Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Chandler, Neal ; Chandler, Rebecca
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Was Jesus a Feminist? Todd Compton The answer to the question, "Was Jesus a feminist?" depends on how you define feminism. Just as we have come to realize that there was not just one monolithic "Judaism" in Jesus' time, but many "Judaisms," so there are many varieties of feminism today, and Latter-day Saints, even liberal Latter-day Saints, will be more comfortable with some of these than others. For instance, there is a kind of Gnostic feminism, in the sense of viewing male and female as absolute polarities—men are complete evil and women complete good. Obviously, Jesus was not that kind of feminist. Defining Feminism So defining feminism is a problem. Some women and men embrace the word, giving it their own definitional resonance, breadth, and limitations; others are uncomfortable with it because it has been associated with perceived extremists in the women's movement. But many of the women who dislike the label would be angry if they were treated as second-class citizens because of their gender. Rebecca West wrote: "I have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat. . . ."l Much has been written on definitions of feminism. But for the purposes of this short essay, I am thinking of a moderate definition of feminism—the idea that women share psychological and spiritual equality with men and should be treated equally, that our civilization and social structures have been almost unconsciously built on the foundation of viewing women as less than equal with men, and that this is harmful to both men and women.2 On the other hand, in my view, women and men 1. "Mr. Chesterton in Hysterics," in The Clarion (14 November 1913), reprinted in Rebecca West, The Young Rebecca, ed. J. Marcus (London: Macmillan, 1982), 219. 2. Elouise Bell, "The Implications of Feminism for Brigham Young University," a BYU Forum Address, in Brigham Young University Studies 16 (Summer 1976): 527-39, 530, has a