Mothers in May – Herodias

Sorry about the lack of posting. Things have been a little busy, but I hope to post about a few more mothers this month.

Today, I’ve been thinking about Herodias.

Herodias, by Paul Delaroche. (Click Image for Source)

She’s pretty much horrible. She is exactly the kind of mother we don’t want to be! Herodias teaches her daughter to use her sexuality and beauty, to use her virtue, to get gain. Herodias understands the power of a woman, and understands that her daughter is young and beautiful. She uses her daughter (to seduce her own stepfather!) so that John the Baptist would be killed. The story is atrocious.

But there is something we can learn. We need to teach our children that the value of a virtuous woman is far above rubies.

The message about the worth of women that we get from the world seems to be focused on a woman more like Salome. I have to admit, I’m often confused about my own value as a woman. I forget that I’m more than an object. It is okay to be old. It is okay to have a belly that has borne children. Obviously, I want to be healthy, but healthy doesn’t necessarily mean what we see plastered in advertisements and on TV. I often wonder, why aren’t women able to age anymore? Why can’t moms be moms these days? Why can’t grandmas be grandmas these days? Why do they have to be sexy moms or sexy grandmas? It is crazy! I love how Sister Dalton teaches about beauty:

“…’deep beauty’—the kind of beauty that shines from the inside out. It is the kind of beauty that cannot be painted on, surgically created, or purchased. It is the kind of beauty that doesn’t wash off. It is spiritual attractiveness. Deep beauty springs from virtue. It is the beauty of being chaste and morally clean. It is the kind of beauty that you see in the eyes of virtuous women like your mother and grandmother. It is a beauty that is earned through faith, repentance, and honoring covenants. – Elaine Dalton

I don’t know what happened to Herodias or Salome after this incident. I can’t imagine that she felt valued as a woman. Maybe she felt valued for having a womanly figure, but that can only last so long. I mean, Herodias herself knew that she didn’t have the beauty of youth any longer, so she had to turn to her daughter for this favor. It would be sad, to have your entire identity wrapped up in appearances, especially when appearances, over time fade. If we don’t work on our inner, deeper, spiritual beauty, then we will not radiate as we age. We will not be blessed with confidence that we are beautiful women, beloved by our Father and Heaven, our children, our husbands.

I feel drawn to the story of Herodias and her daughter. I have three daughters. I worry about them – living in a world that seems to value hyper-sexuality. I want them to know that power does lie in their bodies, but not to be used in a wicked or evil way. They can be beautiful and do good, like Queen Esther, who also went before a king with a request. They are powerful, like Eve, in that they can bring forth life into this earth! They can be women who are sure in their faith and in their value as daughters of God. They do not need to give in to the pressures of society, and tarnish their own value: which is far above rubies. I want to be an anti-Herodias: teaching my children to be good stewards, and to treat their bodies like temples. They need to learn to treat marriage and family with reverence. And I want to teach them to sustain the prophets.

Herodias is such a good bad example.

What do you think, about Herodias, the beauty and value of a woman, and what we are teaching our children?

Learn more about Herodias for yourself. Download the PDF and read/study the scriptures. There are also questions to help you ponder the principles of this text. If you have trouble seeing the pdf file below, then click here.

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2 Comments

  1. I love your thoughts about Herodias. I’d never really thought about how her identity must have been tied up in her body and sexuality and that she transferred that to her daughter. I love the questions and ideas you have come up with. What a great resource! I hope you don’t mind if I link to them!

    Reply

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