A Man's Responsibility

Posted by: Andee / Category: , ,

I was just flipping through my Ensign collection and found this question sent to the magazine in February of 2002.  The Questions and Answers page starts on page 70.  First is the text of the question and answer from Hoyt W. Brewster Jr. (note the middle initial thing, annoys the hell out of me).

My wife and I want to have equal voice in decisions made in our home, but we are taught that it is my responsibility to preside in the home.  What does this mean, and what are its limitations?

Response By Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., president, Salt Lake Brighton Stake.

From the time Adam and Eve were places upon the earth to the present day, the principal of presiding authority has been practiced.  Where groups are gathered, societies created, and partnerships formed, individuals are designated by appointment, delegation, or election to preside--that is, to provide presiding leadership or order to the group.

When the Creator provided Eve as a companion-wife, or help-meet, for the lone man Adam (see Gen. 2:18; Moses 3:18), He created the first and fundamental unit of society, the family.  Though both man and woman are equal in Heavenly Father's eyes, for "male and female... are alike unto God" (2 Ne. 26:33), Adam was given the presiding role of the family.

Some have misunderstood or misinterpreted the instruction to Eve when Deity declared, "Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee" (Gen. 3:16; emphasis added; see also Moses 4:22).  Commenting on this scripture, President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) said: "I have a question about the word rule.  It gives the wrong impression.  I would prefer to use the word preside because that's what he does.  A righteous husband presides over his wife and family." ("The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood," Ensign, Mar. 1976, 72). 

The scriptures and declarations of the prophets have consistently taught that a husband has the divinely delegated responsibility to preside, or provide Christlike leadership, in the home.  For example, the recent proclamation of the family states, "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families" ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

It is significant to note the wording "preside... in love and righteousness."  The Apostle Paul taught this same concept, although in different words, to the husbands and fathers of his day.  "For the husband is the head of the wife," he wrote, "even as Christ is the head of the church" (Eph. 5:23). Then this servant of the Lord admonished, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." (Eph. 5:25).

Husbands are to give themselves totally to the welfare of the family.  The presiding position does not entail the right to dictate or to "exercise unrighteous dominion" (D&C 121:39).

A bishop was startled during and interview with a husband and wife seeking counsel when the man said: "I want you to tell my wife that she is to do whatever I say because I preside in the home!" To the husband's amazement, it was he who then received instruction from the bishop in principals of true priesthood leadership.

On another occasion a stake president was interviewing a woman and asked about her relationship with her husband.  Tears of gratitude began to well up in her eyes as she told of her love for him.  Not only was he a kind and loving husband to her, but he was a wonderful father to her children from a previous marriage.  He provided them with the love and an example of Christlike conduct.

The qualities essential to presiding in righteousness are enumerated in modern scripture:

"No power or influence can be or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

"By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile" (D&C 121:41-42).

The husband who exhibits these godly traits honors his priesthood and his position as the presiding authority in the home.  He will speak and act out of love and with a desire to bless his family, not to dominate or dictate.  Such a husband follows the example of Christ.

A righteous husband sees his wife as described by President Howard W. Hunter (1907-95): "a companion equal and necessary in full partnership" ("Being a Righteous Husband and Father," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 51).  I believe that a wife who feels loved is treated with respect, is listened to as she counsels with her husband, and knows her voice is a valued part of family decisions will recognize the marriage as a full partnership in which she is an equal contributor.  Such a partnership is based on trust in one another and trust in a loving Father who presides over His eternal family.

Puke. Peeeeeeouuuuuuke. Blech.

Can I just say something really quick?  Who gets to decide that men are to preside over anyone?  MEN.  Yeah.  Did women make that decision? NO!

I love how this guy tries to make the fact that men are supposedly the head of the family just because they are men "okay."  It's not!  It's not okay!  This is bullsh!t and everyone knows it.

Know what I got from this article?  This:

Men, you are in charge.  With that comes responsibility to be good and righteous... but you are still in charge.  Ladies, you counsel with your husband, but what he says goes.  You are equal *pat on head* you know you are.  Your husband knows best, so listen to him.  He has the mystical powers of the priesthood.  Without him, you go nowhere.

Why in the would should a man have the right to do the "presiding" over the family?  Why not a woman?  What is wrong with a woman in that position?  I don't think that the position should be there to begin with, this is for the sake or argument.  If someone has to preside, why does the man automatically get the job?  Because he is a man?  Because he has a penis?  COME ON! Are you kidding me?

No wonder there is so much sexism out there... everyone's minds have been filled with this dribble since they were newborns.

The examples given in the article of a man abusing his head-of-the-household powers and then a man taking care of children that are not bioligically his, are examples given to explain this to us as if we are preschoolers who don't know the difference between good and bad.  "You see children, being a good person means you help your family, being a bad person means you order them around and make them shine your shoes."  Give me a  break.

A man isn't in charge of me simply because he is a man.  I refuse to be a part of an institution that requires it...



  1. Truly Confused Says:

    No, men preside because they have the priesthood. They have the priesthood because they are spiritually inferior to women (remember, women don't need it). So men are defined as spiritually inferior by the church and then told they preside. It makes perfect sense for a cult. Really.

    Just like god threatening JS if he didn't screw 14 year old girls. Once again, perfect sense for a cult led by a bunch of crazy people.

  1. Andee Says:

    I wonder why people have been okay with this for as long as they have. If this kind of mentality happened in the workplace (men being the authority simply because they are men) then women would be suing and going to the media. Why do they take it from the church?


  1. [kɹeɪ̯g̊] Says:

    The sexism in the church always disturbed me, and I didn't understand why my mum seemed to be ok with it. There are all sorts of explanations to say why it isn't sexism (like women being inherently better than men, which is still sexism), but the explanations are always full of holes.