Personal Online Journal

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Two Trees

An interesting view on the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.  And how it relates to the relationship between men and women, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers.
I think we know this part of the Great Plan of Happiness very well. We believe that Adam will give the gift of the fruit of the Second Tree to the children of God, those who are worthy to receive it, just as Eve and her daughters give the fruit of the First Tree in the Garden of Eden to all who are worthy to partake of it. And that fruit of the Second Tree, as we know, are the ordinances of salvation and exaltation. Just as the veil into this life is guarded by the women, the daughters of God, so the veil that brings us home, is administered and guarded over by the sons of God. And those that have accepted the gift of the Second Tree form the hands of the sons of God will pass through that veil and back to that celestial place where they can be with their Parents once more.
That means that gender equality is not some “politically correct” ideal to the Latter-day Saints; it is not some maraschino cherry placed last atop a Zion sundae. No, relationships of gender equality are the bricks of Zion, without which you cannot build Zion, because gender equality is how Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father live.
Where in the world can be found a group of men dedicated to a single standard of chastity and marital fidelity? Where can we find a group of men dedicated to marriage—getting married and staying married? Where can we find a group of men dedicated to upholding the safety, flourishing, and equality of women? Men who want to have children, and take part in raising them? Men who value their daughters as much as they value their sons? Men who abhor abuse, pornography, and neglect? Men who embrace burden-sharing with their wives, including the burden of housework? Where we can find a group of men who covenant these things as part of their duty to God? They are right here in this room. You are a special covenant brotherhood unlike any other on this planet. Thank God for the restoration of the priesthood, that restores a vision of how God wanted his daughters treated by his sons!
That means that priesthood is not some extra given to men and denied women. Priesthood is a man’s apprenticeship to become a heavenly father, and I believe that women have their own apprenticeship to become like their heavenly mother. The ordinance—and they are ordinances—of body and of agency—pregnancy, childbirth, lactation—the spiritual ordinances of the First Tree are not less powerful or spiritual than the ordinances of the Second Tree. Women have their own godly power. And a truism that holds fairly across the board is that those religions that despise the body tend to be those religions that devalue women. ("The Two Trees", Valerie Hudson Cassler, Fair Conference, Aug 2010)

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