When the Lord commanded Eve in the beginning
Genesis 4:22 Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
He was laying out out the means by which Eve would gain her exaltation. Eve does not gain her exaltation by becoming a queen and priestess to the most high God. She gains her exaltation by becoming a queen and priestess to her husband. We learn this in the temple, but we can also find it in the words of living prophets.
John Taylor taught “He has called us to high privileges, to thrones and principalities and dominions, and to be saviors on Mount Zion, and to be kings and priests unto God, and our wives, queens and priestesses unto their husbands.”
Thus Ephesians 5 is not just good domestic counsel. It is the Father’s doctrine for exalting his sons and his daughters. As sons and daughters are different, the Father laid out different commandments for each of them in the garden of Eden. As sons and daughters are different, the criteria by which they gain exaltation is different. The son’s exaltation is founded in learning to do those things that the Father requires of his sons. The daughter’s exaltation is founded in doing those things that the Father requires of his daughters. Thus Paul’s counsel to men and women differed. Paul wrote:
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the Savior of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Why in the world would anyone tell anyone else to submit to someone as unto the Lord? That sounds like crazy talk. But that is the doctrine. The wife’s exaltation is founded in keeping the commandments the Father laid out for her. A man must learn to let his will be swallowed up in the will of god in order to become a priest and a king to god. He must strive to become gods servant. He must not only do what God commands, he must be anxiously engaged in a good cause. That is what it means to become a priest unto god.
And the woman gains her exaltation by becoming a priestess unto her husband. What does that mean? Well, just ask yourself what does it mean for the husband to become a priest unto God?
How far does this go? One way to find out is to learn what the prophets have taught when good principles collide, which they frequently do. When the wife has to choose between submitting to her husband on the one hand and listening to the missionaries / joining the church on the other hand, what is the counsel? The counsel, both in the scriptures as well as by the words of Joseph Smith is plainly laid out. The wife is to prefer to submit to her husband’s decision in preference even to hearing the missionaries and be baptized.
Can we wrap our minds around that? The Lord gives his daughters that counsel which has the greatest power to save them, and in doing so he tells them to hearken to the command the Father gave Eve in Eden in preference to the command to hear the gospel and be baptized. Why? Because she will gain her exaltation by becoming a queen and priestess to her husband, and if she can prove that she will be a faithful queen and priestess to whatever husband she has that will prepare her more for exaltation than to repent and be baptized into the true church. If not so, the counsel would be the reverse, and she would be required to listen to the missionaries and be baptized no matter the feelings of her husband on the matter. God cares deeply about the salvation of his daughters, and gives them the counsel which will save them best.
Now there is the flip side of it, which is that, yes, the husband is to love his wife, even as Christ loves the church. That is a critical part of how the husband gains his exaltation.
Now what does feminism attack? It parades around as being completely compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ. All it wants to undo is the command that the Father laid out in Eden. Truly, there will be far fewer women of this generation exalted from among the nonmembers than in all other ages, for they have been soiled by feminism and the devil has taken away from them both small and great exactly that principle by which they would have found exaltation.
I have been astonished at the women who reverse the principle the Father laid out in Eden (which is practically all of them in this day to either a medium or a large degree) and are the head of their homes while their husband is a mere figurehead. Men, striving to be good husbands in this setting will completely subject all that they do in life in service to their wives. They become good servants that almost seem to have no cares other than the care of their wife.
And yet, those wives complain more and more bitterly against their husbands. One of the repeated complaints is that they do not believe their husbands love them. I have seen one struggle, finally deciding that while she logically can see that her husband loves her, she must simply be incapable of sensing his love.
These women who rule in their homes enjoy the happiness of the proud, which is fleeting and self aggrandized. But no matter how devoted their husband is, they eventually seem to simply lose their own ability to relish and enjoy it.
The Lord’s command to Eve “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” is that her fulfillment and joy will be in serving and delighting her husband and feeling his love. And apparently when they rebel and rule over the home in all but name, violating the latter part of the commandment, they no longer feel the enjoyment and delight the Father intends for them in letting their desire be to their husband.