This is a guest post by Michael Davidson, who describes himself as a “father, husband, lawyer and family history consultant living in southern Nevada. Being a family history consultant ties with nursery leader for third on my list of all time favorite callings.”
By Michael Davidson
As I write this, we are just a few days away from the Ordain Women action, in which they intend to get themselves turned away from the Priesthood Session of General Conference. Will they be met on the sidewalk and asked not to continue? Will they be barred from entering Temple Square? It hasn’t even happened yet and I’m already annoyed because I know that this will be a distraction against my favorite conference tradition. I’ve always come home after Priesthood Session and read my notes to my wife and discussed how we will apply that counsel to our family. Last year I found myself distracted by the OW circus, even though I wasn’t even on Temple Square.
This year, I will probably get distracted again … and I hate that, but a lot of the blame there goes on me. At least the OW crowd has indicated that they won’t be doing this again next conference, but that doesn’t mean we’ve heard the last of them. In her podcast over at FMH from March 24, 2014, Kate Kelly pulled back the curtain a bit about OW’s next big plan and they are not content with merely making a spectacle of themselves on Temple Square. Here’s what Kate had to say:
[The transcription is mine, and I take responsibility for any errors. This portion begins at about 50:12 in the MP3 I download from FMH] “One of the things we are doing directly after the action is a set of 6 discussions specifically about women’s ordination, and so we’re going to be creating discussion packets. All you’ll have to do is literally, like, print out the PDF, all of the articles and everything is going to be less than ten pages for each discussion, so there will be excerpts from articles, there will be scriptures, there will be other things that you can study. You can take this packet that you have in your hands and invite a couple of your friends over and have a discussion about it. It doesn’t have to be people who already agree with us. It can be anyone who has ideas about ordination or about the priesthood who wants to learn more. So we’re hoping that women will engage in those [There is a noticeable break here, at about 50:50 in the MP3, and it is clear that some content got missed either deliberately or accidentally.] you know leaders in the Ordain Women movement will go through the discussions as well so if you are, in Tajikistan, and don’t have anyone who is a Mormon feminist in your area you can get together with, you can join with us online.”
First, this was the most interesting part in the 2 hour podcast, and I’m disappointed that just as things were getting interesting, someone exercised a little editorial control and removed part of that discussion. I would like to ask the proprietors of FMH in the interest of transparency, what exactly got removed here, and was the removal at Kate Kelly’s request? Was there anything else removed from the podcast after the fact? I’m not holding my breath for a response.
Second, how many people will be clamoring to be instructed by the missionaries of Ordain Women on topics related to ordination and the priesthood?
Third, anybody want to set odds as to which discussion will include a challenge to join OW and begin advocating their cause? Under the old discussions, each discussion had its own challenges that we would give to investigators. The second discussion included the baptism challenge, and I wonder if OW will be so bold in following the pattern that they will include some fundamental membership or commitment challenge in discussion 2.
Fourth, am I the only one here who thinks that members of the OW crowd will be significantly increasing the risk of Church discipline if they engage in active proselyting of members of their own wards to the doctrine of Ordain Women? I’m not a Bishop, but if I were I imagine that I would take a very dim view if a member of my ward were calling on the homes of other ward members and actively arguing for female ordination in a very explicit way.
The Handbook of Instructions defines apostasy, in part, as members who “repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders” or who “persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.”
What say you? Which is worse, making a spectacle of General Conference, or entering the homes of individual members to persuade them to adopt a doctrine that is at odds with the accepted practices of the Church?