06 August 2011

THT: The Role of Gender

I might have briefly alluded to this thought in this post, but I was thinking about it again and thought I'd write. God is supposed to be all-powerful, all-knowing, etc, etc. Basically he can do anything and knows everything without any dependence on any other being or intelligence or whatever else there may be. I don't think that that goes against what Mormons believe... or any Christian.

BUT, then Mormonism teaches us that godhood can only be attained if you are sealed to a wife. Meaning, to be God, He must be dependent on another being and therefore, he really isn't all powerful. This kind of contradictory doctrine confuses me... A couple other things to note is that in the Adam and Eve story, God makes an observation and says that it isn't good for mankind to be alone... so, is this only a mortal need we have as humans to be in physical company with someone? I suppose if you were God (or a god) and shared some crazy connection with all intelligence and life and light, you would never really be alone because you have constant access to every kind of intelligence in the universe. Also, we as Mormons and Christians in general believe we are created in the image of God... yet as males and females and everyone in between, we have very different anatomy. Can we both be made in the image of God?

Well the Church places emphasis on the importance of gender... prophets have declared, "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." This is one reason gays don't have a place in the plan... because it would seem they are going against their god-given gender and the roles that apply to it. But this importance that is placed on gender doesn't seem to mix well with other doctrine and when I think deeply about it, it really doesn't make sense to me that gender would be that important to God.

What would make sense to me is a genderless God. Not male or female... simply God. Think of all the problems that clears up right away! All these discussions about whether there is a heavenly mother or why all the power figures in Christianity are male, etc, etc. We invented a male God to fit our male-dominated culture. I think it is a nice idea that God has a spouse and they live in some great mansion together with a large picket fence, but that is us trying to make sense of God's world through our own human experience. If we really believe that God is who we say, he doesn't really need to have someone to say goodnight to. He is connected to EVERYTHING. Maybe gender was simply something God created as the means to an end. In any case, I don't agree that gender is all the modern church makes it out to be. If it was so very important why are there so many who don't exactly fit nicely into the categories male and female? Why are there people born with ambiguous genitalia... or both kinds of genitalia?

Lastly, being gay does not mean I want to be a girl. Nor does it mean that I am looking for a guy that seems like a girl. I am very aware of and accept my maleness. As a gay male, I am attracted to other gay MALES. I am not rejecting my gender or anyone else's. So in that sense, yes, gender is important to my sexuality... but I don't know that it is important to my eternal soul. What is important is love... and I can only experience the deepest feelings of love with other males.... so what? Is love not of God?


jen said...

A genderless God does make a lot of sense... And at the same time I feel a lot of anxiety at the thought of becoming genderless in the afterlife. (This is really strange for me, I've never been afraid of dying before.)
The thought of continuing to exist, but not being ME terrifies me... And I absolutely agree that gender is not as important as modern prophets have said it is.

bradcarmack said...

Jen and Jonathan, you two are not alone. The Family Proclamation's construction of sex and gender is rife with implications, many of which are either inapplicable or, as you note above, inconsistent (or at least incomplete). I discussed the relevance of spiritual and physical sex/gender using intersex examples in my Sunstone presentation two days ago (http://www.scribd.com/doc/61817733). Andy Fernuik (http://www.wix.com/andyfernuik/andyfernuik) made some similar comments in his presentation.

Good thoughts.

Sara said...


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