The Savior as a Role Model for Men and Women

Every once in awhile, I find a gem in The Ensign, the monthly magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that makes me fall off my metaphorical chair.

Thus was the case yesterday, when I happened to stumble upon an article entitled "The Lord as a Role Model for Men and Women."  It was written by Ida Smith, former director of the Women's Research Institute at BYU.

Guys.  It knocked. off. my. socks.  So, I want to share it.  You can find the full text here, but also my favorite bits below.


It is important for a woman to learn in this life her eternal role so that when she is sealed she will be prepared and ready—with all her heart—to function in and glorify that role. That means being ready and prepared to function as a full partner in a celestial team—without having to look up because of any feeling of inferiority, or look down because of any feeling of superiority, but look across into the eyes of an equally prepared, equally magnificent eternal mate.

This made me think of the equality in kneeling at an altar together - equal and whole and looking into one another's eyes.  Amazing.


Some women complain that they have no strong role models in the scriptures. That is not true. We have many models there. And our main one is the Savior, himself. Nowhere is it written that he is a model for men only; and nowhere is it written that men and women should each be allowed only half of his traits! The world has divided up personality traits that should be characteristic of both men and women, and has labeled some of them “masculine” and some of them “feminine.” Latter-day prophets do teach that men and women have biological, emotional, and other differences, but we should be careful about assigning mutually exclusive traits to one sex or the other. Nowhere, for example, does the Lord say that tenderness, kindness, charity, faithfulness, patience, gentleness, and compassion are strictly female traits and should be utilized by women only. And nowhere does he say that courage, strength, determination, and leadership should be the exclusive prerogative of men. Any notion that God desired that women be passive should have been dispelled when the Prophet told women that they were responsible for their own salvation.

Women aren’t the only ones who suffer from sexual categorization; since men are also charged to become Christlike, a heavy burden is placed on a man when he realizes that many of the traits that will make him Christlike have been labeled by the world as feminine—and that by taking upon himself those characteristics he runs the risk of having his masculinity seriously questioned by his peers.

This was especially poignant for me:  that Christ, my Savior, is my role model as much as He is for the men in the world... and that the categorization of traits as feminine and masculine are, by and large, inappropriate before the Lord.


If our sexual identity is based solely on our outward visible activities, the situation is serious—and complicated—indeed. The Savior was not effeminate when he clasped the Nephite children to his bosom and blessed them and wept; neither was my great-great-grandmother unwomanly when she, as a widow, took the reins in her own hands and drove a team of oxen across the plains to Utah. If we feel a woman lacks femininity simply because she is magnificent on the playing field, or a man lacks masculinity simply because he is a great artist, I think we are missing the point.

Gahhh!  So amazing!  I hope you made it through this post, and I encourage you to take a look at the whole article.  Leave comments if you'd like.


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Lauren Kay House © 2011