Chicken Patriarchy never allows itself to be pinned down to a single perspective; chameleonlike, it alters its attitude from day to day and sometimes even from sentence to sentence, too chicken to stand up for what it believes.
Why is this lack of clarity allowed to exist? Why doesn't the church either repudiate the doctrine of patriarchy or stand up for it even if it is unpopular?
If patriarchy is God’s will, why not stand up and take the flak for advocating values that have been taught from Adam to Paul, from Joseph Smith through most of his heirs, from the temple to the pulpit? If it’s not, why continue to cling to patriarchal language and women’s ritual submission to men?
The answer is unclear. It may reflect a desire on the part of the leadership to create a "big tent" where people who have differing views can coexist. In other words, the old-school father-knows-best types can go to church with (younger) we're-equal-partners types. The problem gets smoothed over.
It is an interesting article, well worth reading.
It occurred to that these days the church's pronouncements about homosexuals have the same kind of ambiguity. On the one hand, there appears to be change, as I commented earlier:
The official stance of the church has not stood still in the face of social change. The church has evolved to understand that gay people are not moral reprobates. The church now views homosexual orientation as morally neutral. It is now officially a “challenge.”
The epidemic of broken homes, suicides and misery arising from the church’s past encouragement of mixed-orientation marriage has been one of the big motivators for the church’s current recommendation that marriage not be used as homosexual change therapy.
These are two identifiable changes in policy, supportable by recent statements by LDS leadership. Yet, not everyone seems to have gotten the memo. For example, Kimball's The Miracle of Forgiveness has never been repudiated.
There's a parallel to be drawn here.
The church intentionally allows the level of ambiguity that it has on gay issues. This allows old-school homophobes to coexist in peace with (younger) more egalitarian types. It's not exactly what you would call moral courage.