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Women and the Church: The View from 1840

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 20, 2011

This opinion was published in the Millennial Star, presumably written by its editor, Parley P. Pratt. The text of the scriptural verses he cites can be found at the bottom of the post. Get out your washtubs and cooking pots, ladies, and don’t forget the basin for washing Parley’s feet. And shut up, already.

Duties of Women.

A certain Elder writes us, 22nd of June, “If you would set forth the duty and standing of women in the church, in one of your numbers, it would be of some use to us, as some of our sisters feel a little disposed to get out of order.”

It is clearly implied in the above statement that the sisters referred to know what their duty and standing is; (for how could they feel disposed to get away from a thing they were ignorant of?) and the Elder also must have known their duty and standing; (or else, how could he have been qualified to bring such a charge against them?) and knowing these things, why does he ask us to set forth their duty?

Leaving this question for the elder to answer, we would refer him, and all Saints, to the sacred writers for further information on this subject. Paul gave his opinion on this matter, when writing his first Epistle to Timothy, v. 14; and if the sisters follow that counsel, they will be very likely to escape the errors mentioned in the 13th verse of the same chapter.

Ephes. v. 22-29; Titus ii. 2-6; and 1 Peter iii. 1-7; and a score of other similar passages, contain much good instruction on the subject before us; and while the brethren are watching the sisters very closely to see that they do not get out of order, we hope they will notice some of the gentle admonitions to themselves in the quotations referred to, and see that they shew the sisters that respect which is their due, and not lay upon them any heavier burdens than they are able to bear, or the Lord requires. 1 Cor. xiv. 34, is explained by 1 Tim. ii. 11 and 12; so that while it is not the privilege of the sisters to teach the brethren, or usurp authority over them, and especially over the priesthood; or govern the church of Christ; or dictate her discipline; or control the Elders and Officers in any manner: it is their privilege and duty to warn all, both men and women, of what God is doing in these last days, so far as they have opportunity, – and invite all to come and submit themselves to the gospel of Christ. It is a very different thing to warn the world, professors or non-professors, to repent, and invite them to the ordinances of god’s house, from what it is to teach the Church, (or those who have obeyed the gospel,) and to usurp authority over those to whom they should be in subjection. Women may pray, testify, speak in tongues, and prophesy in the Church, when liberty is given by the Elders, but not for the instruction of the Elders in their duties. The spirit of the prophets must be subject unto the prophets. Women may vote in the Church, and yet keep silence.

It is their privilege to make and mend, and wash, and cook for the Saints; and lodge strangers; and wash the Saints’ feet; and this is surely a most acceptable treat to the servants of God when they are weary, and their feet are sore with long travels: and we rejoice that the sisters esteem it a privilege thus to minister to our necessities; and it is their privilege, in all such things, to labour with us in the gospel, like the holy women in the days of Paul; and inasmuch as they do these things, and live by every word of the Lord, they shall in no wise lose their reward.

1 Timothy 5:14

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

1 Timothy 5:13

And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

Ephesians 5:22-29

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.

Titus 2:2-6

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

1 Peter 3:1-7

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

1 Corinthians 14:34

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

1 Timothy 2:11-12

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.



30 Comments »

  1. I wish I could describe my sense of awe as I read further into the fifth paragraph and realized Bro. Pratt wasn’t being metaphorical about foot-washing!

    Comment by E. Wallace — October 20, 2011 @ 8:00 am

  2. Abso-freakin’-lutely awesome, isn’t it?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 8:29 am

  3. I would love to know what the sisters did when they felt that little disposition to “get out of order.”

    Comment by Matt — October 20, 2011 @ 8:55 am

  4. May I point out, too, that this early men were not routinely ordained to the priesthood — a man might be a lay member for years before he was called as a deacon, much less to the Melchizedek Priesthood. So when Parley says, “It is not the privilege of the sisters to teach the brethren, and usurp authority over them, especially over the priesthood,” he is not simply respecting priesthood authority; he is saying that all women are subordinate to all men merely by virtue of the men’s maleness.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  5. Matt, read this to your wife, claiming it is a current directive from the Church. I think you will then witness a live approximation of the historic disorder.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 8:58 am

  6. Wow. Just think of the knickers that would get tied in knots if something like this was put in a church publication nowadays. I fear that it would cause the server to melt down over at FMH.

    (Oh my. Perhaps I shouldn’t joke.) I’ve always liked PPP (more or less) but I’m reexamining what I know about him. I might need to read the new bio from Grow and Givens.

    Comment by Researcher — October 20, 2011 @ 9:12 am

  7. The language and setting are old, and readers in today’s enlightened times may have difficulty interpreting and applying the text. Without a kind-hearted interpretation, and looking past the words and to the spirit of his intention, some might be inclined to point the finger and mock.

    I think Elder Pratt is saying that a woman in the Church (and maybe also a man not holding the priesthood, as was common in 1840) can do so much good and can be satisfied with “their privilege and duty to warn all, both men and women, of what God is doing in these last days, so far as they have opportunity, – and invite all to come and submit themselves to the gospel of Christ” and “warn the world, professors or non-professors, to repent, and invite them to the ordinances of god’s house” and “pray, testify, speak in tongues, and prophesy in the Church . . . but not for the instruction of the Elders in their [priesthood] duties.” I choose to be charitable in my reading.

    Comment by ji — October 20, 2011 @ 9:42 am

  8. In contrast, The Prophet reprinted an essay by Mary Wolestonecraft entitled Women: Their condition and influence in its first four numbers that was much more progressive. I’m not sure how universal PPP’s views were.

    Comment by Kent Larsen — October 20, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  9. I can understand where Brother Parley is coming from–mostly straight out of Paul’s writings in the New Testament.

    It is a bit odd, though, for him to have chosen foot washing as an example of appropriate service for women, the “weaker vessels” who should “learn in silence in all subjection,” since the most significant example of foot washing in the scripture was not performed by the woman who then wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair, but by Jesus himself. Shouldn’t that have suggested to Brother Pratt a more nuanced look at Paul’s writings?

    Comment by Mark B. — October 20, 2011 @ 9:53 am

  10. ji, thank you for your “charitable reading,” and therefore your unwarranted chastisement of those of us who are incapable of the mental gymnastics you display in your spectacular contortion of the plain meaning of his words. As Mark B. points out, these words are straight from Paul, and are understood in the Christian world even today and certainly in PPP’s day, as requiring a complete submission and subordination of all women to all men. Your so-called charitable reading is ahistorical and false.

    You will, of course, read this comment in a similarly charitable fashion and not bear any ill-will toward me.

    Kent, I’m not sure how universal any of the writings in my “The View From” series are; at this point I am only collecting and presenting as many voices as I can find, with analysis to come later.

    Thanks, Researcher and Mark, as always.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  11. What’s fascinating is how PPP evolved on this issue. While he wrote several things like this during his British mission, he made a rather significant (at least rhetorical) change when he returned to Nauvoo in 1843-45. (Ironically, at the time of his entrance into polygamy.) I think the evolving nature of Mormon marital theology really had a deep effect on his gendered thinking, as seen in his pamphlets and editorials during the period. (And his decision to print Wolstonecraft, as Kent mentions above.)

    However, with 1845 and the Q12′s centralization of authority, with its resulting focus on patriarchy, caused another turn back to a quasi-colonial view of men and women, with the male at the center of the theological cosmos.

    All fascinating stuff, but you’ll have to wait for a forthcoming article to hear more of my (probably overstated) opinion on it… :)

    Comment by Ben Park — October 20, 2011 @ 10:35 am

  12. Ben, you tease …

    Although I don’t know the evolution of thought of any particular person or even of the Church as a whole, I am aware that there was change — you wouldn’t read PPP’s 1840 article in a 2011 Ensign, unless it were presented as an historical artifact. That’s why I label these as “The View from [year]” rather than “PPP’s view” or “John A. Widtsoe’s View” or whatever.

    Look forward to your article, opinion and all!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  13. My own “charitable reading” is that Paul must have had an absolutely awful marriage, and was glad to be on the road with all those missions, and perhaps was directing many of these comments about women to his wife. Surely she could find someone who was willing to read his letters to her (you should see the gymnastics my tongue is going through to remain firmly in cheek here!)

    I know my modern sensibilities get in the way here I’m pretty sure that the 19th century, while better than previous centuries, was still an awful place for women. I’ll give Parley a pass for being a product of his time, and plus points in that he did seem to evolve somewhat.

    Just to keep my wife “in order”, I recently bought her a Roomba robot vacuum, so that she can focus her womanly energies on those other feminine occupations, such as grading math quizzes, planning lessons, and sorting through piles of homework each night. After which she has that Relief Society calling….

    I don’t think I could have lasted a week in 1840 without my head exploding.

    Comment by kevinf — October 20, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  14. You left out your feet and their washing, kevinf!

    Comment by Mark B. — October 20, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

  15. kevinf makes a good point about PPP being a product of his time — we all are, they all were, and my head explodes because of that broadly shared cultural view, not because I blame PPP himself for holding it.

    (ji, does that excuse me in part for what may have looked like I was mocking PPP? I see now that because I hadn’t made explicit my awareness of the cultural background, it may easily have looked like I was jeering the man and not the view.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  16. I’m going to play Neanderthal’s Advocate here, and suggest that perhaps even jeering the view is misplaced. A 19th-century preindustrial agrarian society is sufficiently foreign to a 21st-century postindustrial audience that a lot of our own assumptions may be misplaced.

    I have been told by biometricians, and have no particular reason to doubt, that the 95th percentile of strength in women is at about the level of the 5th percentile of strength in men. We tend not to think that’s very important nowadays (admit it, you smirked when you saw the statistic) and it probably isn’t the overwhelming majority of the time. This was not as true in an age when a man’s physical strength was very often all that stood between his family and starvation. I pick this as one easily understood example; no doubt there are others. One could, for example, attempt to calculate how much of a homemaker’s time has been freed by conveniences like washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, flush toilets, and so forth.

    It really was a different world, and perhaps we should give some heed to the wise words of George Santayana: “We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, knowing that once it was all that was humanly possible.”

    Comment by Vader — October 20, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

  17. Interesting. While the foot-washing and some other details are real…somethings, it actually sounds like the structural elements are exactly so today, right?

    Is there anything in here, the meat of the passage, that does not precisely apply today?

    so that while it is not the privilege of the sisters to teach the brethren, or usurp authority over them, and especially over the priesthood; or govern the church of Christ; or dictate her discipline; or control the Elders and Officers in any manner: it is their privilege and duty to warn all, both men and women, of what God is doing in these last days, so far as they have opportunity, – and invite all to come and submit themselves to the gospel of Christ. It is a very different thing to warn the world, professors or non-professors, to repent, and invite them to the ordinances of god’s house, from what it is to teach the Church, (or those who have obeyed the gospel,) and to usurp authority over those to whom they should be in subjection. Women may pray, testify, speak in tongues, and prophesy in the Church, when liberty is given by the Elders, but not for the instruction of the Elders in their duties.

    Sisters can be missionaries but not leaders over men (not APs), as one example. They “pray, testify, speak…when liberty is given by the Elders.” Is there a single clause of Sister Beck’s talks about the role of Relief Society that aren’t attached to the same caveat, “when liberty is given by the Elders”? Though usually today it is, “under the direction of the priesthood.”

    Comment by Cynthia L. — October 20, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  18. Vader, other than acknowledging your Neanderthalish flavor, I do not see your point. A man’s physical strength, or a woman’s assumed role in toilet cleaning, provides such an overwhelming justification for limiting women’s religious roles to cooking, cleaning, and footwashing, that the view cannot be jeered? The world of the 1840s isn’t THAT alien.

    Cynthia, I don’t think even the structural elements remain in place. You can point to a peculiar situation like mission organization, yes, but what of the participation of women (few as they may be) on ward councils? or speaking in Sacrament Meeting? or serving as Gospel Doctrine teachers with priesthood holders in the class? or speaking in General Conference and instructing men on the best thing they can do for their daughters? Yes, it’s all “under the direction of the priesthood” — but, then, so is the selection and direction of male speakers and male Gospel Doctrine teachers. (I separate the role of the Relief Society as an auxiliary organization from the participation of individual women beyond the structure of the Relief Society, since we don’t get our callings or authority to teach men through any auxiliary.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  19. Cynthia, thanks for throwing the cold bucket of reality all over us, as we congratulate ourselves on how far we’ve come. You do point out one significant difference in that today women can be missionaries, which they could not do, at least in the earlier decades of the 19th century. I still at least hope for women being allowed to pray in general conference, as I can see no doctrinal reason for exclusion.

    Perhaps my head should also be exploding in this century, as well.

    Comment by kevinf — October 20, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  20. True, Ardis, but sort of telling that our example of a woman addressing men in GC is taken from this month! I took great interest in that particular talk, for that very reason. It struck me as highly unusual (and cool!) that a woman was explicitly addressing men.

    Comment by Cynthia L. — October 20, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  21. I mean, it’s sort of the cliche that men get up and get a snack during talks by women. At least, that’s what I’ve heard from many sources, first hand and second hand.

    Except for everybody’s favorite exception, the Primary President being over a male primary teacher, this always holds in the church: ” it is not the privilege of the sisters …to control the Elders and Officers in any manner.”

    Women may be on Ward Council, but even in the new and improved version of Ward Council, I don’t think that is seen by most as meaning that women are over the men in the ward. They remain strictly over their domains (YW, RS, Primary).

    I’m not sure that even Gospel Doctrine teacher goes against the paragraph. It mentions women speaking in church (even “prophesying”), but only proscribes a particular kind of “instruction,” namely, women are “not for the instruction of the Elders in their duties.” I read that as referring to being in leadership over men, rather than just teaching a class.

    Comment by Cynthia L. — October 20, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  22. Okay. You may be right. I read it differently. I instruct the men in my class in their duties as Latter-day Saints, toward their families, their fellow Saints, and the world. I may not have the line authority to insist that they act properly, or to enforce action with the power of discipline, the way a priesthood leader has the authority, say, to govern the way priesthood bearers perform ordinances, but I do teach men in a way that PPP’s 1840 opinion would absolutely foreclose.

    And can you even imagine the possibility of any woman speaking in any LDS meeting in 1840 and instructing the men present how to treat their wives and daughters? You sat up and took note because it was startling in its novelty, but not because you thought, or suspected anyone else would think, “Hey, you woman! You don’t have the right to instruct men that way! Sit down!” That suggests that there isn’t and hasn’t been any structural barrier to a woman speaking like that for some unknown length of time, but that we aren’t aware of women having previously taken the opportunity.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  23. If Parley were to show up at my house with this message my Wife and Daughters would sic “Stu-Boy” on him!

    Comment by andrew h — October 20, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

  24. There’s some good old-fashioned sisterly disorder for ya!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  25. Ardis (no. 22) — I don’t think the text “would absolutely foreclose” you teaching the men in your Gospel Doctrine class exactly as you do now — not at all. Indeed, Elder Pratt said it was a woman’s privilege to “invite all to come and submit themselves to the gospel of Christ” and “warn the world, professors or non-professors [members and non-members?], to repent, and invite them to the ordinances of god’s house” and “pray, testify, speak in tongues, and prophesy in the Church.” And I don’t read it as requiring “a complete submission and subordination of all women to all men.” Indeed, I think Elder Pratt would fully sustain you in your calling if he were invited to return to today’s Church.

    I love reading text from the past — I love the use of the language and the words and the phrasings. Many things that were written in the past cannot be said today, and maybe should not have been said then, but they are what they are and truth can still be found through charitable readings of the texts of imperfect men (and women). In my reading, I particularly noted Elder Pratt’s almost-passing admonitions to men in the second and fourth paragraphs — he was trying to teach them, too.

    Yes, women don’t wash men’s feet anymore — but they once did in the old days, when their men came home after long walks, much as a man today might rub his wife’s feet as an expression of love after she has been standing all day. I did it for my wife just the other day after a long day of being a tourist.

    There is no chatisement in my no. 7 — just an invitation to charitable reading of an old text.

    Comment by ji — October 20, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  26. Ardis, I have no desire to go back to a time when my life expectancy would have been less than fifty years, and making a living almost certainly meant backbreaking work 12 or more hours a day. Given that I’m basically a walking collection of Class C medical devices, I would not last long without modern medicine. Nor does Padme have any desire to go back to a time when a load of laundry was a full days’ work, making dinner took hours every day, and one of the chores was emptying the chamber pots. But that was the best our ancestors knew how to do, they made the best of it, and they do not need our temporal chauvinism.

    It’s as true for social customs. I do not know all the reasons why they had the gender roles they did, though relative strength is a good examle of something that obviously played its part. I see convincing evidence that men and women loved each other as much back then as they do today, so I’m not buying the radical feminist explanation of the all-oppressive patriarchy. The gender roles likely served important purposes, even if I don’t entirely know what they were. Let me try a quote from G.K. Chesterton:

    “In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

    This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.”

    I agree that it’s hard to see why (for example) relative strength should have any bearing on who gets to emulate Christ by washing people’s feet. However, that may simply show my ignorance. And in an age when singing about raping and murdering women is deemed a Constitutionally protected form of free expression, while paying for an ad critical of an incumbent politician within 30 days of an election is not, I suggest a bit of humility may be in order when comparing our social institutions to theirs.

    Comment by Vader — October 20, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

  27. Vader, gender roles did and do serve important purposes; I will agree with you that far. What those purposes were, and who they benefited, and whether they deserve respect as well as mere recognition of their existence, is something I suspect we will disagree about — if for no other reason than that anyone who can use the phrase “radical feminist explanation of the all-oppressive patriarchy” in connection with either Keepa or me needs to read Keepa little longer before venturing to comment again.

    The real issue here, though, is distinguishing between legitimate gender roles in the secular world of 1840, and in the LDS religious world of 1840. Even if — *if* — you could successfully argue that male physical strength made necessary and justified social gender roles (a case that would be especially difficult for you to make since you mention, for example, laundry — a feat of female strength that rather works against your justified division of labor along lines of sheer animal strength), you could not make a case that such presumed lack of physical strength disqualifies a woman from speaking in church and restricts her participation to washing and mending the clothing of the elders. You simply can’t make that case, because it is not true, not practiced today, not supported by latter-day revelation, and, to judge from Ben’s comment above, was not even a position maintained by PPP for very long.

    Although the milieu of 1840 was quite different from 2011 in many ways, it is not different enough to preclude study and understanding. It is not different enough to preclude judgment. And it doesn’t take a “radical feminist explanation” or a false implication that I view the Church as an “all-oppressive patriarchy,” to reach that understanding and judgment.

    This is rather a stronger comment than I usually inflict on a new commenter. Please stick around. We usually have a much friendlier atmosphere on Keepa.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  28. Ardis, my impression is that you could perhaps be fairly described as a non-radical feminist, and so the comment that so irked you was not directed at you at all. Frankly, the reaction I expected was more along the lines of “Well, at least we can agree on that.”

    Perhaps I should have simply quoted Santayana and left it at that, since his gem is too precious to benefit from my poor attempts at embellishment:

    We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, knowing that once it was all that was humanly possible.

    And with that, I had best take your advice to wait a little longer before commenting again. My shuttle is waiting.

    Comment by Vader — October 20, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

  29. Sorry, Vader. I hope I didn’t drive you away. Maybe I’m too touchy today.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

  30. Groan. I actually see several of the themes in this post also expressed in Daughters In My Kingdom.

    It is their privilege to make and mend, and wash, and cook for the Saints; and lodge strangers; and wash the Saints’ feet; and this is surely a most acceptable treat to the servants of God when they are weary, and their feet are sore with long travels: and we rejoice that the sisters esteem it a privilege thus to minister to our necessities; and it is their privilege, in all such things, to labour with us in the gospel, like the holy women in the days of Paul;

    This is essentially a summary of Chapter 1.

    I think the part that Cynthia L quoted in comment 17 is also well-supported by several parts of DIMK. A major theme I took from the book is that women are responsible for other women and children (under the direction of priesthood leaders) but never for men.

    I think that is why I am struggling so much with the book. I was expecting something that would expand my understanding of women and our roles, and instead I feel like the teachings of Paul were pretty much confirmed and reinforced.

    Comment by Stephanie — October 21, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

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