Ordain Women has finally posted their 6th discussion. You may notice they did not call this one a discussion, but a conversation. Clearly, their effort to make it seem like a missionary effort has backfired, and so are trying a different wording tactic.
They begin by quoting Mother Teresa, President Uchtdorf and Gandhi, in that order. I’m not certain whether they are trying to make General Authorities equivalent to other world leaders and opinion makers, so that we accept throw away statements from others as a form of higher revelation, or whether to lower the revelatory statements of General Authorities down to the levels of the world. Either way, It is clear they are picking and choosing. Mother Teresa never held the Catholic priesthood, never demanded it, never asked for it. She just saw a great need for compassion and sought to fill it. Clearly, OW’s interpretation of statements is to fill their need, whether they actually apply or not.
They launch into a list of “interim” solutions for the Church. Some of these are things I agree with. I do not have a problem with a woman as stake Sunday School teacher, or young women performing as ushers. However, this is very different from the demand they have previously given of full ordination to women.
Some of their demands go contrary to revelation:
Choosing a General Relief Society Presidency and General Board that reflect the diversity of viewpoint and circumstance in the Church, and establishing frequent meetings between the First Presidency and the General Relief Society Presidency
First, such callings are given by revelation, not by popular vote. It is not an issue of making sure all political views are present, but that the sisters are worthy of the calling, and are called of God. If God chooses to call nothing but liberals or nothing but conservatives, that is His call to make. Can you imagine the Prophet, a stake president or bishop arguing with the Lord over a Relief Society President: “But Lord, you know it is only fair to select Sister Y, because our last one was a registered Republican!”
Given that 90% of members are against Ordain Women’s demands, what would it mean to reflect the diversity they seek? On a Relief Society board of 12 sisters, ensure one is a liberal?
On the issue of changing disciplinary councils to include sisters, it would require a revelation. It is not a half-measured step one can take. The Doctrine and Covenants explicitly states who is involved in a council, both on the ward and stake levels. The same goes for the recommendations they give on changes in the temple endowment and sealing ceremony. Where processes and procedures are specifically stated in scripture and/or revelation, we cannot just ignore or change it on a whim. There are several other “suggestions” they give which also cannot be done without a revelation, but are mixed in with some good suggestions of things that can be considered now.
The “conversation” then asks if it is okay to ask questions and discuss women’s issues in the Church. They are correct that such can and should be discussed. The problem with OW is they do not want a discussion unless the final decision includes full ordination of women to the priesthood. Then it is no longer a discussion, but demands. Discussions do not include boycotting, vigils, or marching protests at the Church’s Conference Center. In other words, they say one thing in this conversation, but do something else entirely.
They show a LDS video on Esther, who stood up for her beliefs before the king, and then try to compare their efforts to those of Esther, asking their readers,
Can you recall a time you stood up for your beliefs?Are there times when you felt you couldn’t? Whatmade the difference?
Standing up for one’s beliefs is very different from having a discussion or conversation regarding these issues. To put Esther’s story in context with their story line, President Monson would be Haman, the person keeping them from having what they want! But the stories conflict. For Esther, it was an issue of protecting the lives of her people from an evil man, by appealing to the king who had the power to preserve life. For OW, it is an issue of demanding authority which is not theirs to take, nor President Monson’s to give!
There are 10 suggestions on how to move the conversation along. Among these, we read, “Try to have conversations rather than debates.” Clearly, Kate Kelly’s debate team has learned that they have lost much ground over the past couple months in pushing and shoving their way around the Church. Changing their harsh discussions into conversations seem to show that OW is quickly revamping their strategy into something softer, gentler, and kinder. Perhaps they want to remain viable without any more disciplinary hearings. I hope so.
That this last discussion sounds more like something that would come from Mormon Women Stand than from Ordain Women, is very clear. They have hit the brakes on their runaway train. The question will be whether this change in discourse is sincere, or just a subtle ploy to soften members’ hearts towards the group, only to later make bigger demands with a bigger group of followers?
Don’t be confused, the same people that started OW are the same ones running it now. Among the OW leaders noted in the conversation is Nadine Hansen, who wrote a lawyerly missive against the Church’s disciplinary council on Kate Kelly. It remains to be seen whether this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or a repentant group. I remain skeptical.