet cant coordinate their clothing.

    When will their be suitable teaching spaces for the men of the church? – why cant we have a priesthoood room? a notice board? an activity where we actually created something or learnt a new skill? a time that we actually got to just enjoy each others company? or just any meeting when there wasn’t someone talking AT us?

    I think your previous commentor Nathair is very insighful. The Lingum is considered needful but otherwise disgusting, the Yoni on the otherhand is both beautiful and sacred. If there is a power – wisdom trade off. I would choose wisdom everytime.

    oPeniss

  • JohnH

    If one has been through the temple then one has been endowed with power from on high and has as much ability to call upon the powers of heaven, to know the ordinances of heaven, and to communion with God as any other person on this earth. However, everyone on this earth from the prophet down is answerable to someone and must ask for permission and is subject to patriarchal approval, being a male spirit child of God does not “liberate” one from that.

    In the temple females are able to participate in the sacred rites and the holiest rites can only happen with equal participation of male and female. Males are unable to be joint creators with God in the making of a new body, they are forever barred from bearing the souls of mankind and are nearly stripped of the ability to nurture the new life. If, and only if, they are called by God are they able to participate in a much lesser extent in the making of a new creature by way of the ordinances of the priesthood. However, it is the efforts of both the male and the female that allow both to happen as they must become one flesh, which should only occur in a situation where they truly are able to become one. It is only if the male and female become one and are joined together by God that either can receive a fullness of joy.

    Mary the mother of the Son of God is a female. Eve, the mother of all living, is a female. I don’t know how you can possibly consider either some how “less than” in terms of spirituality as that is nowhere found in the scriptures. It was a women that first saw the risen Lord. Females are not “less than” males just because males are barred from ever being mothers, nor are males “less than” females because the outward ordinances of the priesthood are officiated by males .

    Oddly it is the very sexuality of God, the Father, which causes reason to stare and brings us to the realization that their is and must be a Female Divinity. Even odder is that it is precisely those places in scriptures which you seem to be raging against which provide us with the most information on that subject and include promises of more which will be revealed later.

    An additional revelation that explains further the situation (and is scripture) will come from a man for the simple reason that there is only one person authorized to receive revelations for the church, currently that person is required to be male, and changing that requirement to include females requires additional revelation explaining things further. It is entirely possible that after that revelation that a revelation could come in the future to a female, but it would be half a century later before there was a female prophet (about).

    The Community of Christ already has women apostles (and a member of their first presidency is female). If they follow the pattern set by the LDS church of ordaining the senior Apostle then whenever their current prophet dies (or resigns) then they will likely have a female prophet. They also reject such pesky things as eternal marriage (and all of our section 132) and allow homosexual marriage. So why, in your opinion, should someone be a Latter Day Saint rather then a member of the Community of Christ?

    • Teresa Marshall Grey

      i love this! thank you!

  • Clinton King

    Don’t Mormons teach that it’s not at physical birth that humans are endowed with their respective genitalia and thus gender, but at the creation of the spirit bodies, eons of time before the birth of the physical body?

    • Gina Colvin

      Yes – I think so. Mostly so. But they taught similar doctrine about Blacks as well and have since done an about face. So who would know?

      • Clinton King

        I didn’t think that Mormons had changed beliefs about fore-ordination that much.

  • JohnnyS

    Gina,

    Another great post. However, I think it’s important to note that we are talking only about heterosexual penises endowing (no pun intended) men in the church with authority. Homosexual penises are even less powerful/legitimate than heterosexual vaginas. This is important to note for a few reasons, not least of which is that while the anatomical point you’re making resonates with Mormon power/identity politics, the church’s aggressively hetero-normative stance regarding both identity and sexuality prevents it from acknowledging the civil rights of all of Heavenly Father’s children while simultaneously (and ironically) being invested in ensuring the continued dominance of the patriarchal order. It’s also interesting, don’t you think (and does this complicate your argument?) that the church, for all its investment in phallic power, is also simultaneously invested in making us afraid of our sexuality by continually associating any sorts of deviance from strict sexual norming with sin like unto death. Just food for thought.

    • Blackie

      Is it not true that at least theoretically a celibate homosexual penis can hold the priesthood and positions of authority in the Church? The same would not hold true for a celibate homosexual vagina.

      • JohnnyS

        That’s a good point and I think you’re correct. However, even that’s a bit muddled. I think a homosexual penis has a different standard of celibacy than a heterosexual one. A heterosexual penis is considered celibate even if it holds hands and kisses its partner. Can a homosexual penis hold hands and kiss a partner at church? If no, then the standards are higher (stricter) for the homosexual penis. And, to add to your point, we haven’t even discussed the homosexual vagina, surely, as you point out, even more marginalized than the homosexual penis. It’s an interesting hierarchy we have here; any form of deviance from the male heterosexual norm is marginalized, but there’s clearly a scale. And that scale is resolutely tied to exclusion.

  • David Naas

    Excellent article, smashing commentary.
    Good luck, dear lady, when the Patriarchy summons you in for The Talk. (You know the one, wherein you may — or may not, depending on how “pissed” they are — be given an opportunity to recant before they excommunicate you.) They “corellate” these things, you know.
    You are a brave soul.

  • Al Fundament

    The author seems to have a phallic fixation—sometimes called penis envy. Although it’s hard, she should try to look past it. And if she can’t, perhaps she should see her psychiatrist.

    • Gina Colvin

      So thinking about or writing about penis politics is a mental illness?

  • TomW

    That has got to be one of the most twisted, freakish rants I have ever read. Thank goodness such insanity isn’t representative of the faithful mainstream of Latter-day Saint women.

    • Gina Colvin

      Thanks for that astute commentary. Perhaps you might like to elaborate on the areas of my thesis that are ‘insane’? Are you suggesting that the fact of male genitalia has nothing to do with patriarchy? Or you simply incensed that I mentioned the word penis?

      • Darren

        It’s probably the latter your mentioning “penis”. Obviously others don’t like I either since you removed it from your title.

    • Blackie

      You wish!!

      • Blackie

        You wish!! (This is in answer to TomW) You only THINK you know what most LDS women are thinking.

        • Teresa Marshall Grey

          no i think he is perfectly right. im sure you will ind in the end, that there are more lds woman who agree with tomW than this bogger.

  • journeyman

    Give me a break. Whiny, self-loathing, crap that it always is. Ok, so you probably swing both ways. . . . . . . is it driven by love of women, or hatred of men (the spring from whence radical feminism comes)?

    • Gina Colvin

      I’m wondering if you even finished reading this post? Probably not I suspect.

  • jimbo

    If I were as bitter as you, I’d leave the Mormon church, or any organization that’s rotting my soul like yours. I’m not a Mormon and I’m not defending them, nor am I criticizing you for criticizing them. I was just surprised that you continue to be involved with something that’s causing you such hatred. Kinda like women who stay with wife beating husbands. Don’t you think its kind of stupid staying involved with something that is poisoning you? Why continue down this harmful path? Life is short. Get the hell out and find some happiness.

    • Gina Colvin

      Do I sound that bitter? I don’t thank I’m full of hatred – this is simply a send up of the unspoken anatomy of religion. BTW – Where do you think I should go? Do you have any suggestions of a Christian faith tradition that might be a better fit?

  • JohnnyS

    To AI and TomW,

    Thanks for making Gina’s point for her. You both do realize that dismissing women as mentally ill is a centuries old way to try to silence them, don’t you? Congratulations for being so obtuse that you will never achieve even the barest semblance of self-awareness. Three cheers.

    • Gina Colvin

      You rock JohnnyS!!

  • JohnnyS

    So do you, G.

  • JohnnyS

    Boy, the bats are out tonight. FWIW, I don’t, Gina, think you’re bitter. I think you’re frustrated and trying to find a way through things. Bitterness, to me, implies that the situation’s gotten the best of you and your faith is dying a slow death. That’s not the impression I get from your posts. I do think, though, that a lot of members, regardless of gender, simply can’t understand how one can speak out against certain practices/ideas/doctrine of one’s faith and still be faithful enough to be a member. That literally just doesn’t compute for some people. And BTW, for anyone out there who might really be struggling with their Mormon faith and feeling like they want to go somewhere else, I recommend Buddhism. The calmest, most centered, peaceful people I have ever met have been Buddhists. I think the particular way that Buddhism renounces what a Mormon would call “worldly things” seems to really provide a kind of tranquility that most guilt-riddled western religions just can’t. My two cents. And hang in there G, as we say here in the States, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

    • Gina Colvin

      Love it.

  • BillRichardsonMesa

    I have, for the longest time, been convinced that the primary reason that men have the priesthood is so that they will take some responsibility. Women could do everything I have done as a member of a bishopric, EQ presidency, YM pres, etc. And if I hadn’t had the callings myself, I would have been perfectly content to have my most capable wife do the job(s). She doesn’t want to do them either as it turns out. So much for the penis theory in my book. Of course that depends on whether you feel it is endowed with some amount of holiness or as just an extra burden that gets in the way.

    • Gina Colvin

      Don’t you think that’s kind of a deficit theory of men? I’m the mother of six boys, I would hate to premise my feelings about their capabilities on the basis of their having a fundamental desire to shirk responsibility – as if its part of their nature. I think are better than that. I do think we have socialised our boys to think that work, effort, and responsibility are burdens that women will relieve them from if things get too difficult.

      • JohnH2

        I am pretty sure this idea (which has been expressed by Apostles previously (but so have a lot of other ideas)) is coming from two places.

        First, I think it is an attempt at figuring out polygamy and primarily a leftover from the theology that everyone in heaven would be polygamous. Obviously if everyone is polygamous (at least as we understand it) then somehow there must be vastly more women in heaven then men leading to the the need to explain that. Men being inherently worse than women purports to answer that question, though it does open up a question as to the justice of God.

        Second, Most missionaries for most of the history of the church have been a lot more effective in converting women then men (and it is assumed that this is not just because most missionaries are men and some women find men in suits attractive). This is why polygamy in the LDS church didn’t cause the problems that the FLDS have of there being a noticeable deficit in single women relative to the men looking to get married.

        On my mission I was more effective at converting men then women. I would say it was my social skills that led to this but one would think that poor social skills would lead to fewer baptisms overall and that was certainly not the case for me relative to the average of the mission I was in. I don’t have a good explanation but I think blaming the men is not good. It has the feel of the explanation that most missionaries on my mission gave for why they (and the mission generally) performed poorly when compared to some other missions. It is a self-perpetuating myth that explains poor performance, and in this case it is a potentially very damaging myth when applied to the young men of the church (or men generally) as it not only explains but in some sense excuses and thus encourages poor performance in all aspects of life.

        • Gina Colvin

          I agree entirely. I think its very sad indeed that our culture has cottoned on to this notion of the incompetent male as a rationale for the male only priesthood. As you say, these mythologies have an fascinating history – love the links to polygamy!

    • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.schrade Jeff Schrade

      I complete agree… I really believe that men have the priesthood not because we better on the whole than women… but because we are generally a lazy lot, and generally far behind women when it comes to spirituality. These are broad generalities, I realize, but while serving as a missionary I found women to be much more spiritually inclined than men.

  • bjs

    Gina, just a thought.

    Procreation as we know it is a very ‘telestial’ concept, that is flesh and blood. Resurrected beings have flesh and bone, but evidently not blood (Jesus maintained his wounds but they did not bleed, Spirit will course through our veins, etc. etc.) Our telestial reproductive process, including arousal and climax are primarily blood driven biological functions.

    All of that ends at death. Spirits don’t procreate in the spirit world, and almost all resurrected beings will not procreate in the eternal worlds (all except for that fascinating promise of ‘eternal increase’ in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom). To my knowledge, we have no clear knowledge about the procreative capabilities of terrestrial beings: i.e. Adam and Eve were as children in the terrestrial Garden of Eden and would not have had children, but what about the translated cities of Enoch, Melchizedek’s Salem and others? My own humble opinion is that the Millennium will be much more heavenly thousand years if that aspect of our lives is available, elevated and purified.

    We may believe in eternal progression which may include some form of celestial procreation, but we have no idea what it entails – nor the respective roles that genitalia will play. Until we are given more knowledge, I kind of like the Hollywood version portrayed the movie ‘Cocoon’ – “If this is foreplay, I’m a dead man!”

    • Gina Colvin

      Your comment raises numerous interesting questions. Perhaps the notion of sex after death that floats about in Mormon culture (an ex bishop of mine being a fierce proponent of the doctrine) has the function of ensuring that we press on to immortality convinced that this physical pleasure will be possible in the afterlife. It provides some hope in the idea of resurrection – that we won’t be these neutered, sexless, androgynous, flaccid beings. The alternative is pretty grim really.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alasdair.wright1 Alasdair Wright

    Gina, you crack me up! Hahaha!!! Why stop with the Anatomical word “Penis”? Why not include the following euphemisms as well eg wanger/ pole/ piledriver/ rod/ wand of light/ battering ram/ tool/ pocket rocket/ etc etc etc
    Of course, men and Women have different responsibilities. For all I know, women may yet get to be the Top Dogs – so to speak – in every Ward and Branch. Well, to heck with it all….Anyway, I have felt this disassociation in the Church, where singles are concerned. I don’t like being singled-out, and treated with hatred, sexual harassment, and all-round dislike. And treated as though I don’t exist, nor valued as insignificant. Since when did a persons Marital Status imply worth or worthlessness ? Can somebody please explain???

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  • JoFro

    I don’t know much about Mormonism but I do know enough about the Catholic Church and it would help that you not repeat the silly myth about the sedina stercoraria – this is not true and never has been true! http://listverse.com/2007/11/05/top-5-myths-about-the-papacy/

    • Gina Colvin

      We are religious folk – myth is our business!

      • JoFro

        I’m confused! What do you mean by ‘myth is our business” – do you define myth the way we moderns define myth – as in fairy tales and a load of tripe for only fools or do you define myth as the way educated historians like C.S.Lewis defined myths – like his concept of “true myths” and asking if myth merely means a falsehood and explaining what the myth is and what it isn’t!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.j.white.56 Kevin Joseph White

    Gina,

    It is silly that your value and rights be decided by which sperm was fastest. If physical design is to be used to determine rights and privileges, you can bet Man has inserted his will into the plan. You might check out Community of Christ.

  • Jill

    I do believe that the LDS church is a religious organization that fosters healing and elevates men and women by teaching of the Atonement. I felt discouraged after reading your blog. I don’t know what is helped by reducing men to their sex organ. It’s condescending when men have done it to women and it has the same result when women do it to men. Reverence and sanctity about men, women, and their relationships will be what I continue to teach my children. I can’t imagine my kids reading the above article if I’d written it with reference to their dad. I wouldn’t do that to him or them. I love the good men of the church and am so grateful for all they do. I have felt the reciprocation of those feelings all my life as a Mormon.

  • TammoD

    Excellent analysis. Consider also evaluating The Proclamation to the Family and it’s impact to female dependency, a crippling condition in this day and age.

  • jrs

    Gina, I like this post. My only comment would be related to your first paragraph. I don’t know your husband, of course, but I don’t think you should assume that many of us men in the church don’t struggle with similar feelings/concerns. The gender role stuff drives me nuts. I don’t like the fact that I could theoretically be a bishop (well, if I weren’t so liberal and antisocial) while my wife could not. I rarely attend the temple because of some of the problematic gender issues I find therein. I agonize regularly about how to explain all this stuff to my two daughters, and to my son, because I don’t want them to grow up with the 1950s mindset about gender roles. At the same time, I feel like I cannot deny that the church has lead me closer to the divine than I would be without it. I also recognize that this just isnt a big issue for some women. my wife, for example, has a career (indeed, I do much more childcare than she does) and multiple degrees and still manages to teach RS and be more faithful overall than me–despite the weird gender stuff. Maybe it’s because she is a convert and is better able to grasp what life is like within the church versus without it. Anyway, just some things to think about.

    • Lyn

      Love your comment jrs!! You and your wife sound exactly like my husband and I. With two daughters and the same issues to boot. He feels as you do and I am well-educated as well and teach RS (among other things) on Sundays. We often wonder how to teach our daughters to be strong in the church without diminishing their self-worth and potential. Thank you for your honesty and showing me that we are not alone in our concerns:)

  • Nayajja

    The premise of your entire article is: “In Mormon discourse my anatomical fate at conception is the very thing that has and will govern my place through time and eternity. It’s as simple as that.”

    This is an entirely false premise. Instead, actual Mormon belief is that: “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” (from The Family: A Proclamation to the World). You are not female because of an accident of conception. You are female because you were placed in a body that matches this “essential characteristic” that existed even before you were born.

    All the cleverness of the article is to no avail, because you simply created and flogged a straw horse.

    • Teresa Marshall Grey

      thank you!

    • Confused with women

      “The premise of your entire article is: “In Mormon discourse my
      anatomical fate at conception is the very thing that has and will govern
      my place through time and eternity”

      You can have my penis… I’d rather let you have my Priesthood and receive a vagina and breasts. Sorry, but there are 2 sides to the coin…”

  • Egyptologist

    Great blog Gina :-). I love the analysis of the Mormon Male Penis!
    Have you ever considered studying the actual history of the church or even studying the science for that matter?
    Both provide enough evidence to prove the church is false – unfortunately and too my horror and dismay.

    At first I was shocked and disappointed at the same time but it was actually rather funny to learn that Brigham Young taught that there were people living on the sun and the moon and Joseph Smith translated the BOM with his head stuck in a hat looking at two seer stones that revealed him each word of the BOM. Alongside that he published the first vision in the Times and Seasons on the 15th of March in 1842 – 22 years after the ‘experience’ and totally failed at translating the Egyptian papyri that is now known as the POGP.

    Anywho, there seems to be a growing interest in Humanistic Mormonism which takes the good values as taught by the Mormon religion and combines it with rational thinking, compassion, science and philosophy. It essentially promotes human equality and is aimed at developing a better world – bigotry free. In this religion women are given the ‘priesthood’ and are able to be ordained leaders. You would be a great leader.

    There is an open group on Facebook called the Society of Humanistic Mormons feel free to check it out. Everyone is welcome both Mormon and non-Mormons.

  • Raymond McIntyre

    Preach it Sister, preach it!

  • Teresa Marshall Grey

    suprised you are an active member. after reading through this, i am left wondering why are you so concerned about not having the priesthood? and i would like to suggest, if it really is something that bothers you this much, take it to the lord and be prayerful about it.

  • pagansister

    Gina, my sister, raised in the Methodist church, married a Mormon. She did not convert—and they both go to their respective churches. They have 2 daughters and one chose to be a Mormon and the other, a Methodist. Both girls have graduated college and are still unmarried and are heading into a career. My Mormon niece doesn’t have but 1 or 2 older Mormon women in her temple that are unmarried. The young women in her age group (20′s) are either married or going to be. Fortunately she has my sister as an example of a woman who has not only had a family but also a career. She doesn’t accept all the LDS preaches though she seems to be happy with her choice to be a Mormon. Both girls chose their “faiths” relatively early–by the time they were 6-7. How do you continue to believe all that you have been taught? I think personally I’d be looking for another place to worship.

  • kiwi57

    “Does this mean that I am in favour of woman’s ordination. Of course it does. But I’m inclined to believe that female ordination is merely a means to an end – the end being a religious organization whose offering to humanity heals rather than divides, elevates rather than subjugates, privileges scriptural exegesis over cultural conservatism, restores the sex balance to its rightful and divine place, and more importantly is not deathly afraid of the extraordinary, glorious and frightening power of its women.”

    Quaere: if someone wasn’t “deathly afraid” of mana wahine, then how on earth could said power be legitimately described as “frightening?”

    But it’s not obvious to me that anyone in the Church is really “deathly afraid” of women. We are largely untainted by Augustinian guilt.

    As far as I can tell, our offering to humanity already “heals rather than divides,” etc. But that doesn’t mean everyone wants to accept it as such. Let’s face it: if we were to add another verse to the hymn “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” it might include a line similar to, “There is no end to envy.”

    The Church invites us to come unto Christ. It has never offered to meet the world halfway; nor should it.

    And now, I shall go back to thinking about the cultural privileges that my wife has as a Mormon woman in possession of her female faculties, being spared a tremendous amount of time thinking and wondering about what it means to be a man amidst Mormon females, in what is after all a rather pervasively matriarchal culture.


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