What a wonderful time to be LDS! So many small but important changes are taking place to move us closer to Zion. As readers will no doubt be aware from several essays of mine published in the pages of SquareTwo, I believe that the government of Zion is diarchical where men and women rule together as equal (though not identical) partners. (See, for example, here and here .) And I believe in the Heavenly Diarchy of our Father and Mother, who are united in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage that is the pre-requisite of their divinity.

As can be imagined, my antennae are sensitive to the stirrings of that diarchy which I believe must presage any return of Zion. I offer a few examples from the autumn of 2017 for historians to note in the future as they chronicle our faith community’s development of the diarchical norm.

First is the increased use of the term “Heavenly Parents” in the October 2017 general conference. There were several places where one would have expected to see “Heavenly Father” and instead the phrase “Heavenly Parents” was used. This normalization of referring to our Heavenly Parents is an observable rhetorical movement in the direction of diarchy, I would assert.

Using the search functions on the lds.org website, I counted all instances of the term “heavenly parents” and “mother in heaven” that were not a direct quote from the Family Proclamation (though these might have been a quote from some other source). I also counted references to how husbands should not make any decisions without total unity with their wives. I found five: “Yearning for Home,” by President Uchtdorf, “Three Sisters” by President Uchtdorf, “Value Beyond Measure” by President Joy D. Jones, “Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually” by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and “Earning the Trust of the Lord and Your Family” by Elder Richard J. Maynes. There were also two talks in which the need to eliminate sexism was explicitly mentioned: “The Trek Continues!” by Elder M. Russell Ballard, and “The Eternal Everyday” by Elder Quentin L. Cook. My final tally is seven mentions that point us in the direction of diarchy.

I thought to compare the most recent general conference from one a decade ago, to see if mentions have increased or decreased, and so I examined the October 2007 conference for similar mentions, just as an exploratory exercise. I searched every online talk from that conference for mention of the terms “parents,” “mother,” and “sex.” I found not one reference to “heavenly parents,” “heavenly mother,” or “sexism.” (Astonishingly, there was even a talk about mothers, but in that talk was no mention whatsoever of the existence of a “Heavenly Mother.” I predict that one say that will be seen as evidence of the incredible blinding power of LDS culture, because there is no doctrinal reason not to mention our Mother in a talk about mothers!)

Zero to seven in ten years. That’s remarkable, and I mean that sincerely and with great happiness. We may not be sprinting towards Zion’s diarchy, but I sense we are at least power-walking in that direction!

Second, I note that an interesting statement was recently made by Elder Dallin H, Oaks. In his April 2017 conference talk, “The Godhead and the Plan of Salvation,” he notes something that I have never heard before, but which is true: “ . . . we know comparatively little about [God the Father]”. Elder Oaks goes on to say that while we know very little about God the Father, we do know some important things, such as that He is the Father of Jesus Christ and all of us, for example. Elder Oaks concludes, “What we know of the nature of God the Father is mostly what we can learn from the ministry and teachings of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.”

I found this striking, because of course the very same thing has been said about Heavenly Mother. We certainly “know comparatively little” about Her. We do know some important things about Her, such as the fact she exists, that she is married to Heavenly Father, and that She is the mother of all of our spirits, including Jesus Christ. And it would be fair to conclude that what we know of the nature of God the Mother is mostly what we can learn from the ministry and teaching of Her Son, Jesus Christ.

Isn’t that interesting? We actually know about as much about Heavenly Mother as we know about Heavenly Father! That is certainly food for thought, especially since people have often told Her Daughters that since we know very little about Her, that implies She must not be very important in the eternal scheme of things. And, I would add, there is the further implication that we should not spend our time thinking or speaking about Her. I would submit that since lack of knowledge about Him does not diminish Heavenly Father’s importance in our lives, that lack of knowledge about Her likewise does not diminish Heavenly Mother’s importance in our lives.

I find Elder Oaks’ statement striking, then. In a sense, it provides another paving stone for building the foundation of diarchy.

Third, I note a recent blogpost by the LDS.org blog staff, dated 25 October 2017, entitled “How to Help Young Women See Their Value in the Church,” featuring an interview with the General Young Women Presidency. Here are some pertinent quotes from that interview:

Sister Oscarson: “As we were out traveling and training with Young Women leaders, on several occasions I would ask Young Women leaders, ‘How do the young women that you supervise in your classes and your wards, how do they see themselves as part of the work of the priesthood?’ And the answer that I got every single time, just consistently, was ‘We teach our young women to support the priesthood.’”

But what does ‘support the priesthood’ really mean? How does our interpretation of that affect the message we share with the rising generation of women in the Church? How can leaders and parents better teach young women to see their value in God’s work?

Host: Should we teach “supporting the priesthood” differently?

Sister Marriott: We’ve heard it, but it’s hard to get it into our minds, to make that shift that the priesthood is not the men of the Church. Priesthood is the power of God, and we all work with that power—not necessarily with keys or even with duties described in the scriptures, but we all have this power as we fulfill our covenant responsibilities. Even saying “support the priesthood,” we’re really saying “support the power of God.” I think we even need to go better and say we support those who work with priesthood power so that priesthood doesn’t take on this human identity that we just keep going back to. It’s just habit. But we need to get out of that habit. We need to keep pushing that idea out that this is about God’s power in our lives . . .

Sister McConkie: . . . All those ordinances are invitations to receive the Spirit. And when they receive the Spirit of God in their lives, then they receive heavenly direction. They learn how to function in the work of salvation, in the work of the priesthood. All of the work of salvation is done by priesthood power. And we access that priesthood power as we participate in the work . . .

What an extraordinary interview! I will let it speak for itself, but the vision here is clearly one of diarchy, where both men and women access and use priesthood power in diarchic fashion.

And finally, I recently found this lovely LDS meme, taken from the above interview, all dressed up in PINK (see below). This is a very diarchic statement to have hanging in one’s home or splashed as one’s desktop screen saver, asserting boldly that priesthood power is not given to men alone, but that women use that power every day in their own labors in the kingdom. The Church’s promulgation of this quote is path-breaking in its import:

To my eyes, dear readers, these four observable steps may not be a headlong rush towards diarchy, but they represent tangible progress towards that goal—progress that no longer seems glacial in tempo. In a sense, we may be “power-walking” towards diarchy in our faith community, and it is a joyful journey indeed. In ten years, I hope that every time a speaker in general conference asserts that our Heavenly Father loves us, that they will also assert that our Heavenly Mother loves us, too. I hope that, as Kayla Bach has suggested in a SquareTwo essay, that the Young Women’s theme be changed to say, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Parents, who love us and we love Them.” I hope that Church talks about mothers and motherhood will mention--at least once--that we have a Mother in Heaven. I’m aiming to stay alive for at least another ten years so that I can count, as I have done here, how much we have progressed in that time.

Have you, dear readers, noticed any other signs of progress towards diarchy in our faith community? Send them to us at squaretwojournal@yahoo.com and we’ll publish them in the comments section to this article.

Full Citation for this Article: Hudson, Valerie M. (2017) "Power-Walking Towards Diarchy in the LDS Faith," SquareTwo, Vol. 10 No. 3 (Fall 2017), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleHudsonDiarchy.html, accessed <give access date>.

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