A document entitled the “True Woman Manifesto” made its debut in mid-October at a conference for Christian women (promotional video, h/t). Its audience is Evangelical women, but its ultimate aim is to spark a revolution to undo much of the sexual and feminist revolutions since the 1960s/70s.
Starting with the fact that it was debuted at a women’s conference, there are some striking similarities between the True Woman Manifesto and the LDS document, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” What follows is a side-by-side comparison of some key passages.
(I realize that most of our BCC readership is quite familiar with the language in the Proclamation, but who knows, maybe we’ll get some visitors to this post.)
[Manifesto] We believe that the creation of humanity as male and female was a purposeful and magnificent part of God’s wise plan, and that men and women were designed to reflect the image of God in complementary and distinct ways. … Men and women are both created in the image of God and are equal in value and dignity, but they have distinct roles and functions in the home and in the church.
[Proclamation] All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
[Manifesto] Marriage, as created by God, is a sacred, binding, lifelong covenant between one man and one woman.
[Proclamation] …marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God…
[Manifesto] Human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected, from the point of conception until rightful death.
[Proclamation] We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
Women designed to be nurturers; children:
[Manifesto] Children are a blessing from God, and women are uniquely designed to be bearers and nurturers of life, whether it be their own biological or adopted children, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, or other children in their sphere of influence.
[Proclamation] “Children are an heritage of the Lord” … Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
The above quote from the Manifesto is noteworthy for acknowledging women without children. The Manifesto also includes this about single women: “God’s plan for gender is wider than marriage; all women, whether married or single, are to model femininity in their various relationships….”
While I appreciate the progressive approach in including single and no-child families, the Manifesto also includes language not found in the Proclamation that I find to be troubling. The consternation that many feel in regards to our “preside” language notwithstanding, contrast it with this vision of the male/female power dynamic:
We are called as women to affirm and encourage men as they seek to express godly masculinity, and to honor and support God-ordained male leadership in the home and in the church.
When we respond humbly to male leadership in our homes and churches, we demonstrate a noble submission to authority that reflects Christ’s submission to God His Father.
Selfish insistence on personal rights is contrary to the spirit of Christ who humbled Himself, took on the form of a servant, and laid down His life for us.
However one feels about “preside,” I think it is significant that the injunction to preside is directed at men with the idea that the command entails righteousness and a heavy burden of responsibility. In contrast, the above text repeatedly tells women to submit, but with no corresponding directions to the men restricting their behavior under this scheme.