It all started with Adam and Eve
My thoughts all began several years ago when I had only been married a short time. Marriage was tricky. I was trying to figure out how to make it viable, and Darrin was still proving himself to me (unfair, I know, but I'm being honest). We had an institute director and family who lived in our ward. Everyone thought this particular brother and his wife were on the verge of translation, hung on their every word, and adored them. I regarded them with suspicion. No one was that pious 24 hours daily. After observing them for a few months, I noticed things that made me highly uncomfortable about their relationship. I noticed that he was a figurehead dad. He rarely touched any of his seven children (all under the age of eight), and got upset at his wife if they misbehaved. He chatted with his buddies, ignoring any problems his wife might be having as she juggled two toddlers and a set of twin infants. He often made comments about how she really didn't know anything of worth, but that was fine as long as she remembered how to cook. He would make offhand remarks to other men, comparing their wives to his--she always got the short end of the stick, not being as pretty, thin, or talented to his way of thinking. All in all, I thought he was disgusting, and I was a little impatient that she put up with him. In truth, she was slender, bright, and very beautiful (you can take my word for this, I know beautiful women when I see them), and he had no grounds for making any of the comments, or for his treatment of her.
One day, at a ward breakfast, Darrin and I were in the church kitchen, cooking. Institute Director (Brother ID) and wife were also present, along with some other men. Somehow the subject of polygamy was introduced. Now I have to say, I don't spend much time thinking about that subject. It's not something of which I'm an enthusiastic proponant, but it's been around for a very long time, and many cultures today swear by it, and given my inadequacies in the "wife and mother" department, well, I suppose it's a logical avenue to increase one's posterity and lend variety to one's sex life, if that's the goal. However, if given the choice of participating in polygamy or not, I would have to choose "not".
I stayed out of the ensuing conversation at it's outset. But then Brother ID's wife made an unrelated comment about his cooking (he needed to turn the pancakes--they were burning) that irritated him--and his resulting comment infuriated me. He said, "When I get my other wives, you can just sit back and shut up." I understand that he thought he was being clever. I understand that he was trying to get a masculine laugh from his buddies--and he did--and Darrin was one of those guys who laughed. I, however, have never been able to keep my mouth shut, and when I saw the hurt and defeat on Sister ID's face, I lost it. With all the indignation that a 20-year-old semi-newlywed can muster, I turned to Brother ID and told him what I thought. Key points:
1. He was stupid and crass to make such a remark at all, let alone in mixed company.
2. Anytime a husband makes a comment in humor at his wife's expense, he should be emasculated.
3. Obviously he didn't understand the laws of plural marriage, because my understanding was that only those who could make marriage work with one wife were considered for that calling, and the first wife's consent was required. From the way he treated his first wife, that wasn't even a possibility for one as boorish and mysogynistic as he.
4. If he were lucky, he'd get to keep his beautiful wife for eternity--but if she were smart, she'd request a replacement for her defective husband from God when they eventually met up.
5. He would have so much more success in the "human being" department if he recognized what a miracle it was that anyone would marry him in the first place, and spend his life in endless gratitude to the woman who condescended to live with the lowlife that he was.
Then I turned to Darrin and told him that any man who laughed when another man demeaned his wife was not someone with whom I would spend my life, and it would be a cold day in hell before he was allowed to talk to me, let alone touch me, again. And I stomped out of the kitchen, hearing behind my back the catcalls and comments of the stupid men, now aimed at me.
Darrin caught up to me by the time I got to the car. He was very upset. He apologized repeatedly, told me he was wrong, tried to explain why he'd laughed, admitted there was no excuse...then he got into the car on the passenger side and said, "Let's go home, please." I said, "I don't want to be with you right now." He didn't say anything. We sat there in silence, then I started the car and drove home, where he tried to make me understand that he loved me and promised he would never cave to priesthood peer pressure again.
Obviously, I eventually forgave Darrin. But I've often wondered why certain men in the church would view women as second class citizens, objects of ridicule, not equals. Because I am who I am, I cannot imagine that the earth was created without feminine input and oversight. And I'm certain that when Eve was created, the conversation went something like this:
Male Creators: Wow!! Finished--she's hot!
Female Counterparts: No, you're not finished, her boobs are crooked, and way too large, what are you thinking!!??!? Wait, don't answer that, just fix it.
MC's: She looks fine the way she is. Adam will love this.
FC's: This isn't about Adam. Look at her--imagine how uncomfortable running will be.
MC's: Eve's not supposed to run. Adam will do all the running necessary.
FC's: You're being stupid. Have you never seen a toddler before? Of course she'll have to run.
MC's: Oh, never thought of that. We're still a little hung up on the fact that we'll get to have sex. Okay, we can reduce her a little.
FC's: A LOT!!! Reduce A LOT!!
MC's: Fine! Sometime's there's no satisfying you FC's. You made such a big deal about how the flowers had to smell nice and there had to be fluffy, as well as stretchy clouds, and how we had to tell Adam to bathe and use deoderant...and you had to say stuff about his genitalia creation, as well. Next time, we're not inviting you to come along.
FC's: Not inviting us? Did you forget? You can't do it without us...
MC's: Oh yeah. We need to talk to the Big Guy about that. One flaw in his grand idea...
The truth is, that in spite of the disagreements there, obviously the MC's slipped some genetic code into Eve's DNA when the FC's weren't looking, but that's all water under the bridge now. Regardless, my hope is that someday, when fairness is dealt and we all get what we deserve, Brother ID realizes what a beautiful gem his wife is, and he burns in hell for how he treated her. It's not going to happen, I know, but I still want it to. And I'm certain, if, against all odds, it does happen--I'll be there to see it, because my penthouse in Hell has already been reserved.