Ordain Women: thanks for nothing

This is a guest post by Kyleigh Ruth, who describes herself as “a mother of two girls, a Registered Nurse and wife. Born in Utah, she fell in love with the deserts of Arizona and now is proud to call it home.”

By Kyleigh Ruth

I will never join the Ordain Women movement. To unite myself with their cause is to admit that somehow I am less because I do not hold the priesthood.

Which I simply can not do. I refuse to adhere to a position that demands that I am inferior to a man in any way besides the genetic predisposition for upper body strength and the ability to father a child. Ordain Women would have me admit that I am inferior and then join the crusade to somehow fix this perceived inequality.

I am not less in the eyes of God or in the eyes of this Church because I am a woman and definitely not because I don’t have the priesthood. I have never felt this way and neither have the vast number of women that participate in Church activity. Lifted from the OW Facebook page “Women are powerless in matters of church governance and can make no autonomous decisions, even at the highest levels, Kelly said.”

There you have it. Women are powerless. We can make no autonomous decisions, according to the lovely Kate Kelly. Hold on, let me see if I feel powerless.

Nope.

Let me see if I can make an autonomous decision.

I think I can… Yes, yes I can.

Why don’t I feel powerless? Perhaps it is because I come from a long line of women who are the leaders in the home. Women who love, respect and revere their husbands, but whose insight and reasoning guide the family.

Maybe it’s because on my mission, I made plenty of autonomous decisions about where to go, what to teach, what to do and how to do it. I was blessed to serve with sisters who were powerhouses, razing the land with nothing but righteousness in their wake. We, as sisters had our own leadership roles, Trainers, that would plan and execute training, solve problems, delegate responsibility and ensure the proper function of our Visitor’s Center. My wise mission president sought the Trainers’ insight about transfers and even recommendation of elders for mission leadership positions.

Elders in our mission (as I’m sure in many others) used the word ‘mujerdocio’ a portmanteau Spanish word that combined the words for woman (mujer) and priesthood (sacerdocio). I suspect this word may have originally had a negative tone, but my sisters and I claimed it as a suitable descriptor for the influence we wielded as we served faithfully and with power.

Today, as I serve in the Church, attend meetings and teach my children, I find myself doing whatever I feel is best in my calling and in my family. Nobody tells me what to do. I teach the principles that I feel are important in the way that I feel is the most powerful and interesting. It almost feels… autonomous.

Maybe we should ask the General Presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary if they feel powerless and if they exercise autonomy.

The ladies behind the OW movement don’t seem to care about how I feel or how the leaders feel however. Or that the majority of women in the Church do not feel powerless or unable to make an autonomous decision. I suspect the more likely scenario is that the women in the church feel highly influential and these responsibilities can weigh heavily on them as they converse with the Lord to faithfully fulfill them.

So beyond refusing to claim that I am powerless, I can’t help but be skeptical of OW’s methods. If they truly believe, as they claim, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church, led by a prophet of God, then their approach is wrong. If you believe that Christ is the head of this church, then you should take your grievances to Him through sincere prayer and fasting. If a sister had come to me and said, “You know, I’m thinking that I need the priesthood to have better opportunities in the church, I’m going to start praying for that and fasting every Sunday.”

What could I say to that? “Sure, do it. Let me know what He says. Hope it works out.”

Even a sincere letter-writing campaign to the General Authorities, I’d be alright with. Since the alleged goal of the OW gals is to get a statement from the General Authorities assuring them that they have prayed about the issue. Letter writing it one way to accomplish that goal, just ask Sara Josepha Hale, a woman who knew the value of sustained, continuous effort.

However, what the OW have done is take their cause to the Court of Public Opinion. Innumerable news outlets have covered the story, painting a picture of courageous, marginalized women finally standing up against centuries of oppression from a religious institution bent on discrimination.

Essentially, dragging my beloved Church through the muck of spin and sophistry.

Some of the headlines are truly nauseating to me “LDS Church says Hugs and Heart-felt Conversations ‘Divisive'” “Mormons Exclude Women from All-Male Meeting” and endless articles more. If you choose to violate the useful maxim “Don’t Read the Comments” you will find hundreds of folks chiming in to damn the Mormon church, Christianity and all religions and belief systems of every kind.

Allow me to pose a few questions. When a group decides to take an issue to the media, exposing it to scorn, ridicule and hatred, does it increase interest in the Church or decrease it? Will the media coverage inspire individuals seeking for the truth to look at the Church? Or to turn away in disgust?

I submit that the actions of OW and its subsequent media attention will make it more difficult to overcome the wave of anti-religious sentiment that is sweeping our society, that it will inhibit the work of the Lord and the work of missionaries. In this way, it is contrary to building the Kingdom of God.

Who stands to benefit from the clamor and calumny that result from OW? I’m going to go ahead and say it, Satan. Yeah, I’m sure that he is reveling in the disruption to the work of the Lord because of the methods of the OW movement. And in the resulting contention and war of words between church members because of it.

I don’t disagree with OW’s basic tenets. I find their statements that Joseph Smith planned to organize a female priesthood compelling. I’m not against that. Nor am I against the greater influence of women in the church, in addition to the power we already have. Women praying in conference? Awesome. Sister Training Leaders in missions and in mission councils? That’s superb. I like what I’m seeing. Let’s keep talking about our incredible role in this Church.

I do disagree fundamentally with their methods, and I am angry that their actions have resulted in throwing the whole Church and their fellow sisters under the bus. Don’t characterize me as powerless to achieve your aims. Don’t characterize the women of this church as afraid because they do not share your feelings about your right to the priesthood. While I can’t fault OW for the 24 hour media machine’s voracious appetite for clickable stories of inequality, I can fault them for bringing the Church to them as sacrifice.

Sisters, we are not powerless. Don’t allow anyone, man or woman, tell you that you are powerless. We are not under anyone’s thumb. We serve the Lord, who is seeking to empower us with all that He has. The power in the priesthood comes from righteous living. As women our faith and righteousness endow us with power from on high. Live up to your covenants and responsibilities. Emulate the Savior. Maximize your potential. Extend your reach. Power comes from God, and this is the way that we get it, not from wearing pants to church, attending priesthood session or public demonstration.

This entry was posted in General by Geoff B.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

342 thoughts on “Ordain Women: thanks for nothing

  1. Cool, go tell the leadership of the church that you don’t need the priesthood (which you believe god holds) and that it is below you.

    Go tell them that you don’t need the priesthood to perform ordinances or guide the church.

    Actually since you already believe that men and women are equal in the church (lol) why don’t you go discuss this in a high council meeting, or a meeting of the 12 where women are fully represented.

    Go tell them that only men (like god) need the priesthood to be as holy as you are.

    Go ahead.

  2. Does anyone else think it’s ironic that the only way you can have your voice be made on matters in the church is through a blog, and not as an authority in the church?

  3. Hi freethinker101,

    You still appear not to have read what I’d written in the post about A Faithful Joseph. The text is blue because I went to the bother to paste in the html code so you could simply click and find the thing I was referencing.

    No one here said you were going to hell (you were the first to use that term in this thread). You haven’t been part of this conversation, so you haven’t read about the abuse I endured from my war-damaged father or my child who died or the one who is autistic, etc., etc.

    If your family was in the first group, then your ancestors and my ancestors knew each other in the Old Fort. They probably ate “nutty meal” together, not knowing the food the Indians shared that saved their lives was ground up roasted crickets.

    Truth isn’t going to go away just because you or I might not like it. I’m glad you clarified that you just came here to amuse yourself and spin us up. We made the mistake of thinking you actually might be interested in dialogue. It’s so hard to interpret nuances when all you’re able to see is text.

    And I will say that I’m sorry to hear you managed to go to all that effort being a Mormon in your youth and still think we’re just “adults with an imaginary friend.”

  4. You know, I started looking into a lot of the intellectual arguments for why the church had gone astray and I’ll admit, many of the arguments made a ton of sense. I’m still not fully convinced that certain of the arguments are wrong to this day. However, I finally had to just disassociate myself from the groups that were disseminating this information because most everyone participating were so negative, angry, unhappy, and proud. I realized that whether or not these people had the ‘truth’, the way they were going about expressing themselves was not conducive to the spirit of happiness, peace, love, understanding, etc. They seemed severely unhappy people, despite their claims to the contrary, and just seemed more intent on destroying the peace of others, than trying to reach people with what they believed was the ‘truth’. I’m not even going to claim that this is the members of OW are acting, but to me, they don’t seem at peace. Honestly, I am so much happier NOT delving into every conspiracy theory, every perceived instance of injustice, or every alternative interpretation of gospel principles that can be found by doing my own research or looking into the research of others. I have experienced the fruits of the spirit in my life as I have strived to humble myself and turn my will over to God and whether or not I’m just deranged and fooling myself into believing something that isn’t true, I’m happy, and THAT is honestly all I care about. It works for me and I am a thousand times happier now than when I was disbelieving.

  5. Hi Brian,

    Are you actually interested in dialogue? I’m not sure if you’ve studied communications, but your manner of address does not convey the respect that is usually required for mutually beneficial discourse.

  6. Hi Aaron,

    I respect folks who find peace. I do also respect people who not only find peace, but find a solid response to those destroying peace.

    My husband tells a story from when he was on the BYU ballroom team. There was a routine where the lady would fall backwards, trusting the man to catch her. My husband’s partner was not completely trusting, so she would always glance behind herself before falling. And that was OK.

    Except then there was a day when his dance partner wasn’t there, so he was dancing with someone else. They got to the fall, and the new partner simply launched herself at the ground. My husband caught her, but just barely. He’ was used to the backward look as his cue to step forward.

    There are so many who need to look. They need to dig. They need to touch and feel. They don’t realize how much all this secondary verification is slowing them down and reducing their capacity. When they see others gliding past without all the obsessive looking and checking, they presume these folks must necessarily be stupid. They don’t see the grace and power they could be experiencing.

    I’m glad you have become happier giving you your disbelief. I would like to hope that there are also ways we can help assure you that the “arguments [that] made a ton of sense” are often flawed, so that you don’t need to retain a niggling sense of uncertainty, under your conscious decision to ignore those who aren’t at peace.

  7. Hi Meg,

    I’ve talked to a few people, including Geoff here at M*, about some of the things I’ve read and I’ve received some good information from them. They didn’t completely clear up any lingering doubts, but I came to realize that no matter what evidence I was presented, if I didn’t have the spirit to confirm or deny that evidence, I would be just as in the dark, so I decided to just trust in the good feelings I got from humbling myself and turning my will over to God. It’s made all the difference for me. Some things just aren’t that important, you know? For example, does it really matter whether or not beer is really proscribed or prescribed in the Word of Wisdom? I realized that when I drank beer, I was less able to feel the spirit and less able to keep myself clean, so I decided it didn’t matter for me and that I was better off NOT drinking beer, whatever the actual relationship to the Word of Wisdom. Also, while watching the brethren speak in General Conference, I just could NOT believe that these men were deliberately deceiving the church. I just felt good and light and happy while listening to them. So I chose to believe in what the scriptures say about a bad tree not being able to produce good fruit and vice-versa. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. I always enjoy reading your comments. :)

  8. That’s comical that from the “tone” of my posts that you can sense the pain. Because it’s ridiculous.
    The only way anyone would leave the church is because of their rebellious attitude and mommy/daddy issues right?
    It wouldn’t be because they wanted answers to questions that could never be answered except with pray about it, because they researched the belief and doctrines of ALL religions, because they found the LDS gospel to be the same as others minus Jospeh Smiths book of mormon which also has no real evidence to back it up.
    Every single member has their own take and interpretation of the scriptures that they think is correct. Teachings in Sunday school turns into adult debates about whose interpretation is right.
    And if there was only 1 God and 1 true church…God would make sure that the rest were taken down. He had no problem punishing the wicked according to the scriptures yet he’s never shown or done anything to mankind in modern day..including when Jospeh Smith founded the church.
    You may look down on me with pity
    but I do the same to you so we’re equal.
    I have learned that self love and self respect bring more happiness then hoping to keep God happy by doing what he says just because.
    Any peace you feel is because of you..stop letting others tell you that the only way to happiness is through a deity. It’s sad that so many don’t understand the power is in us all along.
    I have a fullfilling, loving, and content life..there is no pain or sorrow. If you want to assume that..it’s on you and you’re wrong.
    No need to hope I come back..nothing appealing in hoping to spend eternity with self righteous people who stomped on anyone who disagreed with them.

  9. I’m not LDS myself, but I have to admire a church body that is able to intellectually debate fundamental issues especially when they are as sensitive as gender issues.

    There will always be men and women who want the priesthood and would probably make good use of the authority it carries in your church. There will always be men and women who don’t want that responsibility, or who would abuse it.

    Do men and women have different natural talents? Sure. But there is so much range within manhood and womanhood that defining roles by gender doesn’t make much sense. “Pilot” was always a man’s job. Are men “generally” better at being pilots? Maybe. But the range of variation is much more dramatic within the genders than between them. There are women with the natural skills needed to pilot a plan and there are many men without them.

    To me it makes more sense to draw lines between who can and who cannot vs who is a man and who is a woman. But, that’s just my opinion.

  10. Meg – correct that I hadn’t read the right things. And as a fellow human being and woman I am truly sorry for some of the pain and trials you have lived through and overcome. To me I give you full credit of that because you choose to survive and live despite the hardships.
    Despite being born and raised in the church the life I was born into was far from easy. Drug addicted parents, primarily raised by grandparents, and still witnessed many situatuons of physical abuse towards my mother and endured years of emotional and verbal abuse. I sent my husband off to Iraq and lost good friends there.
    After years of prayer and pleading with Heavenly Father to help me find peace and guide me to be better lovable..I finally took the situation in my own hand and found myself that I’d been hiding for fear of not being loved.
    Amusement meant more that I knew how I’d be responded too…
    but the lack of respect, the assumptions, and condescending comments (from the men mostly) is what made me keep replying.
    Because what I perceive is that Im not God and not perfect so that excuses my behavior to belittle a person…not their beliefs but the actual person is what I find so pathetic. As if thats the excuse to be demeaning and they’re ok with that.
    Religious or not..we should all still be aware of the individual rights and feelings. And just because they argue your beliefs is no reason to talk down to them. It’s not a showing of my charecter but theirs.

  11. Hi freethinker101,

    I’m so sorry to hear of the challenges you’ve endured. And I’m so glad you were able to get beyond the fear of being unlovable.

    As I’ve probably mentioned, I’ve been blessed to have what I believe is an ability to hear God. One of the more memorable of the conversations was a time when I was just zoning and walking to my office, when I believe He said, “You know, if you were to leave your husband, the time will soon come when you will find a man who will love you and cherish you, who you will love and cherish.” At the time I rejected the idea of divorce, but mostly I remember thinking that God’s promise was silly, since I was completely unlovable. No one could cherish me, I thought. At the time my first husband was physically violent, emotionally abusive, was sleeping around, and had put us in debt equal to my annual salary.

    Fast forward a few years, and I met the man who, while human in all that entails, does love me a cherish me. And I love and cherish him.

    I’m glad you’ve been able to find that love in your life, despite the fear.

    The internet is famous for making it possible to demean people. And even when the person writing doesn’t mean to be mean, the internet doesn’t have the range to ensure our words are taken as we intended. So when I “said” some of the stuff I did, for example, in person I would have immediately seen your reaction, then followed up to respond in a way that corrected whichever thing about my comment hadn’t been taken correctly. We can’t do that on the internet.

    There’s even an old story that gets told. You’ll know it. It’s about how Mary Fielding Smith had a contest with the captain of her company. He’d advised her to stay in Winter’s Quarters, and she replied that she would get to the valley before he did. There’s a time one of her oxen laid down to die and she blessed it, after which it was able to resume its work. Then as they awoke with the last pass in front of them, Mary’s animals had gotten out and had to be chased down. The Captain of the company wouldn’t wait or help. But a storm struck when the Captain was on the ridge, causing their animals to bolt and scatter the wagons. Mary Fielding was delayed by the need to gather her animals, so she wasn’t affected by the storm, and as she’d vowed (or prophesied), she made it to the valley first.

    The story gets told and told, and each time the man who dared suggest Mary stay behind becomes more and more of a caricature, the embodiment of evil. But when you learn that he was Cornelius Lott, you realize that he and Mary were endowed the same day. You begin to realize that he had been in charge of Joseph’s security, which necessarily meant he also had care of Hyrum, Mary’s husband. Cornelius was not a black-hearted villain, but Mary’s friend. But their friendly contest of wills would be remembered by Mary’s young son, who didn’t understand the respect and love that ran under the banter. Cornelius and Mary both died soon after reaching the valley, so the only record was a boy who thought he’d seen his mother treated infamously. And then that boy became the prophet, so his youthful view of the contest of wills became an oft-told tale of his mother’s goodness in the face of adversity. Joseph F. Smith likely withheld Cornelius’ name out of respect, but an anonymous individual can be villified. Cornelius’ many descendants really hate that story, since it’s always told in a way that makes Cornelius look like the worst of men.

    If the God and heaven I believe in is real, I believe that we have all known each other and loved each other from an eternity. Which is why I think final judgement will be so hard, as we see how we’ve hurt those we loved so well in a forgotten time. Even if there were no heaven and no God, I am a better person because I see each individual as someone I have loved forever. So if my life ends entirely when I die, I believe the life I will have lived before that end will have been richer.

    And if life continues, I will enjoy waiting for you, and gathering you in a loving embrace when your turn comes to leave this life. And if there is nothing for you, perhaps you’ll think, “Poor Meg. She had such hopes for…” Though I’m sure you’ll have others you’ll be thinking of at that moment.

    Because I believe I have experienced God, I have reason to believe in this Church as an instrument of the divine. And for that reason I am inclined to allow Him to lead those of us in this Church, even though there are points that could be improved.

  12. I’d still consider myself an observer in the OW discussion. I’ve only recently started researching, so my opinion is still forming.

    One thing I’ve noticed that’s troubling though is we apparently don’t need OW to initiate contentious conversation. Freethinker, I’m an active member of the church and I may not agree fully with your feelings, but I hope you know I stand by you because apparently others here (especially ones that I assume to be moderators) have put a lot of effort into making judgements about your life? putting you down, and high-fiving each other for it.

    I agree with others in saying some of the most negative sentiment I’ve seen comes from those in opposition to OW. I don’t consider you un-Christian for disagreeing, but I consider you un-Christian for judging these women as members of the church and individuals. I consider you un-Christian for using condescending, judgemental, sarcastic, and generally negative language.

    Of course there’s negativity among those who support OW, but what I mean is we dont need media involvement or non-members to tear each other apart apparently.

    I’m waiting patiently (or attempting to) for whatever change will take place, if there is to be one. I won’t give my opinion as it currently stands because what I feel most inspired to say is that what this dialogue needs most right now is to be reassessed.

    I think everyone should leave and come back when we can approach this with greater love and appreciation of all of our divine siblings and discuss this topic without being self-minded.

  13. I am a practicing, male member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who holds the Priesthood. As an observer of the Ordain Women movement, I find myself wondering: What if God’s only reason for not allowing women to hold the Priesthood is to test the faithfulness of His daughters?

    I seriously doubt that’s the case, but I’m reminded of Abraham chapter 3, verse 25:

    “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them”

    I don’t want to be on the failing side of any of God’s tests; no matter how strongly my personal desires compel me. I hope the members of Ordain Women and those who empathize with them feel the same.

  14. This post comes across as angry. I never understood why someone must tear down another’s beliefs in order to build up their own.

    It would be more helpful spiritually if we stopped tearing down out sisters and helped build them up. Pointing fingers and issuing blame? Not very helpful, in my opinion.

    Bear your testimony. Live by example. But there is no need to tear down another person to do so.

    “We’ve all felt anger. It can come when things don’t turn out the way we want. It might be a reaction to something which is said of us or to us. We may experience it when people don’t behave the way we want them to behave. Perhaps it comes when we have to wait for something longer than we expected. We might feel angry when others can’t see things from our perspective. There seem to be countless possible reasons for anger…To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan. No one can make us angry. It is our choice. If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry. I testify that such is possible.” President Thomas S. Monson, School Thy Feelings, Oh My Brother, Oct 2009 General Conference

  15. When I read your article here it feels to me that you aren’t really opposed to some aspects of the Mormon feminist movement, it just seems that you are opposed to the extremity that has been reached by the OW group in particular.

    I make this observation for two reasons: First, you mischaracterized Sister Kelly’s quote to make your point. Note that she was speaking specifically of “matters of church governance” not autonomous decisions in general. Second, in your third to last paragraph, you seem to be giving praise to the results of some of the previous Mormon feminist petitions (praying in conference, for example).

    If my observation from this brief article is correct, than I also tend to agree with you. I think that the OW group went too far in their methods. I also think that Public Affairs probably could have handled it better, but that’s a matter for another blog post.

  16. You’re strong, and that’s neat. But I think you missed the point of this quote: Women are powerless in matters of church governance.

    There’s plenty of legitimate examples of this happening all the time in the church and just because you went on a mission and made some decisions on your own doesn’t make these other examples any less true.

    People do this all the time. They assume that just because something that’s being said doesn’t apply to their real-life situation, that someone the assertion is irrelevant.

  17. “I refuse to adhere to a position that demands that I am inferior to a man in any way besides the genetic predisposition for upper body strength and the ability to father a child.”

    …also in the way you can’t make important church body decisions…or participate in church rites…or manage church budgets…or speak in church without being presided over by a man…etc.

    Actually, I think you’re fairly comfortable with that position.

  18. I have said it once, but I will say it again….be careful what you wish for. I think there are certain benefits when as a church we keep things separate. If your husband was the bishop would you really want him working with a lovely female counselor all the time. Your sacrificing your husband so he can serve, while you take on a role as a single mom. Then he comes home at night and can’t stop talking about sister so and so, and how amazing she is. As a member of this church I have always been counseled to avoid temptation. I have also been encouraged to never allow myself to be alone with a member of the opposite sex. Don’t you think that there is a reason that it is always a male that is the Clerk…..? Do you believe that you need the priesthood in order to count money…? Or perhaps, is it because the Clerk and the Bishop are often alone. I am not saying this because I am a prude…I am saying this because I am a realist.

  19. “And if there was only 1 God and 1 true church…God would make sure that the rest were taken down.”

    Would He? If that were the case, why didn’t Jesus make sure that the Pharisees, Sadducees, and all the other splinter Jewish sects were taken down? Why did He allow so many different religions throughout history to spin up and collapse, or not? Is it because He allows us the agency to choose?

    In fact, that is the case. He allows us to choose, to learn and grow (hopefully) from our mistakes.

  20. I am amazed by all the men that are commenting, and trying to convince us woman that we are suppressed. You are completly right…I don’t budget the church fianaces, I don’t put together church fianaces, nor do I make decisions on where the next temple should be built, and I deffiently don’t have figure out how to get all the permits to build a temple….bottom line is I don’t have to carry the church on my back, and I don’t have to offer all of this service for free. Nope, I just show up and enjoy the work and sacrifice of others. So, I ask who is the suppressed sex? In my mind, I feel like I have got a good thing going, and maybe you men should start turning inward and realized that maybe you are the ones being played…

  21. Fallacies galore. “I refuse to adhere to a position that demands that I am inferior to a man in any way besides the genetic predisposition for upper body strength and the ability to father a child. Ordain Women would have me admit that I am inferior and then join the crusade to somehow fix this perceived inequality”. Really?! So women that wanted voter rights back in the day were “admitting” inequality by wanting voting rights? HA! Exactly the opposite, they were attesting to their equality, not inequality. Its a fallacy to think acknowledging an inequality is what causes it to exist. Also, she took the quote about being powerless completely out of context and goes on a rant about it for the rest of the article. I don’t care what people’s opinions on this matter are, all I’m saying is maybe they should get the facts about the other side’s view before writing an article that just makes them seem rather ignorant of what OW is about. http://ordainwomen.org/faq/

  22. People just cut and paste. I am seeing the exact same words over and over. I have made two valid points that no one on the pro OW side seems to want to acknowledge.

  23. Food for thought…. maybe women who disagree with the goals of O. W. only appear to be in the majority because most women who recognize the inequality of the church *leave.*

  24. I don’t doubt any of the church policies. I am a full time member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was inactive for 27 years. It just so happens, that I had 2 of the biggest hypocrites, as parents, and it took a lot of my own soul-searching and studying the scriptures, on my own, to see the truth. The truth is, we are all here, on this planet, to find the road that will lead us back to our Father. I know we all existed, spiritually, before this life on earth. My personal experiences have allowed me to be able to discern. I know that judgement is not conducive to having spiritual wisdom. I know everyone has a different journey, and we are all here for a reason. I think as mothers, that being a part of the priesthood, would take time from being with our children, or away from those in need; for the ones that aren’t moms. The priesthood follows Aaron and Melchizedek, both of who are not women. Our church has the Relief Society, which gives each and every sister, a calling, checking to see the needs of other sisters.I know that this is the way that each sister, whether active, or not is tended to, whatever their needs may be. If women held the priesthood, this work would not be done. They would be busy doing what the men do. There are callings for women, and there are callings for men, period. Why question that?

  25. I remember when I was a missionary, I had lots of comments on how things could be done differently. Since we have regular opportunities to communicate with our Mission President through letters and interviews, he was very aware of these suggestions. I think a lot of the proposals that have been made here, shy of actual priesthood ordination, were made to my mission president.

    There are things the Mission President did–we held conferences specifically for the sister missionaries in our mission, for example. But my suggestions regarding creating a female structure analogous to the male missionary hierarchy was not adopted.

    In retrospect, I came to appreciate that freedom from the administrative nonsense allowed me more time to actually minister to those I was serving. There were rare times when the administrative nonsense as administered by others hampered my ability, but that was minor.

    During my time in the field, they revised the lessons (~1984-1985). One of the lessons dealt with prophets. I remember doing training on the new lessons, practicing with our district leader. I testified to the doctrine that there is a prophet, and that we are all prophets for our own responsibilities. And I told my district leader that I looked to him to be prophet of our district, for example. I could tell by how he reacted that this was not how he had previously seen his role.

    I am prophetess for those areas under my purview. I similarly serve under the guidance of prophets and prophetesses who have stewardship over me. As we are all human, there are times when friction occurs. But an engine isn’t about the heat it produces (the friction), it is about the power it produces to effect some good.

  26. Many people are still under the impression that simply because men and women have different jobs/roles, that makes women inferior. Many of you are under the (mistaken) impression that we have different jobs/roles because that’s how the Church wants it. Nope, that’s how God wants it. If you have a problem with it, take it up with God.

  27. Kyleigh, you say “I am not less in the eyes of God or in the eyes of this Church because I am a woman and definitely not because I don’t have the priesthood.”

    A good way to test whether or not women are equal to men in the Church is to consider what would happen should one of the sexes leave or be excluded from the Church.

    If all women were to leave the Church and only men remained, the Church would continue its essential ordinances of salvation unscathed. ONLY AUXILIARY PROGRAMS WOULD BE LOST DESPITE HAVING LOST THE MAJORITY OF ACTIVE MEMBERS. Church services might be shortened an hour, but the Church would continue to function and even grow through convert baptisms and the baptism of members’ sons.

    Conversely, if all men were to leave the Church and only women remained, the Church would immediately default to nothing more than another Jesus fan club. No one would have the authority to lead, no one would have the power to baptize or administer the sacrament.

    This inequality exists because you and other women have not been granted (by men) the privilege of holding the Priesthood.

  28. “This inequality exists because you and other women have not been granted (by men) the privilege of holding the Priesthood.”

    I don’t think that you actually understand who grants the privilege. I could list some scripture references about that for you, but I would guess that it would likely be a waste of time. So much easier to just go with the philosophies of men (the humankind non gender specific meaning) instead.

  29. Yikes. That was eye opening. I never thought of it like that, but you’re right: when it really comes down to it, the church would be the same albeit much smaller without women. Women are axillary members.

  30. I suggest you consider the definition of sophistry.

    I made it all clickable and everything.

    For those too lazy to click, sophistry is “a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.”

    A sophist is “a person who uses clever or quibbling arguments that are fundamentally unsound.”

    The term originated in ancient Greece, and was associated with pre-Socratic itinerant debaters.

    In the event that some terrible event destroys the population of believers to the point that all of one gender or the other is gone, I suspect we’ll have bigger worries than whether or not the remaining gender will be able to carry on.

  31. Wayne fails to consider some basic tenets of the LDS faith. While I acknowledge that this is a common failing of many OW supporters, due to the fact that so many of them aren’t LDS to begin with, I’ll take a moment to explain that the test of equality which Wayne puts forward is nonsensical. Wayne forgets, or never knew, that the highest blessings and the greatest promises of our Father in Heaven have to do with the continuation and progression of family relationships. Men can’t have that without faithful women and vice versa. So no, the Church would not “continue to function” on anything but the most basic level without women.

  32. His argument is sound though.

    If you want to see if something matters to an organization, imagine the organization without that thing. Without women, the organization of the church would be fundamentally unchanged.
    That is the truth. It’s neither fallacious nor unsound.
    Do women matter in the church? Of course they do. But they aren’t technically necessary.

    I don’t mean any offense, but I have to wonder if you’re calling his argument sophistry because you just don’t like it. It doesn’t meet the requirements of the definition you shared.

    When we are right, we tend to think of ourselves as “smart.” When those we disagree with are right, we call them “tricky.”

  33. I’m going to type this very slowly so as to be understood. If all the women left, the Church would be fundamentally changed. All that talk about families? Throw it out. All that work we do in the Temples? Most of it goes away. The reasoning is only sound if you throw out three quarters of what most members of the Church know about the Church. Again, it can’t be helped if lots of OW supporters don’t know much about the Church, because lots of them have nothing to do with the Church.

  34. But just to humor you, let’s take the argument one step further. Say we ordain all the women, does that make them any more necessary? By Wayne’s and Dagbert’s reasoning, NO IT DOESN’T. If we ordain all the women, and then they all leave, are we ahead or not? Nope. Simply ordaining them wouldn’t make them any more or less necessary to the Church.

  35. Good point. So in an eternal perspective women and men are equal. I agree 100% with that. I imagine Wayne does too, but he’s discussing the Church, God’s organization on Earth which is overseen by his children.

    In the church, women are not essential. Wayne is right on that. They are important and loved but not essential.

    The question is do women not have the priesthood because that is God’s will? Or do they not have the priesthood because we’ve lived in a male-dominated culture for thousands of years, and that’s just the way things have been? (That would explain why every other faith has also been historically male dominated even though they don’t have the advantage of guiding revelation).

    It could be either one. We now know that black men were denied the priesthood for cultural reasons not divine. That means generations of black families were denied the blessings of the priesthood for no reason. It was a mistake. We makes mistakes, and we correct them. This might be one of those mistakes.

  36. If suddenly no women existed, then the Church could continue to function as the existing men prepared for the end of the human race. Since without women, there would be no continuation.

    If suddenly no men existed, then the Church would no longer function under the guise of priesthood power, and the women would manage as they were able by their faith in Christ. Similarly, the women would prepare for the end of the human race, since without men there would be no continuation.

    Short of these calamitous possibilities, I don’t perceive any possibility of all members of either gender ceasing to associate with the Church. Hence why I called it a sophistry. It is a mind experiment.

    Obviously this all male or all female possibility can exist in smaller units of the Church, such as individual families or branches. So I would suggest that, rather than propose an idealized example fit for debate, we look at actual instances where there is only one gender present.

  37. Arrrgh. We’re getting into the “I’ll type slowly because if you disagree with me, you must be stupid” bit, eh? That’s my cue to bail as things are past the point of rational conversation.

    You are right about the temple though. Women are essential there. They take active roles in our most sacred ordinances. They are given some authority to lead and participate.

    Is the temple not a standard of how we should strive to make things in our daily lives. Is it not a Celestial example of what the church could become if it weren’t mired in this Telestial world? Maybe some of the members are ready for more.

  38. I am a member of the LDS church I teach the Gospel Doctrine class. In my life I have never felt that because the men hold the priesthood that they run the church. My Father had an apron that he wore that said; “I rule the roost” My Mother had one that said; “I rule the rooster”. Behind every great man in the church is a woman who has helped him get there. You can not say that these prophets have not listened to the council of the women in their lives and not thought about what they have been taught by their mothers as they lead our church. We are the Mothers of the future generations. We have more of a say than we realize. But society wants us to believe that we are just the homemaker, Just a stay at home mom. SOCIETY!!! I am proud to be a Mother! I am Proud to be a member of the LDS church! I know it is the true church and I know that I do have a voice and that it is heard by my Father, Husband, Son and many other great men in the LDS church.

  39. Dagbert says “Or do they not have the priesthood because we’ve lived in a male-dominated culture for thousands of years, and that’s just the way things have been? (That would explain why every other faith has also been historically male dominated even though they don’t have the advantage of guiding revelation).”

    Could it not also be true that every other faith has been “historically male dominated” because that is the way the original Christian church was set up? The OW crowd asserts that the only reason for a male only priesthood is because the males took over and forced the women out. They never consider that the current order may just be in place because it was never any different to begin with. The fact that the Catholic Church has an all male priesthood, and always had as near as I can tell, is evidence that women did not hold the priesthood in the early apostolic period and is sufficient explanation as to why all the various protestant religions, which were essentially just reactions to Catholicism, tended to have male dominated priesthoods.

  40. Oh, OK, I see where the disconnect is. I don’t think anyone is talking about the end of the world or removing either gender from existence entirely.

    This is only about men or women in the organization of the church.

    Men would run the church as they do now, attend meetings, and return to their families where they would impart the spiritual lessons they learned at church and from their leaders. They could baptize their (male) children and ordain them to the priesthood when they were worthy. The gospel would be preached, the principles and ordinances of the church would continue to be administered. Everything would be the same except there would be no women. Sacrament meeting would look like priesthood meeting and Relief Society wouldn’t exist except as a charitable and social group. Essentially that’s all it is now. It just happens to meet during the same time as weekly priesthood meetings. But that fact that is shares a time and happens to be held at the church should not give the allusion that it is equal in important to quorum meetings. It wasn’t a part of the church for the first 12 years. It’s an extra.

    Anyway. This is only one, and the least important argument. I just thought it was interesting because I hadn’t considered it as a test before. But it’s the same test I use when I’m cleaning out the garage. “Do I need this?” “Can I live without this.” The church organization (but not the people or the culture of the church) doesn’t need women.

  41. The church exists for the salvation of families. The church is really an auxiliary to that unit. Sacrament meeting, general conference, the temple—all for the benefit of families.

    Focusing on the ordinances alone that occur, for example, at church—ignores the other half of salvation work which is ministration. If you’ve never been in an RS presidency, maybe you don’t know the counseling power of men and women together as they work for the good of the members of the ward. And power here is focused on the ability to successfully sere, not on authority over other people.

  42. That’s AWESOME! It sounds like you are finding fulfillment and a real sense of purpose from your role in the church. That’s great.

    But does that mean other women are wrong because they don’t find the same fulfillment in the same things?

    I love my job. But i don’t think everyone should do it.

  43. Finally! Someone writes something portraying what the majority of LDS women really feel. I so appreciate this. I feel like my voice has been heard! (Through you of course ;)

  44. I agree with Michael. Wayne and Dagbert make the mistake of viewing the Church through a secular, corporatist lens; rather than as the spiritual kingdom of God whose purpose is to assist Him in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of humankind.

    That mistake is understandable when made by a non-Mormon who sees the worldly power represented both by the extraordinary devotion that Mormons seem to have for their institutional Church; and by the financial assets that the Church has accrued thanks to that devotion in conjunction with savvy management practices.

    But the mistake seems harder to understand when it’s made by a Mormon who is supposed to be familiar with the Church’s truth claims and presumably has read D&C 121 at least once. Mormons–male or female–are doctrinally prohibited from seeking priesthood office as a vehicle for attaining secular authority. Period.

  45. The church is both secular and spiritual. It must be to fulfill it’s mission of mission of ministering to both the spiritual and temporal needs of its members. TIt is God’s tool and organization to bring to pass His kingdom, but it is still of the earth.

    You can insinuate that I don’t understand the church well enough, and that might be true. But your inferring that women who seek the blessings of the priesthood are doing so to attain secular authority is just not right. If I’m mistaken on that, and you weren’t inferring that, my apologies.

  46. We now know that black men were denied the priesthood for cultural reasons not divine. That means generations of black families were denied the blessings of the priesthood for no reason. It was a mistake. We makes mistakes, and we correct them. This might be one of those mistakes.

    Who says the priesthood ban was a mistake? The ban’s origins are certainly murky, but we do know that David O. McKay, as prophet, specifically requested permission to end that policy, and that that permission was explicitly denied. Now, it’s entirely possible that the policy was a divine response to unfortunate worldly circumstances; and the Church’s recent article points out some of those circumstances. (Similarly, modern circumstances have compelled the Church to enact a very similar priesthood (and even baptismal) ban for Jews. Granted, they happen to be dead; but so what–you think they aren’t conscious, on the other side, desperately wanting the blessings of the priesthood?).

    But, a “mistake” wholly unrelated to “divine reasons”? We don’t know any such thing. Rather, those who want the Church to be wrong about some policy in the here-and-now assume that the ban was a mistake–the better to undermine the moral, spiritual, and ecclesiastical authority of the current LDS leadership.

    Is the temple not a standard of how we should strive to make things in our daily lives. Is it not a Celestial example of what the church could become if it weren’t mired in this Telestial world? Maybe some of the members are ready for more.

    Uh . . . women aren’t ordained to priesthood office in the temple, either. They serve in specific roles that are, in many cases, linked to their gender.

    “Ready for more”? I’d suggest re-reading Elder Oaks’ sermon from priesthood session, and D&C 121. Then, ask yourself: “More what?”

    The church organization (but not the people or the culture of the church) doesn’t need women.

    Meh. The organization doesn’t exist for the organization’s sake; and I think most Mormons understand that.

  47. Dagbert, re your 10:13 post–

    I don’t know the minds of all the OW gang. But I do think–as I suggest in my last post–that women who claim their ministerial (as opposed to administrative) potential is being stunted by their lack of ordination of priesthood office; are 1) either unfamiliar with the underlying doctrine of the priesthood (specifically, those aspects taught by Elder Oaks), 2) living below their current spiritual potential for reasons that are known only to themselves and are frankly none of my business, or 3) putting up a smokescreen to conceal a desire for administrative power that they know, on some level, is inappropriate.

  48. This is really simple. As a woman, I know that I am equal to men. I also know that I am absolutely not treated as such in my church. The mental gymnastics required to assert anything else are astounding.

  49. The absence of women from the Church would have zero effect on mankind’s ability to procreate. Those of you bringing up “the family” as the reason my example fails fail to understand the example. You can even bring up temple sealings. How can there being sealings for time and all eternity if there are no women in the Church? The Church currently has no problem performing proxy ordinances, why would that be so difficult were women to leave or be excluded entirely from activity? Men could still preside over their families in righteousness with the spirit of service and devotion to God without any obstacle whatsoever.

  50. [quote]This is really simple. As a woman, I know that I am equal to men. I also know that I am absolutely not treated as such in my church. The mental gymnastics required to assert anything else are astounding.[/quote]

    Either the Church is God’s instrument and God is using that instrument to effect the salvation of humanity, or it is not.

    If it is God’s instrument, then gender differentiation within that instrument either serves a purpose or is not a primary problem related to saving humanity.

    If it is not God’s instrument, then anything could go. However the men and women who guide the affairs of the Church seem persuaded that this is God’s instrument. And therefore they are looking to God for direction.

    If you wish to view the Church as evil because gender equality in all aspects is not being implemented to your standards, you are free to choose whether you will remain within the Church and how you will attempt to steady the Church.

    As for me and my house, we will call God good and trust Him to shape His instrument as He sees fit. In the meantime we will serve the Lord in the frankly overwhelming number of ways possible to both men and women, independent of priesthood power.

  51. Michael writes: “Say we ordain all the women, does that make them any more necessary?”

    That would depend on the keys and offices of the Priesthood they hold. Notice that if women were ordained the results of excluding one sex or the other from the Church would be the same in both scenarios: the Church would continue to operate under uninterrupted Priesthood authority.

    Meg, I noticed earlier that you got upset at freethinker101 for not reading your posts carefully enough, so I find it amusing that you would criticize my contribution to this thread without reading it very well. You say “Since without women, there would be no continuation.” Excluding women from earthly existence was never part of my argument. Feel free to go back and reread it.

  52. meg, if we’ve been to the temple, we have priesthood power. if we’ve had a calling we have priesthood authority (as Elder Oak’s talk suggested). So, really, it’s independent of administrative assignment.

    i was talking to a good girlfriend yesterday and we’ve both really looked into the arguments for OW—the more we read, the more we really feel a gorgeous sort of balance in our work as men and women. even as is (and i believe we will see more revelation on this topic in the future). It is a spiritual balance—and it has empowered me within my assignments in the church, but mostly in my family. My experience may not help someone who wants sameness (in assignment) equality—but, I think an important question to ask is, “In terms of the salvation of men and women, is there any good coming from the cooperatively assigned work of men and women?”

    My answer is “yes” because I’ve witnessed it and been blessed by the ways I serve, and the ways I’ve been served by men and women.

  53. But then your answer is still basically: not having the priesthood works for me, so it should work for everyone.

    That’s great that it works for you. It’s also great that cooperation between men and women has had good results, but doesn’t mean that we can’t get even better results from sharing the responsibilities with more equality.

    I came here not really invested in either side, but the more I talk it out here and listen, the more I support the questions brought up by OW.

  54. Dagbert, I’m not suggesting my answer should work for everyone—just that I think it’s an important question for everyone to ask. I also think it’s okay for me to share my experience (as okay as it is for someone who may have had the opposite experience.

    Also, since I’m an endowed member of the church, I have the priesthood. I’m not ordained to the Aaronic or Melchezidek priesthood—so I don’t have those specific responsibilities. But, I do have the responsibilities associated with the current calling I was ordained (or “set apart”) to, plus the responsibilities of the covenants I made in the temple.

    In leadership callings I’ve held, it’s been cool to see the cooperative work between men and women. Perhaps it would be the same if all callings overlapped genders, perhaps it would be different. So far, God has not changed the structure. He might in the future—but for now, I see good in it.

    As a woman who did not get married until my early 30’s, I liked the connections the church administrative structure helped me create and keep with men. Otherwise, I may not have had very many interactions with men (of various ages) who became mentors to me. A friend who went through a devastating divorce feels the same way. She was ministered to by men and women, but without the cooperative ward structure, it would may have just been women—and there would have been a loss there. In terms of being a woman in RS, there is an efficiency working only with women that is really great especially in crisis. But, that is my experience.

    I have other questions about the current cooperative structure—but there a hundred before I get to “Should I be ordained to the aaronic and melchezidek priesthood?” (which I don’t think is inappropriate to ask—as a church, we are learning a lot from it—and we don’t know what will happen in the future. Peace to you as you continue thinking about it.)

  55. Those of you bringing up “the family” as the reason my example fails fail to understand the example.

    I think it may be you who fail to understand our point: that the Church doesn’t exist merely for the Church’s sake. It doesn’t exist so that certain people can be seen officiating in rituals, and other people can sit in the high seats, and other people can allocate budgets, and other people can manage large amounts of property, and other people can overrule the proposals of underlings.

    It exists to facilitate the work of saving souls, which work is broader than the Church itself. The work of salvation and exaltation doesn’t get done without women. So, I repeat: Your analogy works only from a non-LDS point of view.

    There’s nothing wrong with admitting mistakes.

    Sure; but what if it wasn’t a mistake?

    But then your answer is still basically: not having the priesthood works for me, so it should work for everyone.

    Looking at their arguments in the most charitable light possible: the sisters behind OW feel that the status quo does not provide them with sufficient opportunities for spiritual growth; and they feel that the ministrations they are able to perform in their current roles as Church members are lacking in the same caliber of spiritual power as that enjoyed by (male) priesthood holders.

    Well, what’s not the same? The lack of the presence of the Spirit? Lack of consolation? Lack of healing? Lack of miracles? Elder Oaks says all that is–or at least, can be–present even when there is no ordination to priesthood office. And we have an awful lot of practicing Mormon women who are saying “wait–I have plenty of opportunities for spiritual growth; and I have seen the power of God amplify my own poor ministrations. The Spirit is there. There is healing. There are miracles.”

    And the grating thing for many women (including, I suspect, the OP) is that when these points are made, OW seems to avoid any kind of introspection. No “gee, maybe I’ve been looking at it wrong” for progressives! Instead, we get a smug assurance that “we’re just ready for something more [unlike you mindless little sheeple]“, perhaps supplemented by an “it’s not about the worldly influence–honest!” Meanwhile it is the GAs (and any males who agree with them) are accused of being “condescending” and of not respecting women’s spiritual potential.

    Oh, well. I suppose I should just be grateful no one’s accused me of fostering “rape culture”.

  56. Amen! Thank you for this message. You are courageous to share your thoughts on such a contraversial issue. It comes down to authority. Does the prophet really speak for God? Since the prophet is the mouth peice for God then the OW’s arguments are against what God is asking. You can either choose to be obedient or disobedient.

    You inspired me to write my own blog about this too. Thank you again for sharing!

  57. In addition to JimD’s comments, I continue to be surprised by OW’s silence since Elder Oaks’ talk. There’s been nothing on the OW site except for a handful of new profiles, links to a couple of favorable news stories, and the results of a survey of OW participants. The only public statement from any of the OW spokeswomen has been a bitter and angry post by Hannah Wheelwright at ymf. I haven’t seen anything else from OW or any of the other spokeswomen since then. Their silence suggests several possibilities, all of which indicate that they’ve been knocked off of their stride.

  58. At all levels of the church auxilliary leaders must go to a bishop or president for permission but the ultimate upper-most decision making authority lies with a man in every instance. The general decision making bodies of the church (which can make decisions for the largest womans organization in the world) are male. There is not a female in the church who functions in any autonous decision making calling/capacity that is not ultimately subordinate in that use of authority/autonomy to a male. End of story.

  59. JimD, please explain women’s role(s) in the salvation of souls. I would also appreciate you point out the verses in D&C 121 you believe shut down OW doctrinally. Btw, I have to disagree with your stated purpose of the Church. I thought the purpose of the Church was to point people to Christ; the Church does not and cannot save souls that Jesus have already been saved 2000 years ago.

  60. Well said, I whole heartedly agree! For anyone interested, Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke in the Priesthood session (which they recently started broadcasting live on TV probably so that the women can watch, too!) specifically on this issue. He was very polite and did not say anything about OW, but I really felt his talk is as much for the women as the men. I actually learned a lot about the priesthood from his talk. No matter what side of the fence you sit, I think you will also learn from his talk!

  61. This post is powerful. I can’t get past the fact that this powerful woman refuses to think she is less than a man because of his Priesthood. Amen!

  62. Progressivism is a philosophy of class envy, jealousy, and hate. It is certainly not a philosophy consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s my opinion, anyway.

  63. With regards to autonomous decision-making in the Church, I’m not sure that exists for anyone male or female (with the obvious exception of smaller or personal decisions: what clothes I’ll wear today, how I’ll teach my lesson on Sunday, whether I’ll be kind and respectful to my spouse, etc.). Nobody has true autonomy to make weighty decisions that impact others in the Church. Every leader is bound to strive to follow the Savior, follow the Spirit, and follow their own line leaders (unless that line leader is clearly out of line, in which case, there is still his or her line leader, etc.). Every leader is subject to discipline, himself, or herself. Everyone has both the Godhead to follow as well as a mortal “boss.” The president of the Church is a bit of an exception with regard to a mortal boss, but I doubt he acts or decides contrary to his counselors or the Twelve very often. I don’t know of anybody in the Church who just goes around doing whatever they please—not in terms of anything that matters very much. I suppose there are some mavericks somewhere, but mavericks are acting outside of what is institutionally structured.

  64. What a terrible article. The author repeatedly misrepresents the Ordain Women group, the LDS Church, and the facts on the ground. The article’s arguments should be quickly rejected by the OW movement’s supporters and detractors alike.

    Gender inequality exists in the LDS church. A cursory review of the facts makes this so plain that denial is either dishonest or naive. The logically valid responses are: either an admission of guilt together with a promise of change, or the bold assertion that despite the negative connotation of the term, gender inequality is something of which we can benefit and be proud. Indeed, the latter is the response I hear most frequently from those who oppose OW, including the Church.

    What is most interesting, as well as disgusting , is that the author here doesn’t flatly deny that gender inequality is a problem for the LDS community. Rather, she seems to say that OW simply overreacts to the LDS mistreatment of women. She seems to argue that members should follow her example of loving the church so much that the church becomes exempt from criticism. This is a shallow concept of love and an extremely dangerous mindset.

  65. “Gender inequality exists in the LDS church. A cursory review of the facts makes this so plain that denial is either dishonest or naive.”

    “Thus the unfacts, did we possess them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude…”

    ― James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

  66. “I used to think that the human brain was the most fascinating part of the body. But then I realized, well hold on there, look what’s telling me that!” – Emo Phillips

    We all have a place in God’s Kingdom if we desire it. Our roles may differ, but that doesn’t mean that we differ in importance to God and His Kingdom. Men and women are different and have different attributes that aid us in our individual roles within the church. As others have said, being equal doesn’t mean sameness. We don’t all have to be a bishop or stake president to have worth. Same goes for being ordained to the priesthood. Our progressivist, marxist culture has warped many of our perspectives until we start seeing some slight or injustice in everything, especially when it comes to the relationship between the sexes. Are our brains really more important to the functioning of our bodies than the blood vessels or lungs or heart? Why can’t we be happy with what God has blessed us with and stop with all the envy, jealousy, covetousness and hate? God has amazing blessings for us in store if we will magnify our callings and increase the talents He has given us whether great or small. But if we lose sight of the big picture and focus only on the petty, seeming injustices and inequities that we perceive with our finite understanding, we will miss the boat and find ourselves turned into angry, bitter souls unfit for the Kingdom.

  67. JimD, please explain women’s role(s) in the salvation of souls.

    Have you read the Proclamation on the Family? How about the Relief Society Declaration? How about the general covenant obligations of all Church members as outlined in (among other places) Mosiah 18?

    I would also appreciate you point out the verses in D&C 121 you believe shut down OW doctrinally.

    I haven’t said it shuts down OW per se; I’ve said it prohibits seeking worldly authority through ordination to priesthood office. See vv 34-43.

    Now, logically, if you want Mormon priesthood, I can only see that you would want it for one of two reasons:
    1) Because you think it will help you to minister to your fellowman more effectively, or
    2) Because you want the worldly/administrative prerogatives that typically pertain to particular priesthood offices.

    Elder Oaks says that 1) just isn’t true. Therefore, by disjunctive syllogism, 2) must be the case; which brings us right back to Section 121.

    Btw, I have to disagree with your stated purpose of the Church. I thought the purpose of the Church was to point people to Christ; the Church does not and cannot save souls that Jesus have already been saved 2000 years ago.

    I didn’t say the Church saves souls. I said it facilitates the work of saving souls. If the Church doesn’t play a role in saving souls, then why do the females amongst OW desire ordination to its priesthood and “higher” offices in the ecclesiastical structure than they have hitherto held?

    For anyone interested in greater gender equality in the Church but adverse or uncomfortable with the OW agenda, you might be interested in the All Are Alike Unto God propositions:

    Wayne, it’s interesting to me that the website you suggest as an “alternative” to OW’s agenda bears the signatures of Ordain Women’s leading luminaries–Kate Kelley, Hannah Wheelwright, Stephanie Lauritzen, Margaret Toscano, Nadine Hansen, and Kaimi Wenger; among others. And then, there’s the fact that the site’s url is a direct attack on an address by RS President Julie Beck to boot.

  68. @Brian. Re. Voice Matters Heard. What’s ironic is stating its ironic – the only way to have voice heard is through a blog (I mean after all, you’re reading/responding to it – on a blog). And more to the point, how is the method of having a voice heard different than that of a man in the church. Perhaps you should re-think your position. Once again these arguments undermine the leadership of women (don’t forget women have leadership in the church). If the doctrinally incorrect position is that “priesthood responsibilities are more important,” then perhaps you’re in the wring religion. Personally I believe that I could never reproduce the unilaterality of my wife, nor would I want to. She’s better at it with my children than I. The whole purpose of this movement undermines the responsibility if women. OW creates its own inequality. Responsibilities are different – simply stated.

  69. Complicating this issue are things our own General Authorities have said on the issue including our Prophet at the time, President Hinckley. On November 9, 1997 on the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) news program “Compass” an interesting exchange took place between reporter David Ransom and President Hinckley. (I have maintained the context but have edited portions for length as the entire interview covered a multitude of subjects running about 15 minutes).

    David Ransom (DR): There does seem to be though an uncritical acceptance of a conformist style?

    President Hinckley (GBH): Uncritical? No. Not uncritical. People think in a very critical way before they come into this Church. When they come into this Church they’re expected to conform.

    DR: But not allowed to question? They’re not allowed to question?

    GBH: Oh they are allowed to question. Look – this Church came of intellectual dissent.

    DR: And that dissent continues to that this day?

    GBH: Oh absolutely, absolutely. We expect people to think for themselves.

    DR: As the world leader of the Church, how are you in touch with God? Can you explain that for me? Because you’re leader of the Church. Do you have a special connection?

    GBH: I have a special relationship in terms of the Church as an institution. Yes.

    DR: And you receive ….

    GBH: Now we don’t need a lot of continuing revelation. We have a great, basic reservoir of revelation. But if a problem arises, as it does occasionally, a vexatious thing with which we have to deal, we go to the Lord in prayer. We discuss it as a First Presidency and as a Council of the Twelve Apostles. We pray about it and then comes the whisperings of a still small voice. And we know the direction we should take and we proceed accordingly.

    DR: And this is a Revelation?

    GBH: This is a Revelation.

    DR: Now up until 1978 I understand Blacks were not allowed to be priests in your Church?

    GBH: That is correct. Although we have Black members of the Church. They felt that they would gain more in this Church than any other with which they were acquainted and they were members of the Church. In 1978 we, and I mean the president of the Church, received a revelation under which all worthy men would receive all the blessings of the Church available to them as well as to any others.

    DR: At present women are not allowed to be priests in your Church. Why is that?

    GBH: That’s right, because the Lord has put it that way. Now women have a very prominent place in this Church.

    DR: Is it possible that the rules could change in the future as the rules did on Blacks ?

    GBH: Could change them, yes. If He were to change them that’s the only way it would happen.

    RB: So you’d have to get a revelation?

    GBH: Yes. But there’s no agitation for that right now. We don’t find it. Our women are happy. They’re satisfied.

    In January 1998 the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) repeated the interview on the news program 20 / 20 and I remember watching it as it aired. So when we have a Prophet say these sorts of things, you can understand how these kinds of comments give women in the church, with these aspirations, hope that these sorts of things could come to pass. As President Hinckley stated almost 20 years ago, “there’s not agitation for that right now”, but now, 20 years later and looking ahead to 30 or 40 years from 1997, the agitation may be such that it comes to pass, otherwise, why would President Hinckley make such statements? K.

  70. As an active, female member of the church, I am not on the same page as OW, but having corresponding with some who are, I think I can understand where they are coming from. There are certain things in the church that I do not think are right. One example would be–I don’t think a young women should have to confess sexual sins to a man ( I guess if it a bishop was a perfect person who received perfect inspiration it would be okay, BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE)–I think a women representative should be there with her, she should have someone who can relate to her.

    Anyways, I think the underlying problem is that as women in the church, we do not know WHO to turn to as our FEMALE role model. We have a Heavenly Mother, but do not know much of her. So, I think some women feel that all they have to turn to is a MALE role model. I have a testimony of the divine nature of women. I know we have a Heavenly Mother who is glorious, unfortunately we do not hear of her much. As a women, I want to know more about my divine destiny. I believe that “God” is a male and female; a heavenly father and heavenly mother.

    I don’t want to be ordained, because I do not want to be like a man. I want the divine power that I should have as a women and I personally do not think they are any less.

    The world is very male-dominated, or at least has been in the past and we are slowly making our way back to the way God would have it, I think that includes the church is also making its way back.

    Now while I don’t agree with OW, I do not agree with this blogpost either. I appreciate people who try to better things. These women probably prompted Elder Oaks talk. These women probably prompted the Priesthood session being broadcast. I do not feel any bitter feeling towards these women. I admire people who stand up for what they believe in, and try to do what they think is right.

  71. Thank you for saying it how it is. I felt that the OW movement was getting way too much undeserved media attention and I was getting really upset when I saw an article that was titled: “What Mormon Women Want”. Kyleigh I am glad you wrote what most women in the church feel, not just a small group who make it sound like everyone feels the way they do. I love this church and I have never ever felt unequal to men. There are quite a few people out there who like to victimize themselves and this movement certainly sounds like that to me. I know that God is leading this church and Thomas S. Monson is the prophet on this earth and I will continue to sustain him and follow him. Heavenly Father is in charge and things will only happen and change if he wants that to happen. I love what Elder Oaks said during Conference: “Forget about your rights and start thinking about your responsibility”. :) Thanks again. Great article for sure.

  72. I am unable to bring myself to join OW, but I have tried to understand their pain. I don’t think they want us to think we are powerless. I think they are trying to get everyone to see that because we are powerful and autonomous we should be able to function that way in leadership positions. We are not powerless as individuals. We have autonomy as individuals. The problem is we don’t have it in positions of authority in the church. What’s the point of being a president of an organization and being set apart to lead when you can’t make your own decisions? I know women in my own ward like this. The primary president who is informed by the bishop that he called someone to be a teacher without asking for her input. The young women president who isn’t allowed to decide where to hold girls camp or have the final say about activities her girls would like to do. The fact that any random priesthood holder can attend any women’s meeting but not the other way around. Women in disciplinary councils detailing sexual sins, facing a room full of men with no other women for support. Young women who cry in pain or anger when we have no good answer for them about why we don’t hold the priesthood. When you know real people with real pain and you try to see this from their point of view it can become more understandable. I disagree with their methods also, but I want our tone in discussing this with our fellow sisters to be loving, not angry.

    And I can’t imagine the general presidencies of any women’s organizations could honestly answer you that they have the final say in anything (which is what autonomy is–acting independent of any other person or party) because everything is done under the direction of the priesthood which in this church culture means men.

  73. I admit that I haven’t read through all of the comments, although I did read some of them. This subject honestly makes me angry, although not so much because women have concerns. I think it’s important to always remember that the Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the first place because he humbly asked a question, and as far as I know, James 1:5-6 is still valid and applicable for any of our concerns. I have never felt oppressed or inferior for not having the priesthood (my testimony of which is huge and personal, and I’m not willing to share it without knowing that it would be received with respect), but I have also never ruled out that the idea that Lord may possibly want women to have the priesthood one day, either in this life or the next. I have complete trust that in His designs, and I know that He continues to reveal His gospel to us as we humble ourselves to receive more of it. Having the “fullness” of the gospel doesn’t meant that there is nothing left to improve upon or reveal; it means that we have the tools necessary to continue receiving revelation and improving our understanding and execution of gospel principles as we collectively progress. The priesthood is a major component of that fullness. I believe that change is possible if it is in the Lord’s plan and we are ready for it.

    However, I have been as angry as the guest poster about how some of the O.W. women have gone about addressing their concerns. Although we are encouraged to express concerns when we have them, this church is not a democracy. All the petitions in the world will not change the Lord’s mind if He wants things to be a certain way–or if He gives in to our demands, it is usually just to teach us a lesson. Many prophets and other great people have learned this the hard way. This church is not a democracy. It changes when the Lord can see that we are ready for it, not when we insist that we are ready for it. It reminds me a little of a time when my older sister sent her three-year-old to time-out because he was angry. She told him that he was not allowed to leave his time-out until he was happy again. After a moment’s pause, he screamed irately, “I’m happy noooooow!!” It wasn’t very convincing.

    Not that I think the women in O.W. are children, but the concept applies, I think. I don’t feel that the Lord is impressed by how the methods of this movement have embarrassed His Church–perhaps beyond repair for many people. Yes, it makes me angry. It’s difficult for me to discuss it kindly because seeing my beloved religion torn down and belittled feels like a personal offense to me, but I’m honestly trying to stay calm. I understand that the O.W. women may not have intended this to cause so much damage to the Church, but I still struggle with anger over it.

    I think that a crucial point to remember is that not even men really have a say in matters of church governance–not if they’re exercising their offices correctly. The Lord is the only one with a say in matters of church governance. All of us–men and women alike–are expected to fulfill our callings according to the Lord’s will. We are meant to represent Him in every calling from prophet to choir director, from apostle to visiting and home teachers, from area seventy to Primary teacher. Women may have the gift of prophecy and may even exercise the priesthood in some instances–there is plenty of scripture and lore that prove it–but at this time, He asks only certain men to reveal their prophecies and the guidance to the LDS Church as a whole. They are incredible, goodhearted, humble men who respect and uphold women in the Relief Society and Young Women’s, which are the largest women’s organizations in the world and consistently offer women leadership positions more often than most secular businesses even want to do–and they were doing so before women even had the right to vote in the U.S.

    The Lord once said that “by their fruits, ye shall know them”–and the fruit of this movement is discord. Note that the discord is not caused by the concerns themselves–I think it’s great to discuss any issue openly and with humility before the Lord, and I have done so with other men and women long before this movement–but the way in which those concerns are being presented is what embarrasses and offends me. The priesthood has never, ever been a power in the sense that the word is normally taken; it does not raise men higher than anyone else, it cannot be used for selfish purposes, and men cannot even claim that the power is their own, but is allowed them by God on certain very strict conditions. The priesthood is meant to empower men to serve in a way that the Lord has decreed. It is meant to serve and save.

    Serve and save. That’s what we’re all meant to do whether we have the priesthood or not. Who is this contention serving or saving? Are we women to prove that we deserve the priesthood by throwing the Lord’s church under the bus? Even men who have shown themselves to be so contentious are denied the right to exercise the priesthood. Again, how is this serving or saving anyone?

    I think I still must have come across as angry. I’m really having a hard time with this, but I will keep trying to humble myself. I just wanted to say my piece because I’m surprised that I haven’t seen anyone say it yet–

    The Lord is in control. None of us govern anything. None of us actually have any power of our own. It’s all Him.

  74. Awesome you wrote the things I could not convey.
    Just to add one thing anyone who attends the temple knows without a doubt priesthood is a shared thing .anytime my husband is not there I can calls upon his priesthood.to help me.

  75. Kyleigh Ruth really put the thoughts of many into this message. I agree wholeheartedly that the women behind this movement are not being led by any kind of a spiritual prompting and many of them are being misled by worldly philosophies about what it means to be a leader and have autonomous decision making power. Regardless of what Joseph may have been leading up to, the bottom line is the belief that this is a church of God, not of men. The prophet does not currently hold the keys to change how the church is organized and no matter what people do here on earth, if they do not hold the keys it means nothing to God. Men are taught how to be men and boys and righteous husbands and fathers… why do women need to learn how to be righteous men? They don’t. My personal feeling is that if these women were taking care of responsibilities they would not have time to be trying to take on more responsibilities, and if they are not taking care of their current responsibilities properly now, who on earth would trust them to take on more? They are definitely going about this the wrong way and I would never trust anyone to be a leader who bullied their way to the top. I have been a single mom for 16 years and have a successful career and I have not had any men in the church taking care of me or telling me what to do… I believe I am the epitome of a woman who is autonomous and capable and I am perfectly capable of being that way without the OW movement. They definitely have some self esteem issues if they think they are inferior to men or feel that they are second class citizens in the church.

  76. Has anyone here ever read Valerie Hudson Cassler’s perspective on men, women, equality, and priesthood? If not, I encourage you to read it here: http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2010-fair-conference/2010-the-two-trees. It may help shed more light on this discussion.

    A snippet from her presentation: “I didn’t join the Church because I was a feminist, but I stay in the Church because I am a feminist. And what I’d like to do to begin my talk is to review the main points of LDS doctrine that make this a revolutionary religion from a feminine perspective.”

    Another: “Priesthood is not some extra given to men and denied women. Priesthood is a man’s apprenticeship to become a heavenly father, and I believe that women have their own apprenticeship to become like their heavenly mother.”

    Food for thought.

    Geoff

  77. For some reason Valerie Hudson Cassler isn’t terribly popular with the OW crowd. They’re less kind to her than most people are to them, at least judging by responses I’ve seen on the OW facebook page to Sis Cassler.

  78. I would refer you to the very well written statement from the leadership of the Church. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-keys-and-authority-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng

    A quote from this text that sums it up for me, “The First Presidency and the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, who preside over the Church, are empowered to make many decisions affecting Church policies and procedures—matters such as the location of Church buildings and the ages for missionary service. But even though these presiding authorities hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood.”

  79. I think it’s important to remember that really no callings in the church are completely “autonomous”. The council system is really important and emphasized in church leadership. Also, there is a kind of “return and report” system at all levels (even the prophet does not act without counseling to a consensus).

    Teachers in any of the church classes have the autonomy to decide and how and what they will teach—but out of the manual provided.

    I’ve served in RS presidencies several times and the majority of our work was us deciding how we wanted to implement goals we came up with and how best to accomplish the goals of RS. Did we need to *technically* approve callings? sure—but, mainly so that everyone from the different organizations would know what was going on. Did our RS goals usually correlate with ward goals? sure. But ward goals were usually discussed as a council, as were callings (depending on the situation). And, I’ve had bishops bring up ideas in ward council that were stopped or revised because of counsel from the RS presidency.

    Anyways, I don’t agree with OW if “ordination” is for the purpose of autonomy. I would still have to approve some decisions with a bishop (male or female). And, could be overruled (male or female bishop).

    —-

    In terms of Valerie Hudson Cassler. Her essay is FASCINATING! but, the OW crowd hates it because it suggests a woman’s power or work in the church is connected to parts of her body. (biology can’t be sacred?). They will also dismiss the idea because it couldn’t be divine if there are single sisters or infertility (they will say this doctrine harms women in these situations) (I got married when I was 32 and don’t have children, but there is a spiritual element complementing the physical that I don’t think we understand. Perhaps Elder Christofferson was getting close with his October conference talk).

    It seems like a gorgeous balance if women are in charge of the ordinances of birth (the saving ordinances of receiving a body / creating a soul) and men are in charge of the ordinances important for redeeming the soul)—and we are both responsible for ministration and nuturing in between. It’s pretty beautiful to me. But, for some reason, very threatening to others (which is why I think there is more going on there than we know—why all the hate and vitriol?). I think there is more revelation coming about this subject. :)

  80. JimD, you’re losing me fast. I need you to be more specific and less condescending, please. Let’s try another round.
    1. What in the Proclamation addresses women in the Church specifically? It talks about the role of the family in the Plan of Salvation and addresses all women and all families throughout the world. I do not see anything in that document that makes an argument for anyone’s role in the Church, let alone women’s. The Relief Society Declaration, lovely as it may be, is the declaration of an auxiliary, i.e. non-vital organization (Oaks used the term “appendage to the priesthood” in the last GC). Making an appeal to it undermines any claim you might be trying to make that women play an essential in the Church. Mosiah 18 is the only relevant text of the three you mention, but what I have to wonder is why you don’t think OW is trying desperately to magnify their capacity to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light,” “mourn with those that mourn,” “comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death” (vv. 8-9). If you think OW is lying when they say they sincerely want to serve you will need to explain what had led you to that conclusion.
    2. I’m still not sure how you’re reading D&C 121. My best guess is that you are accusing the supporters of OW of having their “hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men” (v. 35). I sincerely hope you’re not making that accusation because it’s entirely contradictory to OW’s stated goal of magnifying women’s service in the Church. On the other hand, it’s completely illogical for you to apply these verses to women seeking Priesthood ordination in the first place considering the fact that the verses you indicated are listing the reasons why many have been called but few chosen (v. 34). Have women in the Church been called but not chosen? Do you honestly feel that women haven’t been chosen because they have their hearts set on things of this world and aspire to the honors of men (v. 35)? You can’t possibly level that accusation against all of the women of the Church, especially considering that the large majority of LDS women do not aspire to ordination. If this is not your application of D&C 121 I will expect you to clarify.

    3. Did Oaks really say OW doesn’t think having the Priesthood will help them, as you say, “to minister to your fellowman more effectively”? I don’t see it in his talk. I’m still very interested in knowing specifically what role women perform in the Church that no man can do. Please note that birthing offspring is not a Church role or function. We can say it’s part of God’s plan, but so is all of human suffering, natural disasters, answers to non-Mormons’ prayers, Satan’s temptations, and everything else that exists but is not part of the Church.

    4. You ask “If the Church doesn’t play a role in saving souls, then why do the females amongst OW desire ordination to its priesthood and ‘higher’ offices in the ecclesiastical structure than they have hitherto held?” Because it would give them a more opportunities to serve God and their fellow wo/men and bring them closer to being like Christ. Respectfully asking the brethren to consult the Lord on the matter is their way of saying “Here am I!” Perhaps you would like to explain how this kind of request is evil or misplaced, and while you’re at it you can explain what damages to the Church, the members, or God’s plan would occur if women were to be ordained.

    5. Jim, once again your logic pains me. The OW leadership can agree with the proposals of “All Are Alike” without those proposals being the goals of OW. Think of it this way, a group of concerned citizens is advocating for stoplights at every intersection in town and another group is advocating for a few stoplights and a bunch of stop signs. Will the first group support the second? Yes, because it helps them accomplish a portion of their goal of getting more stoplights. If the first group supports the second, does that make the two groups the same? Absolutely not. “All Are Alike” is very much a middle ground for those seeking gender equality in the Church. The goal for “All Are Alike” is greater equality but female ordination is nowhere in the picture.

    If you only respond to one of the above points, please address how the Church in its current organization cannot function without women.

    If you feel like going off topic, here’s another question: who are you to speak so disparagingly of OW or anyone who might entertain their arguments? Why does God need you to steady the ark?

  81. “OW crowd hates it because it suggests a woman’s power or work in the church is connected to parts of her body. (biology can’t be sacred?).”

    Radical feminism possesses in its DNA an embittered hatred of those biological truths that make women, women. That is why when you bring up front line female soldiers on the battlefield and menstruation, they foam at the mouth and go into apoplectic paroxysms. To them, biology is at best an inconvenient footnote, best to be ignored in favor of gender resentment.

  82. Wayne asks: “What in the Proclamation addresses women in the Church specifically?” OW disagrees with the Proclamation because it counters their core beliefs. The Proclamation clearly identifies the ultimate role of women to be wives and mothers. If you read through the profiles at OW.org, and I have, you’ll see that at least three quarters of them take issue with the doctrine in this regard. You’ll also see from the mission statement, the FAQ and the various media appearances that Kate Kelly has made that ordaining women isn’t the end goal for OW. They want to abolish doctrines and practices that are inconsistent with their gospel of gender equity, and they specifically call out the Proclamation in the FAQ as being antithetical to their goals.

    Wayne asks: “what I have to wonder is why you don’t think OW is trying desperately to magnify their capacity to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light,” “mourn with those that mourn,” “comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death” (vv. 8-9).” Short answer, because I’ve read what they’ve had to say on the subject and it’s not true. They are primarily concerned with power and with autonomy and changing the doctrines and practices of the Church.

    Kate Kelly complains about how she did all the work to convert people on her mission and some stupid elder got the “reward” of getting to baptize her converts. Clearly Kate missed some stuff on her mission because if she was converting people, they weren’t getting converted, and if she sees performing the baptism as the reward, then she doesn’t understand what’s involved there either. And, if she thinks that defying the request of the Church to protest on Temple Square is a demonstration that she’s ready for the priesthood, she doesn’t understand it the way she thinks she does. It’s easy enough to see this if you look at what they’ve actually said.

    Wayne says: “I sincerely hope you’re not making that accusation because it’s entirely contradictory to OW’s stated goal of magnifying women’s service in the Church.” That isn’t OW’s stated goal. Their stated goal is:

    “Ordain Women aspires to create a space for Mormon women to articulate issues of gender inequality they may be hesitant to raise alone. As a group we intend to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood. We sincerely ask our leaders to take this matter to the Lord in prayer.”

    If you look at the FAQs, the goal is further refined to remake the Church in accordance with their radical gospel of gender equity.

    Wayne says: “Do you honestly feel that women haven’t been chosen because they have their hearts set on things of this world and aspire to the honors of men (v. 35)?” No. In regards to ordination to offices in the Priesthood, they haven’t been chosen.

    Wayne says: “Respectfully asking the brethren to consult the Lord on the matter is their way of saying “Here am I!” Perhaps you would like to explain how this kind of request is evil or misplaced, and while you’re at it you can explain what damages to the Church, the members, or God’s plan would occur if women were to be ordained.” Protesting on Temple Square is not respectful in the first instance, especially when they’ve been asked not to. You forget that Samuel wasn’t standing in front of the Temple telling the Lord that he would like to be a prophet. It was the other way around. God called him first, and then he said “Here am I.” They put the cart before the horse. Having a desire to serve God is great, having a desire to only serve God on your own terms is not.

    As for explaining how the Church will be damaged by female ordination, that doesn’t really matter because it hasn’t been granted. Anything I say would be speculation, just like all of the things OW has to say on the topic. What we can say is that other churches that have followed this path (not meaning simply ordaining women, but adopting the world view and mind set of the OW crowd) have lost relevance and whatever force they had for good in the world.

    Wayne says: “The OW leadership can agree with the proposals of “All Are Alike” without those proposals being the goals of OW.” Of course those aren’t the goals of OW. They view those suggestions as inadequate and unacceptable by themselves. OW’s goal is the radical transformation of the Church, it’s practices and doctrines, to fit their gospel of gender equity. The least offensive thing about OW is the actual ordain idea.

    Wayne says: “If you only respond to one of the above points, please address how the Church in its current organization cannot function without women.” Without women, the work of the temple grinds to a halt. If you’ve been there, you’ll understand this. If you don’t understand this, I’m not explaining it to you here.

    Wayne says: “who are you to speak so disparagingly of OW or anyone who might entertain their arguments? Why does God need you to steady the ark?” I love this! We have exactly the same right and opportunity to question OW’s ideas, motivations and actions as OW has to question the Church’s ideas, motivations and actions. What magical world do you live in where Kate Kelly has the right to appoint herself as the great judge over gender equity in the Church while I don’t have the right to point out that she’s speaking out of both sides of her mouth?

    You misunderstand what is meant by steadying the ark if you equate arguing with apostates over their apostate ideas as steadying the ark. We would only be steadying the Ark if we were arguing with or trying to change the Church. Instead, we are arguing with and trying to correct a group outside of the Church.

  83. Wayne:

    “If you only respond to one of the above points, please address how the Church in its current organization cannot function without women.”

    The Church exists to support families in their efforts to become eternal families. Neither is the man without the woman, neither is the woman without the man. The Church in its current organization becomes utterly superfluous without women.

    “who are you to speak so disparagingly of OW or anyone who might entertain their arguments?”

    We are people worried about wolves among the sheep. Anyone familiar with history can see the shadows of movements past that have taken many of our brothers and sisters out of the faith and led them to strange roads where we have watched them become lost.

    “Why does God need you to steady the ark?”

    God does not need me or anyone else. But we are called upon to stand as witnesses of truth at all times and in all places. By your own reasoning, why does God need you to steady the ark to correct His chosen leaders?

    “If you think OW is lying when they say they sincerely want to serve you will need to explain what had led you to that conclusion.”

    The presence of non-members, disfellowshipped members, apostate members, and members openly critical of the Church within the Ordain Women movement working side by side with believing members worries me and others. I personally worry that the Ordain Women movement is (at least in part) a trojan horse designed to lead women and men out of the Church as a primary objective, with the goal of embarrassing the Church as a secondary objective.

    “I sincerely hope you’re not making that accusation because it’s entirely contradictory to OW’s stated goal of magnifying women’s service in the Church.”

    No man (nor woman) can take the Priesthood upon themselves, but it is given them of the Lord. Seeking to circumvent that by making Priesthood Ordination a non-negotiable requirement is exerting (or attempting to exert) unrighteous dominion.

    “Please note that birthing offspring is not a Church role or function. We can say it’s part of God’s plan, but so is all of human suffering, natural disasters, answers to non-Mormons’ prayers, Satan’s temptations, and everything else that exists but is not part of the Church.”

    I find this comment particularly revealing for several reasons. First, who are you to say that birth is not a Church role or function, or even an ordiance (I don’t know whether it is or not, but see Sister Cassler’s article for an interesting perspective on the subject). Second, it seems inappropriate for you to place childbirth with “all human suffering, natural disasters, answers to non-Mormons’ prayers, [and] Satan’s temptations.” That seems to indicate an association between childbirth and negative events that ‘happen’ rather than a blessing for both men and women — although I recognize that may have been unintentional. Third, again, it shows a lack of understanding on your part as to the whole mission of the Church — to help families.

    “Perhaps you would like to explain how this kind of request is evil or misplaced, and while you’re at it you can explain what damages to the Church, the members, or God’s plan would occur if women were to be ordained.”

    There is nothing wrong with asking for ordination. The problem with the Ordain Women movement, as I see it, is that they have passed the point of asking and are now demanding. Their very name — Ordain Women — is stated as a demand. They refused the request of the Church in order to meet on Temple Square. They put out misleading statements, harming the Church in order to win (as they see it) the PR war. Look no further for this than their Facebook page, which touted an article that the Church claimed “hugs” and “conversations” were divisive. Any fair reading of the Church’s statement shows that the Church did not consider hugs or conversations divisive, and the title was openly misleading. Sure, the Ordain Women movement didn’t write the article or make the headline, but the fact that the Ordain Women movement would advertise such an article speaks volumes of how they see the Church as their enemy. As for how God’s plan would be harmed if women would be ordained, it clearly would not be harmed — provided that the Lord revealed this change and it was made in accordance to His will. If, however, it was somehow imposed upon His Church due to chattering or protests, it would remove the legitimacy of the Priesthood and be the end of the Church.

    Wayne, there are many of us who look at the Ordain Women movement with fear — not of the movement itself, and not of the idea of equality for women (they have that regardless of what we think — what God has made equal no man can make unequal, and all things are made equal in the resurrection), but rather a fear drawn from history from seeing movements like this that always start with the idea that the Church is true but the Brethren are wrong on this issue and end with apostasy and our beloved brothers and sisters leaving the faith. We hope that does not happen here.

  84. I love this! It is so true. Their methods are really destructive. Thank you for sharing this! Stand strong and keep being amazing!

  85. Michael, if OW supporters question points of the Proclamation that an entirely different issue. The question was “What in the Proclamation addresses women in the Church specifically?” You didn’t point anything out and I still can’t find anything. You say according to what you’ve read OW “primarily concerned with power and with autonomy and changing the doctrines and practices of the Church.” That doesn’t fit with what I have read and heard, so where do we go now? With regards to Kate, I think you do a great disservice to her and yourself by putting words in her mouth. Kate has discussed not being able to baptize the people she taught on her mission as an example of being excluded, but I’ve not heard her speak in terms of “rewards” and “stupid” elders. I don’t think it’s wrong to consider those and similar feelings of exclusion that many women feel. We would also do well to consider the disappointment and confusion that converts might feel when their missionaries cannot baptize them. You rightly point out that the mission statement of OW does not explicitly address service, but focuses instead on issues of equality. I’m treating priesthood as a call and means to serve God and others, so in my understanding asking for priesthood is synonymous with asking to serve. If we ignore my perhaps idiosyncratic treatment of the priesthood and go back to the OW site, as you suggest, we can see the topic of service addressed explicitly several times in the FAQ:

    “Ordain Women’s organizers are Mormon women who have contributed countless hours of voluntary service to the LDS Church and view our actions here as a continuation of that faith-affirming service.”
    “While women perform significant service in the Church’s auxiliaries, such as the Primary, Relief Society, Sunday School, and Young Women’s organizations, their contributions are always mediated and under the direction of male priesthood leaders.”
    “In a lay church, we rely on the talents and abilities of our members. To underutilize, dismiss, or impede the contributions of half our membership is self-defeating. Ordaining women will allow all of us to share equally in the full blessings and burdens of Church service and spiritual authority.”
    “Mormon women already give countless hours of essential service and have many delegated responsibilities in the Church. As the burden of leadership roles in the church rotates among lay members, the time commitment of most women will not likely change with ordination. However, we believe the satisfaction women experience in service would be enhanced, if they had the institutional authority to define and oversee their responsibilities, and the power of God with them to carry out their sacred duties.”

    When I ask “Do you honestly feel that women haven’t been chosen because they have their hearts set on things of this world and aspire to the honors of men (v. 35)?” you ignore the question and make up an answer to your own question. Michael, please stick to my questions, not the ones you wish I had asked. You also presume that I “You forget that Samuel wasn’t standing in front of the Temple telling the Lord that he would like to be a prophet. It was the other way around.” Have you forgotten that missionaries young and old send in mission papers before they are called? They proactively ask to perform that role. You also forget that OW is asking that the brethren take female ordination to God, who will then set the terms. You say “The least offensive thing about OW is the actual ordain idea.” What is the most offensive and radical idea they have in your opinion? I’m at a loss. The temple question is an interesting one. It’s true that women play an integral part today, but they haven’t always. I can think of several ways the temple could manage all of the ceremonies with only male participants should all women, for whatever reason, be excluded or exempt from Church. The temple changed a lot in its early days and continues to undergo changes in our days (at least twice in my lifetime) and those changes are possible because of the direction given to the top priesthood authorities and the power they wield and not by virtue of women in the Church. You ask “What magical world do you live in where Kate Kelly has the right to appoint herself as the great judge over gender equity in the Church while I don’t have the right to point out that she’s speaking out of both sides of her mouth?” You can say whatever you want, Michael, but does God or the Church need it? Note that Kate is taking her concern to the brethren and you are trying to trip her on her way. “[W]e are arguing with and trying to correct a group outside of the Church,” you say. Once again, why does the Church need you to do this? Don’t you think God can handle it? And why do you say OW is outside of the Church?

  86. I get you say you feel equal, and your happy so you don’t want to rock the boat and or admit to yourself that you are not equal. But, unless you continue to change the definition of what equality means, then you are not equal. I could write a list of things you cannot do, and authority you can not exercise. But why don’t you do it for me instead.

  87. Jonathan, you say that “The Church in its current organization becomes utterly superfluous without women.” Why is that? The Church, were it to be male only, could easily bring the Gospel and the priesthood home without making the women participate in church. I’m also quite certain that God could reveal another way to seal families for eternity without the actual spouses being present. In fact, the Church already does thousands of proxy marriages every year. Proxy is just one way it could happen. Use your imagination and keep in mind that God’s ways are not always our ways.

    You mention your concern that OW supporters are on their way to being lost and yet they insist they aren’t leaving the Church despite requests that they do so. They get to hear how they are destroying the Church and how they are, as you say, wolves. That’s not exactly kind and loving. How will any of us feel about disparaging comments made when a few years down the road God grants female ordination? Will we honestly feel any better about ourselves if He says no? I’m not sure that will justify viciousness and contempt.

    I completely agree with you that God does not need you or me or anyone else to steady the ark, but I disagree with the idea that I (or more relevantly OW) am trying to “correct His chosen leaders.” OW might be asking to help carry the ark, but they are not jumping in to take responsibility for it. OW is asking the brethren to take their concerns to the Lord.

    You say that you “personally worry that the Ordain Women movement is (at least in part) a trojan horse designed to lead women and men out of the Church as a primary objective, with the goal of embarrassing the Church as a secondary objective.” In other words, this is your conspiracy theory. Do you really thing a Trojan horse can bring the Church down? Oh, thou of little faith! But seriously, wouldn’t it be wonderful for the Church if female ordination opened doors for the non-members, disfellowshipped, and apostates to return to finding comfort and solace in the Church? Why should we be so afraid that it would only let people out?
    I have a big problem with this comment that you made: “No man (nor woman) can take the Priesthood upon themselves, but it is given them of the Lord. Seeking to circumvent that by making Priesthood Ordination a non-negotiable requirement is exerting (or attempting to exert) unrighteous dominion.” Jonathan, come on. No one’s started baptizing and ordaining their daughters to the priesthood. They’re not running of to be ordained in other churches and coming back to their wards claiming to have the priesthood. OW is going through the only channel they see as legitimate: God’s prophet.
    “Please note that birthing offspring is not a Church role or function. We can say it’s part of God’s plan, but so is all of human suffering, natural disasters, answers to non-Mormons’ prayers, Satan’s temptations, and everything else that exists but is not part of the Church.”
    You ask “who are you to say that birth is not a Church role or function, or even an ordinance?” Here is a list of the essential and non-essential ordinances of the Church from lds.org. BIRTH IS NOT MENTIONED. https://www.lds.org/topics/ordinances?lang=eng I’m sorry if I implied that birth is a negative thing. My point is that there are an awful lot of things going on in the world that are part of God’s plan but have nothing to do with the Church.
    You say “it shows a lack of understanding on your part as to the whole mission of the Church — to help families.” The missions of the Church are the following: 1. Proclaim the Gospel – this is missionary work, right? Every member is asked to be one everyday, but the official representatives wear black nametags. The men can go at age 18, but the women have to inexplicably wait a year. 2. Perfect the saints – this is about getting people ready for the essential ordinances of the Church (birth is not one of them), which at the moment can only be performed by men. 3. Redeem the dead – this is temple work. 4. Care for the poor and needy. All of these things can help families, but all of them can be done without women. Men exclusively proclaimed the Gospel for years, men alone perform the essential ordinances, men and their families could be sealed to other men (e.g. many men were sealed to Joseph Smith), and men can care for the poor and needy without help from women. Women, on the other hand, can proclaim the gospel all they want but they can’t baptize or perform any of the other ordinances, including temple ordinances. The fourth mission is the one Church leaders tend to claim in is women’s primary role and strong suit. Interestingly enough, this fourth mission statement only showed up within the last decade.
    Obviously I agree with you that there’s nothing wrong with asking for ordination. I’m also glad you brought up the ugliness of the “PR war,” as you call it. I’m going to have to agree with you that OW has embraced some publicity that has damaged their reputation in many members’ eyes. They probably should have agreed to the Church’s request to not ask for entrance to the Priesthood Session this month. I think we should also acknowledge that the Church has produced some unkind and unfair PR as well. No one’s getting out of this one clean. I have to ask you, though, do you honestly think that female ordination could be imposed on the Church even when it hasn’t been sanctioned by God? Can the Priesthood of the Church be made illegitimate? Wouldn’t that mean that the Church would have to be re-established again in the latter days, and would that change the name of the Church somehow?
    I’m sorry to hear that you are afraid. I do not think you should be. I’m not sure what movements you believe OW parallels, but notice that the Church is still standing. You see OW as starting from the premise that “the Church is true but the Brethren are wrong on this issue.” I see OW’s premise being that the Church is true, the leaders are truly called of God, and those same leaders can actually commune with Christ about His Church and the potential of opening up the priesthood to women. OW can’t go into things already defeated. Ordain Women? is a horrible name to rally under. They have to ask in total faith, nothing doubting.

  88. Wayne –

    1. Why are you so preoccupied with the role of women “in the Church specifically”? The Church is part of a greater whole of relationships, efforts, and organizations that facilitate the temporal and spiritual salvation of mankind. Fasting, prayer, visiting, counseling, service–ministry–is what it is; regardless of whether it is done in the Church or out of it; whether done by a bishop, relief society president, visiting teacher, father, mother, brother, neighbor, or friend. What is it that’s so special about service in “the Church” specifically–other than its budget, the public recognition, and the hierarchical relationship that exists between the leadership and the membership?

    You are arguing that one particular aspect of that work–the Church–must provide identity of experiences for both males and females. But at least one other aspect of that same work–childbearing–has no such male/female identity (I was heartily amused to see you put childbearing on par with human suffering and natural disasters, by the way); so apparently God doesn’t consider cross-gender identity of experiences to be a supreme governing principle of the universe. And even if He did–if the Church, as an organization, should provide equal experiences for men and women, shouldn’t each of its subdivisions do the same? How about a male Relief Society President? Why not have a sixteen-year-old boy serve in a Laurel class presidency?

    Incidentally–while I understand that the RS Declaration isn’t binding on the Church, I was very interested to see that you refuse even to acknowledge it as “instructive”. The Church doesn’t automatically dismiss anything a woman or an auxiliary produces just because it came from a woman or an auxiliary. But it seems that that is precisely what you are doing.

    As for why I don’t think OW isn’t trying to magnify the commission of all Church members per Mosiah 18? I don’t think I’ve said that. What I’ve pointed out is that theologically, women do not need priesthood office to call down the Spirit, console, heal, and even work miracles just as effectively as a priesthood-holding man could. Thousands (millions?) of other Mormon women confirm that it’s possible. So when OW comes along saying they want more, I repeat my question: More what? What spiritual power, specifically, does OW want that they don’t think they currently have?

    2. Your word-smithery is truly outstanding; but on the off-chance anyone takes you seriously: No, my argument is not that the women of this Church are being denied priesthood because of their own spiritual wickedness (but interestingly, I think I *have* heard OW supporters suggest that the women of this Church are being denied priesthood, at least in part, because of their own spiritual slothfulness).

    My argument is that “Mormons–male or female–are doctrinally prohibited from seeking priesthood office as a vehicle for attaining secular authority. Period.” It’s fine to want to be effective. It’s not fine to want to be in a particular capacity–especially, a capacity that conveys some worldly clout.

    3. Elder Oaks didn’t say anything about what OW thinks; nor did I represent his remarks as such. What I said was that he debunks the notion that “[priesthood] will help you [in context, a female] to minister to your fellowman more effectively”. Which he does, by statements such as: “Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties.”

    And again: why are you so preoccupied that a service/ministerial role be in a “church” capacity? Once a person has the gift of the Holy Ghost, why does it matter whether the role in which they carry out their subsequent service is as a parent, or a neighbor, or a community member, or a church functionary, or completely anonymous?

    4. OK, priesthood ordination for women would “give them a more opportunities to serve God and their fellow women and bring them closer to being like Christ.”

    Like what, exactly? I await some specific responses from you as to what kind of unique spiritual growth can be achieved, and what kind of unique service can be offered, by serving in an Elder’s Quorum presidency or High Priest’s group or Sunday School Presidency, that can’t be attained by serving in a Relief Society Presidency or Young Women’s Presidency or Primary Presidency. I mean, yes; bishoprics, stake presidents, and GAs control budgets and give instructions which are followed by people lower than them on the chain of command. But surely that’s not what OW is after (back to D&C 121). So . . . what specific, irreplaceable blessings/experiences are they seeking?

    I think don’t that a humble, discreet request for the brethren to seek a revelation re female ordination is [i]per se[/i] misguided (except, perhaps, in same sense as Alma 29:1-9, and even he eventually got his wish). But neither humility nor discretion have been hallmarks of OW’s tactics to date. And the Church’s response over the past few months, culminating in Elder Oaks’ sermon as well as a couple other sermons from conference (I’m thinking particularly of Pres. Eyring’s Saturday AM statement to the effect that the leadership typically sees and understands the issues the Church faces even better than those who “sound the alarm”), does seem to be a bit of a game-changer on this particular topic; at least for the foreseeable future.

    As for the potential problems with the ordination of women generally: I can think of a few (some very significant), but nothing that would be really insurmountable if it were the Lord’s will. My primary beef is with the methods and arguments OW has used to date; not with their goal (at least, the publicly-acknowledged goal) itself.

    5. You misrepresent the All Are Alike website when you allege that “female ordination is nowhere in the picture” for All Are Alike. Their website leads out asking the Church leadership to pray about ordination for women, and then suggests a number of interim measures. That’s pretty near a carbon copy of what OW claims its mission is.

    With regard to ark-steadying: Other than pointing out that your cute turn of phrase basically boils down to “if you disagree with me–shut up”, I defer to Michael’s and Jonathan’s excellent replies. I would only add, in response to your “Note that Kate is taking her concern to the brethren and you are trying to trip her on her way.”, that I wasn’t aware that “the brethren” serve as ushers in the Tabernacle during general priesthood meeting. Even granting that perhaps Sister Kelly wasn’t aware of this the first time OW turned up at Temple Square–she most certainly understood it last week.

  89. Wayne:

    Thank you for your comments, I will attempt to address them each.

    ” Why is that? The Church, were it to be male only, could easily bring the Gospel and the priesthood home without making the women participate in church.”

    Men cannot be saved without women and women cannot be saved without men. The purpose of the Church is to support the families to accept Christ and become perfected in him. A male-only Church would be useless in working to bring about the salvation of the men within it in the same way a women-only Church would be useless in working to bring about the salvation of women. A Church that cannot work to bring about the salvation of its members is superfluous.

    “You mention your concern that OW supporters are on their way to being lost and yet they insist they aren’t leaving the Church despite requests that they do so.”

    I am not certain how old you are, but some of us remember others saying the same thing (Sonia Johnson comes to mind). Experiences have shown that taking the position of the Ordain Women movement often (not always) leads to individual and group apostasy. Seeing that history, should we not be worried about our brothers and sisters?

    “They get to hear how they are destroying the Church and how they are, as you say, wolves. That’s not exactly kind and loving. How will any of us feel about disparaging comments made when a few years down the road God grants female ordination? Will we honestly feel any better about ourselves if He says no? I’m not sure that will justify viciousness and contempt.”

    If you saw any viciousness or contempt in my post, you are seeing something that is not there. I will simply quote the words of noted atheist Penn Jillette: ‘I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…. How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?’ How much would I have to hate the members of the Ordain Women movement to fear for their eternal salvation and yet not tell them that?

    “OW might be asking to help carry the ark, but they are not jumping in to take responsibility for it. OW is asking the brethren to take their concerns to the Lord.”

    I do not believe that accurately reflects the current state of the Ordain Women movement. They asked, and many believe that they got their answers with Elder Oaks’ talk. Those who remain are those who are unsatisfied with his answer, or who claim that any answer other than ordination is insufficient. The belief that, after hearing Elder Oaks’ talk, that the Brethren have not prayed about the issue is an unreasonable one.

    “In other words, this is your conspiracy theory.”

    A theory born out of experience and history. I would love to be wrong, but the similarities between this movement and the ERA are so clear as to be undeniable.

    “Do you really thing a Trojan horse can bring the Church down? Oh, thou of little faith!”

    Of course not. But a Trojan horse can hurt our brothers and sisters. And should we not labor to save the one?

    “But seriously, wouldn’t it be wonderful for the Church if female ordination opened doors for the non-members, disfellowshipped, and apostates to return to finding comfort and solace in the Church? Why should we be so afraid that it would only let people out?”

    If the Lord opened the doors for Priesthood Ordination, I for one would be glad. To have my wife joining me in administering blessings on my children would be a profoundly moving experience. But my concern is not that change in the Church may happen (be it according to the Lord’s will). My concern is that the agitating will result in more people leaving or not joining the Church. The question for me is not what the Church is doing or will do (I trust that, ordain or not ordain, all will be well in the end), but what the Ordain Women movement is doing.

    “Jonathan, come on. No one’s started baptizing and ordaining their daughters to the priesthood. They’re not running of to be ordained in other churches and coming back to their wards claiming to have the priesthood. OW is going through the only channel they see as legitimate: God’s prophet.”

    I don’t think you are being fair with what I am say, although I sense you are doing so in jest. I am saying that you, me, the Ordain Women movement participants, and everyone else who has ever lived (save Christ Himself) has no right to say “Ordain me.” Or even to say, “I deserve to be ordained.” Or “If I cannot be ordained, the Church is not fair,” or even “Pray to see if I can be ordained.” There is a difference between a request (knocking), which is good, and a demand, even when it comes to a prayer. Elder Oaks spoke of concern of rights instead of concern over responsibilities. The issue is that, in the Kingdom of God, WE HAVE NO RIGHTS. We have no merit in ourselves that would result in anything other than damnation. Agitating for ‘fairness’ is agitating for damnation, since it is only fair that we are damned. Instead, we focus on Christ and say ‘His will be done,’ and thus allow His Atonement to save us. That is the point I was making.

    “Here is a list of the essential and non-essential ordinances of the Church from lds.org. BIRTH IS NOT MENTIONED.”

    The list by its own mentioning is partial (“They include…”). For myself, I have little trouble recognizing birth as an ordinance, although I will likewise admit that I do not know the answer either way.

    “I have to ask you, though, do you honestly think that female ordination could be imposed on the Church even when it hasn’t been sanctioned by God? Can the Priesthood of the Church be made illegitimate? Wouldn’t that mean that the Church would have to be re-established again in the latter days, and would that change the name of the Church somehow?”

    No, of course I don’t believe that (although I do see how my language could have been ambiguous). I don’t believe that the Ordain Women movement will influence the Church to change. As I believe that the leaders of the Church have already taken this issue to the Lord, I don’t anticipate change (although, as I said above, I would welcome it if it were the Lord’s will). But, again, my concern is for the members of the movement and the others who could be influenced by viewing this spectacle.

    “I’m not sure what movements you believe OW parallels, but notice that the Church is still standing.”

    The ERA. The Church has survived and will survive. But individual members have apostasized and will apostasize. And that is a tragedy, regardless of the numbers involved.

    “OW can’t go into things already defeated.”

    Ordain Women also can’t go into things already decided. If Ordain Women? isn’t a good name (and I agree that it isn’t), then perhaps another name could be selected. “Let Every Women Learn Her Duty” “Ready to Serve” or any of a number of other options. But, more importantly, if the Church is true why hold public events? Why march on Temple Square? I believe that if a woman wants the Priesthood, her righteous prayers and fasting would accomplish more to achieve her objective than a thousand marches. And the marches provide little benefit (if any) and much harm.

    And, as I said, it is almost certain that some of our brothers and sisters will be lost to the Adversary through this movement (both those within and those contesting it). For that reason alone it is worthwhile to speak up on the subject.

  90. Women bear children. They are naturally kind, tender-hearted, full of love, patience and service. Men need that extra calling and responsibility to help them have a more charitable and giving spirit of service. Women don’t need it. Each are equal and cherished in Heavenly Father’s eyes. Any woman who feels like they need “more” should probably strive to have the spirit a more constant part of their lives.

  91. Wayne,

    I know I am jumping here in the middle of this conversation here, but I had to comment to you. I am an active sister in the church. I just want to clarify that I personally know several men and about four women that were former members of the church. So your comment that the “Ordain Women” are active, participating members of the church couldn’t be fully accurate. I am talking about ones that I personally know, but a few of my other friends in the church know other people that are part of the “Ordain Women” group who are not members either. One other comment I want to make is that your approach is that the motive of the “Ordain Women” is to “humbly go to the leadership of the church and have the leadership go to the Lord.” There is nothing wrong with that, the only thing is the question has been asked, the question is not a new one at all. What it is is the answer that it is not in the Lords will or the Lord’s timing is not acceptable or the Ordain Women’s group doesn’t approve of the Lord’s answer…

  92. I disagree completely. You can say you love ramen noodles as much as caviar, but you cannot say they are equal in value.

    I am a faithful LDS woman, returned missionary, bishop’s wife, former Primary president and counselor in several other ward and stake auxiliary presidencies. Sure, some decisions are autonomous, but important ones aren’t. No one is going to care if you serve cookies or brownies at the next Primary activity, but try to be autonomous when you decide to make significant budget changes or staff your organization yourself. You have a small voice at ward council, as one of 3 women in a roomful of men, and the men will then go on to have other important meetings without you, or any other woman, represented. Your mission experiences are unique if they consulted you about male leadership positions – never happened with either of my mission presidents. Sisters were senior companions and trainers. Period. That doesn’t mean we didn’t do great things, because we did. But autonomy – no, except within our own companionship (and while reporting to district leader, zone leader, and mission president). A voice – no, other than within our own companionship.

    A lot of LDS women are fine with this, and that is great. If you love the ramen as much as the caviar then just say you know they aren’t equal but you still are happy with the ramen. But they are not the same thing. And not all LDS feminists are the same either. I don’t agree with Ordain Women but feel strongly about women’s issues in the church and we have a long, long way to go. The hate being thrown at OW and feminists in general is despicable to me as a woman in the church. It’s not Christlike.

  93. Elder Oaks gave them all the answer they should need. If they continue to agitate, they are choosing to walk down a path that will lead to apostacy and excommunication if followed to the end.

  94. A quick list of responses to some of the issues raised here:

    – Women and the priesthood: What I want is more knowledge on this issue from the Lord. I can see 3 main answers to “Should we ordain women to the priesthood?”: a) No, the way it is now is the way it’s supposed to be ; b) Yes, ordain them to the priesthood as now constituted; c) Yes, but ordain them in a parallel and somewhat different structure. Hopefully there would be more explanation with any answer.

    – Women having a greater presence in decision-making councils. I agree. (A small example: I like how one of my former bishops would include the Relief Society president in weekly Priesthood Executive Committee meetings, not just the monthly Ward Council meetings.)

    – Women present in ministry to those struggling with personal issues. I see a lot of merit in this.

    – Organizational autonomy: This can never be fully achieved in any hierarchical organization. There will always be a need for supervision and occasional overruling by the higher-ups. And with it the potential for various types of managerial stupidity. This is not a gender issue per se, but one of teaching better leadership and management.

    – Definitions. I think much of this discussion goes astray because different people are using different meanings of “equal”, just how people debating “Are Mormons Christian?” often talk past each other because they are arguing about different meanings of “Christian”. There is no single true meaning of the term, but several valid ones, and it would help to acknowledge which meaning is being used so at least we can agree where we disagree.

    – Gender differences. There are real differences between the sexes, and it is wrong both to exaggerate them and to minimize them. What complicates things is that for many human attributes men and women are not completely distinct but cluster into overlapping bell curves.

    – Equality and uniformity. There are gender-based roles in the church that really don’t need distinction, but I think it would be wrong to try to make the church gender-blind in all its operations. For example, one thing I like about the meeting block format is that it has both a time where men and women meet and discuss together (Sunday School), and a time when they meet and discuss separately (Relief Society / Priesthood quorums), allowing them to relate in their own different ways.

    – Level of discourse. It pains me to see people being condemning of those they disagree with, whatever side they’re on. It gratifies me to see those who disagree reaching out, apologizing, empathizing, trying to understand.

    – Democratic discussion. The democratic ideal of debate, discussion and reaching agreement is a very high standard that is hard to achieve. The human tendency is to force one’s opinions on others. Earlier in US history public discourse often relied on slanderous mischaracterizations and yellow journalism (worse than what we see today). Nowadays people often skip persuasive discussion but skip to lobbying, boycotting and intimidation.

    – Means to an end. Public politicking is poor way to bring about change in the LDS church. On the ecclesiastical level it ignores the doctrines of revelation, avoidance of disputation, and reaching accord through persuasion. On the practical level it leads to resistance in the leadership and resentment in the members, which is counter-productive to the desired goals. A major problem is that there is no institutional means in the church for members to bring concerns to the leadership. In my opinion, even more than the question of ordaining women, I would like the church President and apostles to plead with the Lord to know how to set up a system for members to share grievances and concerns with their leaders, so they don’t feel the need to follow the model of the world.

  95. Why does the Lord say, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”?

    This principle was clearly not delivered in response to the OW movement, but surely it applies to it. God’s work and glory is to bring to pass immortality and eternal life of his children. What I see OW wanting is more say in administration, preaching, organizing, etc. It’s all very strange to see such political theory applied to the gospel. We know what we need to do, once you have received the ordinances its then up to us to keep our covenants and strengthen those around us. Pushing the organization of the church to change is pushing in the wrong direction. No doubt the organization can get better, but it will improve organically as the saints are perfected.

    It’s short sighted to put our focus to rearrange the organization of the church rather than on inwardly perfecting ourselves (and I’m not talking about the strawman nitpick “perfect” so many slime the church with) with what we have now.

    We could point to 100 things “the church” could do better. But oh what a waste of effort if we would seek to change the institution and presume to be organizational architects rather than changing ourselves and serving those around us first.

    It’s telling that some people when asked what needs to be changed, would rattle off a list of manuals, programs, ordinations, inequalities, callings, etc. while others would rattle off a list of personal iniquities and shortcomings, etc.

    I submit you can not actually do both. I’m not saying you can’t tweak an organizational structure and do visiting teaching at the same time, but the amount of focus your putting into either one to do it well necessarily limits what you can do to the other.

    I see a lot of hubris beneath the surface of this. Not the outlandish worldly bravdo kind, but completely misguided emphasis that presume it has the answers while feigning humility.

    Yes, we have the answers. Practice virtue and holiness before God. Look to God and live. Be filled with mercy and compassion on those around you. Repent and sin no more. Dedicate your life and your focus to becoming a better disciple of Christ.

    If you’re living in and out of the world and church, like most of us are, I can see how you can prefer to rally for institutional changes. Unfortunately, it won’t help accomplish the will of the Lord.

  96. Wayne says: “You say according to what you’ve read OW “primarily concerned with power and with autonomy and changing the doctrines and practices of the Church.” That doesn’t fit with what I have read and heard, so where do we go now?” I would advise readers to look at the OW website, in particular the FAQs, as they clearly lay out what they are concerned with. Further, Kate Kelly’s various published interviews and articles (Student Review, several at FMH including a recent podcast, Mormon Stories, etc.) will find that she is much more concerned with women having control and authority in the Church than simply being better able to bless their neighbors.

    Wayne says: “With regards to Kate, I think you do a great disservice to her and yourself by putting words in her mouth. Kate has discussed not being able to baptize the people she taught on her mission as an example of being excluded, but I’ve not heard her speak in terms of “rewards” and “stupid” elders.” Go back to the podcasts, in particular. I know there are several hours long and super tedious to listen to, but she clearly states that she was upset about not getting the reward of baptizing her converts after she did all the work, and was not happy that some elder got to do the ordinance when they hadn’t done anything. I don’t have time to go back and listen to them again to give you time stamps.

    Wayne says: “I don’t think it’s wrong to consider those and similar feelings of exclusion that many women feel. We would also do well to consider the disappointment and confusion that converts might feel when their missionaries cannot baptize them.” I’m merely saying that those feelings are born out of misunderstanding of the doctrine. If I was a missionary who did nothing but show up to baptismal services and perform ordinances for people taught by the sister missionaries, whose service has been more efficacious? Which work is more important?

    Wayne says: “ You rightly point out that the mission statement of OW does not explicitly address service, but focuses instead on issues of equality. I’m treating priesthood as a call and means to serve God and others, so in my understanding asking for priesthood is synonymous with asking to serve.” It is not surprising that you think that this is what OW is doing because they are very careful to put that out there. Again, listen to Kate Kelly’s FMH podcast. She is very proud of how OW has been able to effectively brand themselves and control their message. It’s very important for them to appear to be “safe” for women who would normally be hesitant to join a group like OW. But, they can’t help themselves when it comes to discussing their true motivations. If anybody has questions about this, go to the podcast and hear it for yourself. Kate is very clear on the reasons she wants the priesthood, and it is about control and power.

    Your own quotes from the FAQ bears this out. “their contributions are always mediated and under the direction of male priesthood leaders” … “Ordaining women will allow all of us to share equally in the full blessings and burdens of Church service and spiritual authority.” … “we believe the satisfaction women experience in service would be enhanced, if they had the institutional authority to define and oversee their responsibilities.” It’s not about service, there’s plenty of opportunity for that which is not presently sufficiently accomplished. It’s about control and authority. Why do you feel the need to misrepresent that when OW has done such a great job of putting it all out there for us to see on their website?

    Wayne asks: “Do you honestly feel that women haven’t been chosen because they have their hearts set on things of this world and aspire to the honors of men (v. 35)?” Let me pull some of this straw out of my hair. I don’t think anyone said that. You complain about us not answering this question, and yet you completely made up the underlying basis for it. Short answer, no, I don’t think that. Long answer, it misses the point entirely, which is that God has defined roles for male and female genders. When it comes to priesthood ordination, females are neither called nor chosen. It has nothing to do with the individual faithfulness of whatever female you may suggest.

    Wayne asks: “Have you forgotten that missionaries young and old send in mission papers before they are called?” Again, you have that backwards. Pres. Kimball called all worthy young men as missionaries. This call has been repeated almost every six months since then. When I put in my mission papers, I had already been called to serve a mission. When I got my assignment, I was just being told where I was to labor. As for sisters and couples, they to have been called, though in a less mandatory way than the young elders. Putting in your papers is like saying “Here am I” because it is in response to a call.

    Wayne asks: “You also forget that OW is asking that the brethren take female ordination to God, who will then set the terms.” Go back and read the website again. If the brethren came out and said that they were going to reorganize the Relief Society and replace it with the Deborahic Priesthood, with offices of Priestess, Matriarch and whatever else, and that they would have the right to give blessings and serve as witnesses to baptisms, and have the keys of service projects and bake sales you better believe that the women of OW would not accept that. Again, from their FAQ, “Since leadership and positional authority in Mormonism is inextricably tied to priesthood ordination, it is clear that Mormon women must be ordained in order to be full and equal participants in their Church.” They don’t want additional power to serve, or to perform some ordinances, they want “leadership” and “positional authority.”

    Wayne asks: “What is the most offensive and radical idea they have in your opinion?” Their desire to destroy the family ideal as set forth in the doctrine of the Church at present.

    Wayne says: “Note that Kate is taking her concern to the brethren and you are trying to trip her on her way. “ Nope. If Kate was simply taking her concern to the brethren, this wouldn’t be a problem. She is, instead, “aspires to create a space for Mormon women to articulate issues of gender inequality … to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.” It is only after they have done these other things that they mention, almost parenthetically, that they want the brethren to prayerfully consider their demands.

    Wayne asks: ”Why does the Church need you to do this?” The Church doesn’t need me to do this, but as I’ve said elsewhere, I have as much right to voice my thoughts on the subject as OW does. I would turn the question around though, why does the Lord or the Church need OW to do what they’re doing? Why would a group of supposedly faithful women feel the need to instruct the brethren on this issue? “Don’t you think God can handle it?”

    Wayne asks: “And why do you say OW is outside of the Church?” Four big reasons really. One, they exist to protest the Church’s doctrine and policy. Two, they advocate fundamental changes to the Church, and its doctrine, practices and culture. Three, many of the founding mothers are not members in good standing and a large percentage of their membership are not active members of the Church. Fourth, if they were an inside group, they would be operating under the authority of someone with keys, and they are not.

  97. Geoff, I read Sister’s Cassler talk of the Two Trees, it’s just excellent and really well thought out. What an extraordinary essay. This is my favorite part and IMHO as well the result or man holding the priesthood.

    “Where in the world can be found a group of men dedicated to a single standard of chastity and marital fidelity? Where can we find a group of men dedicated to marriage—getting married and staying married? Where can we find a group of men dedicated to upholding the safety, flourishing, and equality of women? Men who want to have children, and take part in raising them? Men who value their daughters as much as they value their sons? Men who abhor abuse, pornography, and neglect? Men who embrace burden-sharing with their wives, including the burden of housework? Where we can find a group of men who covenant these things as part of their duty to God? They are right here in this room. You are a special covenant brotherhood unlike any other on this planet. Thank God for the restoration of the priesthood, that restores a vision of how God wanted his daughters treated by his sons!”

    Isn’t this what women throughout the world want, and we LDS women are so privileged to have. Men of integrity, all thanks to the doctrine of the priesthood which men received to help the children of God partake of the fruit of the second tree which is the Tree of Life, that will allow us to return to God’s presence, since we women -Eve more specifically- help the children of God partake of the fruit of the first tree or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (mortality) that allowed us to be able to come to this earth and begin our probation. Thus, women and men have equal and ikportant participation in the plan. I’m pretty sure ee also agreed to it in the Council.

  98. Whenever anyone feels really threatened, in any religion, the argument degenerates into calling the so-called, second party “satan”, satanistic, satanic, under the influence of satan…he cannot thwart the work of the Lord. I would respectfully observe and wonder why you capitalize his name. The Lord is never derailed by satan, He was not subject to that influence. The Lord stood-up for women who “weren’t allowed”, he attended to those that were considered to have been possessed by a devil, to be unclean. How many generations have people been belittled in the name of Christ by calling in the name of His opposite. While you’re welcome to your own opinion, when you express it publicly, you invite response…

    No man is being denied a seat in his own Priesthood, no Woman either, yet WHY must Her seat be virtual? As a single mother, there was a time I would not send my son off with home teachers, or such, to the priesthood session. There was a time that I would not sanction my son anywhere, where I could not also be welcomed and present as well; that’s just good parenting.

    As these events have continued to unfold, I have thought back to one Priesthood session that no one offered to take my son with them, I wanted him to hear the message, so I went with him, at the Marriott Center (in days gone by). None of the men cared I was there, everyone was respectful. I was sitting with my son, I needed to know what was said there, to offer positive support in our home and to teach him by my own inspiration as the presiding influence (If I were married, the same argument would apply to my truth in the church culture and the Gospel I love). At the time, there was no reason for me to wait for the Ensign to come out.

    As in days gone by, I would say now, the OW ladies are not “creating” the wall, they are simply saying: “Hey guys, do you see that wall?” and then they are being criticized and called names like, not least, “satan”, for saying it’s there…and here the argument…again…degenerated into alining them with satan.

    There is a difference between the “administration” of the Priesthood and the ministering of it. There is attention that needs to be paid and I believe good that will come of this. Does OW have all the answers, I doubt it. Do the Leaders of both the “administration” who are also called to minister at the head of Christ’s church? They would also say “no”, I would surmise with some confidence. The gospel differs from other religions because of the very fact that it’s doctrines are not written in stone, but flow with ongoing revelation. Women had the Priesthood, the culture following Brigham Young, changed and maneuvered it into what it has become today. Is this bad or good, God or satan? Ehhh….no… it’s just history.

    So anyone, in my opinion (regardless of whether I would ever seek an authority beyond my own relationship with the Lord and what we’ve worked out the fits me together) who say these women are this or that, are then not able to recognize this wall, but become part of it. Christ’s ministry was to tear down the establishment wall. Most major religions, (in Hs name, for better or worse have a tendency–out of attachment to belief and tradition) to inadvertently rebuild walls. Some say the wall was Divinely Inspired, maybe so, maybe not…I “believe” the journey of building them up and tearing them down is one of the primary things we are here to do; watch any kid with a pile of blocks; watch the progression and tradition over the history of any church. We’re all learning.

    I welcome the ability to question my answers as much as I seek to answer my own questions and be “done”, because when I seen only answers then again…BOOM! I am subject to another wall, to which I get to whittle away at, until I find what God makes manifest specific to me and my path, within my community, within the Gospel. I think these women are very brave and pretty put-off (on many levels, with good reason). I feel in my heart what’s true for me regarding the very distinct difference between administration and ministration.

    If my son were at the general priesthood meeting, his nature (by Mama’s nurture) would be to give up his seat for any one of these woman, rather than make them remain standing outside. In many ways he was born with that type of compass…the “ministering” kind; for that I am grateful.

    The “wall”, irrespective of all we’ve been taught, is what’s most disheartening to me and what prompted me in my comments here.

    Peace & Blessings to us all…we need them.

  99. I have always felt so blessed as a woman to have the blessing of the priesthood without having to have all the responsibility. As woman, we have so so many responsibilities upon us already.

    As for the decision making (for the church). I believe that Jesus Christ himself is making the decisions for it. Each of the stakes and wards(or branches) have leaders to help carry on the work of righteousness. As woman in the church we have stewardship and responsibilities, also. We do not need to do it all. No person can do it all. Our God is wise in giving us different and equally important roles. This way we can work together to do good. It is amazingly wonderful.

    I will continue to put my trust in Christ. He will guide us.

  100. Jonathan, I’m surprised to say it, but I have enjoyed our back and forth. You’ve helped make disagreement bearable. Thanks for that. Now on to a couple of our disagreements.

    You state that “A male-only Church would be useless in working to bring about the salvation of the men within it in the same way a women-only Church would be useless in working to bring about the salvation of women.”

    Men could easily administer their priesthood entirely in the home if the directive were given. Men could still save the women. It would not be the same in a women-only scenario. Women do not have the authority or power to administer in the Church or the home, as men do. Women are told to act with faith because they do not hold the priesthood.

    You bring up Sonia Johnson as an example of the track to apostasy you feel OW has embarked upon. I’m very reluctant to equate the two given the nature of their goals (the ERA aimed at effecting nation law, OW hoping for change in Church policy), the different personalities of Sonia and Kate, the changes in public attitude regarding gender equality and the meaning of feminism, etc. As I side note, let me say that as much as we might lament the hostility of Sonia Johnson toward the Church, I think we might find some empathy for her when we consider that she was working hard for a difficult political goal only to have the Church, which professes itself to be apolitical, jump in an mobilize the Relief Society (under the direction of the male hierarchy). At that point she was not only stuck between a rock and a hard spot, she was likely feeling betrayed by her recently politicized church.

    I can’t stand Penn Jillette, but the quote is agreeable enough. We should all try to speak and act with conviction. Have you tried contacting OW directly? I doubt responding in comment sections of blogs post trashing OW will reach them the same way.

    You say that “The belief that, after hearing Elder Oaks’ talk, that the Brethren have not prayed about the issue is an unreasonable one,” but I have to disagree. This sounds like a classic case of hearing what we want to hear. The fact is Oaks didn’t clarify at all that the question of female ordination had been taken to the Lord. For someone who made a career of deciding cases in court, he’s frustratingly vague.

    You ask “And should we not labor to save the one [from the Trojan horse]?” Absolutely. Let’s go ask the Commander in Chief what He things just to make sure we’ve actually got a Trojan horse on our hands first.

    You say “To have my wife joining me in administering blessings on my children would be a profoundly moving experience. […] My concern is that the agitating will result in more people leaving or not joining the Church.”

    I agree that true co-administration could be profoundly moving. If God sees it as a way to stop the disaffection of members, that’s His business; if the brethren do it on their own to stop disaffection, then we’ll have a renegade church.

    You say “The issue is that, in the Kingdom of God, WE HAVE NO RIGHTS.” Unless we perform all our ordinances and endure to the end. If God blows us off after that, He’s a de facto liar. So much for “rightful heirs” (Abr. 1:2, Rom. 8:17), right? The truth is you hear about conditional rights all the time in the Church. The right to personal revelation, the description of “apostle” on lds.org mentions “rights of presidency” (https://www.lds.org/topics/apostle?lang=eng&query=rights), and the Chruch currently talks about every child having the right to grow up with a mother and a father (now tell that to God, who has no problem making widows and widowers). But I think I get your point: we try to meet God’s demands, not vice versa. Unless, of course, we’re asking him for fish or bread. Theoretically God can say no to OW. I think we can step aside and let Him answer or refuse the request.

    “I don’t anticipate change (although, as I said above, I would welcome it if it were the Lord’s will).” The gospel doesn’t change, but the Church changes all the time. That’s supposed to be one of its strong points.

    Thanks again for the conversation.

  101. I am 26 years old and have had the opportunity to serve in many callings, some leadership and some committee oriented (without serving a mission). I have always felt like I had a voice. Sometimes my opinion changed the course the bishop or other leaders were considering–it took thoughtful prayer and preparation for both parties. It seems to me that the men and those who are called to be priesthood bearers love to hear the thoughts, opinions, and decisions of the women. I do not feel powerless, in fact I feel revered. God loves women, and I know He values and loves me personally.

  102. “Ordain Women Responds” shouts the headline today on the “actions” page on their website. Eagerly, I opened the link to see what they had to say about Elder Oaks’ talk or perhaps the chatter on the internet. Imagine my disappointment to find that, on the morning of the 18th of April, OW was merely responding to a press release from the Church dated April 5, 2014. At this rate, they’ll get around to commenting on Elder Oaks’ talk sometime in August.

    http://ordainwomen.org/ordain-women-responds-to/

  103. You had me until you threw in “wear pants to church”. Back when I was a little girl, girls didn’t wear pants at all. We all wore dresses everywhere we went. That has changed in our time for comfort and for modesty. I beleive that women can dress up and still wear pants. If I am wearing a dressy blouse and black pants and nice shoes, I look the same or better than if I was wearing that same dressy blouse with a black skirt. The only difference is with the skirt my legs would be showing…hence I’m just as dressy, more comfortable and more modest in the pants. That is one thing that needs to change. I don’t need to hold the preistood. I need to feel comfortable in church.

  104. Vel, Not to put words in Kyleigh’s mouth, but I am pretty sure she was referring to people who wore pants on “wear pants to Church day” participants who were wearing pants, not for comfort, but to demonstrate against their feelings of gender inequity. I doubt the author has a problem with wearing pants per se, just with wearing pants to communicate a political argument.

  105. [Please disregard the last, I posted before I intended to.]

    Vel, Not to put words in Kyleigh’s mouth, but I am pretty sure she was referring to people who wore pants on “wear pants to Church day.” Those participants were wearing pants, not for comfort, but to demonstrate their feelings of gender inequity and to protest certain church policies and doctrines. I doubt the author has a problem with wearing pants per se, just with wearing pants to communicate a political argument.

  106. “At this rate, they’ll get around to commenting on Elder Oaks’ talk sometime in August.”

    Their momentum and movement seem to have been flummoxed. Less bang, more whimper.

  107. Wayne, I have enjoyed our conversation as well. Though we have some differences on this issue, I do feel an undercurrent of similarities in our beliefs. It is always much easier to discuss the areas of disagreement when there is a substantial amount of agreement underlying it.

    “Men could easily administer their priesthood entirely in the home if the directive were given. Men could still save the women. It would not be the same in a women-only scenario. Women do not have the authority or power to administer in the Church or the home, as men do.”

    Might I apply your logic to another situation. Men are ultimately powerless because a women-only world could continue to exist but a man-only world could not. Women carry, give birth, and rear children without the need of men. We could, in a short amount of time, collect enough genetic material from men to make them utterly unnecessary until the Millennium. Thus a women-only Earth could function in a manner that a man-only Earth could not. Thus men are powerless.

    I hope you see that the conclusion drawn from the premises is incorrect. If, in an absurd hypothetical, the Church could function (albeit briefly) without the participation of one of the genders, then that says nothing about the relative power or capacity. We are saved together, as men and women, or not at all.

    “Women are told to act with faith because they do not hold the priesthood.”

    Elder Oaks specifically contradicted this statement. Women hold the priesthood within their authorized capacities. They do not hold Priesthood Office. Not to be pedantic, but I believe this is a non-negligible difference.

    “I’m very reluctant to equate the two given the nature of their goals (the ERA aimed at effecting nation law, OW hoping for change in Church policy), the different personalities of Sonia and Kate, the changes in public attitude regarding gender equality and the meaning of feminism, etc.”

    To address each of your three points:

    1) The goals were similar — disregarding eternal differences between the genders in a quixotic quest for ‘equality,’ given the arbitrary definition of same. I believe that what Kate Kelly is doing (agitating for change to the Lord’s Church) is more harmful than what Sonia Johnson began by doing (agitating for change in the political process). Being a pro-choice Mormon, while not a position that I hold, is an arguable one doctrinally (let them be free such that the sin be upon their own head). Being a Mormon who argues that the Church should change its stance on abortion so as to permit them at the discretion of the mother, however, is inarguably not a doctrinally-supported position. Thus Kate Kelly errs by adopting a mechanism that at least is conceivably appropriate in the world and applies it to an area where it is not appropriate (in a Church led by revelation).

    2) Sonia and Kate are different people with different personalities. However, I would be remiss not to mention that Sonia wasn’t always Sonia, either. Walking the road they are walking (the Church is true but the Brethren are wrong) almost always leads to leaving behind far more than you intend to. Thankfully, there are exceptions. Regretfully, the exceptions are few.

    3) Public attitude is only relevant if you believe that the Lord has withheld the Priesthood ordination to offices from women because the Church as a whole would rebel if that took place, aka, ‘we aren’t ready.’ I don’t find a lot of convincing evidence for that. I am a pretty conservative guy doctrinally (as you can tell), and if the Lord told me to ordain my wife as a High Priest I wouldn’t bat an eye. I think that is the feeling of most of the members standing against Ordain Women — we would agree with the result, so long as it came from the Lord, but we dislike the methods and feel they serve the wrong master. If, as I allege, the membership would be ready for female ordination if the Lord required it then the public opinion is utterly irrelevant to the issue.

    “As I side note, let me say that as much as we might lament the hostility of Sonia Johnson toward the Church, I think we might find some empathy for her…”

    I absolutely agree. She is a sympathetic figure. As things come up which I disagree with, I am often reminded to think, ‘there but by the Grace of God go I.’ I believe that you can recognize that someone is an apostate, and yet have all the sympathy in the world for them (in fact, charity would demand it). She got so focused on what she was trying to accomplish that her political goal became her god. As a result, she (and a number of people loyal to her and her cause) abandoned the faith and some will become lost. We are all apostate in some way or another, but remember that Korihor was a son of God with infinite worth and yet Alma boldly confronted him. I dare say Alma loved Korihor at that point more than Korihor loved himself, but we do no favors to anyone if we don’t stand for what is right. A loving, perfect Judge will judge Kate, Sonia, and me some day — may he be merciful to us all. Until such time, I’ll speak up to prevent apostasy if I can, while remembering that even the apostate is beloved by God.

    “Have you tried contacting OW directly?”

    No, I have not. If I knew how to begin that conversation, I would. But the contention on their boards and Facebook timeline (from both sides) makes me believe that my direct language would be seen as uncaring and I would do more harm than good. While I believe in speaking plainly, the goal is always to move forward His work. I don’t yet see a way that I could engage with the Ordain Women movement directly that would accomplish this.

    “Let’s go ask the Commander in Chief what He things just to make sure we’ve actually got a Trojan horse on our hands first.”

    Do you really believe, with two protests and countless letter, having made changes in the way the Church deals with gender issues, and after Elder Oaks being inspired to give this particular talk at this particular time that the Brethren have not prayed about this issue? That, to me, seems to be hearing what you want to hear. If my kids asked me to pray about getting a puppy, I would do it. I highly doubt that if a thousand people asked the Lord’s Prophet on the Earth to bring an issue before Him, he would decline to do so (“No! I know better than you and the Lord! I won’t ask, because I am worried He might say yes!”). Far more likely, the Brethren seek to save as many members of the Ordain Women movement as possible by indirectly answering the question to the satisfaction of many through Elder Oaks’ talk, then escalating the responses over time to retain as many members as possible while risking offense to as few as possible. Plus, it is a kindness to not have people sinning against a greater light. If President Monson spoke out today and said no ordination ever, then Ordain Women would not disappear. Instead, while some would abandon the movement others would begin agitating that President Monson is a fallen prophet or wrong on this issue, and the condemnation that they would receive would be greater. If a lawyer, known for his direct speaking style (in fact, that is what so many marginal Mormons and non-Mormons hate about Elder Oaks) dances around an issue, you can bet there is a good reason. But it isn’t likely that his reason is disguising the fact that the Brethren are unwilling to pray about an issue like this.

    “Unless we perform all our ordinances and endure to the end. If God blows us off after that, He’s a de facto liar.”

    No, not at all. Because even then, we have no rights. Because we then are still beggars, pleading with Christ to apply His Atonement and through His Grace bring us where He is. We recently saw a political leader talk about how, if God existed, he wasn’t even going to stop for an interview when he got to Heaven — he was just going to walk right in because he had earned it. None of us earned it, and if we perform the ordinances and endure to the end we can, at that point, plead for mercy from the Lord with confidence that it will be given because of His word and His nature. But even then, at this late point, we will not have the right to salvation, but it will be a gift. I am often reminded of the paraphrased change to the Book of Mormon verse, “even after all we do, it is by Grace we are saved” (restating ‘by grace we are saved, after all we can do). But I don’t think there is that big of a difference between our positions, here.

  108. Like Michael I would also advise anyone interested to go to the Ordain Women website (http://ordainwomen.org/) and poke around a bit to see what you think of it. The podcast interviews tend to be long but they can very revealing, just like Michael says. I am typically very impressed with Kate Kelly’s approach. She talks about some of the hurt of women feel as auxiliary members and the ways female ordination could be a huge benefit to the Church.

    Michael, you ask “If I was a missionary who did nothing but show up to baptismal services and perform ordinances for people taught by the sister missionaries, whose service has been more efficacious? Which work is more important?” The person baptizing is doing the more important work. You can teach with the Spirit all day long and convert a thousand hearts a day, but unless they are baptized and given the gift of the Holy Ghost you have not been reborn through Christ. You have not entered the gate. Notice that in the stats given in GC the 15 million thing is in reference to baptized individuals and not those who understand the gospel and believe in Christ.

    You say “She [Kate Kelly] is very proud of how OW has been able to effectively brand themselves and control their message. It’s very important for them to appear to be “safe” for women who would normally be hesitant to join a group like OW.” Replace “Kate Kelly” and “OW” with “the Church” and tell me what changes. Jonathan brought up that what we have right now is very much a PR game. I think that observation deserves some thought. Do the intense efforts of the Church’s PR dept. debase the Church? For example, what do we make of petty legal battles and PR efforts to own and control the term “Mormon” only to insist that the Church and its members not be known by that term? If we see no need to call into question the Church’s attention to branding and extensive PR efforts, why question OW’s? PR is the name of the game. Maybe we should congratulate OW for being so open about the cards they have in hand and how they intend to play them.

    You ask, “Why do you feel the need to misrepresent that when OW has done such a great job of putting it all out there for us to see on their website?” The quote I pulled from the website were about service. Just because you believe there are enough opportunities for women to serve doesn’t make it so. What happens when a small branch with numerous women and only enough men to fill the basic managerial callings loses one of those men? It’s shut down and is combined with a neighboring ward or branch. In those situations there is a huge opportunity and need for women to serve and yet it is denied to them.
    In response to your dodge about D&C 121:34 you say “Long answer, it misses the point entirely, which is that God has defined roles for male and female genders.” That was really short and irrelevant. Nowhere in that section is gender made a prerequisite for priesthood. Trying to make this about gender is a straw man. Stop making them and you can spend less time fixing your hair.

    What does “called in a less mandatory way” mean? You also contradict the whole thing about missions being voluntary when you start saying they’re mandatory. What makes you so certain that Kate and the other OW supporters do not feel called? They may very well be responding to a calling, you don’t know.

    “They don’t want additional power to serve, or to perform some ordinances, they want ‘leadership’ and ‘positional authority.’” You’re very insistent on this point. You’ve really reduced this whole thing to a mere power struggle. That’s very convenient if you do not want to consider spiritual and emotion lives of other human beings.

    You point out that “It is only after they have done these other things [talk about getting media attention] that they mention, almost parenthetically, that they want the brethren to prayerfully consider their demands.” It makes sense they you would need to rally supporters before petitioning, doesn’t it. I believe they’ve interpreted President Hinckley’s comment about women “agitating” for the priesthood literally.

    You ask, “why does the Lord or the Church need OW to do what they’re doing? Why would a group of supposedly faithful women feel the need to instruct the brethren on this issue?” Throughout the history of the Church changes have been made in the teachings, ordinances, and structure because questions have been raised and pressure had built up behind those questions which has let to seeking revelation from God. The Lord and the Church need OW to do this because no one else is. Again you insist that these women are trying to take charge without acknowledging that they have not assumed the priesthood but are instead going to the top priesthood power – the prophet, First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve.

  109. Jonathan, thanks again for your response. As you might imagine, I take issue with all of the points you make. Should you be interested in continuing our back and forth, let me know and I will jump in with my response.

  110. Kyleigh, I enjoyed reading your blog post. I’m glad that you have had a great experience in the Church where you do feel equal and empowered. Unfortunately, that is not every woman’s experience as evidenced by those who have joined OW. I’m not a part of the group as I don’t think priesthood is the ultimate answer, but I definitely sympathize with their overall statement of more equality for women in the Church and it seems that you do too.

    It should be noted that women praying in GC and more sisters training as leaders, as well as the broadcast being elevated to General Women’s Meeting, and the portraits of women leaders hanging in the Conference Center are all things that I would argue came about because of OW so it’s disingenuous to say “thanks for nothing.” You might not agree with their end directive or the means by which they go through, but it seems like you agree with their overall idea of equality within the Church.

    You’re the first person that I’ve heard say that OW makes LDS women out to be powerless. I’m a bit confused on how that is. If anything, OW just sheds light on how the Church as an institution makes women out to be powerless. These women have prayed, they have talked to their Bishops and Stake Presidents about it, they have written letters and have gotten nowhere. They’ve been met with silence, so this, they felt, was the only way to be heard. They’re still being shut out of the dialogue that is apparently going on with higher-ups in the Church. Shouldn’t they be allowed in a discussion that directly involves them?

    Relating to autonomy, I think the sisters are referencing the fact that the Relief Society used to be its own organization. It had its own funding and control over what the sisters would be teaching each other. That has been done away with and now we are the largest women’s organization working under the direction of a men-only organization. Topics for women’s meetings, women’s budgets and even the women leaders themselves are all under the direction and approval of men. In other women’s organizations, this would be ridiculous. Note also that when the letter inviting women to the General Women’s meeting went out, it wasn’t even signed by the RS, YW or Primary Presidencies. It was signed by the First Presidency. The women leaders directly involved with the meeting didn’t even sign the letter.

    So while you may not feel powerless and unequal, there are those that do for a lot of reasons. Here is a link to some clear-cut black and white inequality that we have in our church today:

    http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/category/columns/equality-is-not-feeling/

    And one thing that has always struck me is this: if no women were to show up to Sunday services, would it be any different? Could all the important things be done? Could the Sacrament still be blessed and passed? Could tithing still be counted? Could blessings, ordinations, baptisms, confirmations still be done? If no women were to show up, would the Church still go on as usual? That’s a sobering thought to me and part of the reason why I look up to the women in OW. If any of them are reading this or get this far into the comments, thank you ladies.

  111. Wayne asks. “What makes you so certain that Kate and the other OW supporters do not feel called?” Just because someone feels called does not make it so. And, the question could be raised, called by whom? When it comes to missionaries, Pres. Kimball extended the call to serve as full time missionaries to young men in the Church who are worthy and physically able to serve. He had the keys and authority to issue that call. This call has been repeated over and over again. My service was technically voluntary, just like when I got called to any position in my ward, because I was not physically constrained to answer that call, but I didn’t call myself or insist that I be given that opportunity. Instead, I answered the call issued to me by Pres. Kimball and Pres. Benson. (I was on my mission when Pres. Hunter became president.)

    Coming back to Kate Kelly, she was not called by anyone in authority with keys to do what she’s doing. It goes against the order of the Kingdom from the very beginning to suggest that she was. Plus, to suggest that Kate Kelly was called of God to do what she’s doing is not consistent with any belief in the Church as it presently exists. If God has to send Kate Kelly to get the brethren to listen then He’s lost a step or two. You claim that God needs OW to bring this issue, but you can’t read three random talks by Pres. Monson without finding at least one example of him receiving inspiration to do one thing or another without his seeking it. Couldn’t God just tell him?

    So yes, they may very well be responding to a calling, but if you believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, and I have a spiritual witness that he is, then Kate Kelly wouldn’t be responding to a call from God.

    My point on comparing the work of baptizing and the work of preaching the gospel was to illustrate that one doesn’t come before the other. When I was a young missionary in the Philippines, I baptized dozens of people before I became proficient enough to teach effectively in the local language. But the rewarding work was the teaching and the service. Baptism is necessary, don’t get me wrong, but a baptism doesn’t mean much unless there’s true conversion and repentance. The real satisfying work is in the bearing and building of testimonies.

    Wayne asks, “If we see no need to call into question the Church’s attention to branding and extensive PR efforts, why question OW’s?” It comes down to the underlying honesty of the efforts. OW is pursuing goals and making arguments that have resulted in the excommunication of at least one of their founding Mothers. And yet, they argue that they are faithful sisters who are merely asking questions. OW is pursuing ordination, at least according to Kate Kelly in the Mormon Stories and FMH podcasts, so that women will eventually be placed in the Quorum of the 12 and perhaps higher and then they’ll be able to affect broad doctrinal changes to bring the Church more in line with their views.

    The readers might be interested in Kate Kelly’s comments here:

    http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2013/08/peakpatriarchy/

    This, I submit, is the very definition of “steadying the ark.”

    Wayne says, in connection with D&C 121, “Nowhere in that section is gender made a prerequisite for priesthood.” To which I add, there’s lots of stuff that isn’t in D&C 121, but there’s nothing there that gives any reason to think females should be ordained.

    As for your branch example, I happened to live in a small branch for several years as a teenager. When the branch president got released, there wasn’t anyone in the branch that could replace him, and so they called a man from a neighboring branch to come and fill in. They didn’t dissolve the branch, they just asked a brother to commute. Once they could call someone from the branch, they did.

    While quoting from the OW FAQ page, I observed that the core concerns and goals of OW was to increase women’s “leadership” and “positional authority.” I came to that conclusion as a result of reading their website and distilling the common themes in their writings. Wayne accuses “You’ve really reduced this whole thing to a mere power struggle. That’s very convenient if you do not want to consider spiritual and emotion lives of other human beings.” I assume that you are suggesting that the controlling factor of whether or not we should ordain women is whether or not it will make some subset of the female LDS population feel better about themselves spiritually or emotionally. My response is that I am a bit more concerned with alligned myself with the mind and will of God as it has been revealed. Like Jonathan, if our understanding of that changes through revelation to those holding the proper keys, there’s no hesitation on my part. Yippee.

    But that’s not where we are at. We have a crowd of women standing outside the Church saying that the Brethren are wrong and we’re right. I’m less concerned about “the spiritual and emotion lives” of Kate Kelly, Margaret Toscano, Nadine Hansen and the other OW founding mothers than I am about the people whom they might persuade to walk out of the light and follow them into darkness.

    Wayne claims, “Throughout the history of the Church changes have been made in the teachings, ordinances, and structure because questions have been raised and pressure had built up behind those questions which has let to seeking revelation from God.” Name one.

  112. Jesus Christ visits the people of Corianton; and ordains women

    The Other Book of Mormon

    Mentinah Archives vol. 1

    The Second Book of Shi-Muel ( Samuel the Lamanite )

    Page 78

    Chapter Six
    1) Now, it was while I labored as High Priest to the people of Corianton, before the year wherein my father returned unto our fathers, that the signs which I had prophesied unto the people of Zarahemlah concerning the birth of the Christ were accomplished. And when my son Corianton and I did labor together in that capacity the signs of His death came, and the people were amazed and affrighted.

    2) But behold, the Spirit did whisper peace to our minds and to our souls so that we did patiently bear the day, the night and the day of darkness. For, though the occurrence was frightful, still, the Spirit did sing a song of sweet redemption to our souls. And many dreamed dreams and saw visions. And even some few did receive commandments as to what should be done when the Lord did come to visit the people of Corianton.

    3) And He did come unto us, in accordance with the visions that I too had received when I was but a young man. For, we had gathered together to worship when the signs came. Yea, and all the people in the cities had gathered to Corianton. And all the people in the forests had gathered, and also from the lakes and rivers. And we were all together, a great concourse of people awaiting the coming of the Lord.

    Page 79
    4) And we did hear His voice from afar off and we did shout with joy when we heard it. For, it caused our hearts to leap. Yea, our hearts did leap within our breasts and nothing could haveprevented us from crying out our joy when we heard His voice.

    5) But the voice was first a voice of warning unto all those who did wickedness. And from this we understood in our hearts that not all the wicked were destroyed. But behold, many were destroyed, even the most part, and that so that all might have one or many accounts to tell of the signs that preceded the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the voice was as the voice of an Angel, not of a trump or of thunder. But it did pierce us to the core. And behold, the voice did also separate the good from the bad. For, those who feared the retribution of a just God, trembled and sought to hide themselves. Yea, and they were
    filled with great loathing to see Him. But those who did good works were filled with joy and they ran out into the streets and clearings to see what was about tobefall. Yea, they welcomed their Lord with praise and singing.

    6) And in the day that He did come amongst us, and it was not long after the signs of His death had abated, we did according to the things we had been commanded in the visions and revelations that many had received during the days of darkness.

    7) Behold, we did greet Him as our King and our High Priest. And I did take Him by the hand and I did lead Him to the seat of the High Priest. And I did place upon Him the robes of the High Priest and He did sit upon the seat. And behold, I did declare to all the people that this was the Christ, the Son of the Living God; He who was killed by His own; He who had paid the uttermost price for our redemption and who had sealed it with the sacrifice mostdear. And the people did gather to the Temple to see Him and to hear His words.

    8) And behold, my son Corianton did approach the seat and, bowing himself down before his Lord, he did wash His feet, hands, and head, and he did anoint Him with oil most precious. And when he had done this, the Lord did place His hands upon the head of Corianton and blessed him, and bid him arise.

    9) And behold, Pa-Sabel approached also the seat and bowed herself down before the Lord. And she did break bread and blessed it, as she had been taught to do upon the Way. And she offered it to the Lord, and He did eat. And she did pour out pure wine into a grail and blessed it, as she had been taught to do upon the Way. And she offered it to the Lord, and He did drink. And when this was done He took her by the hand and arose from the seat. And He said in the hearing of all the people gathered there:

    10) Behold, this is well, what these two have done unto me. For they did approach me upon the Way. Yea, they did seek My face and I did acknowledge them. And behold, I did teach them these things upon the Way when I did show Myself unto them who sought Me. Let them be an ensample unto all those who would come unto Me and diligently seek Me. Unto such shall I give My kingdom. Yea, of such shall I make up My jewels.

  113. 11) And behold, when He had said these words, He did join the hands of Corianton, my son, and Pa-Sabel and presented them together to the host, saying:

    12) These two have become First Man and First Woman. Surely, they shall always administer My sacraments together. For, the one is not without the other in Me. Wherefore, I shall bless and sanctify all that they do.

    13) And unto the two, He said:

    14) Go now and do like as you did unto Me also unto all this people, teaching them to do likewise unto every person. And they went straightway and ministered unto the people, teaching them the ordinance of these two sacraments.

    15) And when they had done this and returned again, He turned again unto me and said:

    16) Are there any sick and afflicted among you? Let them come up unto Me and I will bless them. And by their faith, they shall be made whole.

    17) And we did cause that all those who were sick and afflicted to approach Him and He was pleased. For there were not so many who were sick and afflicted because of the many healers that worked their gifts among us. But there were some who had met with accidents who were halt and some who had complaints that they had borne for many years for which the Healers had no cure. But behold, these were not many.

    18) Now, when they had approached the Lord, He did lay hands on them and blessed them. And behold, they did arise and were free of their afflictions. And thiswas a great confirmation of what we had always
    Page 80
    believed about the Lord, that He is mighty to saveboth quick and dead. And we rejoiced in this affirmation.

    19) And when He had blessed all the sick and the afflicted, He turned again unto me and said:

    20) Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

    21) And we did suffer all the parents to gather the little children and bring them to the Lord. And He did teach them many things that cannot be written. And He raised His hands into the air and He blessed all the little ones. Now when He had done this, a great light was seen in the sky above their heads and they were all enveloped in light. And it was to be seen within the light that Angels descended and did minister to the children. And voices were heard that we did not understand, and songs were voiced that we did not know.
    And all the people marveled at this thing. And when the Angels had again ascended and the light had gone away, behold, the countenances of the children shone still and they did prophecy.

    Chapter Seven

    1) Now, after all these things had taken place, Jesus turned once again to me and said:

    2) Behold, the people of Corianton are Nemenhah indeed. Great should be your joy and also your cause to give thanks and rejoice. For, you have listened toMy voice and you have soughtMy face. Wherefore, I have manifested Myself unto you at many times, and you are not surprised nor too much amazed by My appearance unto you this day. This thing does please Me very much. Now I go unto the Nemenhah of Mentinah again to teach them. Continue faithful and I will visit you often to teach you also.

    3) And after He had said this, a cloud did descend fromheaven and He was taken up in it and carried away with a great sound.

    4) And I, and all the people, did stand in amazement and in joy. Yea, we felt a joy that could not find expression. And we could not find it in ourselves to depart one from another for the space of many hours because of the Spirit that was in us. For, of a sudden one person or another would burst forth in prophecy and we were loathe to be absent from such miracles.

    5) Now, in three days time the people had meant to meet to worship together because of the signs that had been shown in the heavens. And now that Jesus had visited them and manifested Himself unto them, they were all the more anxious to meet and offer oblations unto Him. And it was while we were thus met and employed that we looked and behold, Jesus stood in our midst. And when we had seen Him, all the people bowed down to the earth before Him. And He sat with us and taught us upon the bench, saying:

  114. 6) Samuel, you who have been my mouthpiece in times past, be so now even unto this people. And take twelve of your people, of both men and women, and behold, I shall touch them and place upon them the priesthood. And they shall listen to My words and take them to the people. For the multitude gathered is great and My voice shall reach them all through Myanointed ones. And all those who are of the Nemenhah of Corianton who are not present must also hear My words. Wherefore, these whom you appoint and upon whom I lay this great charge, shall take other twelve from each city and region, to begin
    the spreading of My gospel to all the people.

    7) Then, when all the people have received of My word, let them all strive to obtain for themselves the anointing. And if they do this with singleness of heart, seeking My face, behold, I shall manifest Myself unto them upon the Way. For I am the Way, the Truth and the Light. If anyone seeks Me in this spirit, they shall find Me.

    8) And I did all that the Lord commanded me, choosing out six men and six women who were known to me to be upright people with good intentions. And He took them one by one and touched them and called them to be His servants. And these are the words He used:

    9) Upon you, my servant, I lay a certain charge and commission. And I give you authority to act in all things that the Spirit does manifest that I would do were I present to do them. Wherefore, be diligent in study, and also in fasting and in prayer. In this shall you know My doctrine. Yea, in this shall you know of Me, through the whisperings of the Spirit, that which isMy will and that which is not. And I give unto you power to command the elements as often as the Spirit dictates. Wherefore, pray always that you be not deceived and carried away in pride.

    10) Then, casting His eyes about, He taught us concerning this priesthood, saying:
    Page 81
    11) Behold, I do perceive your thoughts. Marvel not that I have given mine authority to women and men alike. Yea, this thing has been of concern to some since the day that Pa-Sabel received word from Me of the ordinance she should perform when I came. Behold, I do confer the priesthood upon those men who
    would follow Me and do the things they see Me do. And unto such is made an ordination, that they may speak and act in My name, and be justified in so doing. But I do not confer such upon the women, for they have of My Mother in Heaven that which I cannot give. Wherefore, I do ordain them. But the priesthood they have already cannot be given, nor taken away, but by that person who gave it. Wherefore, if there be any woman who desires to follow Me and do the thingsthey see Me do, they are authorized from the foundation of the world, and I do justify them.

    12) For, the daughters of Eve do sacrifice of themselves freely for the sake of all living. For this cause did Adam call her name Eve. For she is the Mother of all Living. She does give of herself, even to the laying down of her life, in order that man might be, and in order that the purposes of heaven may go forward. She is a Priestess and Queen unto the Most High God forever.

    13) Wherefore, if by the Spirit she is moved upon to take up emblems of My life and death, and bless them, and administer them to the people, what is that to you? She does it unto Me. Wherefore, restrain her not at all.

    14) But behold, men received not such power by their creation and come into the world without the natural inclination to do good. Wherefore have I said, the natural man is an enemy to God. By the sweat of his face shall Adam earn his bread all the days of his life. And through constancy in service and in sacrifice shall he learn, order by order, line upon line, even precept on precept, to become like Me and do the things they see Me do. Wherefore, I confer priesthood upon men who would be My servants, and I give them
    authority to minister. But woman are ministers from the foundation of the world.

    15) And when a man wishes to engage in the work ofmy Father which is in Heaven, you unto whom I have given this authority may confer it unto him and ordain him to that stewardship that I shall provide for him. That he may also take up his cross and learn by the application of the Law of the Gospel to give freely of himself, breaking his heart and humbling his spirit. For,this is the sacrifice which I will accept of him.
    Yea, he shall bend his own will and tame it, and do whatsoever I shall command him. And this he shall learn to do without coercion or compulsion, but freely ofhis own accord. This is the sacrifice of the heart and the spirit which I require of all those who would call themselves My servants.

    16) And that man shall attend to do his duty unto the people, administering the sacraments unto them, keeping My Holy House, and teaching the people. This is the work that I shall require of him. And behold, he shall do all this freely and shall not be compelled to do it in any way. For, though the priesthood appear to be that by which service is rendered unto others, it is a service unto Me and unto My Father. Wherefore, let him do it with an eye single to the glory of God and not tohis own. And if he do this, he shall attain to that
    state of happiness of which the prophets have spoken, both in this life as also in the life to come.

  115. 17) And when a woman wishes to engage in the work of My Father which is in Heaven, in addition to that great work which the Mother has given unto her by virtue of her very creation, you, unto whom I have given My authority, may ordain her unto that stewardship that I shall provide for her. And she shall apply that great gift, which My Mother which is in Heaven has given her, to the ministering unto the people as
    the man does. She shall also bend her own will and do whatsoever I shall command her. But remember, whereas the stewardship that I shall provide for every man is a necessary thing for most men, in order that they might overcome the natural man, that which has been provided women by the Mother does already accomplish this end for them. Wherefore, priesthood, though a woman may officiate in the sacraments and
    in every holy ordinance, is not requisite for her salvation. Whereas, men must have this device in order to truly come unto me. And where the priesthood is not available for them, surely I shall provide another means whereby men may overcome that which prevents them from the Way.

    18) And these are the sacraments which I command you to administer unto My children:

    19) You shall bless your little ones, calling upon My name. For, in the day that I began the work of Atonement for them, they were given to Me by the Father and the Mother. Wherefore, ye are My children, notwithstanding, I am also My Father’s son.
    Posted in Let’s Share Our Dreams and Visions | Leave a comment
    Women’s Priesthood Daughters of Adam and Eve
    Posted on April 18, 2014 by c j

    For I Am the Lord;

    Now, behold ye Nemenhah, the daughters of Adam are blessed from before the foundation of the world.
    Behold, My daughters, by the nature of your creation, ye do serve all people. Yea, it is good that ye do organize yourselves in all your good and that ye do uphold this nation as ye presently do. But behold the orders of the priesthood are for the sons of Adam, to be an instrument unto them that they may train their natures to be more like unto the daughters of Eve.

    Yea, that by the sweat of their face, even by their strength, they might learn to give of themselves for the sake of others. For how shall they become like Me if they do not that which I have done? But, ye Daughters of Eve, ye do it already.

    Wherefore, covet not that which I have given unto men, but rejoice and know that ye may seek My face without other preparation than that which ye have received by your nature. For ye receive of the Mother even a more complete priesthood than the orders of the priesthood that I give unto men, in order that they may prove themselves thereby.
    Posted in Let’s Share Our Dreams and Visions | Leave a comment
    Nemenhah Temple Endowment; Covenant of Elohim
    Posted on April 18, 2014 by c j

    The Lord taught many things to many people by employing stories and parables. These conveyed to the heart and mind of the hearer a true sense of things even if every detail may not have been related. The following relation speaks of times before times, when men and women worked their way to exaltation following an ancient and set path. The players in the relation are our own relations. Each of us are also included in the story. Therefore, it is our story as much as it is theirs. All my relations!
    For clarity, we have translated names into their corresponding English meaning. Some of the names are difficult to translate. For example, “Elohim” means “Heavenly” and is a plural, feminine denominative. In Nemenhah, “Pa Elowe” means Mother in Heaven, and “ShiElowe” means Father in Heaven. “Elohim” means
    God the Father and God the Mother in Their united sense and connotes the Sealing Power. We have, therefore, sought to make the names correspond to something more meaningful to the English speaker.

  116. I was in the temple tonight doing an endowment session and something in the session made me think of this issue. I won’t go into any details, but there’s a point where Adam and Eve are talking with God right after they had both eaten the forbidden fruit and they were both placed under covenant. He to God, and she to her husband. I wonder if that has something to do with how the church is organized.

  117. If anyone (man or woman) feels like the church has gone astray, why do you continue to associate yourself with it? Christ directs the affairs of His church, not men. We believe in living prophets – in modern day revelation. To say our modern prophets have got it all wrong, by not allowing women to hold the priesthood, is to say they aren’t true prophets, which is to say this isn’t Christ’s church. And if that’s the case, why do you belong?

    The kingdom of God is not a democracy. It is ruled by a King: Jesus Christ. Not everything that is required of us is easy to accept and embrace. That is why we are required to exercise faith.

    It is not easy for me to pay 10% in tithing, and sometimes I simply don’t want to pay. Does that mean I should rally up the poor members of the church and start a petition to have tithing changed to 5%? Why not 1%? Maybe we should just pay whatever we feel like? No rules.

    That’s not the way The Lord operates.

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  119. Some churches ordain women–perhaps those would be better churches to attend for women who want to be ordained. I think the questions to ask are: Is the LDS Church true or not? Is it a church run by a true prophet or not? That is the bottom line. (If it isn’t, drop out and join another church. Why stay.) Or, is the LDS Church one that changes doctrine depending upon votes for or against gay marriage, ordaining women, abortion, smoking marijuana or any other present day activities? Let’s all vote or protest (maybe even carry signs) to get some changes that we would like to see. If the prophet is just another man, lets protest and see if we can get him to change his mind to whatever we want. In fact, if you as a woman want to be ordained, I’ll do it for you–woman to woman. For free, I’ll ordain you as a Bishop or whatever office you would like to hold. If we can’t get the prophet to change, let’s start ordaining each other. Publisher is a computer program that has lots of certificates. We can be anything we want and have a certificate to prove it.

    I have never felt inferior because I don’t hold the priesthood. Do men feel inferior because they can’t have babies? Perhaps these OW people feel inferior? Go get counseling if you need it.

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