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.
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.
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.