Church again slams OW movement

Church spokesman Michael Otterson reminded Church members Friday that the Ordain Women movement is nothing more than a publicity stunt that distracts from the positive spirit of General Conference.

“Avoiding distraction from a sacred church gathering is also the operating principle in relation to Temple Square,” Otterson wrote. “Last year, the staged protest was extremely disruptive to that atmosphere. While we made an exception to policy and accommodated media cameras last October, protesters exploited that decision to hold a media event.”

Further, Otterson wrote, “posturing for news cameras in the shadow of the Salt Lake Temple is not what General Conference is about, and leaders and members were rightly offended by it.”

Otterson is referring to the protest at October General Conference against the Church by OW movement members intent on asking for the priesthood. Ninety percent of Mormon women — and 95 percent of active members — say women should not be eligible for the priesthood. The OW movement vows to repeat this protest for April Conference, despite being asked repeatedly to stand down by the Church.

Careful readers will note some deliberate language used by Otterson in a very polite but pointed letter. Notice the use of the words “staged protest” and “disruptive” and “exploited” and “posturing” and “rightly offended.”

The Church is making it clear to all members that the OW has nothing to do with a faithful petition by active members. Instead, the OW movement is being exposed for what it truly is: a publicity stunt led mostly by opponents of the Church.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

36 thoughts on “Church again slams OW movement

  1. i think the Church has been very patient with them. I agree that it is now time to be a little more direct, due to their being disruptive. I hope those involved in OW will humbly ponder the will of the Lord in this, and decide to abide by the request to remain in the free speech zone and don’t make this a media circus.

  2. I don’t think the Otterson letter was directed to members, but rather to the press that had asked for permission to bring camera onto temple square.

    But the point is appreciated.

  3. ji, Church public affairs is monitored by a GA (and most likely an Apostle) who sees every letter sent out and edits them for content and meaning.

    This letter was sent to a news organization, but the language was deliberate.

  4. There is the answer to the OW women again. If you want to agitate, fine but do it with the anti’s and ex mormons and no free press.

  5. What I think is interesting is that well-informed Latter-day Saints would generally be receptive to a revelatoon bestowing the priesthood on the sisterhood of the Church , if such ever arrived through the proper channels. Just look at the promises of the temple. And Gordon B Hinckley once addressed the question with an ‘I don’t know” but seemed measurably open to the idea. This OW nonsense fails to grasp even the most basic inkling of how the Church works. Very obviously from a non or ex-LDS source.

  6. You can be an active member of the LDS church and merely fail to understand how the God works with His Church.

    People will point to circumstances like the ban on granting priesthood and temple blessings to those who are “black” as an example. It is clear that no such ban existed in Joseph’s time. The idea of a ban seems to have arisen from tactical problems in Utah. However such a pervasive mythology had grown up around the ban that it took some serious work to overcome the ban. This could also be legitimately convolved with God’s guidance on when and how the silly ban should be lifted, given that Brigham had put it in place in the first place.

    God, like most powerful entities, does not like His people to enjoy the illusion that they can bribe or badger Him into changing. The way to change is faithful supplication. So were God inclined to open priesthood to women, activities like those engaged in by the Ordain Women movement are arguably delaying that timeline.

    As I’ve said, I neither reject the idea of women holding the priesthood, nor do I feel a need to agitate for it. I am content to follow God.

  7. Meg, “God, like most powerful entities, does not like His people to enjoy the illusion that they can bribe or badger Him into changing. The way to change is faithful supplication. So were God inclined to open priesthood to women, activities like those engaged in by the Ordain Women movement are arguably delaying that timeline.

    As I’ve said, I neither reject the idea of women holding the priesthood, nor do I feel a need to agitate for it. I am content to follow God.”

    This is exactly how I feel.

  8. My impressions…

    From what I see, Peggy’s article in the SLTrib is such a typical journalistic indulgence for her. The Otterson letter was not addresed to the Ordain Women mob at all. Rather, it is framed as such in the context of Otterson’s response to a request for journalists who expect to flock unrestrained onto Temple Square during the Conference, in order to “document” in a “balanced” media presentation. And it is apparently the thrust of Otterson’s accusation that the media circus was a major contributor to the disorder and disruption during the last Conference. It is interesting to note from my personal observation that in such cases the photographers and journalists may actually outnumber the demontrators.

    It has long been the “aggreived journalist” posture to misrepresent their innocent position as poor humble and objective reporters of events that are important for the public to know everything about. It is a thinly disguised subterfuge to cloak the pervasive editorial slant of media coverage like what the SLTrib loves to publish, or reporters like Peggy are wont to contribute. One thing that can be said is that the SLTrib certainly appears to know their audience.

    However that may be, there are plenty of cameras already focused on the relevant events at Temple Square. And the OW protesters were already formally answered by the Church, which is as much attention as they merit.

  9. I’ve said this before, for all the people that some how are still making excuses for OW … this will be their true test. Will they be obedient as faithful church members are, which they claim to be, or will they persist in their open rebellion? I think it will be the latter. And I hope the Church does not even let them onto Temple Square.

  10. My favorite commentary on the social phenomenon of activist journalism is actually a 1981 movie, Absence of Malice, featuring Paul Newman and Sally Field.

    The movie portrays some of the unintended consequences that result from the journalist’s creed, “The Public Has a Right to Know”. And Newman’s clever trick that uses it against the news media hounds to achieve a satisfying revenge.

  11. Meg and Geoff,

    I mostly agree as well, with one minor caveat. I agree that God’s timeline is largely his. And in many ways agree that badgering and agitating may delay a revelation on women and the priesthood should there be one to be had.

    I officiate high school football, and there is often a feeling among officials that the more the coaches scream “call that hold” the less likely we are to call a marginal hold that might otherwise may be considered. We do not want to reinforce their idea that screaming for a call will buy them one. The call is made because we actually see it and it impacted the play, not because there was begging or demanding. Coaches scream enough as it is, there is no reason to give undue positive reinforcement to them.

    That being said, I do believe that God is far wiser, patient, and more loving and forgiving than I am. So I would hesitate to unequivocally state that he would delay any potential revelation (again, we do not know if one is forthcoming in His plan for us on Earth, or not) just because of a vocal minority. He will reveal it regardless if it suits His purposes. Then again, the natural man in me agrees that OW is more apt to delay anything per my example in the previous paragraph.

    It all comes down to the “my will” versus “Thy will” mentality. I think I know how things should be based on what I think is vast, but truly is limited, life experience. But I know that God loves his children and that His will is equal to his work and glory. So I try to bend my will to try to meet His. Try being the operative word…

  12. There does seem to be a stark difference between how the Church looks at OW actions and how the Bloggernacle does. It’s hard to miss how pointed the languages is.

  13. Jim Cobabe, not an excuse, just an explanation: the SL Tribune’s audience is the non-Mormon people in SL City and the generally liberal Mormons in the valley. They are completely uninterested in presenting a faithful perspective. So of course their reporting will reflect this bias.

    From a former “professional” journalist: there is no such thing as media objectivity. Most of the news is written by single men and women in their 20s and 30s who are almost exclusively liberal and see their jobs as fulfilling a calling to protect various social classes. Their editors are generally older but share their worldview. For them, the OW cause falls into the category of “women speaking truth to patriarchal power,” and therefore the vast majority of coverage will be to portray the OW movement as heroic and the Church as wrong.

    At M*, we see our role as defending the Church. My personal opinion is “follow the prophets, and whatever they say is right.” I do not expect the SL Tribune to report from this perspective, but I will continue to do so.

  14. Great post. Soon members are going to have to decide what side of the line they’re on. It’s pretty obvious where that line is now.

  15. Comparing the reactions of the Church to OW to those of individual members on the blogosphere illustrates to me the patience and restraint that the Church is showing on this issue. OW claims that they are merely asking Pres. Monson to ask and give them the answer. Much of us would like the same thinking, perhaps naively, that this would put an end to the issue. But, we can be assured that most of the OW crowd would not accept an authoritative statement from Pres. Monson for three reasons, if not others. (1) Some are not, and have never been LDS. Pres. Monson’s pronouncements carry no special weight with this crowd. (2) Others have candidly stated that a “no” answer would only mean that the question wasn’t asked for real or that Pres. Monson isn’t ready or able to get the correct answer. A “no” answer would only confirm their presupposed ideas. (3) A “no” answer would conflict with their worldview, being that absolute gender should reign in all places and times. So, if Pres. Monson came out and said, “Sorry sisters, but the answer is no,” a large part of this group will just dig in their feet and redouble their efforts, like a generation of Margaret Toscanos.

    In connection with this, put yourself in the position of a bishop or stake president out in the Church who knows that they have a person in their ward/stake who has posted a profile at or who gets photographed participating in action/protest/demonstration at Temple Square. If Pres. Monson had come out and made a public statement in accordance with the letter sent by the PR department, it might not have had an effect on the OW crowd, but it would have an effect on bishops and stake presidents. You could be sure that a large number of temple recommends would be collected and a not insignificant number of women and men would get hit with discipline of one kind or another.

    In other words, a firm statement against OW would likely not change many of their minds, but it would lead to many of them getting excommunicated in short order. At some point, that might become necessary, but I expect the brethren are not eager to pull that trigger.

  16. RE: Alison Moore Smith – You’ve stated the point much better than I have in the past. The survey question as asked does not shed any light at all on whether the general membership of the Church would be supportive of such a change if it came from the Lord. My guess is that the vast vast majority of members would be very supportive. Just like with the priesthood ban for Blacks being lifted.

    But just like some racists joined the Church because of the Black priesthood ban and then left when it was lifted, some sexists (hopefully a tiny number) would likely leave the Church if women were given the opportunity to be ordained to priesthood offices. Unfortunately if a person has a sexist world view, meaning their mindset is that men are inherently superior, a strongly patriarchal structure has some intuitive appeal. I’ve met a small number of people in the Church who say the reason women don’t have the Priesthood is because women aren’t capable of fulfilling the duties, not that God has chosen a different role for them at the present time. those folks would likely find it difficult to adjust their behavior and thinking to a different reality.

  17. I’m not sure what parsing the results of the Pew survey is supposed to accomplish, exactly.

    The bottom line is that whereas Ordain Women acts as though it is their prerogative to instruct President Monson–and to publicly embarass him if he does not acquiesce–the vast, vast majority of active Mormons–male and female–stand ready to be instructed by him.

    And that drives some people absolutely batty.

  18. Apparently there were two representatives of OW at the Women’s Meeting tonight, and Peggy Fletcher Stack was predictably there to interview them. Hannah Wheelwright and Suzette Smith got as much or more column space as any of the speakers, but that shouldn’t surprise us.

    “We want people to know we are here,” Smith said. “We are part of you.” She was also disappointed that Pres. Eyring was chosen to speak instead of some of the other women present.

  19. I repeatedly hear from some of the oponents of OW (and rehashed in this comment thread) that no amount of agitation will change God’s mind about an issue. I would like to invite those who have made that argument to explain how they reconcile Genesis 18:22–33. Abraham is NOT the presiding church authority. Or how about Helenan 11:3–5. Or any of a number of other examples I can pull out from the scriptures.

  20. Since folks here did not understand what I meant by “like most powerful entities,” I will explain.

    If a large government (e.g., the US, Russia) makes it known that it can be made to cave to badgering, then bad things can happen. For example, if the US paid ransoms for hostages, then every American everywhere would become a target for the next random bloke who needed some fast cash.

    Even though I would not categorize the LDS Church as a “powerful entity” in the eyes of the world, the same applies to the Church. The recent movie The Saratov Approach depicts the 1998 kidnapping of two missionaries in Russia. Though the film contained much less violence and abuse than the actual event, it follows the basic structure that the missionaries were kidnapped, the Church and families and US refused to pay the demanded ransom, and through some grace the kidnappers didn’t actually blow the missionaries heads off in the isolated field they drove them to. In the Saratov case, neither the US, the Church, nor the families even “obeyed” the request that the kidnapping be kept secret. So clearly the kidnappers found themselves facing a set of opponents who would not be cowed.

    As an aside, one missionary drew a tattoo on his hand, a tattoo related to Naval valor and brotherhood that was borne by one of the two kidnappers. The film indicates that sight of this tattoo perhaps caused the more hardened kidnapper to consider the value of brotherhood and valor. In my opinion, it’s also possible (and maybe even more likely) that the kidnapper realized a dead body marked with that tattoo (or mutilated to remove the stained body part) would result in shame and certainty of capture, leading to an extensive sentence or even death.

    While I myself am not a “powerful entity,” I have been threatened with lethal violence against myself or lethal violence against loved ones and refused to yield to the associated demand(s). It doesn’t happen often–most people aren’t that crazy.

    I’m reminded of the scene in Sam Taylor’s Heaven Knows Why. The protagonist is being held at gunpoint by the bad guy. The bad guy demands that our protagonist walk a fair piece to get in the car. The protagonist refuses, explaining (Meg memory paraphrase):

    “See it my way. If I walk to the car, you’ll drive me up into the mountains and shoot me, leaving my body someplace where it won’t be found.

    “Why should I go out of my way to make this easy for you? It’s a bad idea anyway–you might get caught. I say if you’re going to shoot me, go ahead and do it here. If I’m going to die anyway, I might as well make it easy on myself…”

    To paraphrase scripture:

    “I write this epistle unto you, Monson, and I hope that ye will deliver up your powers and your privileges, without compromise, that my gender may recover their rights and ecclesiastical self-government, which gender is dissenting away from you because of your wickedness in retaining from them their priesthood right, and except ye do this, I will continue to aggressively proclaim their wrongs. I am a faithful Mormon and I demand women be given priesthood power.”

    And now it came to pass when Monson received this epistle he was exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of this group, demanding the possession of the priesthood power, and also of threatening the Church and demanding the right to serve, when the women of the Church have always been empowered to serve, though some had dissented away because they disagreed with some aspect of Church administration.”

    “Now behold, this Monson, the prophet, was a just man, and could not be frightened by these demands and threatenings; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle demanding priesthood ordination for women out of the due time of the Lord, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the media should be brought down against them.”

    I admit this wresting of scripture doesn’t quite fit. Perhaps I would do better to liken OW to George Hinckle and William W. Phelps, some of those who honestly thought it would be better if Joseph cooperated with the Missouri authorities and turned himself in. The scene that resulted was not what Hinckle and Phelps intended:

    ::Joseph, accused with all manner of false accusations; was handed over to his enemies. They tore Joseph from the society of his father and mother and brethren and sisters. With a drawn sword Joseph’s enemies tore him from the bosom of his wife, and of his offspring, and Joseph’s elder son, although but six years of age, did cling to his garments, and say, “My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you?::

    ::Then the child was thrust from Joseph by the sword, and Joseph was dragged to prison, under sentence of death for a wrong he had not committed. And when the sentence was ultimately executed by a self-appointed mobocracy a few years later, the United States courts allowed the conspirators to walk away, acquitting the mob of legal responsibility for Joseph’s death.::

    Phelps and Hinckle at one time believed they were only working for the good of the Church. At least Phelps had the grace to beg Joseph’s foregiveness while Joseph was still alive.

    Anyway, that was a bit stream of consciousness, but hopefully there isn’t lack of clarity by what I meant by “most powerful entities.”

  21. Paul M, I think you need to think about the difference between polite petitioning and supplication (which definitely is a good thing and is what Abraham clearly did) and public agitation and not listening to God’s counsel (which is what the OW movement is doing).

    Also, think about Joseph Smith and the lost 116 pages a bit. That didn’t turn out so well for Brother Joseph, did it?

  22. For most human beings the most potent authority during their most vulnerable and impressionable year are their parents. Almost every mama and most sane daddies know that giving in to tantrums is toxic. You send the whiner to time-out or to the woodshed, depending on what culture you belong to. When the offending child calms down then they might get what they wanted, or not. I would be surprised if the women and men of OW lacked this knowledge as applied to their own children. I am an old woman but I stand in relationship to the Prophet as one of my offspring does to me. I expect those who are adult to have put childish things behind them. I send the children who have not learned the proper way of addressing those in charge of them to the corner.

  23. As a young toddler I had a fascination with exploring things, particularly things that I was not supposed to get into. Of course I meddled with all of the usual things that little ones play with: tasting dirt, bringing worms home to mommy, or seeing if the vacuum could suck off my face. My favorite pass time, however, was attempting to plug in the toaster. I would find a way to climb onto the kitchen counter (no small feat when Mom has child-proofed the area and is just in the next room), unplug the toaster, grasp the two metal inserts on the toaster’s plug and thrust both them and my tiny fingers right into the electrical outlet. ZAP! I would begin crying and screaming and that would signal my mom that I was at it again. And so I became the first person in the world to discover electricity, at least the first person in my experience to discover electricity. In any event I certainly believe I was the first person in the world to discover electricity. If only there were a scientific society for discovering that which has already been discovered. I would be a regular contributor!
    I have a particular reason for mentioning the toaster however. I’ve never quite outgrown my fascination for exploring things, perhaps even things that I am not supposed to get into. Since a friend of mine introduced me to the campaign Ordain Women, I have enjoyed exploring the importance of gender in the context of the gospel. Here I want to share a few ideas encountered in this exploration because they have helped me to find so much peace amidst the confusion and misunderstanding that sometimes swirls around gender discussions. None of the ideas I have encountered are new or obscure. Revelation for the church is the province of those who we sustain as Prophets, Seers and Revelators. I hope this will be taken as a conversation from one friend to another, for that is what prompted my search in the first place.
    As I have interacted with my friend I have come to admire her deep faith and strong desire to seek for truth in her life. My associations with LDS feminists have led me to want to be a kinder, more accepting, Christlike person. They have continually inspired me to seek for a deeper understanding of the truth and this has led me to an increased testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and of His restored church. My gratitude extends to them as well to all who share an interest in seeking after these truths.
    Trying to butter two sides of a piece of toast simultaneously is a nearly acrobatic feat for one person. It’s hard to do well and it’s hard not to make a mess in the process. Those who dispense with political correctness usually assert that they are trying to be straightforward rather than couching their dialog in sugar-coated euphemism. Too often this is used as license for incivility rather than for clear discussion. As a person who loves feminists but does not support the ordination of women to the Priesthood, I hope that these thoughts will be both straightforward and kind. I will try to accomplish both sides of this discussion without making too much of a mess. I do not write in the spirit of contention but of sincere desire for reconciliation between all seekers of truth. I believe that all of us feel there should be no schism within the body of Christ.
    If these ideas are wrong, which I admit is possible, I hope that those who read this will look upon it as my mother looked on me when I was screaming on the counter, toaster-plug in hand: “There’s David, trying to be a big kid again. Look, he’s just discovered electricity!” So, with every chance of saying what everyone else already knows, I present why I believe women should not be ordained to the Priesthood and why I think it brings us closer.

    Considering the Doctrine of the Fall in the Context of the Plan of Salvation
    When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they were faced with an incredible opportunity and an incredible choice. In their paradisiacal condition they had the ability to live forever, however they did not have knowledge of good and evil, nor could they become parents. The Lord had given them several commandments:

    1. A Commandment To Be Fruitful and to Multiply and Replenish The Earth

    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…”(Genesis 1:27-28)

    2. A Commandment Not to Partake of The Forbidden Fruit

    “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”(Genesis 2:17)

    In these verses we are faced again with a situation that seems perplexing until brought within the context of the Plan of Salvation. Adam and Eve could not keep both of these commandments. Many times throughout my life I have heard people question why God would give two contradictory commandments to our first parents. It seems puzzling. The key to understanding this puzzle is gaining a deeper understanding of the Plan of Salvation. Knowing that God’s whole purpose is to bring about, “the immortality and eternal life of man”, helps us see things more clearly and turns what seems to be a confusing contradiction into a clear and loving manifestation of God’s love.
    The sequence of the first two commandments is instructive. The first commandment was to multiply and replenish the earth. In Adam and Eve’s unfallen condition they were unable to do this. I’m sure they wanted to start a family. They probably dreamed of having a family, but they were incapable of doing this.

    “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.”(2 Nephi 2:22-24)

    Adam and Eve had to fall if they were ever to be able to obey the first commandment of God and become the parents of the human race. In Eden it was as if they received the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth along with a list of instructions on how to obey it. The first item on the list of instructions was to fall.
    The forbidden fruit was a sinless way to transgress a formal rule that was wrong only because it had been officially forbidden (mala prohibita) rather than violate a commandment which was inherently wrong (mala en se). Because God is just, he does not expel any clean thing from his presence. Therefore He would not force Adam and Eve from the garden unless they transgressed a law. He gave them the choice to partake of the fruit and enter mortality or to remain forever in the Garden of Eden.
    If we were to compare the two commandments, we would see a major disparity in their respective levels of importance. The first commandment held eternal significance and foreshadowed the couple’s potential for everlasting posterity. The second commandment was a formality that had been instituted for the express purpose of facilitating a transition into mortality. Although important in its role of helping Adam and Eve enter mortality there were no grandiose reasons for them not to eat the fruit. With their minds and hearts set firmly on obeying the paramount decree of God to begin a family, Adam and Eve partook of the fruit and fell. This in turn enabled them to begin having children. This furthered God’s work to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
    Seeing the first two commandments within the context of the Plan of Salvation clears up any perplexity that may have existed. They are a progressive series of instructions, the second vital to the fulfillment of the first. Many of the details of the Plan of Salvation become confusing if we lose sight that His plan is designed to bring to pass the eternal life of man and to help us receive a fulness of joy.
    We owe a great debt of gratitude to Eve who partook first of the fruit and to Adam who followed. Eve will be forever honored by those who truly understand the Plan of Salvation as a heroine who bravely stepped into a new world in order to fulfill the will of God.

    Considering the Doctrine of the Priesthood in the Context of the Plan of Salvation
    Like all other doctrines of the gospel, the Doctrine of the Priesthood must be seen within the full context of the Plan of Salvation to be truly understood. Questions, doubts or perceived injustices fly away in the light of truth when any honest seeker of truth begins to see any doctrine of the gospel in its true fullness. With this in mind, let’s consider the Doctrine of the Priesthood from the eternal perspective we gain from the Plan of Salvation.
    God’s plan provided us with the opportunity to come to earth, passing through the joys and trials of mortality. He also provided a means whereby we might escape both spiritual and physical death, the inevitable consequences of our mortal experience. Jesus Christ was chosen as the Redeemer of mankind.
    In the greatest act of love that the world has ever known, Christ gave himself as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Christ’s love for and union with the church was so complete that the scriptures often use the metaphor of a marriage. Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is his Bride. Marriage was the only mortal union that could begin to convey the extent of his love. This selfless union was also meant to show us what an eternal marriage could be like.
    The symbol of the church as the Bride of Christ pervades the New Testament and early Christian theology. In the Book of Common Prayer we read just one well-known example of this principle set forth:
    “DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church” (The Book of Common Prayer, 1928)
    The strength of this symbolic union was one of the principal reasons why divorce was barred by the Catholic Church for centuries. Christ would never abandon his Church, thus marriage was absolutely indissoluble. To the Latter-day Saint the mystical union betwixt Christ and his Church has largely been demystified through modern revelation. We are linked to Christ by covenant. Likewise we are linked to our spouses by eternal covenant.
    If we return to Eden we can learn a great lesson about the Doctrine of the Priesthood from the events that transpired there. It’s a principle that I think is important because it can help families become closer together and closer to God.
    When Eve partook of the forbidden fruit she took upon herself a symbolic role. She represented the faith that each of us demonstrated in stepping from the pre-mortal world into this fallen world. Eve knew full-well the ramifications of this glorious choice. She single-handedly moved forward the Plan of Salvation for all mankind. And think for a moment the trust she placed in God and in Adam; for if Adam had not followed Eve in partaking of the fruit, if He had not joined her in leaving the garden, she could not have had children. More importantly the promised Savior could not have come to earth to provide the means for mankind’s return to live with God. Eve was unshakable in her faith.
    I believe each of us faced a similar decision in the pre-mortal council when we chose to follow the plan of Heavenly Father. We could step out of paradise and put our full trust in Jesus Christ’s promise to redeem us, or we could have chosen to follow the plan of the adversary and forfeited our chance for mortal life and our second estate.
    Symbolically, Eve is each of us, male or female. We are Eve. We chose to leave our paradisiacal home trusting on God as our only means for returning to him.
    Adam also faced a choice. He could have remained in the Garden of Eden forever, but he would have remained alone. Adam knew that the Plan of God required him to leave Eden and join Eve in the fallen world. The thought of not spending eternity with his beloved helpmeet must have proven unbearable. Without each other, the plan could not continue. Together, they could create a family to which in time the promised Messiah could be sent.
    Adam left his paradisiacal home to be with Eve, knowing that only together they would be capable of making it back. He wanted to be forever with Eve. He wanted to start a family. He wanted to fulfill his part in the Plan of Salvation. The only way for him to do this was to join his Bride in the mortal sphere.
    Symbolically, Adam is Christ. Christ chose to follow us from pre-mortality to this fallen world so that all of us might have the ability to return to the presence of God. Without Christ even our brave demonstration of faith in choosing to come to earth would not have been enough.
    Importantly, this symbol does not exalt men and degrade women. Men did not come to save women! Christ came to save all of us. Adam and Eve’s marriage is an incredible symbol of this to me. Their marriage is meant to point us to Christ. Their conduct both in the Garden and beyond carries immense symbolic significance. It lends clarity to the principles presented by Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians.

    Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…(Ephesians 5:22-25)

    Such a relationship is not one of inequality when truly understood. It is a relationship of divine equality. It is a symbolic relationship. It is the relationship that we have with Christ, and there is no other relationship that compares in scope or depth to the love that Christ has for us.
    I believe that the Lord wants us to have the opportunity to have a marriage like Adam and Eve. The Lord extends to each couple married through covenant the chance to become a type of Christ. Both the man and the woman is necessary to teach their children of the family’s absolute reliance on the Lord.
    Imagine the effect this type of union would have on children. They would grow up in a family where the relationship of their parents continuously points them to Christ. The father loves and honors the mother as Christ loves and honors the Church. The mother loves and honors the father, as we love and honor Christ. In conduct toward each other and in shared purpose of being a family for all of eternity, the Priesthood would bring them closer.
    In families where there is no Priesthood holder present, the Doctrine of the Priesthood still brings the family closer. Such circumstances draw upon the ward family ensuring that no families are left isolated.
    There are no differences in physical, mental, emotional or spiritual capacity between men and women that would preclude females from holding the Priesthood. There are no differences between men and women in their ability for spiritual strength or dedicated service. Both are equal before God and equally dependent upon the Atonement of Christ.
    Men are ordained to the Priesthood so that they may act in the name of Christ both in their symbolic role within a marriage as well as in their clerical role in the Church. Women do not hold the authority of the Priesthood so that they might perform the equally important service of pointing those around them to Christ. By making clear their dependence on the Priesthood faithful women are symbols to the world of each of our complete dependence on Christ.
    When we chose to follow the Plan of God in the pre-mortal existence both men and women were foreordained to fulfill specific missions in this life. Men who followed Christ were foreordained to be bearers of the Priesthood. Women who followed Christ were foreordained to point others to Him by not holding the Priesthood. In doing so, they followed Mother Eve into a brave new world. We importantly recall that in the pre-mortal council that we shouted for joy because of this plan. I promise that same joy can be ours as we gain a greater testimony of God’s plan and the part we play in it.
    In a world calling for us to be increasingly independent, I am calling for us to become more dependent: dependent on the Priesthood, dependent on Christ and dependent on each other. As we rely more fully on others and become truly interdependent, bonds of trust will form. They will make us ever more unified and the Priesthood will serve to bring us closer.

    My Testimony
    I know that the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as the Holy Priesthood has been restored to the earth in our day by heaven. My testimony is that the church is in the right course and is guided continuously by revelation from on high. No group needs to agitate an issue in order to help the brethren get it right. Doctrine does not change as new Apostles and Prophets are called. Women are not disenfranchised in the Restored Church; indeed, the Doctrine of the Priesthood helps us understand the vital part that women play in advancing the Great Plan of Happiness.
    I invite those who have questions relating to the ordination of women to the Priesthood to earnestly study the Doctrine of the Priesthood. From personal experience I know that this is an incredible source of truth and peace.

    I also invite those who have been advocating the ordination of women to the Priesthood to end this campaign. Regardless of the intentions of their cause, it is creating a schism within the body of Christ. Let us be reconciled together through Christ, for then the Priesthood will truly bring us closer.

  24. Thanks for this initial blog post. You may want to add an adendum to it with Michael Otterson’s most recent letter to OW on their blog post on Feminist Mormon Housewives (one of them wrote to him and he responded, she posted his email onto the site … and it can be verified through Church Public Affairs). Would be helpful to add to our post or use it for a new post:

    “Dear Sister Reynolds:

    Thank you for your email addressed to me. I am genuinely sorry that you are upset by the reports you have received about the women’s protest on Saturday evening.

    I note that you were not present. I assure you not only that many of us were, but that video of the event shows very, very clearly the repeated attempts that were made to remind the sisters at the head of the line in a very kind but clear way that they had been asked not to bring their protest on to the sacred ground of Temple Square, and to kindly leave. The marchers entered Temple Square by opening the closed East Gate, and subsequently ignored the Church spokeswoman in a very deliberate way. It seemed clear that the leaders wanted to be seen to be rebuffed my male ushers to demonstrate a point. It was extremely manipulative on their part, and no doubt the hired documentarians that were brought onto the square by the group will edit the proceedings to make that point. However, no objective person could possibly argue that this was not a protest and rejection of a plea from Church leaders. That request was communicated in writing to the group ahead of time and repeated in the news media. It is not surprising that the overwhelming response from Church members so far is disappointment that such an event would occur at that place and on that particular weekend.

    Please also understand that no Church spokesperson – whether Cody Craynor, Jessica Moody or myself – issues statements on behalf of the Church that are not either initiated or approved by members of the Twelve and, at times, by the First Presidency. We stand by the statement that was issued on their behalf, and which was accurate in every detail.

    We are glad that you found Kim Farah’s actions kind. So did I. Kim, who is a valued member of my staff, did a fine job of lowering temperatures once it became clear that the women were not going to leave, but only then. As to your comments about creating division, I’m afraid I can only ask you to reflect on what is actually causing divisiveness at a time when most people are coming to General Conference for spiritual uplift, many carrying great personal burdens.

    Conversations about how best to value and enhance the amazing contributions of women in our Church and to educate all our members continue to occur at the highest levels, as they have for some years. I am privileged to be in those meetings along with our sister leaders, and have had long and numerous discussions with wonderful women drawn from the body of the Church. Unfortunately, the leaders of the group about whom you write have removed themselves from any possibility of involvement in those conversations by their confrontational tactics and uncompromising positions on doctrinal matters.

    I do hope that you will try to understand how disappointed Church leaders are over the staged event of last weekend, and that you will find peace, comfort and confidence in the apostles and prophets who lead us.”

    I wish you the very best.

    Michael R. Otterson
    Managing Director
    Public Affairs
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  25. L:

    Can you provide a citation or a link? I am not finding any record of the letter.

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