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:
- There would have to be a preponderance of single women who are living a “Celestial” law but will never be married in this life.
- 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.
- 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.
- There would have to be few or no single men living a “Celestial” law who will not marry in this life.
- 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.