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The Two Foes (based on Valerie Hudson’s "The Two Trees")

by Angela Felsted

Note: This is a speech given to a group of men in a speculative culture where women hold the priestesshood and men do not. In other words, for the purposes of this blogpost, we believe in Christ, a Heavenly Mother, following the Prophetess, and worshiping in a church that's grounded in matriarchy.

I’m delighted to address the faithful men in this glorious church.

I didn’t convert to the Restored Gospel because I believe in gender equality. I stay, nevertheless, because I DO believe in equality of the sexes, and I’m here to speak about what makes our doctrine revolutionary from an egalitarian perspective.

According to the Gospel, we are to aspire to Godhood, and without men and women loving each other as equals there is no Godhood. Heavenly Mother doesn’t own her own condo. In fact, the one with the expensive TV and sound system, who doesn’t have to share her things or run her decisions by a man, is Satan. 

This is ground-breaking.

Second, the Church teaches that we’ll have our male or female body eternally. This is a reward for our faithfulness in the preexistence. Men, your prostate, your penis, your testicles, are not blights. Brothers, they are blessings. The Restored Church tells us we marry for time and eternity, that we’ll reproduce for eternity, and that the life of being a man married to a righteous priestess, creating righteous children through your seed will bring eternal joy.

A third thing we’re taught is that women and men are equal in the Lord’s eyes. Just, please don’t use the worldly definition of the word “equal”—”equal” doesn’t mean "the same". To be honest, no two women look or act the same and yet, they are equals before God. That is what God’s true church teaches.

Now remember the diverse ways women and men are equal. They have equal gifts. They are equal cohorts with equal influence, equal in growth when exalted to the celestial kingdom, equal in earthly possessions at least in The Kingdom of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. This is ground-breaking. This is radical. This is an earth-shattering view of equality!

I do not believe we can completely understand this doctrine unless we know what occurred in the Garden of Eden, and I hope to show that the Church’s greater understanding of the fall wholly changes the conventional story of Adam and Eve in a way that is harmonious with God’s vision of equality. Before I go into detail, however, I want to set up three points.

Number one: we don’t think the Fall was a bad thing. Rather, we think the Fall was necessary, and that God had a contingency plan which Adam carried out when Eve partook of the fruit.

Number two: we don’t think Adam wimped out when he succumbed to the will of Eve and the serpent.

And number three: because we don’t think Adam wimped out, we also don’t think Adam was penalized when he chose to eat the fruit. On the contrary, he was rewarded.

We need to remember that there were two trees in the garden, two people (Adam and Eve), and Two Foes watching over the fruit of those trees: the serpent and the angel with the flaming sword. I think it’s fascinating that we have Two People and Two Foes.

I believe a man’s purpose has everything to do with how Adam refused to be separated from Eve. It is only right that man was the one who firmly shut the door behind them as they entered the world to protect the woman’s heel from the teeth of the serpent. 

Adam wasn’t the weakest of men; Adam was the strongest of men. He was the most obedient, the most loyal, the most brave. So it was only right then when Jesus was dying on the cross he addressed not a woman to take care of his priestess mother, but a man; it was a man. Jesus trusted a man to take care of his mother as he hung on the cross and thus repaid Father Adam for slipping past the First Foe to follow Eve through the door to mortality.

But what does Eve do now? Well, I think we’re pretty familiar with this part of the Plan of Salvation. We believe that since Eve didn’t have the backbone to resist the snake, it is her responsibility to face the angel with a flaming sword, pluck the fruit from the second tree, and open the door for all of God’s children who have lived a clean and worthy life by giving them the precious fruit of the second tree. And we all know that the fruit of that tree represents the saving ordinances necessary for exaltation. 

Just as the veil into this life is penetrated and parted by men (the sons of God, who plant their seed in a woman’s womb) even so the veil in the temple that brings us back to our Heavenly Parents, is penetrated by a female hand and parted by the daughters of God. And the acceptance of this great gift and blessing, offered by the daughters of God through the priestesshood, will guarantee a man’s passage through the veil and into the presence of his Heavenly Mother. 

We need to come to a true understanding of what we term “The Matriarchal Order.” We know the word “matriarchy,” if you accept the definition in a standard dictionary, is an institutional structure where women rule over men, but we also know that this isn’t the order of Heaven. So clearly what we have in the church is not a matriarchy. But we do believe in a matriarchal order. The question is, why do we name it that, and why should we reject secular meanings that attempt to define a matriarchy as women ruling over men? 

After all, the matriarchal order of the church was given its name because the power of the priestesshood is passed down from mother to daughter, and because only women perform the saving ordinances required to help God’s children defeat the Second Foe. But we know from modern revelation that this system of governance is really the order of the family, where a woman and man covenant with God—just like Adam and Eve did—to love each other forever, to multiply and replenish the earth, and to give greatest energy and talents to the Lord.

So when we talk about the matriarchal order, we’re really talking about a family government found in the hereafter where women and men are equal partners. 

The priestesshood isn’t an extra blessing bestowed on women and denied men. Priestesshood is a form of training necessary so she can qualify for Godhood, and I think men have their own form of training for Godhood. The ordinances—and they are ordinances—of flesh and free will—courtship, foreplay, penetration—the holy ordinances which protect mankind from the First Foe are not less powerful than the ordinances that combat the Second Foe. 

Our God is one of equality. She will not put a heavy burden on the shoulders of men who deserve more. She has given the priestesshood to women as a gift to her sons, and I love the Restored Church’s vision of gender equality and fairness. Nothing causes me greater happiness than the restoration of the priestesshood. How lucky we are to live in these times, to have this knowledge, and to know that in the eyes of God we are all equal.


Anonymous said...

This makes me realize just how tired I am of being addressed in a wholly patronizing manner that also assumes I don't know what words mean, or what my own experiences are. Do men ever really get talked to that way, to that extent?

fMhlisa said...

Great Job, though I think I like "Just like Eve and Adam"

Roslyn Ross said...

Puts it all into perspective. I didn't realise Mormon belief held to the same body and sex - it makes no sense at all but is not surprising given the literal and patriarchal nature of religion.
I was told in one conversation with a Mormon that males and females were equal in God's eyes - so, if men are superior in this material world, because they are men, why are they not still superior in any next world where they will still be men?

Roslyn Ross said...

I would add, the Adam and Eve story is much more interesting if read metaphorically and symbolically and can actually be found in many other, much older, myths, tales, stories, sourced in the ancient Goddess religion.

Angela Felsted said...

I think most creation stories as found in different cultures are more interesting when read in a non-literal way. There's so much more symbolism and word play to consider when one isn't tied to taking everything seriously.

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