Orientation, Selfishness and Female Ordination
Many Mormons understand their orientation to be to their spouse. This is commendable, because it demonstrates dedication and fidelity.
However, a spouse for Latter-day Saints means someone of the opposite gender. Homosexuality gets compartmentalized as an affliction that can lead to selfishness if not kept in check.
This selfishness is understood to disorient a person from their true orientation: that of their potential or current spouse of the opposite gender. Some gay Mormon men believe their affliction is a blessing in disguise because it teaches them to be humble. Others begin to question the Churchs framing of homosexuality and of gender.
Because the selfishness has been gendered male (and selflessness gendered female), female homosexuality, in fact, threatens the Churchs patriarchal structure. It is no coincidence that faiths that approve of same-sex marriage also ordain women.
When it comes to the reason why females dont have the priesthood, one Mormon man, after asking his stake president, explained it this way:
The priesthood was given to men to help us learn how to do what to women comes naturally. Everything we do with the priesthood is to help and serve other peoplewe can’t give ourselves blessings, we can’t seal ourselves to our spouses. It is all about service to others! So men were given the priesthood to help us become better people, to be more serviceoriented and less self oriented. In other wordswe were given the priesthood to help us raise ourselves up to the level where women are already at!
Of course, this logic fails on its face, because if women are naturally service-oriented, then they should have had the priesthood from the beginning. Even if one believes the human experience on Earth is a classroom in which those who arent service-oriented (men) are the ones who most need to learn how to be (like women), this frankly results in a sexist pigeonholing of women as selflessbecause of their ties to motherhood and so on.
When it comes to homosexuality, Mormon women are believed to be doing a better job at “naturally” keeping their selfishness in check (except those Mormon lesbians who leave the Church, who are thought of as acting like selfish men). The lesbian Mormon in good standing with the Church might not even identify as lesbian or with her attractions, and might simply consider her orientation to be to her male spouse.
Thus, we hear about gay Mormon men who are becoming humble,” but we rarely hear about gay Mormon women who are already humble.
Still, outside the Church, homosexuality is not framed as lending to selfishness, and more and more Mormons believe it doesn’t; I would think more and more Mormons are also beginning to question why there is no female ordination. The two go hand-in-hand.
And don’t forget men are supposed to put their wives on a pedestal. In my house the only things we have on pedestals are sinks, toilets and statues.
I hear a huge problem in the older LDS singles community is that Mormon men develop such crazy ideas about what the “perfect Mormon woman” is like that they’re never satisfied when they actually meet her. Who knew pedestaling could be so degrading.
Thanks for even writing about Mormon lesbians. I rarely even read anything about them. The gay Mormon men are talking but the women definitely aren’t. When will they start talking?
I am a married, Mormon lesbian. There, I said it. I’m married to the perfect man and we have three beautiful children. I am NOT “selfLESS” and have many times crossed the line. I feel completely gay, married straight. It’s a difficult situation and one that I may not always be in. We’re considering divorce, although we’re so happy together. If it weren’t for the LESBIAN issue, everything would be fine. So, here I am. You may hear more from me in the future.
FindingMyWay — Thanks for coming here — I can’t wait to hear more from you! 😀
Finding My Way-I’m wondering if you fit in the category the author of this post addresses? “The mormon lesbian in good standing with the church may not even identify as lesbian…” From your reply, you do identify as lesbian. How does that work for you in the church? Why do you think Mormon lesbians are less hesitant to talk? Are there just fewer of you than gay Mormon men? Could it be merely statistical?