I went to an Anglican elementary school. Every Christmas we put on a nativity play at the local church. One year I was Joseph, another year Herod. But one thing I could never be was an angel. That was reserved for the girls.
As a good Mormon boy among those apostate Anglicans, I knew that something was terribly wrong with the angels. For one, they wore wings. But worse, they were girls, and we all know angels are men.
Rubbish, right? Right?
What’s the Mormon doctrine of angels? And, where are the female angels?
Here’s what Mormons believe about angels:
- They exist.
- They act on Earth as God’s agents and messengers (the literal meaning of “angel” in Hebrew).
- They are, like us, the offspring of God.
- “There are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it” (D&C 130:5).
- Angels can be either: premortal spirits; postmortal spirits; resurrected beings; translated beings.
- Angels preach the Gospel, restore priesthood keys, offer comfort and assurance.
- “Angel” is also the designation for those who are “saved” in heaven, but are not exalted (D&C 132: 16-17; Mark 12: 25) [A unique Mormon interpretation of Jesus’ statement on marriage, I think. The Bible provides no difference between “angels” and “angels-as-celestial-singles,” however. In Hebrew thought, no class of angel is married.]
In only one of these roles (that of restorer of priesthood keys) can I see any reason in orthodox Mormon doctrine why there wouldn’t be female angels. So where are they?
Most angels in the scriptures are not sexed, but when they are, they tend to be male: angels are sometimes called the “sons of God” (although this may mean the generic “offspring”); Moroni and the named ministrants to Joseph Smith were male; Gabriel is male (the name could mean either “man of God” or “God is my warrior,” but in any case, Joseph Smith believed Gabriel was a resurrected Noah); Michael, inasmuch as he is equated with Adam, is male. And so it goes…
So, whilst there are no major obstacles to female angels in Mormonism, the fact is that when we know their sex, they are male. This may reflect the priesthood role of many angels; still, I wonder, do you imagine the angels as an exclusively all-male cadre? There seems to be no reason to do so. So where are they?