Why can’t we have woman-affirming Mormon theology?
This past week, I actually saw a post in my RSS feed titled “The brides of Satan.” i am not paraphrasing. I am not making this up. I actually saw a blog post where the blogger said:
Given the fact that Lucifer’s plan appealed specifically and directly to female spirits and their natures and did not appeal at all to male spirits and their natures, it is logical to assume that the 1/3 were all female.
I probably should have DoNotLink‘d to that post, because a sliver of me considers that the only reason someone would write a post like this is for pageviews. (FWIW, at this point, I am 97.333333% convinced that Matt Walsh is just writing for pageclicks, and that all of the liberal outrage shares/clicks are falling exactly into his trap. That is my gift of discernment.)
I did not do that because for a variety of reasons, I happen to believe that LDS Anarchist is fully sincere in believing what he’s writing. I know I’ve gotten Anarchist confused with his coblogger Justin — a confusion that has cause plenty of laughs for everyone, I’m sure — but my impression of the entire LDS Anarchist blog is that these are sincere out-of-the-box doctrinal/theological investigations.
But let’s get back to me in bed, reviewing my RSS feed items. As soon as I saw this post, my gift of discernment clued me in on something — I knew that the fruits of this post would be that it would get posted to some liberal Mormon FB group, and it would cause a lot of drama. I knew that there was nothing I could do to prevent the drama. The only thing I could do was hope that ground zero of said drama would not be the Mormon Hub.
Fortunately for me and the other Hub moderators, it was not. Instead, it was posted to the Feminist Mormon Housewives Facebook group, which was probably an even worse place it could go. And indeed, there was drama. So much drama. I don’t want to get into the drama, because it was so much.
I just want to say a few things.
Firstly, if this is satire, this is bad satire. In the sense that it is completely and 100% ineffective. I mean, maybe I’m just a stick in the mud, but I don’t see how this is satirizing anything. It is possible that this is the best example of Poe’s Law, but I’ll get on that in the future.
Secondly, probably the best thing that arose from this was that I learned the new term “Schrodinger’s Asshole.” I will keep that term saved for later.
Thirdly, and as a side note, I want to say that I was able to derive a bit of Black Humor (pun fully intended) from this. See, Mormonism has huge race issues because of racist doctrine/folklore that claims that black people exist because we were not as valiant in the pre-mortal existence. As it goes, being lukewarm in pre-existence = being black in mortality. (And because the pre-mortal existence is unique to Mormonism, this racist folk doctrine is not one we can just blame on the Baptists or whomever.)
But, if we take LDS Anarchist’s article seriously, then the conclusion to draw is that women are even worse, because of the third part of heaven that went against God and Jesus, we are to believe that all of them were women. (To be fair, all of the women currently living or who have ever lived were not part of that third, because the third who rebelled didn’t get bodies. But it seems that Anarchist is using traits he has associated with women from *mortality* back onto women’s pre-mortal spirits, so the criticism probably still holds.)
But, as I said, this is a side note. It’s not what I wanted to talk about.
One thing I wanted to talk about, with Poe’s Law, was that the problem with pretending to be something terrible (without giving any sign to the contrary) is that if it is indistinguishable from the real thing (which is the premise of Poe’s Law), it still lends support to the real thing. In related concerns, this is the basic issue with ironic racism, sexism, and so forth…just trying to be ironic about it still lends support to the real thing. I want to emphasize this. I don’t buy that this is a satirical post (as others have claimed that it so obviously is), but even if it is, what the hell is the point?
No, the main thing I wanted to talk about is the very idea of going through an exercise like this. Anarchist, for some reason, has been thinking about the personalities of men and women, and seeing how he can develop a theology (or more particularly, Mormon theology) from various axioms and conjectures. I don’t know if he is doing this as a purely intellectual and completely impersonal matter, and I don’t think he is doing it just to rile people up or just to troll. I don’t have any reason to believe that he does not sincerely believe in the work that he is doing.
So, through this exercise, he seems to be creating this elaborate theology upon the sinfulness of women, based on supposed traits of women. (Women love alpha males, and if you look at Lucifer’s plan vs Jesus’s…well, Lucifer is clearly more of the alpha male.)
I don’t understand this. Why does anyone feel the need to do this?
Or, let me ask it in a different way. Why does anyone feel the need to do this when one possible alternative is to develop a theology that affirms women? A theology that is based upon the strengths of women (however one wishes to define such).
Maybe it’s because I am not actually a sexist, and not actually a racist, and not actually a believer in the folklores and doctrines as they have been passed to me, but I do not see the pressing urge to defend and create elaborate theologies behind belief structures that essentially insult classes of people. I don’t see the reason to try to justify LDS past policies against black folks. I don’t feel a reason to justify that God felt that way, and then to justify why God felt that way. Because instead, my feeling is that if God exists, he either doesn’t feel that way or he is not worth my time.
I feel that, if theology is the work of constructing Rube Goldberg Machines (to quote Adam Miller) — a work of often overwrought creativity performed with building blocks that don’t really fit together — then can’t we choose better to what creative ends we employ our building blocks? I can’t find who wrote this first (I thought it was a Miller quote, but I can’t find it), but I read someone write once that theology for Mormons isn’t what Mormons must believe, but what Mormons may or can believe…if this is true, why do we have all of these long and involved theological discussions on why women are bad, why the status quo on the Priesthood is right, why LGBT folks are misguided, etc.,?
Maybe I’ve just thoroughly drunk the liberal progressive Kool-aid, but my questions remain:
Why can’t we have a woman-affirming theology?
Why can’t we have an LGBT-affirming theology?
Do we not have the building blocks? Is Mormonism so encumbered with racism or sexism or heteronormativity that it is not possible to build up a credible Mormon feminism? A credible Mormon acceptance of LGBT?