Saturday, December 15, 2012

On Eve's Marital Counseling.

This has been on my mind since I am reading the Pearl of Great Price, and it seems fitting for this week. After partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, this is what God told Adam and Eve:
 16 Unto the awoman he said, I will greatly bmultiply thy csorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth dchildren; and thy desire shall be to thy ehusband, and he shall rule over thee.
 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy awife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: bcursed is the ground for thy sake; in csorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
 18 aThorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
 19 In the asweat of thy face shalt thou eat bbread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for cdust thou art,and unto ddust shalt thou return.
That phrase, "thy desire shall be unto thy husband" has been sitting in the back of my mind for a while. Those who are looking to find offense against women will say (have said!) that this is God, or organized religion, relegating women to second class. Telling them they must unquestioningly submit to their husband's desires, and that they have no say or power unto themselves. This is so far from what I have been taught in Church and what I have understood from the scriptures! My feelings of late have been more along the lines of what President Kimball described in this April 1978 discourse (a good one on women and the Church!), which echoes a revelation to Joseph Smith recorded in D&C 83:

The scriptures remind us that “Women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance, until their husbands are taken.” (D&C 83:2.) Women also have a claim on their husbands for respect, fidelity, and thoughtfulness for in that subtle, sweet relationship that should obtain between men and women, there is partnership with the priesthood.

I'm sure that this first instruction to Adam and Eve with regards to the mortal world was meant to help them (an us; remember this was recorded by Moses to be instructional to future generations) navigate it as a team. To remain one, as they had been commanded. And that required some division of labor. Eve is told that childbearing is going to be really hard. Her desire was going to be unto her husband. But unto her husband what? For one, I think that he desire was going to be a guide unto her husband. He needed to provide for her needs and wants. To care for her. To be her protector and aid, especially when she was in the vulnerable state of bearing, nursing, and rearing children. I think it is also a reminder to support, sustain, and respect her husband in that providing role, since his job isn't easy either, as his family's sustenance depends on "the sweat of his brow." It may be a reminder for Eve to not try to run the show and do everything, but to let her husband provide and preside as he should. It is a reminder to both that they need each other. It is good counsel. It is counsel I need a lot of the time.

In the end, I suppose my sentiment is this: if you are looking for offense, you will find it. If you are looking to feel oppressed or discriminated or put down, you will find those feelings as well. But if you are looking for our Father, to know His nature, His will, and His doctrine, that is what you will find. It may not always look like what you want to hear, but in the end it will take you where you want to be.

1 comment:

  1. I'd never considered "looking for our Father" in this way. What a beautiful way to ponder scripture.