Open questions for the Ordain Women crowd

I recently read an article by Jana Riess showing a study where only 10% of LDS women want the priesthood, while 48% of LDS men are supportive of them getting it.

Do you think that with such a low number of women seeking it (versus 100% of black LDS men seeking PH prior to the 1978 revelation) will draw much attention from the GAs beyond giving women more say in Councils, etc?

How would a new revelation on priesthood for women affect the 90% who do not want it? If we suddenly said they had to have a specific priesthood in order to get a temple recommend or serve in a calling, how would it turn their world upside down?

I don’t have a problem with God giving women a priesthood of some kind or the same kind. I do want it carefully considered and deliberated upon, and not just done because it is the sociological thing to do.  I think the cultural change caused by it could shock the Church right now, because most LDS women are not ready for it and not wanting it.

And there are other factors:

If women are given the exact priesthood men have, how will it affect the entire system? How would the traditional family and Proclamation on the Family be affected? With the family as the foundation of the Church, would such a major change without preparation of the members and families cause families to fall apart in the chaos that would ensue? Would it end up being like Obamacare – a huge and unpopular program that was implemented too fast and without much forethought on doing it right the first time?

And what if a different priesthood is given to women, which gave them some, but not all, the power of the men? What if there were a minor change that still accomodated the 90% of LDS women? Would it be sufficient for the women beloning to OW? Or would they then complain that it did not go far enough?  When would they state, “God has made his decision”?

Do you feel that the changes made recently in how women have more power in the Councils and as missionaries is perhaps the first step by the First Presidency to prepare the women (and members) of the Church for a form of priesthood?

Finally, if we are going to work a change, we have to bring possible solutions to the table, and not just whine and complain. How would YOU propose such change be made that works best for the women and families of the Church?

BTW, I have posted these and other questions at the FMH site, where their “diversity” is being celebrated, but no one (besides Silver Rain, who does not seek the PH) has chosen to answer my questions.

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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery ( He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

35 thoughts on “Open questions for the Ordain Women crowd

  1. What is “OW”?

    For specifics I would start by having the Church authorities look over every calling which is currently restricted to men and see if there really is God given a reason to restrict it; or if it is just tradition that came about because men assumed it should be that way. I would also do that opposite analysis for women only callings. Basically why can a women be Primary President but not a Sunday School President (or vice-versa), etc.? How about a financial clerk? Currently in the Church there are a number of “male only” callings which seem to have no connection to priesthood keys or essential ordinances.

    Once a clear delineation of what callings and roles absolutely require the priesthood (and why) has been made, then I think the Church authorities ought to look at the history of women giving blessings and performing annointings in the modern LDS Church, including why women were called as “Temple Healers” for the first several decades of this dispensation. Figuring out why it was proper and Church sanctioned for women to annoint with oil and give blessings, both in and out of the temple, in the early decades of the Church would help us understand what aspects of the priesthood are gender specific.

    Then recognizing that women still hold and use the priesthood in temple ordinances (otherwise many of the ordinances performed for women, by women, in the temple couldn’t be valid) the Church authorities should figure out why women are *already* allowed to perform some priesthood ordinances but not others in the modern LDS Church.

    Then having done all that home work the Church authorities should ask God what the maximum amount of priesthood authority is which can be extended to women. That way even if the answer came back as “nothing more” there would be an existing explanation which was understandable for the policy of mostly excluding women from the priesthood. But as it sits now LDS women already have priesthood duties in the Church, and have had more in the recent past. It would be nice to understand the reason for the current policy, and it would be even better to make some corrections (if possible) so the Church’s policy did not exclude women when there is no eternal or God given mandate to do so.

  2. As a quick follow-up – a sample point of one – I think women probably should be ordained to the priesthood and my wife does not. We are both members in good standing, very active in our Ward, current callings, current recommends, etc. etc. 🙂

  3. Here we go again. Women do not “hold” or “use” the priesthood in the temple. Sisters that work in the temple are set apart, but they are not given any kind of priesthood. Everything – per Handbook 2, 2.1.2, is delagated authority to function in their callings. And if you’re going to analyze what can be done without the priesthood, then you also need to analyze what can be done without being female. Why can’t the RS or Primary president or YW president be male? Give me one good reason why men can’t hold positions of authority within those auxillaries that is not sexist in nature. The bottom line is that if you give women the priesthood, evey calling, from President of the Church on down, should be open and available to sisters. I’m actually not against that if that is what God wants. However, I don’t see, in the scriptures or otherwise, when that has been what He wants. You would think, in all the recorded dispensations or in the Book of Mormon when things seemed to be at their best (immediately after Christ’s visit) there would be some reference to women needing to hold the priesthood. For some strange reason it’s not in the standard works. Temple healers? Lots of things occured in the early days of the church that don’t occur now. They don’t translate into permanent “doctrines.” Adult men used to be asked to leave their families and serve missions. We don’t do that anymore. Maybe we should form a committee and review that history and question why that isn’t done anymore, too.

  4. RE: IDIAT
    Can a women be “set apart” (in the “traditional” meaning of that word) to do a baptism? I don’t think so. So either the women in the temple actually exercise priesthood authority to perform some ordinances or the the ordinances are not valid – it has to be one or the other. Meaning that the action of being “set apart” as a female temple worker actually confers the ability to bind on Earth what will be bound in Heaven. Which is very different from being set apart to function as a primary or Sunday school president – i.e., they (women) are being set apart to perform *ordinances*, not just to act in a role such as presiding or teaching in an auxiliary.

    My point is only that women in the Church today already perform some *essential* priesthood ordinances of salvation. It would be nice to find out (from God rather than tradition) which ones they could really be allowed to do – meaning that God would recognize as valid.

    I’m not sure what you classify as the “early” days of the Church, but the callings/role of Temple healer lasted into the early 1900s, and the practice (sanctioned by the First Presidency) of allowing women to annoint with consecrated oil and give blessings went well beyond that.

  5. From what I understand, there’s a flaw with the these statistics. The study sample included people from lots of religious types asking basic questions about their faith. The Mormon part of the sample is quite small, like in the 50s. And so if you ask a sizable sample religious adherents in the US what they think about women having the priesthood in their respective religions, you get a pretty good answer, but if you narrow your question to only the Mormons, your sample size is statistically insignificant. In other words, these percentages mean next to nothing.

    On the other hand, it’s probably true that most Mormon women aren’t interested in getting the priesthood, so I think the post still raises some valid questions, just not on the basis of the survey itself.

  6. DavidF, I agree that the study is lacking, and is only a start in understanding this phenomenon.

    Idiat, women DO receive the priesthood in the temple. Along with their husbands, they receive the Patriarchal Priesthood, receiving with it numerous eternal blessings from the sealer. That women are anointed, as are the men, is another example of being ordained to a “temple version” of the priesthood. In the Nauvoo period of the Church, women belonged to the Quorum of the Anointed, along with their husbands. They were involved in healings, prayer circles outside the temple (including leading them), etc. One of the key reasons why Emma Smith did not cross the Plains was she insisted on keeping her position in the QofA and as an “elect lady”, which Brigham Young refused. With her refusing to follow him, he closed down the Relief Society for 20 years, and when he allowed it to come back, it was in a vastly muted form than it was in Nauvoo.

    John S Harvey: Whether women get the MP/AP priesthood or not, I still think callings of Sunday School president and ward clerk should be opened up to women. I do not see any priesthood requirement to manage records (women do it in the temple all of the time) or SS classes.

    And I sincerely think this may be the route the GAs are taking.

    With the blacks receiving the priesthood, it was a process. David O. McKay opened up the priesthood to non-African blacks, for example. Genesis Group was begun, and discussions happened over several years. It took time to bring about change in the structure of the 12, allowing those who were adamantly opposed to the change to pass away. Even then, the revelation in 1978 occurred with only 11 of the 12 present, with some speculating that it may not have occurred if the missing one was there.

    I think that IF God chooses to give women the priesthood, or A priesthood, it will take time and require such smaller changes to occur first, in order to prepare the Church for such a revelation.

  7. I’ll try and return to give some fuller answers to the later question, but since the 10% stat is the heart of your question I will try and address that now.

    I believe that the vast difference between the female and male support rate is telling. Why the huge disparity?

    In answering the question, men and women will “feel” the question differently.

    For a man answering, the question is more displaced. It doesn’t change anything. While he may feel the answer will reflect on him (“If I say no, does it prove I’m faithful? Or does it make me/the church sound sexist?), he can more easily answer it in the hypothetical “If the Lord wants it”, because the question doesn’t reflect on him directly. The question is about “them”, not him. He already receives the priesthood.

    For a woman answering, the question is directly reflection. The answer reflects on her directly. While she could hope the person questioning will take it with a “If the Lord wants it”, it will naturally feel less hypothetical. It feels like a challenge to the established order. “Do you think women should have the priesthood?” sound very much like, “Do you want the priesthood, even though God doesn’t want you to have it?” The question is about her, not just about “them”.

    Or, in short, the answer reflects differently on the respondent and they feel it differently.
    If instead of asking “Do you want the priesthood?” the question were asked as, “If the Prophet said the Lord had revealed that women should be ordained to the priesthood, would you support women being ordained?”, I suspect that the statistic would be rather different.

    Frankly that 10% of women surveyed (which, if we take as a valid proportion and extrapolate from the numbers the church uses, represents 600,000 women, or roughly 300 stakes worth of women) are able to say that they want to receive the priesthood (well, maybe since the scriptures speak highly of the priesthood and those who, like Abraham, seek after it), in spite of the established order is quite remarkable.

    And just having did the one stat conversion, when you look at that initial stat you quote, if we’re going to take it as indicative in any way, it implies that fully 1/3 of the church supports women receiving the priesthood….

  8. Or to put even more shortly, I don’t think 90% of women “not wanting the priesthood” should be taken to mean they wouldn’t want it if God were to reveal that they should be ordained. Most don’t want it because they believe God doesn’t want them to want it (i.e. – wanting it genuinely doesn’t interest them because it’s not the program; but if it sudden were the program, I don’t think they would be angry/unwilling).

  9. John Harvey: Without getting overly specific as to what goes on in the temple, women help out in the initiatory and during the endowment session, not baptisms, confirmations and sealings. (By help out I mean help officiate versus service as a patron) You think they must have “some” priesthood authority, otherwise the things they do wouldn’t be effective. Perhaps we’re dealing with semantics, but I still reference that portion of the Handbook. Everything — at least everything as pertains to building the kingdom of God — is done with priesthood authority, authority that can be delegated. See. 2.1.2 and 2.4.2. Even the auxillary presidents exercise delegated authority of the priesthood, but not the priesthood itself. In essence, the delegated authority is to assist the leader in fulfilling his calling, which usually means, fulfilling the calling of one who holds keys, such as SP, Bishop, Temple President, Mission President, etc. Section 19.4 reiterates that when setting someone apart, keys are not given to anyone except those who are to receive them. This would include female temple workers, obviously. My point is that everyone works under delegated authority, but it doesn’t mean you actually hold the priesthood. RS presidents, YW leaders, YM Presidents, SS Presidents, their counselors, teachers — everyone is operating under delegated authority. Probably not a perfect analogy, but typically a sheriff is elected in the county. He is the one, and the only one, who has authority as the chief law enforcement officer in the county. However, he usually delegates that authority (by commissions) to deputy sheriffs. The reason ordinances performed by women for women are effective is because they are being performed under the delegated authority of the Temple President. I can’t think of a perfect analogy because the priesthood is so unique. Old leaders spoke of women holding the priesthood by virtue of being married to a priesthood holder. First, this necessarily would imply that unmarried sisters don’t hold any priesthood. Second, the tenor of the language gives me the impression that it’s a delegated type of holding, similar to being a calling. I do wish a modern leader would flesh these concepts out better.

  10. As an obstetrician I have had the privilege of assisting perhaps 4000+ parents bring new life into the world. Although, as is said, it takes both a man and a woman to make a child, it is the woman who has the honor of, in some miraculous way unknown, to call down a spirit child of Heavenly Father and enthrone him or her with an earthly tabernacle, allow this child to develop within her, and to birth that child into a new world absolutely vital to our happiness and progression. I have never ceased to be amazed! In a small way, we men who hold the priesthood, through the performance of ordinances, are also privileged to assist God’s children with another birth, that into newness of life as children of Jesus Christ, also absolutely vital to our happiness and progression. Both the mother and priesthood bearer father may jointly and ideally, in both similar and unique ways, contribute profoundly to the guiding of physically and spiritually newborn children of God. But the woman, the mother, the nurturer…is, has been, and will always be unsurpassed.
    My parents were fairly ordinary by the standards of the world and even the church. But in my family their contributions to the eternal welfare of their children were incalculable. My young life was molded in a way by my mother through that unique bond of having brought me into the world and nurtured me in the early years that could never be matched by my father. As I grew, the influence of both my parents increased in importance and I was specifically blessed through the priesthood of my father. Yet, my mother took her responsibilities seriously and her influence never waned as my father’s influence increased as the years went by. From talking to them through the years I came to realize that both thought they had fallen short of their unique responsibilities and felt they had neither the time nor the knowledge to do what they thought God wanted them to do. I share that same perspective now as a parent and a grandparent and it is from that vantage point I can honor now and in eternity the unique influence of each of my parents. If my mother had been one exercising the priesthood, the one to administer the ordinances of life and my father’s priesthood blessings for which I asked him, it would not have been an equal marriage. No equality in the family would have been manifest. My mother would have been THE influence and my father a helpful figure, but nonetheless a bystander. However, in the economy of God’s plan it worked out beautifully.
    I have no doubt that both my parents would be highly perplexed, if they were alive today, at the desire of some women to hold the priesthood and exercise it within the family and church as some propose. I believe they would wonder as to the thinking involved behind the desire, whether that thinking is on the part of the sisters or the brethren of the church. They would wonder as to whether such really understood the unique and joint responsibilities that men and women have as currently taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They would be amazed at the amount of time some have to want to take on additional responsibilities now, when all seem to fall so short of what they are currently asked to do. But, they were from a former generation, whose values were passed down from not a few generations before that.
    This is a new generation. Perhaps it is still the one that Christ was referring to in Doctrine and Covenants Section 1, in which we “seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god…” Perhaps “our own god” today is our world culture, as it is currently constituted. I have certainly been guilty of seeking this and likely will continue to so be in the future, as a frail human being. But we have to be careful, to think straight. Would giving our sisters the priesthood and its administrative responsibilities as we brethren currently hold it, make us equal? Absolutely not! Only when and until we brethren have the power to not only assist in procreation, but to be given the immeasurable privilege of nurturing that spirit, growing in flesh for those months inside us, and to bond to that child in the same unique way our sisters do after his or her birth…only then, will men and women be truly equal. Will this happen now or in the next life? Well, we have no choice but to wait and see, but if the responsibility and privilege came for us men to personally birth and nurture new lives, would I do it? Yes! That would be the only way for the other half of God’s children to develop the immense power, insight, and blessings currently held only by God’s privileged daughters. Do I think it will come? I do not. But I do think that would be the only way for all God’s children to be equal in each and every thing.
    I think there has been some precedent set through current life experience, eons of past experience, current revelation, and past revelation to be comfortable with some male and female privileges as they currently stand. Certainly this is so in regards to women’s unique role in nurturing new physical life. Perhaps it is true in men’s unique role in nurturing new spiritual life in most of the ways as they currently stand. I think it likely that very few understand what it really means to become “one flesh” in a marriage blessed by the priesthood. It means a single identity, a single bond, blessed by two unique beings that become one in blessings and shared, not identical, responsibilities that grow evermore. I know I do not understand it, but I sense its beauty and yearn to experience it in its fullest sense in the hereafter.
    In all this, I have said, nor meant, nothing about women being given increased responsibilities in the church, or being honored for their accomplishments in education and in each and every earthly or church responsibility. I think we should be honored equally, but I am always skeptical of honors for anybody, especially those sought after. My feeling is that those who aspire the honors of responsibility with recognition of the other sex, be it men or women, do not yet realize what they already have. Perhaps that is part of the journey of learning in this life and the next. We do believe in continuing revelation. But, I am doubtful that we are ever to be identical in all the roles (childbearing and priesthood) we currently hold as men and women in God’s plan. If such came to pass, somehow I think the purpose and most of the beauty of sharing and becoming as one in marriage would be lost. My awe for my wife is not diminished one whit because of the priesthood she does not hold individually. I do not honor her because of any priesthood she could theoretically hold, I honor her for everything else she brings to the marriage, at which I can only marvel and never equal.
    As I understand the teachings of the Savior from the beginning and as revealed anew to us in the restored Church, most of what we do to serve our fellow brothers or sisters can be done by either the brethren or the sisters. That service asked of us seems almost infinite and at the end of my lifetime I hope to have accomplished a small part of it and to have repented (much) for what I did not accomplish. As I read the scriptures and listen to the men and women authorities of our church as they teach from the pulpit in conference and our countless church meetings…as I listened at the feet of my mother and father…as I read the words of my faithful pioneer mothers and fathers…all say to serve God and our fellow creatures as would the Savior. He always seemed to teach us to turn from those wanting the chief seats at the marketplace or feasts of influence, but to pay more particular attention to the acts of service, of kindness, to those that seek not the honor. I have never been aware of anyone in my personal experience of a near lifetime, male or female, to have sought recognition of Christ like service or position, and countless many have crossed my path. However, I have known from history, and from current media in all its forms, many who I sense, perhaps wrongly, but nevertheless I do sense, are seeking for honors and attention for themselves. Of such, my tendency is to maintain the utmost cynicism. My own meager experience has been, when trying to effect change in relationships or organizations, is to do it in a way that may be imperceptible to those around you…and to be very careful. That way, when one is wrong, it does not call too much attention to oneself. And, when one is right, the attention can be called to someone more deserving above us, and ultimately for every good thing, to God and His Christ, from which every good thing originates, and to which every real honor belongs.

  11. Who cares if some survey shows that only 10% of LDS women say they want the priesthood? I think the better question to raise here is, “What would the women of the Church do/say if President Thomas S. Monson announced a policy change/new revelation regarding women and priesthood?” If a change to the priesthood organization comes from the Lord through the mouth of His Prophet, and if members gain a personal witness of the change, I think the Church will be fine.

    In other words, statistics on whether women want the priesthood now are almost entirely irrelevant. Ironic, isn’t it, that you are the one raising a sociological issue to a doctrinal topic?

  12. Ram – just had time to read your comment – I don’t think they currently hold but are annointed to become such. And I’m not sure there’s a separate patriarchal priesthood apart from the MP – at least that’s not the doctrine I’ve been taught. There is only one priesthood, divided into AP and MP. That’s it. We may talk about patriarchs, presiding within our homes, and so forth, but my impression is everything is but an appendage to the MP.

  13. A few quick thoughts to your open questions. First, I’m not part of the Ordain Women movement. On the ordination of women, I could go either way. I’m not sure it matters. Women do an oustanding job, usually outperforming men in leadership roles despite not having it. I assume the PH would only strengthen women.

    Most of the consequences you delineate are parallel to the things people said about women entering the workplace in the 1950s and 1960s, the arguments people wanted to make against that. Have there been some consequences? Yes, both positive and negative. Generally speaking, the structure has changed. Workplaces don’t discriminate against women like they used to. Sexual harassment is no longer the norm. Women’s concerns have resulted in policy changes that better support families. Women were no longer stuck in abusive marriages because they had options for self-support that they didn’t have before. If the prophet said the time is at hand to ordain women, everyone who is a believing member would praise the decision and get on the bus. We’re Mormons. That’s how we roll.

    I don’t understand why you say no solutions have been brought to the table to create more equality. Since the inception of the bloggernacle, there have been innumerable blog posts making suggestions: let women pray at Gen Conf, quit firing CES-employed seminary teachers because they get pregnant, provide female counsel to church DCs, bring women into all decision-making bodies. Without sufficient female input, we get what we have today. Our manuals reflect a male viewpoint. Our policies are geared toward men. The PoF (not canon of course) was written by men with no female input. We don’t run our marriages like that. Why should we run the church that way?

  14. Why should we run the church that way? Because the administration of the church is not the same as the administration of a family. I think Elder Oaks gave a talk on that distinction. I’m not saying I don’t concur with a lot of what your wrote, just pointing out the distinction. The struggle I have in placing women in DC’s and so forth is that fact that we don’t place random men in DC’s, either. Meaning, the Bishop or SP is the common judge, not his counselors or high councilors. If you put women in DC’s, why not the EQ Pres, HPGL, YW President, Primary President, etc? Ultimately, while discussions may be had in a DC, it’s the one presiding who makes the prayerful decision. While there is some discussion about the facts of the particular matter, there usually isn’t a whole lot of debate. It’s not a democratic process. I think solutions have been brought up in the bloggernacle, and I sometimes wonder if women, in the general Primary, YW and RS presidencies, echo those ideas in the meetings they attend with the GA’s. Sure, men may have drafted the POTF – why would women of the church have written it any differently? I don’t think my wife would have. And thus you see the problem of involving women in general. If “yes” women were called to certain callings, those on the feminist side would complain they aren’t fairly represented. (They might actually voice that complaint now, given the attacks on the old general YW president). In other words, I don’t know how to placate a seemingly small segment of sisters who might never be satisfied until they see a woman as president of the church. I do agree that if President Monson got up at conference and said women will be given the priesthood, that most of us would carry on happily, presuming spiritual confirmation. To me it is a bit of an all or nothing issue. It’s hard for me to imagine giving the sisters the equivalent of the AP, for instance. They would quickly clamor for the MP, and rightly so. And if you give the MP, then it would involve a cross the board change in everything. There wouldn’t really be a need to have separate YM/YW, MP and RS. We’d all just meet together, presidencies would be composed of males and females working shoulder to shoulder, etc. All gender distinction would be erased. I could accept that. I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

  15. It’s too bad we don’t have any statistics of what percentage of men wanted the Priesthood before the Church instituted ordaining every white male over 12. Would we have gotten similar numbers? (I also don’t think the % of blacks who wanted Priesthood before 1978 was 100% – you’d have some percentage who also “don’t want the responsibility”)

  16. DavidF,
    You should probably re-open a statistics book.
    The central limit theorem is satisfied with as few as 30 in a sample.
    That means the statistic is both significant and valid.

    My wife, who has a PhD in biostatistics, explained that “with a lower sample size the power in finding something could be lower, but if a difference is found, it is still significant. The low sample size makes it harder to find something, not invalidating the significance when found”

  17. My hesitation regarding these statistics is that all the people surveyed were American. I’m guessing that support for OW is far lower in those other countries where the church is having most of its success. Of course I have no data to back that up, only a hunch.

  18. I’m of the opposite mindset in my personal view. It almost seems as if it should be more limited. Boys aren’t ready, rarely take it seriously, and as a result it seems we end up with elders and even HPs who often take it for granted. This gets into President Packers observation that authority but not power has been distributed.

    Now, I fully realize this church isn’t my church and not done according to my laws. So I seek for understanding as to why it could be this way. Perhaps the Lord wants to give us the chance and demonstrate trust to YM in advance. Perhaps it helps them to raise their sights, and clearly it many instances it also has the desired effect of blessing individual lives.

    Now… What about women? I would not see the need for my wife to be ordained. She is filled with rest power when she serves others and receives revelation in such a way that often has her in tune with what the authorities and RS presidencies are saying and doing before it’s announced.

    She is blessed beyond measure by the Priesthood now.

    So the added benefit would be different callings where she would have keys to preside over labors or to administer ordinances. The real question is why not these options not why don’t women have power to receive blessings and bless the lives of others through their faith. My personal opinion is the family takes priority and even though not all have families, we severely risk eroding the family at the margins if we further add to women’s responsibilities.

    People might feel that sounds terrible, and we should just 50/50 share duties etc, but that seems founded in resentment or jealousy over our traditional roles.

    Either way all this hand ringing or pleading, etc is just frustrating. Love God, love your neighbor. Be a disciple of Christ. I cant believe if we can do that as a people God would hold anything back. But I’m certain if we don’t live up to what we have he will.

  19. h_nu,

    Interesting. I probably ought to re-open a stats book. It’s been a while. Thanks for the information. Though I think there’s another problem beneath these statistics. You have to take those 50-odd people and divide them into two groups (and if memory serves, the female group was even smaller), and then you record the responses of either group. So it would be okay to find out how many Mormons in a group of 50 thought female ordination was good. But it would be statistically insignificant if you compare the responses of, say 23 females and 27 males, because those are two insignificant sample sizes that you are deriving different sets of ratios from.

    In other words, if you took out the men completely, and asked 23 random Mormon women, you couldn’t get an accurate statistic. And even if you get some data, comparing it to 27 men doesn’t help you because the 27 men aren’t a reliable sample either.

    Am I wrong?

  20. DavidF,
    I expect you are wrong.
    But how about you give the reference for claiming there were only 50 Mormon respondents, then we can at least be on the same page about that.

  21. h_nu,

    Unfortunately, someone posted that info on a facebook group I no longer belong to. But good news! I did an internet search, and pew forum did a survey among Mormons on this topic that is 6 years more recent than the American Grace survey

    The Pew Forum data shows that 90% of women are against ordination (so same statistic), but that 84% of men are also against female ordination. That’s dramatically higher than what the American Grace survey showed. (that’s a 35% difference, which means one of these surveys is really off).

    Anyway, none of this is really important to the discussion. Carry on.

  22. Hawkgrrl, I do not think movements to allow women to pray in General Conference or wear pants on Sundays as necessarily solutions that lead us to women being ordained. As I’ve said, It won’t bother me if they are.

    But there are issues that are being ignored. When you pick up one end of a stick, you pick up the other end. So, when women were given more social equality in the workforce, it improved many things for them. However, as more women moved into the workforce, we begin seeing an equally strong shift in the weakening of families. Divorce rates now soar. Single parent homes are the standard. More kids belong to gangs, are involved in drugs and other risky behavior than ever before.

    This doesn’t mean that giving women an opening into the work force was bad; it just means that new challenges occurred, partially because of the change, and we have not found good methods to fix it yet.

    Now, translate that set of problems that occurred in giving women opportunities over the last century into problems that may occur in the Church if women are fully ordained. Suddenly, the structure of family is changed. A Young Men’s presidency could ostensibly be filled with women, who may improve some things, but would greatly affect the young man who needs a good male role model in his life. The Proclamation on the Family would have to be changed, as it still insists on a traditional family concept (going against the world’s focus on equality). I’m certain there are many other small, but important, ways in which the family and Church would be negatively impacted. Those things would have to be dealt with, or at least managed on some level.

    THIS is what I mean by solutions. I’m not talking about how women can push or plead their way into having the priesthood. I’m talking about the aftermath of such a big change.

  23. Right, I’m glad you also found that, DavidF.
    I was eventually going to bring it up. One difference in the sampling is that AG let people self identify.. Pew took into account level of religiosity. I’d compare it to sampling BCC vs sampling M*. Pew had much better representation of the faithful.

  24. BTW, for those who do not believe women are conferred priesthood in the temple, note this recent statement by Elder Ballard as quoted by Church News::

    = When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which is by definition priesthood power. “All who enter the house of the Lord officiate in the ordinances of the priesthood. This applies to men and women alike.” =

  25. Yes, I’ve read Elder Ballard’s talk. Note he says power not authority. If they received the priesthood then I guess they could anoint and give a blessing in the temple. They surely wouldn’t “lose” the priesthood upon leaving the temple, either. I mean, once you receive the priesthood you don’t lose it. Yet, I didn’t hear Elder Ballard say endowed sister hold the priesthood. I think I’ll stick with the position that women do not receive the priesthood by participating in the temple ordinances.

  26. Idiat,
    I get what you are saying. But remember language is imprecise and we’re using words evolve with culture and history to describe the power that creates the universe. Maybe we could quibble a little less…

    It is abundantly clear woman are not ordained to an Priesthood office.

    It’s abundantly clear women receive the Priesthood in a myriad of ways. If you can’t appreciate those ways you have understood the gospel or Priesthood. – idiat like I said I agree women hold no specific office in the Priesthood.

    I frankly think we are so wrapped up in the concept of office it reveals more about us and our pride and ambitions, etc.

    Here’s a question – what eternal priesthood office will you hold to be a joint heir with Christ, possess all the Father hath and be exalted unto eternal lives?

    I respectfully submit it’s the “office” of Mother and Father. Our quibbling over office and authority to perform certain roles in the here and now is really beyond the point in my mind. It’s a damn shame we focus so much on this rather than on magnifying the callings we do have and getting to work by receiving what the Lord is giving us through his servants here and now.

  27. Here’s my struggle with saying women receive the priesthood in the temple. I’ve never heard or read a leader say that, past or present. Like Elder Ballard, they may talk around priesthood power, partaking of the blessings of the priesthood, and so forth. But, I’ve never once read a clear and unambigous “Sisters receive the priesthood when they participate in temple ordinances.” It’s not said in temple prep classes, not in the church handbook, the gospel principles manual, etc. I find it hard to believe that after about 130 years of temple worship, such clear and unambigous language would not be freely found. Therefore, while I have entertained thoughts of how sisters might in some way exercise the priesthood in the temple (what does it mean to officiate on behalf of yourself or vicariously, anyway?) I have tempered that curiousity and pondering with what my priesthood leaders have taught. I think people go through the temple imagining all sorts of things, trying to make sense of words and phrases and symbols. All of that is well and good. But the things of the temple should correlate and be considered in light of revealed doctrine. And if revealed doctrine says women are not priesthood holders, that should factor into one’s thinking. Interestingly, Handbook Two says the small “p” priesthood is the pwoer and authority of God. Then, it goes on to say that in mortality, this priesthood is given to man (is that generic or specific to males?) to act in all things necessary for the salvation of God’s children. Finally, the small “p” priesthood is divided into two parts, the AP being but an appendage to the larger MP. Thus, the impression I have is that there is but one priesthood, and that’s the MP. The priesthood is the power and authority of God, has always existed and will continue to exist. It appears to be the same priesthood that will exist in the life to come. All of this is standard stuff, straight out of the handbook and other church publications. Again, in none of those publications do I read that women, even for the briefest of moments, have the priesthood by virtue of participating in temple ordinances. Now, Pres. Monson may get up this morning and announce a revelation that the priesthood is more than this, that there are offices in the AP called Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel, that women 18 and older can be Elders and High Priestesses, and so forth. I presume I would pray about that and receive a spiritual confirmation that it was true. I’m not against, nor am I in favor, of that happening. But as it stands today, women are not priesthood holders in any way similar to men. I personally believe one day they will hold the priesthood in the worlds to come; just not in mortality. Why not now? I don’t know. But, they might today or tomorrow or 50 years from now or in the Millennium. If or when that happens through our prophet, I’m sure I will sustain it. FWIW, as to offices: I think the only offices we’ll hold are those of kings and queens, priests and priestesses. Unless, of course, you’re not in the CK, in which case I don’t know that it really matters.

  28. There is a difference between receiving “priesthood power,” which was emphasized again today in GC, and “receiving the priesthood.”

  29. Katie. Many, to me, means a lot. More than average. More than the regular population at large. There are 11 units in my stake so there are roughly 33 bishops, EQ presidents and HPGLs and of course the SP. You come across as if most of these men are abusive. That hasn’t been any where close to my experience rubbing elbows with these brothers in my church experience. I’m glad I don’t live where you live. Are there brothers that are jerks? Yes. Is it as bad as some women claim? I don’t think so. At least not according to my wife, who also has served in leadership callings in RS, YW and Primary for the last 25 years. I think by and large PH holders are pretty good husbands and fathers. Certainly no more than there are jerk sisters.

  30. I’m reminded of a story my father often tells….

    An old man runs into a stranger in his town. The stranger asks the old man, “What are people like here?” Instead of responding, he asked the stranger what people were like in the place he came from. The stranger responded, “Oh, terrible, they’re abusive and judgmental and gossipers.” The old man said, “Yeah, they’re just like that here.”

    Later, the old man runs into another stranger, new to the town. The same process occurs except the stranger responded, “Oh they were great. They were helpful and friendly, they are all me friends.” The old man said, “Wonderful, they’re just like that here.”

  31. Setting aside the issue of ordaining women, let me say that I look forward to the day that the Priesthood and Relief Society meet together for Sunday meeting. There is no compelling reason in my mind to separate the men from the women. There are no secrets; the gospel is the gospel. Both are charged with bearing one another’s burdens, mourning with those who mourn, standing as a witness, etc. I’d understand a lot more about my priesthood responsibilities by sitting by my wife, getting her perspective as well as those from other sisters. And I guarantee lessons would be much more interesting. High Priests know what I’m talking about.

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