About 8 months ago Rockstar and I attended a Sealing ceremony (marriage ceremony) at our local Mormon temple. It was done ‘by proxy’ meaning that we were participating on behalf of people who have died. Their living relatives having submitted their names to the temple to have them baptised, married and endowed.
At the time I was already beginning to question my faith in the religion but I was happy enough to be there that day. I felt quite peaceful all dressed in white, spending some time with my partner in a quiet and sacred place. As there is quite a bit of repetition in the ceremony I began to try and memorise the words (a little habit of mine). It didn’t take long for me to realise that the vows were different for the husband and wife. I listened more closely and confirmed that there was a significant and shocking difference. The man agrees to “receive her unto yourself”. The woman agrees to “give yourself to him”. (Full text can be found online in a basic search). There was no mention of the husband ‘giving himself’ or of the wife ‘receiving her husband’.
Disturbed by this I later asked the temple worker why there was a difference in the vows. He was surprised by my question and said that no-one had ever asked him that before. Then, thinking on the spot, he said (from memory) “well isn’t that what a woman does, give herself to her husband?”…… What! like a nicely wrapped present with a big fuckin’ puffy, satin bow!? #@%# ….. Well, I began to say how I really didn’t see how that explained anything when a higher-ranking member intervened and began to expound to me about how men and women are equal in the church. The other family members who were with us for this ceremony were visibly uncomfortable by this point. Feeling very unsatisfied I let it be.
When I later had the ear of my Bishop, and on another occasion a representative from the Stake Presidency, neither could give me any decent explanation. They asked me why such a thing should matter and insinuated that my feminist leanings were not exactly welcome.
Now, what turned this irk of mine into a full-blown grievance was a little diddy I discovered at feministmormonhousewives.org. Apparently (now, I have not been back to the temple to verify this for myself - although I did think about doing so, as up until last Thursday, I still had a current temple recommend) … apparently the leadership has in the last few months changed the wording of these vows. Now the woman agrees to “receive him unto herself” but still no mention of the man “giving himself”.
Well I’m sorry but instead of fixing the inequality, as far as I can see ‘they’ just created a big fucking obvious mole that says there is a really significant reason why the man cannot say that he ‘gives himself to his wife’. Hmmm, does this reason have something to do with the other 6 young doe-eyed, big-breasted virgins that the man gets to unwrap, I mean marry, in the next life???