SL09315 Gender-specific Roles and the Eternal Patriarchal Order: A Theological Look at Joseph Smith’s Polygamy

I once asked a scholarly LDS friend to define the patriarchal order. Her immediate and somewhat indignant response was: “It means the men are in charge!” LDS theology describes gender-specific roles that some observers claim place women beneath men in importance or value. Do core doctrines taught by Joseph Smith and other modern prophets truly support this assessment? Do these gender-specific roles continue after mortal death and into eternity? Do exalted women feel inferior to exalted men? Is polygamy demeaning to women or a benefit available only to females, a benefit that comprises a minor component of the eternal patriarchal order? While there is much that we do not know, the scriptures and modern prophets have provided important hints.

Brian Hales