See Introductory Post where I discuss what prompted me to study a list of 31 female names alleged to be currently in use as part of a rotating schedule of New Names used in the temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
MSoM: Mocked Sacred or Mock-Sacred?


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MARTHA

Noted LDS Marthas
Tingey, Martha (Horne) 2nd General Young Women’s President, 2nd counselor to YW President Taylor
Knight, Martha (McBride) Smith Kimballwife of (Bishop) Vinson Knight, plural wife of the prophet Joseph Smith Jr and the apostle Heber C Kimball
Young, Martha (Bowker)plural wife of the prophet Brigham Young
Cannon, Martha (Telle)plural wife of apostle, First Presidency member George Q Cannon
Ballard, Martha A (Jones) – wife of apostle, Melvin J Ballard
Grant, Martha G (Harris) plural wife of apostle, Daniel H Wells
Hyde, Martha Rebecca (Browett) plural wife of apostle, Orson Hyde. They divorced.
Pratt, Martha (Monks)plural wife of murdered apostle Parley P Pratt. She left him.
Beck, Martha (Nibley)excommunicated Harvard-trained feminist sociologist PhD, author, anti-ableist, lesbian and Life Coach. She alleges ritualized
childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her father, Hugh Nibley.


(Pictured: Apostle Melvin J Ballard and his wife, Martha Annable Jones Ballard.)


LDS Bible Dictionary
MARTHA: Sister of Lazarus and Mary (Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-47; 12:2)

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LDS Guide to the Scriptures
MarthalazarusMARTHA: (see also Lazarus, Mary of Bethany.) The [much-maligned workhorse and condemned-for-serving “lesser”] sister of Lazarus and [the always more perfect-in-all-things] Mary in the New Testament (Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-46; 12:2).

Comment: She is the Primitive Church’s Emma, who, due to her own failings, never did quite reach Eliza status. She’s everybody’s favorite faithful disciple to not only nit-pick but even flagellate; the go-to Scapegoat poster-child of never-good-enough Whipping Post. She is a type for how things really felt, really feel and really will feel for so many profoundly wonderful LDS women… who, because of the teachings she trusts and believes, will never be able to look in the mirror and see the Truth.

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(LDS) Martha Of Bethany Was Significantly Married

1853, Jedediah M Grant
“Celsus was a heathen philosopher; and what does he say upon the subject of Christ and his Apostles, and their belief? He says, the ‘grand reason why the Gentiles and philosophers of his school persecuted Jesus Christ, was because
He had so many wives; there were Elizabeth and Mary, and a host of others that followed Him.’ After Jesus went from the stage of action, the Apostles followed the example of their master… The grand reason the burst of public sentiment in anathemas upon Christ and his disciples, causing his crucifixion, was evidently based on polygamy… a belief in the doctrine of plurality of wives caused the persecution of Jesus and his followers. We might almost think they were ‘Mormons’.” (Journal of Discourses, 1:345-346)

1854, Orson Hyde
Now there was actually a marriage [at Cana (John 2:1-11)]; and if Jesus was not the bridegroom on that occasion, please tell who was. If any man can show this, and prove that it was not the Savior of the world, then I will acknowledge I am in error. We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into the relation whereby he could see his seed (Isaiah 53:10), before he was crucified. “Has he indeed passed by the nature of angels, and taken upon himself the seed of Abraham, to die without leaving a seed to bear his name on the earth?” No. But when the secret is fully out, the seed of the blessed shall be gathered in, in the last days; and he who has not the blood of Abraham flowing in his veins, who has not one particle of the Savior’s in him, I am afraid is a stereotyped Gentile, who will be left out and not be gathered in the last days; for I tell you it is the chosen of God, the seed of the blessed, that shall be gathered. I do not despise to be called a son of Abraham, if he had a dozen wives; or to be called a brother, a son, a child of the Savior, if he had Mary, and Martha, and several others, as wives; and though he did cast seven devils out of one of them, it is all the same to me…

…Jesus was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana of Galilee, and he told them what to do. Now there was actually a marriage, and if Jesus was not the bridegroom on that occasion, please tell who was. If any man can show this, and prove that it was not the Savior of the world, then I will acknowledge I am in error. We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into the relation whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified.” – Elder Orson Hyde, apostle (Journal of Discourses 2:82, 83).

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1857, Orson Hyde
It will be borne in mind that once on a time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee;… no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion. If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha and the other Mary also whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper to say the least of it… I will venture to say that if Jesus Christ were now to pass through the most pious countries in Christendom with a train of women, such as used to follow him… he would be mobbed, tarred, and feathered, and rode, not on an ass, but on a rail. At this doctrine the long-faced hypocrite and sanctimonious bigot will probably cry blasphemy!… Object not, therefore, too strongly against the marriage of Christ.” – Elder Orson Hyde, apostle (Journal of Discourses, 4:259,260).

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1870, Brigham Young
“The Scripture says that He, the Lord, came walking in the Temple, with
his train (Isaiah 6:1); I do not know who they were, unless his wives and children;” (Journal of Discourses, 13:309)

1963, Joseph Fielding Smith
Joseph Fielding Smith,
then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, believed that Jesus had been married, and that He had children. In a 1963 letter to President Smith, Brother J. Ricks Smith asked for clarification on a question he had concerning the marital and paternal status of Jesus … Placing two asterisks next to the letter’s words “he must have been married”, President Smith wrote at the bottom of the letter: “**Yes! But do not preach it! The Lord advised us not to cast pearls before swine!”

And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water? Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. – 2 Nephi 31:6-7

Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. – D&C 132:19-21

Comment: So when Martha complained to Jesus about Mary, she was complaining to their husband about her sister wife not assisting her.

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LDS Condemnations of Martha (which began in 1985)

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marthastone1.) “This scripture reminds every Martha, male and female, that we should not be so occupied with what is routine and temporal that we fail to cherish those opportunities that are unique and spiritual. “ – Elder Dallin H Oaks, apostle. October 1985 General Conference

marthastone2.) “In his counsel, “but one thing is needful,” could the Lord have been referring to one thing lacking in Martha’s preparation? Probably. There is need for balance. Our physical preparation—including a clean, orderly home—makes it possible for the Spirit to be present. Likewise, the Spirit of the Lord brings an atmosphere of peace and contentment to our orderly home.” – Sister Barbara W Winder, General Relief Society President, October 1988

Comment: This quote makes TOTALLY no sense. You suck spiritually. Go clean your house, Martha. That will fix it.

marthastone3.) “Even the very elite have sometimes succumbed to the temptation to blame others for their disobedience or their failure to receive blessings. Aaron blamed the children of Israel when Moses charged him with bringing a great sin upon them by making a molten calf. And Martha may have blamed Mary for depriving her of the Savior’s presence on that indelible day in Bethany.” – Elder F Burton Howard, Seventy, April 1991 General Conference

marthastone4.) “A second group who do not find joy are distracted by magnifying small areas of imperfection so as to drive out happiness. Some have allowed their own perceptions of imperfection to cloud the reality of their lives. An objective outsider observing them would conclude that they should be joyful. But they do not feel to rejoice. They are like the couple who have been invited to visit a beautiful garden. Instead of celebrating the visual feast, they see only the few wilted flowers and weeds and the relatively small areas which are not beautiful to behold. They do not feel the garden meets their expectations. In like manner, they are unduly critical of themselves and of others. They have become accustomed to exaggerating small imperfections and underestimating great blessings and have lost the capacity to rejoice.

The Savior in Luke mildly cautioned Martha about this approach when she complained that her sister Mary was spending too much time listening to the Savior instead of serving temporal needs. He said, “Martha, Martha, thou art … troubled about many things” (Luke 10:40) The Savior then indicated that Mary was focused on what really mattered.” – Elder Quentin L Cook, apostle. October 1996 General Conference

Broken stained glass in Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris

marthastone5.) “In my office hangs a wonderful painting depicting Jesus with Mary and Martha. Every day as I am greeted by this piece, I reflect on our challenges as women. Sister Hughes, Sister Pingree, and I felt inspired to use the account of Mary and Martha as the theme for our meeting. The Lord taught, one thing is needful: choose that good part (Luke 10:42) That is what we are going to talk about tonight, choosing that good part.

Martha lived in the small village of Bethany, where she “received [Jesus] into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, “which also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard his word” (Luke 10:38-39, emphasis added). Both women loved the Lord. And “Jesus loved Martha, and [Mary].” (John 11:5) In fact, their relationship breached convention, for at that time women were not usually able to discuss the gospel with men.

On one occasion Martha was making dinner and, as the scripture says, “was cumbered about much serving.” In other words, she was stressed out!

Mary, on the other hand, “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word, while Martha became increasingly upset that no one was helping her. Does that sound familiar? Do you think she was thinking, “Why is Mary sitting there while I’m sweating over this stove?” So Martha turned to Jesus and said, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.”

The Savior’s response strikingly clarified what mattered most. On that evening in Martha’s home, the good part was not in the kitchen; it was at the Lord’s feet. Dinner could wait.” Sister Bonnie D Parkin, Relief Society General President, October 2003 General Conference

marthastone6.) If our hearts are right before God, adversity will school us, help us overcome our carnal nature, and nurture the divine spark within us. Were it not for adversity, we would not know to “choose the better part.” (Hymn 180, Luke 10:40-42) Adversity helps us see where we need to repent, to bring into subjection baser instincts, to embrace righteousness and enjoy “peace of conscience” (Mosiah 4:3).” – Elder Keith B McMullin, 2nd Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, October 2005 General Conference

marthastone7.) “Most of us have more things expected of us than we can possibly do. As breadwinners, as parents, as Church workers and members, we face many choices on what we will do with our time and other resources.

We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.

Jesus taught this principle in the home of Martha. While she was “cumbered about much serving” (Luke 10:40) her sister, Mary, “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” When Martha complained that her sister had left her to serve alone, Jesus commended Martha for what she was doing but taught her that “one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” It was praiseworthy for Martha to be “careful and troubled about many things but learning the gospel from the Master Teacher was more “needful.” The scriptures contain other teachings that some things are more blessed than others (see Acts 20:35, Alma 32:14-15)” – Elder Dallin H Oaks, apostle, October 2007 General Conference

MarthalazarusThe Exception:) “Many Sunday lessons have been taught using this story which have cast Martha in a lesser position in terms of her faith. Yet there is another story of this great woman, Martha, which gives us a deeper view of her understanding and testimony. It happened when the Savior arrived to raise her brother, Lazarus, from the dead. On this occasion it was Martha whom we find going to Jesus “as soon as she heard” He was coming. As she meets Him, she says that she knows that “whatsoever [He would] ask of God, God [would] give [Him].”

Christ then shared with Martha the great doctrine of the resurrection (see John 11:2-27)…

How often has Martha been misjudged as being a person who cared more for the deeds of doing than for the Spirit? However, her testimony in the trial of her brother’s death clearly shows the depth of her understanding and faith.

Many a sister has often heard the first story and wondered if she were a Mary or a Martha, yet the truth lies in knowing the whole person and in using good judgment. By knowing more about Martha, we find she was actually a person of deep spiritual character who had a bold and daring testimony of the Savior’s mission and His divine power over life. A misjudgment of Martha may have caused us not to know the true nature of this wonderful woman.” – Elder Gregory A Switzer, Seventy, April 2010 General Conference.

marthastone8.) “ When Martha received Jesus Christ into her home, she felt a tremendous desire to serve the Lord to the best of her ability. Her sister, Mary, chose to sit “at Jesus’ feet” and to hear His word. When Martha felt burdened about serving without any help, she complained, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?”

I love the words of the most gentle rebuke that I can imagine. With perfect love and infinite compassion, the Savior admonished:(see Luke 10:38-42)

Sisters, if we would be holy, we must learn to sit at the feet of the Holy One of Israel and give time to holiness. Do we set aside the phone, the never-ending to-do list, and the cares of worldliness? Prayer, study, and heeding the word of God invite His cleansing and healing love into our souls. Let us take time to be holy, that we may be filled with His sacred and sanctifying Spirit. With the Holy Ghost as our guide, we will be prepared to receive the Savior in the beauty of holiness.” – Sister Carol F McConkie, 1st Counselor General Young Women’s Presidency, April 2017 General Conference

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Comment: For the first 18 months of my life, I spent every weekday at the home and in the care of my paternal grandparents. My parents also took us to visit them for Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most summers, in the company of one of my sisters, I also got to spend a week at my grandparent’s house. However, I can remember my paternal grandparents only visiting our home twice. The second time was only for a few hours, to attend the open house after my high school graduation.

The first time they came I was younger. All of us girls were still living at home. My only memories of that visit are distressing. My parents sat in the living room talking with my grandparents, while all of us kids were in the kitchen working. Any time any of us came out to be with our grandparents, my mother would snap at us about an undone task, and send us back into the kitchen to work. I can remember feeling helpless and wanting to cry. I can remember the same feelings in my sisters, though the older ones were also more frustrated and angrier than I.

grandmaMany years later, when I was visiting my grandma at her apartment in an assisted living home, I asked her about why she and grandpa never came to visit us very much. She told me her memories and feelings about that same first visit. She told me that she and Grandpa decided that if their visit only precipitated more work for their granddaughters, then it wasn’t good that they come. Grandma said it was pointless to drive all that way to see their grandchildren, only to be denied the privilege, and “stuck in a room trying to carry on a conversation with your father and mother.”

I guess I have always thought of this Martha and Mary story in connection with that incident. I’ve always wondered what Jesus would have said when, after his long spiritual discussion with Mary, there had been no hot dinner ready. I have always wondered why Jesus didn’t tell Mary to go help Martha; or why he didn’t get up and help Martha himself. I mean, “which son really loved his father?” (see Matt 21:28-31)

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And what of the teaching that faith without works is dead (JST James 2:14-21)? I’ve always supposed that the reason Martha was cumbered about much serving was because someone had instructed her to do so; and that she’d been being obedient to that command, however reluctantly. (Which reluctance, poor Martha, is again condemned in Moroni 7:8). Nevertheless, I have always felt like Martha was doing the best she could and that she was actually sad to be denied what she really wanted. It was her conscientious nature, heeding the call of her responsibilities, for which she was condemned (Mark 14:8). How does that make any sense? Why, if talk is cheap, why is it that in this one instance of scripture, it isn’t?

I feel sorry for this brother to the amount of five dollars; how much do you all feel sorry?” Joseph Smith

Cleaning++Scrubbing-580x408I noticed that whenever we visited my Grandma, she would never let us do the dishes. She would always say that she and the dishes could keep themselves company just fine once we were all gone again, and the house was quiet again. She was interested in US. The dishes could wait. So why wasn’t Jesus interested in Martha? Why didn’t he tell her that dinner could wait? Or why couldn’t he have gotten up and helped her, and kept talking? My husband and I have had many wonderful Gospel discussions while preparing a meal together.

I have always felt like Martha, too, would have liked to have been at Jesus’ feet like her sister, Mary. Just like my sisters and I would have liked to have been in the room with my grandparents, enjoying ourselves and them, had we only been allowed to do as our hearts had wanted. I mean, why else do you think Martha complained? I also have never believed that Jesus was condemning Martha as much as he was comforting her. Mary chose the good part of listening to my words; you have chosen the good part of walking in the spirit of my words. As you both have desired and exercised good toward me, neither of you will have my peace taken from you (D&C 19:23). Instead of good, better and best, how about good and good? Better and better? Best and best? Do we always and forever have to have one woman being judged better than the other? We are bawled out for this repeatedly in Relief Society, yet this is the stuff of which a lot of our lessons are made of.

broken_heart____by_pepei-d388e1gI actually don’t understand why this story is included in sacred writ. My belief is actually that there must be a part of it missing; yes, deliberately omitted, and it has been done to serve a certain purpose. Obviously, despite the fact that we have TWO stories about Martha, it’s the first and much more negative one for which she is remembered. Why is that? The only sense I can make of it is that this story is tainted by the same misogynistic misunderstanding that pervades so many other accounts and interpretations about the women of God. It’s a hatred for women that began with misunderstanding Eve, and making up stories about Lilith; a hatred that I’m just plain sick and tired of.

“If you never accept a child’s dandelions, you will never receive their roses” – my Grandma

 


Etymology according to behindthename.com

Martha_Custis_Washington_as_a_young_woman_circa_1843_(Steel_engraving)From Aramaic
מַרְתָּ (marta’) meaning “the lady, the mistress“, feminine form ofמַר (mar) meaning “master”. In the New Testament this is the name of the sister of Lazarus and Mary of Bethany (who is sometimes identified with Mary Magdalene). She was a witness to Jesus restoring her dead brother to life.

The name was not used in England until after the Protestant Reformation. A notable bearer was Martha Washington (1731-1802), the wife of the first American president George Washington. It is also borne by the media personality Martha Stewart (1941-).

My Jaundiced Commentary: MARTHA

True to form, MARTHA is just another new name whose primary significance seems to only be that she was sister, wife and mother to men, even The Man. She is the hard-working one caught in that never-ending, Catch-22, “heads I win, tails you lose” guilt-trip that religion loves so much. It’s called the double-bind. The lady? The mistress? Of what?! Condemnation?

A double bind is technically defined as a situation where:
1. Explicitly, if you do some Action, you’ll be punished
2. Implicitly, if you don’t do that Action, you’ll also be punished
3. If you bring up the contradiction, you’ll be punished
4. You can’t leave the situation
(Source: https://traumahealed.com/articles/step-away-from-double-binds/ )

Dear Martha, by this point you’ve believed the chastisements so much, it seems you’re being chastised for internalizing them. See? Another double bind. (see Be Ye Therefore Perfect by Elder Jeffrey R Holland, October 2017)

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Well, Martha, I’m here to set you free by finally saying the words you’re never going to hear over the pulpit because of that power-maintaining error that they will never let you, o daughter of Eve, forget. Martha, “You’re Good Enough. You’re Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You” (2 Nephi 25:23, Alma 12:34).

Martha, Hast thou stayed, I must have fled!” 


 

The Theologian’s Tale; The Legend Beautiful
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Hads’t thou stayed, I must have fled!”
That is what the Vision said.

In his chamber all alone,
Kneeling on the floor of stone,
Prayed the Monk in deep contrition
For his sins of indecision,
Prayed for greater self-denial
In temptation and in trial;
It was noonday by the dial,
And the Monk was all alone.
Suddenly, as if it lightened,
An unwonted splendor brightened
All within him and without him
In that narrow cell of stone;
And he saw the Blessed Vision
Of our Lord, with light Elysian
Like a vesture wrapped about him,
Like a garment round him thrown.

Not as crucified and slain,
Not in agonies of pain,
Not with bleeding hands and feet,
Did the Monk his Master see;
But as in the village street,
In the house or harvest-field,
Halt and lame and blind he healed,
When he walked in Galilee.

In an attitude imploring,
Hands upon his bosom crossed,
Wondering, worshipping, adoring,
Knelt the Monk in rapture lost.
Lord, he thought, in heaven that reignest,
Who am I, that thus thou deignest
To reveal thyself to me?
Who am I, that from the centre
Of thy glory thou shouldst enter
This poor cell, my guest to be?

Then amid his exaltation,
Loud the convent bell appalling,
From its belfry calling, calling,
Rang through court and corridor
With persistent iteration
He had never heard before.
It was now the appointed hour
When alike in shine or shower,
Winter’s cold or summer’s heat,
To the convent portals came
All the blind and halt and lame,
All the beggars of the street,
For their daily dole of food
Dealt them by the brotherhood;
And their almoner was he
Who upon his bended knee,
Rapt in silent ecstasy
Of divinest self-surrender,
Saw the Vision and the Splendor.
Deep distress and hesitation
Mingled with his adoration;_
Should he go, or should he stay?
Should he leave the poor to wait
Hungry at the convent gate,
Till the Vision passed away?
Should he slight his radiant guest,
Slight this visitant celestial,
For a crowd of ragged, bestial
Beggars at the convent gate?
Would the Vision there remain?
Would the Vision come again?
Then a voice within his breast
Whispered, audible and clear
As if to the outward ear:
“Do thy duty; that is best;
Leave unto thy Lord the rest!”

Straightway to his feet he started,
And with longing look intent
On the Blessed Vision bent,
Slowly from his cell departed,
Slowly on his errand went.

At the gate the poor were waiting,
Looking through the iron grating,_
With that terror in the eye
That is only seen in those
Who amid their wants and woes
Hear the sound of doors that close,
And of feet that pass them by;
Grown familiar with disfavor,
Grown familiar with the savor
Of the bread by which men die!
But to-day, they knew not why,
Like the gate of Paradise
Seemed the convent gate to rise,
Like a sacrament divine
Seemed to them the bread and wine.
In his heart the Monk was praying,
Thinking of the homeless poor,
What they suffer and endure;
What we see not, what we see;
And the inward voice was saying:
“Whatsoever thing thou doest
To the least of mine and lowest,
That thou doest unto me!”

Unto me! but had the Vision
Come to him in beggar’s clothing,
Come a mendicant imploring,
Would he then have knelt adoring,
Or have listened with derision,
And have turned away with loathing.

Thus his conscience put the question,
Full of troublesome suggestion,
As at length, with hurried pace,
Towards his cell he turned his face,
And beheld the convent bright
With a supernatural light,
Like a luminous cloud expanding
Over floor and wall and ceiling.

But he paused with awe-struck feeling
At the threshold of his door,
For the Vision still was standing
As he left it there before,
When the convent bell appalling,
From its belfry calling, calling,
Summoned him to feed the poor.
Through the long hour intervening
It had waited his return,
And he felt his bosom burn,
Comprehending all the meaning,
When the Blessed Vision said,
“Hadst thou stayed, I must have fled!”