Recently a friend of mine sent me an email containing the following. It had been given to his wife at a church function. Somehow she managed to not immediately crumple it up and burn it, instead she passed it on to her husband so he could read it incredulously, too.
God’s Message to Women
“When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being. When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils. But you, woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you.
Man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with the creativity. From one bone I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects man’s life. I chose the rib, which protects his heart and lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do. Around this one bone I shaped you. I modeled you. I created you perfectly and beautifully.
Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organ in man, his heart. His heart is the centre of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life.
The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart. Support man as the rib cage supports the body. You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him. You were taken from his side, to stand beside him and be held close to his side.
You are my perfect angel, my beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and my eyes fill when I see the virtues in your heart. Your eyes are beautiful. Your lips, how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose, so perfect in form, your hands so gentle to touch. I’ve caressed your face in your deepest sleep; I’ve held your heart close to mine. Of all that lives and breathes, you are the most like me.
Adam walked with me in the cool of the day and yet he was lonely. He could not See me or touch me. He could only feel me. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with me, I fashioned in you: my holiness, my strength, my purity, my love, my protection and support. You are special because you are the extension of me. Man represents my image – Woman, my emotions. Together, you represent the totality of God. So man, treat woman well. Love her; respect her, for she is fragile. In hurting her, you hurt me. What you do to her, you do to me. In hurting her, you only damage your own heart, the heart of your Father, and the heart of her Father. Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self.” Did you know that WOMAN was so special in God’s eyes?”
Due to the digital diligence of other friends, it was revealed that this particular message abounds on the internet and that it does not have an LDS origin (as if the blatant contradictions with LDS doctrine within it did not already establish this). However, there has been some discussion about whether or not it would be understood as essentially true by LDS members, particularly women. This led one member of the exchange, who, for reasons of anonymity, I will refer to as Verenity Salley, to ask the following very interesting questions:
What need is being met with this essay?
1. Is it a need that, in an ideal world, should be met?
2. If so, how else could the need be met?
3. This essay bothers me not only because I disagree with its view of gender, but because I feel it’s pandering to its audience. (Well, and it’s poorly thought out, unless the author intended to portray God as someone who really likes to tinker with human innards). Is my perception correct, or am I being unfairly prejudiced against that audience in percieving this as pandering, because of my own internalized sexism or perhaps particularly nuanced classism?
As I always try to do when I encounter interesting questions, I today ask you, the blog reader, to comment and answer these questions so that I don’t have to. Well, what do you think?