by Annie Berry
Annie Berry is wife and mother to two girls (8yrs and 18 months), raised LDS, and currently serving as nursery leader.
I’ve long been trying to reason through some of the principles and directives that the LDS Church currently teaches, and trying to decide whether I agree with some of those principles or not, and why. Some of those being: the promotion of marriage and pro-creation as our highest eternal purpose and essential to our celestial glory, male-only priesthood, a lack of a female representation in the Godhead, and traditional gender roles as stated in the Proclamation on the family. In an attempt to better understand my eternal nature, I have studied the Godhead and have discovered what appears to be contradictions in what LDS Church leaders currently teach about these issues.
Even though I’m a wife and mother with two daughters of my own, and thoroughly believe that my marriage and commitment to raising my children is beautiful and sacred, I have not been able to find the elitism of marriage and parenthood currently taught by the LDS Church (and expressed by other parents) to be beautiful or necessary. To say that marriage and family is sanctioned by God is wonderful, but to say that other life paths (unless they eventually lead to marriage and family in this life or the next) are not sanctioned by God, even if those life paths provide fulfillment and do much good, never seemed right to me. In fact it seemed very hurtful.
It is currently taught in the LDS church that marriage is the crowning covenant of our celestial glory, and is as necessary to our achieving celestial glory as baptism. While I always liked the idea of a Heavenly Mother, and liked the idea of being represented in the Godhead by a divine female being, the truth is, She is not represented at all in the Old and New Testaments (or if she is, it has been lost or changed), and even current LDS doctrine only teaches that she exists, and not much more. If eternal marriage truly is the epitome of divinity, why does a divine male and female couple not represent the Godhead? Is it possible that while marriage is sacred, it is not the only way to achieve celestial glory? If God truly intends for eternal marriage and pro-creation to be the goal of every one of his children, why is it that The Godhead, our prime teachers, authorities, and examples of how to achieve divinity, are represented by The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost , a celestial being who is not given any familial title and additionally has no body (which in LDS terms means he cannot pro-create), instead of a Divine Mother, Father, and offspring? Is it possible that those who have no desire to pro-create in this life or the next, or even no desire to marry in this life or the next, can still achieve fulfillment and divinity? I think The Godhead tells us it is. If we find homosexuality to be harmful on the basis that a homosexual couple will be unable to pro-create in the hereafter, does the example of The Holy Ghost, a being that has made it to celestial glory without an ability to pro-create, provide sufficient proof that an inability to pro-create in the hereafter is not a detriment to Celestial Glory as LDS leaders currently teach?
I’ve been told that once the human race masters the principles of the Gospel that God has already revealed to us, he will provide us with more to learn. Have Latter-Day Church leaders correctly interpreted the principles we as a people have already been shown? Have we correctly prioritized the principles that Christ showed us were most important to our salvation, or have we gotten caught up in and obsessed with peripheral “jots and tittles”?