Question: What must one do in order to become a "Son of Perdition"?

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Question: What must one do in order to become a "Son of Perdition"?

D&C 76:31-32 lays out the criteria for being a son of perdition

31 Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—

32 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;

Therefore, the criteria for becoming a "son of perdition" are:

  1. Know God's power
  2. Deny that power

If we argue that women are not capable of this, which of these two things are we saying that women are not capable of? Obviously they are capable of the first and if they aren't capable of the second, then that completely flies in the face of agency.

It is possible that the idea that women are not capable of perdition is part of a phenomenon of so-called "woman worship" that sometimes goes on at church—we may see elements of this in Brigham Young's conviction that women are more pure, and less tainted by the sins of the world, and thus do not risk utter damnation in quite the same way. Social factors also doubtless played a role, since the dangerous enemies of the Church in the 19th century were virtually all men. Social factors should also be considered, since Victorian thought tended to speak of women in exalted, angelic terms—the view was that women were responsible to civilize men and help them control their baser instincts, and their domestic domain was thereby a refuge from the corruption and competition the man's workaday world.

In a modern manifestation of "woman worship," men in the Church often put themselves down, praising the sisters, saying their wives are more righteous than they are, that there are "more women in heaven," mothers are all angels, and so on. It's a nice sentiment, but:

  • it may be incorrect–how can we know?
  • it can come across as condescending, even if intended sincerely; and
  • it does not do justice to the variety of the female mortal experience.

Men who think that women are, as a whole, better may not know enough women or perhaps don't know the women they do know well enough. Women are generally socialized to be social networkers and are on average more concerned with the social consequences to their actions (e.g., hurting someone's feelings, betraying someone, being embarrassed, etc.).

The reality is that women are just as human and flawed as men, and capable of good and evil to the same capacity as men. They are simply different and therefore prone to different behaviors. But, on the other hand, perhaps some of this difference in style protects them from the type of behaviors that merit perdition. If so, one can hardly complain.

One other possible reason for the idea that women may be excluded from perdition comes to mind. Motherhood is often set up as the female parallel of male priesthood. The scriptures teach that a man's priesthood comes to an end when he does not live worthily of it D&C 121:37. As far as we know, there is no such limit placed on a woman's access to her motherhood. Even women who have never physically borne children are still considered mothers. Mos 4:26 A man's priesthood can be taken from him but maybe a woman's analogous power, her motherhood, is differently -- and perhaps more permanently -- attached to her.

Notes