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Thea, the reconstructed Stone-Age Woman

800,000 years ago game was abundant; many species of deer, as well as elephants and hippopotamuses, roamed over Europe. Cattle were plentiful; horses and wolves were everywhere. The Neanderthalers were great hunters, and the tribes in France were the first to adopt the practice of giving the most successful hunters the choice of women for wives. ~ The Urantia Book, (64:4.2)

Hunger, vanity, and ghost fear were continuous in their social pressure, but sex gratification was transient and spasmodic. The sex urge alone did not impel primitive men and women to assume the heavy burdens of home maintenance. The early home was founded upon the sex restlessness of the male when deprived of frequent gratification and upon that devoted mother love of the human female, which in measure she shares with the females of all the higher animals. The presence of a helpless baby determined the early differentiation of male and female activities; the woman had to maintain a settled residence where she could cultivate the soil. And from earliest times, where woman was has always been regarded as the home. ~ The Urantia Book, (68:2.6)

Woman thus early became indispensable to the evolving social scheme, not so much because of the fleeting sex passion as in consequence of food requirement; she was an essential partner in self-maintenance. She was a food provider, a beast of burden, and a companion who would stand great abuse without violent resentment, and in addition to all of these desirable traits, she was an ever-present means of sex gratification. ~ The Urantia Book, (68:2.7)

Prepastoral society was one of sex co-operation, but the spread of animal husbandry reduced women to the depths of social slavery. In earlier times it was man's duty to secure the animal food, woman's business to provide the vegetable edibles. Therefore, when man entered the pastoral era of his existence, woman's dignity fell greatly. She must still toil to produce the vegetable necessities of life, whereas the man need only go to his herds to provide an abundance of animal food. Man thus became relatively independent of woman; throughout the entire pastoral age woman's status steadily declined. By the close of this era she had become scarcely more than a human animal, consigned to work and to bear human offspring, much as the animals of the herd were expected to labor and bring forth young. The men of the pastoral ages had great love for their cattle; all the more pity they could not have developed a deeper affection for their wives. ~ The Urantia Book, (68:5.8)

The divisions of labor in primitive society were determined first by natural, and then by social, circumstances. The early order of specialization in labor was:

Specialization based on sex. Woman's work was derived from the selective presence of the child; women naturally love babies more than men do. Thus woman became the routine worker, while man became the hunter and fighter, engaging in accentuated periods of work and rest.

All down through the ages the taboos have operated to keep woman strictly in her own field. Man has most selfishly chosen the more agreeable work, leaving the routine drudgery to woman. Man has always been ashamed to do woman's work, but woman has never shown any reluctance to doing man's work. But strange to record, both men and women have always worked together in building and furnishing the home. ~ The Urantia Book, (69:3.1)

Women as Artisans, Traders and Priests

The first group specialists in industry were rock salt exporters and potters. Women made the plain pottery and men the fancy. Among some tribes sewing and weaving were done by women, in others by the men. ~ The Urantia Book, (69:3.10)

The early traders were women; they were employed as spies, carrying on commerce as a side line. Presently trade expanded, the women acting as intermediaries—jobbers. Then came the merchant class, charging a commission, profit, for their services. Growth of group barter developed into commerce; and following the exchange of commodities came the exchange of skilled labor. ~ The Urantia Book, (69:3.11)

The first barter was conducted by armed traders who would leave their goods on a neutral spot. Women held the first markets; they were the earliest traders, and this was because they were the burden bearers; the men were warriors. Very early the trading counter was developed, a wall wide enough to prevent the traders reaching each other with weapons. ~ The Urantia Book, (69:4.2)

It was a sin to extinguish a flame; if a hut caught fire, it was allowed to burn. The fires of the temples and shrines were sacred and were never permitted to go out except that it was the custom to kindle new flames annually or after some calamity. Women were selected as priests because they were custodians of the home fires. ~ The Urantia Book, (69:6.5)

Man's Brutality to Women

When man was a hunter, he was fairly kind to woman, but after the domestication of animals, coupled with the Caligastia confusion, many tribes shamefully treated their women. They treated them altogether too much as they treated their animals. Man's brutal treatment of woman constitutes one of the darkest chapters of human history. ~ The Urantia Book, (69:7.5)

The hunter, like the American red man, did not enslave. He either adopted or killed his captives. Slavery was not prevalent among the pastoral peoples, for they needed few laborers. In war the herders made a practice of killing all men captives and taking as slaves only the women and children. The Mosaic code contained specific directions for making wives of these women captives. If not satisfactory, they could be sent away, but the Hebrews were not allowed to sell such rejected consorts as slaves—that was at least one advance in civilization. Though the social standards of the Hebrews were crude, they were far above those of the surrounding tribes. ~ The Urantia Book, (69:8.4)

In earliest times women were the property of the community, and the mother dominated the family. The early chiefs owned all the land and were proprietors of all the women; marriage required the consent of the tribal ruler. With the passing of communism, women were held individually, and the father gradually assumed domestic control. Thus the home had its beginning, and the prevailing polygamous customs were gradually displaced by monogamy. (Polygamy is the survival of the female-slavery element in marriage. Monogamy is the slave-free ideal of the matchless association of one man and one woman in the exquisite enterprise of home building, offspring rearing, mutual culture, and self-improvement.) ~ The Urantia Book, (69:9.7)

The first refinement of war was the taking of prisoners. Next, women were exempted from hostilities, and then came the recognition of noncombatants. Military castes and standing armies soon developed to keep pace with the increasing complexity of combat. Such warriors were early prohibited from associating with women, and women long ago ceased to fight, though they have always fed and nursed the soldiers and urged them on to battle. ~ The Urantia Book, (70:1.20)

The early fetish king was often kept in seclusion; he was regarded as too sacred to be viewed except on feast days and holy days. Ordinarily a representative was chosen to impersonate him, and this is the origin of prime ministers. The first cabinet officer was a food administrator; others shortly followed. Rulers soon appointed representatives to be in charge of commerce and religion; and the development of a cabinet was a direct step toward depersonalization of executive authority. These assistants of the early kings became the accepted nobility, and the king's wife gradually rose to the dignity of queen as women came to be held in higher esteem. ~ The Urantia Book, (70:6.5)

Secret Societies

The very secrecy of these societies conferred on all members the power of mystery over the rest of the tribe. Secrecy also appeals to vanity; the initiates were the social aristocracy of their day. After initiation the boys hunted with the men; whereas before they had gathered vegetables with the women. And it was the supreme humiliation, a tribal disgrace, to fail to pass the puberty tests and thus be compelled to remain outside the men's abode with the women and children, to be considered effeminate. Besides, noninitiates were not allowed to marry. ~ The Urantia Book, (70:7.7)

Commercialized prostitution began when these men's clubs paid money for the use of women from other tribes. But the earlier groups were remarkably free from sex laxity. ~ The Urantia Book, (70:7.9)

Presently nonsecret clubs made their appearance when groups of unmarried men and groups of unattached women formed their separate organizations. These associations were really the first schools. And while men's and women's clubs were often given to persecuting each other, some advanced tribes, after contact with the Dalamatia teachers, experimented with coeducation, having boarding schools for both sexes. ~ The Urantia Book, (70:7.14)

Women Gain Dignity in the Garden

On the fourth day Adam and Eve addressed the Garden assembly. From the inaugural mount they spoke to the people concerning their plans for the rehabilitation of the world and outlined the methods whereby they would seek to redeem the social culture of Urantia from the low levels to which it had fallen as a result of sin and rebellion. This was a great day, and it closed with a feast for the council of men and women who had been selected to assume responsibilities in the new administration of world affairs. Take note! women as well as men were in this group, and that was the first time such a thing had occurred on earth since the days of Dalamatia. It was an astounding innovation to behold Eve, a woman, sharing the honors and responsibilities of world affairs with a man. And thus ended the fourth day on earth. ~ The Urantia Book, (74:3.5)

After becoming established in the second garden on the Euphrates, Adam elected to leave behind as much of his life plasm as possible to benefit the world after his death. Accordingly, Eve was made the head of a commission of twelve on race improvement, and before Adam died this commission had selected 1,682 of the highest type of women on Urantia, and these women were impregnated with the Adamic life plasm. Their children all grew up to maturity except 112, so that the world, in this way, was benefited by the addition of 1,570 superior men and women. Though these candidate mothers were selected from all the surrounding tribes and represented most of the races on earth, the majority were chosen from the highest strains of the Nodites, and they constituted the early beginnings of the mighty Andite race. These children were born and reared in the tribal surroundings of their respective mothers. ~ The Urantia Book, (76:4.8)

These Cro-Magnon peoples were a brave and farseeing race. They maintained an efficient system of child culture. Both parents participated in these labors, and the services of the older children were fully utilized. Each child was carefully trained in the care of the caves, in art, and in flint making. At an early age the women were well versed in the domestic arts and in crude agriculture, while the men were skilled hunters and courageous warriors. ~ The Urantia Book, (80:3.5)

Marriage and Taboos

Women have always been subject to more restrictive taboos than men. The early mores granted the same degree of sex liberty to unmarried women as to men, but it has always been required of wives that they be faithful to their husbands. Primitive marriage did not much curtail man's sex liberties, but it did render further sex license taboo to the wife. Married women have always borne some mark which set them apart as a class by themselves, such as hairdress, clothing, veil, seclusion, ornamentation, and rings. ~ The Urantia Book, (82:2.5)

With advancing civilization, certain tribes put the severe marriage tests of male endurance in the hands of the women; they thus were able to favor the men of their choice. These marriage tests embraced skill in hunting, fighting, and ability to provide for a family. The groom was long required to enter the bride's family for at least one year, there to live and labor and prove that he was worthy of the wife he sought. ~ The Urantia Book, (82:3.6)

In olden days many practices now regarded as immoral were encouraged. Primitive wives not infrequently took great pride in their husbands' affairs with other women. Chastity in girls was a great hindrance to marriage; the bearing of a child before marriage greatly increased a girl's desirability as a wife since the man was sure of having a fertile companion. ~ The Urantia Book, (82:3.13)

Many primitive tribes sanctioned trial marriage until the woman became pregnant, when the regular marriage ceremony would be performed; among other groups the wedding was not celebrated until the first child was born. If a wife was barren, she had to be redeemed by her parents, and the marriage was annulled. The mores demanded that every pair have children. ~ The Urantia Book, (82:3.14)

As civilization advanced and private property gained further recognition in the mores, stealing became the great crime. Adultery was recognized as a form of stealing, an infringement of the husband's property rights; it is not therefore specifically mentioned in the earlier codes and mores. Woman started out as the property of her father, who transferred his title to her husband, and all legalized sex relations grew out of these pre-existent property rights. The Old Testament deals with women as a form of property; the Koran teaches their inferiority. Man had the right to lend his wife to a friend or guest, and this custom still obtains among certain peoples. ~ The Urantia Book, (82:4.3)

Since the chastity taboo had its origin as a phase of the property mores, it applied at first to married women but not to unmarried girls. In later years, chastity was more demanded by the father than by the suitor; a virgin was a commercial asset to the father—she brought a higher price. As chastity came more into demand, it was the practice to pay the father a bride fee in recognition of the service of properly rearing a chaste bride for the husband-to-be. When once started, this idea of female chastity took such hold on the races that it became the practice literally to cage up girls, actually to imprison them for years, in order to assure their virginity. And so the more recent standards and virginity tests automatically gave origin to the professional prostitute classes; they were the rejected brides, those women who were found by the grooms' mothers not to be virgins. ~ The Urantia Book, (82:4.5)

Coercion, not attraction, was the approach to primitive marriage. In early times woman had no sex aloofness, only sex inferiority as inculcated by the mores. As raiding preceded trading, so marriage by capture preceded marriage by contract. Some women would connive at capture in order to escape the domination of the older men of their tribe; they preferred to fall into the hands of men of their own age from another tribe. This pseudo elopement was the transition stage between capture by force and subsequent courtship by charming. ~ The Urantia Book, (83:2.2)

An early type of wedding ceremony was the mimic flight, a sort of elopement rehearsal which was once a common practice. Later, mock capture became a part of the regular wedding ceremony. A modern girl's pretensions to resist "capture," to be reticent toward marriage, are all relics of olden customs. The carrying of the bride over the threshold is reminiscent of a number of ancient practices, among others, of the days of wife stealing. ~ The Urantia Book, (83:2.3)

Woman was long denied full freedom of self-disposal in marriage, but the more intelligent women have always been able to circumvent this restriction by the clever exercise of their wits. Man has usually taken the lead in courtship, but not always. Woman sometimes formally, as well as covertly, initiates marriage. And as civilization has progressed, women have had an increasing part in all phases of courtship and marriage. ~ The Urantia Book, (83:2.4)

Mother Love

The mother and child relation is natural, strong, and instinctive, and one which, therefore, constrained primitive women to submit to many strange conditions and to endure untold hardships. This compelling mother love is the handicapping emotion which has always placed woman at such a tremendous disadvantage in all her struggles with man. Even at that, maternal instinct in the human species is not overpowering; it may be thwarted by ambition, selfishness, and religious conviction. ~ The Urantia Book, (84:1.7)

While the mother-child association is neither marriage nor home, it was the nucleus from which both sprang. The great advance in the evolution of mating came when these temporary partnerships lasted long enough to rear the resultant offspring, for that was homemaking. ~ The Urantia Book, (84:1.8)

But man was no more to blame for his low opinion of woman during past ages than was woman herself. She failed to get social recognition during primitive times because she did not function in an emergency; she was not a spectacular or crisis hero. Maternity was a distinct disability in the existence struggle; mother love handicapped women in the tribal defense.

Primitive women also unintentionally created their dependence on the male by their admiration and applause for his pugnacity and virility. This exaltation of the warrior elevated the male ego while it equally depressed that of the female and made her more dependent; a military uniform still mightily stirs the feminine emotions.

Among the more advanced races, women are not so large or so strong as men. Woman, being the weaker, therefore became the more tactful; she early learned to trade upon her sex charms. She became more alert and conservative than man, though slightly less profound. Man was woman's superior on the battlefield and in the hunt; but at home woman has usually outgeneraled even the most primitive of men. ~ The Urantia Book, (84:3.3)

Woman's Status In Early Society

Generally speaking, during any age woman's status is a fair criterion of the evolutionary progress of marriage as a social institution, while the progress of marriage itself is a reasonably accurate gauge registering the advances of human civilization.

Woman's status has always been a social paradox; she has always been a shrewd manager of men; she has always capitalized man's stronger sex urge for her own interests and to her own advancement. By trading subtly upon her sex charms, she has often been able to exercise dominant power over man, even when held by him in abject slavery.

Early woman was not to man a friend, sweetheart, lover, and partner but rather a piece of property, a servant or slave and, later on, an economic partner, plaything, and childbearer. Nonetheless, proper and satisfactory sex relations have always involved the element of choice and co-operation by woman, and this has always given intelligent women considerable influence over their immediate and personal standing, regardless of their social position as a sex. But man's distrust and suspicion were not helped by the fact that women were all along compelled to resort to shrewdness in the effort to alleviate their bondage.

The sexes have had great difficulty in understanding each other. Man found it hard to understand woman, regarding her with a strange mixture of ignorant mistrust and fearful fascination, if not with suspicion and contempt. Many tribal and racial traditions relegate trouble to Eve, Pandora, or some other representative of womankind. These narratives were always distorted so as to make it appear that the woman brought evil upon man; and all this indicates the onetime universal distrust of woman. Among the reasons cited in support of a celibate priesthood, the chief was the baseness of woman. The fact that most supposed witches were women did not improve the olden reputation of the sex.

Men have long regarded women as peculiar, even abnormal. They have even believed that women did not have souls; therefore were they denied names. During early times there existed great fear of the first sex relation with a woman; hence it became the custom for a priest to have initial intercourse with a virgin. Even a woman's shadow was thought to be dangerous.

Childbearing was once generally looked upon as rendering a woman dangerous and unclean. And many tribal mores decreed that a mother must undergo extensive purification ceremonies subsequent to the birth of a child. Except among those groups where the husband participated in the lying-in, the expectant mother was shunned, left alone. The ancients even avoided having a child born in the house. Finally, the old women were permitted to attend the mother during labor, and this practice gave origin to the profession of midwifery. During labor, scores of foolish things were said and done in an effort to facilitate delivery. It was the custom to sprinkle the newborn with holy water to prevent ghost interference.

Among the unmixed tribes, childbirth was comparatively easy, occupying only two or three hours; it is seldom so easy among the mixed races. If a woman died in childbirth, especially during the delivery of twins, she was believed to have been guilty of spirit adultery. Later on, the higher tribes looked upon death in childbirth as the will of heaven; such mothers were regarded as having perished in a noble cause.

The so-called modesty of women respecting their clothing and the exposure of the person grew out of the deadly fear of being observed at the time of a menstrual period. To be thus detected was a grievous sin, the violation of a taboo. Under the mores of olden times, every woman, from adolescence to the end of the childbearing period, was subjected to complete family and social quarantine one full week each month. Everything she might touch, sit upon, or lie upon was "defiled." It was for long the custom to brutally beat a girl after each monthly period in an effort to drive the evil spirit out of her body. But when a woman passed beyond the childbearing age, she was usually treated more considerately, being accorded more rights and privileges. In view of all this it was not strange that women were looked down upon. Even the Greeks held the menstruating woman as one of the three great causes of defilement, the other two being pork and garlic.

However foolish these olden notions were, they did some good since they gave overworked females, at least when young, one week each month for welcome rest and profitable meditation. Thus could they sharpen their wits for dealing with their male associates the rest of the time. This quarantine of women also protected men from over-sex indulgence, thereby indirectly contributing to the restriction of population and to the enhancement of self-control.

A great advance was made when a man was denied the right to kill his wife at will. Likewise, it was a forward step when a woman could own the wedding gifts. Later, she gained the legal right to own, control, and even dispose of property, but she was long deprived of the right to hold office in either church or state. Woman has always been treated more or less as property, right up to and in the twentieth century after Christ. She has not yet gained world-wide freedom from seclusion under man's control. Even among advanced peoples, man's attempt to protect woman has always been a tacit assertion of superiority.

But primitive women did not pity themselves as their more recently liberated sisters are wont to do. They were, after all, fairly happy and contented; they did not dare to envision a better or different mode of existence. ~ The Urantia Book, (84:4.1)

Woman Under The Developing Mores

In self-perpetuation woman is man's equal, but in the partnership of self-maintenance she labors at a decided disadvantage, and this handicap of enforced maternity can only be compensated by the enlightened mores of advancing civilization and by man's increasing sense of acquired fairness.

As society evolved, the sex standards rose higher among women because they suffered more from the consequences of the transgression of the sex mores. Man's sex standards are only tardily improving as a result of the sheer sense of that fairness which civilization demands. Nature knows nothing of fairness—makes woman alone suffer the pangs of childbirth.

The modern idea of sex equality is beautiful and worthy of an expanding civilization, but it is not found in nature. When might is right, man lords it over woman; when more justice, peace, and fairness prevail, she gradually emerges from slavery and obscurity. Woman's social position has generally varied inversely with the degree of militarism in any nation or age.

But man did not consciously nor intentionally seize woman's rights and then gradually and grudgingly give them back to her; all this was an unconscious and unplanned episode of social evolution. When the time really came for woman to enjoy added rights, she got them, and all quite regardless of man's conscious attitude. Slowly but surely the mores change so as to provide for those social adjustments which are a part of the persistent evolution of civilization. The advancing mores slowly provided increasingly better treatment for females; those tribes which persisted in cruelty to them did not survive.

The Adamites and Nodites accorded women increased recognition, and those groups which were influenced by the migrating Andites have tended to be influenced by the Edenic teachings regarding women's place in society.

The early Chinese and the Greeks treated women better than did most surrounding peoples. But the Hebrews were exceedingly distrustful of them. In the Occident woman has had a difficult climb under the Pauline doctrines which became attached to Christianity, although Christianity did advance the mores by imposing more stringent sex obligations upon man. Woman's estate is little short of hopeless under the peculiar degradation which attaches to her in Mohammedanism, and she fares even worse under the teachings of several other Oriental religions.

Science, not religion, really emancipated woman; it was the modern factory which largely set her free from the confines of the home. Man's physical abilities became no longer a vital essential in the new maintenance mechanism; science so changed the conditions of living that man power was no longer so superior to woman power.

These changes have tended toward woman's liberation from domestic slavery and have brought about such a modification of her status that she now enjoys a degree of personal liberty and sex determination that practically equals man's. Once a woman's value consisted in her food-producing ability, but invention and wealth have enabled her to create a new world in which to function—spheres of grace and charm. Thus has industry won its unconscious and unintended fight for woman's social and economic emancipation. And again has evolution succeeded in doing what even revelation failed to accomplish.

The reaction of enlightened peoples from the inequitable mores governing woman's place in society has indeed been pendulumlike in its extremeness. Among industrialized races she has received almost all rights and enjoys exemption from many obligations, such as military service. Every easement of the struggle for existence has redounded to the liberation of woman, and she has directly benefited from every advance toward monogamy. The weaker always makes disproportionate gains in every adjustment of the mores in the progressive evolution of society.

In the ideals of pair marriage, woman has finally won recognition, dignity, independence, equality, and education; but will she prove worthy of all this new and unprecedented accomplishment? Will modern woman respond to this great achievement of social liberation with idleness, indifference, barrenness, and infidelity? Today, in the twentieth century, woman is undergoing the crucial test of her long world existence!

Woman is man's equal partner in race reproduction, hence just as important in the unfolding of racial evolution; therefore has evolution increasingly worked toward the realization of women's rights. But women's rights are by no means men's rights. Woman cannot thrive on man's rights any more than man can prosper on woman's rights.

Each sex has its own distinctive sphere of existence, together with its own rights within that sphere. If woman aspires literally to enjoy all of man's rights, then, sooner or later, pitiless and emotionless competition will certainly replace that chivalry and special consideration which many women now enjoy, and which they have so recently won from men.

Civilization never can obliterate the behavior gulf between the sexes. From age to age the mores change, but instinct never. Innate maternal affection will never permit emancipated woman to become man's serious rival in industry. Forever each sex will remain supreme in its own domain, domains determined by biologic differentiation and by mental dissimilarity.

Each sex will always have its own special sphere, albeit they will ever and anon overlap. Only socially will men and women compete on equal terms. ~ The Urantia Book, (84:5.1)

Women seem to have more intuition than men, but they also appear to be somewhat less logical. Woman, however, has always been the moral standard-bearer and the spiritual leader of mankind. The hand that rocks the cradle still fraternizes with destiny. ~ The Urantia Book, (84:6.4)

Interesting Factoids

Human prosperity was supposed to be especially provocative of the envy of evil spirits, and their method of retaliation was to strike back through a human agency and by the technique of the evil eye. That phase of the cult which had to do with spirit avoidance was much concerned with the machinations of the evil eye. The fear of it became almost world-wide. Pretty women were veiled to protect them from the evil eye; subsequently many women who desired to be considered beautiful adopted this practice. ~ The Urantia Book, (87:5.4)

Magic was practiced through the use of wands, "medicine" ritual, and incantations, and it was customary for the practitioner to work unclothed. Women outnumbered the men among primitive magicians. ~ The Urantia Book, (88:6.1)

It was only natural that the cult of renunciation and humiliation should have paid attention to sexual gratification. The continence cult originated as a ritual among soldiers prior to engaging in battle; in later days it became the practice of "saints." This cult tolerated marriage only as an evil lesser than fornication. Many of the world's great religions have been adversely influenced by this ancient cult, but none more markedly than Christianity. The Apostle Paul was a devotee of this cult, and his personal views are reflected in the teachings which he fastened onto Christian theology: "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." "I would that all men were even as I myself." "I say, therefore, to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them to abide even as I." Paul well knew that such teachings were not a part of Jesus' gospel, and his acknowledgment of this is illustrated by his statement, "I speak this by permission and not by commandment." But this cult led Paul to look down upon women. And the pity of it all is that his personal opinions have long influenced the teachings of a great world religion. If the advice of the tentmaker-teacher were to be literally and universally obeyed, then would the human race come to a sudden and inglorious end. Furthermore, the involvement of a religion with the ancient continence cult leads directly to a war against marriage and the home, society's veritable foundation and the basic institution of human progress. And it is not to be wondered at that all such beliefs fostered the formation of celibate priesthoods in the many religions of various peoples. ~ The Urantia Book, (89:3.6)

Many of the peculiar associations of sex laxity with primitive worship had their origin in connection with human sacrifice. In olden times, if a woman met head-hunters, she could redeem her life by sexual surrender. Later, a maiden consecrated to the gods as a sacrifice might elect to redeem her life by dedicating her body for life to the sacred sex service of the temple; in this way she could earn her redemption money. The ancients regarded it as highly elevating to have sex relations with a woman thus engaged in ransoming her life. It was a religious ceremony to consort with these sacred maidens, and in addition, this whole ritual afforded an acceptable excuse for commonplace sexual gratification. This was a subtle species of self-deception which both the maidens and their consorts delighted to practice upon themselves. The mores always drag behind in the evolutionary advance of civilization, thus providing sanction for the earlier and more savagelike sex practices of the evolving races. ~ The Urantia Book, (89:7.4)

Temple harlotry eventually spread throughout southern Europe and Asia. The money earned by the temple prostitutes was held sacred among all peoples—a high gift to present to the gods. The highest types of women thronged the temple sex marts and devoted their earnings to all kinds of sacred services and works of public good. Many of the better classes of women collected their dowries by temporary sex service in the temples, and most men preferred to have such women for wives. ~ The Urantia Book, (89:7.5)

While they may have practiced deception in minor matters, the great majority of the shamans believed in the fact of their spirit possession. Women who were able to throw themselves into a trance or a cataleptic fit became powerful shamanesses; later, such women became prophets and spirit mediums. Their cataleptic trances usually involved alleged communications with the ghosts of the dead. Many female shamans were also professional dancers. ~ The Urantia Book, (90:1.3)

Never did the Salem teachers fully overcome the popularity of Ishtar, the mother of gods and the spirit of sex fertility. They did much to refine the worship of this goddess, but the Babylonians and their neighbors had never completely outgrown their disguised forms of sex worship. It had become a universal practice throughout Mesopotamia for all women to submit, at least once in early life, to the embrace of strangers; this was thought to be a devotion required by Ishtar, and it was believed that fertility was largely dependent on this sex sacrifice. ~ The Urantia Book, (95:1.5)

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Mary, the earth mother of Jesus, was a descendant of a long line of unique ancestors embracing many of the most remarkable women in the racial history of Urantia. Although Mary was an average woman of her day and generation, possessing a fairly normal temperament, she reckoned among her ancestors such well-known women as Annon, Tamar, Ruth, Bathsheba, Ansie, Cloa, Eve, Enta, and Ratta. No Jewish woman of that day had a more illustrious lineage of common progenitors or one extending back to more auspicious beginnings. Mary's ancestry, like Joseph's, was characterized by the predominance of strong but average individuals, relieved now and then by numerous outstanding personalities in the march of civilization and the progressive evolution of religion. Racially considered, it is hardly proper to regard Mary as a Jewess. In culture and belief she was a Jew, but in hereditary endowment she was more a composite of Syrian, Hittite, Phoenician, Greek, and Egyptian stocks, her racial inheritance being more general than that of Joseph. ~ The Urantia Book, (122:1.2)

Women seldom went to the Passover feast at Jerusalem; they were not required to be present. Jesus, however, virtually refused to go unless his mother would accompany them. And when his mother decided to go, many other Nazareth women were led to make the journey, so that the Passover company contained the largest number of women, in proportion to men, ever to go up to the Passover from Nazareth. Ever and anon, on the way to Jerusalem, they chanted the one hundred and thirtieth Psalm. ~ The Urantia Book, (125:0.2)

Yemenites of Jerusalem by James Tissot

Jesus Counsels Regarding Women

And then, in bidding him farewell, Jesus said: "My brother, always remember that man has no rightful authority over woman unless the woman has willingly and voluntarily given him such authority. Your wife has engaged to go through life with you, to help you fight its battles, and to assume the far greater share of the burden of bearing and rearing your children; and in return for this special service it is only fair that she receive from you that special protection which man can give to woman as the partner who must carry, bear, and nurture the children. The loving care and consideration which a man is willing to bestow upon his wife and their children are the measure of that man's attainment of the higher levels of creative and spiritual self-consciousness. Do you not know that men and women are partners with God in that they co-operate to create beings who grow up to possess themselves of the potential of immortal souls? The Father in heaven treats the Spirit Mother of the children of the universe as one equal to himself. It is Godlike to share your life and all that relates thereto on equal terms with the mother partner who so fully shares with you that divine experience of reproducing yourselves in the lives of your children. If you can only love your children as God loves you, you will love and cherish your wife as the Father in heaven honors and exalts the Infinite Spirit, the mother of all the spirit children of a vast universe." ~ The Urantia Book, (133:2.2)

The apostles were at first shocked by, but early became accustomed to, Jesus' treatment of women; he made it very clear to them that women were to be accorded equal rights with men in the kingdom. ~ The Urantia Book, (138:8.11)

The apostles never ceased to be shocked by Jesus' willingness to talk with women, women of questionable character, even immoral women. It was very difficult for Jesus to teach his apostles that women, even so-called immoral women, have souls which can choose God as their Father, thereby becoming daughters of God and candidates for life everlasting. Even nineteen centuries later many show the same unwillingness to grasp the Master's teachings. ~ The Urantia Book, (143:5.11)

The most astonishing and the most revolutionary feature of Michael's mission on earth was his attitude toward women. In a day and generation when a man was not supposed to salute even his own wife in a public place, Jesus dared to take women along as teachers of the gospel in connection with his third tour of Galilee. And he had the consummate courage to do this in the face of the rabbinic teaching which declared that it was "better that the words of the law should be burned than delivered to women." ~ The Urantia Book, (149:2.8)

In one generation Jesus lifted women out of the disrespectful oblivion and the slavish drudgery of the ages. And it is the one shameful thing about the religion that presumed to take Jesus' name that it lacked the moral courage to follow this noble example in its subsequent attitude toward women. ~ The Urantia Book, (149:2.9)

The Women's Corps

Of all the daring things which Jesus did in connection with his earth career, the most amazing was his sudden announcement on the evening of January 16: "On the morrow we will set apart ten women for the ministering work of the kingdom." At the beginning of the two weeks' period during which the apostles and the evangelists were to be absent from Bethsaida on their furlough, Jesus requested David to summon his parents back to their home and to dispatch messengers calling to Bethsaida ten devout women who had served in the administration of the former encampment and the tented infirmary. These women had all listened to the instruction given the young evangelists, but it had never occurred to either themselves or their teachers that Jesus would dare to commission women to teach the gospel of the kingdom and minister to the sick. These ten women selected and commissioned by Jesus were: Susanna, the daughter of the former chazan of the Nazareth synagogue; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas; Elizabeth, the daughter of a wealthy Jew of Tiberias and Sepphoris; Martha, the elder sister of Andrew and Peter; Rachel, the sister-in-law of Jude, the Master's brother in the flesh; Nasanta, the daughter of Elman, the Syrian physician; Milcha, a cousin of the Apostle Thomas; Ruth, the eldest daughter of Matthew Levi; Celta, the daughter of a Roman centurion; and Agaman, a widow of Damascus. Subsequently, Jesus added two other women to this group—Mary Magdalene and Rebecca, the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea.

Jesus authorized these women to effect their own organization and directed Judas to provide funds for their equipment and for pack animals. The ten elected Susanna as their chief and Joanna as their treasurer. From this time on they furnished their own funds; never again did they draw upon Judas for support.

It was most astounding in that day, when women were not even allowed on the main floor of the synagogue (being confined to the women's gallery), to behold them being recognized as authorized teachers of the new gospel of the kingdom. The charge which Jesus gave these ten women as he set them apart for gospel teaching and ministry was the emancipation proclamation which set free all women and for all time; no more was man to look upon woman as his spiritual inferior. This was a decided shock to even the twelve apostles. Notwithstanding they had many times heard the Master say that "in the kingdom of heaven there is neither rich nor poor, free nor bond, male nor female, all are equally the sons and daughters of God," they were literally stunned when he proposed formally to commission these ten women as religious teachers and even to permit their traveling about with them. The whole country was stirred up by this proceeding, the enemies of Jesus making great capital out of this move, but everywhere the women believers in the good news stood stanchly behind their chosen sisters and voiced no uncertain approval of this tardy acknowledgment of woman's place in religious work. And this liberation of women, giving them due recognition, was practiced by the apostles immediately after the Master's departure, albeit they fell back to the olden customs in subsequent generations. Throughout the early days of the Christian church women teachers and ministers were called deaconesses and were accorded general recognition. But Paul, despite the fact that he conceded all this in theory, never really incorporated it into his own attitude and personally found it difficult to carry out in practice. ~ The Urantia Book, (150:1.1)

The First Work of The Women's Corps

As the apostolic party journeyed from Bethsaida, the women traveled in the rear. During the conference time they always sat in a group in front and to the right of the speaker. Increasingly, women had become believers in the gospel of the kingdom, and it had been a source of much difficulty and no end of embarrassment when they had desired to hold personal converse with Jesus or one of the apostles. Now all this was changed. When any of the women believers desired to see the Master or confer with the apostles, they went to Susanna, and in company with one of the twelve women evangelists, they would go at once into the presence of the Master or one of his apostles.

It was at Magdala that the women first demonstrated their usefulness and vindicated the wisdom of their choosing. Andrew had imposed rather strict rules upon his associates about doing personal work with women, especially with those of questionable character. When the party entered Magdala, these ten women evangelists were free to enter the evil resorts and preach the glad tidings directly to all their inmates. And when visiting the sick, these women were able to draw very close in their ministry to their afflicted sisters. As the result of the ministry of these ten women (afterward known as the twelve women) at this place, Mary Magdalene was won for the kingdom. Through a succession of misfortunes and in consequence of the attitude of reputable society toward women who commit such errors of judgment, this woman had found herself in one of the nefarious resorts of Magdala. It was Martha and Rachel who made plain to Mary that the doors of the kingdom were open to even such as she. Mary believed the good news and was baptized by Peter the next day.

Mary Magdalene became the most effective teacher of the gospel among this group of twelve women evangelists. She was set apart for such service, together with Rebecca, at Jotapata about four weeks subsequent to her conversion. Mary and Rebecca, with the others of this group, went on through the remainder of Jesus' life on earth, laboring faithfully and effectively for the enlightenment and uplifting of their downtrodden sisters; and when the last and tragic episode in the drama of Jesus' life was being enacted, notwithstanding the apostles all fled but one, these women were all present, and not one either denied or betrayed him. ~ The Urantia Book, (150:2.1)

The Pharisees had even gone so far as to teach that divorce of this easy variety was a special dispensation granted the Jewish people, particularly the Pharisees. And so, while Jesus refused to make pronouncements dealing with marriage and divorce, he did most bitterly denounce these shameful floutings of the marriage relationship and pointed out their injustice to women and children. He never sanctioned any divorce practice which gave man any advantage over woman; the Master countenanced only those teachings which accorded women equality with men. ~ The Urantia Book, (167:5.4)

Before the teachings of Jesus which culminated in Pentecost, women had little or no spiritual standing in the tenets of the older religions. After Pentecost, in the brotherhood of the kingdom woman stood before God on an equality with man. Among the one hundred and twenty who received this special visitation of the spirit were many of the women disciples, and they shared these blessings equally with the men believers. No longer can man presume to monopolize the ministry of religious service. The Pharisee might go on thanking God that he was "not born a woman, a leper, or a gentile," but among the followers of Jesus woman has been forever set free from all religious discriminations based on sex. Pentecost obliterated all religious discrimination founded on racial distinction, cultural differences, social caste, or sex prejudice. No wonder these believers in the new religion would cry out, "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." ~ The Urantia Book, (194:3.14)

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