Mormons Drop Vow to Obey Husbands : Religion: Church also revises ritual that portrayed clergy of other faiths as agents of Satan.
In a rare revision of Mormon ritual, the church has dropped wording that required women to pledge to obey their husbands and portrayed the clergy of other religions as agents of Satan.
Women must now vow to obey God rather than their husbands in the “endowment” ceremony, a ritual the church teaches is necessary to enable members to live with God after death. The ceremony is performed only once for each person, but a member may go through it countless times as a proxy for those who have died.
The revised ritual, which took effect last month in ceremonies performed in the 43 temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is being greeted with enthusiasm by church members who say it reflects greater sensitivity toward women and other religions.
“The temple is an important part of my spiritual life, and the changes have allowed me to go to the temple with renewed joy,” said Lavina Fielding Anderson, editor-elect of the Journal of Mormon History.
“I think we’re gradually moving away from the subjugation of women,” said Ross Peterson, co-editor of Dialogue, an independent Mormon journal.
“I think (church leaders) are developing a recognition that there are many highly intelligent, independent, capable and educated women in our ranks today who have a great deal to offer.”
Among other changes, a theatrical portion of the ceremony that included a non-Mormon “preacher” paid by Satan to spread false doctrine has been excised.
“The general consensus is that it’s a breath of fresh air,” Peterson said. “You don’t put down other churches or imply that they are Satan’s children.”