The Role of Women in Heaven
Inspired by Starfoxy's excellent question about the role of women in heaven (see the thread on gendered language), I thought I would take this opportunity to ramble. :)
I admit, I'm confused. Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that our sliver of knowledge about Heavenly Mother (i.e., she exists), was a "revelation" to Eliza R. Snow: she logically deduced that it would be nonsensical for there to be two genders on earth but only one in heaven--if God is our parent, and parents come in pairs, shouldn't he have a partner?
So far, so good. But by similar logic, I wonder, could we not posit the existence, for example, of heavenly cat parents? Otherwise where in heaven or hell did all these cat spirits that are being born into cat bodies at a rapid rate all over the globe come from? And if we assume God, all by his lonesome, is able to somehow come up with cat spirits and zebra spirits and all the rest, why could he not have produced women in the same manner, all by his lonesome?
In the second creation account (Genesis 2:4-3:24), God comes off as a little bit, well, bumbling; he makes the decision to create a "help meet" for Adam, randomly creates animals in an effort to that end, and then seemingly finally chances almost by accident on the creation of woman. Doesn't exactly sound like Heavenly Mother's at his side, does it?--or why couldn't he have just modeled Eve on her and figured the whole thing out a little sooner? Man is undeniably central in this account; woman, far from being God's "crowning creation," is derivative of man. Of course, Eve's subordination to Adam is explained as an eternal curse, but let's not fool ourselves: Eve was never equal to Adam to begin with.
If God created animals simply because a network of creatures in symbiotic relationships was needed in this earth life (after all, men can't perpetuate the species on their own!), how do we know women weren't created for nothing more than the same purpose? Man, after all, is granted divine dominion over both the animals and woman.
And then there's the old refrain that all those of us who faithfully attended seminary have heard chanted ad nauseum whenever the topic arises: the reason we know nothing about Heavenly Mother is that she's too, well, special, too *holy even. If this is the case, I wonder, whose decision was it that Heavenly Mother be an absent parent? Did Heavenly Father make it--essentially sticking his most valuable possession in a safe where no one could get to "it" and sully "it"? And was it really his decision to make, and if so, why? Or did Heavenly Mother decide herself she was too holy to have anything to do with her earthly children? If the way we pay highest respects to the holiest of heavenly beings is by refraining from attempting to make any contact at all, don't Heavenly Father and Jesus deserve this much respect too? Why not throw the scriptures away, give up prayer, and disband the Church--all as an act of ultimate worship?
I've been reminded on several occasions by several individuals that women must be valued by God, because--men can't get to heaven without 'em! I'm afraid I take little comfort in this fact. Several objects facilitate men's passage into heaven. They have their physical temple recommends, the vehicles that convey them to temples, baptismal fonts, the bricks that go into the construction of church buildings, on and on and on. But does God love the bus that shuttles his faithful flock to his holy house *for itself*? Does he feel concern for the bus when it encounters obstacles and weep when it breaks down and is replaced by a more efficient model?
I, personally, am either going to mean more to God than an object facilitating someone else's salvation, or I'm going to refuse to have a relationship with him at all. I simply will not be an eternal housepet.
In short, I'm not at all sure what exactly the women in heaven are doing, but I've become increasingly convinced I would rather not be doing it.