When the Lord needed to restore some truths to earth in 1820, why didn't He go to the venerable seminaries or hallowed halls of Christendom?
Why did the Lord go to a know-nothing 14-year old farm boy in rural upstate New York who had no credentials, training or authority?
Okay, ask yourself, If the Lord needed to restore some truths today in 2022 and followed the same pattern, where would He go?
Would he appear to the Twelve Apostles; maybe schedule a meeting in the Salt Lake Temple to set things in order?
I suspect the Lord would go to an unknown 14-year old farm girl on a Navajo Reservation without any credentials, training or authority.
Too Many "-archies" in Hierarchies
Yes, I said "girl." And why not?
Today everyone seems to be debating between patriarchy and matriarchy; and over all kinds of -archies ― but it's all malarky.
All we're doing is moving pieces around to see who gets to sit on top. The problem? There's still a "top."
It's like arguing over whether to bury or cremate the body: what difference does it make? No matter who wins, it won't change the fact the corpse is still dead.
The problem is hierarchy itself.
The distinguishing characteristic of the Nephite Zion was that they "were all made free" (4 Nephi 1:3). And what was the cause of their "freedom?"
1. They were equal (4 Nephi 1:3); and
2. They were all "partakers of the heavenly gift" (4 Nephi 1:3).
If we look at it in reverse, then bondage or captivity would be defined by:
1. Being unequal; and
2. Not letting everyone partake of the heavenly gift.
In the early days of the Restoration, the Lord promised to make us free, too:
Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your lawgiver, and what can stay my hand?
Notice that freedom comes from following the voice of God; not from marching behind the rank-and-file leadership of the Church.
When the leaders seek to become our "lawgivers," creating all kinds of rules and policies for the members, then we are in spiritual captivity.
What About Women?
Are women "equal" in the Church? Do we permit them to partake of the heavenly gift?
In order to improve the status and role of women in the Church, we're going to have to do a lot more than allow them to be witnesses at baptisms.
On the other hand, it's a big mistake to frame this as a "give-women-the-priesthood" issue.
Let me explain . . . .
Women and the Priesthood
Those who advocate for women to sit in the presiding councils of the Church are missing the bigger picture: the Church hierarchy is organized in the image of Babylon the Great.
Giving women the priesthood is not going to fix the underlying problem (and might even magnify it by increasing pride, status and inequality in the Church).
The Bride of Babylon
We know Zion is depicted as a Bride in scripture. Her eternal mate is the Risen Christ.
And so, of course, Babylon styles herself that way, too. Minus the husband (she wants none).
Babylon is the False Bride, which the scriptures impolitely call "the whore of all the earth" (1 Nephi 14:10-12).
The False Bride is the archetype of all false religion. She appropriates the customs, dress and language of the Bride Zion, so it can be hard to tell them apart.
But it helps to remember Babylon is beautiful! She builds the most elegant temples for her children. She's impeccably dressed.
I mean, it's time we stop thinking of Babylon as a drunk john lying in a pool of vomit in some back alley in Amsterdam strewn with dirty needles and STDs.
Because Babylon-the-Bride appears clean and holy (at least on the outside).
What Does "Abomination" Look Like?
When we picture "abomination," do we imagine vices that are puss-filled, pox-marked, poor-smelling, putrid-looking, and poisonous?
Babylon doesn't want to sour our stomachs; to the contrary, she wishes to whet our appetites!
This the devil knows. All the worst sins, the devil knows, are gilt with gold. They shimmer like silver. They repose on scarlet cushions in the image of respectability and religiosity.
The best way to deceive the "very elect" (if possible) is to make them feel at home: in comfortable chapels that serve as prisons ― in religions that draw us away from the pure gospel of Christ ― manifesting a form of godliness without the power thereof.
And that is the snare of hierarchies.
Hierarchies make us comfortable in our inequality; we suppose they resemble heaven when in fact they mirror hell.
Rescuing the Restoration
If women wish to rescue the Restoration, it will not be through repeating the errors and excesses of the Brethren and replicating their priesthood structure.
Our young women, mothers, single sisters, old and young, black and white, gay and straight, are at the heart-and-center of the Lord's ongoing Restoration ― not by climbing a ladder, but by destroying it!
I have faith in the women of the Church because who else is better suited to teach us the nature of the Bride, Zion?
Because Zion is a marriage that produces family, not leaders.