In a talk given to the Church Coordinating Council in 1993, Elder Boyd K. Packer identified three areas that pose a serious threat to the spiritual welfare to the members of the church. He said, “The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals.”
With the recent events of John Dehlin and Katie Kelly’s disciplinary counsel, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on Elder Packers words. I kept asking myself, “Of all the things he could warn us about, why did he choose these three things?” I believe Elder Packer was warning us about an ideology, a belief system that is incompatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ (not to mention American values). His warning has proven to be prophetic because each one of these issues (primarily feminism and gay marriage) is continually front and center in the media.
Because there is too much to discuss with these topics, I have divided this post into two parts. The first will cover the feminism movement and its war against gender identity and the perceived threat of the patriarchal system. The second part will continue many of the themes in this post since all of them virtually share the same values and goals.
Gender and the Patriarchal System
In order to understand feminism, one must understand that the cornerstone of this movement is the belief that men and women, by nature are the same, and the only reason that gender roles exist is because of “social constructs.” That is where their belief that boys like guns and girls like dolls originates, because they are taught to. This reasoning explains why men are masculine, and women tend to be feminine, not because God made us this way, but because we are socially programmed to think this way. Their stance is that since these roles are learned, they can be unlearned.
Feminists believe that the greatest perpetrator of these oppressive roles is the patriarchal system, where a man is the provider and protector, while the woman is the homemaker. Betty Friedan referred to the home as “a comfortable concentration camp.” “What better way to “re-educate” a generation than to do whatever is possible to destroy the traditional family?
Jessica Valenti, an outspoken feminist, identified this as one of their objectives in an op-ed she wrote for the Washington post; “Feminism is a social justice movement with values and goals that benefit women. It’s a structural analysis of a world that oppresses women, an ideology based on the notion that patriarchy exists and that it needs to end.” Robin Morgan, another leading feminist said, “We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.”
In essence, it is the patriarchal system that they see as an obstacle to women’s liberation. Once you understand this, you can begin to see why they have such contempt for the likes of Sarah Palin and Conservative Christians, and why Betty Friedan would refer to home makers as “feeble-minded.”
One of the reasons that the feminist movement has been so active in the gay rights movement is that it undermines the “patriarchal system” and gender identities. What gay marriage is saying, in its essence, is that there are no gender distinctions, whether you have an actual mother and father, father and father or mother and mother, it doesn’t matter. Gay marriage only furthered the agenda of the feminists to remove any gender distinctions.
So important is the removal of gender distinctions to this movement that Susan Okin, an academic theorist, envisioned a time when “one’s sex would have no more relevance than one’s eye color or the length of one’s toes.” No assumptions would be made about “male and “female” roles. It would be a future in which men and women participated in more or less equal numbers in every sphere of life, from infant care to different kinds of paid work to high-level politics.”
If you think this is an example cherry picked from the fringe of this movement, here are but a few examples (I can provide many more);
- The Vancouver public now allows student to choose gender-neutral pronouns such as, “Xe,” “Xem” and “Xyr.”
- California is in the process of allowing gay men to list themselves as “mother” (how adorable) on their child’s birth certificate.
- NPR ran a story last year, called “Young People Push Back against Gender Categories,” I quote from the report, “They refuse to be limited by notions like male and female. ‘I want you to call me Tractor and use pronouns like zee, zim and zer.” Tracker? You can’t make this stuff up.
What Does This Mean For Latter-day Saints?
The Proclamation on the Family makes it clear “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” With indisputable evidence, not to mention, common sense, one has to “will” themselves to believe otherwise. In essence, Feminism is a rebellion against nature, against what is true. That is why it can be accurately called an ideology, a religion.
One of the worst things about this ideology is how it contaminates ones thinking. It leads a person to perceive threats where none exists. It becomes easy, almost natural to think of oneself as a victim. This may be the reason Kate Kelly perception that the church is an “institution that is fundamentally unequal, oppressive,” and demonstrates classic symptoms of a “very aggressive serial abuser.” There will come a time when we will need to make a choice of which way we face, because it is impossible to adhere to values thatare in-congruent. For this very reason, Elder Packer warned us of their danger.