I was thinking about the LDS temple changes (see here), and the problem of alleged sexism in the ordinances. The issue should end at the statement that God is no respecter of persons, male or female (incidentally, the racism question should end with the statement that God is no respecter of persons black or white, and the class question should end when he says neither bond nor free, meaning employed worker or business owner). Yet, there are other things involved that seem to show a disparity between practice and teachings. So, looking at it first from the standpoint of not judging God, and taking the assumption that IF we have correct translations of scriptures, and the overriding characteristic of God is he is no respecter of persons, then there MUST be a non-sexist, non-racist, non-class biased view of seemingly problematic passages and ordinances.
Taking that line of reasoning, one could argue that feminist theory is reducing all patriarchal systems to simplistic terms in order to blanket accuse them of sexism. If we grant that most patriarchal systems tend to become sexist, but there is one possible version that is non-sexist, what would it look like? Would it look like a system of priesthood designed to create a servitude for men to eradicate the natural man tendencies? Why would women want to enslave themselves in that portion of the priesthood meant to enslave men’s baser nature?
Next, would not the allegorical elements in the Garden of Eden story need to be prefigured with the reality that God was outlining a fallen condition for man? If God states fallen conditions as a de-evolved relationship for man and woman (as in, before the fall, men and women were equal, but after, in a state of nature, the woman would desire the protection of the husband when she was burdened with the trauma of childbearing to reproduce the race), then there is no harm in the ordinances relating that symbolic fact of fallenness. Only, the LDS leaders jealously guarded the second anointing ceremonies as a power play to reward institutional loyalty, making the redemptive balance women had in the drama hidden. Only women can make kings and validate that a man has overcome the fallen nature. The first shall be last and the last first.
Without understanding this, the LDS have caved to accusations from ignorant and faulty feminist theory and have removed the drama that shows WHY sexism is prevalent, and HOW to overcome it. There is an interdependence between the sexes that feminist theory, in part, ignores and hates. Neither is the man without the woman and the woman without the man, in the Lord (individual exceptions due to uncontrollable circumstances aside).
Instead of 12 men deciding if you should receive the second anointing with a spouse, it is probably more accurate to say a council of 7 women, including the wife, decide when a man has risen from the fallen conditions, after learning from the man’s accurate revelations what the order of the priesthood means for their responsibilities to do so. Just some speculations. There is also the possibility that we have some things translated incorrectly in the Bible, and the Book of Mormon is more accurate in these regards. My speculations try to harmonize things first assuming we have enough corrections in the scripture translations to deal with this issue.
The race question in Mormonism goes generally as follows: Noah was a real man who really had three sons. Noah held a position as president of the entire human race. It was a position only passed from father to son, so yes, a Patriarchal reign. Only, it had strict conditions for passing it down to a worthy heir, one where righteousness preempted any qualifications gained from birth order and being the firstborn. One of Noah’s sons, Ham, mimicked the royal process and established some kind of order with his son Canaan that represented a flawed system with no safeguards against unrighteous rule. Although the first Pharaoh and others were righteous, the system was corrupt, and Noah rightly prophesied their corrupt system was a curse and would lead to their children becoming enslaved.
Noah never said it was good for their children to be enslaved, it was just the natural result of their behavior if they didn’t forsake their attempts at faulty kingdom making. The tribalism in Africa has led to such fractures and power imbalances that the worse scourge of slavery eventually caught up with them. Slavery was not a “just” or a “righteous” punishment. It was a scourge. God is merciful and always works to free men from slavery. We get caught up in circumstances where wicked and greedy people take advantage of our small errors. By small and simple things are great things (bad and good) brought to pass. That doesn’t make slavery right or a fair punishment, it is the nature of a fallen world that God continually seeks to save us from. If we take his advice with small course corrections, we can spare ourselves from huge, unfair, consequences that wicked people inflict on other portions of the human race. At the end of the probationary periods, God comes out in swift judgment against the wicked who enslave others and rewards all those who suffer unfairly. More speculative thoughts based on using explanations of God’s character and attributes to guide the interpretation of scripture.