This is a topic about which I have much more I could write and spend more time coming to understand personally — however, considering the general interest on LDS blogs over the topics of:
- If there is and how we should worship a heavenly Mother
- Whether women should be considered to receive the priesthood
- What the role of women in the church of Jesus Christ ought to be
I thought it expedient to expound on what I currently understand the nature of these questions to be. Each point could be illuminated on further if a reader finds any jumps in reasoning that they perhaps cannot follow.
Male/female gender vs. masculine/feminine aspects:
Every intelligence that was created from nothing by God chose a gender for itself at the point when it was made independent in that sphere in which God placed it. This was its first “act for itself” – choosing to be either male or female in gender.
All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. [D&C 93:30]
Masculine and feminine, however, refer to aspects of character – not to gender. Whether male, female, or of no gender [things] – all aspects of existence may act in either masculine or feminine aspects, and thus may be considered as male or female.
The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God. [D&C 88:45]
The sun is considered as a male because it fulfills a masculine role of emitting light, while the moon is considered as a female because it fulfills a feminine role of receiving and reflecting light.
A better example of the distinction between gender and aspect/role is in considering Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost:
- The Holy Ghost [though female in gender], acts as a masculine aspect. She is entirely comprised of spirit matter, she is to be yielded to, she is the sword, she is the seed that is planted in the right-brain-heart, etc.
- While Jesus Christ [who is male in gender], acts as a feminine aspect. He was to be made flesh, fill his bowels with mercy and compassion, learn obedience, subject his will to that of the Father, etc.
The Eastern concept of the yin and yang is a symbol for explaining the dance that goes on between the masculine and feminine aspects within each individual person. Whether we chose to have a male or female gender as a personage – we are all comprised of masculine and feminine particles, aspects, and characteristics.
Just as an atom – though it contains some particles called protons [positive charge], some neutrons [no charge], and some electrons [negative charge] – may manifest [over-all] either a positive [e.g., sodium] or a negative [e.g., chlorine] charge. And it is this over-all charge that allows the atoms to interact with each other and form the molecules of life [sodium+chlorine = salt].
Every person [whether created male or female in gender] contains in their make-up the masculine aspects [yang] – or those of creation, acting upon, the left-brain-mind, the right side, etc. and the feminine aspects [yin] – those of resting, yielding, the right-brain-heart, the left side, etc. [See also, the Split-Brain Model of the Gospel]
When in balance within an individual person, the right-brain-heart will receive [feminine/yin] inspiration and the left-brain-mind will act upon [masculine/yang] that idea and be the tool that carries out the will.
The key to harmony in this system is for masculine and feminine aspects to be in balance. It would be improper to ask the moon [feminine] to shine like the sun – or the sun [masculine] to reflect like the moon. Each has its proper role, power, purpose, and way of doing things. Activity must be balanced with rest. Contemplation must be balanced with creation. Etc.
The two cannot be mixed together or pitted one against the other – as though “on” could ever gain victory over “off” or vice versa. The masculine and feminine are to come together and become one – joining together, but retaining the masculine and feminine aspects undiluted, untainted, and unmixed.
The masculine aspect pertains to males by virtue of a male birth, and the feminine aspect pertains to females by virtue of a female birth.
Humans are not born into this world absolutely free. That is not to say that I think we are slaves to some nature that we must overcome – nor do I think we are born in any way enslaved. I simply mean that we are all limited. The natural completion of any one human can only be found in the joining of two humans. The natural completion of any two humans [a marriage couple] can only be found in the joining of them to God. Man or woman [alone] know but one part of human nature.
The male is born into this world with the symbolic wand, scepter, or sword [covered by a hood]. This is God considered as a male. It is the will that acts to bring about something from nothing [creation]. It is the tool to penetrate the mystery.
The female is born into this world with the symbolic cup and orb [again covered by a hood]. This is God considered as a female. It is the sacred chalice of divine compassion. It is the fertile soil yielding to and receiving the seed.
Husbands are [by virtue of a male birth] to act in the masculine aspect of a priest. Wives are [by virtue of a female birth] to act in the feminine aspect of a priestess.
Males must embrace and magnify their masculine aspect – while at the same time honoring feminine-ness by loving their wives. Females must embrace and magnify their feminine aspect – while at the same time honoring masculine-ness by yielding their consent to their husbands.
For there to be true equality between males and females, matriarchy must exist along with patriarchy and gynocracy must exist along with androcracy. There must be a balance of power, and power must be shared – not concentrated in the hands of a few.
Women are to hold the keys of common consent by which they are free to authorize, validate, and direct the work of the priesthood. Men are to hold the keys of the priesthood by which they are to act as the voluntary slaves of all and minister the gifts and powers of the Spirit. Though wives are to submit to or follow their husbands – this is balanced inasmuch as the priesthood of the husband cannot be handled without the consent of those it is intended to serve [the servant must hearken to his masters in all things]. All things must be done by common consent, or else disharmony and tyranny result [rather the men or the women are at fault]. Men and women are judged by God according to how they use their respective set of keys and how they treat each other.
There is no need to consider the particular aspects of the feminine nature [or the male nature] to be a burden. Nor do we have to somehow neutralize the difference between woman and man in the quest for some androgenous equality of andro-gyn-archy where we demand the sun reflect light and the moon emit it.
What we are to understand by the division of masculine and feminine natures is that man or woman [alone] are but half of a true person – just as a person’s flesh is incomplete without his/her spirit. However, it is being half that allows the whole to be constructed without denying each part what it truly is.
What of Heavenly Mother?
All Gods, irrespective of gender, are masculine aspects – or are to be considered as male. When they become the feminine aspect [the mystery, that which is penetrated], they enter the passive, sleep-state of outer darkness — and we do not relate to them here in the created universe.
The exception to this is Jesus Christ during his life on earth. For though he was God, and therefore did not consider “Godhood” to be something he needed to cling to – he gave up or emptied himself of the masculine aspect of God, took upon himself flesh, appeared in human form, humbled himself in obedience to God, and suffered death on the cross to have his bowels filled with compassion for humanity [See Philippians 2:6-11]. Thus, for that duration of time, Jesus Christ [being God] was considered as a female while being a male personage. However, thereafter he is seated at the right hand of God [masculine] and all humanity is subject to him [masculine] – and is therefore, as God, he is currently considered as a male.
The created universe [associated with the left-brain-mind/right side] is a masculine aspect, therefore – whether a God is a priest/king or a priestess/queen, He or She is considered as a male by humanity. We refer to all of them as Gods [rather than Goddesses] – and we must relate to them as masculine, as in yield to the Spirit and submit our will, etc.
Outer darkness [associated with the right-brain-heart/left side] is a feminine aspect. It is the mystery [a sea of “nothing”-ness] that is penetrated by the will [expansion of the sphere of light]. It is the passive state of non-existence that is contrasted to the active state of existence.
Thus, the Gods are all considered as males and we must relate to them in that way. The difference in the offering of Cain [fruits of the earth] and of Abel [animal sacrifice] is that Cain could not act in faith towards God while approaching him as a feminine aspect [fertility worship].
As Gods, the purpose is to begin the Arthurian quest to drown in the cup of the Divine Feminine. Once a God [whether male or female in gender] achieves this state of progression – they return to a state of passivity and rest in outer darkness. The cycle of creation and expansion of this created universe must be balanced with the rest and withdraw of outer darkness.
The nature of all energy is a wave. There is no static position in nature. The full moon will be immediately replaced by the waning gibbous. Once the moon’s light is altogether withdrawn — a new moon phase begins with the waxing crescent. The sun goes thru similar phases of active solar activity and more quiet periods. The earth wobbles on its axis to form seasonal intervals. The sun moves thru the sky from the summer solstice to the equinox to the winter solstice and back. Etc.
Eternal progression does not defy this natural pattern by being linear. The course is one eternal round – or that of an undulating wave. The kingdom of God is associated with “on” [yang, creation, left-brain, masculine] and outer darkness is associated with “off” [yin, rest, right-brain, feminine]. The point at which any God [male or female] reaches the crest of the wave – they pierce thru the created universe and begin the state of rest [as was counseled to be so since the beginning].
This state is the Divine Feminine, what people call the Heavenly Mother – this is God considered as a female. This substance is what yields to the universal sphere of light [the seed]. This substance is what the power of creation [pro-creation] uses to bring something out from nothing. Once any Goddess [male or female] reaches the trough of the wave – they become awake to their left-brain-mind and spawn a new universal sphere of light [a seed].
Outer darkness is, in every facet, the right-brain-heart of God – it is the Mother or Goddess – the waning or sleep state.
The created universe is, in every facet, the left-brain-mind of God – it is the Father or God – the waxing or active state.
This principle – explained in three tiers:
I. As a person [rather born male or female], each of us must seek to harmonize the feminine and the masculine aspects inherent in our person.
This is done by subjecting the flesh [feminine] to the spirit [masculine] – and by placing the right-brain and the left-brain into their proper harmonious roles.
II. As a marriage couple [who are made up of one male and one female], the wife and the husband must seek to harmonize the feminine and masculine aspects inherent in the role each one is to play.
This is done by women acting in the aspects of the feminine and men acting in the aspects of the masculine. Wives [feminine] must follow their husbands [masculine].
III. As the church of God [who are made up of the foundational unit of marriage families], we are all – as the bride of Christ – to seek towards harmonizing ourselves as the feminine with our masculine Bridegroom and Father.
This is done by all believers acting in the aspects of the feminine by relating to God only as a masculine aspect [even the Gods that are female in gender, i.e. the Holy Ghost]. The church [feminine] must subject its will to the will of the Father [masculine].
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