Sunday, April 3, 2011

Biblical Womanhood and the LDS Church - Part 1

We know there are many, many women mentioned in the scriptures, particularly in the Bible (Believe me!  Either go study it yourself, or see Heather's post, How Many Women Would You Guess Are in the Scriptures? to get a quick idea).

When I read Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald, I was amazed at their Bible knowledge.  They referenced what seemed like everything they wrote!  They knew scriptures inside and out that help us be good human beings, and they also seemed to know all the scriptures regarding women and their roles as outlined in the Bible.  I've enjoyed becoming more familiar with these scriptures.  Near the end of their book, the authors list wonderful things women do:
  • Helping husbands take dominion through God-ordained roles and tasks (Gen. 1, 2; Acts 18:2-3)
  • Serving as midwives (Gen. 35:17; Ex. 1:15-21)
  • Playing musical instruments (1 Sam. 18:6; Psalm 68:25)
  • Singing (Nehemiah 7:67; Luke 1:46-55)
  • Feasting before the Lord with God's people (Deut. 31:10-13; 1 Sam. 1:1-9)
  • Demonstrating hospitality to strangers and saints (Gen. 18:6; Acts 16:15; Romans 12:13; 1 Tim. 5:10)
  • Serving God's prophets (1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 4:8-38)
  • Thinking quickly and resourcefully in the face of danger (1 Sam. 25:3-42; Judges 4:18-22, 9:52-53)
  • Providing wise counsel (Judges 4:4-9; Proverbs 31:1, 26)
  • Facing death for the sake of God's people (Esther)
  • Weaving, creating works of art (Proverbs 31:13, 19)
  • Crafting beautiful garments (Proverbs 31:22)
  • Producing items in the home for the marketplace (Proverbs 31:18-19, 24)
  • Assisting her husband with the family business (Acts 18:3)
  • Augmenting the family estate through wise purchases and use of materials (Proverbs 31:16)
  • Planning wisely for the future (Proverbs 31:21)
  • Selecting with skill the food the family eats (Proverbs 31:14)
  • Giving to the needy (Proverbs 31:20; Acts 9:36)
  • Being the fruitful mother of many children (Psalm 128:3; Genesis 24:60)
  • Teaching children with wisdom (Proverbs 1:8 and 31:1, 26; 1 Tim. 5:10; 2 Tim. 1:5)
  • Training the next generation of women in a hands-on manner (Prov. 31:15; Titus 2:3-5)
  • Creating clothing for the poor (Acts 9:36-41)
  • Opening the home to the Church (Romans 16:1; Acts 16:14-15)
  • Supporting the work of the Gospel (Luke 8:1-3; Romans 16:6, 12)
  • Privately exhorting fellow believers (Acts 18:26)
Now, part of me has to wonder how many of those characteristics are cultural.  I know some of the Biblical Womanhood women do take these scriptures very literally, but for me, I don't see that I have to do all these things to be a godly woman.  One topic that did surprise me was regarding traits such as producing items for the marketplace and assisting in the family business.  I didn't realize those progressive duties were in the Bible (I'm so embarrassed!)!  Often, I think we believe Biblical Womanhood is just being a baby machine and a slave to one's husband, but there is obviously so much more!
    Additionally, throughout the book (yes I flipped through all the pages), the authors mention scriptures that greatly influence their lives.  I wanted to jot a few down.  I'm so fascinated by so many scriptures dealing with the husband/wife/family relationship:
    • ... Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:  they shall not be ashamed... (Psalm 127:3-5).
    • Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it (Eph. 5:25).
    • Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Eph. 5:22).
    • ...let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Eph 5:33).
    • And did not he make one?  Yet had he the residue of the spirit.  And wherefore one?  That he might seek a godly seed.  Therefore take heed to your spirit and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth (Mal. 2:15).
    • But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (1 Tim. 2:12).
    • Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church (1 Cor. 14:34-35).
    • I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house... (1 Timothy 5:14).
    • Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife (1 Cor. 7: 3-4).
    • For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God (1 Cor. 11:12).
    • Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives (1 Pet. 3: 1-2).
    • Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.  For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands (1 Pet. 3:3-5).
    •  Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered (1 Pet. 3:7).
    • Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands (Proverbs 14:1).

    After reading through those scriptures, I began to wonder, where do the Latter-day Saints stand in comparison to Biblical compilations like this?  Do we still do those same things and behave these same ways?  I can definitely think of many things that I do that certainly fall within the lists, but what about counsel from our leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  Well, I'll start looking at that in Part 2!