Another Monday Mormon and at the beginning of another week women around the world face again the challenge of getting a quart into a pint pot as they juggle family budgets, child-care, health-care, school-runs, parent’s evenings, jobs etc. they might give a thought to the fact that, in the Mormon kingdom, women get to heaven only at their husband’s behest.
In this, the latest of our 21 Questions, we look at women. Many have observed that Mormonism shares many characteristics with Islam, an angel, a book, a prophet, but here we see a remarkable parallel with the Islamic view of women. If you think some previous answers have been curt take a look at this for an answer:
No equivocation there then. First they want to tell you all about Mormonism – then they don’t. You don’t think this is another “bury it with John D Lee” moment, do you?
Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that women can only gain access to heaven with a special pass or code words?
Qu. “In the divine economy, as in nature, the man "is the head of the woman," and it is written that "he is the savior of the body." But "the man is not without the woman" any more than the woman is without the man, in the Lord. Adam was first formed, then Eve. In the resurrection, they stand side by side and hold dominion together. Every man who overcomes all things and is thereby entitled to inherit all things, receives power to bring up his wife to join him in the possession and enjoyment thereof.
In the case of a man marrying a wife in the everlasting covenant who dies while he continues in the flesh and marries another by the same divine law, each wife will come forth in her order and enter with him into his glory.” ("Mormon" Doctrine Plain and Simple, or Leaves from the Tree of Life, Mormon apostle Charles W. Penrose, p.66, 1897, Salt Lake City)
Qu. “Do the women, when they pray, remember their husbands?... Do you uphold your husband before God as your lord? "What!—my husband to be my lord?" I ask, Can you get into the celestial kingdom without him? Have any of you been there? You will remember that you never got into the celestial kingdom [during the temple ceremony] without the aid of your husband. If you did, it was because your husband was away, and someone had to act proxy for him. No woman will get into the celestial kingdom, except her husband receives her, if she is worthy to have a husband; and if not, somebody will receive her as a servant.” (Mormon apostle Erasmus Snow, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 291)
C. When Mormons attend the temple for their “endowments” they go through a ceremony in which they are brought to “the veil”, a representation of the veil between this world and the next. Someone stands on the other side of the veil representing God and there is a rehearsal of what is expected to happen when we pass from this life.
The Mormon candidate repeats certain words and signs to gain entry “through the veil.” When Mormons get married in the temple this part of the endowment ceremony is rehearsed as part of the marriage ceremony with the husband taking the place of God “behind the veil” who leads his wife through the veil. Hence Erasmus Snow’s teaching that “No woman will get into the celestial kingdom, except her husband receives her.”
Not only do Mormon women need to have passwords but they need the permission of their husband to access heaven.
Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that women must serve men on both Earth and in heaven?
A: Absolutely not. Mormons believe that women and men are complete equals before God and in relation to the blessings available in the Church.
Qu. "But if we have a heavenly Mother as well as a heavenly Father, is it not right that we should worship the Mother of our spirits as well as the Father? No; for the Father of our spirits is at the head of His household, and his wives and children are required to yield the most perfect obedience to their great Head. It is lawful for the children to worship the King of Heaven, but not the 'Queen of heaven.'... we are nowhere taught that Jesus prayed to His heavenly Mother..." (Mormon apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, page 159)
Mormon men expect to atttain to the role described here as the role of “the Father” or God. Mormon women, then, take the role of “heavenly Mother”, yielding “the most perfect obedience to their great Head.” Think on that as you come home from the school run to tackle that ironing basket.