Men: The Weaker Sex?

Hawkgrrrl apologetics, Asides, children, church, Culture, Discrimination, feminism, Humor, LDS, marriage, Mormon, mormon, Mormons, polygamy, religion, temple, testimony, women 39 Comments

There is a common belief among LDS that wonderful women are sometimes saddled with mediocre men or sometimes no man at all, which will result in a surplus of women in the Celestial Kingdom.  So, are Mormon women really so much better than men?

In the movie Weird Science, two geeks use their computer to make a beautiful woman.  A man comes up to the three of them in a bar and asks, “What’s a beautiful woman like you doing with a couple of Malakas like these?”  My husband and I refer to it as a “Malaka relationship” when the woman is either 1) vastly better looking or 2) a much better person than her husband.  (No offense to the city of Malaka, Malaysia).

A friend of mine refers to this phenomenon as “the 7-10 split” or when a woman who’s a 10 is married to a man who’s a 7 (on a scale of 1 to 10).  This kind of split could be looks, as he is describing it, or it can be used to refer to being “yoked unequally with a non-believer.”

Obviously, every rule has an exception.  Some marriages are going to go the other way (righteous man married to a flaky woman), but which is more common?  Will there be a surplus of fabulous women in the Celestial Kingdom?  Here is the foundation of this premise:

  1. There would have to be a preponderance of single women who are living a “Celestial” law but will never be married in this life.
  2. There would have to be a preponderance of married women who are living a “Celestial” law, but whose husbands are living a “Terrestrial” or “Telestial” law.
  3. There would have to be few or no married men living a “Celestial” law who are married to women living a “Terrestial” or “Telestial” law.
  4. There would have to be few or no single men living a “Celestial” law who will not marry in this life.
  5. Throughout the history of the world, there would have to be more female children who died in innocence and will receive a Celestial glory than male children.

So, are there significantly more righteous women than men?  Here is some anecdotal evidence (and I do mean anecdotal more than I mean evidence) usually cited to show that there are more righteous women:

  • There are usually more women attending temple sessions than men.
  • In marriages where only one spouse holds a temple recommend, it is more often the wife than the husband.
  • There seem to be more unmarried women than men attending church.
  • More men than women are excommunicated for adultery.
  • Often, wives are more receptive to the missionaries than their husbands.
  • Men get more “tough” messages directed at them (don’t masturbate, don’t gamble, don’t look at porn, don’t use unrighteous dominion or be angry, show appreciation for your wonderful wives), whereas women get soft messages (you are beloved spirit daughters of God, your divine purpose is ordained of God, you are the heart of the home, your lives are blessed, the errand of angels is given to women).
  • Priesthood lessons usually consist of bored men taking turns reading straight from the lesson manual between naps, whereas Relief Society lessons are well-planned affairs with centerpieces, great quotes and other handouts, crafty tchotchkes to take home, and sometimes even a musical number.

However, each of the above premises is flawed.  For example:

  • Temple and church attendance does not necessarily correlate with righteousness.  Are these women truly living a “Celestial” law?  For example, women’s relationships have more intricate social structures, and therefore women might appear more active at church.  There are also more social activities for women than there are for men.  Activity doesn’t necessarily equal righteousness.
  • Statistically speaking, women outlive men.  Might that account for some of the higher female temple attendance?
  • More men have died in wars than women.  Soldiers have often been single men.  Many of these individuals could end up in the Celestial kingdom.
  • Although we might look at women who are married to less active men as being far superior in righteousness, is that really the case or is it sometimes just due to the comparison?  For example, might a church-going woman be living a terrestrial law be married to a non-attending spouse who is also living a terrestrial law, but we think there is a big difference because of something superficial like church attendance.
  • Women’s receptivity to the missionaries could be due to more initial interest, more openness to religious discussions in the home, or more sociability.  Additionally, men are “expected” to eschew emotional displays and may be reluctant to engage in a moving religious discussion for this reason.  This doesn’t mean they are less righteous, but they manifest it differently.
  • The difference in messages given to each sex in conference could be for other reasons, such as how men receive instruction vs. how women receive instruction (generally speaking).  It could also be an apologetic stance toward feminist sentiments about priesthood inequality or even polygamy (please not that discussion again!).
  • Women and men have a different style in teaching.  Sometimes women are kind of like the teacher’s pets, and the preparation can have more to do with pride and the intricate social systems than with actual righteousness.  Obviously not in my case, but some women.

In my experience, a split of two levels (woman living celestial law, man living telestial law) is pretty rare indeed (to say nothing of completely impossible to gauge without mind-reading).  I’m sure it happens, but a one level split seems more likely.  And frankly, I don’t buy that there are that many more women who are that much more righteous than men.  From my view, I see mostly equal yokes out there.

So, what do you think?  Are women more righteous than men?  Significantly more righteous (celestial vs. lower law)?  Significantly more women?  Are men total crap?  Discuss.

Comments

comments

Comments 39

  1. In your list of anecdotal evidence, items 2, 4, 6, and 7 could be explained with one word: testosterone.

    Also, if someone wanted to quantify this concept a bit, count how many times a male speaker in a church conference meeting has said something like “if it weren’t for my more-righteous wife, I’d be lost; women are naturally more spiritual than men.” That always seemed like a poor excuse, but again, think testosterone. If women were more aggressive, more prone to action and less to thinking, and so on, you’d see that perception change.

    As men age, they become more virtuous… more likely to be active, attend the temple, etc. Why? their testosterone levels are dropping over time. Keeping men in their teens and twenties active in the church is mostly about channeling their energy into productive pursuits.

  2. If women were more righteous than men, then it would only be logical that they hold the priesthood and not men. If women are generally in tune with the spirit much more than men, then the men should hearken unto the wife’s council as the wife hearkens unto the council of God.

    I know, I know, I know, the priesthood is given to men because spiritually we are like a helpless broken-legged deer just wandering through the forest waiting to be put out of our misery. Without the priesthood, we would just get snatched up by Satan, and if women were given the priesthood, all the women would be so righteous, you would have women being translated right and left. Now, we couldn’t have that happening, just imagine the kind of accidents it would create with women being translated while they are driving to priesthood meetings. Not to mention the shortage of women it would create on earth.

    If we are to believe however, that women are spiritually superior to men, why is the authority to give instructions and council given to men?

    Joseph Smith gave the priesthood to women. Even though women never had a rank within the priesthood leadership, women had the priesthood and were able to administer to the sick and afflicted. So why shouldn’t women hold the priesthood today?

  3. An enjoyable thread about the premises and why they are flawed. Still, the whole question of why it would even matter is there were more women in the Celestial kingdom than men is funny from standpoint of traditional Christianity. It bespeaks some of the unique doctrines (and folk, social or “soft” doctrines) which inform the unique nature of LDS marriage doctrine in the hereafter. That aside, I find a lot of commonality at the core of the assumptions of spiritual divergency between the genders quite common within Christian churches as well.

    Maybe some reasons are:
    1) In our society “the family man” has become one of the common oaf stereotypes that it is PC to still pick on. Sure, the stereotype may be informed by reality, but some of it is just a common prejudice — for what reason I don’t know other than to pick on our male-dominated power structure? — to put down the notion of a masculine, committed, authentic man who is a leader and partner within the home and church. Perhaps LDS men, even, perpetrate this “spiritual gender imbalance” as a way of avoiding discussion of the unproductive aspects of a male-dominated church power structure?

    2) The “feminisation” of the spiritual ideal. It is possible the collective Christian faith has made Christ too overtly a “Mister Rogers Jesus.” The God of the OT is seen as violent and territorial, which may be a fair major theme, but not a complete one. Stories of mercy also robustly abound about the Jewish Bible’s testament to the merciful nature of God. Surely, this redemptive mercy is seen by Christians embodied in the figure of Jesus. But even Jesus in the NT could still be the Lion of Judah when needed, to drive out enemies with righteous anger or pointed criticism. And His second coming will be both a great and dreadful day. Christ is mighty, fearsome, powerful and warrior-like when needed. He is also tender, compassionate and forgiving. Perhaps the cultural narrative has failed to create a picture of Christian leadership embodied in our mental image of Christ Himself that is as complete and compelling for the masculine heart as it could be…

    3) And as said, in our flawed, human nature we look to external practice as manifestation of inward conversion. The truth is that men, when belonging to an authentic and connective spiritual experience, blossom spiritually like women do, but the experience often needs to be more about action, ideals, a battle and conflict, than hand-holding, sharing, tender, practical human experiences. (Not to say men don’t benefit from the latter, but if this is the only standard or “ideal”, then I think churches fail to resonate deeply with the common, masculine heart.) It may, as Hawkgrrrl postulated, be a reflection of the social structures and outward practices of the LDS faith resonate more with women than men. Still I think we can agree that conversion and salvation comes in the heart, a realm in which only God can judge. Church external measures may inaccurately reflect (and predict) the real “salvation quotient” between the genders. (American religious practice data show that the gender mix of those who self-identify with faith traditions is pretty equal in most faith traditions; how do we know those who are “saved” isn’t on similar par?)

  4. As I always noted when I was an active LDS member, there seems to be a common misconception that a pair of ovaries is somehow equivalent to a Urim & Thummim. The idea that women are inherently more righteous than men is insulting—not only to men (who are slammed as less righteous by nature), but also to women (who are assumed to be more righteous without really having to try to be).

  5. Re: There is a common belief among LDS that wonderful women are sometimes saddled with mediocre men or sometimes no man at all

    A few years ago, I visited a ward for “middle singles” that my sister attended. It was designed for the 26 to 40 age group, but they were lax at kicking out the “over 40’s” at the time. Sacrament meeting was the last of the block, so we began our block in the gender division hour. I attended the EQ meeting and found it unsettling to see the options my sister had to choose from. The over 40 men who remained single at that point were “unique” to say the least. Of course, I am biased where my sister is concerned, but she broke the men down into three general categories:

    1. Some odd twist to their personality that kept them from forming a close connection to a potential partner.

    2. Those with struggles to remain active or to like the gospel principles, thus they didn’t remain involved in the ward long enough to form a close connection to a potential partner.

    3. Those who had great personalities, were handsome, and had good jobs; thus there was no logical explanation as to why they did not form a close connection to a potential partner. (Although the room for speculation is abundant!)

    Given the choices, some of the single over 40 women married out of the church. Their decision was difficult but seemed to work out, as far as I know, over the first few years. Another one of her friends, however, made that connection with one of the men in category one, and, bless her heart, went forward in faith.

  6. Rigel – ah, well, I would have to suggest that some of the women who married “non-believers” may also be equally yoked. Whether or not someone is LDS doesn’t necessarily mean a full kingdom variant in reward. And unequal yokes often equalize over time, one way or another.

  7. JFQ #3:

    Your point #2 could use some serious discussion. More than just spiritual ideals have been feminized. Some probably needed to be, but the spiritual ideal may be one of the cases where the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Or…does there really have to be just one ideal? Can’t a feminine ideal and a masculine ideal co-exist? Bi-egalitarianism probably doesn’t fly too well this past 50 years or so. (That and the term itself seems a contradiction of definitions)

  8. Wow – was just thinking about all this misandry the other day. And I’m tired of it. If I hear something about how “men need the priesthood so they can be as righteous as women” again I’m going to scream. Or go inactive. This is definitely a case of the pendulum swinging too far the other direction after years of polygamy and misogny. Men and women are very different. How can we all be expected to achieve the same level or kind of righteousness? Stop comparing us…

  9. Mormon Matters is the first place I’ve heard of this particular version of the “Surplus Women” folk belief; it must be something unique to you Utahans… It does sound similar to the version of it that I have heard before: the idea that we’ll get to marry the “wicked” Protestant & Catholic men’s wives.

    Christ cannot inherit the kingdom, and we cannot co-inherit the kingdom with Christ, until the kingdom is prepared for the final and eternal judgment by the completion of saving ordinances for all the living and the dead. This means that everyone will be sealed to everyone else through the familial hierarchy of the eternal priesthood.

    For some reason I think women are just as wicked as men. The man in me would tell you that women are more wicked than men, but maybe I’m just thinking of the women of Ezekiel 23.

  10. One comment only: My father was a high school janitor for two years. He cleaned the bathroom walls and stalls. Ask him who was the more vulgar, depraved and wicked.

  11. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith :—

    Address of the Prophet To the Relief Society
    Beware of Excessive Zeal
    Section Five 1842-43, p.237

    As females possess refined feelings and sensitiveness, they are also subject to overmuch zeal, which must ever prove dangerous, and cause them to be rigid in a religious capacity—[they] should be armed with mercy, notwithstanding the iniquity among us.

    Some Men “Too Wise to Be Taught”
    Section Six 1843-44, p.309

    There are a great many wise men and women too in our midst who are too wise to be taught; therefore they must die in their ignorance, and in the resurrection they will find their mistake.

  12. Hawkgrrrl, re: “marr{y,ied} in this life” :—

    Sealing (marriage) by proxy for the dead is “marriage in this life”! All who have died and were not sealed to their spouse(s)/partner(s) while in the flesh will have their sealing ordinance(s) performed in “this life” (most likely during Christ’s millennial reign when the veil is rent to provide the knowledge that will be required to complete this work). Perhaps people who were never “married in this life” will be “married in this life” at that time…

  13. Hawkgrrrl :—

    Perhaps the modern Chinese are solely responsible for #5:

    #5. Throughout the history of the world, there would have to be more female children who died in innocence and will receive a Celestial glory than male children.

  14. Consecration is a necessity to “living a ‘Celestial’ law”… I know more men than women that support an egalitarian/communitarian economy.

    Women usually don’t care enough about combative politics to fight as vigorously as men for something like the law of consecration. I think the numbers within hacker culture prove this point. Hacker culture is, I postulate, a consecrated community, from whence came free open source software (and the Lord’s GPL ;P).

    While this seems true to me, I have also known a great many female activists yearning to create a better world filled with a more righteous spirit of judgment.

  15. jjackson – “does there really have to be just one ideal? Can’t a feminine ideal and a masculine ideal co-exist?” I think this is a great point. A lot of the idealization of women feels apologetic to me (perhaps from hearing it too often). I think the “idealization” always strikes me a bit like a mommy complex.

    Derek P. Moore – “Mormon Matters is the first place I’ve heard of this particular version of the “Surplus Women” folk belief; it must be something unique to you Utahans.” Well, I’m not a Utahn, and I’ve heard it plenty of places. I live in AZ and I grew up in the Northeast. I absolutely heard it in PA.

    “The man in me would tell you that women are more wicked than men.” This just sounds like wishful thinking (the whore or witch archetype). Are you sure you’re not Catholic? Next thing you know you’ll have to start using terms like “co-redemptrix” to make up for your un-PC stance on women.

    “Perhaps the modern Chinese are solely responsible for #5.” Yes, I had thought of that, although it’s a pretty recent example. There may be wide-scale examples of male genocide that have occurred historically and could off-set this. The only ones I can think of are the killing of the male Hebrew children that Moses narrowly escaped and the killing of male children when Christ was born. There were also a lot of ritual killings of captured soldiers in South America. While those may not be as wide-scale, I would think it’s more typical for enemy killings to target males than females. The females could be subjected to sexual slavery or some other living atrocity.

    “I know more men than women that support an egalitarian/communitarian economy.” Really? Yet, more women are democrats than republicans. From my viewpoint, socialism has to veer to the left to get to the law of consecration. I am personally not a big fan of egalitarian/communitarian economies on the planet earth. Perhaps theoretically, but not in practice. I also think this assertion doesn’t link very closely to the assertion that one’s political views have anything to do with righteousness and eternal reward.

    Ray – “My father was a high school janitor for two years. He cleaned the bathroom walls and stalls. Ask him who was the more vulgar, depraved and wicked.” As a mother of two boys, I can attest to this! And they are proud of it.

  16. Hawkgrrrl, My father said the stuff written on walls and stalls of the girls’ restrooms were FAR worse than that in the boys’ restrooms. Perhaps that’s not indicative of anything, and perhaps it just means that when girls harden they harden more than boys, but I heard the same thing from the janitors at the school where I taught – in a very different state and culture than that in which I was raised.

  17. Ray – interesting. I was referring to the utter lack of hygiene my boys exhibit. But that doesn’t really mean cleanliness is next to Godliness. Frankly, I’m not surprised that there is more filthy graffiti in the girls’ bathroom. Girls tend to use social systems to pressure one another in ways that boys do not. Boys kill each other. Girls make you wish you were dead. An oversimplification, but somewhat true nonetheless.

  18. I’m not sure that women are inherently more virtuous than men. It’s just that their vices are different and less visible: and they run parallel to their strengths. For instance, if men are physically stronger and more included to physical violence, their vices tend to the physical and the violent. It should also true that if women are more verbal and social, their vices will tend to be verbal and social.
    I don’t know how God measures a man’s heavy fist against a woman’s vicious poison tongue, men who don’t go to church at all against women who go mostly to gossip, backbite, and compare clothing, but considering that He looks on the heart and not just on the outward appearance, he just might weigh these things differently than we do.

  19. Hawkgrrrl :—

    “Are you sure you’re not Catholic? Next thing you know you’ll have to start using terms like “co-redemptrix” to make up for your un-PC stance on women.”

    My own personal theory on the matter would be catch by the censors around here, but I will word it thusly: men are d’s and women are b’s. I guess that’s not P.C.

  20. I am doing a presentation on paraphilias (pedophilia, voyeurism, s&m, etc.) in a pathology class on Wednesday, and fwiw, men out number women 20 to 1 in this area–in terms of frequency.

  21. Hawkgrrrl :—

    Yet, more women are democrats than republicans. From my viewpoint, socialism has to veer to the left to get to the law of consecration. I am personally not a big fan of egalitarian/communitarian economies on the planet earth. Perhaps theoretically, but not in practice.

    I’m not asking you to rationalize away Church doctrine or the reality of the law of consecration, but for some reason Mormons these days feel it necessary to state their opposition to consecration whenever and however it invariably enters the conversation.

    I realize that I live in a world where the mass of people are brainwashed to believe that some sort of political spectrum actually exists, that there is some real difference between left and right, democrat and republican, or liberal and conservative. They are programmed by media and establishment to see the world as they are told to see it; that is, how it is offered to them to see. These people need this or that bifurcation and their own pet false dilemmas with which to factionalize and fractionalize the world around them, so they can cut it apart and fit it into their own fractured psyche… But I digress…

    I also realize that this same world of delusion is about to come crashing down under its own weight of falsehood, trickery, and deceit, and it will be exposed for what it is for all to see, and many will be ashamed. When it comes to anarchy or aristarchy, there is no more spectrum, there is only one or the other.

    Choose your side.

  22. I have heard this theory that women are more righteous than men used as an explanation for the necessity of polygamy. I even had a seminary teacher (a full-time CES employee who taught release-time seminary in Utah) who taught that everyone in the Celestial Kingdom will be polygamous because there will be so many more righteous women than men that every man will have to take many wives to give every righteous woman a chance at exaltation.

    I want to take issue with one of premises you list as being the foundation for this belief in the church:

    “5. Throughout the history of the world, there would have to be more female children who died in innocence and will receive a Celestial glory than male children.”

    This premise is WRONG! Something that most people do not know is that sex ratios at birth are not equal: more males are naturally born than females. The ratio is about 1.05 males born for every female. This holds true across different races and cultures (IE, these numbers aren’t a result of parents in China and India killing female babies in hopes of conceiving again and getting a male baby instead, it is a natural characteristic of the human species that more males are born). In the United States, from 1970-2002, among white non-Hispanics, there were 105 males born for every 100 females. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sex_ratio .

    The total ratio of males to females in the world, though, is 1.01. The explanation for why this number is lower than the sex ratio at birth is that males die at a higher rate than females at all age levels. Thus, more males die before the age of 8 than females. And these are A LOT of children. Each year, about as many children die as there are members of the LDS church (9.7 million children under 5 years of age died in 2006, according to the BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6992401.stm ). (As an aside, this means that, according to LDS theology, THE VAST majority of people from our era who inherit the Celestial Kingdom will definitely not be members of the LDS church).

    According to my understanding of LDS theology, all of these children who die before the age of 8 are guaranteed exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. For the sake of argument, if women really are more righteous than men, any imbalance in the greater number of righteous adult women will be made up for by the fact that there are HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS (if not billions) of dead little boys who, according to LDS beliefs, will need wives to be exalted in the Celestial Kingdom. Thus, according to LDS theology, polygamy couldn’t be widespread, or maybe even exist at all, in the Celestial Kingdom, because of the number of wives that will need to go to these extra males who are dead and need wives.

  23. A sidenote about “malaka couples”: a recent study seems to indicate that married couples are actually happier where the woman is more attractive than the man: http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200804/why-handsome-men-make-bad-husbands-i

    An interesting potential explanation for this is that men tend to value youth and beauty in women, whereas women tend to value wealth and status in mates (each sex values these different things because it helps each sex maximize reproductive success for themselves). Thus the man in a relationship will generally be happier if his wife is prettier, whereas his wife’s happiness will not be greatly affected by the husbands level of attractiveness, but by his status and wealth. The couple’s level of happiness will therefore only be affected by the level of attractiveness of the woman, but not the man. http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200804/why-handsome-men-make-bad-husbands-ii (of course there are many other factors that affect marital happiness, these are just explanations for the role of physical attractiveness).

    None of this explains, however, malaka relationships where the wife is “a much better person than her husband.” 🙂

  24. Bah, humbug.

    I love my wife, and I tell her every night that I don’t deserve her. And the she tells me that she doesn’t deserve me, and we both know what we’re really saying–we have a lot of work to do to be worthy of the celestial kingdom and the marriage and relationship that we want to have. Neither of us is perfect, but we are well-made for each other. Women who bash their husbands, complain about their faults and are constantly staining their husband’s reputation by saying negative things about men are really making themselves look bad (my wife states this frequently).

    Women who brag about their husbands are doing the opposite, and quite effectively. Overall, however, I’d say that the difference in righteousness between genders is much like any differences in intelligence between genders–the within group variation exceeds the between group variation by several orders of magnitude. That is, while men and women have slight differences in intelligence as measured by most intelligence tests (sorry, but it is true, I can’t help or change that), it pales by comparison when you look at how much variation there is in intelligence in men or women alone, or in humans in general. The same is true for righteousness, I am convinced. So are women more righteous, on average, than men? Perhaps, but the difference would be a pale comparison to the how much variation there is in women’s righteousness, or in men’s righteousness. Ultimately, the question makes no sense.

    Here’s the real question: does it make sense to treat either group differently as a result of that difference? If we were talking about intelligence and making a hiring decision for a job, everyone would be scrambling to line up on a single, legally defensible, position. I think that righteousness should be treated the same, and if anyone wants to treat it differently, then I’ve got some choice words for you. Women are not better than men, men are not better than women. End of story.

    By the way, men do not need the priesthood for salvation any more than women need motherhood for salvation. I’ve heard that false doctrine used for justification. The truth is that the priesthood is God’s order, and he administers it as he sees fit. He has called righteous men to be ordained to the priesthood at this time. Will that ever change? The doctrines are in place for it to happen, and we could do it, but I honestly don’t think we’ll see it in the next few years. If it happens, it will happen at a time when it is not expected. (Maybe when Boyd K Packer outlives Monson, is prophet and is thought to be the most conservative prophet in a long time, and then slams the world with a shock by extending the priesthood to all worthy members of the church). Frankly it would come best from a prophet who was thought to be very traditional…if it were going to happen. Then again, I have my doubts. Somehow, I think that the role of jointly-held priesthood is more likely to be expanded and clarified as in the early days of the church.

  25. #22:
    I am doing a presentation on paraphilias (pedophilia, voyeurism, s&m, etc.)in a pathology class on Wednesday…

    I have to wonder about your classifications here. Pedophilia is certainly a “pathology,” in that it involves exploitation those who are incapable of informed consent. Voyeurism may or may not involve lack of consent, thus may or may not be a “pathology.” The vast majority of S&M, however, is fully consensual. The literature of the S&M community, in fact, is replete with the mantra of “safe, sane and consensual.” There certainly are pathological individuals who fail to respect safety and boundaries, but such people quickly find themselves openly condemned by others in the community. If someone considers S&M inherently pathological, I can only conclude they are (a) dramatically uninformed on the subject, and/or (b) repressed individuals who think “missionary position, man on top” is deity’s only “true and living method.”

  26. It seems my comment was lost. Trying again:

    I have heard the theory that women are more righteous than men used as an explanation for the necessity of polygamy. I even had a seminary teacher (a full-time CES employee who taught release-time seminary in Utah) who taught that everyone in the Celestial Kingdom will be polygamous because there will be so many more righteous women than men that every man will have to take many wives to give every righteous woman a chance at exaltation.

    I want to take issue with one of premises you list as being the foundation for this belief in the church:

    “5. Throughout the history of the world, there would have to be more female children who died in innocence and will receive a Celestial glory than male children.”

    This premise is WRONG! Something that most people do not know is that sex ratios at birth are not equal: more males are naturally born than females. The ratio is about 1.05 males born for every female. This holds true across different races and cultures (IE, these numbers aren’t a result female infanticide in China and India, it is a natural characteristic of the human species that more males are born). In the United States, from 1970-2002, among white non-Hispanics, there were 105 males born for every 100 females.

    The total ratio of males to females in the world, though, is 1.01. The explanation for why this number is lower than the sex ratio at birth is that males die at a higher rate than females at all age levels. Thus, more males die before the age of 8 than females. And these are A LOT of children. Each year, about as many children die as there are members of the LDS church (9.7 million children under 5 years of age died in 2006, according to the BBC).

    According to LDS teachings, all of these children who die before the age of 8 are guaranteed exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. For the sake of argument, if women really are more righteous than men, any imbalance in the greater number of righteous adult women will probably be made up for by the fact that there are HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS (if not billions) of dead little boys who, according to LDS beliefs, will need wives to be exalted in the Celestial Kingdom. Thus, polygamy couldn’t be widespread in the Celestial Kingdom, or maybe even exist at all, because of the number of wives that will need to go to these extra males who died as children and need wives. If women and men are equally righteous, then this means that there would be far more men in the Celestial Kingdom than women–which leads to some interesting questions as well.

  27. MoJim – very interesting points and your article link above is also great. Thanks! Personally, I don’t think women are more righteous than men, and I think the “arguments” lined out to support the idea that they are just don’t hold up.

  28. I’ve always been annoyed by the explanation that women are innately more spiritual than men, and that’s why men have the priesthood. The rationale was that women didn’t need the priesthood to be spiritual because they just came that way. It always seemed totally illogical and irritated me almost as much as the “men have priesthood; women have motherhood” explanation.

  29. Nick (#27) – I agree with you here. Many of these “behaviors” are not inherently pathological – I think there is a spectrum of what is considered “pathological.” As for S&M, it can be, at least according to the psychiatric profession (iow, these are not my classifications):

    “…recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the act of being humiliated, beaten, bound, or otherwise made to suffer… The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.” (DSM IV-TR)

    This diagnosis is similar to other paraphilias, where the key is “distress” or “impairment” in functioning due to the behaviors. Under this umbrella, a LOT of stuff may be considered paraphilia. For example, a lot of people look at porn, but not pathologically. However, If it meets certain criteria, it could be considered such (“pictophilia”).

    Re: voyeurism – lack of consent is necessary for the diagnosis.

  30. Thanks for the great explanation, AdamF. With those provisos of distress, functional impairment, and lack of consent, I can totally agree that we’re talking about pathologies.

  31. No problem… sometimes these terms get tossed around casually.

    As for the general topic here, most serial killers are male (mostly caucasian). Women may have some of their own issues, but why is it that it seems men are so messed up (more than women) in some cases?

  32. Another good discussion. I have always been a little annoyed by the treatment of men in church meetings. It seems like we are taken to the woodshed while the women are treated with kid gloves. I asked a really, really, really senior church leader about it an he just chuckled. My theory is this:

    * The General Authorities tend to receive more letters from women. Women are apparently better at thank you notes and writing General Authorities. Mormon men tend to internalize their pain a bit more. I have known men who have been mentally abused for years who would never elevate a complaint to their bishop or stake president, let alone a General Authority. Can you imagine them reading a letter from an unhappy man at conference that begins “my wife is an insufferable b****”.

    * Women are more easily offended. The responses to Sister Beck seem to bear this out. (this may get me banned from this blog).

    * Women can be extremely un-Christlike to each other. If the best test of the Atonement in your life is how you treat others, some women aren’t doing so well.

    * Men have wars and violence, Women have abortion.

    I believe both genders should be treated with respect and not coddled or condescended to. If all women and men could be like my good parents and grandparents – the church and world would be a much better place.

  33. AdamF – “As for the general topic here, most serial killers are male (mostly caucasian). Women may have some of their own issues, but why is it that it seems men are so messed up (more than women) in some cases?” But many serial killers have mommy issues (especially those that target female victims), so which came first? And is it worse to be a serial killer or to drive someone to it through mental abuse and unfit mothering? (Not that all mothers are inherently responsible for the sins of all their children–I base this comment on many infamous serial killers).

  34. Pingback: My Nacle Notebook 2008: Interesting Comments | Zelophehad’s Daughters

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