The Angel Moroni
--whose statue adorns the steeple
--whose statue adorns the steeple
of every LDS temple--
who revealed the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith
Although certainly no believer in it, I am very fascinated with Mormon myth and theology.
My gay Mormon pal has assured me that the LDS church, with its doctrine of continuing revelation, will find a way to be ok with gay unions before it ever ordains females to its priesthoods.
One can only hope. No church (or synagogue) which ordains women does anything but dismantle itself and decline. Since Mormonism is based so centrally on marriage, the male-female distinction is crucial for its identity.
My recent lament on the (Western) Christian churches' betrayal of European peoples and of males led a noble commentator or two to wonder what kind of religion in future might look like. The miscegenation of Jesus and Odin seems extremely unlikely. Contemporary Odinism and heathenism in general, as a new religion partly provoked out of reaction to Christianity, is deeply anti-Christian.
Anyhow, two merry-go-round thoughts about how Mormonism could have been a kind of Christianity --well, post-Christianity, actually-- that would support both males and the children of Europe.
And even gays.
You can see why I mention merry-go-round.
Here we go:
On male-female: Mormonism's central sacrament is marriage, the union of man and woman for the sake of creating a family. Not the union of man and woman. That's the necessary but not sufficient definition. The whole point of the union is the procreation of children. (And why plural marriage makes theological sense in Mormon mythology: the many pre-existent spirit-children of the Heavenly Father and his wife/wives need corporeal vessels in which to incarnate and continue on their progression.)
Consequently, the sexual binary is fundamental.
And the priesthoods --Aaronic and Melchizidek-- are reserved only to males. Women, in order to achieve their final exaltation to deity, must be married to a male who holds the priesthood. He needs her for the procreation essential to his exaltation and she needs him for the sanctification essential to hers.
So that traditional male-female difference is canonized, even deified.
On Euros: Next, the could have been part. Prior to 1978, the priesthood was reserved to White men.* Mormonism was clearly a religion that practices the now-famous White and male privileges! It was a form of Christianity meant for Caucasians primarily.
Now, of course, they trumpet their multicultural orthodoxy. Alas.
On homosexuals: How about gays?
The only religions that finally accept gayness and gay marriage are religions who have already accepted divorce and already ordained women, essentially announcing by that earlier practice that marriage is a matter of convenience and that men and women are interchangeable, that women can in faux-theology do what only men can actually do. Making gender difference irrelevant and masculine dominance obsolete, gay marriage is the natural outcome.
So how could the LDS, huge supporters of the male-female binary and male-only priesthood, make a place for homosexuals?
The answer would lie in the imaginative LDS doctrines of the afterlife and in their institution of the living Prophet, Seer and Revelator. As follows:
The only humans who are capable of progressing to godhood, the final stage of exaltation in the highest Mormon heaven, are married couples with children. This is the pathway by which a man on another world achieved the status of Elohim, the Heavenly Father, the God of planet Earth. But not all Mormons marry and not all married Mormons produce children. What of them?
Apparently, they may become angels. Saved and sharing a measure of glory, but not fully deified.
One form of angelic existence, mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants, consists of humans who are saved and who minister to the Divine, but who themselves will not become gods. Their performance of the tasks laid down for progression to godhood is incomplete. An example given is men and women who marry but are not sealed in the temple.
A future Mormon president-prophet might receive a new revelation, to clarify that such an afterlife condition can be expected by LDS members whose sexual condition makes celestial marriage impossible for them. He could create a divinely-sanctioned stable union for them in this life, to have a place in the community and a code of behavior, but maintain that this is not marriage and that they would not reach godhood, but would have a glorious afterlife as ministering angels.
Second-class citizenship? Yup. But it's citizenship. Could be worse.
Now it's time for me to get off the merry-go-round and go to bed.
Sometimes what comes out of my head makes me shake it.
*I am not sure if only Africans were excluded or all non-Europeans. I have asked my friend to enlighten me.