by Althea cross posted from her blog Yllom Mormon
(The purple text is directly quoted from the book – the words of Michael Pearl)
In this section, Michael lays out his reasons as to why every man should be married. Hint: It’s because they need a help meet. (shocking, I know)
I Needed Her
The reason I chose Deb to be my bride was because I had developed a need for her. Not sexual at first. I had possessed a sexual need for thirteen years and knew many girls I felt could satisfy that hunger.
Before I met Deb, she was already involved in winning guys to faith in Christ. [She was involved with military ministry] Over a four-year period I found myself increasing relying on her as a friend in the ministry. We became buddies. I liked her, she made me laugh, she challenged me. She was good looking, but I knew other girls that were strikingly beautiful. I chose her because my life evolved to where I needed her. Not just her body, but her-her spirit, her mind, her courage, her wisdom. We were not romantically involved during those years. There was just the basic need that she alone came to meet, and I realised that if I could have her all to myself, I would be fulfilled as a person. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was created to need a help meet, and everything about her seemed to meet my need. She made me whole.
The first thing I notice is that he calls women “girls”. Frankly, if she’s old enough to marry you, she’s a woman. And what’s with the compliments to Debi, and then the bringing in comparisons of other women? Why can’t he just say “I was physically, spiritually, and emotionally attracted to Debi.”? But other than that, I think he makes good points. I’m actually a bit surprised that he says he wanted her for more then her body, considering how last chapter worked out. It almost sounds sweet when he says if he could have her, he would be fulfilled. I like it when my husband says similar things.
Adam and His Helper
Just as I did, the first man Adam discovered his need for a woman. God created Adam alone, without Eve or any other human creature, and then gave him the job of naming all the animals. Observing the animals relating to one other in pairs and groups, Adam searched for his counterpart and found none. The author of Genesis observes “…but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him (Genesis 2:20)”. It was in Adam’s nature to need his yet uncreated counterpart.
I’m reminded here of an experience we recently had at the zoo. We were in the petting zoo section, and a few of the goats were mating. Of course, all the kids were super-curious (“What are they doing?” “Is he hurting her?”) and the parents were all red-faced and trying to get the kiddos to move on to another exhibit. I’m imagining Adam hanging out in the garden, and seeing other animals getting it on and being super confused, so he asks God what’s going on.
“Well, Adam,” says God “It’s called reproduction. When a boy zebra loves a girl zebra very much…” and Adam’s eyes get big
“Oooooh. That sounds interesting. Can I have one?”
“A girl zebra?” God asks, jokingly.
“No. Not a girl zebra. Just a girl.”
God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone…” because Adam had just discovered a fundamental fact of his nature-he was, in fact, created to need someone. So the creator said, “I will make an help meet for him (Genesis 2:18).”
Adam needed sex, but that is a small need compared to the need to have a soul mate. Sex is less than 90 minutes out of a week. That leaves 9,990 minutes for companionship. Less than 1% of our time involves sex. Good sex is great, but marriage is built on much more.
Holy cow. I totally agree with something Michael says. Marriage should be based on more than sex. It should be based on mutual communication, respect, giving, learning, and growing. It should be based on building each other up and becoming stronger together than either was as an individual. Great point, Michael!
What is a Help Meet?
It’s not helpmeet, as one word; it’s two words, a verb (help) used as a noun and modifier (meet). When helper is modified with the word meet, it speaks of a particular kind of helper-one that is designed to fit the needs of the one being helped-a suitable helper. As two pieces of a puzzle meet in exact profile, so a man and woman meet the natures of the other.
My issue with this paragraph is how one-sided he makes help meet sounds. “Designed to fit the needs of the one being helped”. Why can’t both parties help each other? I’m starting to feel like eventually we’re going to get a lecture similar to the one about 3 types of men from Debi’s book. I’m finding it very hard to argue the logic of the puzzle pieces, though. Is one puzzle piece created to fit perfectly into another, or are they both created to work together? How can you tell? It’s seriously blowing my mind.
Michael then gives us 8 Bible verses about suitable helpers and help meets. If you’re curious about the references, shoot me an email. If not, we’ll just move on to the analysis.
Adam was missing something, so God prepared a helper that would meet his needs. A right hand glove is made to meet a right hand. It is not meet for the left hand. Eve was a perfect right hand fit for the right man Adam. She was created to be his right hand wo-man.
Read the passage pausing after the word help, and then read the last three words together: meet for him. “I will make him an help-meet for him.” She was a helper meet for him. Got it? That’s easy, and we didn’t even need the Greek or Hebrew!
Thank you, Michael for dumbing it down for us. We got it. She was created to help him.
Man is Male and Female
Notice how God speaks of himself in the plural: “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” The one God exists in a plural fellowship, so mankind created in that image would reflect that plurality.
The text says, “…in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…and called their name Adam (Genesis 1:27, 5:2)”
God would create persons in his own image, but one person was not adequate to portray his image. He divided his attributes, putting half into man, and half into woman. The text is clear: it is the man and the woman together that reflect the image of God.
It may be just me, but I don’t get this. Because it sounds to me like God has both male and female attributes, but people couldn’t handle that much majesty, so he split his likeness into 2 and gave half each to men and women? I’ve always believed in some type of Mother God. I mean, everything else has a male and female, animals, flowers, trees, people…why not God? So if anyone can dumb this down for me in the comments, that’d be great.
This is a point you must fully appreciate, for it is the underlying principle for the entire book. So let me approach it from a more literal perspective. “Male and female created he them; and blessed them and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created (Genesis 5:1-2)”. Adam was “male and female”. The human race is split into two parts, one part male and one part female. Together they are Adam, God’s creation.
Looking at it another way, God created a single man with no capabilities to reproduce, for he has no womb. So the human race was completed with the addition of a womb-man (woman).
Huh. I think I’m starting to understand where the evangelicals come from when they think that man is the head, and why Debi doesn’t deserve credit for helping with this book. Adam (man) is singular-plural. Since Adam and Eve are one, and go by Adam, that makes Adam the boss…right? Or something like that. Also note that reproduction is most important, and the only real reason for a womb-man. Things are starting to make sense.
God’s Program (or Michael shares his vast computer knowledge)
It is as if God created “MAN Version 1.0” and then released him into the garden for beta testing. MAN worked beautifully but was not created as a stand-alone program; he seemed to lack a certain something that made his function complete. God then created a patch, calling it WO-MAN, and released it to support the original program. When downloaded together, you have heavenly software capable of communicating with God, becoming “heirs together of the grace of life”. MAN will function alone without the upgrade, but don’t expect him to integrate well into society. He’s a bit (pun intended) imbalanced and unpredictable. I know that’s corny, but my wife thinks it’s cute.
I’ve heard the anecdote that God created Man 1.0 and said “Well, I could have done better” and created Woman 1.0 and then rested because he got it right. I’ve never heard that woman is nothing more than a “patch” to make the man program better. Michael makes the point MAN will function alone, but it seems obvious that a patch without a program is nothing. I guess Michael is once again affirming that with a woman, man is complete, but without a man, a woman is nothing. Which is degrading to both sexes. Both men and women can be perfectly complete and happy single (or with other men and women). But I suppose that is heresy in the Conservative Christian world.
Adam the man was created completely in the image of God and in God’s likeness. His nature is after God’s nature, (mind, will, and emotions) and his body is fashioned in God’s likeness (to see, hear, touch, taste smell-in short, to interact with the universe in physical awareness). But just as the Heavenly Father is supported by the Son, and the Son is supported by the Holy Spirit, and the three equal one God, so Adam is designed in God’s image to be supported and completed by another-woman.
Arguments about the philosophy of the Trinity aside, this comparison doesn’t work. If we start from the assumption that God, Jesus, and the Spirit are one, then it doesn’t translate very well for man/woman. Let me try to be more clear. God, Jesus, and the Spirit have different functions, and are mentioned separately in the Bible many times. Michael just implied that women are merely a “patch” to make the man-program better. Being a patch is far from being an autonomous being. Sure, the Son and the Spirit support God, but they have their own personalities and ways of doing things. I just don’t see that autonomy for women supported anywhere in this book.
In holy matrimony man-male and female-reach the highest expression of the divine image. Therefore “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD (Proverbs 18:22)” You, Sir, were not created to stand alone. You are insufficient to the task. You were made to be one of two parts functioning as a whole.
Again, it really is OK for a man to be alone. Some men prefer to be alone. I think the whole idea of men needing women and women needing men to be complete is the basis for unhealthy relationships. I was taught that in order to be a good spouse (or person), I had to be complete and sufficient in myself. Yes, my spouse supports and helps me, but I am fully capable of being an adult without him. I think this type of teaching limits and hurts men, as well.
The job God designed for humanity was too demanding and complex to be met by one soul and body, so he created a complementary pair, tailoring each to specific tasks, equipping each to posses the skill and temperament necessary to perform their respective duties for the good of both and the benefit of the family.
I wondered why this seemed awfully familiar (and gendered). Then I remembered the Marriage and Family class my husband and I took before we decided to stop attending the Mormon church.
From the LDS Marriage and Family Relations text:
Except Adam and Eve by nature be different from one another, they could not multiply and fill the earth. The complementing differences are the very key to the plan of happiness.